[ cowboys and russians ]
The fourth morning, Ben's awake well before dawn. Despite the hour, he's downright jovial from a night spent in an actual bed and the chance to wash away the dust from the trail.
(Of course, sharing that bed with Esfir's no hardship.)
They've still got a twelve-mile ride ahead of them, but he doesn't wake her just yet; the pads of his fingers are stroking the back of her neck in a steady, featherlight rhythm.