Trailing Home Ch. 03


Liam made an ominous growling sound in the back of his throat and he bent over her to place one hand on either side of her on the bed. His nose was only inches from hers, and her startled eyes met his angry ones.

"I remind you Selena that I've already viewed everything you have to offer, and frankly, I'm not interested." He ignored her gasp of outrage and went on. "Now, I'm about to make out my pallet here on the floor, so the way I see it, you have two choices. You can pout and waste the time you have so that you will be forced to sleep in your clothes once again, or you can get up off your fanny and change into your nightgown while there is still space to move around in here." He turned away once again and continued to unbutton his shirt, giving her no further notice.

Selena glared at him for only a moment more, before she rose and retrieved her nightgown. She turned her back to Liam and unbuttoned her dress as quickly as she could. She slipped her sleeves and the straps of her chemise off her arms, baring her shoulders, but she kept the garments clutched over her bosom while she awkwardly struggled to pull her thick cotton nightgown down over her head and arms.

Liam witnessed her efforts and despite his anger, he couldn't suppress a grin as he watched her wiggling and squirming. He especially appreciated watching her bottom bounce from side to side, but he quickly turned away as her head emerged through the neckline of the gown. Selena gave a sigh of accomplishment as the nightgown dropped over her other clothes, and under its cover, she stepped out of her dress, pantalets and chemise. She folded them and laid them on top of her suitcase, then crossed her arms over her bosom before turning to face Liam.

He had removed his shirt, boots and socks, and he was busy making his pallet on the floor. Not wanting to come in contact with his muscular frame, Selena crawled across the bed and quickly slipped beneath the blanket, pulling it up to her chin. She watched Liam, reluctantly fascinated by the play of muscle and sinew in his arms, chest and back as he bent and stretched to smooth out his bed.

When he was satisfied, he straightened and began unbuttoning his trousers, making no effort to turn his back to her or extinguish the lantern. Selena's eyes opened to the size of saucers, and she stared at him in shock until he started to pull the pants down over his hips. She squealed and rolled toward the wall, squeezing her eyes tightly shut, but the glimpse she had caught of his emerging penis, standing proudly erect amid a bed of springy hairs, was burned indelibly on her brain. Her cheeks burned with heat when she heard his mocking laughter, and she seethed in silent fury. It seemed like an eternity passed as she heard him laying his clothes to one side and putting out the light before he finally took to his pallet.

Neither of them said a word. The darkness surrounded them, and only a faint bit of moonlight streamed through the tiny cabin to cast deep shadows in the room. As Selena lay awake, her eyes gradually adjusting to the dark, she continued to see Liam's naked form in her mind's eye. The more she tried to forget what she had seen, the clearer the details became. As if in slow motion, she repeatedly recalled him pulling his pants off. Her cheeks flamed again as she imagined the line where the brown of his torso abruptly changed to the pale whiteness of his untanned buttocks and hips. Even more disturbing was the size of his erection that she had so fleetingly glimpsed. Having grown up on a farm, she was well aware of how the physical act of intimacy was accomplished. Selena's heart thudded in her chest as she wondered how on earth she would have been able to accommodate him without experiencing pain, and she sighed with relief that they hadn't completed the act the day before.

Liam lay on his own pallet staring up at the ceiling. Selena's sigh in the darkness made him tense. He longed to join her on the bed and continue what they had started. He closed his eyes and almost groaned as he recalled the brief glimpse of her pale thighs he had gotten when she was scrambling into bed. His imagination supplied all the details of her naked form, and although it caused his cock to ache, he couldn't resist the urge to examine the memory in exquisite detail. Her skin had felt like the finest silk beneath his hands, and her proportions fulfilled his every fantasy. She was slender but womanly, and a fine film of sweat popped out on Liam's brow as he imagined what it would feel like to sink into her while her calves clutched his hips. He knew instinctively that she would be tight, wet and hot, and his penis throbbed at the thought of burying himself in her velvety sheath.

The night aged as the two of them lay silently thinking about each other. It was past midnight before they finally managed to find sleep, and neither of them knew that they were the focus of the other one's dreams.

The following morning, Liam was already dressed and gone when Selena awoke. She hastily rose and dressed and was busy brushing out her hair when he returned.

"Good morning," he said brusquely, turning away from the sight of her shining hair.

"Good morning," Selena replied. She hurriedly braided her hair and twined the mass into the usual knot at the back of her head. "Have you already eaten breakfast?"

"No, I just went for some fresh air, but I was waiting for you to rise before eating. If you're ready, we could go now."

Selena nodded and led the way out of the cabin. Once again, they dined alone, having the room to themselves due to the earliness of the hour. When the meal was finished, Liam rose and gave her a tight smile.

"If you'll excuse me, I'll see you later." He waited for her nod of acquiescence and then made his exit.

They settled into a routine over the next several days. They took most of their meals together for the sake of appearances, but other than that, they saw as little as possible of each other, and when they did, they were polite but reserved. Selena occupied herself as much as she could, though she had no idea what Liam did during the long hours on the ship. She spent time sewing, repairing a few small holes and tears on her garments. She strolled along the deck, taking in the changing scenery. She chatted with Marcia and the handful of other passengers on board, as well as making friends with the crewmen. When she was at a loss for anything else to do, she napped.

She saw Hank several more times, and she became especially fond of the old man. He had a wicked sense of humor, and his stories of his youth always had her laughing. He told her about his son and his family and how he was going to meet up with them and travel to Oregon to stake a claim there. Hank became a trusted friend, and he treated Selena like his granddaughter. His and Marcia's company provided the only relief to the monotony of the trip.

While the daytime hours were long and boring, the nighttime hours were pure torture. Selena would lay awake for hours listening to Liam's breathing and tossing upon her bed. Liam had put his foot down and refused to let her sleep on the floor. For once, Selena had agreed with his order. She much preferred the comfort of the mattress, but she felt slightly guilty knowing that he was making do on the hard pallet.

It was a relief when they finally heard the ship's whistle that signaled their arrival in Kansas City. The passengers gathered at the rail to watch as they approached the frontier port. Everyone bubbled with excitement, and the crewmen hurried to ready the vessel. Selena watched as buildings and houses came into view. Everywhere she looked, she could see new buildings being erected, and it was obvious that Kansas City was a growing metropolis. Selena could see people gathering on the dock, anxious to see what new commodities the ship was bringing to them.

"Well, the easy part of our trip is almost over," Liam murmured, appearing at her elbow.

Selena turned to him and gave him a small smile, as she thought that the past week had been far from easy. "Oh really? I was actually looking forward to getting off the boat."

He shrugged a broad shoulder and returned her smile as he quickly scanned her features. "Be careful what you wish for." He turned back toward the dock, and they stood watching for a few moments in silence. "The crew will unload some of the cargo here and take on other goods, then we will head on to Independence." He looked up to judge the time of day. "With any luck, we should be there late this evening."

Selena nodded. "So we'll leave from Independence tomorrow morning then?"

"No, not that soon. We can't leave too early or the prairie grasses won't be lush enough to sustain the oxen. Then we would be stranded out in the middle of nowhere, and that could prove fatal." Liam gave her a sidelong glance. "We'll know more once we get there. We've had good weather this spring, so we shouldn't have to wait very long, but we have to find a good wagon and team once we get there, and then it will take another day or two to make sure we have everything we need for the trip."

She nodded again and gave him another small smile. "Well, I'm relieved to know that you seem to know what you're doing. I shall count on your judgment."

Liam faced her again, and his own smile was mocking. "That will be a first! The day you truly listen to what I have to say, I might just fall over from shock."

Selena drew herself up and opened her mouth to give him a nasty retort when she noticed the corners of his mouth twitching with suppressed humor, and she realized he was teasing her. "Ooh! You're insufferable." Her own lips curved into a reluctant smile. "I always listen on the occasions when you actually have some meaningful information to impart. It's just that those instances are so few and far apart that I've grown accustomed to ignoring you."

"Hmmm, I see," Liam murmured. He liked the way a few strands of her hair had escaped to frame her jaw, and her cheeks were radiant in the afternoon sun. He wished he could ignore her, but that task was proving too difficult for him. He cleared his throat and looked down sheepishly at his boots. "I was going to propose that we agree to a truce."

Selena's heart was thudding heavily in her chest as she watched him. He was so handsome she found it hard to concentrate on his words, and her voice was somewhat breathless when she replied. "I didn't realize that we were at war."

"You know what I mean, Selena. The trip is going to be long enough without us constantly sniping at each other. I just thought that it would be more pleasant if we tried to be friendly."

Selena looked guilty, and she nervously fiddled with her fingers. "Alright," she said softly. "I'll try if you will. Should we shake on it?" She held out a hand as she met his eye.

Liam grasped her hand as he looked down at her, but instead of shaking it, he raised it to his mouth and planted a warm kiss on the backs of her fingers. "Deal," he murmured, holding her gaze over her knuckles.

Selena felt her stomach flutter and heat rose in her cheeks as she stared into his green flecked eyes. She finally withdrew her hand and rubbed it with her other one as she gave a small, nervous laugh. "Well, I'd better go and make sure everything is ready."

Liam watched her walk away, enjoying the gentle swaying of her slim hips. He didn't know which was worse, the chafing of her chilly anger or the temptation of her warm companionship. Either way, it seemed like he was destined to suffer in her presence, and he heaved a long sigh. "Damn!" he muttered under his breath.

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