Chapter 3:  "Mrs. Robinson"
©Nesciri April 2000
Disclaimer:  This is a work of fiction based upon characters created and owned by Ed Spielman and Ogiens/Kane Productions.  Neither the author nor the webmistress claim any ownership of the characters except original characters and no money is being made from this work.  This work belongs to the author and may not be used or posted without the author's express permission.

 Ike quickly walked down the street, eager to get the chores that Rachel had come up with done, so he could return to the station. He wasn't real comfortable in Rock Creek, and he must admit that everything had been much easier in Sweetwater, where the station had been located at a distance from the town. To stay so close to the town as they did in Rock Creek made him constantly feeling watched, or looked at. His discomfort had been so great that he even had told Teaspoon about it. As he walked down the street trying to ignore the glances that were sent in his way, he tried to find peace in Teaspoon's words. "Just have patience, son. Who knows, now that we're in town, acceptance might come easier. Let us just show them who we are by doing our job, and you'll see that they'll come around." Ike smiled at the memory. Teaspoon had wanted him to feel better, but he hadn't known what it was like to be an outcast, or considered less than another man. I can do this, Ike thought to himself as he opened the door to the store, Rachel's note safely in his pocket.

When he walked in he saw that the store was filled with people and his uneasiness grew. Gathering his courage he nodded at them and placed himself in a corner, waiting for his turn. His eyes slowly wandered, taking in the others' appearances and gestures. They looked just like the people in Sweetwater, mostly farmers and a few city folks. Nothing threatening about them at all and he scorned himself for his fears, when he noticed a woman that looked as lost as he felt. She was in her early thirties and despite a few lines around her eyes and mouth that the years had created, she was very beautiful and Ike couldn't help stare at her. He had never seen anything like her nor had he ever seen her in town before. She certainly didn't look like she fit in either. The dress she wore was just a bit too stylish for a woman in a small country town like Rock Creek. He must have stared at her longer than he had intended because suddenly he found himself staring into her eyes and he lowered, embarrassed, his gaze to the floor. When he looked up again he found her smiling at him. It was so surprising that he had to look behind him, sure that her smile must have been intended for someone else. But there was no one there. He returned his gaze to the woman. She slightly shook her head as if she had been amused at his obvious consternation and gave him another smile. Then it appeared to be her turn and she turned from Ike to the shopkeeper. When it finally became Ike's turn, the woman had already left the store and Ike, still puzzled, found himself wondering who she was. There weren't many women that even bothered paying notice to him. She must be new in town, he thought, she can't know that I'm mute. If she had known she wouldn't have smiled at me.

Geneva Stevens smiled to herself as she walked out of the store. She had been right in discarding the black mourning dress for the day and changed into a dark blue one. She had been even luckier that the rider assigned to join Foster had been there too. She couldn't help feeling pleased. Her so carefully arranged bait seemed to have worked. Now all she had to do was roll in her catch - and fast, since she only had three days. "I'll have him eating out of my hand in two," she mumbled to herself as she carefully avoided the hotel entrance and instead used the personal entrance on the side. She had no wish of running into Foster Stevens. Not now, when she was so close to her goal.

Ike struggled under the heavy box and he once more wished that the station had been further away. Had it, he was sure that one of the others would have offered to join him. He dumped the box heavily onto the wagon. Of course there weren't enough riders at the station that there would be two that would be needed to get to the store. Jimmy hadn't returned from his sister, Lou and Buck was on that special run and Cody had taken off as he arrived. That left him, Kid and Noah at the station and since Noah and Kid had been selected to fix the roof of the barn, Ike was left to pick up the supplies from the store. And when he thought about it, it was certainly better then spending the day on the roof of the barn. He had just loaded the last box, when he heard somebody call out in the alley. Ike looked around to see if anybody else had heard anything, but when nobody near him seemed to have reacted he left the wagon and walked into the alley.

He hadn't taken more than a few steps when he saw her. She was sitting on the ground, grimacing as she gently cradled her ankle, parcels spread over the ground. It was the woman that had smiled at him in the store and Ike quickly walked over to her. As he kneeled next to her, she looked up. She was even more beautiful close up Ike realized as he wondered what to do.
"Can you help me?" she asked and smiled at him. "I seemed to have twisted my ankle."
Ike looked questioningly at her as he gathered her parcels.
"It was stupid of me," she said explanatory, "I wasn't watching where I was going and I stumbled over that -" she pointed toward a board, "-and fell."
Ike had gathered the parcels and holding them with one hand, he offered the other to help her up. She smiled at him as she took his hand. But as Ike tried to get her to her feet she immediately fell back with a gasp of pain.
"I don't think I can walk," she said, biting her lip. "I'm so sorry, Mr…?"
Ike looked down at her, confused. He couldn't take care of both her and the parcels and he looked around for somebody to help him.

Geneva saw him look around and guessed his intentions. Getting another person into the alley was not something she wanted.
"Your name is Ike, isn't it?" she asked as she did her best to play the damsel in distress who'd just found her knight. Surprised, Ike turned to her and nodded. His bafflement must have showed in his face as the woman quickly continued. "I asked in the store," she explained with a smiled that might have appeared genuine. "You looked like a kind person, and I could use one back there," she said coyly. "I'm new in town and most people seem to be a bit wary when they don't know you. My name is Geneva Robinson."
Ike looked at her hand and pointed to her ring with a question in his face.
"Oh," Geneva replied and added sadness to her voice. "I'm a widow. My husband died a few years back. I tried to make it on my own, but it's been hard. I've just sold the farm and here I am."
Ike looked at her in surprise. She looked too young to be a widow. Smiling he tried to show his sympathy for her loss as he wondered why she, who must be used to towns, felt out of place in Rock Creek. Slowly signing he tried to get his question through. Geneva followed carefully the movements of his hands. If she was to pull this off she better learn how to understand him.
"Why I feel like that?" she asked and when Ike nodded his confirmation, she continued.
"I'm not from around here and I suppose that the way I dress and act are not considered 'right' in a small town." She sighed. "But I guess you can't change who you are."
Ike nodded his head in agreement. <I'll get help,> he signed.
"No, Ike, please," Geneva said quickly, assuming that he wanted to get someone else over. "I'm embarrassed as it is. Do you think you could help me? My room is not far from here."
Ike pointed at the parcels with a questioning look.
"Can you get them later for me? Please, Ike?"
Ike looked confused at her. He wasn't sure of what he would do. He wanted to help her out, but maybe it was better if he got someone else to help her. Before he managed to make a fool of himself.
"Please, Ike?" Geneva Stevens reached up and gently touched his hand, throwing him a smile at the same time. Finally Ike nodded and quickly picked up the parcels and placed them on a barrel. Slightly nervous he reached out a hand to Geneva.
"Use the back entrance," Geneva stated. "I would hate for the clerk to see how clumsy I've been. Besides it's closer." And we won't run into Foster, she thought to herself as Ike helped Geneva to her feet and they walked the last little bit to the hotel. Geneva appeared to have a hard time staying on her feet. She tripped several times, each time caught by Ike's strong arms.

A few minutes later Ike carefully placed her on the parlour sofa in her room. Geneva smiled thankfully at him.
"Thank you, Ike, she said in a low voice. "Do you mind getting my parcels for me?"
Ike nodded and with a slight blush he left the room. As soon as he had closed the door behind him, Geneva rose from the bed without problems and walked over to the window from where she could see Ike emerge from the hotel entrance only to disappear around the corner into the alley. Geneva couldn't help smiling to herself. This was going easier than she had expected. She quickly checked her appearance in the mirror as she removed her jacket. She was still beautiful and she knew it. Her dark blue dress was still pretty and not very worn, but showed more than a little décolletage, and it did enhance the blue of her thick-laced blue eyes. Her auburn hair was pulled back from her face and adorned by a ribbon folded into a flat bow and chenille netting. Her lips were close to perfection although her lower lip was a bit fuller than she had wished for and with pale flawless skin over high cheekbones and a heart-shaped face she very much looked like the society ladies of Richmond that she once had admired, once in a past that she now never thought of. The white lace of her blouse bordered her bodice, allowing it to hint the cleavage of her breasts. Placing her hands on her hips, she couldn't help admiring her figure in the full-length mirror. Never having carried a child, she still had a tiny waist that didn't need any corset to keep it that way. Sounds from outside made her hasten back to the sofa, as there was a knock on the door.

At her response, Ike entered with her parcels.
"Oh, thank you, Ike," Geneva said. "Just place them right here on the table, will you, please."
As Ike complied, Geneva let her hand slide down his arm in a caressing manner to hold on to his hand as he disposed of the parcels.
"I don't know how I can thank you, Ike," she beamed, holding on to his hand with both of hers, making sure that he took in her appearance. She bit her lower lip thoughtfully.
"I don't have any friends here yet," she said with a hint of sadness in her voice. "Wouldn't you like to join me for dinner? I don't suppose that I can get down, not with this foot, but I think I can have dinner sent up to the room. Would you, Ike? It would be nice to have some company as a change."
The hesitation Ike felt shone forth in his face, and Geneva smiled apologetically at him.
"I'm sorry, Ike," she said. "I suppose you got a girlfriend waiting for you somewhere."
Ike looked down on the floor a little embarrassed and shook his head no. He didn't have a girlfriend, nor did he expect to find one either. Who would want him?
"No?" Geneva asked with faked surprise. She was already well aware that he didn't have any girlfriend. "A handsome young man like you? I'm surprised."
Ike blushed. Nobody had ever called him handsome before.
"Then what?" Geneva asked. "Why don't you want to keep me company over dinner? You must let me thank you, Ike."
Ike shrugged. He wasn't sure about all of this. Her touch and the way she looked at him occasionally made him uneasy. He hadn't been around many women and frankly they made him nervous. It was all right for the others to approach women at socials and such, since they could speak. But most of the times women misunderstood him and made him feel like a fool. He didn't want Mrs. Robinson to think that he was a fool, nor did he want to be made a fool of.
"It's so boring to be here alone. I sure wouldn't mind a handsome young man keeping me company," Geneva smiled seeing the uncertainty in his face.
Ike silently pointed to his lips and frown.
"I don't mind," Geneva said and smiled in the realization that she was winning him over.
Ike still hesitated but he had run out of arguments and finally he nodded.
"Thank you Ike," Geneva said silently and pulled him down in order to kiss his cheek. "I'll be expecting you at seven, if that's all right with you?"
Ike nodded and she let go of his hand. "Until then," she said as he left the room.

Geneva Stevens, or Robinson as she had decided to call herself for the moment, let herself fall back on the bed with a satisfied smile on her lips. Young men, she thought, were so easy to fool.

It was a slightly confused Ike that returned to the wagon. He couldn't really believe that he just had been invited to dinner with a beautiful lady. In her elegant dress she was more ladylike than most of the other women in town and she was definitely more beautiful. Ike had never been noticed by a beautiful woman before. That was normally reserved for the more outspoken Cody, who seemed to know just the right words to say, or Jimmy, who seemed to drag women to him like a lantern attracted a moth - and probably because the same reason - danger. At least that was Jimmy's impression which meant that his brief affairs often ended in him leaving. Even Kid held that attraction for women, with his good looks and gentle ways. And since he had broken up with Lou, Ike wasn't really sure he hadn't started looking at other girls, adding to the competition. Shortly, he had never really considered himself attractive enough for the good-looking girls to pay him any attention and the fact that this woman had taken an interest in him was both flattering and confusing. He arrived to the station and still pondering the matter over in his mind, he unloaded the merchandise outside the house as Rachel emerged.
"Thanks, Ike," she said gratefully. "You better see to them horses and don't forget that Teaspoon's friend is coming over for dinner tonight. I want all of you to look your best by then."
Ike stared at her as she walked back into the house. He had completely forgotten about that. What was he supposed to do now?"

Ike desperately tried to find a way to solve his problems but as Rachel called that dinner was ready he hadn't come up with a single idea and reluctantly he realised that he'd have to sit through the dinner at the station. He had pondered asking one of the others for advice, but had rejected the idea of fear that they would make a joke about it. Had Lou been there, he might have contemplated ask her, but she was on that special run with Buck. Actually he was pleased that Buck wasn't there. For one thing Buck would have noticed there was something on his mind and he wasn't sure he wanted to tell Buck about his meeting with Mrs. Robinson. For one thing, Buck would question everything as if he, Ike, couldn't think for himself. Buck was always ready to protect him, even when Ike didn't feel he needed it and besides Buck was always suspicious of new people and, Ike thought, since Kathleen Devlin, especially of women. He sighed silently as Cody tried to convince Teaspoon that he should join Foster and Ike on this search for an heir, since, as Cody put it, it might turn out that the heir was a young lady and since he knew how to handle such a situation with the finesse it needed he should be there. The comment placed a dark cloud over Ike's face and as dinner was over he quickly excused himself by claiming he had forgotten something in town and as the others settled for a game of cards, Ike walked briskly back into town.

He hesitated as he reached the hotel and wandered if he shouldn't walk back to the others instead. It was late and what was he going to do anyway? He would probably only make a fool of himself. The more he thought about it the more he felt as if he should got back home and slowly he turned around. He took a few steps, as he suddenly felt angry with himself. While I'm here I might as well apologise for not showing up, he pondered and before he had a chance to change his mind again he walked back to the hotel, this time not stopping outside.

With his hat in his hand, feeling as a schoolboy sent to the headmaster, he carefully looked down the hall, content that it was empty before he knocked on the door. The knock was almost immediately answered by a question.
"Who is it?"
Unable to answer, Ike simply knocked again. The soft rustle from inside told him that somebody was walking towards the door and his uneasiness grew. The door was slightly opened and he saw her face carefully looking out through it.
"Ike?" The door was opened and remembering to limp, Geneva invited the boy inside. When he hadn't showed up at dinner, she thought that she had failed and his appearance outside her door was a bit of a surprise.
Hastily Ike handed her the quickly written note in his hand. Still startled, she accepted it and read it quickly.
"Couldn't come. Things to do at the station. I'm sorry." She looked up at Ike who smiled apologetically. "That's all right, Ike," she said softly. "I wasn't really hoping that you would show up. I guessed you had better things to do than entertain a stranger."
Ike shook his head as she slowly made her way over to the parlour sofa.
"Sit down," she offered and he nervously complied, taking a seat by the small table. He wished uneasily that he just could walk out of there and back to the station, but he didn't want to be impolite. Besides he had no real wish to return back only to be subject to Cody's persuasion to make him change places with him. In lack of knowing what to do, he pointed questioningly at her foot.
"Oh that," she smiled. "It wasn't so bad. The doctor had the kindness to see me and he told me that I should just take it easy for a while."
Ike nodded, still not sure of what to do. But Geneva, on the other hand, knew exactly was she was doing.
"You want some tea?" she asked gently.
Grateful for something to hold in his hand, Ike nodded as Geneva pointed to the table.
"It's right over there. Could you pour me a cup too? I was just going to have some when you knocked."
Ike did as he was told and handed her a cup. For a few seconds they sat in silence as they sipped their tea, before Geneva spoke again.
"So it's a hard work then, riding for the Express?"
Ike shrugged.
"I can imagine it must be dangerous," she continued. "You must be brave to face that danger, all from Indians to robbers?"
Again Ike shrugged and reached for a piece of paper. "Not too bad - often nothing happens. Just hard rides," he scribbled down and handed over.
"And a pretty girl waiting when you get back, I assume," Geneva said with a smile as she finished reading.
Ike blushed and shook his head. Maybe that was true for Cody or Jimmy, but not for him.
"What?" Geneva looked at him with surprise. "A handsome young man like you, Ike? You're making a fool of me," she added with a soft smile.
Once more Ike felt himself blush as he shook his head.
"But you've had a girlfriend, don't you?" Geneva asked in a soft voice as he handed her the cup. Ike placed his cup back on the table and nodded slowly as he thought about Annie. He supposed she had been his girlfriend although they never really had said anything about it. He had thought about marrying her though.
"Come, sit here by me," Geneva said and reached for his hand as she patted the spot next to her. Ike moved over, uncertain of how to say no, and not sure he wanted to. He had a hard time keeping his eyes to her face as he couldn't help notice the décolletage of her dress that somehow showed off more than it hid.
"Tell me about her," Geneva said while holding on to his hand. "Was she beautiful?"
Ike frowned and shook his head. He didn't want to talk about Annie, not with Mrs. Robinson. It didn't feel right.
"I'm sorry, Ike," she said gently. "I didn't mean to bring up any bad memories."
It wasn't a bad memory, Ike wanted to say, but knowing his limited ability to get that through he simply nodded as he suddenly felt Geneva's hand on his face, softly caressing its features, surprised and slightly startled he looked at her.
"You've never been with a girl, have you Ike?" she asked softly as her fingers traced the contour of his lips. Swallowing hard, Ike found himself nodding as she leaned closer. Her hand travelled down his neck to his shirt and almost as if in a dream he was aware that she had unbuttoned the first button of it. Not sure, he reached up and stopped her hand. She smiled at him.
"I don't bite, Ike," she mumbled as she kissed him firmly on the mouth. For a second Ike just sat there, letting her kiss him, until reality hit him. Abruptly he pushed her away and rose.
<I have to go,> he signed quickly and before Geneva could object he was gone. Geneva cursed to herself as she realised that she had rushed things and now may have to change her plans. "You have to take it slow," she mumbled to herself as she in anger let one of the teacups fall to the floor where it crashed into several pieces. "You better get hold of those documents, little brother," she added as she stared out the window at the hastily fleeing figure.


Ike rushed out of the hotel and not until he had walked several yards did he allow himself to breathe. His heart was beating so fast he wasn't sure it would ever stop. He stopped by the dentist's and leaned wearily on the wall. A few bypassers looked at him and suddenly feeling very self-conscious, Ike hastily moved over to the ally where he sank down and leaned his head in his hands, trying to figure out what had happened, his hands trembling. She had asked him about girls…and then…then she had kissed him. Ike could still feel her lips on his. She had been close to him and kissed him. He could still smell her perfume on his body, see her inviting eyes…he closed his eyes trying to shake the images from his memory. He was wrong - he had misunderstood something. There was no way she could be interested him, not seriously. "I was right to leave," he tried to reason with himself. "I would only have made a fool of myself." But there was something that made him doubt himself. Something that made him wish that he was wrong.

He remember the other's talk about women late nights in the bunkhouse, especially when Lou was out on a run - although Cody often forgotten that there was a girl present, at least until Kid threateningly walked over to him. Ike had to smile when he remembered Cody's look of surprise, as he was interrupted from a very graphic description of the feature of a certain young lady or other by Kid's sinister and annoyed face hovering over him. He had been so surprised that he had stopped talking with his mouth open while Kid hissed at him that 'there was a lady present', while the others had tried to hide their amusement while Lou blushed over the incident. Ike had never been sure if it was because of Cody's story or Kid's overprotectiveness. Then he sighed. He had listened to those stories too, and although he never had revealed it to anybody, not even Buck, he always wondered if he ever would have what the others seemed to have. What felt like a long time ago, but actually was less than a year ago, he hadn't thought so much about it - he had followed his heart, not caring too much about what the others thought. As when he had met Annie. But Annie was in his past and since then he had become more and more conscious of his handicap. Especially since the Annies of this world was rare. And he had begun to doubt that he ever would find a girl of his own.

And while Cody and Jimmy never seemed to shun the "houses of ill repute", despite Teaspoon's orders, he never had any desire to join them. Not only because he didn't want to break the rules, besides he was quite sure that Teaspoon knew, but choose to see through his fingers concerning it, but also because he was uncertain. Or scared, he wasn't sure which. He was scared that they would laugh at him, or make fun of him or simply turn away from him as if he was a freak. So he tried to tell himself that it wasn't what he needed anyway. He didn't want to be with anyone without knowing that there was love, real genuine and deep love. But love was as illusive as water in the desert during a drought. And the stories of the others woke up stirrings within him that he hadn't thought he had. He too wanted to feel the soft touch of a woman, wanted to know what made Cody sigh so loudly and contently after telling his stories, wanted to know what created that silly grin on Jimmy's face, wanted to share that knowing and passion filled look that had passed between Lou and Kid before they broke up. He had even seen Buck succumb to a dreaming smile occasionally that he knew held more knowledge than his best friend had shared with him. Although convinced that there was a woman out there somewhere for him, he had to admit that his faith sometimes was poor.

And with Buck gone Cody's talking really was getting on his nerves. He knew that the blonde rider didn't mean anything with his talk of 'being a ladies man', merely used it as a mean to get away from the at times tiresome chores at the station, but still it hurt that his friends so easily dismissed him. Of course he knew that it was his own fault - he never did join them on their escapades to the saloons and he preferred to stay home on the town's social events. He took a deep breath and tried to think. Nothing had happened tonight. He had decided to apologise to Mrs. Robinson and he had taken a cup of tea. He didn't have to think about her kiss, or her touch and how she had said he was handsome. Part of him felt relief over his hasty departure but another part of him blamed himself for not staying. But he didn't know her, he reasoned with himself. She had just been lonely - it was right to leave. But he wasn't completely convinced. Finally he realised that he would never reach a conclusion and wearily he rose to walk back to the station. He glanced up at the hotel as he passed, wondering what he really had missed.


The next day he saw Mrs. Robinson occasionally in town, but he carefully avoided meeting her. It wasn't until the second day when he helped out the livery owner with some horses that she managed to seek him out. Ike was busy brushing the horses down and didn't notice her until she was standing outside the stall. It was the horse that first noticed her and as the animal shuddered and raised its head, Ike turned around and found himself face to face with a smiling Mrs. Robinson.

"Good morning, Ike," she said softly. Ike nodded a greeting and returned to brushing the horse, not knowing what else to do.
"I feel as something the cat dragged in," Geneva said with a hint of sadness in her voice. "I haven't seen you since…" She silenced, but when there was neither response nor acknowledgement from Ike, she continued.
"I just wanted to say that I'm sorry. I don't know what got into me. Can you forgive me, Ike? I still would like to be your friend."
Ike, realising that he couldn't turn his back to her for ever, slowly turned.
<My fault,> he indicated by pointing to himself and shaking his head.
"No," Geneva objected. "I guess I let my feelings take the best of me. I - I've never met anyone like you, Ike and …" She managed to blush slightly. "And I guess that I like you a little too much. It's not your fault. I should have known that you couldn't be interested in someway a few years older than you and a widow at that." Geneva's lowered her eyes as to create an image of a pang of conscience, but she carefully studied the face of the young man before her to see his reaction. He had information that she needed and she had always used her body to get what she wanted and had never thought that this would be any different. Life had not taught her that men cared for feelings nor did they know love. They used you and if you didn't use them, you ended up getting hurt. So deep was this conviction that she was completely oblivious to the fact that all she would have to do was to become friends. Friendships were vulnerable and she wanted more than that. After all there was money involved - lot of money.

Ike stared down at the floor, a blush slowly creeping up his face. He had finally convinced himself that what had happened that evening two days ago was just a mistake, and here she was telling him that she liked him. Suddenly his hands felt like two sacks of grain, heavy and clumsy. He didn't know what to say or to do, and his confusion must have been obvious to the woman before him.
"I'm really sorry Ike, and I hope that we still can be friends? Please?"
Ike looked up, still a bit hesitant. However, the more he thought about it, the more he knew that he could hardly refuse. After all, all she was asking for was friendship. That wasn't so bad, was it? Finally he nodded. Geneva smiled gratefully at him.
"Thanks, Ike. I was so afraid I had lost my only friend in this town." She held up a basket. "Now, do you think that you could borrow one of the horses and a wagon? I brought a picnic with me."


Ike yawned as he pulled the blanket over his shoulder. It was dark in the bunkhouse except for a single light by Cody's bed, where the blond rider was deeply involved in one of his newly acquired novels. Ike tried to ignore the light as he thought back on the day. He had taken Geneva out to that picnic and all they had done was talked. He had been nervous and acted as a clumsy schoolboy but she hadn't seemed to notice. In fact Ike had finally managed to relax some and even tried to teach her a few signs. And he had promised to meet her again for dinner. To make up for the one he missed, she had said and he had agreed. It would only be dinner between friends, even if the thought of what had happened last time still haunted his mind. He bit his lip thoughtfully as he realised that part of him wanted to be more than friends. For a second he wished that Buck had been back, so he could express his doubts to him. But only for a moment. Sometimes Buck acted strange when it came to him seeing women. Ike knew that Buck only acted out of concern, that he didn't want to see his best friend hurt, but at the same time Ike felt that there was things he needed to find out himself. And this was one of those times. Taking a deep breath he pulled the blanket over his face and closed his eyes. Soon he was in a deep sleep, his dreams filled with soft touches and compliments whispered softly in his ears.


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