This is a fan fiction story based on characters from the Lonesome Dove television show,
which belong to Rysher Entertainment and Hallmark. No infringement on copyrights is intended.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This was taken from a larger story that I was writing that hit a brick wall, so to speak. It is a bit dismal, BUT it is also meant to be a beginning of sorts. If and when I ever go back to this story, this part is actually the first step in Robert building a new life for himself. Shedding the sorrows of the past and moving on....

The Goodbye
by Joanne Long

Robert Shelby glanced at Lizzy and frowned. Dreary, cold-hearted Lizzy. He sighed heavily.

She returned his frown with a yawn and a good scratch of an itch on her naked backside.

Robert looked away and took a sizable drink from his whiskey bottle. He looked at his pocket watch--it was late and he would have to go to work soon. Robert was grateful for his job. The more he worked, the less time he had to spend with Lizzy. Lizzy Mayfield was the kind of person best visited in short fragments of time. And the fewer fragments the better.

Lizzy had been the first thing Robert had seen when he rode into the little town of Porterville. And at the time, he thought she was beautiful. But that was seven long months ago. Seven months...when just being alive, and free of Montana, was enough to make Robert happy. Back then, Lizzy had been beautiful and the sleepy little town had looked like paradise to the tired, lonely man. But paradise had slowly become purgatory. And Lizzy no longer seemed beautiful.

The tiny border town of Porterville had once held the promise of prosperity--people moved in, married and had children. They dreamed of building a solid community in which to raise families and grow old. But the dreams had soured. Mines petered out, wells fouled, illness and Indians took their toll. Now, Porterville was, by all accounts, a dead town. Most residents had grown old, moved out, or died.

Elizabeth Mayfield--Lizzy--had been born and raised in the decaying community. She had hated every inch of the little town. But, after years of tedium and loneliness, fortune had smiled on the tall, colorless woman. She had finally found someone willing to rescue her from the unbearable chore her life had become. And that someone was not Robert Shelby.

Clarence Wayne Boggs was a dumpy little man, short and heavyset. Boorish, illiterate and meek, he stuttered and was prone to allergies.

Boggs fancied Lizzy, and for years he had made pathetic attempts to get her to accept his advances. But Clarence Boggs had the good fortune to be the sole heir of a well-to-do elderly uncle. Now he had the means to impress her, with an offer of marriage and more importantly, San Francisco.

Lizzy had pounced like a cat. Boggs was hers. All two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars worth of him, and a ticket out of Porterville to boot. Men were such fools, she thought. A bat of the eye, a spread of the thigh--Lizzy despised Boggs for wanting her so much, the desperate little toad!

She had come to Robert Shelby to say her farewells. Lizzy was an old hat when it came to saying good bye. But this time was just a bit harder; she had once cared for Robert, if only for a brief while. And now she lay beside him and snorted at the two of them. Two lonely people, wishing the person they were with was anyone but who they really were. Lizzy had grown to hate his melancholy nature, as much as he hated her cynicism. They used each other in an effort to dull the pain of their solitude. She chastised him for not acting the Southern gentleman he was, then tore him down for being high-minded and lofty. She hadnít told him she was leaving, not yet. Lizzy was the cat again, playing with her unsuspecting bird. She needed him to be hurt by her leaving, needed his pain.

Robert sprawled on his worn, lumpy mattress and watched her while she took a drink from his whiskey bottle, ignoring the nearby cup he provided her. "Youíre quiet this afternoon," Robert said to the drear Lizzy. "Whatís on your mind?" He played with the laces of her chemise.

"You." She said as she ran her hand up and down his bare chest, slowly tracing his scar with her index finger. Playfully she nipped at his shoulder, and moved her hand lower on his body. She ran her finger in circles around his belly. "Always, you," Lizzy purred softly. She was naked except for her pink chemise. Lizzy had never been known for her modesty.

Robert, more then a little drunk, lazily gazed at her and smiled. She lied so easy and he knew it. "Me? I doubt that." He scrunched his nose slightly. She smelled of sweat and cheap perfume.

Without formality, Lizzy unbuttoned Robertís worn pants and pulled them off of him.

"Not right now, I have to work," he protested weakly, but he was already giving in to her ardent demands.

Lizzy at her finest, in lustful pursuance caressed and massaged his shoulders and his chest, exploring his body with her fingers and the tip of her tongue. Her efforts were coarse and hasty, dispassionate and staged, yet still effective. Finding the object of her pursuit, she stroked him. Holding his sex in her hand she rubbed, and gently squeezed him. Stroking, she felt him rise to her. Lizzy slid down his body and took him into her mouth, drawing on him in the rhythmic motion of animal lust.

Shelby moaned, swelling with the feral need of her. Running his fingers through her tangled hair, he shuddered.

Inspecting the results of her efforts, Lizzy moved up him, kissing and fondling the contours of his body.

Alive with desire, he rolled her over and kissed her back, on the mouth, hard. She tasted like stale coffee, her lips were limp, her eyes apathetic. But he needed her. Robert traced the outline of her breasts with his forefinger. Then he pushed her legs apart, and he pressed his hardness into her moist, willing pocket of ecstasy, moving into her, against her, with a strong, thrusting motion.

Wrapping her legs around him, she squeezed his sweaty body. Her hips rose to him, driving Robert deeper into her. "Oh, God. Sweet Lord, have mercy." She squealed, and dug her fingernails into his back, as release flowed through her like a river of fire.

Suddenly he tensed and gasped. Holding her in his tight grasp, his passion exploded within her. Robert moaned deeply and held her for a moment. Then without a word, he slid away from Lizzy, and lay on his back next to her.

Lizzy glared at him. "Is that it? Thatís all?" she huffed.

Robert stared at the ceiling of his shabby, draft-filled shack, and was quiet for a long time. "When are you leaving?" he asked finally.

Lizzy stiffened in anger. Robert knew she was going away. He had known all along. She had wanted to hurt him with the news, to see the anguish in his face as she strolled out of his life. More then anything, she wanted him to ask her to stay, and despised him because she knew he wouldnít. "What do you care?" she said as she sat up and kicked her legs over the edge of his lumpy bed.

He took a deep breath and looked to her. "If I cared," Robert asked as he sat on the other side of the bed, "would it really matter?"

"No, not any wouldnít matter." With a huff she grabbed her skirt off of the plank floor and began to dress. She grabbed an old pillow from the bed and threw it at Robertís head. "With all your blue-blooded education and high standards. I had hoped that eventually you would have the ambition to do something...anything." She roared in frustration.

"Why should have enough for both of us." Robert gave a bit of a laugh. " A lot of good ambition ever did for me."

"I have plans for the rest of my life and they donít include growing old and dying in stinking Porterville!" She buttoned the dark-pink blouse she wore. "You can sit around here and wait for the hangman to catch up with you if you want. Thatís a pathetic choice to make. You! You were a pathetic choice to make!"

Robert turned his back to Lizzy and ignored her tirade. Shelby had heard it all before, night after night. Until now, he tolerated her, solely for the benefit of having another human being in his life. "Go then," he muttered.

Suddenly, Lizzy missed him terribly. She missed his easy smile and his quick laugh. Her mind was made up though. Clarence Boggs had asked her to go to San Francisco with him. It was the best offer Lizzy had. She sighed and sorrowed over leaving Robert, though she didnít know why anymore. "I guess this is it then. If you ever make it to San Francisco, look me up. I could have loved you--if I only had the patience."

And he came to her and they hugged, in a stiff, emotionless gesture.

Then Lizzy stood in the doorway to leave. She listened to the distant song of a mockingbird. How appropriate, she thought.

Robert managed a small smile. "Have a good life, Miss Lizzy."

"Look out for that noose, Robert...." Lizzy said with a sigh. "And for Godís sake...put on some clothes."

Robert watched her leave and closed the rickety door behind her. All was said and done. He had quit missing Lizzy months ago. All she left him with was a handful of bittersweet memories, little more. After a while, he pulled his clothes on and stepped out into the morning sunshine. Porterville was just a stopover on the journey. Leaving would be easy, if he had somewhere to go. Maybe it was time to head on. Shelby quickly put the thought out of his mind--he was late for work. Walking down the dusty road, Robert began to whistle for the first time in months.


Send Joanne your feedback here!
August 20, 2000

Homepage || Reading Room || Art Gallery