The morning light roused her. The rest of the family was still asleep, but she rolled to look at Steve. His beard was coming in now in earnest, some grey mixed with the brown on his chin.
He was a good looking man. Strong, brave, kind.
The smile burbled up from the bottom of her soul. For the terror of the cabin fire, to the calm of making plans for how to survive the winter, they covered everything.
Kit and Sylvia woke up and crept out from the stable. Judy raised her head to look at them and wave.
They gave her a little nod and were out to the campsite where they were doing their cooking and living.
Judy would have perhaps preferred if they weren’t so obvious about giving them some privacy, but she would take it.
She leaned forward and kissed his cheek softly. Another kiss on his jaw line. Then he groaned and opened up his neck to her. A kiss on his neck, where his neck met his shoulder.
He moaned and rolled on to his back, then reached out and pulled her on top of him.
She shrieked and laughed, then settled herself over him, leaning low and kissing his face.
“Good morning,” she whispered.
He grunted once, but held her pelvis tight. She wriggled against him and he grunted again.
“Did you have good sleep?” she whispered. She leaned forward and nipped his ear. He grunted again, then thrust against.
“Good sleep, better waking up.”
She laughed and kissed him again.
“No.” He shifted and managed to roll her over, leaning over her and kissing her neck and shoulders, pinning her against the hay.
The closeness and the morning and all the things they’d been facing. She was safe here, she was safe with him, in the murky light of the stable. Horses and the cow shifting beneath them. Warm and secure in the stable.
“Steve,” she whispered. It was a gruff little purr of an exhalation. All she could want and all she could think of.
He smiled in the dark, then leaned forward and kissed her shoulder, nibbling up and down her neck.
“Do you want…?” he whispered.
All she could do was link her ankles around his waist, hold him close and pull him down to kiss her, fully and openly and raw on the mouth. The need, the hunger, the burning desire they’d both been feeling.
“I want you,” she said. “I want you so bad.”
They kissed until her lips were swollen, until her body shimmered and sang with desire and deliverance. Until all she could want was him, was the life they could have together, and the all-encompassing now. When they could be safe. And in his arms, with his caress, she was safe. And she knew he was safe too.
He pulled back from her and knelt in the hay, a tentative hand on his own belt buckle. She was up to join him, her hands on his chest, then wrapping around his waist, holding him close and kissing him again. His hands skimmed under the cardigan and pushed it off. She reciprocated and her hands traced down to his belt buckle and undid it. Then she unbuttoned his pants.
He leaned forward and kissed her mouth while she pulled his pants down. Then she traced her fingers up his sides, under the shirt. He was hard muscle, the work with his cattle, the work he’d been doing with his home brewery was enough to make his body this fine, sculpted thing. She pulled the shirt off his head and smiled. Her fingers raced up and down his chest, around his back, the down to cup his ass through his boxers. She dropped her head to kiss his shoulder.
As she kissed his browned skin, he went to work on her jeans, unbuttoning them and pulling them down over her ass. A literal roll in the hay, with her cowboy. He pulled the tank top over her head, then they fell over on their sides and kicked off their pants, facing each other and giggling in the waning dark. Touching and teasing and kissing, fingers across skin, the slight prickle of hay at their sides and backs.
She wriggled back to the blanket and he joined her, kissing her. She was rosy and glowing in a pair of panties and a bra. She unhooked the bra and dropped it to the side.
Steve was on her left breast before she could do anything. A warm, soft mouth on the breast and his hand cupping the right. It was everything she could have wanted.
The soft dark, the prickle of the hay at her back and her cowboy right here.
The full, rich ache in her pelvis flooded her. She wanted him. She wanted all of him. And he wanted to please her just as much.
“Oh, Judy,” he whispered as he kissed his way from left to right.
She ran her fingers through his hair, a needful touch, bringing him up to her, for more kisses from her mouth to his, bringing his pelvis to hers and the sweet, growing ache.
She ran her fingers down his body, skimming over the muscle and the hair on his chest, to the waistband of his boxers, pulling them down and freeing his cock. He reciprocated and, with a featherlight touch over her body that raised gooseflesh, threw her panties to the side.
“We… I don’t have a…” he said.
“I know. I can’t have more kids and I trust you,” she said. “I trust you, Steve.”
He kissed a trail from her belly back up to her chin and mouth, his cock resting on her belly.
“I love you,” he said. It was a free and easy admission for him to make. He looked in her eyes after brushing the hair from her face. “I love you.”
She raised her head to kiss him and as she put her tongue in his mouth, she raised her pelvis to invite him in. Their union complete, she moaned, raising and falling in time with him. The heat growing and a blazing fire being stoked with his careful attention. It’s like he knew her body as well as she did, the movement that would make her cry out, the kiss on her neck, on her shoulder, a nip to her ear. She was lost in a swirl of sensations and emotions, loving him and reveling in his adoration of her body.
It was all rising and growing and tightening in her. She pulled her hand from his ass and slid it between them, to circle her clit and guarantee her climax.
He smiled as she touched herself, just able to catch one last glimpse of his beatific face as her eyes closed.
It was growing in her, he was touching her soul, he was sparking everything that needed igniting.
He bit her shoulder, a soft, sustained bite, his tongue caressing the pinched flesh. It was that last nudge and she cried out, freezing.
“Oh, Judy,” he whispered. It was a quiet little mewl of her name as he joined her in falling, twirling through the inky blackness of a morning in the stable.
As she paddled to the surface, the first thing to greet her was, he loves me. And the certainty of it hit her. They were together and they were happy. They’d make whatever happened work, they’d build a life here, or they’d find a way back home and build a life there.
“Now are you hungry?” she whispered.
He laughed, his forehead against her collarbone. He kissed the breast at his mouth and said, “Yes. I’d love some maple sausage and scrambled eggs. You?”
Her love felt like it could sustain her for a long, long time. But her stomach grumbled in disagreement. “An omelet with bacon and spinach and tomatoes, covered in hollandaise.”
He laughed in sympathy. “You’re not gonna get that here.”
“I know. It’s so strange to think about how pampered we are in the modern world. Here, it’s literal life and death. But there, it’s the biggest emergency in the world if you’re out of coffee filters.”
Another laugh as he kissed her chest. He pulled himself from her body. Their simultaneous groans tangled in the air.
They started putting their clothing back, stopping to kiss and touch and be close. Steve touched her cheek and said, “Hey, I love you.”
The warm glow stayed inside her, filling her and buoying her up. They’d be together and they’d make their way.