Well and Truly Stuck!
Sheila was stuck with him for the moment. She looked up to the top of the bank. Had she really been up there when she'd slipped? It looked a long way up.
She’d dropped her knapsack at the top, leaving a few things scattered around, but none had fallen with her to go into the water.
“Where do you live, are you staying locally?” He looked at her and added something about himself to try and reassure her. “I’m staying at the local Inn, with the Robertsons.”
There was only the one Inn, in the entire area.
Telling her something about himself and where he was staying might help her be less fearful of him.
She must be the botanical student that Annie Robertson, the landlady at the inn had told him to watch for, and then to ignore. Except he couldn’t ignore her now.
“Lovely lass, but keeps too much to herself. Keep your eyes open for her, but don’t expect a conversation or to get anywhere near her. She’ll keep well-clear of you as she does of all males. Shy lass. Too shy for her own good. Pity. I wish she’d snap out of it, but she went downhill after she lost her father a couple of years ago.”
“Is there anyone I should get, to help you? There is no signal here to phone out, so I don’t bother bringing a phone with me.” He had left it to charge-up in his room.
She shook her head, regretting it immediately because of the sharp pain lancing through her head.
“No. No one’s home until later, and I don’t have a cell-phone with me either.” She shouldn’t tell him too much.
There would be no one home for a few days except her. Her mother was away on a business trip until the weekend, leaving her to look after the house, the hens, and the two calves that they had in an enclosure behind the house. She would tell him nothing of that, or of her being alone for the rest of the week. But she could tell him something that he would need to know.
“My mother and I live not too far away, but I can’t walk back like this”—obviously not— “and I’m cold.”
“I’ll get you to the road as a second step. But first, I need to get you farther back and into the sun better than we are, and where the sun is more direct onto these rocks, and get you dry and some warmth into you.”
He picked her up again, leaving an exact smooth outline of her backside on the wet rock. He was intrigued to see that obvious female outline of her broad hips, setting his already disturbed senses, tingling.
It caused her some concern that he could so easily manage her as he carried her another few feet, his boots squelching with every step, putting her down on an even bigger slab of rock; also hot enough to fry several eggs on. Again, the water from her clothes would soon cool it down. He went back for her boots and socks, laying them out where they could dry. Her socks would get warm once he’d wrung the water out of them.
“Now, let’s get you into something dry and warm if you don’t mind wearing my shirt while I get yours dry? It was clean on this morning and it isn’t as wet as yours.”
She shook her head, not understanding everything he was saying, with water still in her ears, watching him peel off his shirt, thinking that he was going to put his shirt over the top of hers. That would be the safest... considering….
Lesson two. Listen very carefully to what you are being told.
Her only mistake was to do with the tragedy of miscommunication between two people; especially between a man and a woman who spoke to each other on different levels, and usually talked past each other. Each knew what they themselves meant when they said something to the other, and was sure about what they thought they’d heard, but to interpret what the other might mean or really meant, required a PhD in communications, and even then, you often got it wrong. Hence the usual difficulties of the one sex trying to understand and communicate with the other.