This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living, dead or otherwise is purely coincidental. The ideas and thoughts that follow are pure fantasies. In real life, at the very least they would be unpleasant and probably illegal. Fantasies are like that; daydreams where we can contemplate and imagine the sensations without suffering or inflicting the pain, despair or humiliation.
© obohobo 2009
"Hi, are you going to Scalybridge Youth Hostel?"
I stopped wrapping my precious photographic equipment in waterproof bags and looked at the two attractive girl hikers standing by the path and wondered what on earth they wanted with me. 'No, I'm going to Scalybridge but I'm staying in Mrs. Pendleton's Bed & Breakfast place."
"And you'll be going along the shorter, low level path?"
"Yep, I don't want to go over the tops today."
"Well would you do us a favour?" Favour? When girls asked me to do them a favour, that usually meant more work or inconvenience for me, but I nodded and the girl went on, "There's another girl in our group, Yvonne, we call her Eve, and she's about half a mile behind us. We want to go over the top but she's not fit enough to do that so I wonder if you would show her the lower track and the way to the hostel? We really need to keep the map and she should be here in a few minutes."
"I can but I don't think it wise for you to go over the top today either. There's a storm in the offing and it could be here before too long. It's a bit steep in dry weather but in heavy rain, it can be dangerous."
"We're fit and strong and if we don't have to wait for her, we'll be at the hostel before the rain comes. Only a few clouds at the moment and we've been wet before."
Okay, sod them, if they were too arrogant to take any advice, they'd get wet. I hoped it wouldn't be worse than that but kept quiet, like I usually did. They didn't heed my warning about the impending storm, or even consider it, and set off up the winding track while I waited impatiently for Eve. Ten minutes went by and then twenty. I heard the first rumble of thunder and hoped the girls made it over the top and down the other side before the storm broke. Five minutes later, I saw Eve still several hundreds yards down the path. By the time she wearily arrived I'd waited half an hour, and as it turned out, wasted half an hour of precious time, more so because her speed was much slower than mine.
"Hi Eve," I greeted, surprising the shortish girl stumbling along by addressing her by name, "Your two friends wanted to go over the tops and asked me to escort you on the shorter way to Scalybridge. I'm Don."
"Thanks Don. How far are they ahead?" she smiled wearily.
"About half-an-hour, your friends said you were only a few minutes behind them."
"You've waited all that time? Thanks but I could have found my way."
"You probably could normally but we need to find shelter before the storm breaks."
"Sorry, I seem to have been a great inconvenience to you and you'd be at the village by now if you hadn't waited for me. How far is it?" At least she didn't have the 'I know better than you' attitude of the other two.
"About four miles." She groaned. "And we need to get a move on if we are to beat the storm." I pointed to the clouds blacking the sky ahead of us.
"I'm pretty-well wacked, it's been a much harder walk than I expected and Greta and Karen are racehorses and like to go as fast as they can. Have we time for a short rest?"
"No," I said more abruptly than I intended and then added, "We'll take it at your pace." I'd somehow burdened myself with the responsibility for caring for her. We struggled on at a snail's pace for a couple of miles until, noting her slow limping walk, it became obvious the storm would overtake us long before we reached our destination. I tried to force the pace as much as I could but every time I did, I saw the distance between us increase and I guessed she plodded on a fast as she could. She didn't complain though; something that earned my respect.
I stopped at a narrow track leading off to our left and dumped my rucksack. Thinking I'd decided to have a rest, she did too. "Eve, see that hut on the hill the other side of the river? It's a bothy, a camping barn hut. I've stayed in it a couple of times and it's very primitive but it's dry and warm or will be when we get the stove going, not that we need much heat in this sultry weather but it will get cold at night. I suggest we head for it and sit the storm out there. Maybe spend the night if necessary. What do you think?"
"I don't think I can go much further without a rest, so if we can get in, let's go." I picked up her rucksack and ordered her to take my much lighter one. Hers had everything for a week-long walking holiday, mine only had photographic and other gear I needed for a day out. For a moment she looked uncertain but by then I'd started off and she'd no choice.
On the narrow track we'd not talked much so I'd no idea how she would react to a hut with one long bed, a wood stove, a table and two bench seats. There could be candles and occasionally people left non-perishable food but those intending to stay, normally brought camping equipment and a sleeping bag. I had emergency rations, chocolate and Kendal mint cake so we'd be really roughing it if we had to spend the night there. Certainly there wouldn't be any of the comforts found in a Youth Hostel.
We splashed across the river at a ford and entered the hut minutes before the rain arrived. Almost instantaneously with my closing the door, the sky darkened, the light disappeared, lightning flashed followed by tremendous claps of thunder and the rain and hail hissed down in hard stair rods, rattling loudly on the slate roof. We were definitely glad to be inside but I worried over the two girls and wondered if they'd found a place to shelter. I estimated they would have been well on the descent before the rain hit them but they had several miles of open moorland before arriving at the village.
We dumped our rucksacks in a corner and looked at the rain beating against the glass. "How long will it last?" Eve asked.
"Probably a couple of hours, maybe more."
"That will mean it will be seven o'clock before we can move on so it will be dark before we get to the hostel."
"Eve, we won't get to the hostel tonight. We're stuck here until morning." That shocked her. "Even if the rain stops in the next few minutes, the river will already be in full spate and we won't get across the ford which means we'll have to walk downstream across the rough open moor in the opposite direction to Scalybridge before we get to Kyson's bridge and a path that will take us to the track we were on earlier. I'll try and phone my landlady at the B&B to let her know we're safe enough." Unfortunately with the lightning, static drowned out the signal. Eve had the same result when she tried to phone Greta. I saw a tear form in her eye and wanted to hold her close but didn't dare.
Yes, having to spend the night alone in a hut with a man, well he wasn't much older than me really, whom I'd only met a short time before, worried me but I tried not to show it and stopped myself from crying. He seemed likeable enough but alone with him, miles from anywhere and away from any help, I could be in trouble. Still the risk was better than being out in the terrible weather and at least I stayed dry, apart from sweat soaked clothing that were now beginning to feel cold against my skin.
When we planned the walking holiday, I'd objected saying that 24 miles was too far to go in a day, but they said that Scalybridge was the nearest hostel and disregarded my suggestion to get a B&B before then or to take the bus for part of the journey. Once we'd started on the track, we were more or less committed to it for the whole way. The warm sultry weather soon had me sweating and lagging behind the other two but I managed to keep fairly close until lunchtime. They'd almost finished eating when I arrived at the stopping place and they started off again before I'd had much of a rest and only a few bites of food. I'd seen the shorter path marked on a map they carried and the longer one that climbed the peak and decided to take the easy option. However, as the afternoon wore on, my progress became slower and slower and by 4 o'clock I wanted to sit down and collapse but I thought I'd better carry on until the junction of the track in case the girls decided to wait for me and I knew they wouldn't be too happy if they waited long.
"Hi Eve," the man surprised me by greeting me by name but then explained that Greta and Karen had asked him to guide me to the hostel. I wanted to rest for a while but he insisted we needed to keep moving because of the upcoming storm he believed could be a big one after such a hot, humid day. He virtually ordered me to keep going and I resented that, but continued to limp on at my own speed. Even without a storm I doubted I would make it to the hostel without a long rest and some food. With the ever darkening sky, it soon became obvious the storm would hit us long before we reached the village and when he pointed to a barn hut half a mile or so up the hillside, I agreed to detour and shelter there, believing that I might be okay again after a decent rest and the rest of my sandwiches. He dumped his rucksack so I did the same, thinking we'd have a short break for me to get my breath again but no, it was a ruse for him to grab my rucksack. He ordered me to take his lighter one and started off down the track to the ford. Again I had no choice but to follow. Admittedly, having only a light load on my shoulders helped me to walk a little faster but my feet still pained me and I continued to resent his bossiness even if it was for my own good. I kept my complaints to myself and tried not to show the pain I felt at every step. My boots filled with cold water as we crossed the ford and I squelched up the track to the hut that seemed further than I'd first thought.
When the rain and hail belted down so soon after our arrival, I knew his motive for chivvying me along and wondered, "What you would have done if you'd been caught alone and in the open, Eve? How are Greta and Karen faring? Did they find shelter?"
At the time, I thought we'd still reach the hostel before dark and I could rest in the hut for an hour so it came as a shock when he said, "Eve, we won't get to the hostel tonight. We're stuck here until morning. The violent rain sends torrents of water into the river from the mountain tributaries and the ford will be impassable even in the morning and we'll have to detour across open land back the way we came for several miles until we get to a bridge and back on to the track we were on earlier." With my weariness and sore feet, I had no chance of walking those extra miles that day.
The accommodation was indeed primitive, like he'd said, but at least we remained dry and in the gloom we took stock of the situation and agreed to share the small amount of food we had with us. The one long bed worried me. It had a mattress, no sheets but a blanket lay neatly folded at one end and when I inspected it, found it to be reasonably clean. One blanket between two of us? Normally people, mainly climbers, who stayed there, brought their own sleeping gear and food but in our emergency situation, we were ill prepared for the stay. Luckily we found half a jar of Nescafe and a covered pail of clean water and when we lit the wood stove we'd be able to make a hot drink. We both tried our mobile phones without success due to the storm and that increased my unease. No one knew where I was and I couldn't contact anyone, but so far, he'd been on his best behaviour and I began to trust him. Don and I sat by the fire to eat. One sandwich and half an apple each; I suppose it was one way to diet! I would have dearly loved a proper cooked meal though.
As we sat drinking black coffee and eating the remains of my packed lunch, I had a better look at him, and I knew he looked at me too. We talked hesitantly and I learned he studied Ecological Botany for his PhD at Midlands University, only a few miles from the school where I taught and his being in the area was part of his botanical research project. Physically, he wouldn't stand out in a crowd, medium height, slim with light brown hair almost the colour of mine, and wore a plain tee shirt and khaki trousers. His rimless glasses made him look studious and in other circumstances I might have labelled him a 'nerd'. He needed no label in this isolated hut.
Fortunately Eve wasn't too fazed with the situation and enquired about the food supply. I told her of my meagre amount and she had two sandwiches and an apple left from her packed lunch. A search of the hut provided a half full jar of instant coffee but no food. We agreed to share her sandwiches and apple for 'dinner' and have my chocolate and Kendal mint cake for breakfast. Unusual fare but better than nothing. "Hope you like black coffee without sugar," I commented as I filled a pan with water and stood it on the stove. The toilet's outside so it might be a good idea to unlace your boots but keep them on for now and I'll put a pan outside to catch some more water for you to bathe any blisters in warm water later. If you're really desperate to pee, there's a slops bucket under the sink and I'll look the other way." She, like me, managed to hold it until the rain momentarily eased enough for us to dash around the back.
Some kind soul had stocked the firewood box and, as usual in mountain huts, the previous occupants had laid the fire ready for lighting. Soon I had the fire going and could relax over the coffee and sandwich and sitting opposite each other, I had a chance to look at her more closely than I'd done since we met.
Eve, I would term a mousy girl. Quiet, with brown hair, flat and straight and down to her shoulders, brown eyes, a little on the short side and of stocky build with what looked like normal size breasts. Like me, she wore glasses but hers had fashionable, narrow rectangular lenses in dark frames that, to me, made her look cute, whereas mine were rimless and which I thought made me appear more intellectual. She gave me a shy smile when she noticed me looking and turned away. I surmised that some of her quietness was due to worry over what might happen later when it came to bedtime and tried to reassure her of her safety.
The storm passed two hours later and I managed to get a call through to my B&B and informed Mrs. Pendleton that I was safe and asked her to let the hostel know that Yvonne was safe too but her friends had decided to take the path over the top and could be in trouble. We didn't want the rescue team sent out for us. Eve hadn't been able to contact Greta and that worried her too, especially when she heard what I said to my landlady.
For while we sat by the stove, trying to ignore our hunger and during our conversation, I learned she taught 9 to 11 year olds at a primary school, not ten miles from where I lived and even closer to the university where I studied botany for my PhD. Greta and Karen were friends from her college days and into fitness regimes and they'd planned a 24 mike hike for that day. "Why did you come with them?" I asked.
"They more or less persuaded me to provide the transport. I've a hatchback that has plenty of room for our rucksacks and I enjoy walking and being in the hills but like to take a more leisurely pace and only once previously have I done 20 miles and the conditions were cooler and the terrain easier to walk. The rest of the hostels we planned to visit are closer together."
I managed to get Greta on the phone about 9.30. "Did you get wet?" I asked.
"And some! Wet, battered and bruised. We were in the middle of open moorland when the hail hit us, no shelter in sight and all we could do was to huddle down close to a big rock with our backs to the hail and let the rucksacks take some of the sting out of the hailstones. When it became just rain, we started off again not caring as we were already soaked but we could only go slowly because the slippery track and with the poor light, we had to be careful where we put our feet. The warden loaned us bathrobes and everything else is in the drying room, even the stuff we had in a backpacks. It was sheer hell up there for a while and maybe we should have listened to that boy. We hear you're shacked up with him in a mountain hut."
"Yes, but not shacked up in the way you mean! We got here dry, only minutes before the storm hit but with no food, no light and no sleeping bags and with the river flowing hard, we've to make a long detour tomorrow so I won't get to the hostel until the afternoon. Will you go on tomorrow?"
"We've got to. This hostel is fully booked for the next few days and I expect if we miss our bookings at the others, we won't get in a day later. What will you do? You won't make it to the next one, that's another fifteen miles further on."
"I don't know. Maybe see what other accommodation is available in Scalybridge. I've some nasty blisters so I won't want to walk far. Phone me tomorrow but if the worst comes to the worst, I meet up with you at the car on Saturday."
Soon after, in the fading light, I went to the loo and noticed the air had turned quite chilly and I thought the vinyl covered mattresses that made up the long bunk bed would feel cold. Again I worried about the sleeping arrangements. Would he sleep next to me or at the other end of the bunk? There's only one blanket so we'll have to share, I can't let him sleep in the cold after he saved me from the hail and rain. I've pyjamas but I doubt he has any spare clothing seeing he only intended to be out for the day and he'd be back in the B&B if I hadn't delayed him. I decided to sleep fully clothed except that I removed my bra, which gets uncomfortable in bed, and my boots, of course. I slipped the bra off in the outhouse but I think he noticed when I got back and I hoped that didn't give him the idea that I wanted to have sex. He'd settled the sleeping arrangement when I returned by laying out the blanket and saying, "To keep warm we'll have to lay on one half and wrap the other half over us. I know we'll be close, in fact, very close but I won't interfere with you and we'll both need to keep our clothes on anyway. Even if you have night clothes, they won't be warm enough when the fire dies down and the outside temperature drops."
At first we spooned together with him behind me, hardly touching, but gradually as I became more relaxed with his presence, I pushed back and snuggled against him. His arm went around my body and I felt safe, even when his hand touched one of my tits. We didn't sleep all that well and I felt his prick against me in the morning but by then, I knew he wouldn't harm me or take advantage of the situation and it was only a natural reaction to my being close or just a normal reaction.
Eve seemed to be in the loo a long while and I took the opportunity to make up the bed and wondered how she would view having to sleep with us wrapped together in one blanket. So far she'd willingly shared her food and the chores but I wondered just how far the sharing would extend. I noticed she no longer wore her bra and that sent my mind into a whirl. Was it a sign that she wanted more than a night's sleep? Or did she find it uncomfortable to wear in bed? I knew mother took hers off at night for that reason, or so she said. I decided it would be wise for me to assume the comfort reason unless she indicated otherwise. "If you lie next to the fold, that should be the warmest place," I suggested and still looking apprehensive, she put a sweater under her head for a pillow and when she noticed I didn't have anything, spread it so I shared. That again raised her profile in my estimation. We laid down and, knowing I could get an erection, tried not to actually touch her but before long we snuggled close and I tentatively put my arms around her and once my hand felt a tit but I quickly removed it.
For a while I examined my relationship with her. Mainly because of my involvement with the university course, I'd never had a girlfriend that lasted for more than a week or two, except for Angela and she turned out to be a gold digger and a cheat. Eve certainly wasn't a fashion model but she seemed a caring person and didn't complain of the hardship of roughing it in the hut or of the smell in the outhouse. I already liked her and wondered if there was any future for us together after we reached Scalybridge tomorrow. She'd said unless the hostel had a cancellation, it was fully booked for the next night and she'd have to find somewhere else, but I didn't dare suggest that I'd a twin room at Mrs. Pendleton's which she could share. The landlady didn't seem to worry overmuch who slept with whom from what I'd seen so far and I'd stayed there four times before. I wasn't sure if she'd have any other rooms available either especially as we were in a tourist area at the peak of the season.
Awakening early, I slipped my boots on and went to the loo and on my return found Eve trying to coax some life in the fire. I took over and noticed her wince when she put her boots on. "I'll have another look at your blisters before we leave and if you've any plasters, I'll put them on the two worst ones." I'd suggested she left them to dry up when we bathed them the previous evening.
After the storm the morning sun shone bright and clear but mist hung in the valley and we watched it rise while we ate breakfast. I made coffee and we ate the chocolate but decided to keep the mint cake for a mid morning snack. An idyllic day if only we'd had a good night's sleep and a nice breakfast. Again, she didn't complain but joked about it.
We cleaned out the ashes from the stove and re-laid it, cleaned up the hut, signed the guest book and left before nine. Eve limped at first but after a while her limp became less noticeable and by mid morning we arrived at the place where we'd first met and demolished the mint cake for 'fuel' for the last leg to the village.
I expect in years to come, I'll look back on the night and our breakfast and laugh, even as we ate I felt comfortable enough to joke with him about the number of calories in the chocolate and what it would do for my already plump figure. He kindly put plasters on the worst of my blisters but even so, getting my boots caused me to wince and at the start, each step caused further pain. Gradually, as I got going, the pain eased but I knew I wasn't walking at his normal pace, and not at mine either. We stopped several times to examine plants and then again at the fork in the track where I'd first met him to have a second, high-calorie breakfast. We'd made it to the village by lunchtime and after seeing a sign at the hostel saying it was fully booked and another guesthouse we passed had a 'No Vacancies' sign, we had a proper meal at the village café. "I suppose your B&B is full too?" I asked, knowing the answer but that seemed the only hope if I didn't go on to the next place on the off chance I'd get in there.
"Yes, but we can ask Mrs. Pendleton or..." He stopped in mid sentence and changed the subject. When the bill came I tried to pay for the meal for both of us because of the help he'd given me and the trouble I'd caused him but he insisted he would pay and after a short argument, we each paid for our own.
Mrs. Pendleton sat quietly on the patio when we arrived. "This must be the girl you sheltered with last night. Were the other two okay?" I assured her they were although they'd been thoroughly drenched by the storm.
Don introduced me. "This is Yvonne Corlidge but she likes to be called Eve. The hostel is booked up for tonight and so is the other guesthouse so we wondered if there was anywhere else in the village she could stay."
The woman looked at us both and smiled, "Well there's a room here with a bed not being used," my heart jumped at the thought of not having to walk any further but when her smile turned to a wide grin I suspected the rest of the answer, "It already has one occupant but you've met him and slept with him so that shouldn't be a big deal. You can have it and share the cost. It will be cheaper for him that way, especially if you stay for the rest of the week. Just as long as you don't make too much noise and disturb the other guests." I must have looked shocked because she stood and said, "I'll go and make a pot of tea while you think about it."
"Would YOU mind?" I asked Don.
"No, of course not. We've got on well together so far and I wouldn't be forcing you to do anything. You trusted me alone in the hut; you can surely trust me in a house full of people." I still hesitated but he went on, "You won't want to walk too far for the next few days so you can come out on day trips, either with me or go on your own. I don't walk that far each day but I spend a lot of time taking pictures of plants and wild life and recording what I find. Much of it is for my course work but I get some published and earn a little extra cash. As far as I'm concerned, you're welcome to share my room and I'll be very pleased to have your company. It is a long while since I've had a girl I could talk to and will welcome the chance to get to know you better." He smiled and I knew he really did want me to stay with him and I could pretend that I had no choice, but I also wanted to know him a bit better too. For once a boy was interested in me as a person and wasn't put off by my portly (in my opinion) figure.
I didn't wish to appear over-willing so I replied cautiously. "Okay, I'll see how it goes tonight and decide whether or not to look for somewhere else tomorrow.
Mrs. Pendleton surprised me when she encouraged Eve to stay in my room. I know the extra money it brought her would be welcome but I thought there were other reasons too. Eve prevaricated for a short while before agreeing to stay for one night, but I knew if we didn't have a row, she would most likely stay until Saturday and, as I'd enjoyed her company, I welcomed the thought. For once I'd found a girl that didn't demand my attention or want me to pay for everything. I'd had one of those in college but sort of withdrew from the dating scene when I started university, feeling it more important to do well with my studies and, so far, that had paid off. My professor put little paid lectures and teaching jobs my way and it looked likely that I'd get a post in the university when I obtained my PhD.
When Mrs. Pendleton returned, Eve told her the decision and for a moment the woman stopped pouring the tea and said, "That's good. Don's a nice lad and he deserves a good woman," and then changed the subject to the storm and how we'd fared.
We took our stuff up to the room and I cleared all my belongings off her bed so she could settle in. I noticed she put her stuff away in the wardrobe so I reasoned that she wouldn't be leaving in the morning.
"Would you like to walk up to High Meadow with me? It's less than a mile and is off the beaten track. I've four, one metre squares I keep a check on. It's a grazed field but otherwise not cut or fertilised and full of wild flowers or at least it was a month ago but I suppose it is past its best now." She agreed and showed an interest in my studies and even helped with the recording and photography. In a hour I'd finished and we lay down on grass in the warm sunshine, at first a little apart but gradually we moved closer until our bodies touched and we held hands. Most of the time we lay in silence and I wondered again if there was a future in our relationship and toyed with the idea of cuddling and kissing her but decided that might be a move too far and could upset things.