A Man on an Island Ch. 05


"I don't know," he said, "It just seems like I'm always, ... I can't really express it. I think that there have been periods where I just could never meet anyone, and then there were times when I didn't want to. It doesn't make any sense to me, so I can't really answer."

She got next to him and they looked at each other. "What did you like about Maya?" She asked, "I can see that no matter what you tell me, you're a bit upset."

"You're wrong," he said, "but not far wrong. I liked a lot of things about her. She had a way of being, you might say. When we were together all alone, she was like a woman who had her man and knew that he cared for her -- and could cherish her. I could see that in her eyes when it happened. She needed to be loved, and to her, it was a quiet thing, but once it began, it was really deep. It didn't have to be anything other than a man and a woman knowing how the other one felt. I always liked that."

He smirked, "And then there was another side of her that she'd show sometimes, and I'd wonder if I'd survive it."

"I know you," Sylvia said, "even after all this time, I know you well. I can see that you're a little hurt, but I can't tell how much. The more that I search to know, the more that it bothers me."

Cale shrugged, "If I was really hurt, I think that it would mean that I'd been unrealistic. I'm a little sad and disappointed, but it was a long time, and I didn't expect her to sit by the phone or anything like that. It was my not thinking clearly for so long that's the reason. With all of the time that went by, what could I expect? I even knew that. I was just hoping that ... that I might be able to fix my mistake in not realizing it sooner."

He frowned for a moment, "I think that's the part that I'm really upset over, that I'm so slow about things like that. Maya's a wonderful person, and I always thought that she had a really exotic kind of beauty to her. But ... you snooze, you lose, I guess. I am happy to know that she's got somebody in Hector. We all need someone, and it bothered me to think that somebody like her was all alone."

The room was almost dark except for the flickering glow of the flames through the almost closed inlet damper of the stove. They were quiet as they looked at each other for a few minutes, and to Cale, it was so good to have her here with him. To Sylvia, it was good to find that they didn't need to talk to carry this.

Rufus broke the spell when he stretched and groaned deeply, and they smiled at each other. "I'm happy that he's here," she said, "You want me to paint you one of my little pictures?"

It was something that Cale had always loved when they'd been here before. Sylvia had a rich imagination and it was often steeped in the lore and culture of the British Isles mostly, though it wasn't limited to those places. She could converse just about as easily on the doings of Norse or other Germanic people, and she just had a way to tell these little vignette-like stories that used to enthrall him.

She told of a pair of people who lived on the isle of Skye and how the woman was alone and living in the stone house that she'd found one day a few years before. She guessed that the original occupants had been murdered for some reason, judging by the way that their remains were positioned. It didn't matter, she supposed, she was alone, her man having been killed the winter before. She needed a place to live though the coming winter and this was it.

She buried the corpses and just began her solitary life again.

Always a little sensitive to things, she began to search for the herbs and roots that she'd need for her scrying ability and with that in hand, she paused for a little while to think on what she might grow in the rocky soil that she found. It didn't take her long to find the seeds and tubers left by the original inhabitants.

She just needed to survive. She knew that she'd likely live on alone here until she couldn't anymore, but she saw no other choice and so she began.

There was a fierce storm one day and it challenged her in a few ways. It forced her to try to repair the broken door, and even after that was done, it was a struggle to keep the place a little warm because she had to look ahead and not burn all of her wood. As evening approached, the storm howled unabated and she took her scrying bowl in her hands and sought to know how much longer this might last.

What she saw instead was a man.

He was plainly a Viking raider by the look of him, but he was alone, clinging to a little of the wreckage of his longboat as it was bashed against the rocks. With a start, she recognized the place as one not far off -- just as she knew that what she was seeing was happening at that instant. Her first thoughts were fearful if there were raiders in the area, but after a time, she saw only the few bodies that were being dashed against the sharp rocks at the edge of the sea. It came to her that this one man was all that was left of the company. She watched for a little while longer and then she got to her feet and began to walk through the cold wind and the lashing rain.

She was looking at that man less than ten minutes later as he tried feebly to pull himself up and out of the cold surf. The trouble was that he wore his shield on his back and his heavy sword hung from its scabbard at a time when his strength was leaving him. She walked in as far as she could and called to him. It was several minutes before he seemed to even hear her, but when he almost fell again, she made up her mind and when he looked up in confusion, she was beside him, under his arm and helping to get him the last of the way out onto the shore.

He tried to speak to her then, but she waved her hand to him and motioned that they needed to get away from the shore. He nodded at last and allowed her to guide him stumbling through the darkness until they came to her home. He almost collapsed on the threshold, but she got him inside and as he stood there looking at her in wonder, she took his sword from him, scabbard and all, struggling with the weight of it to set it down. As he tried to straighten up with mixed success, she was behind him, fighting with his shield to get his arm out of the strap. She threw it down as well and helped him down.

He wanted to sit, but she shook her head and pointed at her bed of furs and when he finally got the idea and laid down, she took the last of the sodden clothing from him with a bit of a fight and covered him before she went to close the door and care for him.

She was soaked to the skin herself and he watched with a dazed look as she took off her wet clothing and put on something which was dry. He fell asleep but she woke him when she had some broth heated up. She fed him a whole bowl of it and then she made her decision to throw a large piece of driftwood onto the fire to get the place a little warmer for him.

They tried to talk, but aside from a few words, it was impossible. She could see that he was thankful -- he just couldn't tell her, so he bowed his head, saying it anyway in his language. Eventually, the fatigue won out and he laid back to sleep as she considered him by the flickering light of the fire. It was obvious by the scars on him and some of the lines on his face that this had not been the first journey that he'd been on and the thought was a little pleasing to the woman, since it allowed her to feel a little hope, since she was no young girl herself either.

She thought this might go in any of several ways. The worst case would be for him to think to find a way to his home, perhaps by building a smaller version of what had brought him and his dead friends here. He could always take her and sell her as a slave.

He might stay long enough to get well again and then just leave her behind.

She was faced with any of several of the lousy outcomes so common for females at that time. But as she watched him sleep, she saw another possibility and decided to use whatever poor charms that nature had given her and that she might still have left, so she lifted the furs from him and his eyes opened.

She decided that he had nice eyes, blue as they were and yet for the coolness of them, she saw no cruelty there -- at least she hoped that she was right. He looked up at her questioningly and tried to sit up, but she waved her hand at him again and smiled as she took her simple dress off and got under the furs with him. She knew that he was near the end of his reserves and she made it clear to him that she wanted to warm him and little else for the time.

As he stared at her a little, she kept the soft smile on her face and she crawled onto him to put her head onto his shoulder. He understood then and he held onto her, finally letting the wary tension leave his body. He was asleep only a minute later.

Over the next few days, she worked like a fiend, trying to find wood and food for them both as he slept and gradually came back to the world of the living. By the end of the third day, he was up and trying to help her as he could. The day after that, she wondered if he was going to leave her as she watched him walk back to the place where she'd rescued him. But he returned a little later laden with everything that he could salvage from the wreckage, and by some miracle, he'd found a small cask of mead.

They shared it with their meal that evening and by then, they'd each learned the other one's name and after a little shyness on her part which surprised him, they made love, with him learning a lot of the things that she liked to feel. He'd learned long ago that you could get your way with a little force, but that if you forgot your own selfishness, it made for a better partnership together.

Sylvia looked over as she fell silent, her eyes regarding him for a time, but when their eyes met, Cale told her it was a wonderful little story. "Did you really like it?" she asked and he nodded.

She sat up and looked around at the old place and tried to think of how many generations of her family had lived here, "It wasn't anything more than something about a woman and a man long ago in a harsh and windswept place. In a place like that at the time, two people could think about things and just begin. They knew what they had to do, both of them, and they knew what they wanted, after a long hard day doing what they had to do to live, they'd eat together and maybe try to soothe each other's aches before they tried to get a little loving in and went to sleep."

Lifting herself a little to get the weight of her hip off the sweatshirt, she began to pull if over her head.

"Sylvia, ..." he began, but she had it off by then and smiled down at him, "I want to sleep Cale, and I forgot about how warm you always were. I can't sleep next to you in a sweatshirt. I'd only wake up in a puddle of sweat."

He looked at her in the dim flickering light of the stove and smiled, "You're still amazing to me when I look at you."

"That's the nicest thing to hear from you," she said as she took his hand and kissed it softly before she held it against her breastbone for a moment, "My life is a mess, or it's about to become one and I'm tired out from my long and rotten day. You sat in an airplane for hours and drove all the way home and then drove some more. Talking to you and lying next to you, I almost can't imagine a better end to it, though."

He thought that she'd lie down next to him then, and she did, but only after sliding herself down. Cale didn't understand for a moment. "What are you doing?"

She wasn't all the way down onto her side yet and he watched her move her long blonde hair out of the way as she looked up at him with a very soft smile. "I hope that you can understand this, Cale, but in his stupid and selfish way, Paul gave me a gift when he got into bed with my cousin. He broke his vows to me for the third time.

Well, the third time's the charm, they say and so he's set me free, though I doubt that he'd ever think of it that way. I live by the lights of the ways of my family and that's the way of it in this regard. I didn't break my vows, but they lie broken anyway by his hand, and not mine. I'm free and I'm lying with the first man that I ever loved and I don't know how that would go at all, but I am thankful," she said as she took him in her hand and caressed him.

"Sylvia," he began, and she shook her head.

"Sile," she said, "I'm Sile to you in this place and alone with you. Sylvia is fine any other time, but here -- now, I am Sile."

"Ok then," he said as he looked up, "Sheelah, are you sure that you're not about do to something that we'd regret later?"

She smirked, "We're not going to do much of anything, Cale. I'm going to do something that I've missed for so very long," she said, pleased that at least the one part of him in her hand wasn't going to argue.

"So before they lived happily ever after, the woman and her man were lying in the bed of furs that first night," she went on with her tale, "And she grasped the part of him that she wanted, pleased that it responded to her gentle touch after everything that he'd been through.

He was reluctant, because he felt that he already owed her his life and he couldn't see why she would want to please him in this way. He was missing the fact that she liked him enough already to try to show him a little of the hope that she felt for them both, if they could make something out of it. And of course, he was also overlooking the fact that she liked his body and wanted to do this for them both, because she liked to do this, but she hadn't had anyone for her in a while."

Cale looked at her face in profile, lit as it was by the light from the inlet damper, and to him, she was even more lovely in this light than he'd ever seen her. She stroked him slowly and smiled at the darkness in front of her, "They had their language issue, but she liked the sound of his voice as he protested a little bit, trying in his way to tell her that he didn't expect anything like this from her," Sylvia said as she propped herself up on her elbow to smile at him.

"So she did something else to get her point across and she reached for a stick -- a piece of the driftwood that she'd found and was drying in front of the fire. She picked it up with a little smile and she waved it at him, threatening to beat the crap out of him for being such a big, dumb Viking.

He shut up then and she put the stick down so she could do this," Sylvia said as she lowered her head and opened her mouth.

Cale remembered that when they'd been lovers that summer, Sylvia had developed two very different ways to do this for him. She used the things that she'd been taught to do quite often, but there was also another way that spoke to him of the very first time that she'd ever done it.

She was doing this now, loving him as though it was their first time. Her motions were tentative and even felt a little shy to him. She didn't move her head very much at all, but the way that she did move and the things that her tongue did told him much more than the other way could. Because of the way that his love life had always seemed to have gone, Cale was cautious in things such as this, never trusting himself to allow the thought that a moment such as this could mean very much, other than what it was.

But he felt a strong and very strange sense of hope now as she moved her hand to caress his balls for a few minutes. She grasped him again and began to stroke him as she lifted her mouth and looked back.

"We'll have to see what comes for us, Cale, but what I want from you now is that you put your hands on my head the gentle way that you used to. It always made me feel so good, and you were never forceful. I know how a man needs to feel that the woman that he's with will take what he gives. I'd never want to miss any of you anyway, but I like the way that it feels when you hold my head."

She went back to it then and he watched as Sylvia lowered her head onto his abdomen, spread her knees as she lay on her side and he could see that she was masturbating. He groaned as she loved him and he listened to her soft sighs and gentle moans as they came from her nose.

He remembered then, seeing her all those years ago in the very same spot where they were now. He ran his fingers into her hair and his other hand stroked her back. He also remembered that when they were like this, it was important to her that he didn't try to warn her as his release neared. He remembered that saying something then could actually take a lot away from this for her, so he smiled and enjoyed it and he was careful to groan out her name -- Sheelah at several points, in case it would help her at all.

He didn't know if it did, but he heard and felt it as her orgasm came, a little and quiet one from what he could tell and it made him very happy, because he knew that it was what she'd have wanted then. His release came a few moments after he'd seen her thigh and knee stop moving and he just let it go for her. He knew that she knew it when he was close anyway and she moaned a little appreciatively as she worked at keeping it all.

Sylvia crawled up to lie beside him then and she kissed him softly, "I don't know if you understand it, Cale, but you're very important to me. I just wanted to show you, that's all."

Cale nodded to her, since he really had no words and he pulled her against him and pulled up the store-bought, artificial fur a little higher. "I -- I keep wanting to tell you that I love you," he said, "but I'm afraid that you'd disappear or get mad at me for assuming something."

"You can tell me," she smiled, "We've just always been apart, that's all. I was so upset when we had to go our separate ways, and my grandmother came up to my room and she told me that she was happy that you and I had each other for the summer, but that for most, it never turned onto more than that. She could see how much I loved you and she was sorry for that. For what we shared, it was supposed to be the kind of parting where it had just run its natural course and wouldn't have been a big deal to either one.

But it was to me. I was never much of a party girl, and I hardly ever dated anyone at university. I just didn't see the point, and they moved you around so much that I never knew where you were, and -- "

She sighed, "Then we lost track and life swallowed us and swept us apart even further."

"I never forgot you," he said quietly.

She was silent for a moment and then she said, "I don't know what'll happen now, but I don't ever want to be in a position where I don't know where you are ever again." She kissed him again and closed her eyes.


The next day was a whirlwind for them both as they looked after her horses and she gave the two riding lessons that she'd had booked that morning. After that, they loaded Rufus up and drove to town, where he took Rufus to a pet shop and bought him a collar and a thick, short heavy chain leash. A place like this wasn't one where Cale could just let Rufus go as he waited for Sylvia to see Penny so that she could begin to remake her life.

When she was done, she walked out of the building and down the sidewalk a little lost in thought until she stood on the corner opposite the park where she saw that Cale was waiting for her with Rufus. All this time, she thought, and he still looked like that as he stood there while a mother with young children admired the dog and the gentle way that he allowed her little girl to pet him. The light turned green and she crossed the street to collect her men.

She almost stopped right there in the middle of crossing the street when she realized what she'd thought. Sylvia shook her head with a smile to herself. She didn't know that would happen. She didn't know anything other than that Cale was there for her and she needed him to be.

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