Good Enough to Trust(4)

By: Zara Stoneley

“Not from round these parts are you?” He laughed, a warm low laugh. “Those boys can be a little bit skittish at times, so it doesn’t do any harm to be prepared.” He held up a short stick and half waved it, as though he thought I might want it, or even know what to do if I had it.

“Oh.” I suddenly realised he was actually stood on the other side of the wall, but he didn’t say it like they were dangerous. Just low, steady, warm, slowly melting treacle, mmm.

Stop it Sophie.

“A little bit skittish?”

“A little bit is all they need to be when they’re that size.”

The man had a point. I looked over my shoulder, and the twinge of nervousness got a bit more firmly established in my gut, but he didn’t look like he thought I was about to get trampled. Did he?

“But, they’re not dangerous, they’re just cows? Well, boy cows?”

“Well, I can guarantee they won’t eat you, but they might accidentally give you a good trampling.”

Hmm, accidentally and trampling didn’t seem to go together too well.

“It might be a good idea to join me on the other side of the wall before they get brave.”

I eyed up the wall, which looked about as unapproachable as the cows, sorry bullocks. Vaulting over walls was not my forte Well not unless there were extreme circumstances and I didn’t think we’d got to extreme yet. It must have shown on my face because he laughed and turned slightly, waving his stick in the general direction of the wall.

“Stile over there, didn’t you use it to get in the field in the first place?”

“I don’t think so.” I frowned and half turned, trying to remember what I’d been doing before the ghostly cows had materialised out of the mist and nearly given me a heart attack. Talking to them had seemed the best response at the time. You know, disarm the enemy with small talk.

“I came over up there I think.” I gave a random flap of my hand.

He reached his side of the stile just as I started to clamber over and looked at me a bit awkwardly as though he thought he should help, but didn’t quite know how. Maybe they didn’t get many girls in this corner of Cornwall.

“I’m fine, thanks.”

“Wasn’t sure if you’d hit me with your handbag if I tried to help.”

Ah, maybe not as unworldly as I thought, which for some strange reason made me relieved.

“No handbag, so you’re pretty safe.” I glanced down to try and work out where to put my foot next and he took a step closer.

“Here.” He put a steadying hand on my elbow and that word ‘strong’ jumped straight back into my head and my belly. “You do look more of a handbag girl than a rucksack girl though.”

I wasn’t sure quite how to take that. I was back on terra firma and he was only inches away, leaning against the wall eyeing me like I was some alien species again, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would feel like if he put that hand somewhere else.

“I can be either. Well, erm, thanks for rescuing me, I’ll be off then.”

But I didn’t know which direction was off, which made it a bit tricky. Did I just stride off in any direction, wait until he’d gone then come scurrying back? I had thought I was on the public footpath we’d followed last time, but I’d got a horrible feeling I wasn’t. We, being me and the man who’d been the centre of my universe at the time.

“You off in any particular direction? Or are you open to a diversion?”

Okay, he did get girls in this far western part of Great Britain, just not girls like me. Girls who got lost and talked to the animals, and looked like they needed a handbag.

“Well, I was heading for St. Nectan’s Glen, but I think I’ve taken a wrong turning.”

“You’ve taken a turning, not so sure it’s a wrong one though. No one goes up there this time of year. It’ll be shut for a start.”

Neither of us moved, still only inches apart.

“I wasn’t going to the tea rooms.”

“Whole thing’ll be shut, too dangerous for emmets.” The boyish grin was back, but his brown eyes weren’t quite joining in. Sure, there were crinkles at the corners, but he looked like a far more serious bunch of thoughts were jingling in his brain. I swallowed and that familiar deep down coiling in my stomach started up. The one that started up when a sexy man got that brooding look on his face. We could shag, here on the hillside and no one would know. We wouldn’t be hurting anyone, it would just be fun, and because we both wanted it. I glanced down, more to distract myself than anything. He had wellies on, I’d never been shagged by a man in green wellies before. I shook my head to try and dislodge the thought of those strong arms holding me in position on the bonnet of his Landrover. There was a pause, and I wondered whether he liked to keep his fantasies to himself or make them real.

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