Lead us not into temptation; we can find it ourselves.
"Put that back on!" Mick commands vehemently.
"It's still wet," Despina complains, her back carefully turned toward the sheriff.
The light clicks off. "So I noticed."
As quietly as possible, she shinnies out of her wet jeans. "Another question for you. Any likelihood of a hidden cache of wood or other burnables in the immediate vicinity?"
Deliberately turning his back to her, he flicks on the flashlight and plays it slowly from the ashes of recent fires to the far reaches of the cave.
Drat! Too low to verify if that really were Cu up by the ceiling.
Dribbles of pebbles plummet from the smoke hole. Wordlessly, she slides out of their path. The dirt she's just vacated is definitely in liquid form, adhering to her most unpleasantly.
"Is there likely to be a cave-in, Mick?"
"I doubt it. Rain, wind, animals moving around, anything could cause a little scree like that to fall."
The flashlight comes to rest on a mail order catalog.
I think I found the tinder," Mickey comments, heading over to retrieve it. "Maybe not," he adds softly, carefully replacing it, but more definitely out of sight.
"What is it, Mick?"
"Ah, someone's personal catalog."
Despina’s voice roughens with irritation. "More misdirection. Even when we're here all alone, things are just hinted at. Guns?"
"Ah, something like that, Dee."
"Tobacco products?" she fishes.
"Tit for tat?" A hint of humor has crept into her voice.
Mickey grins. "You're right. Elicit sex products."
"They have CATALOGS for that? I had no idea!" Despina’s eyebrow shoots toward her hairline.
Suddenly a branch clunks onto the floor beside her.
"The 'animals' are particularly restless tonight, it seems." Mick cranes his neck to see who is responsible for their contribution.
Despina, too, looks upward. "Manna from heaven -- a chaperon."
"Stay here!" commands the sheriff, striding rapidly toward the entrance of the cave.
Flicking the lantern-style flashlight on, he tosses a pack of paper matches to her, then quickly snaps it off, but not before Despina sees a hint of red creep up his cheeks.
That will teach me to go bra-less to the campfire for comfort!
He exits, the sliding scree allowing her to track his progress up to the roof.
More sticks and twigs descend, rapidly followed by larger branches.
Keeping her voice low, Despina instructs, "Gracias, Alberto. Viene la polícia. Vete de su cama inmediatamente."
Despina organizes the windfall through the smoke hole into a typical girl scout fire, then requests some tinder. When enough has accumulated, she uses the paper matches to carefully ignite her pile while the sheriff returns. Using a particularly wide branch with a Y at one end and another long one, she creates a rack she can drape her wet shirt over.
Carrying another armload of burnables, Mick whispers, "Do you ever want to make love?"
Taking one step away, Despina lectures, "Everyone wants to make love. It's being able to navigate safely through the inevitable mine fields of past experiences without a blow-up that’s challenging."
"What would you say if I wanted to make love to you?"
She considers a bit, studying his face for sincerity. "I like the way you touch. It invites us women to be weak and soft. Then that allows you to be strong and caring and protective. Some of us have trouble asking. Some of us confuse human kindness with love."
Receiving no physical encouragement, no sign of flirty behavior, he doggedly presses forward. "What would you say if I made love with you?"
"I’d become inarticulate. I’d probably gurgle or something else equally romantic."
"No shouted verses of poetry, or perhaps my name?" Mick teases.
"Not if I were truly in the moment. I'd have to withdraw to the logical side of my brain in order to have that much control. If it is real, if it is spontaneous with me, it will be totally inarticulate, totally past the part of the mind where true speech developed, into the primordial, into grunts and shouts, mindless reactions, mindless expressions of ecstasy, of sheer joy."
Last updated 3/10/10 Corrected hairline. Reworded Dribbles of pebbles plummet. 2/25/10 Changed first “tell” to Mick commands vehemently. and added lantern-style flashlight. 2/14/10 Added more “tells”. 2/13/10 Added “tells”. 7/23/08 added ‘"It's still wet," Despina complains, her back carefully turned toward the sheriff.’; changed ‘Deliberately turning his back to her,’; omitted a in “The dirt she's just vacated is definitely in liquid”; corrected chaparon to chaperon; ingnite to ignite; changed he to while the sheriff returns; 7/19/08 corrected ecstasy; 9/20/04.
Word Count: 695