"Whoa!" said David. "Those women are naked!" They had landed on a beach scene.
"Not quite," said Rebecca. "They are wearing bikinis. It's a form of swim wear. They can be seen at any beach."
"Those tiny things are considered decent?" he asked with a shocked tone.
"Well, it's not considered indecent," Rebecca said.
"The back is no more than bits of string," said David. "Do you ..."
"No!" Rebecca replied before he finished the question. She felt her cheeks warm and knew they must be red. "Maybe if I had the body for it; no I don't think I would even then."
"And what do you call those bits of cloth those men are wearing?" asked David with an almost disgusted tone.
"Um, those are called thongs," replied Rebecca.
"They sure don't leave any mystery, do they?" said David.
Rebecca grinned at him. "You are right. Still there are clothing optional beaches for those that don't want to wear even that much."
"People go around naked?" he asked.
"Yes. After yesterday morning I wouldn't have thought you'd have a problem with that," Rebecca said.
"That wasn't the same thing," said David. Rebecca thought she saw a blush and grinned more.
"True," she conceded. "If you are going to watch television, you'd best be prepared to see and hear almost anything."
"Almost anything?" he asked.
"Fraid so," replied Rebecca.
When David got undressed for bed that night he thought about all the things he had seen; about all the things he learnt. Rebecca had sure been right about 'almost anything' on that television thing. The world sure had changed and he wondered how he was going to fit in. They were going into town tomorrow and he was more than a little scared. Rebecca said it would only take about a half hour to get there. He couldn't imagine that speed and she had said that was slow compared to the speed on highways. He had thought of asking around in town if anyone was hiring help but Rebecca had told him that wasn't a good idea. She said he would need 'ID' first. Things were certainly complicated in this time. He didn't like the idea of living in Rebecca's home and eating her food without a means of paying her back. She had told him not to worry about it but he couldn't help it. He needed to earn his way. Well, thinking on that was not going to help him to sleep. So he thought about Rebecca instead. While it was true she was the only person he had met in this time, he felt certain that she was a special person. She was kind and patient, bright and beautiful. But, he realized, she didn't see herself that way. He'd caught several remarks to prove that. A couple of days might not seem like a long time to get to know someone but they had been full days together and he felt he knew her very well. He also admitted to himself that he was feeling something very special for her. He was pretty sure she was attracted to him too. On that happy note he fell asleep, smiling.
Rebecca was lying awake in her bed thinking about David. She still found the idea that he had come from the past incredible but she did believe him. What if he did return to the past? She supposed that would be best for him but she knew it would hurt to have him go. She admitted to herself that they were practically strangers, having only known each other two days, but she knew, too, that she already cared for him deeply. She wished she could lock him away from the modern world and the complications it held for him. She couldn't remember ever feeling protective of anyone before, or possessive but both applied to her feelings for David. When they visited in town tomorrow she would confirm the phone hookup and see about internet service. A visit to the local library might be a good idea too. Having satisfied the sensible part of herself with those plans to help David, the time traveller, she let her self think about David, the man who stirred so many emotions in her and fell asleep.
The next couple of weeks flew by. The phone company had been out the Monday after the visit to town to install the phone line; one week after the storm and David's arrival. Rebecca had arranged for internet service to start that same day. Up to that point she'd helped David learn about the present through books and television. With the internet she showed him more ways to learn. She also contacted some people to see about getting David a modern identity. They had decided to stick to the truth as much as possible in the story they told people. They said he had arrived at her cabin during the storm confused, unable to recall anything more than his name. Rebecca said she never contacted officials because he seemed to be okay and they both thought his memory would soon return. It looked like they might be able to solve the identity problem.
Rebecca found that David was a very quick learner. She was sure he'd adjust to the present very well. Although she didn't understand it, she felt very proud of him. She felt, too, that he would outgrow his need for her and move on. She tried not to think of that but it seemed to always be simmering in the back of her mind.
They didn't spend all their time cooped up in the Cabin. They had gone for many walks. During those breaks, the past and present held no significance. Rebecca could see the tension drain away from David and was surprised to find she felt a similar melting sensation in herself. They were just Rebecca and David then. Sometimes they talked; sometimes they just walked in a comfortable silence. Often they held hands as they walked. On a beautiful sunny afternoon just over two weeks from their meeting they walked hand in hand deeply absorbed in their own thoughts.
Rebecca knew she had never felt so at ease, so able to just be herself with anyone. She was sure that this must be what being in love felt like. She liked being, wanted to be, with David in so many ways. There were times of definite sexual attraction but they weren't more, or less, important than the moments of companionship. To a degree she thought it was mutual ... but ... yes there was a but. But she was the only person he knew in the here and now. Even if he did think he cared for her, and Rebecca was sure he did in some way, how could either of them be sure it wasn't just gratitude? How could she be sure it was really herself he cared about or her as the only woman he knew? She would have to take him into town, into the city, let him meet people, she decided. Oh but she didn't want to! She was sure that once he met other women she would become a good friend only. That seemed to be her place in life, the good friend. Many times she'd been told that she was cared about but not in that way. The other times had hurt a bit. This time though, this time .... yes, she admitted to herself, this time she was really in love. This time would be much more painful. But, forcing herself to be honest, because she loved him, she'd want his happiness. She'd have to let him meet other people, other women.
David had much to think about too. There sure was a lot to learn about the present but he had found it fascinating. The one thing he hadn't yet figured out was how he could earn a living. Jobs these days seemed to take years of education or training. He didn't have years. He needed to earn an income. He couldn't stay dependent upon Rebecca, especially since he was having some very serious feelings for her. How could he court her if he couldn't support her, let alone support himself? He had learnt that women in this age worked at all kinds of jobs whether married or single but he still felt a man should support his family. It might be considered an old-fashioned idea but then he was definitely old-fashioned. He was aching to kiss Rebecca and there were times he was sure she wanted to be kissed, but it wouldn't be right. Not until he could pay court to her properly. What was he to do?
Returning from the walk, Rebecca and David sat on the back deck, enjoying the sunshine. They both spoke at the same time.
"Rebecca, I've been wondering about some things."
"David, I've been thinking."
"Go ahead," said David.
"You can go first," said Rebecca.
David smiled at her. "You sure?"
"Yes," said Rebecca, glad of some extra time to tell him the plan she had come up with.
"OK," said David. "There's a lot of things going around in this old head of mine. I think I've learnt quite a bit about this modern world."
"You have!" said Rebecca.
"I can't say I understand it all," said David. "It sure is a different world. Especially where men, women and family are concerned."
"I guess so," said Rebecca, unsure where this conversation was going.
"You ever thought about marriage and kids, Rebecca? Would you want to work still?" David asked. When Rebecca stared at him silently, he wondered if he'd bungled things blurting that out.
"It's not something I ever needed to consider," said Rebecca finally. "I've never been close to marrying. I suppose what I'd like is to work still ... unless I had children. To me it'd feel odd to pay someone else to be doing all the things with my kids I wanted to do. I think, ideally, I'd like to do some part-time work from home maybe till they got older. But that is just my opinion. I don't know that there is any best way."
"That's okay," said David. "It was your opinion I wanted." To himself he acknowledge a gladness that she would want to be with her children. "I'm still no closer to figuring out a way to earn a living."
"I was thinking we should go stay in the city," said Rebecca. "Maybe that will help you. You could check the job ads in the newspaper."
"Is there really likely to be anything more than what we saw in the job ads on their website?" asked David.
"I suppose not," admitted Rebecca. "But you can meet more people, too."
"Going to the city was the thing you were thinking about then?" asked David.
"Yes," said Rebecca.
"To help me find a job?"
"What then? and when?"
"Well, I have to be back next Sunday night for work Monday morning but we could go sooner," said Rebecca.
"How could I pay for a place to stay without a job?" asked David. "But how do I find a job without a place to stay?"
"That's what we term a Catch-22," said Rebecca. "But in this case, it's moot. You can stay at my apartment."
"And ruin your reputation?" he asked with a scowl.
"Ha! Quite apart from the fact that unmarried adults staying together is considered acceptable these days, no one would ever think you'd be with me in that way. Besides," Rebecca continued in a rush, "you could meet people. I know you'd be a big hit with the ladies."
Rebecca wondered if the smile she gave him looked as false as she knew it to be.
"Whoa!" said David. "What do you mean that no one would think I'd want to be with you in 'that way', as you put it? And why would I want to meet ladies?"
Rebecca felt her cheeks heat up and knew it wasn't from the sun. "Well ... you are tall, handsome, sexy. You'd be called a hunk or a babe or a stud. I, on the other hand, am a frump."
"I don't think I understand," he said.
"Which?" she asked.
"Start with 'frump,'" he said.
"Oh. Well, it's sort of the opposite of sexy and attractive," she said.
"Really?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
"You are going to make me spell it out, aren't you?" David remained silent. "Okay. I dress mostly for comfort. My clothes are clean and cover me. They aren't completely out of style but aren't the hottest fashion either. Even if I didn't have thunder thighs and love handles and too much ... well ... um .. bosom, I still couldn't bring myself to dress like .... " her voice trailed off.
Rebecca took a deep breath and continued. "You just need to get out there and you'd have women wanting you."
"Wanting me?" David asked.
"Yes! Wanting you!" Rebecca felt her cheeks really were on fire now. "In their bed!"
David smiled at an obviously flustered Rebecca. "You really think so?" he asked with careful casualness.
"Yes," said Rebecca.
"Maybe I'm getting old," said David.
"What?" asked Rebecca.
"At one time that would have been an appealing picture," he said.
"What would have been?" she asked, thinking he might mean once he might have thought her description of herself appealing but that made no sense.
"Women wanting me in their beds," he clarified. "As it is there's only one bed I would like to be in."
"Oh?" asked a confused Rebecca wondering if he had left a wife or sweetheart behind.
David got up and went to stand in front of Rebecca. He waited till she looked up at him. "Only one," he said softly.
"Mine?" she asked in a half-whisper.
"Yes," David said.
"But you've never even kissed me," she blurted.
"I've wanted to, many times," said David.
"Then why didn't you?" asked Rebecca.
"Because I want more," said David.
"More? You want to sleep with me?" asked Rebecca.
"Oh I do," agreed David. "But that's not what I meant by more. With no money, no property, no job, I really have no right saying this, but I want to marry you Rebecca."
"Why?" asked Rebecca. "I mean those things don't matter. You'll get a job. And people live together without marrying all the time these days. I mean you don't have to marry to ...." Rebecca looked down at her lap unable to finish. Why? she thought. Finally someone proposes to me and I love him, so why does there have to be a problem?
"Rebecca, look at me," urged David. When she complied, he told her, "Rebecca, I love you."
Rebecca shocked David by bursting into tears. "Oh David," she sobbed. "You don't. You are grateful. You are isolated here with just me. You don't love me."
David wasn't sure what he'd expected but this sure wasn't it! He walked to the other side of the deck and then back.
"Rebecca, I'm not a kid!" he started. "I know what gratitude is. I may not have met women in this time but I certainly have met women and none ever made me feel as I do about you. Is it that you don't return my feelings?"
Rebecca had gotten herself under control. "I love you David," she blurted. "And part of me is selfish enough to want to just stay here with you away from the world. But I want you to be happy. I just know if you went out into the world you'd find your true love."
David took Rebecca's hands and pulled her to her feet and into his arms. "Rebecca, my love, I hate to tell you this but right now you are being an idiot."
"I am?" she asked aloud while thinking that being in his arms certainly wasn't going to help her think more clearly.
"Yes! And I think you have figured out the reason I was brought through time," he said.
"I have?" Rebecca was getting more confused but she saw such joy in David's face she was sure he did know the reason.
"To find my true love! You!" he said before he started to kiss her; a long kiss that started gentle but deepened with Rebecca's warm response.
David and Rebecca stood on the deck holding each other close. David's head rested on top of Rebecca's as he tried to cool down his desire, which would be impossible as long as she kept wiggling.
"Rebecca," said David.
"Hmmm?" murmured Rebecca.
"Because I don't want to let go of you just yet but I still want to be honourable."
"Because you are going to be my wife. Aren't you?" He drew back enough that he could tilt her head to look up at him.
Rebecca smiled. "Okay. So why?"
"We're going to wait till after the wedding," he said.
"But David," started Rebecca, only to be cut off by his finger on her lips.
"Call me old fashioned," he said smiling.
Rebecca opened her mouth and drew his finger in to suckle on.
"Rebecca!" David did separate himself from her, but smiled at her. "You aren't going to make it easy on me are you?"
"I'd rather make it hard," Rebecca said grinning.
David grinned back. "You are succeeding," he said. "I think we better talk."
"If we must," said Rebecca. "When do you want to get married?"
Rebecca saw David's expression turned serious and wished she could withdraw the question. "It's rather funny in a way. I've come through time to find a woman to love and to be my wife but lost everything I had. In my old life I could have supported a family."
"It doesn't matter," said Rebecca.
"I can support us till you get ...." Rebecca stopped seeing the look on David's face.
"No," he said.
Rebecca knew she'd said the wrong thing. She knew many men today wouldn't have a problem with being supported. She knew that David could never be one of them. She'd have to learn patience.
"OK," said Rebecca. "Where do we start?"
"Good question," said David. "I have to admit I'd prefer to live right here. The town isn't too bad but I really don't think I'd like the city. But there's no work."
"I was planning to work from here," said Rebecca. "Maybe you could too. If you could do anything, what would you like to do?"
"I don't know," said David. "It wasn't something I ever considered. I inherited the farm from my folks. I didn't mind farming but am not sure I'd have chosen it for myself. There weren't any options then."
"You have options now," said Rebecca.
"Yes, I do," said David. "Perhaps too many. We can eliminate any of the ones that require a diploma. What sorts of jobs could be done from here anyway?"
"There's lots of home based businesses these days," said Rebecca.
"Like?" asked David.
"Let's see; painters, writers, woodworkers, gardening centers, riding stables."
"It could take time getting paintings or writings sold, right?"
"And the others would require money to start."
"Also true. But you could get a loan."
"With what to back it?"
"Well, I've got this property and a good job," started Rebecca.
Maybe old-fashioned wasn't such a good thing after all, thought a frustrated Rebecca.
Rebecca sat on the sofa looking into the flames in the fireplace. What a day it had been. Such highs and such frustration. She should be exceedingly happy. She'd found the man she loved and he loved her in return. If they could just get past his stubborn, old-fashioned, male ego! They'd left this afternoon's discussion unresolved and gone in to fix dinner. It had been a quiet meal. Now here they sat. Two people in love sitting in front of a fire should not be sitting separately, thought Rebecca.
"I'm sorry, Rebecca," said David. "I didn't mean to speak to you about getting married till I had a job."
"It's OK," Rebecca smiled at him. "It's nice to know you love me."
David smiled too.
"David," Rebecca hesitated.
"What is it?" asked David.
"Just a thought I had about your rifle," she said.
"I really don't know much about these things, but it would be an antique and in excellent condition, so, I would think it might be valuable."
"Really?" asked David.
"We could look into it," she offered.
"That would be something," said David. "Things sure cost more now than they used to. I doubt the money I have is even legal tender but even if it was it wouldn't go far."
"You have money?" asked Rebecca excitedly.
"I was returning from taking cattle to market," explained David. "I didn't stop at the bank on the way home. I owed on a loan from the spring. Otherwise I didn't really use the bank much."
"So it's not a bank draft but actual currency?" said Rebecca.
"David, it could be valuable! Old money can bring high prices from collectors.You might have all the money you need to pursue whatever you like!"
David sat quietly. "I wonder," he finally said.
"What?" asked Rebecca.
David got up and went over to the dining area fireplace. He moved the basket of dried flowers that Rebecca had filling it and looked inside.
"Do you have a chisel, Rebecca?" he asked.
"No. Would a screwdriver be any help?" she asked.
"Maybe," he replied, so she went to get it.
After about twenty minutes Rebecca heard a loud "Yahoo!"
A grinning, dirty David looked at her. He had a leather pouch. "My life savings!"
Ten years later .....
Rebecca was sitting on the back deck playing with three year old John. She looked over at the corral adjoining the barn David had built so they could have a few horses to ride. He was in the corral now teaching seven year old Amy to ride while her big brother, nine year old Jake watched from atop his horse. David had become a writer of historical novels renowned for their accuracy. David looked up at where she sat on the porch and smiled at her. That smile was still the most beautiful thing she had ever seen and had the power to melt her inside. She knew she was truly blessed and gave thanks daily for her old-fashioned man.
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