~~ The School Marm and the Cowboy ~~

                      © 1/10/2000 -- Claire Young West 

       Lydia Rose slowly undid the small white cloth button that held 
the lace collar firmly around her neck. She undid the next three as 
well, letting the blouse loosely slip open to reveal the tops of her 
breasts, held firmly in the silk flowered bra. This was always her 
ritual when a letter arrived from Santa Fe. She would not open it 
until she was lying on her bed, where she could begin the gentle 
touches of her own flesh as she read his longing for her through black 
inked letters. Sky would tell her about his daily work, his encounters 
with vivid and dull characters alike, the  heat, the cool, the beauty 
of the desert nights, music and through it  all he would reach for 
her. "Lydia, it is on those nights, when the  blackest sky is lit by 
star radiance, that I see you, naked, beautiful Florita wet with 
desire." And by the time she would finish his letter for the tenth, 
twentieth, hundredth time, she would be drenched in the heat of her 
response to him, a crescendo of physical passion, brought forth by the 
depth of her want for him. 

       There, in her small boarding room, on her quilt coverlet, 
beneath the latched window, in the late afternoon sun, she would 
transform from the tailored, dignified Boston school marm into a 
desert Rose, her legs, blossoming, opening, to welcome him into her.  
Though a thousand miles away, she could  still feel his warm lips even 
now, moist against the petals. "Ohhh, Sky, " she moaned.


        "Lydia? Lydia?"  Jonathan rapped his knuckles against the 
door."Lydia,  are you coming down to dinner?" He leaned his ear, 
flush  against the wood,  straining to hear her movement, the sound of 
her legs and arms, her  breathing. Generally he could hear her 
humming, a variety of melodies that  ranged from Mozart symphonies to 
the popular romantic song of the day. Other  times she might  be 
practicing poetry recitation aloud preparing for an  interpretation 
before her students. Or he would  just hear her laughter ,  part of a 
conversation with a visiting friend who would join them all for  
dinner.  Sometimes,   though he wasn't sure, because to imagine such 
things  would drive him crazy, he thought he could  hear her moaning 
softly...but  then he wondered if that was his own imagination. But 
right now-he reached to  knock again. "Lydia? Are you 

	The door swung open. Jonathan, leaning forward for a hard 
final knock,  stumbled into the room, almost knocking into Lydia as 
he tripped past her. A  thin, cushioned high back chair stopped his 
forward plunge, only to find his  hands resting on the delicate, 
white skirt slip that Lydia had  tossed on the chair in her 
undressing.  Though a  millisecond in time, it was enough to register 
within his groin, that he was touching cloth that had  moved across 
her thighs. He looked at her, fearing she could easily  discern his 
exhilerating inner  blush.  Instead, he immediately realized she saw 

	“Johnathan,” Lydia cooed. “Were you intending to beat
down my door?” 

	His  hand still resting on her white slip, taking advantage of 
the unnoticed moment he  responded, “Not this time My Lady, but if 
ever, if ever you were in distress. I’d come to your rescue.”

	“You would? How very, very kind of you,” she laughed.. 

	 “I’d knock down any door you needed knocked down,” Johnathan  

	“Would you now?” Lydia moved past Johnathan to the open 
window, pulling  back white lace  curtains, reveaing l the setting 
Western sun. Would you rescue me  riding a beautiful Appaloosa?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Somewhere in New Mexico ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

         Sky had finished the chores for the day -- he’d rounded up 
the last of several stray calves, and mended part of the chute 
through  which the cattle were funneled into the box cars of the 
train-line  spur that crossed his boss’s ranch. He was exhausted, as 
usual... though he didn’t think about it. He never did. It was just 
the way one  felt at the end of the day. He was walking back from the stable, 
having finished grooming his Appaloosa, Cloudy, when he noticed 
someone standing on the porch of the cabin he shared with several 
other wranglers.

	Damn...he thought...if it’s that little piss-ant Gary, wanting 
to play checkers again, he was going to have to be rude. Ordinarily, 
he disliked talking with anyone...let alone having to put up verbal 
fences to keep them out of his private world. It’s why he loved his 
work, among many other reasons -- he rarely had to deal with people, 
except to bark orders when a big drive was on. He tolerated Gary, 
though he was young (and often reckless), because he was a good 
wrangler, already, and Sky knew he’d be a great one, one day...a 
potential foreman...if he ever learned to keep his head where the sun 
was shining.

	Well...there was one big exception to the privacy of his 
world. He wasn’t sure what to make of it, and it bothered him 
sometimes, though he couldn’t, for the life of him, figure why. He’d 
met a young lady when he was in Santa Fe six months ago, buying new 
tack. She’d asked him some rather odd questions (although, he thought 
everyone from the east was odd -- not that he didn’t like them...he 
had virtually no prejudices -- after all, he was a half-breed Kiowa 
orphan... he’d experienced a lifetime of cruelty from native americans 
and whites alike). He was  born an outsider...and by this time in his 
life, it had become part of him, like the  weariness at the end of the 
day. It's just the way things were.

	Maybe the word odd wasn’t the right word.  What was that other 
word -- intriguing? He had begun to read again, after years of reading 
little but a newspaper now and then, or labels on goods he purchased 
in town. His speech was remarkably free of the sloppy speech of the 
other ranch-hands, and he had written letters on a regular basis, to 
his mother, while she was alive (though she never answered him - to 
her, he was the ruin of her life... when she’d become pregnant with 
him after being raped by a Union soldier). He never knew whether she 
read them, or not. The only correspondence that involved them had been 
a letter from the BIA informing him that his “birth mother had passed 

	A shout from the darkened step of the cabin confirmed Sky’s 
earlier thought -- it was Gary, though he couldn’t hear what he was 
saying. Well, just like him to scream his lungs out, just to make 
noise. “Jesus, Gary...shut up....you’re yellin’ loud enough to spook 
the whole damned canyon!” Scott felt a little foolish... Gary probably 
couldn’t hear him, either.

         Scott held up his hand, “Whoa, Gary!” he shouted, even louder (the 
shouting bothered him, his own voice hurt his ears sometimes, he 
believed). He held up one hand, a dark-skinned hand with large 
knuckles, but remarkably long fingers... 

	“I pick guitar with that hand...” he thought. It was a gesture 
to silence Gary for a moment. But another  thought came to mind 
suddenly --  that the same hand had touched the woman he’d met that 
day at the Emporium. The memory was charged... and it took Scott a bit 
by surprise.  For, it was the manner in which he had dared to touch 
her... because she had let him. She had responded to him, not with 
shock or surprise, or anything like anger. 

	She had looked into his eyes, quite directly, and said -- 
“You’re a handsome man...do you know that?”

        He remembered feeling both embarrased, and pleased. It wasn't
just the idea that the woman (a beautiful young woman, at that) had 
paid him a compliment. It was that...he knew she meant what she was
saying. She'd had no motive whatsoever to lie to him. 

        Just as quickly as the thought came, it was scattered by the
sight and sound of Gary's shadow-shape running toward him. Startled,
he stepped aside, and collared Gary as though he were a large calf, 
then rolled him to the ground. 

        "Damn, Scott...what the hell ya gonna do...brand me, next?" 
Gary blurted, sounding angry and hurt at the same time.

        "Oh, man...I'm sorry..." Scott mumbled. What could he tell
Gary? I was thinking about this woman and...

        No. Just..."I'm sorry."

        Gary sounded mollified as he pulled himself up to his knees 
and slapped off some of the dirt on his pants. "Well, I just wanted
to tell ya that ya got some mail." 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ more later...wink...~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~sometime in their future ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

       On the flat, sun-heated rock, they lay together...naked skin to
naked skin...still glistening with mineral water droplets, the result
of bathing in the nearby steaming pool.

       His left hand (he lay to her left) reached over, a gentle 
arching motion -- their eyes met, then both looked to his hand, now
slowly descending to touch the petals of her flower.

       Her eyes closed, and a deep sigh escaped her smiling lips. 
"Oh...Sky...we are magic."

       He smiled. He loved to hear the sound of her voice, escpecially
at this moment, which was, indeed, magic...