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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.

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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.


"Well, of course! I took all mornin' bakin' your goodies.  I was worried you might think I wasn't comin'!" she teased. Sissy closed the space between them and slipped an arm through his, her hand coming to rest on his elbow.


"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.


"And ruin my nice dress? Don't be silly!" she laughed, giving his arm a squeeze.  Though, her laughter faded as she wondered just what Robert planned to wear.  "What will you be wearin', Robert?" she asked, her cheeks becoming a little rosy as she thought about the possibility that she might see him in his birthday suit.


"I be real unhappy for ye if ye did," he replied, referring to the dress. It was a nice dress and it looked even better on a pretty gal like herself.


"I'm sure it'd be fine, but I doubt I'd be able to swim in it," she shrugged.  The hand the held the crook of his arm toyed idly with the fabric of his shirt. 


"Wearin'? Well, I hadn't planned well nigh anythin' at all, I've always gone inta the water with me clothes off," Robert declared, of course he had never gone in swimming with a rich young miss though.


"Oh," Sissy replied, having thought as much, but still a bit surprised nonetheless.


He turned to look hard at her, so he could hopefully tell by her face if she did shade the truth in her answer, "Is sucha thing gonna be offendin' the likes of yerself, Cecilia?"


The young lady blushed and shook her head.  "I'd have to be a real prude to be offended by the naked form of an attractive man," Cecilia answered, offering him a compliment.  She couldn't quite bring herself to make eye contact with him, however, knowing that she too would be baring herself to him in just a few minutes time.


Robert smiled, "Oh ye think so, huh? I hope I don't disappoint none." Not that he could do anything about it one way or the other.


It wasn't long then when he suddenly stopped and indicated that they had reached the spot, the river widened and slowed here. And that also meant it was deeper. Deep enough to swim in...and drown if you didn't know what you were doing. But thus the purpose of the lessons.


"This is it, darlin'. Out there...right in the middle...that is over yer pretty little head...mine too. We can start wading til I show ya how tis done. Don't you worry none, I won't let ya drown," he promised her.


With that he sat down on a rockside near the riverline shore and started pulling off his boots.


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Cecilia rubbed her lips together a bit nervously.  This was it.  This was what she had asked for.  A more mannered girl might have backed out at the last moment, but Sissy had already proved to be a disappointment in that area.  


"It looks lovely," she said if only to fill the silence.  She set down her basket of goodies before making slow work of her own layers.  She followed Robert's approach and began with her shoes.  Sissy made herself comfortable near Robert and lifted her skirts just enough to unlace her boots.  


It wasn't long before she was back on her feet working at the layers of her dress.  Her face felt as if it was becoming redder with each layer she removed and neatly folded.  


Finally, in nothing but her underclothes, she turned to Robert.  "Do you mind loosenin' the ties of my corset?" she asked, her voice just barely above a whisper.  She unpinned her auburn curls and tucked them over one shoulder, offering her backside to Robert.  Sissy had never felt so nervous in her entire life.


Meanwhile Robert had finished pulling off his boots, removed his socks, stuffing them into the boots for safekeeping. It was a hot day but the ground felt cool on the heels of his feet. He wished he felt as cool. While he might not have let on any openly, he was nervous. This was a high class young lady he was undressing in front of and even more nerve wracking he was going to be getting one big dose of a naked woman. Oh he had swam in a river without a stitch of clothing on as a boy and there had been other kids splashing about too, both boys and girls. But none of them over thirteen or so - this was certainly not the same.


He then unbuttoned his shirt and removed it, tossing it up near a tree trunk, he was wearing no undershirt in this summer weather. Yes, he was thin but there was muscle definition there, he led an active lifestyle and thus was in good shape though underweight from a diet short on quality and quantity.  He was about to remove the trousers next, the closer he got to no clothes the more his heart beat sped up. That's when she made her request.


"Oh....ahhh, why sure, lass," he now actually turned to see her and there she was in her woman's unmentionables. She spun about to allow him access to her back. So that's what a corset looked like. Looked damn uncomfortable in his opinion but he wasn't about to say so.


"So, just undo the strings then? I won't take but a minute then," he assured her as his fingers fumbled on the laces. Not like he had any experience with this but he managed it well enough, all the while his young man's mind imagining what she was going to look like with that contraption off.


"Yes, thank you," she said, giving him a quick nod. Cecilia chewed her lower lip, peeking over her shoulder at Robert as he fiddled with the laces of her stays.  She tried to stay focused on her breath, worried that she might begin to tremble otherwise. 


She waited for him to loosen her corset enough so she could unclasp the busk.  Oh what was she doing?!  What if they got caught?  Her mother and father would probably lock her up if they found out what she was up too.  Sissy couldn't resist the mischief.  


"There, done!" Robert announced triumphantly and stepped back. So he wouldn't just stand there gawking - though he wanted to - he started on his trousers then but remained facing the girl.


When Robert finished with her laces, she would remove the corset and pile it on the rest of her clothing.  Left in nothing but her camisole and bloomers.  With a shy smile and an encouraging breath, she drew her top over her head then slipped her drawers down over her hips. 


As the girl's top disappeared and Robert got a good look at her female torso, Robert swallowed. As breasts went, they weren't very big but then he had nothing to compare them to. Still they drew his full attention and he liked what he saw alright.  Her skin was pale and so soft looking. And then she was completely naked, her feminine form in full display. A part of him whispered he should not be seeing this but his curious youth and young man's desires demanded he not look away. She was fascinating and yes, very desirable. His heart was racing but he didn't even notice.


Cecilia could feel Robert's eyes roving her body.  The feeling caused her to blush from head to toe.  She glanced away from him and stared at the surrounding trees as she waited for him to finish undressing.  


A few seconds later, he stepped out of the small heap that was his trousers and underwear and he too was fully on display for her. He felt he had to say something! Not just stand there like an idiot.


Movement out of the corner of her eye caused her gaze to drift back towards him.  She instantly wished she hadn't looked at him, the blush on her face darkening.  She pulled her gaze away and focused on the water, desperate for it to cool her heated skin.


"Ummm, so....guess we're ready then, girl," he flashed a nervous smile.  Wait! That could be taken more than one way. Oh god!


"What?" she coughed, her arms folding over her chest shyly.


"I mean...fer swimmin'...ye know," he hastened to add. Yes swimming, they were here for swimming. He needed to keep that in mind hard as it was at that particular moment.


"Yes, of course.  Should we just jump in?  What do you recommend?" she asked, shuffling closer to the water's edge.  What a horrible idea and an even worse predicament.  Robert was handsome and slimly fit, and well, perhaps nicely endowed, though she was not exactly sure of what was an appropriate size for such a thing.  Her mind was supposed to be on the swimming lesson but all she could think about was Robert's anatomy!


"Well, lass of course we needs be gettin' in," he smiled nervously trying to look at her face and not...lower, "I should take the lead though and you come in right behind me. Just in case I step in a hole and go under...I will pop right back up, donna worry yer pretty little head none."


From the look on Robert's face, he was either disgusted by her or enduring the same trouble she was.  She hoped for the latter, preferring him not to be appalled by her feminine form.   


Boldly he now took a couple strides and joined up with her at the very edge of the waterline. Less boldly, he carefully sought her one hand with his and threaded his fingers thru hers, "Ready? We go in now together?"


If she pulled her hand away or looked shocked, he was already mentally preparing a hasty verbal apology for being so brassy.


She nodded in understanding and reluctantly removed one arm from her chest and allowed him to hold her hand.  Cecilia followed after him, stepping carefully right after him.  


"You promise not to let me drown?" she asked, her tone teasing.  She trusted him with her life, certain he would not let harm come to her.  Sissy offered him a sweet smile and gave his hand a slight squeeze.  She was ready to take the plunge.


"Of course I do, lass," he smiled, "It might feel a bit cold at first but you'll get used to it quick enough."


With no further hesitation he led her in, the two of them striding away from the shoreline with each step and their bodies disappearing under the surface until they were chest deep. Since he was taller she was covered almost to her collar bones, him less so. He stopped then.


Sissy shivered as the cool water lapped at her bare skin.  It felt nicer than the heat that had hung in the afternoon summer air.  She squeezed his hand tightly, not yet wanting to let him go.  


"I'm gonna let go now and show you once what you should do next. I'm gonna spread my arms out and then fall forward. You're tryin' now to keep afloat so kick yer legs and paddle with yer arms. If you start sinkin', don't panic..just keep doing what I said. You won't sink like a stone. Besides I'll be there to help you, darlin'," he carefully explained.


Then he launched himself forward and with some brief strokes swam this time out deeper, stopping where the water was too deep for any person to stand on the bottom and not be fully submerged. He turned toward her then.


She wrapped her arms around her middle and watched him paddle around in the water.  Yet somehow, he managed to keep afloat.  This seemed impossible.


"Alright...you try it, you can do it!" he grinned.


The girl watched him, wide-eyed, unsure if she could mimic his exact movements.  She did not want to let him down.  Setting aside her fears, she pushed herself off her feet, arms forward, and glided towards him.  All was well until she forgot to paddle and flailed instead.  Sissy gasped as she began to sink, straightening her legs and attempting to find the bottom so she might stand.


This was not as easy as she had hoped and definitely not going as planned.


Robert watched hopefully, least she was giving it a try, nervous or not. Maybe it was a good thing she only had her head above the surface so he didn't concentrate on her ...anyhow.  Wait, she was having trouble then. The young man didn't hesitate but dove forward and before she knew it, his arms were under her armpits bringing her back up, their faces up so close.


"That's fine, yer alright. It happens. Not bad at all fer a first try, darlin'," he grinned, hoping to quell that fear he saw in those beautiful eyes of hers.


Sissy gasped for air as she surfaced with Robert's arms around her.  She clung to him, fright quite evident on her face.  She blinked and blushed, embarrassed that she should fail at this seemingly easy sport so quickly. 


Robert let her cling, he was just trying to make her feel safe, not to mention it was rather pleasant to be this close to a naked young lass. He wasn't going to say that out loud though.


"Yer fine missie," he assured her.


She nodded in response to him, her eyes still wide with shock.  "This was nothing I imagined it to be..." finally came her words.  Cecilia still held to him, her body pressed flush against him as she willed her heart to cease its racing.  


"It's just water is all," he smiled.


Cecilia rested her forehead against his, closing her eyes and breathing deeply.  She felt safe in his arms and wasn't sure she was ready to let him go just yet.


She was shook up alright, Robert wondered if perhaps this was maybe too much for her and he should give her the chance to get back on land.


"We can go back on the bank, Sissy, if ye bein' more comfortable outta this water?"


Sissy shook her head and opened her eyes to look at him.  "No, I should like to stay here...with you..." she admitted.  Now that she was in his arms, she didn't want to let go, not yet.  


She rubbed her lips together, wondering if she ought to kiss him.  Butterflies swarmed her stomach as she thought of the possible unpleasant outcome.  Robert was difficult to read and part of worried he was not exactly attracted to her.


The girl blushed and loosened her grip on him, "My apologies.  I am prepared to try swimmin' once more."


Given her bad reaction, Robert was a bit surprised at her decision but at least it showed she was determined....alright some folks called that stubborn....but he often was the same way.  He quickly tried to come up with another tack to this then. Then it came to him.


"Then we will keep at it, lass. But this time let's just work on you not panicking when your head goes under as you swim. Let's just have you go straight down - sit or kneel...yer choice then until your head is completely underwater. Then count to ...I don't know...say ...ten? Not out loud of course," he grinned, "In yer head. When you reach ten, come up again. Take a deep breath before you go under though, got it, lass?"


ooc; I think we should be starting another part to this, it's huge.


@Scarletfoxe@Cecilia Atwood



Edited by Robert Cullen (see edit history)
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