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Robert Cullen

Looking at You, Looking at Me

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Scene Rating: Mature
Scene Type: Joint Scene
Characters: Robert Cullen Cecilia Atwood
Location: Outside of Kalispell
Timeline: July 1875

 


 

That morning Robert couldn't help but wonder if the young lady from town would actually show up. He doubted it. It might be a bit far out for a fancy young miss as herself to wander out that far from town. Besides her station was way above his, her parents might have found out she even talked to him and forbade her from ever seeing him again. Or she just wouldn't actually have the nerve to really want to learn how to swim. That had no doubt been all just talk. She was more about books and reading and education, probably thinking she would be doing her good deed if she taught some poor ignorant bumpkin. No, it was foolish to think she would show though a part of him hoped she would.

Well, it wasn't like he could spend the whole day sitting around waiting. He had the usual activities to do. He was what they called a prospector, he searched for gold. His particular method was panning for it in local creeks, rivers, and such. It was a long laborious process hard on the knees and full of frustration. A person needed to have the patience of a saint and a sense of optimism. Well, he did try to possess both of those at least. Not that it mattered, in the end it would be a simple stroke of luck or not which decided if he found anything.

So it was that early afternoon found Robert on the edge of the river, not all that far from his cabin, crouched down on the bank dunking his heavy metal pan into the muck of the shore bottom then sifting it carefully with riverwater and his fingers, examining the pebbles for anything which might shine of gold. As usual he wasn't having any luck.

But while it might not involve gold, his luck was about to change...

 

Cecilia had fought with herself, going back and forth with her decision to meet Robert for a swimming lesson. She realized later what exactly it would entail. She didn't have one of those new swimsuits and had the slightest clue where she would even find one on this side of the country. Her only other option was to wear her skivvies or go nude. Not wanting to go back on her word, she determined she would simply follow Robert's lead.

As he was not too keen on letting her teach him anything, she thought to repay him with some homemade goodies. She received curious glances from her family as she produced huckleberry biscuits, beignets, coffee cake, and fried apples. She left a portion of each for her family to enjoy and wrapped the rest up for Robert. She buried a second set of bloomers and a blouse beneath the goodies and covered her basket with a cloth. 

With her parents distracted with her eldest brother, Sissy slipped quietly through the kitchen door and headed for Robert's home. The journey was torturous for with each step she took and thought about turning around headed back home. The anxiety swarmed in her stomach like angry hummingbirds, but she kept moving. It wasn't long before she could see Robert's cabin through the thicket.

The young woman was just about to step up to his front door when she noticed a figure a little ways away kneeling beside the river. It took her only a few more paces before she determined it was him. "Mr. Cullen!" she called, waving hello, as she hastened to meet him.

 

Robert's head spun about at the sound of that most familiar voice, it was the rich town girl. She actually had shown up!  Had he been the wagering type, he would bet against it and lost. Panning was instantly forgotten as he stood up then and smiled as she closed on him, carrying a basket. More food? Or God forbid, some books? Certainly she wasn't going to really go in the water for swimming lessons....was she? He suddenly wasn't so sure either way. The girl was a puzzle, but a pleasant one.

 

"Well, you found my place then, lassie. Quite the walk tis it not?" he grinned.

 

"It was worth it," she replied, her face reflecting a grin all her own.

 

"Oh...and call me Robert or Bobby or anything but Mr. Cullen," he once more requested.

 

"Forgive me, Robert." she corrected herself.  

 

"Better," he approved.

 

"Since you refused to let me educate you, I've decided to feed you instead," she chuckled, offering him a peek in the basket.

 

"You don't say?" he looked down into the basket. Lot of food in there alright, most impressive. She had gone thru a lot of work for him.

 

  "I would have been here earlier, but I got carried away bakin' all mornin'."  She looked a bit sheepish as she showed him what she'd brought for him, "Coffee cake, fried apples, huckleberry biscuits, and beignets.  I hope you enjoy all of it."

 

He had no idea what ben..whatever was but it all looked just fine. He'd have no problems feasting on any or all of it. Truth was he didn't eat enough with this kind of existence, most things tasted good.

 

While she wasn't attempting to fatten him up, she did want to be sure he was well fed.  It was easier for her to get away with baked goods than full on meals.  "If there is somethin' you don't like or would prefer, I'd be happy to make you a batch of somethin' else."

 

"No, this is fine, lassie. Fine.....so can I call you by your first name then too?" he wanted to be sure she had no objections but he was pretty confident she would not.

 

"You may.  Cecilia is fine. Sissy May is also fine,"  she answered.  She cared little if he referred to her by her given name.  After all, he had asked her to use his.  Anything was better than 'lassie'!

 

"Sissy? Doesn't that mean something bad? Like yer a baby or something?" Robert wondered aloud but added, "Cecilia is a fine name you know."

 

Her eyes wandered to the water's edge and she wondered if she might drag out the pleasantries a bit longer.  "I see you've already been playing in the water today." she teased, noting his clothing.

 

"I'll have you know, young missy, that is not playin' you be seein' me doin'...that is me hard at work pannin' fer gold," he asserted not really offended at all, more amused.

 

"Well, did I arrive at a bad time?  Should I come back later when you're not busy workin'?" she frowned, hoping she wasn't a bother to him.  

 

"Oh no, nice thing 'bout this job is I be me own boss and I ask off anytime I want," he grinned, "I'd much rather spend time with you than with that godawful tin plate." Nonchalantly he tossed it aside and it landed with a clatter on the rocks near the creek.

 

@Cecilia Atwood

 

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A rosy blush appeared on Cecilia's cheeks as Robert insisted he preferred to spend time with her.  She watched as he tossed his pan and could not help when an elated smile spread across her face.  The blush only lingered for a moment.  It was time for this swimming business.  "Is the water deep enough here or is there another spot you prefer?  I haven't been here long enough to hear of any swimming holes," she asked, glancing at the river running past his cabin.

 

Well, there it was then. The young lady definitely wanted to learn how to swim alright, she had obviously meant every word she said yesterday. Now he was on the spot, it was up to him now to either talk her out of it or back up his promise and do exactly what he had offered. It was an easy choice to make though now. She was a pretty girl, he was a young man, she certainly liked him...alright, they both liked each other.

 

"Umm, no las....Cecilia, it's only up to me knees even in the middle here," he pointed to the water then gestured with a long finger further downriver, it's path cutting through hilly forest and curving away from the road, "we  go that way and there be a place where the water drops into the perfect swimmin' hole. Private too...in that no one can see us from the road. I've never seen anyone there but me."

 

Several feet from where he had been panning, he had his revolver lying on a flat rock, he didn't own a holster. By no means was the young Irishman a gunman but this was the frontier and one had to carry some protection just in case. He moved then to grab that then stuffed it into his beltline.

 

"Just to be safe ya know," he figured she would understand.

 

"That sounds serene," she smiled, imagining how lovely it would be to just quietly float in the water once she learned how.  She followed his finger with her eyes in an attempt to imagine the place that he had described.

 

Robert had no idea what 'serene' meant but she smiled so it had to mean something favorable.  

 

Cecilia arched a brow as Robert picked up the pistol.  Had she not known him, she might have been a little wary.  But, then again, most people carried some sort of weapon for protection.  "Perhaps, you will provide me another lesson in using that one day?" she teased.  

 

"What?" he asked before realizing she meant the gun then chuckled, "I might not be much of a teacher...I've only fired three shots with a gun my whole life. And those were at bottles while me brother was showin' me."

 

Truth be told, she had no interest in even touching a gun.  Without any more hesitation, Sissy picked up her skirts and began to lead the way.  "Well, come on! Let's not waste any more of your day off!" she smirked, teasing him.

 

"In quite the hurry? Alright then," Robert now started to parallel the river, they couldn't get lost really and it was about ten to fifteen minutes at the longest to reach their watery destination. Gave them a bit to talk though.

 

"So, I'm trustin' you'll not be plannin' on diving in with that on?" he was referring to her nice full dress. She'd sink like a rock once all that material got waterlogged.

 

@Cecilia Atwood

 

@Robert Cullen

 

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About Sagas of the Wild West

Sagas of the Wild West is a roleplaying game set in the American Wild West. It is based on the classic television and movie westerns of the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s. The stories evolve around the women and men in a fictional version of Kalispell, Montana.

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