Just something I needed to get out of my head after watching the movie. I may continue on with some other shots.
All speech is from the film, I make no claim on that or the names... Only the thoughts I've put running through Drovers mind! ^^
The First Kiss
He's broken his most important rule, and yet somehow it seems the best way to commemorate the old drunk. Moving away from the fire he takes a breath to clear his head and saunters towards the trees, allowing himself to be soothed by the chords Sing-Song is strumming on the ukelele. Lady Ashley. He never would have thought she was capable of this sort of work; a woman, no, lady like her. She had seemed so prim, and uptight that day he collected her from Darwin. It most certainly had not crossed his mind that she would be willing to drove a herd of cattle across the Australian outback with no supplies other than those they could carry; scratch that, he wouldn't have wanted to believe her to be anything other than a snobby, prissy, British, blow-in...
"We can't let them win."
Her face, so defiant, and the finality in her tone as she said it... First impressions? Well, he had been very wrong about her. This beautiful, courageous woman - because he has to admit to himself that he finds her to be so - widowed only a few days ago, set on finishing her dead husband's work. And somewhere along the way she's enchanted him as well, caught him up in her spell and, ruefully, he concedes that he's starting not to mind so much...
It's not a request. She's telling him, and even as he mumbles a refusal he knows she will win. He averts his gaze in the vain hope that this will deter her; her small hand is reaching for his larger one, her tone laughing as she cajoles him into bending to her will. It's been too long since a woman did that with him... She's giggling, and now he knows for sure he's done for, that he's going to go along with this, let her teach him to dance. His next coherent thought is that she is most definitely not a drinker, and he tells her so as they stumble back towards the tree,
"No..." she giggles her reply, leaning against the tree and now he's the one cajoling her, assuring her of his dancing capabilities, though they are non existent. But he's starting to think that maybe for her he could try. The atmosphere has shifted and he doesn't know when that happened, but she's leaning back against the tree, gazing up at him, daring him... His gaze drops for a second as he raises his hand to her jawbone, trailing his fingers down the ivory skin of her neck in fascination. She's still looking at him like that, her eyelids drooping shut, head tilting forwards, expecting, and in that instant he realises just how much he wants her to want him.
Slowly, oh so slowly, their lips come together, her top one between his two or maybe it's his bottom lip between her two - it really doesn't matter. He's forgotten everything but this, not even noticing the music anymore. He kisses her again, properly now, their breathing becoming laboured as he presses his mouth to hers. Nullah's voice rings like a bell, out of nowhere and he jumps away with the mortifying realisation that if the boy had not interrupted he would have most likely taken her against that tree. Her eyes are closed, and she's turning her face away, obviously equally mortified at being caught, and at the blunt question being put to them,
"No... No mate, no... We're just... having a dance here..." he hears his gruff, garbled reply even as his senses are buzzing. Sarah looks at him - he can't possibly call her anything else now, at least not in his thoughts, not now - and there's a flash of something in her eyes before she turns to face the inquisitive child who is obviously unsatisfied with the answer he's been given,
"Uh... y-es. It's called the Foxtrot." she answers, evidently not having quite recovered her composure. Nullah looks unconvinced,
"Fox dance?" he puzzles, before smiling hopefully, "You gonna teach me that dance?"
He can't help it, and snorts with nervous laughter. Christ... Maybe the ground could just open up and swallow him whole?
"Uh, you're a bit too young for it mate..." he smiles up at the child. Sarah is snickering quietly beside him as he responds, followed up swiftly by the sharp reprimand from Daisy,
"Nullah! Get down from that tree now! There're some bad spirits up there!"
"You in big trouble!" Nullah whispers back to them as he turns to go back to the fire. The music has stopped now and the two conspirators glance at each other and titter in nervous relief. Daisy is scolding Nullah in the background, and suddenly the awkwardness settles upon them like the first rain of the wet hits the ground. Sarah is the first to speak, asking if he's ever, "fallen into wrong side business." She seems unfazed, possibly due to her lack of tolerance for the rum, but he's thrown and finds himself looking away as his heart makes that painful squeezing motion it always does when he thinks of his late wife. He manages to gruffly respond in the affirmative, that yes, he was married, it was before the war. He hopes she will leave it at that, although he knows she won't and even some treacherous part of him doesn't want her to drop the subject. It's been so long since he talked about this and, well, damnit, he wants her to know... Why this is he doesn't dwell on much, but he knows it's true. So, when he answers her next question he chooses his words carefully, finishing by letting her know that his wife had been left to die because she was black. He stubbornly maintains eye contact, sees the flash of comprehension in her eyes, notes the catch in her voice and hears the stoic, British tone come to the fore. He looks away; she doesn't understand, she's just like the rest of them, she -
"Do you have children?"
The tone is soft, compassionate, curious. It's a struggle to answer the simple "no"; partly because of the heartfelt longing that he could answer with a "yes", but also partly in the relief that she isn't running a mile, or washing her mouth out with soap at having discovered "what he is" as the Darwiners would put it. It's a struggle made harder by her sweetly sincere response to which he can only smile in gratitude,
"Well, that's a shame... I think you would've made a great father."
"You?" he manages, after a moment.
"No." she responds, and even in that one syllable he can see the vulnerability rise up in her eyes, "I can't."
The tone is bitter, her expression defying him to offer her the pity she must have had from so many others.
It's all he can manage; somehow, in the back of his mind he had imagined her as having children. Something about her demeanour had - well, that explained why she had been so reluctant that day about comforting Nullah. Her words came back to him now, clearly echoing, "I'm not... good with children." He looks at her, her bravery seeming all the greater now that he knows this, and he simply speaks his mind as he starts to move towards the fire,
"That's too bad... You woulda made a great mother."
The tears in her eyes as she smiles her thanks are visible now that he's this close to her, and he suddenly wonders if anyone has ever said this to her before. She would quite clearly be a wonderful mother, and yet so many other women who don't want children can do so... What must it feel like, to be stripped of such a basic purpose he wonders as he moves past her,
"Well, goodnight..." she says shyly.
He smiles at her, eliciting a lovely smile from her in return, and he knows, he just knows, that his dreams will be haunted by her tonight. But maybe, maybe he doesn't mind so much any more...