The Road Ahead


Bowen.jpg Cheusia.jpg

Date: 11/8/10 (IC: Year 2, Month 2, Day 12)
Location: Eastern Weyr - Various; and then the open road
Synopsis: Bowen and Cheusia head out for their trip to Southern Hold
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Bowen

The morning of the 12th starts early for some, and earlier for others, but little the weyrtanner could complain of. He awakened holding a beautiful woman in his arms, warm and soft and comforting. Really, the cut on his cheek and the purpling and swollen black eye from his scuffle with Max the night before was barely noticeable to the tanner, as long as he could hold Che. Nothing else mattered. Best of all, she has, in Bowen’s mind, quite literally cured him. Knowing the trek that lay ahead of him got him moving, though, and helped her along as much as she needed, too. Most of the provisions were already in the wagon down by the Beast Caverns, just awaiting the two runners, Strider and an old easy-going grey gelding named Ashes he procured for this trip, to be hitched up to it. He’d seen to that much the day before. All that was left was to get their personal bags and belongings, and themselves, down there. After getting dressed and gathering up their bags, leaving the lighter ones for Che to carry if there were simply too many and he couldn’t carry them all, he recommended a stop in for what would likely be the last oven/stove-cooked breakfast they would have for awhile, and assuming she didn’t object, would eat a healthy couple of helpings. For his part, despite the hour, he’s done trips like this (usually for hunting excursions) and appears quite alert and ready for the day. He will more than likely be crashing kind of early later that evening, of course. Once they have loaded up the wagon with the last of their personal items they wanted to take with them, Bowen will hitch up the runners and help Cheusia up onto the wagon’s bench, tip his hat to the stablehands nearby, and lightly snapped the reins to get them on their way out of the weyr. Rukbat was up, but not yet high enough or warm enough to ward off the slight crisp morning air, so it is with that in mind that Bowen nods to his cloak folded over a strongbox behind him, “If’n ya wanna put m’cloak ‘round yer shoulders til it warms up, Che, it’s there fer th’ takin’.”

Cheusia is quite okay with carrying the lighter bags, being that there aren't too many that they have to settle into the wagon. Her meal, however, is unusually big compared to her normal consumption of food. However, the morning hour is a little too early for Che, so she is rather full of grunts for responses until she gets her morning Klah… Which perks her up to her rather "normal" self. So, she's all too happy to settle onto the bench and wait there, arms across her chest to keep herself from the cold. "Mm. If you won't be cold, too. Then, I'd love to have it for a bit." Or, maybe she's just wanting to wrap herself in his scent. Or both. Win win situation, right there.

Cheusia’s not the only one with some kind of covered mug, or tankard, of klah for the road, though Bowen doesn’t seem to need it too much. “Nah, I’m aw-right,” Bowen says, grinning goofily at her with that puffy purple eye, the same one that undoubtedly required some explanation the night before, but one Bowen was only too happy to supply truthfully on account that they had long ago promised to always be honest with one another. “Th’ chill’s j’st th’ thing ta keep me ah-lert as we go ‘long.” Gathering the reins in one hand for a moment, he reaches behind him into the bed of the wagon with the other, settling his grasp on the cloak and handing it to her. He’d do the gentlemanly thing of putting it around her shoulders, but he sort of has to hang onto the reins. It’s a sturdy wagon-cart, as Bo could afford it, but even the sturdiest wagons make squeaks and whines and groans as the wheels go over the slightly bumpy road leading out of Eastern, smooth but not yet trafficked enough to have beaten and worn down completely smooth. “The Thread charts look fav’rable, though we might see some afternoon showers,” rain showers that is, “a spell ‘r two. It’s summer,” as if that explains everything. “We’ll be in Landin’ ‘bout tomorrah midday, I reckon.”

Cheusia peeks at him curiously, making a face at the purple eye if only because she's restraining the urge to go through their things to get the numbweed for it. "Mm. I hate being cold in the morning. Makes me want to go back to sleep…" So she happily accepts the cloak and wraps herself in it, bringing it to wrap around the upper part of her nose so to hide the lower part of her face from view. "Mm. S'good… Rain might be nice… A lil' bit. Shells, Landing always seemed a lot closer because of the dragons…"

Bowen seems amused at the face, but not inconsiderate, tipping the brim of his hat in such a way that the shiner Max gave him is less noticeable. Once she has the cloak, he takes the reins with both hands again, returning his attention to the terrain ahead and the horizon, then says, “T’night yer gonna have one side of ya facin’ th’ fire, and th’ other side of ya against me in our bedroll.” Our bedroll. Together. Oh yes. “Ya might ev’n get too hot an’ need ta get outta dem clothes b’fore long,” he offers huskily, sliding a sidelong glance her direction, though with the brim of his hat pulled down as it is in that direction, he really only sees her cloak-covered arm and lap. With another glance for the road ahead of them, and the direction the runner ears are tending to flick, he gathers the reins back up in one hand and wraps his arm around her shoulders, unless she pulls away, and rubs that hand along her outside shoulder for added warmth. “I know it ain’t as fast as a dragon, but I’m glad ya came with me like this anyhow,” his voice is softer still, tender. “More time t’gether, yeah? Fewer d’stractions. J’st th’ two of us?” He is reminded momentarily of the wagon and ship journey he had to take with his pregnant wife, as going Between wouldn’t have been advisable to say the least, and some of his good mood starts to fade. Yet, as they round the bend, and the bridge where they had their first kiss comes into view, Bowen smiles again, softly, fondly, watching it on their slow approach. This time would be different, he told himself. For one thing, Cheusia isn’t pregnant. Er, or, right? Bowen swallows a little, and looks a little more carefully at Che. It’s not that he didn’t mean what he had said to her those couple days ago, he did. It was all simply a big adjustment for him, happening faster than the tanner was sure he could keep up with, even if it was what he wanted. “Che … ‘bout us … an’ … now … if,” damn, he was floundering here. As the wagon tilts a little to cross the slight incline of the bridge, he murmurs, “If I asked ya ta marry me … well, uh, wouldja?” You call that a proposal?

Cheusia lifts her hand to fix his hat, whether he likes it or not before returning into her previous position and pulling the cloak tighter around herself. Grey eyes, however, remain fixated upon the man and simply watching him and listening to what he says. "Mm. Sounds good…" She laughs softly and pulls the cloak tighter around her. "Or, we could just avoid the clothes all together…" When that arm lifts around her, she scoots in closer and rests her head upon his chest, dmiling under the cloak. "I'm glad I came too… I just really underestimated things before. Got too used to traveling so fast. More time for us. Together. I'm happy." Grey eyes drift away towards the bridge and she considers it quietly, remaining in silence for a long moment even as Bo begins to speak. Her head tilts up to consider him, blinking as he struggles with the words. "Mm.. If you asked me to marry you.. If you did… I would marry you."

Bowen chuckles softly at the fixing of the hat, not seeming to object. Quite the opposite, finding it amusing and even endearing, especially as it now exposes more of that ugly purple and swollen shiner of his. All the more reason to try and avoid running into Che’s father while they are stopping over at Landing for that hour tomorrow before they move on, Bo thinks. Another rumbling chuckle for her suggestion about clothes, or the lackthereof, “Well now, that there izzan idear I can get on board with.” He lapses quiet as she talks about the travel time, nodding a little, but smiling warmly to her last, that of being happy. The arm still about her shoulder squeezes a little more tightly before relaxing and simply letting her share his warmth and body heat as the silence continues and by the time she answers his next, the hypothetical proposal, they are nearly across the bridge, and he leans down to kiss her not altogether unlike the first and second kisses they shared together on this bridge. Sure he can’t see where he’s going, but there’s no oncoming traffic and the runners are experienced enough to stick pretty much to the road, leaving Bowen to savor the feeling and taste of his lips against hers for these few moments. Words (especially Bowen’s) would do no justice to the wealth of emotion he’s feeling right now. He conveys it, instead, in that kiss.

Cheusia smiles as he chuckles, pleased as she settles into his warmth. Her thoughts, however, don't linger on her father or Landing, only on the ride and keeping warm. "Mm. You better. Cause, I was going to…" She trails off and gives him a rather teasing look, her lips curled into an easy smile. When he leans in, she's quick to meet his lips and quite happy to do so. There's no worry for the fact that Bowen isn't steering now that he's kissing her, nope. She trusts in his judgment… Or she simply forgot runners need steering.

It is the slightly jarring bump on the other side of that bridge that dislodges his lips from hers, and grinning, Bowen gives her another swift, light brush of his lips to hers before squeezing her shoulders once more briefly and returning his attention to the road and the runners and the reins in one hand. His other hand strokes her shoulder affectionately, while he shifts a little in his seat, trying to ‘adjust’ himself and his newly ‘awakened’ little buddy without being obvious or crude about it. Then he goes still and quiet again, his mind spinning off in a few different directions, until finally he murmurs, “Gonna be diff’rent dis time. Gonna do it right.” Though if he means proposing right or more officially or marriage in general, or their relationship in general, he doesn’t specify.

Cheusia lets out a startled sound at the bump, returning his grin with a little smile before his lips brush over hers once m ore. Then, she settles in her previous position with her head against his chest. The shifting in his seat is only seen as shifting to get more comfortable against her. "Mmm." She pauses, peeking up at him and lifting a brow. "Wait… Are we getting married?"

His stroking of her shoulder slows and stops with her question, though the smile only slightly shadows to something less than what he was wearing a few seconds before. Bowen continues to watch the road, slowly gathering his thoughts and how to respond without well, sounding sissy, and at the same time, not wanting to be off-putting. All while still being honest. So, the dummy goes with, “I reckon we will, if yer of a mind ta.” Because that is just so romantic, smooth, and confident-sounding. He starts rubbing warmth into that shoulder again, though does it more gently, slowly and more affectionately. “Whut I mean is, I’m of a mind ta, if yer of a mind ta, but I’ll do it all proper like … yanno, th’ askin’ … an’ th’ marryin’. I wuz figurin’ dat if I j’st wait til yer pregnant ta ask, ya might think I wuz j’st askin’ cuz ya were pregnant, an’ ya might say no, an’a baby, well, dat ain’t th’ only reason fer me ta marry ya, an’ I reckon I should ask b’fore so’s ya would know it ain’t.” He squints at the road, which hurts his eye and he grimaces briefly before blinking his eyes back into normalcy and looks down at her against his chest. “Did I mess up?” He asks huskily, uncertainty in his expression.

Cheusia gives him a curious look for that shadowed smile, trying to assess his thoughts as he watches the roads. She's quiet as she considers his words, then nodding once. "I'd like to. And.. You don't have to do anything.. Y'know… Unlike you." She smiles and lifts her hand to gingerly touch his jaw. "You didn't mess up, Bo. Not at all… Just wanting to know what you want."

“I ain’t sure I know how ta say whut I want,” Bo admits slowly and reluctantly, glancing down at her as she touches his jaw, and giving her shoulders another brief, affectionate squeeze before continuing, “Sumtimes, I ain’t ev’n sure whut I want ‘til it looks like it’s gettin’ gone … an’ it … starts ah achin’ … in m’chest.” That’s Bo-speak for grief and heartache. He looks back up a the road and after a long moment says, “Ma … she’s a good woman, I reckon, in her own way. Tough woman. She did aw-right by us, m’brother an’ m’sister. We weren’t easy t’raise, I reckon. She always seemed so tired an’ worn out an’ stressed ov’r one thing or ‘nuther. She kept us clean an’ fed an’ clothed, but well, I reckon some of dem nannies in th’ weyr are warmer ta dem weyr-youngin’s not there own kin than she wuz ta us or my pa. But growin’ up innit like dat, well, ya kinda get used ta it and ya kinda start believing all wives an’ mamas are j’st dat way. Yanno? So, when I went off ta th’ tannin’ hall, knowin’ there really ain’t much love b’tween my ma and pa, I kinda figured I’d stay a bach’lor th’ rest o’my life. B’come a crafter an’ work an’ hunt an’ that’d be it fer me. But … den I met Darla … an’ I guess when ya go ta th’ Hall as a youngin’ an’ get on in yer years, well, s’was only th’ nat’ral way of things,” that being that he would get into his late teenage years and started noticing how attractive and desirable girls looked. “I loved ‘er, I did, an’ I thought I wuz doin’ th’ right thing by marryin’ her when I got ‘er pregnant. I thought mebbe it would be diff’rent from th’ way my ma an pa had it. An’ right there in th’ beginnin’ I guess it wuz … an’ then it changed … an’” he pauses, swallowing a moment before continuing, “I guess whut I’m tryin’ ta say is that I love ya an’ whut I want is you, an’ Faranth-willin’ a family with ya, an’ I want ya ta be mine ferever, an’ if I gotta marry ya ta make sure ev’ry fella knows yer mine an’ don’t try nuthin’ on ya if he’s got any lick o’sense, then dat’s whut I’ll do, even if … if things change b’tween us aft’r.” Her looks at her again then, his blue eyes raw with emotion, “I wuz young an’ stupid, an’ I didn’t know how ta deal with Darla bein’ so shardin’ unhappy with me, so I j’st stayed out as long as possible, thinkin’ it’d make things better fer her. But I’m older now, and I reckon that only made things worse, an’ well, if ya end up hatin’ me aft’r bein’ married ta me a spell, I won’t leave. I’ll j’st … try harder ta understand whut ya need.” He swallows again, and blinks a few times before looking at the road once more. “I ain’t gonna lie. It does scare me. I ain’t seen too oft go right. But I’m more willin’ ta face dat den I am willin’ ta face some feller comin’ up on ya … ‘r losin’ ya … j’st because I wuz too yeller ta try harder.” He looks at her again, going quiet, and then asking, “Whut do you want, Che?”

Cheusia gives him a rather curious look for his admittance, listening quietly as her fingers drop away from his jaw, trailing down to rest gently upon his chest and listening to everything he says. Not once does she interrupt, her facial expression only showing her concern for his words, changing with each different part of his story. Though the mention of Darla might having her looking a little harsh, if only for the thought about what sort of woman would bring the damage that she had to Bo. "Bo.. I don't see how marriage should change anything about us. As long as we're honest and still the way we are now, nothing should change.. I think, it only changes if you don't really care for that person you're with, or you've been lying to them… Yeah, avoiding her probably didn't help things.. But seems like she started it by being mad at you for no reason…" Her hand gingerly pats his chest, "if you want to get married, I want to get married. I won't feel any different about you, or get mad.. Or anything like that. We'll have a family, some day… And.." She trails off, fingers curling into his shirt. "I love you. You're not going to lose me."

Leaning down to press his lips to the top of her head where it rests against her chest, Bowen smiles softly, rumbling just as soft, “I love ya too,” his fears mostly abated for the time, and it feels good to feel her fingers curled into his shirt like that, “an’ I’ll always be honest,” though whether or not he can articulately express that honesty is another story. “So, I’ll ask ya good an’ prop’r then, assumin’ meetin’ m’kin don’t drive ya away,” the last said mostly jokingly, and he grins to make it seem so, “An’ we’ll have a family of our own one day,” he nods in agreement, squeezing her briefly, and unable to keep himself from smiling quite a bit more at the knowledge that he can start a family again, where once he thought he was broken.

Closing Credits Theme Music: Josh Turner - "Would You Go With Me"

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