A blast from the past.
He pushed into the house, carrying her, closing the door behind them with his back, hearing it latch.
He knew what he had to do, carrying her to the downstairs bathroom, depositing her carefully into the bath, and taking off her denim jacket. It was heavy, but not waterproof, and had not been suitable for being out in this weather. However, she hadn’t known about this weather coming at them at that time, any more than he had, and by the time she’d seen what was happening, she’d turned around to return home.
He guessed that her two hours going out and mostly uphill, wherever she’d gone, was a shorter time than her trip downhill in that storm, with its tricky footing for the horse… but it was only a guess.
She was wet through to the skin, and needed to be warmed up. Even at this temperature, frost bite was always a risk.
He put her jacket behind her head to give her a better pillow than the hard, cold, enamel of a bath.
He turned on the hot water tap and, dismounting the shower head and adjusted the water temperature to be a little more than comfortable at first, played the shower of warm water on her wet hair and neck, then into her shirt, as he began to undress her with one hand.
Finesse was not required; or waiting to see what she would say by way of complaint at him doing this to her while she was fully dressed, and likely shrinking her sweater and other of her clothes. It was too late to worry about such inconsequential things.
The water running off her, was cold at first. It would soon warm up, and so would she, but the bath was the best place for her to be. Even cool water was better than nothing, but only for a short while. He had to get her out of her wet clothes and get her warmed up.
When the water running out of the bath was warm enough, he put the plug in.
He played the water over her in a steady flow, resting the shower head by her shoulder to run down her back as he removed her riding boots. It took two hands to do each one, turning them into the sink to drain if they needed too, followed by her heavy woolen socks. Her feet were like blocks of ice.
He focused on playing the warm water all over her as he talked to himself as well as to her. She would be able to hear him over the noise of the water hitting her head and running down into her shirt.
“What a way for us to meet again.”
“For ten years I lost you, not knowing what to do, or what I could do, and now…?”
He shook his head.
“You are back into my life again, entirely unexpectedly, and you are one hell of a shock. I doubt you will be able to appreciate how much I missed you. I thought I would go insane, but I couldn’t ask anyone where you were, or how I could find you. Then after a while, I was not sure that I should.”
That was history now. He’d better be careful what he said. She might have a different recollection of things than he had, after they’d separated.
He began to undress her completely.
As he took each piece of clothing off her, he dropped it into the sink.
She seemed to be objecting to something.
Probably she was objecting to the sudden pain when parts of her body that had been intensely cold, began to warm up.
He remembered that pain when he’d sat in front of a fire, trying to thaw out his cold feet after they’d got wet and cold, crying at the pain. He’d been five at the time.
Chilblains were murder!
She was mumbling. It was a good sign that she was coming around. Her reflexes were starting to revive. The discomfort would soon be noticeable to her, and then she’d really complain.
He could begin to think again now, having got over that first stab of unreasoning fear.
He continued to speak to her the whole time he undressed her, telling her what he was doing, mostly, or just making observations about other things; keeping his more personal observations of her, and what he remembered of her, out of it.
He spoke of the weather; how miserable it was outside… and even confirmed where she was, for the moment…in the bath at her home, and with him helping her; how much snow was already down; that it might not let up for a day or two.
Some of what he said would filter though to her mind and help her relax. Maybe.
Her snug Levi’s were the next to go. He undid them and eased them down her legs, lifting her briefly to free them from under her. Her panties went at the same time.
She’d filled out more everywhere. She was a woman now. Her hips were broader than he’d remembered, but he hadn’t really seen them then; distracted entirely, by everything else he was seeing between her legs and was learning about her, and what they could do together... did do together.
He was still that way, still curious about her there. Oh, the memories.
He noticed that her cheeks were cold as he’d taken her denims off. She had much more hair on her there, now, than he’d remembered.
He smiled to see that. They'd both changed; her, in minor details, him, in a major way. He’d filled out.
She wasn’t complaining so much now under her breath, and she had her eyes closed.
He should be careful what he said if she was coming around.
The photographs they’d taken and that she’d shared that evening with him when they’d both got back home, and that he’d been able to access in the cloud… had taken his breath away. She’d been very daring and forward in every way; they both had, but he was glad of that.
He still looked at them; had printed out a few of the least shocking ones and had taken them with him wherever he went, vowing never to forget her. And he hadn’t.
He was both angry with her, and relieved.
Men were not supposed to cry, but he had cried many times.
He was close to crying now, so pleased again to see her as he remembered her, but afraid of what she would tell him. She wouldn’t know him after all this time.
Working for his father most weekends and holidays, hauling logs around, moving them to be sawn when they were shorthanded, and keeping the sawmills working, had not harmed in in any way, but had put muscle on him.
He kept coming back to her.
She’d taught him so much. She could have destroyed him in those first moments, if she’d protested to seeing him as he actually was… well-gifted for a boy his age, and with distinct pubic hair, but she hadn’t said anything awkward to hurt him. She had told him that she’d thought that personal part of him to be magnificent, and then she'd reached out to touch him, hold him there. He’d been thankful for that.
She’d been shocked, though. He’d seen that.
Nonetheless, she’d drawn him out so well, and so nicely after that, even encouraging him to do everything to her, wanting him to ‘fuck her’ as she’d vulgarly said, to encourage him along. That kind of language had not been part of her upbringing, any more than his, but it had seemed to be needed.
She'd been surprised to see him the way he was... big... but after a little reflection, she had been more impressed and curious, than afraid or critical. Those two years difference in their ages had given her confidence enough to be able to deal with him with understanding, seeing how shy he was.
He was no longer shy… not usually… but with her, once she came around and began to feel alarmed about what he’d done and was doing for her, he might become that way again too easily. A lot depended on her and how she responded this time.
Her light sweater, and heavy, plaid shirt were next, followed by her bra.
He felt breathless, just as he had been the first time he’d seen her breasts, and then had touched them. She was naked again now, and just as he best remembered her.
Her breasts were even more wonderful now than he’d remembered.
He pulled his mind back from that pointless ‘déjà vu’, wrung the clothes out, and tossed everything into the sink with the others. He’d get to them later.
That shower could now be more effectively used to warm her up, and the bath was filling. He pulled the plug to drain the cool water and started over again. No one wanted to sit in cool water.
Playing the shower of warm water all over her naked body to try and get some uniform warmth to her body, without her cold and wet clothing in the way, would only improve her situation.
She seemed to be breathing better now, and she even seemed ready to complain, trying to form a few words. He was relieved to see that.
He took her arm and pulled her to sit up, feeling her helping him now. Holding her forward with his forearm under her breasts, he worked a sponge and soap all over her back and shoulders, leaving the shower head sitting on one of those plastic trays across the bath, but moved it, so that the water was directed onto her breasts and abdomen.
He wasn’t shy about what he touched; holding her in a sitting position and going over her front the same way; breasts and all, then bringing the shower head into play again as he did the same, with his bare hand going over them, around them, under them too, and then between her legs, waiting for her to object and to push him away.
Her breasts were everything he’d remembered, except were bigger. They still made him breathless.
She had her eyes closed, but he sensed she was conscious now; her eyelids had flickered.
He’d better stop talking, and just concentrate on getting the bath water warmer, and deep enough for her to lie back in. Her hair was wet, so he should make sure her head stayed warm.
When he was sure she wouldn’t drown, and really was able to sit up for herself, he’d see to towels and some other clothing for her.
Her eyes were open now, and she was looking up at him.
She didn’t seem to recognize him. However, there were those bathroom lights shining into her face from behind his head. She didn’t rip into him for being a strange man to her, or for his over-familiarity with her naked body, but asked a few questions.
“What are you doing here?” The tone was not one of censure, with the emphasis on, ‘doing’, but stressing the, ‘you’.
Maybe she did recognize him.
“Where’s my father?”
“I work around here from time to time.”
He answered her first question… in a possibly confusing way, but not as she’d wanted.
“Your father is out looking for you. He was worried for your safety. He thought you might have gone up to the ten-mile cabin, so he took a four-wheeler, spare clothes and food, and went up there about two, three hours ago to find you. I expect him to call when he gets up there.”
She shook her head. She’d been nowhere near there.
Her father had been worried for her, and had gone looking for her, out in this?
She hadn’t expected that.
“You work for my father?”
“Sort of. From time to time.” He was being devious, but it was half true.
He had rough hands from his work at the mill and his other building efforts, and she’d felt them going all over her body in a very personal and familiar way, even between her legs, as she’d come around, but she accepted that he’d only been helping her, despite everything being so shocking. It still was personal, with him looking down at her, and her completely naked, but she could do nothing about that.
She should be grateful that he’d been at the house and must have seen her arrive at the barn. She didn’t remember much after that.
She watched as he stood up from her, putting a bottle of hair shampoo in reach for her, as he dragged a couple of heavy towels out of the bathroom cabinet. They were warm.
He laid them on the chair for her. If he had too, he’d wash her hair too.
She anticipated him. “I don’t need to wash my hair. I can’t anyway, my arms and shoulders are too stiff.”
They would be, of course. Getting cold and wet as she had been, would play havoc on her body for a while.
"I’ll go and dig out some clothes for you.”
He obviously knew his way around the house, but she hadn’t seen him working anywhere around the property in her first days of being home.
She took it all in.
“I might not be able to get out of the bath without your help, so please don’t go far.”
He looked back at her and smiled. He wouldn’t.
She’d been lucky to make it home. It had been a sobering wake-up call as to how going off, half-cocked and in the mood she’d been in, had not been a wise thing to do, and now her father was out there risking his life to find her.
But he would, of course. She’d heard him fretting over her brothers from time to time when they’d kicked over the traces. They’d been a real trial for him, and she’d been no better.
She watched him moving things around and tidying up her clothes from the sink.
“If you can hang up the shower head so that it plays upon my hair that will help me warm up better.”
She would soon get to the argumentative stage.
He did as she asked. She might be able to reach the taps to adjust the temperature for herself.
“I’ll get you that change of clothes.”
She let him go this time, watching him go.
She needed time to think, and to slow her heart down.
She’d seen the anguish in his face as she’d ripped into him.
She’d had time in the last few hours to think about how she’d misunderstood what he’d been saying, and instead of calmly asking for clarification, she’d exploded.
She’d been wrong, and now he was risking his life out there to find her. He must be at the cabin by now.
And then, this. A blast from the past.