AN: Sorry about the long awaited update. I got really sick and really busy with school so I didn't have any time to update. But I have a week off in a week so I will try and update at least twice over that break. Read, enjoy, and review!
Cullen shook his head to keep awake, rubbing his hands underneath his eyes. It was well into the night, and he had already failed to sleep the night before, but none of this matter. Lily had barely stirred in the hours since the Swede's attack, and he could not allow himself to fall asleep now. The Durants had stayed settled into one of the train carts that had failed to be burnt down in the raid, but he could care less for the things that they did. They did not know what Lily had done, at least not completely; if they had, he figured they would have run. Eva had gone to Lily's train cart to report on the condition of the Swede. He was dead, his pulse gone, and she had returned to Cullen with this news. It did not stir him, however. He had whispered the simple, almost command to Elam to burn the corpse, but did not know if the man had followed through with the statement. Again, he did not care.
His eyes transferred over to Lily. Her breathing had become less shallow, but still, she had not woken up. His rough hand lightly stroked its way around her face, his lips softly lowering to touch hers. She had made it through the day, which was enough to keep him from completely giving up any hope that she was going to die. The thought was much more troubling to him then he would have ever thought. Why, he was unsure. He knew he cared for Lily. But he had not yet gone as far as to whisper the three little words to her. The three words he had said to his deceased wife, and the words he was sure that Lily had heard from her deceased husband. They did not seem to play into the picture, not in his mind, and he thought, not in his heart yet either. He leaned down to kiss her forehead lightly. And before he knew it, those three little words had run their way from his lips; his self control vanished in a moment of what he would normally call upmost weakness.
Lily's eyes were closed tight, and she could note this to herself in her state. Her head was pounding, in a certain rushed manner that made it hard to remember how to open her eyes. Even as a normally automatic reaction, she did not have the ability to do it. She tried to move her hand, but found that she was too dizzy to make much of a moment. Around her, she could hear the harder breath of a man. Cullen; or at least she hoped it was Cullen. She tried harder to make her eyelids open at the sound of boots drawing closer to her body. She knew those footsteps. They, without a doubt, belonged to Cullen Bohannon. Yet, her eyes still refused to open. Her head pounded as if someone was knocking upside her temple, and it was causing the greatest discomfort for her to be unable to open her eyes to motion or speak for medication to help her pain disappear. Then she heard him speak.
Could she have possibly heard him right, was her first response. It was possible that he had said nothing. She had not heard those words since Robert had died. Not even the nights that Thomas Durant had tried, and eventually succeeded, in seducing her to his bed. And she did not imagine that she would be hearing it from Cullen, not yet at least. He still had his walls surrounding him, no matter how many nights they had been spending wrapped in each others' embrace. "Cullen," her weak voice choked out in response. She forced her hand to his that was still placed on her right cheek.
At the sound of his name coming from the thought to be unconscious woman, Cullen was taken back. "Lily," he whispered back, softly kissing her lips as he watched her eyes open up to look at him. She had heard him. He still did not know how the words had flown out of his mouth, but she had heard them nonetheless. He felt her soft pink lips kiss his rough ones back, his beard rubbing against the skin of her bare chin. It was as beautiful as it had been the first time she had kissed him. He pulled back, placing his hand on her blonde hair, stroking it softly. "You need some rest," he said, standing up. "I'll get Ruth and Eva, ma'am," he said, smiling down at her on the small cot. He turned to walk out to quickly get to the two women for the medical purposes. But he also knew, deep down that he was not ready to confront or hear what she had to say in response to his declaration of love. He did not know for himself that he had truly meant those words, and he wanted to be sure.
Ruth was sitting beside a fire at the front of her church. Her eyes glanced over all of the damage. None of this seemed to matter to her, however. Joseph had taken off once again, before the raid had even started. Her father was dead. She did not have any feelings towards Sean; her heart was still set on the church and at the very core, on Joseph. She had no thoughts about anything now, however, because Joseph was gone and Hell on Wheels was broken. There would be no mass on Sunday. No one to preach to, no one to continue to try and save as her father had done before her. So many people were dead and so many were on their way to death.
"Miss Ruth," Bohannon said, stepping out into the moonlight at her side. "Mrs. Bell is up," he whispered in a somber voice. He did not know how to approach the woman who seemed lost in her own thoughts. None of this mattered to Ruth, who simply walked to the back of the church to aid Lily Bell. Cullen followed her back, rubbing his beard in his hands, still trying to comprehend what he had said to Lily.