Queen Dairy
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    The foreman told Cassidy it wouldn't be an easy job, herding cows by the mountains. At the age of 20, her desperate thirst for money though overruled her self-respecting reserve - where those pennies she'd earn from being a wandering troubadour tasted far sweeter than grinding a 9-to-5 job - along with the instinctual allure of her partner, Sean. Admittedly, he was quite cute; fresh out of high school from Seattle, he was standoffish in her presence as if he were mustering his energies just to deny his attraction to her. Little did she know he already had a girl (Lyla) on his heart.

    It was Cassidy's third time being up close to the Rocky Mountains. (Her second time was when she brought her ex for a picnic.) Along with the clouds which caressed the snowy peaks, the beautiful scenery refreshed her spirits to the point where she'd roam off-track from herding the cows and strum her heart off through her guitar, which left Sean nonplussed. He was left picking up after her slack. 

    Sean was closed off, stern to the point of passive-aggressive. But Cassidy sensed a warmth beneath the tough facade he was putting on. She couldn't ignore that urge to prod him out of his shell. She'd smile and crack jokes, like a reminder to have fun and enjoy the sunshine they both share. When she pushed Sean onto the grass, he wrestled her also to the ground and ended up bonking her by the nose - where the droplets of her nosebleed stained Sean's sweater. Oh, that's just great.

    As Sean tried rinsing the bloodstains off by the river, the Albertan weather decided to rear its manic-depressive side with a gust of heavy wind, bringing in snow flurries. It was the very first time he'd stepped in the same tent as her, as they both had no choice but to huddle near each other for warmth. 

    Cassidy found his scent intoxicating. Lying down on her sleeping mat, facing away from him to hide her blushing, she said nothing as the tension over him rose to a boiling point..

    "Cassidy?" Sean went, facing the other way from her. "You got an extra blanket?"

    ".. y-you're out of luck." Her voice trembled, and Sean thought she was suffering from the cold. He huddled closer to her, and covered her with his blanket while bringing hers onto him, such that they resembled inadvertent lovers.

    Up close, they could feel each other's bodies. Cassidy slid her hand to Sean's side, wanting to feel his chest and neck and how he radiated this gorgeous scent from his body heat, like ginger arising out of sand from a desert dimly-lit by a fading sunset. His reaction, like a delayed fuse, was electric as he jolted away from her like a panicked dog.

    "Cassidy, what are you--" Sean was panting, but he soon caught the look in her eyes, that look where he knew she really wanted him. That dam which he'd been holding in for so long, it finally crumbled over, giving way to pure desire. His initial resistance gave way to curiosity, and his curiosity led him into kissing her through timid nibbles. The mere taste of her was more than enough, as they no longer felt the cold infringe upon their beings.

    There was a song Sean knew, since he was young and before his little brother Daniel was born. In their intimacy, he sings a lullaby he recalls from his mami:

    "It's gotta be love, sweet love
    When you're near me
    Ooh you make me happy, baby.."

    How it made Cassidy blush all over, and how she took Sean's hand and cradled it upon her chest where her heart just leapt with pure joy. It was the sweetest love she'd ever known in her life, compared with when she had to struggle with her ex just to squeeze out an ounce of affection from his overly-controlling ass.

    The next day, she saw Sean smiling. All the cows were herded by the grass fields, munching happily on the snowdew-laden vegetation - there was nothing else to do. Only thing is to sit back and enjoy life: Cassidy showed Sean a lake she'd discovered by wandering around. Sean had brought his scrapbook for lulls in this job, not expecting to include a nude Cassidy in those blank pages. He sketched her as she stripped off her shirt and bra - he'd sketched those video game babes in risque poses, but it filled him with an electric anxiety over the thought of anyone else seeing this art. 

    Cassidy was a perfect fit wading in the icy waters, and she beckoned Sean over: "See, the water's not so bad. You just have to take the plunge, and your body soon gets used to it." Her air of self-confidence was infectious, and Sean - plucking the notebook down - he was nervous taking off his sweater. She found this adorable (we're only human after all) and wading by the shoreline she helped him into the mysterious waters where slowly, he overcame the cold for her.

    Against the backdrop of those snow-covered trees, nothing else mattered. He was here and so was she. The lake rippled as they danced across from one shoreline to the next, and the campfire felt so rewarding after what felt like an eternity too short for satisfaction.

    When their last day came, Cassidy gave him her number - it just felt too awkward for her to ask for his, knowing how much she'd be calling him. The foreman paid them both a handsome amount, the weather and all things considered. She accompanied Sean by the bus stop where their conversation felt like one long, awkwardly-expressed goodbye, as she felt her chest well up with so many unspoken emotions that a single hug could not express.

    As Sean disappeared from her life, Cassidy's chest ached with so much pain that she dry-heaved on her knees, alone in a destitute alleyway where her tears burned in solitude.