Chapter 5

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John was going slower than they really had to, he just wanted to spend as much time alone with Lydia as he could. She never complained and always tried to help as much as she could so he wouldn't have to do everything. He lay on his side with Lydia's back against his chest. The sun was just beginning to peak over the horizon giving everything a rosy glow. It looked like it was going to be another beautiful day but try as he might, he just could not bring himself to get up and disturb this perfect moment.

This past week had changed him. For the first time in a long time he wasn't thinking about the next job, where it was going to him and the adventures it would bring. He was thinking about things like, how would it feel to wake up with Lydia beside him every day? She fit perfectly against his body, like she was made just for him. He'd been a marshall for a long time and saved most of his salary and that didn't count the reward money he'd gotten for capturing wanted men. He wasn't wealthy by any means, but he could live a comfortable life.

"I've never seen a sunrise like the ones I've seen here. Everything is just so raw and untouched, and so very beautiful." Lydia said softly, not even turning her head. She knew John was awake, he always woke up before her.

"Things seem to be a little more beautiful than they used to. It must be the new scenery." His voice was still a little gruff from sleep.

Lydia rolled over on her back to look at his handsome face. His eyes were brown but they weren't just brown. They had flecks of gold sprinkled in making them sparkle. Of course, he had his morning beard stubble, which she found very attractive. Her brows drew together slightly in thought. "Have you never traveled this route before?"

"No, Blake and I have traveled this way many times." He said with a smile, loving that she completely misunderstood what he meant. Of course, he was referring to her being the beautiful new scenery. John sighed, he was really beginning to hate mornings. He'd always been a morning person, until now. He could lay here with her all day long. "I guess we need to get up and get a move on."

They had been making camp next to creeks and streams so they would have fresh water for them and the horse. Lydia turned her head eyeing the creek that looked to be about knee deep. "Would it be possible for me to take a quick bath before we go?"

"Of course, you go bathe and I'll get some coffee started and see what else I can find for breakfast." He loved the way she blushed when she mentioned having to do anything personal.

Lydia walked over to a spot in the creek that wasn't shaded by trees, just around a small bend about two hundred feet away from their camp. She sat down in the grass to remove her shoes then rolled her stockings down. She loved the feel of the grass beneath her feet. Her mother would go absolutely insane if she knew that her daughter was barefooted and bathing in a creek, in broad daylight, with a man nearby. There was something so delicious in doing something she'd never been able to do before.

She slipped her dress over her head and hung it on a branch, then slowly waded out a few feet letting the water caress her feet and legs as it passed her by. Oh how she wanted to remove her chemise and lay back in the cool water, instead, she reached down, cupping her hands and splashed water over her face, arms, and chest.

John had gathered wood for a small fire and had gotten the coffee stated. Still, Lydia was nowhere in sight. He was sure that she was fine, after all he hadn't heard her scream out. But just to be on the safe side, he decided to check on her. His breath caught as soon as he walked around the bend. She was kneeling in the middle of the creek. The water came up just below her breasts but the gentle lapping of the flowing water made her chemise incredibly sheer. Her hair hung lose, the soft current spread it out around her shoulders like a chestnut curtain.

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