The soothing sound of running water beckoned her, and she knelt in the grass and dipped her fingers into it. Beyond her fading reflection she gazed at the myriad of stones and pebbles long ago polished smooth by deeper and faster running water. While fingering one, she thought of all the things for which she was thankful, the primary being water to wash up for her wedding night. She rose and joined Walt and the horses in the walk back to the wagon.
While he searched the perimeter of the camp for fuel to build the evening fire, Cecile spread the checkered cloth from Aunt May’s basket on the ground and laid out the food she had provided. The newlyweds sat next to the blossoming fire and enjoyed their first meal as husband and wife.
Impending ‘bedtime’ was all Cecile thought about. She had mixed feelings. Her stomach twisted in a knot. What would lovemaking be like? Would it hurt? She’d heard it did.
Intimacy wasn’t something people openly discussed, so she really had no idea what to expect. Bits and pieces of conversations she’d overheard between married women at various socials sounded conflicting. Some liked sleeping with a man, some didn’t. Anything remotely close to intimacy was not something her mother talked about, so what little Cecile knew, or thought she knew about the mating ritual, she learned from gossip.
She tried to concentrate on eating, but her nervous stomach churned each time she swallowed a bite of bread. She pushed on her tummy and took a deep, calming breath as Walt hungrily devoured his sandwich. If he was nervous, he certainly didn’t show it. Tonight would either prove or disprove the questions in her mind, and she really hoped the love she felt for her new husband along with his patient demeanor would sustain her.
“Cece, wait till you see the place.” Walt broke the silence. “You’ll love it. I can’t wait to get started fixing it up. I’ll bet you’re as excited as I am, aren’t you? Well, aren’t you? Cecile…!” He snapped his fingers.