Can this be happening to me?
Enveloped by her confused thoughts that she would think about and analyze for the time he was away, Sheila watched him go.
He hadn’t wanted to leave her until he felt convinced that she could manage without him for half an hour or so, and she liked that feeling of concern for her.
Sheila uncapped the lens from her camera and photographed him, now that he couldn’t see her. She had other photographs of him at a distance taken that same morning and afternoon. She’d never seen anyone else on the Fell, as he had been, and she was curious, watching him, hearing his hammer. He never showed any indication of noticing her.
Why she photographed him, she wasn’t sure. Then she photographed her ankle and her lower leg in the water. She would begin a new journal from this day forward. She also snapped a selfie, after shuffling to place her camera a few feet from her, setting the timer, and with her shirt wide open.
He was alternately walking and running to cover the ground quickly without tiring himself out. One could cover many miles that way and he was both fit and strong. He could have carried her, but that would have taken at least an hour, even more to get her home. This way was quicker and less of a strain on them both, though he had suggested carrying her on his shoulders, like 'horse and rider'. He was used to carrying a rucksack as heavy as her at times.
She could see him for about a mile down the road as she zoomed-in on his progress and continued to photograph him. It would take him no more than fifteen minutes to get to her home with the progress he was making, no longer having her on his back to slow him down.
He might have difficulty getting the bike out from the back of the garden shed, and would then need to check it over, but she guessed he could be back with her in about a half hour at most, as he’d said. She looked at her watch. It was still running, despite getting wet.
As she waited with her foot in the colder river water, she went over what she knew about him already and what she could easily recall.
Most of it seemed surreal.
A warm flush rose up on her neck thinking about all that had happened between them; and so much had happened between them. She closed her eyes and gently handled her own breasts as she'd wanted him to be handling them, feeling him touching them, caressing them. Damn! She'd gone moist. Or she'd started! Nothing she could do about it. She should have got a tampon from her pack. Too late now.
She’d learned that they were both at the same university and that he was known to Annie Robertson; that he was staying at the Inn. He no longer came across as being so dreadful after she'd learned all of that.
How was it that they had not met or seen each other at university?
Then her mind flashed back to the more recent events, beginning to analyze them.
She could not believe that she would ever have allowed herself to become uncovered that way; taking her hands from over her breasts after that simple request, so nicely stated from him; taking her hands from her breasts just because he asked her so persuasively and gently to do so, but he had said some strange things, and it had been necessary for him to help her properly, or so he had said.
Fortunately, it had never got quite as far as all of her wet clothes needing to come off, though coming perilously close to it with both her shirt and shorts gone, leaving only her thin panties (though she did have his shirt on her by then), but she had accepted his help out of necessity after his gentle eloquence, so it had worked out alright.
She watched him covering the ground fast, steadily disappearing from sight. He was obviously very fit to have carried her as easily as he had.
Then everything was quiet, except for the noise of the water beside her, a few insects, and the drone of a plane flying up to Glasgow. The London-Glasgow planes, several each day, flew this corridor at about 10,000 feet, more or less, rarely leaving whispy contrails. You could often set your watch by them.
She would see him again after today, if not here, then over the next week on the Fell, or back at university, knowing what he did, and where he ate lunch, and knowing so much more about him.
She would change her reclusive habits to meet him again, but he did say that he would be up here for much of the coming week, finishing off his project, and he would be coming back with her bike to get her very soon. She had never known time to move by so slowly, waiting for him. She would have to get back on her feet again, and soon, before the week disappeared and he disappeared too.
He had been captivated by her breasts. That embarrassing thought was constantly on her mind. Such ungainly things, always in the way, and embarrassing for her to deal with all of the time, but he had not been able to ignore them. He'd found them fascinating. What was there about them that so attracted boys and men, other than that they didn’t have them, and always wanted to touch them, but she didn’t have one of those other male things either, and it didn’t make her curious about it, or have any other feelings about it, or want to touch it.
Biology said that large mammary glands, were evolution-in-progress, indicating a fit mother, able to nourish her many children, and they had become part of modern sexual activity. Men always wanted to see them and touch them, and it had always bothered her until now.
She wouldn’t think about what one of those other male things meant in a woman’s future as that was beyond where she wanted to go at this moment. She could not see it as anything more than a biological system for sperm-delivery, an uncomfortable one at that, from what she'd heard; and it was meant to be as big as it was, to deliver those packages as deeply as possible, into a female of the species. That was how it was abstractly described, in a disturbing way; 'as deeply as possible', to give those little tadpoles a head start on their way to meet an egg.
‘As deeply as possible’ was what made her feel uncomfortable, remembering what she had seen of him, poking like a lance out of his underwear. There had been a lot of it. A woman would feel all of that going into her, and being in her.
It was stupid to think of it so clinically when it began to be so personal. Being aroused as he had been, suggested that he wanted to do that to her, and there had been nothing clinical or theoretical about it, but something that was highly, emotionally-charged.
She felt a sudden, warm feeling, prickling her around her collar. Seeing a hint of that part of his, even briefly, had certainly got her attention, and no doubt that was also what it had been designed to do, but in a physical way.
‘Designed’ and ‘Evolution’ in the same set of thoughts. An age-old conflict of views about where life had come from.
No one, not even her mother, had seen her breasts as he had.
How could anyone see anything attractive in them? She didn’t. But he had. His words, his inability not to look at them, the way they disturbed him, wanted to touch them, told her that.
But they were too big, and moved when she didn’t want them too, and under the slightest provocation. He had caused them to move rebelliously when he had dried her hair as he had, and every time he had helped her, he’d always wanted to see more of them. Every moment she had not been watching him, he had been looking at them.
She giggled. And then she had made he did see them.
She should have unbuttoned three or four of those buttons on her shirt to start with, not just one or two of them, to see what he would do. He had seen her breast in the front of that gaping shirt when she had leaned back with her eyes closed, and he had wanted to touch. She'd even wanted him to touch; had closed her eyes so that he could see them and might be tempted to, but he hadn't, even when her shirt had been wide open. He hadn't kissed her either, even though she had tried to let him see that a kiss would not be unwelcome.
He had also told her she was beautiful. But that was what men did wasn’t it, to get behind your defenses and to bed you? Except he had been sincere, looking at her with that special look in his eyes. She liked that feeling, once she’d got over that first fear. It might not be so bad if it were him doing that to her.
She needed time to think about what she had learned about him, liking the feelings he had left her with.
She could dream as she waited for him to return.
She dangled her foot in the water and waited, looking around, admiring the solitude, the peace, and the calm, but it was also lonely. She hadn’t minded it before. She did now. He wasn't there to see, and to touch her breasts.
She needed to pee! She looked around again. There was no one to see her.
She undid her shorts and peeled them down to her knees as she laid back, following them with her panties, holding them as she raised the knee of her good leg to get her clothing off the rock, and tried to relax. She could actually see clear-through the thin fabric of her panties. He would have seen through them too; seen everything about her. No wonder he had been fixated on her there after he had opened her shorts and had become aroused.
Fortunately, there was no 'spotting' from her beginning period, so she didn’t have to worry about that.
It took forever for her to start peeing, and was a small flow. It would take forever at this rate. Was she still so tense at the thought of that thing of his going into her body, that she couldn’t pee properly? He’d be back before she finished! That thought didn’t help but seemed to close her down even more.
She took her wet sock off and squeezed water along what she had done, then carefully wiped herself with it before pulling up her panties and shorts. She shouldn’t have peed in the river, but she hadn’t been able to help herself despite having got rid of so little. Every few minutes, she looked down the road, hoping to see him.
He would be at least a half hour and there had been only ten minutes elapse since he had gone, and here she was, looking for him already.
She wanted to cry again, but was not sure why, except she had never felt so impatient before. She should not have let him leave her so soon before he understood more about her and they had arranged to meet again after this. She would do that when he got her home and before he had to go back to the Inn.
She was confused for the first time in her life over this ambivalence that she felt.
She’d watched the initial interactions between men and women at university; strange, first-time interactions between flirting girls and predatory young men, admiring; openly admiring, flattering. The devious sods!
They had been too obvious, and the girls had lapped it up; thrilled to the point of stupidity: some of them. It was obvious where it was all leading; the grand seduction; intimacy. That was when she had—for the first and last time in the two years she had been at university—gone into the student union building with some friends after classes had ended for the day.
What would she say or do when he got her home and saw that she would be alone for a few days? She’d even told him she would be alone.
She’d deal with that as she came to it.
What would she say to her mother when she called this evening, asking what had happened today?
Would she tell her that she had met someone, a man, and that they would be seeing each other again?
She wouldn’t say how she’d met him.
It would be better if she told her mother nothing but the usual bromides.
‘Busy and hectic day, Mom. I’m okay. Good weather. Too hot. Saw no one except for a couple of deer. How’s it going for you?
Wondering what it will be like to be made love to for the first time by Peter. Bye, Mom.’
Where was her mind? Better stop thinking about that, or that other word. It wasn't polite, though it was expressive.
She also resolved, again, to start a journal and keep a detailed account of everything that had just happened to her, and between them, and of her inner-most thoughts.
For the first time in her life she felt as though her life had meaning, and that she was now on the right path.
She settled down to wait, but was impatient, constantly watching for him to return.