It was early in the morning. Robin had just left his hut to go to the river to wash the night from him. The camp in Sherwood forest began to stir with activity. He could smell a wonderful breakfast cooking. Miranda was a great cook. He enjoyed every meal that she had prepared.
Fresh, clean air and a blanket of dew on the ground gave Robin a good feeling. The trees were half way to their peak fall colors. Autumn was his favorite time of year. The smells and feel in the air seemed, well, magical.
It had been a quiet couple of days in Sherwood. No soldiers to fight, no villages burned or pillaged. Not even an unwary traveler to rob. If Robin was not enjoying the peace so much, it might have bothered him. He had needed the rest. Being the leader of a group of outlaws was not an easy job. It was a job he took very seriously. Fighting the injustice of Prince John and his court took up most of his waking hours. There was no time for a holiday. It was very rare that he and Marion ever got away by themselves. Ah Marion, the love of his life. He thought of her very nearly every moment. Their love had grown by leaps and bounds since their confession of love to each other. Robin hoped that soon he would be able to give all of his attention to her. Once King Richard returned from the Crusades, they would be able to start a new life together, as husband and wife.
Robin reached the edge of the river. His thoughts were still occupied as he took off his tunic. He splashed water on his face. The cool water woke him up completely as he ran his fingers through his shoulder-length, thick, chestnut colored hair. Pulling his hair up in the back, he splashed water on his neck. It was very refreshing. Then taking both hands, Robin scooped up the water and splashed it on his chest and shoulders. The water cascaded down his chest and stomach. The small water drops working their way through the maze of muscles that bulged from under his bronze skin. Robin stood up and breathed in the air deeply, filling his lungs. A yawn crept up on him. Robin stretched his entire body into the yawn. He seemed to grow another inch from his 6’1" frame as he stretched.
As he finished stretching, he got a prickly feeling on the back of his neck. This usually occurred when something was about to happen to him. He was confused by it because he was at home. Nothing should be threatening him here. As he pondered this over, he heard his named squealed behind him. Turning around he saw a familiar form racing at him with her arms out.
"Robin!!!!!" Catrina squealed as she saw him. With all her might she ran toward his arms. The happiness of seeing him again consumed her.
Robin held out his hands in a signal to stop. She did not heed him. Catrina barreled into Robin with such force that the two were lifted off of the ground and thrown into the river behind them. There was a huge splash as the two hit the water.
Cat never broke contact with Robin as they submerged under the surface. Robin pushed off of the bottom with all his strength. It took all of his strength with the added weight of his visitor clinging to his neck. He broke the surface with a rush of air.
"Cat!!" he spewed out with the last of the old air in his lungs.
"Robin!" she squealed again, only this time in his ear.
Robin grabbed her under her knees and at her back to try to take the weight off of his strained neck. Looking over at the package that he now carried, "You haven’t changed much, have you?" he said dryly.
"It is so good to see you," she said as she gave him a very wet kiss on his cheek.
Robin walked out of the river, carrying Catrina all the way.
Robin laughed, "It’s good to see you too, Cat."
Once on dry land, Robin put Cat down.
Cat stepped back from him to take a good look. Letting her eyes travel the length of his body, she finally said, "Mmmmm, Mmmmm. You know Robin, I think you’re even better looking than when I last saw you. Even soaking wet you are gorgeous!"
Robin could not help blushing a little at the compliment. He looked at her as well, "You look quite grown up. Although I wish you would grow out of being accident prone." Walking to her he cupped her cheek in his hand, "You have become very attractive."
It was Catrina’s turn to blush. Placing her hand over his hand on her face, she raised herself up on tip toes and kissed Robin on the cheek tenderly. Cat ended the kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck. Pressing her wet clothes against his solid body, she hugged him tightly. Then she whispered in his ear, "I missed you so much Robin. My heart felt like it broke when you had to come home."
Robin returned her embrace, wrapping his arms tightly around her back. "I missed you too my sweet friend," he whispered back.
Marion had witnessed the entire intimate display and she had had enough. Marion walked up to the intertwined couple and cleared her throat, "Excuse me," she said as she crossed her arms in front of her.
Robin looked at Marion’s face and at her body language. He knew she was jealous. Since the situation was purely innocent, he thought he would have a little fun with her. Braking his embrace with Cat, he moved her to his side. Robin wrapped an arm around her small waist and pulled her tightly to him.
Cat followed suit and wrapped her arm around his waist. She beamed as she was held by Robin. Cat looked up at Robin’s face with adoring eyes.
"Oh hi Marion," Robin said innocently.
"Who’s your ‘friend’?" she asked curtly.
Robin had to hold back a laugh at how mad Marion was. Looking down at Cat’s face, he winked at her. "Marion, I’d like you to meet my girlfriend, Catrina."
If Marion’s eyes could have shot flames at Robin, they would have.
Cat winked back at Robin and played along. She saw the look on Marion’s face and could not stop herself from saying, "Yes, I’m his girlfriend. We lived together for a while."
Robin couldn’t hold back his smile at that. He knew that if looks could kill, he would be a dead man.
"You lived..." Marion stopped. She was livid. Unable to believe how jealous she was, Marion finally said, "Well, I’ll leave you two alone." Turning on her heels, she began to storm off.
Robin let go of Cat and ran to Marion. "Marion! Marion wait!" he said as he caught her arm.
Marion whipped her head around, "What!"
"Marion, this is Catrina," Robin said softly.
"Lovely name. I’m so happy for you two," she told him sarcastically.
"Marion, I told you about her. Remember about six months ago I was away for a while at Olwyn’s request."
Marion calmed down a little as she recalled his stories about a woman. He had been a little vague. Then she remembered the battered and bruised condition he was in when he returned.
Robin saw that he was getting through to her. Pulling her toward his friend, he said, "Marion, I would like you to meet my good friend, Cat."
Cat smiled, "Pleased to meet you." So, this was the woman Robin loved. Cat could see why. She was very beautiful. But, knowing Robin, there had to be a lot more to Marion than just looks. He could not love someone who was shallow inside.
Reality dawned on Marion. Now she knew why Robin had been so close mouthed about his injuries and how he got them. A smile crept over her face as she looked from Robin to Catrina. A twinkle of all-knowing shown in her eyes.
"This is the woman who did all that damage to the "Great" Robin Hood?" she said mischievously looking at Robin.
Robin blinked, then looked down at the ground and began, "Well I...there were...she was...," he stuttered.
Marion went over to Cat and hooked her arm through hers, "I’m so glad to meet you. Robin, how rude. Letting her stand here in wet clothes."
Robin was speechless.
"Come with me and we’ll get you into something dry," she said as they walked past Robin. Marion looked at Robin who’s wet body glistened in the sunlight, "You can finish your bath now Robin," she laughed.
Robin looked down at himself realizing he was half naked.
"See you later Robin, well maybe not as much of you," Cat smiled as she called to him. Marion escorted her away.
"You are going to have to tell me all about you. I would love to hear about the time Robin spent with you," Marion said looking over her shoulder at Robin.
Robin knew that look. Marion would get the whole embarrassing story out of Catrina. He knew he wasn’t the "Great" anything, but his male pride was a little wounded every time Cat inflicted damage upon him. Walking back to the river’s edge, Robin shook his head. What happened to his fun? He couldn’t figure out how the tables turned so quickly on him. Although he loved Marion with every fiber of his being, he sure didn’t understand her most of the time.
Robin leaned over and picked up his tunic. He looked down at himself and figured that he was finished there. Feeling a little dejected, he walked back to his hut to change into dry clothes. All the time he was thinking, "Olwyn, you still owe me for that one."
Cat and Marion became very well acquainted. Cat had related all of the happenings during Robin’s visit to her. Every time Cat stopped, Marion coaxed her into telling her more.
Cat felt a little funny about telling Marion everything. The guilt was still with her for each time she had hurt Robin. But, she really liked Marion. She had never really had a girlfriend before. It was fun.
Marion loved hearing every detail of Robin’s time with Catrina. Although she began to feel an increased respect for Robin. He had been through so much. Yet he kept his patience and good humor. When Cat told her about Robin falling from the log and hitting his head, Marion got a feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach. If she had been there, she would never have let him continue. It would have been her duty to protect him. As Cat continued, Marion felt an awe at her beloved. He really was the Great Robin Hood. An overwhelming love for Robin grew inside Marion.
Marion waited, out of courtesy, for Cat to finish her story. She then excused herself. Marion had one purpose in mind, to find Robin. Searching the common areas of the camp without luck, Marion headed to his hut.
Knocking on the frame, "Robin? Are you in there?"
Robin was half dressed. Hearing Marion’s voice at the door, he quickly pulled his arms through the sleeves of his blue tunic. "Come in."
Robin’s deep, velvety voice sent a shiver of delight through her as she went into the hut. Once inside, she saw Robin standing by the bed just beginning to pull the laces to his tunic through their holes.
The sight of him took her breath away. He was so tall and statuesque. He had a presence about him. His skin was tan and smooth. He was very well built with just the right amount of bulging muscle. Unable to contain herself any longer, Marion walked up to him.
"Marion?" he asked quizzically.
Pushing his arms down from the laces, Marion placed her hands on his bare, well sculpted chest and smoothed them upward. His skin was warm and solid beneath her fingers.
"Marion," he said confused as his left eyebrow went up.
Ignoring him, she continued to caress his skin. Upward she went until her fingers wove into his still damp hair. Clasping her fingers together at the back of his neck, Marion pulled his head down and forward.
"Marion!" he said shocked as he raised his hands to her arms.
As she felt him resist, Marion pulled harder until their lips met. Softly, tenderly her mouth pressed against his full, sensual lips. As she deepened the kiss, she felt Robin’s body relax against her. He stopped resisting and succumbed to her pleasure. Marion felt his arms move around her back, as he embraced her. She could feel the increased pressure of his body against hers. The kiss was deep, long, and passionate. A buzz began inside Marion’s head. His passion was becoming too much for her at this time. One day she would allow it to go further, but not this day. Marion pulled back and ended the kiss. Weak in the knees, she was glad his arms were still around her to hold her up.
Breathing a little heavy, "What was that for?" Robin asked as he looked lovingly into her eyes.
Marion had to catch her breath and pull herself together. No one could unravel her like Robin could. "I just wanted you to know how wonderful I think you are."
"Where did that come from?"
"Well, I was just talking to Catrina," Marion began.
Robin let go of Marion. Rolling his eyes, he turned and sat on the bed, "Okay, here we go. Go ahead, let’s get the insults over with."
With eyes as innocent as a doe’s, Marion said, "Why Robin I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about."
Robin squinted his eyes at her, "Oh yes you do. Like ‘how could you let such a small woman beat you up?’"
"Robin, I wasn’t thinking that at all," she said as she sat next to him. "Why didn’t you tell me what actually happened to you?"
"I didn’t see any point to it?"
Reaching up, Marion cupped the back of his head in her hand, "Your poor head. You are lucky you recovered. The thought of you being injured, hurts me inside."
"That’s one reason I didn’t tell you. One other reason is that when you put all of the accidents together, I felt helpless and a little foolish," he admitted to her.
"Foolish! Robin you’re kidding."
"No I’m not. You’ve seen her and you saw me when I got back. It’s a little unbelievable that a woman her size could do all that damage."
Marion smiled at him. Reaching around his neck, she hugged him to her. Snuggling her head to his shoulder she told him, "You are a silly, wonderful man Robin Hood. And I love you with all my heart."
Robin placed his arm around her waist, "I love you, Marion."
End of Chapter One
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