You Had Me At Whiskey

Participants:

Bowen.jpg Cheusia.jpg

Date: 10/4/10
Location: EW: Lakeshore
Synopsis: Bowen and Cheusia have a picnic dinner under the stars. Things get a little heavy and serious as the pair kick things up a notch or two, both physically and emotionally.
Rating: PG18/R - Adult Themes, Adult Situations, Adult Tonsil Hockey and Adult Groping, Adult Language … Adult Everything.
Logger: Bowen

Having already discussed it with Cheusia enough to know when she was getting off her infirmary shift that day, Bowen arrives toward the end of it, preferring to wait for her rather than risk her wandering off in search for him, alone. So the day is at its gloaming when they depart, with him offering her a single pale yellow flower, seeming quiet and awkward about it, and offering his arm as he usually does, proper and respectful. The stocky tanner makes any stops she wants to make to bathe or change clothes or whatever she needs, save the living chamber for eating as he has plans for them to eat elsewhere if it’s not been found by someone else and filched already. And so the last of the sunlight offers a lovely lavender shade to the sky as they finally venture closer to the lakeshore where he continues to lead her closer to a small band of trees and brush set between two outcroppings of rocks and boulders.

The yellow flower was met with a bright smile when presented, and not fading at all. They do stop for a quick change of clothing into something more relaxed for the Healer. When they finally reach the destination of the Lakeshore, grey eyes go skywards and consider the color of the sky and allowing herself to be led to the area in which their meal is waiting. "Bowen…" Che starts, grey eyes flickering over to consider the man. "This is wonderful. How did you know yellow was my favorite color? I don't think I've told anyone that."

Her eyes are on the sky. His eyes are on that little copse of trees and brush and trying to figure out from the distance if someone found his little hiding spot and took the goods. So, her words slowly bring the man to looking at her and blinking a moment before he responds, “Ah,” he smirks faintly, “I didn’t. J’st seemed t’be th’ right one fer ya, considerin’ …” considering it didn’t mean ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘some sharding moon is going to come down and squash us, but you’re alright no matter what’. A smoother man might take the opportunity to say something about it being her sunny disposition and bright golden smile that led him to believe yellow was her signature color, and thus, obviously, her favorite one. But Bowen is not smooth. He’s not even just occasionally lumpy. He’s a roughneck in most every respect a hundred percent of the time. “Did I dun good?” he asks, grinning a little more, but shyly, before drawing to a stop a few steps into the treeline where a tree has a rope tied around it.

Cheusia laughs softly, "I love it. Thank you." The meaning of flowers would likely be lost on this woman, who's only interest in plants came from their medicinal uses. She's a practical woman, but the gesture is not lost on her… Or it is her first time actually receiving a flower as a kind gesture. And it's quite likely if Bowen was a smooth man, Che would have high tailed it away from him, seeing where sweet talk got her last time. "You did great. I'm happy." And content… And even if their food was stolen, it's likely she wouldn't care at this point.

“Good,” Bowen says simply, quietly, with that same grin, and squeezes her hand gently before releasing her to go up to the tree with the rope and then around it to the other side. There he unloosens the knot and keeps hold as he stares up into the branches where the rope appears to tautly disappear. He gives no explanation, merely pulling the rope for a time, sliding it a little down a way, and then slowly beginning to let the slack out until inch by inch, a large picnic basket, the contents of which are covered with a woven blanket tucked in at the sides, begins to appear as he lowers it from where the rope is hooked up above. Only when it gets within comfortable arm’s reach does he grip the handle with one hand and lets go of the rope with the other. The free hand then grips the rope that was tied onto the handle of the basket and starts pulling it down the rest of the way until, completely freed, it comes falling down in a pool around the stocky tanner’s booted feet. He sets about the task of untying the knot around the handle and leaves the rope on the ground before stepping in closer to Cheusia once more, and looking up, finds himself momentarily distracted by her eyes before speaking, finally, softly, “Uh, pick anywhere ya like, Che,” and he looks away, this time to the basket in one hand, and then to the lakeshore beyond the trees and outcropping of rocks under the darkening sky.

Cheusia smiles wider and watches him move to the tree. A curious look is given but she says nothing and remains standing where he left her. His actions are watched, if only because she's interested in seeing what the outcome is though it isn't hard to guess that the food is safely hidden with that rope being what hides it. That smile on her lips only grows wider because of the amusement that the whole thing brings but she does not laugh or really show too much of it. When the basket is finally in his hands and he steps closer, her smile grows more fond and she nods. "We can sit close to here. Near the trees."

If Bowen notices her amusement, there seems to be no indication from his stoic demeanor. “Ayup,” comes the simple, amenable reply to her suggestion of it being close to the treeline. He moves again, then, stepping to try and grasp her hand with his free one now and if allowed, will step out from the line of trees and brush into the more softer ground surrounding the lakeshore, though obviously not damp this far back. He only moves a few safe paces away from the tree line before setting the basket down and carefully withdrawing the blanket and briefly letting her go again to unfurl out beside it. “If it gets too dark, I can light a lil fire,” this stated to the darkening lavender of the sky, becoming more navy and starlit as he speaks. Another man and perhaps one would wonder if he is speaking of a different kind of fire, but Bowen is not a man of such passionate leanings. Once he has lain out the blanket for them to set upon, he reaches for her hand once more, if allowed, and will attempt to help her get settled on said blanket, in whatever way needed, respectful of her space and independence, but there nonetheless for assistance as it is required.

Cheusia takes his hand that comes for her's and gives hit a gentle squeeze as she is led to another spot to where they can sit. She patiently waits for him to withdraw the blanket and set it out. "That'd be lovely." Her eyes drift briefly to the sky, considering the color for a moment before he reaches out for her. She takes his hand and allows him to help her settle down and she folds her legs neatly to her side. "We'll get to see the stars again. It'll be peaceful." And being that the lakeshore is pretty quiet at the moment, it is probably safe to say they might have the whole area to themselves for the rest of the night. If they're lucky.

Peaceful. Now there’s a sentiment Bowen can really get behind, considering his previous experiences with women. So he gives her a steady look, neither skeptical nor hopeful, just observant, studious, as he settles in on the blanket near her, facing her, lounging on one elbow with his legs stretched out in front of him before he reaches for that picnic basket. “Peaceful is nice,” he agrees after one of his lengthy pauses, “Reckon why me an’ m’pa liked to go huntin’ so much when I was a youngin’. Spent many a night under dem stars.” Too alert for felines or other predators, or random uncharted Threadfall to really get a good, full night’s sleep. Yay. What fun. Bring the whole family, why don’t you? Drawing the basket in closer, he sits up a little more to withdraw some of the contents. With the exception of the wine, fruit, cheese and fresh (though no longer warm) bread, the meal is a simple and messy-less affair of meatrolls and tubers fried to a crispy exterior for better finger-food making. He begins with the bread and cheese, setting them out between them on the blanket, and nodding to the little spread while he sets about pouring the wine for them both, handing one of the mugs over to Cheusia quietly.

Cheusia is quite oblivious to that look he gives her, looking skywards again and considering it with a thoughtful look. "I like peaceful… Lets you feel like there isn't anything to worry about." Grey eyes consider the tanner for a moment before she nods. "I hear a lot of guys say how hunting is peaceful to them." She shifts positions to take a piece of bread and some cheese and nibbling on that until the mug is handed over and she takes it with a pleasant nod. "Thanks." A sip is taken before she continues to nibble on the bread and cheese. "How was your day?"

Returning to his lounging position with mug of wine in one hand and picking up one of the cubes of cheese to pop in his mouth, he listens to her a moment, blue eyes watching her in polite regard, and then going out to the lakeshore as he scans the terrain with mild interest while listening. “I like peaceful too,” he says in that soft, husky timbre after he chews and swallows. “My day was good. Th’ last batch we put in fer brainin’ come out t’day.” Mmm. Juicy. “Reckon we’ll be fillin’ flight leather orders soon.” There’s another lengthy pause and Bowen picks up one of the chunks of bread, “There ‘lot that worries ya, Che?” he asks quietly of her earlier statement on worry. Then he puts the bread in his mouth as he turns those blue eyes back on her in waiting for her answer, then chases the bread with a sip of wine.

Cheusia sighs softly and shifts into a slightly lounging position, grey eyes still focusing on the sky as if waiting for the stars to come out. "That's good. Came out fine, then?" She pauses, considering the man before chuckling. "Soon enough. Do you color the leathers, too? Can they get something more colorful if they wanted?" She's curious, more than anything. No plans for riding leathers on her part, at least. "Mmm. Sometimes. Worry about my patients… Thread. About my brother. My mother…. I guess I worry about my father sometimes, too. I don't want to lose his respect." Because that is as good as his approval to her. She shrugs and glances away. "I guess I try not to worry and end up worrying more than I'd like to… Might be a woman thing."

With another sip of wine and chunk of cheese filling his mouth, Bowen drinks and chews quietly as he listens to her, nodding a little and turning his attention to the sky with her as it continues to darken and the faint beginnings of twinkling companions emerge. He no longer tries to see her eyes, as shadowed as it is now, and seems content to just look at the sky, slowly warming up to this whole ‘date’ concept as the conversation evolves. “Some,” he answers finally, vaguely, and then continues, “it depends on th’ leather and it depends on th’ dye. Some dye won’t work on some leather.” Pause, “Unless that thar AIVAS has spat out some inf’rmation whut can be more useful on dying hides. But,” he exhales a bit, stretching his legs out a little more, “I reckon if’n so that’s all bein’ sent up t’th’ tanner hall t’riddle out if so an’ I ain’t likely t’hear ‘bout it til one of dem journeymen tell it t’me.” He lapses silent a moment, just long enough to sip his wine as he continues to watch the progress of the stars, “I reckon I can’t do nuthin’ t’help with worry ‘bout yer patients. Seems th’ sensible thing fer a Healer t’do, really. I’d worry fer a Healer whut didn’t worry ‘bout her patients.” Another pause and he picks up a chunk of bread, “As fer yer family, mebbe y’ can get a dragonride t’visit at some point?” Presumably to visit and talk with them and reassure herself. “An’ I’ll be right there with ya when Thread falls,” as to worrying about that. He doesn’t dismiss her worry as being ‘a woman thing’. That, in his experience, is just asking for a twisted ear or roller swung at him or a dish lobbed at him.

Cheusia smiles slightly, mostly for her own thoughts and the peacefulness that lingers in the area. "Some? Hmm.. Maybe it has. I really haven't checked AIVAS for things other than healing." She considers him for a moment before nodding quietly, not pressing her thoughts onto him but instead, taking another sip of her wine. "Some Healers try not to worry…" She shrugs before shaking her head. "Mother's husband doesn't want me around. Doesn't want me to come back… I only saw my mother when she stopped by the 'Hall for supplies, really. I wasn't his kid so I'm not his problem and he'd rather not be reminded of that." She shrugs once more before taking another sip of her wine, "thanks, Bo… I really appreciate you being here for me so much…"

His expression remains much the same as she talks of AIVAS and Healers worrying or not worrying, sipping wine and studying the quiet sky. It doesn’t remain the same as she mentions her mother’s husband, frowning a little and mentally adding another man to the list of those he wants to throttle on Che’s behalf. Though it may be hard to make out as things are getting darker. “Even aft’r ya dun grown up an’ ‘re on yer own?” He sounds about as incredulous and disgusted as he feels, which is an interesting sound for the otherwise usually stoic tanner. “Whut a runner’s ass,” he comments, a heartbeat later, and presumably about Che’s mother’s husband and not himself, though one can be certain he has been runner’s ass himself on more than one occasion. With an exhale, he lets that go a moment after hearing her thank him for being there for her. “No need t’thank me, Che,” he says softly, earnestly, “Truth is … I don’t rightly know … whut else t’do.” Which could simply be he doesn’t know how else to be, or he doesn’t know how to deal with her, specifically. Bo’s not exactly the clear-type. He sets the mug down, nestled into the loose dirt beside the blanket and then gets to his feet, “I reckon I’ll get some wood t’start that fire now.”

"Mm. He's always kinda been like that… I didn't need him. Still don't." Che chuckles softly, "I don't worry about him as much, though. As long as he treats my brother and mother nice." She takes another sip from her wine before laughing. "He kind've is. But that's fine. How he is and mother loves him the way he is." She remains quiet for a good moment before looking towards him. "I think you're doing fine… Just how you are now… I like this better than anything else. I feel safe, too…" She trails off and nods once. "I'll be here when you get back. Won't move a muscle." Not literally, as she'll still be reaching for food.

“No, y’may not need ‘im, but he’s keepin’ ya from seein’ yer kin, an’ that don’t sit right with me,” Bowen answers quietly while still standing there, listening to her. His eyes, long accustomed to the wilderness at night, takes only a few moments to regard that copse of trees and shrubbery behind them and has a good idea of where to get some little kindling for a fire. He doesn’t need much as it’s not for warmth here during the summer as it is for lighting. He pauses, though, listening to her talk of him doing fine, “Good, I’m glad y’do. I … like ya, Che. Yer a kind woman,” which is a rarity in Bo’s book, “Nuthin’ bad’s gonna come t’ya if’n I can help it.” With that, he heads off the few feet into the brush. The snapping of twigs and small branches can be heard in the darkness and he returns a few minutes later, digging out a little divot with his hands a couple of feet in front of the blanket, safe distance, and starts stacking the wood appropriately for a decent little campfire. “Didja move a muscle?” He asks, mildly teasing.

"Mm… That's true." Che murmurs, considering quietly. A meatroll is snagged and nibbled on and grey eyes finding his form for a moment. "I like you, too… I figure you're my kind of man." There's silence as she considers his words for a moment, "Thank you. I do appreciate that." The protection factor. His form is followed until she can't follow any longer and then she considers the sky with a thoughtful frown. It is likely she really didn't move a muscle and when he asks, she laughs. "Nope… Been thinking about heading to Landing. There's a few things I need to pick up for reading… Guess I'll stop in and say hi to my father."

It’s a good thing it’s dark when she says he’s her kind of man. And then even if it’s not dark enough, he’s already moving into the treeline to chew on that statement awhile. It’s not that he doesn’t like hearing it. On some level it does. It’s just unexpected and his path unclear and fraught with any number of mines. Once the wood has been stacked properly, he pulls out his little tinderbox and works to light it. Takes a few tries, but soon it catches and is lit and eating up the kindling fuel he brought with him. He adds one more thick branch to it for the long haul and then gets to his feet, straightening and looks about the glowing circle of light around him, taking her in a long moment before commenting, with a nod, “By dragon, I reckon,” he says, since she doesn’t know how to ride. “When?”

Cheusia doesn't seem to think any further on her statement, or what the impact on the man could be. Either way, she doesn't think on it again or consider adding more to it. When he gets the fire started, her attention is drawn there and she smiles brightly before glancing towards him. "By dragon, yes. I'm not sure when… I'll let you know before I go."

The glow of the fire against her mixed with the blanket and picnic food and wine and the stars all seems to have him going quiet once more, not that it’s really any different than how Bowen is normally, but this time he’s not actually thinking, he’s just … absorbing it all. Finally, he takes a deep breath and moves to collect his wine and retake his seat on the blanket, “I’d be much obliged if ya let me or Max know when ya go so as we don’t fret none fer not seein’ ya. How long ya think ya might be?” All for practical reasons, of course. Right? Riiiight.

Cheusia watches him carefully, smiling still and waiting patiently for him to join her again. But, she doesn't move any closer when he sits, only taking another drink of her wine. "I will. It won't be for more than a day, probably half a day, at the most. It won't be something worrisome for either one of you, and you're probably the only person who'd really notice I was missing."

“Aw, I reckon t’ain’t so, now, Che,” Bowen states quietly a few moments after she speaks. “Dem patients whut know yer th’ one t’ask aft’r th’ whiskey fer ‘re gonna notice fer shur. Bet they’re missin’ ya right now’n fact.” With this, he picks up a chunk of cheese, popping it in his mouth, sipping more of his wine, and then rummaging around in the basket for a meatroll. “An’ I’ll miss ya too.”

"Naah. Its true." Che laughs softly and gives him a teasing look, "they'll notice if I'm not there for awhile, but… It won't be long enough for them to really notice. You're sweet." His final statement draws silence and a flush of her cheeks, her hands folding quietly upon her lap. "Thank you."

Pulling out a meatroll for himself, Bowen eats it quietly while regarding her and listening to her. He drains the last of his wine after swallowing the meatroll, and reaches for the bottle to pour himself a refill, so it’s a long quiet moment before he speaks again, the sound of the liquid going into the mug and soft crackle of the little campfire in front of them the only sound until he offers to pour her more wine. “Been a long time …” he starts softly, then stops, “No, actually, I reckon I ain’t ever heard a woman call m’ sweet b’fore.” Pause, and a slight smirk. Could be the wine, though, loosening him up, “A man could get used t’that.” The smirk fades a little as he adds, “Speakin’ of th’ ‘firmary, though, any luck on comparin’ handwritin’?”

Cheusia takes another sip of her wine then returns to a lounging position, taking a deep breath and sighing. "You've always been sweet to me. You're respectful and that's sweet, too. Don't see why others never let you know… Or, why others have problems with you. Maybe they just wanted to beat you down…" Her nose wrinkles slightly in what could be called disgust before she considers him and smiles. "I'll tell you more often." Is promised before her head shakes at the final question. "It wasn't anyone in the Infirmary."

“Y’hafta thank m’ma fer that,” though if Bowen refers to the respectful manners or the beating down or perhaps even both, he doesn’t clarify. “Truth is,” he says after a thoughtful pause, putting the wine back since it looked like she wasn’t finished what she already had, “Not all women like it. Like yerself, tellin’ me not t’call ya ma’am. I reckon some get mad at me fer it. Others get mad at me fer speakin’ wrong.” There comes a smile that reaches his eyes, murmuring softly, “Ya don’t hafta tell me more often than yer just feelin’ like, Che.” Then a pause and he sips his wine, sobering slightly as he picks up the dish of bread and cheese and puts it back in the basket before reaching over with his free hand to try and take hers. Sitting up a little more, he rumbles huskily, “C’mere, Che,” in invitation, perhaps thinking she needs some comfort for the latter, and meaning to tug her into his arms or lap if she allows, “Don’t fret on it. We tried the only lead we had. We’ll just keep a close eye on things an’ ya yerself.”

Cheusia makes a soft sound, though it is not leaning towards approval or disgust, just a sound of confirmation. "Mm. Some people think it makes them seem old. Some people don't like the formalness…" She muses, giving him a curious look before she smiles. "I feel like telling you more often. You really are sweet." Her free hand is easily taken and she gives his a gentle squeeze, up until he tugs her over. She's more than happy to settle on his lap, eyes closing before she sighs again. "We'll just… See if they send another note. If they don't, it was probably just a prank. I'm not going to listen to random notes I get anymore."

Bowen listens quietly as he helps to settle her in his lap, holding her there more for support than to be handsy, so his hands are kept in very appropriate places at her waist and the outside of one thigh. His heart beats a little faster with the close contact, though, with the wine having begun to warm him a little making it all the more pleasant. Not tipsy, not even buzzed, but a bit relaxed. “An’ which is it that y’don’t want me t’call ya ma’am?” His question, murmured past her ear as he holds her, is more curiously amused than particularly upset over it. His wife never asked him to stop calling her ma’am, and is mother would brandish a rolling pin whenever he dared forget, even as an adult, so, this is definitely a curiosity for him. Then a soft inhales and exhale as a terrible thought strikes him and he comments, “Y’will ne’er get a note from me, Che, so if ‘un comes, don’t listen t’it neither.”

Cheusia tilts her head back to rest against him, eyes remaining closed and enjoying the close contact. Any nervousness on his part is helpfully ignored. Or, something like that. "Mmm. I don't like the formalness. I'm twenty-four, I know I'm not old." Her hands slip to rest upon his arms, thoughtful for a moment before she nods. "I won't listen to it. You don't seem like the note writing type."

“Th’ formalness …” Bowen murmurs with a nod, his blue eyes casting a downward look at her face as she rests her head back against him. He on the other hand, sought refuge in the formality to help keep women at a distance, moreso after Darla died. As she settles a little more, he adjusts his hold on her to be more around her waist, hands flat against her, one arm abreast of the other as he wraps her a little more closely against his chest. There’s a stiffening in his arms, just a bit, as she refers to him as not being the note-writing type and part of him feels suddenly lacking for it and he frowns, thinking of how she followed the note all the way out to the bridge, “I ain’t,” he confirms softly by her ear, “That … a bad thing?” The tension in his arms moves into his shoulders.

Cheusia leaves her head tilted back against him, eyes remaining closed for a good long moment before she opens them again to consider him. A smile is given and a gentle squeeze is given to his arms to try and relax that nervous stiffening of his. "No. Its not a bad thing… I think I prefer a man who has the balls to tell me to my face that he'd like to meet with me than the man who hides behind writing and pretty words."

The tension fades as she squeezes his arms and then Bowen loosens one of his arms for just a moment to grab his mug and bring it to his lips, not minding if her hand stays on his thick arm in the process or not. Though he does try to keep his movement slow and easy so as not disturb her arm too much if she wishes to keep it there. “Che …” Bo says and then pauses, sipping and then lowering his arm once more to wrap in front of her, though still holding the mug for the time being as he stares at the burning branches. Finally he speaks again with a smile in his eyes as he turns his blue eyes down onto her face, “I’d like t’ meet with ya. Fact, I reckon I’d like t’ meet with ya t’morrah, too. An’ th’ next day even.” Beat pause, “We’ll see ‘bout th’ day aft’r that though,” in a dry, teasing tone as he smiles now with his lips, amusement evident in his expression. Then, with her face so near, his expression sobers and he closes the distance between his lips and hers, pressing a chaste light kiss there as he closes his eyes, unless she slaps him or something.

Cheusia smiles as the tension fades, leaving her hand on his arm and easily following his movements as he reaches for his mug. Her head tilts slightly, briefly considering him as he begins. Nothing follows, waiting patiently for him to finish speaking. By now, she has gotten used to the slow responses and the fact that he takes the time to finish something he starts. There's no nagging as she would for someone else who started speaking then stopped, as she is fully expecting the rest. And then, it comes and the smile on her lips grows just a little wider before she laughs at his teasing. "I'll have to see how I can earn that third day." She teases back, growing into silence as she finishes speaking. The distance closing between them is met with her inclining her head in to do the same, meeting her lips with his. At this point it is safe to say she enjoys his kisses enough not to punch him.

There comes the soft rumble of a chuckle from deep in his chest at her statement as it sinks in, but as Bowen is kissing her, it stalls in his throat, well before his actual lips. He continues the light kiss a moment longer, and then sets the mug down in the little divot next to the blanket he had made at arm’s reach, or somewhere close to it anyway, and lifts one of his free hands now to her face, cupping her cheek softly as he slowly deepens the kiss, lips parting, and then the hand slips into her hair, past her ear, fingers curling into those locks gently as his heart begins to beat a little faster against his chest. But this is not a man who rushes headlong into a passionate embrace as previous testimony would show. Instead his free hand merely grips at her a little more firmly, but doesn’t move and the other remains content to simply have the feel of her hair in those fingers. For this long moment, merely the sound of the fire and what night sounds about the lakeshore come naturally and his breathing echoes.

Cheusia lifts her hand to gingerly curl into his shirt, letting the lighter kiss linger but holding perhaps in a fear of the man suddenly pulling away or needing a little more foundation, solid ground as it were. The hand that cups her cheek is very slightly leaned into while her own lips part as the kiss begins to deepen. If her heart wasn't pounding before, it certainly is now as she presses closer and for once pushes the man for a little bit more. A closer embrace, a tighter one as her arms move to slip around him and then being content with that. No more pushing, enjoying the closeness and the isolation of the night that creeps upon them.

The quiet, stocky man remains quiet throughout the slowly deepening kiss. As she turns her face a little more into his hand, his thumb strokes her cheek gently. As Che presses to be a little closer, Bowen slowly withdraws that hand from her hair and the one around her waist but briefly, letting her shift to a position she is comfortable, all the while maintaining that contact with his opened mouth, lips slowly moving against hers, and then once she is settled more with her arms around him, he wraps his own arms around her waist and back, drawing her in even closer against his hard, warm chest, likely revealing just how fast his heart is thumping there. Growing more breathless for the kiss, his tongue slides out, tasting her lips gently, with consideration, a gentleman caller so to speak. His eyes remain closed, unaware and perhaps uncaring of the dying fire in front of their blanket down to mere embers. It’s not like they need it for warmth, even if this had been winter, they wouldn’t have needed it for warmth at this point. He draws his knees up just a little, effectively cupping her more in his lap as she presses against him, holding her, protecting her, cherishing her with his solid body.

Cheusia would sigh, but her lips are currently occupied with his. The shifting with them both does bring about her settling into a more comfortable position, pleased with his arms moving around her and pushing the kiss just a slight bit deeper, her tongue teasing his only slightly as he tastes her lips. It is more of a taunt in attempts to draw him in deeper. Their surroundings? Forgotten. The fire? Forgotten. Everything but Bowen has been completely and utterly forgotten.

Encouraged by her response to him, Bowen leans more into her, her face, her soft warmth, and his tongue slides in alongside hers, slowly but surely, and out again briefly before slipping in once more, dancing a patient but rewarding dance with hers. It is at this point that the tanner offers a faint moan from deep within his throat and his grip on her tightens slightly, strong, rough hands squeezing her back and waist slightly before relaxing. His chest moves with ragged breath, and then his hands slide up her back in a slow, tender and loving motion, and then back down again. Finally, he withdraws, pausing a moment with an open mouthed kiss to catch his breath, and then an exhale against her lips with her name breathing through his own, “Che …”

Cheusia's fingers curl, gripping just a bit tighter onto him and pressing herself in closer. The need to be close is quite overwhelming. A soft moan slips from her lips as his tongue dances with hers, and the sound isn't entirely lost as it comes out more throaty than anything. Fingers tighten more, gripping onto the fabric of his shirt and giving a light tug. When he withdraws, a breath is taken and grey eyes remain closed. "Bo…" It is even more breathless, only the faintest of whispers.

Again the man moves in, considering the moan and her tightening fingers as giving him leave to do so. Another more urgent for her touch or more hot with passion and lust might take the tugging fingers as a desire for him to tug his shirt up and over his head, but if Bowen believes this, himself, he is resolutely not giving into it. Yet. Taking another deep, ragged breath, he moves his lips against hers once again, sliding his arms up her back before leaving her briefly to settle against her cheeks. His rough hands of turns of manual labor brushing and cupping those freckled cheeks of hers tenderly as his lips press in slow, meaningful rhythm to her mouth, claiming it, her lips, and then parting his own again for his tongue to dare impose itself within her hot, sweet mouth, tasting of wine and cheese and tenderness. A satisfying rumble of pleasure vibrates the man’s muscled chest, heart racing, breathing short and rough, and broad shoulders trembling slightly with barely veiled self-restraint while his thumbs stroke the smooth skin of her face lovingly throughout his kiss, slowly deepening with the man’s growing passion for her.

Cheusia's grip only tightens as he moves in again, moving in to meet his lips and pressing firmly. The gentleness of his hands is noted… Somewhere in the back of her mind while her fingers relax only slightly. At least, until his lips part and his tongue once again claims her mouth which causes fingers to tighten and another throaty moan to slip forth. She presses into him, her tongue slowly teasing his despite the want for more and allowing him to take his pace as he will. Though, it is she who pulls back this time to catch her breath and reel in her spinning mind.

The throaty moan and her pressing more into him threatens to undo his self-control, wanting to please her, satisfy her, sate every need and desire. In that, and only that so far, there is satisfaction and pleasure for himself. His kiss responds to her encouragement, driving a little more firmly into and against her mouth until she pulls back to catch her breath, which Bowen does not fight at all, needing a moment himself, shoulders moving slightly with his heaving chest working to catch breath. His half-lidded blue-eyed gaze seeks her own eyes, whether they are opened or not, and with another stroke of his thumbs against her cheeks, he releases her head only to slide his arms around her waist once more and hold her against him, turning his head slightly to press his lips to her forehead gently, if allowed. Then he closes his eyes and simply holds her close, enjoying the feeling of it in the quiet of the evening, darkened with mere embers of a campfire slowly dying. At long last his voice comes past her ear and he murmurs, “Do ya want me t’take ya back?” There’s still plenty of wine and food to be had in that basket, but he does not want to push things too far or too fast, too soon.

Cheusia would lose her control if he didn't have such a firm grasp on his own. Grey eyes slowly open as his blue ones seek hers and she stares at him for a moment before he releases her cheeks and holds her in close. Her hands release him and she moves to tuck her face against his chest, still taking deep inhales to catch the breath that seems to evade her while trying to gather all the thoughts that run rampant in her mind. "Bo…" It's a helpless little sound mixed with his name before she shakes her head, but then nods shortly after. "I.. I don't know. I can't… I just… Maybe… I should go…" Well, there's kind've the fact that his cot is next to hers so she can't really avoid him.

In all honesty, one would be hard-pressed to find a man with Bowen’s sense of self-control when such a beautiful and willing woman is in his arms, but Bo’s history is – as everyone’s – very unique and seems to only have prepared him for such unlikely matters. His hands flex a little and slide up higher on her back, flexing again as she rests her face against her chest, unable to help the soft sigh of contentment that escapes his lips. Her words, however, have the man feeling a little kicked in the chest, and cause a slightly knitting of his brow, though his eyes remain closed as he listens, not interrupting her. He is slow to answer, a myriad of statements and questions and demands running through his head before he lets go, metaphorically, and wraps his arms more tightly around her for a brief, strong hug, and then relaxing his grasp enough for her to climb out of his lap whenever she wants. “M’sorry,” he murmurs, thinking he took things too far, too soon, after all. “Give me a moment t’douse th’ fire,” in soooo many ways, “an’ collect things here, an’ I’ll escort ya back, Che.” He’s not about to let her walk back alone. No way. But he can be a big man about all this, although the observant would note the edge of regret in his husky tone. He thought he was doing something right for a change, but only now reminds himself of the difficulty in understanding women – not that he is blaming Che in anyway, more his inability in attending to what she needs and wants from him for lack of understanding.

Cheusia tightens her arms around him at his sigh, and only clinging on even more tightly in fear of falling, even though they are already settled on the ground. She doesn't move when his arms relax and allow her to go free, shaking her head for his apology as well. There's a struggle for the words before she tightens her arms even more. "Don't be sorry… I was pushing… I know you… Probably don't want to go farther. Just… Having trouble thinking." And here she is, blaming herself. And then, she slowly moves to slip away from him and off to where she won't get in the way of his tidying. She won't say no to the escort back, knowing that she still could be unsafe alone. She settles against a tree, arms folding across her chest and her eyes focusing on the ground and remaining utterly silent for the time being.

For a moment, when her arms tighten, his heart seems to start beating again where it had slowed to a crawl from the kick in the chest moments ago. And then her words have not just his heart going quiet, but his breath too. And slow man that Bowen is, she is up and out of his lap and leaning against a tree before he can even wrap his head around her words let alone do anything about them. He draws a hand down his face slowly and exhales, turning his blue eyes to his boots as he rests his forearms on his knees, hands relaxed and open. His head bows slightly with unvoiced thoughts and frustration. Finally, in the near darkness, he stands up, takes his hat off and lets it drop to the blanket as he looks at her where she stands against the tree. Slowly, the stocky man moves, walking up to her almost with the graceful predatory prowl of a male feline. He stops short in front of her, his blue eyes on her face and nowhere else, even if her eyes remain focused down. “Che,” he starts softly, “Look’t me, please.” And whether she does or not, he continues after a couple of heartbeats, “Yer right … I can only go so far …” his mouth twists at his own physical inadequacies, and he takes a little breath before continuing, “but it ain’t me I’m worried on.” Wishing he had Kason or someone to punch right now as punching someone is a lot easier than expressing feelings with words, Bowen struggles and continues, his tone softening, “All I want, Che, is fer y’t’be happy an’ safe … an’ as long as I can do that, however ya need that t’be, however fast or slow or whutever, then that’s whut I want. That’s all I want.” He licks his lips and lowers his head a little as he leans forward to try and meet her lowered gaze, “So, if ya just want m’protectin’ an’ keepin’ an’ eye on ya, I will. But …” he draws a breath, and exhales, “if there’s anythin’ else I can do t’make ya happy,” short of, you know, knocking her up and marrying her, “all ya need t’do is tell me right out … see?”

Cheusia doesn't look up again, not for awhile, so she does not see his first movements and does not see that he is not cleaning up their area. Nor does she see when he stalks over to her but she does see his feet, first. Those are considered quietly, grey eyes intent upon them before finally, she allows her gaze to trail upwards and to his face. Grey eyes do not reveal her inner thoughts. "I'm worried about you…" Her fingers curl around her arms, staring at him still for a good while as he speaks and she considers each word. "I…" A breath is taken and grey eyes close as her head tilts back to lean against the tree. "I am getting worked up, but I don't… I don't want to push you, Bo. Don't want to mess up." She doesn't consider him again with her eyes, afraid of looking vulnerable. "I don't want to fall for you and have you… Disappear. Don't want to tell you I want more… And you leave after."

What was he doing? Sweet Faranth. Just let her go already! He’ll never be able to give her everything she wants and needs. Let her find complete happiness with some other man. But some level of him realizes that it’s too late for that. Bowen’s blue eyes shimmer with inner conflict. He swallows visibly, his adam’s apple bobbing and he actually turns his gaze away from her with her last words. Finally, he says into the little woods, “I don’t wantchya fallin’ fer me neither, Che. Y’deserve better. Y’deserve somebody who’d make a good husband fer ya one day, mebbe even give ya youngins.” Things that Bowen is of the mind that he can’t do. He’s not husband material for the simple fact that in such a world with sexual liberty as they have, there’s really only one reason to get married: legitimizing children, and even that’s not really all that commonly considered anymore except among the Blooded. “I can’t give ya that, Che,” he says, “not now, not ev’r. I’m broken.” He inhales deeply then, taking a step forward and daring to reach for her in an attempt to take her into his arms once more, just to hold her, “But I’ll always care ‘bout ya and yer happiness an’ safety an’ I ain’t goin’ t’leave. I reckon ya don’t know that an’ right ‘bout now I sure as shells wana rip a certain smith’s head off fer whut he’s dun t’ya so as makin’ it hard fer ya ta trust m’word now, but I can wait. I can wait as long as ya need me t’wait fer ya t’believe me. I ain’t goin’ nowhere. I’ll always be yer friend, makin’ ya happy as best I can in whatever way ya want me to.”

And that's where her conflict lay, in the fact that she may have fallen already. Partially, and that small part is trying to claw its way back up… While the rest happily remains limp and growing heavier than lead. It's not hard to figure out what side is winning, despite her fighting against it. "Who's going to want me, Bo?" Though that question is solitary as Che gives him a small look. "I never had any plans to get married. Or have children… Never had plans to be happy. I was just… Going to do what I knew. Max was the first one to show me that it didn't have to be all.. Medical and meaningless. Then he got me caring and told me to give it a try… I was lucky with Kason… But maybe all he was was just… Pretty words and flattery. What man won't just give me pretty words and flattery when he wants something? No man other man will be completely honest with me other than you and Max…" She gives him a firm look, starting to say something towards his issues but closing her mouth and thinking better of it. Better to remain silent than sound like she's berating the man. "You're not broken…" Is all that comes out before he takes her into his arms. Her arms remain tightly around herself, feeling smaller suddenly compared to the man. Weak and emotional. Things she often has tried to avoid. "I… Believe you. Just… I'm scared." She grows quiet for a minute before she whispers softly, "you would be okay with me… Finding another man, then? Kissing someone else…?"

The first question has poor Bo blinking a little, momentarily stymied, because in his mind, who wouldn’t want her? As she continues on, he remains quiet as is his natural inclination anyway, and studies her intensely. The comment about Max ‘showing her’ that it didn’t have to be so clinical and sterile has Bo straightening and stiffening, but he remains quiet, filing that one away for questioning later, especially as she continues on now about Kason and pretty words and flattery. “Uh, ah,” he actually starts, and then lapses silent once more, beginning to wonder if he stepped into some kind of quagmire while he was getting fresh with her and didn’t know it. Until now. Holding her in his arms now, he takes a deep breath and closes his eyes to her initial words at his taking her in. Not broken. Believes him. Scared. It’s on his exhale that she asks the last two questions and his shoulders move a little. It’s an inaudible grunted response, but in reality he feels like the wind’s been knocked out of him. For all that he knew weyr life was much more liberal-minded, Bo knew the pain of his wife’s previous infidelity would never allow him to share another woman he had committed himself to. “I’d want ya, Che,” Bowen finally answers her first, even if it might have been intended rhetorically, “if I could have ya. I would.” Then he is moving to try and grasp her by her shoulders and gently move her away from his chest where he looks into her face and eyes and states quietly, “If ya find happiness an’ satisfaction in a ‘nuther man’s arms, Che, I’ve no right t’keep ya from it.” With that, he lets go and steps away, turning and heading back the few steps to the blanket and nearly dead fire.

Cheusia could likely go on, but she remains in silence and not pulling away from him. Not moving at all, breathing only the slightest of breaths that does not even shake her body to the slightest. His answer is met with silence, not for the fact that she was not expecting one but because of the answer itself. When he pulls back, grey eyes stare into blue ones for a long moment. And when he steps away, she doesn't say a word, merely staring at his back. And then, even more quietly, she tries to slip away.

Quiet though she may be, and distracted as Bo is, he is a hunter by nature and a tanner only by trade. So, she is able to get a little bit of a head start in the quiet darkness before he realizes she has slipped off and choking back a few choice swears, he calls out, actually raising his voice for her, “Che! Wait! Don’t!” Then, leaving everything else behind, he breaks off in the direction of the last sound he heard, being that it is nighttime and dark, and attempts to track and catch up with her. Sharditall, this is what happens when he talks to women. If he does manage to, he won’t actually grab her to stop her, but he’ll ask her again to stop and wait, and if she doesn’t, he will shadow her all the way back to the Lower Caverns or wherever she intends to go, because, dammit, he means to protect her with his life, even if his mouth gets him in trouble.

Cheusia stops at the call after a moment. But she doesn't turn around to look at him and keeping her back towards him when he catches up. Her shoulders are drawn back, squared, and set in what one could consider a stubborn posture. The only thing that breaks the form is the slight wavering.

Thank Faranth! Because of course, a snail probably moves faster than the stocky tanner, and Che is certainly faster than a snail. “Che,” he says as he closes the distance, though is careful not to lay a hand on her, which may actually be the sort of bold move some women might want in these circumstances. But unfortunately, it’s not Bo’s way. Instead, he moves around to her front, not to block her as much as to just face her, “Che,” he says again, breathless still, though steadying himself a moment and eyeing her wavering where she stands. He’s still not exactly certain why she slipped off like that and as such he thinks long and carefully about his next words before uttering them in that husky voice of his, “Tell me whut ya want. Tell me whut ya need … just … tell me, Che.” Because he sure as hell can’t read women’s minds, that much is sure. He’s got the rolling pin fractures to prove it.

Cheusia doesn't turn, the only movement is the wavering. Her head is even inclined at a certain angle so not to face him. Too many emotions and feelings, too many thoughts all leading up to this moment. A break to where she, for once, can't say for sure what she wants from the man. What she wants him to give. Or the fact that she feels that she can't ask him for these things is keeping her from speaking. "I want…" She starts and the rest is only a whisper, "you. Just… You…" And then, her voice grows louder, though it wavers as she does. "Don't play with me anymore. I hate being vulnerable to my emotions…"

Poor Bowen. The man is good and truly confused. First she wants to go be with other men as he understands it. Now she wants him. It’s enough to make a man jump off a bridge or something. Bowen’s demeanor may be typically calm and stoic and unreadable, but she has him genuinely rattled and not just because she tried to run off. Running a hand through his hair, having left his hat back on the blanket, the stocky tanner actually growls a little under his breath and finally steps forward and if she hasn’t stepped away, he leans his face in closer to hers, grunting softly, “Sharditall, woman, y’had me at th’ whiskey.” Or more specifically, the second time they met and she accepted some blame and didn’t beat guilt into him. With this, he will try to kiss her, it is a solid, fast, and fierce kiss, if she allows it to connect, and if he can good and truly stun her into submission with that hot kiss, he’ll bend a little to sweep her up into his arms, cradling her, and intending to carry her back to the blanket.

Poor Bowen, indeed. It's likely the woman has confused herself up a tree at this point, really. Bowen just gets the brunt of her confusion. Che lifts her head if only to see his expression, to see if she should continue on her way or not. As he steps forward, she holds her ground as she expects him to shake some sense into her. It is his statement that draws a startled little look that only lasts until his mouth is upon hers. The difference of the kiss is enough to bring her into submission and there is clearly no complaints as he sweeps her up off her feet and carries her back.

Once Bowen has her, literally, in his clutches, he softens and slows the kiss to an example of tenderness and his grip on her is merely one of support and not as firm as if one is afraid she might slip away from him again. Fortunately, the path between him and blanket is a direct and relatively short and unhindered with rocks and such, so he moves along, taking his time, and for all his upper body strength allows, he is not short of breath, at least not for reasons of her weight. It is all for reasons of that kiss. He cracks his eyes opened just long enough to spy the blanket’s position with the glow of the dying embers, and carefully, as if she were a porcelain doll, he sets her down on it before leaning over her to resume that tender, loving kiss. With one hand supporting him out to the side of her head, the other reaches to cup her face once more as he parts lips and moves his mouth against hers, unless she resists in any way.

Cheusia responds to the softened kiss by slowing down herself, not reacting in a hungry way or with attempts to devour him. No, she remains submissive to him and uncaring to where he carries her. When settled upon the blanket, she doesn't move, nor does she shift, only giving him a curious look before the kiss resumes. Her arms lift to slip around his neck, holding there not for her life, but for the gentle support that he offers. There is no resistance, no drive to run away or yell at the man. There is only his mouth against hers with her being completely submissive.

Bowen slows the kiss down a little more until he pulls an inch or so away to stare down into her eyes, or what he can see of them in this light, “Not playin’ games, Che,” he whispers, “I wanna please ya, if ya will let me. Y’want truth? I’m a man who cares fer ya … who has a hard time keepin’ m’self from kissin’ ya everytime I see ya, an’ I dunno if it’s yer eyes or yer smile or th’ way yer kinder t’me than any woman has e’er been. But I don’t rightly give a fuck why an’ I ain’t no man who knows how t’talk purdy. I j’st wanna keep ya safe an’ have a chance t’please ya. T’make ya happy, once, twice or fer th’ whole sharding turn. I dun care. I reckon y’can decide that. J’st … let me try t’please ya. Here. Now. No playin’.” There’s even some desperation in his hoarse, husky voice that is mirrored in his blue eyes. He needs this and, quite frankly, not a little of it isn’t just to selfishly prove to himself that some part of him is still a man, that he can still satisfy a woman, even if not in the usual context. Though he’s not self-aware enough to realize it. He just knows he needs this.

Cheusia takes a slow breath as he pulls away, grey eyes staring up at him in the dim light. She may not see all the features of his face, but she knows where to look. It could be the shock from the first kiss that leaves her in silence along with the added respect of the man. Or the need to hear everything he says that prevents her from breathing for a good moment or two. The first sound that leaves her lips is a faint whimper. "Bo… I don't think I'll want you for just a Turn…" She falls into silence again and her hands shift from their position, slowly moving to play with his hair before grey eyes close. As for the rest, her answer is an even softer one. "Please?"

“Don’t fret,” Bowen says softly to her not thinking she will want him for just a turn, “Gimme time. I reckon I’ll fuck it up somehow.” With this and her soft ‘please?’ he leans back in with his mouth, resting his hip in alongside hers while his supporting hand drops gently to a supporting elbow and his hand moves gently to the back of her head. His lips press an opened-mouth kiss against hers, tongue already slipping out, probing, a hungry and determined but calm hunter, for her own tongue, while his free hand slides down from her face to the soft curve of one of her clothed breasts.

… needless to say things continue as nature sets its course, but for your eyes, the curtain closes, and we fade to black … thank you for reading!


Closing Credit Theme Music: Bill Currington – “Must Be Doing Something Right”


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