Around the Motherhouse Blog

Perhaps

The stones in the wall were as cool on her back as the sun was warm on her forehead. The summer season had begun to fade, and the stones retained the night's cold well I into the morning. She sat, propped against the low hearth wall, sharpening a blade for one of the hunters. Her right shoulder felt warm. Bean's shoulder did not actually touch hers, but its warm presence was reassuring. Bean concentrated on the short bow she was re-stringing. The rhythmic sound of her sharpening stone lulled Tem into a state of complacency.

Tem sensed the slight drop in temperature before her eyes registered the shadow that fell across her work. Her hands froze. She slowly glanced upward.

"I heard you were home when I got back in this morning." The sun popped back into view, blinding Tem, for a moment as the woman crouched in front of her. Macha's dark braids swung lazily past her heart as she looked over the work in Tem's now still hands. The ropelike muscles in her legs caught Tem's attention. "You're sharpening Tarno's blades, I see. Mine could use some work. Care for some more company?"

Tem looked up at the sound of her voice. Framed as she was by the bright sunshine, the woman looked even more like one of the great feline hunters that the tribe so respected. Tem's pulse quickened. Her mouth was suddenly dry. She tried to smile, achieving only a squinting wince, and croaked. "Sure". The woman smiled; a beaming, radiant beautiful smile it was. She stood up, saying "Be right back.", and turned to walk away.

Tem stared after her dumbfounded. She was jolted from her reverie by the sound of loud guffaws from her right side.

Turning her head, she saw Bean, red in the face, wiping away wetness from her cheeks. "You looked like a doe cornered by a She-bear!" she blurted, bursting into another fit of hysterical laughter. "I TOLD you! I TOLD you to approach Macha!"

Tem sighed. "I'm really not looking for that kind of..."

"Oh, com on, Tem! Every time she TALKS to you, you all but swallow your own tongue!" Bean looked at her friend, becoming serious. "She's not asking for you to espouse her, that's not her style. Just spend some enjoyable time together. Sit awhile together, sharpen blades and talk. I will be right here. What happens after that is in the hands of the Mother." Bean slapped her friend on the good shoulder.

Tem stood, stretching herself after several hours of sitting, and walked a few feet to the well for a drink. She supposed it couldn't hurt to pass the afternoon with a beautiful woman. The little bucket rattled as it came up swinging, water sloshing over the sides. She pulled it up and took a long drink, savoring the icy cool in her throat.

Tilting her head back, she dumped the remaining water over the wide bristle of hair that ran front to back on top of her head and dropped the bucket back into the little well. She shook her head and shoulders vigorously, sending droplets of water flying in all directions. Feeling a presence behind her she turned and was pulled into the amused gaze of the beautiful scout. She smiled stupidly, stepping close enough to catch the scent of wood smoke and sage on the scout's skin. Macha's gaze never left hers. Tem had no idea how long they stood there, just feeling the energetic current that ran between them in circles and rivulets.

"Brought your blades?" Tem finally asked.

Macha looked down at the assortment of knives she carried as though surprised by their presence in her hands. "Oh, yes. I brought them all."

"Well then," Tem felt warm all over and offered a smile of genuine pleasure. "Let's begin.