Mother is wrong

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The caravan halted for the night. There were eleven covered wagons. The women got busy gathering wood from the forest while the men started skinning the game they had caught earlier. Dinner would be ready soon. They worked as a team.
Adelia gathered her skirt as she navigated the rocks and shrubs, looking for dry wood. She was told not to go far and she always abided by the rules. She looked up and saw the twilight sky in shades of blue and orange. Sunset time. She gathered as much as she could. Just as she was about to turn back, she saw a bed of scarlet blossoms further ahead. That’s not far she thought and she hastened towards them. As she bent to pick up a blossom she heard a crackle. Looking back, she saw him. He had joined the group in the last town they had stopped. A rogue. A rapscallion. That’s what she had heard her mother tell her father about the new man.
He stood leaning against the tree. She waited and watched him. He slowly walked towards her. She stiffened, holding the collected firewood tight. She could feel a sense of flight descend on her but she did not move. He reached her and smiled. She smiled back, hesitating. The smile softened his deep grey eyes.
“Hello,” he said.
“H…hello,” she said softly and averted her eyes.
“Do you collect these every day?”
“No. Only when required,” she said.
“Here, let me help you.” The man gently took the firewood bundle from her.
“Oh! Thank you. You are kind.”
“You like those?” Asked the man, indicating the flower in her hand.
“Beautiful, aren’t they?”
“Hmm…this color is striking,” she said.
“If you like, I can show you really big ones. They are further to the east, just a few minutes’ walk.”
She looked up. His disarming, impish smile drew her. He seemed kind after all. Mother is as usual wrong.
“I would like that,” she said.
He led the way, holding the firewood bundle close. After a few minutes, he stopped. “There, right there.” He pointed to a clearing. There, almost like a carpet, were blooming flowers of all colors and sizes. She ran to the patch.
“This is gorgeous!” She exclaimed, bending to pick up some of the flowers.
Suddenly, she heard the sound of the firewood hitting the ground. Surprised, she did not have the time to turn to look as the hairy rough arms ensnared her waist and ample bosom and pulled her back against him.

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