A Backwoods Awakening

byYDB95©

Melissa's heart was pounding, and she wasn't sure if it was nerves or fright or something much more positive than all that. But as strange as their visitor seemed, Melissa felt safe with her. Safer than she felt with Mr. Morahan and his drunk, angry friends, for that matter. So she kicked off her pumps and pulled her way up to the door. The muddy ground outside would destroy her stockings, she knew, but she wasn't about to give the guys a show taking them off on the bus.

"You don't really want to wear tights in this heat anyway, do you?" the blonde asked knowingly as Melissa reluctantly stepped out onto the wet gravel.

"No, I sure don't," Melissa admitted, no longer surprised that she could read her so easily. "Or in any weather. I'm afraid you got my number on that one. But Mr. Morahan has his rules."

"I figured that explained everything about you, girl. Or at least I hoped it did. You looked too gorgeous to be in a league with those guys, but that could have been wishful thinking on my part. I sure hope it wasn't." With Melissa safely off the bus, the older woman slammed the door shut and wedged a branch in the latch so it couldn't be opened from inside. With that done, she turned back to Melissa, who was enjoying the refreshing breeze even as she was aware of the mud seeping into her stockings. "Well, I guess I should start by introducing myself. My name is Patricia, and I don't like to be called Patty or Pat. It's Patricia."

"I'm Melissa," and they shook hands. Melissa wondered should she add "pleased to meet you" or some other cliché, but she sensed that Patricia wouldn't appreciate it. She desperately wanted to respond to the "too gorgeous" comment, but she had no clue how to do so. With the ice broken, though, Melissa had to admit the feeling was mutual: Patricia looked weatherbeaten but resilient, wonderfully alive, and beautiful in the earthiest of ways. Those old familiar guilty urges bubbled up harder than ever, but for once Melissa felt no inclination to tamp them down. Something about the bus ride had triggered a last-straw reaction in her, and Patricia seemed like icing on that cake just now.

"Now then," Patricia said, stepping away from the bus, with Melissa following her lead. "Tell me just how it is that you ended up on that bus."

Though alive with attraction and titillation, Melissa kept her head. "Look, Patricia, Mr. Morahan is a selfish, gross, chauvinist pig, but I don't want anybody getting hurt on my account."

"Even though they were fixin' to destroy my home, and the birds' habitat here?" Patricia asked.

"I don't like what he does," Melissa reassured her.

"Good answer! But then what were you doing on the bus?"

Melissa bit her lip. "Making money the only way I could so I could save up to get the hell out of here. No offense, if this is your home, but growing up here was murder. I was...different -- and I tried so hard not to be. Cheerleading, church youth group, dating boys I didn't even like because they were popular...I did what I had to do, but it was always just to avoid getting bullied until I could get out. College was a sweet taste of freedom, but that's been over for a year or so now and I'm desperate to move someplace where I can be myself. New York, San Francisco, but even a smaller city would do as long as it's not so goddamn conservative. And Mr. Morahan, well, like I said, he's a pig, but he pays me well. But I'll tell you what. After that bus ride -- I mean, those guys were in rare form, sexist comments left and right, and this is such a beautiful place -- I'm done, Patricia. I assure you, if you let me go, I'll never bother with your land or anybody else's again. I'm done."

"If I let you go?" Patricia asked. "Girl, I didn't kidnap you. You're the only one I let off the bus, after all. And I want to believe you about being done with your boss, but I'm sure you can appreciate I'm skeptical. I mean, your answer just sounded too much like what I'd want to hear from you, I'm sure you can see that."

"But it's true." Melissa's voice was shaky, and she was frightened of Patricia for the first time.

Patricia turned and put her hands on Melissa's shoulders, sending a delightful shock through Melissa even as she was still frightened. "Listen. If you're bein' honest with me, Melissa, then I'll make you a deal. I'm gonna give you a fair chance to prove you've learned your lesson, and help me teach your boss and his friends the same one. They won't get hurt unless they bring it on themselves, and either way it might save the habitat here. Sound fair?"

"What if I don't want to help?" Melissa couldn't help asking, though she did want to help with all her heart.

"Like I said, I didn't kidnap you. But it's a long walk back to town in your bare feet, and you won't be around to be sure I don't do anything drastic with your friends on the bus."

"They are not my friends!" Melissa snapped. Then, turning more conciliatory, she added, "Fine, I do want to prove I really meant it, and I'd love to help save your land." By now they had made their way most of the way across the clearing to the edge of the pond Melissa had mentioned on the bus. The water, though muddy, looked cool and inviting in the hazy afternoon sunshine, and the bus was just barely in sight. Maybe she could persuade Patricia to join her for a dip...

"You want to go for a swim?" Patricia asked with a gentle smile.

"How do you keep doing that?!" Melissa demanded. "How can you read me so easily?"

"Because I used to be you," Patricia said. "Or someone a lot like you, at least. I grew up not far from here, too, in a nice ritzy suburb, maybe even the same one you're from -- don't tell me which, I don't need to know. What I do know is what you said about how growing up here was hell, and I also saw how you looked at me on the bus. Tell me, Melissa, are you out?"

"Out?" Melissa asked.

"I guess that answers that question," Patricia mused. "Not even out to yourself, I gather, at least not completely. It's okay, I probably wouldn't be either if I were in your shoes."

"Well now, wait a minute!" Melissa protested. "I'm not even sure about all that. I mean, yes, I played around with a couple of other girls when I was in college, but who doesn't do that? It doesn't mean I'm..."

"Not necessarily, that's true," Patricia admitted. She sat down on the bank of the pond and patted the spot next to her. "But tell me, and remember you're completely safe with me here...tell me, hasn't that doubt always been with you?"

"What doubt?"

"That you might just be one of those people the schoolyard bullies loved to accuse everyone of being, one of the ones your preacher said were going straight to hell, the ones your parents were afraid of exposing you to. If you grew up here, you've been hearing it all your life, I know that. What I'm wondering is if you haven't always had a sense that you just might be one of them, like I did for as long as I can remember. Do you recall admiring the girls in their dresses on the playground, even if you hated wearing dresses yourself? What about the locker room in high school, did you ever find yourself stealing glances at the other girls and imagining them in so much more detail later on when you were alone? And no doubt you had your share of dates with boys, but never felt a spark of anything with them. Any of that ring a bell, Melissa?"

Melissa swallowed hard and felt tears welling up. "God, Patricia, yes. And I told myself again and again I didn't, I wasn't, it wasn't natural and I'd go to hell and that wasn't me."

Patricia touched Melissa gently on her back, their most intimate contact yet. "It is and you won't and it is you, girl. Believe me, I know what you've been through. It's one reason why I ended up living out here alone. High school was rough, college wasn't much better in those days, at least here it wasn't. Luckily, I met my Valerie. From New Orleans, she was, so she was at least a bit worldlier than I was back then. Didn't stop our parents from disowning us both when we came out to them, though, and so that's why we moved out here. Came for the fishing, at first, then we realized a couple of resourceful gals like us could live off the land, or close at least. It was a truly peaceful life back then, Melissa, working the river and the garden all day and making love all night if we wanted to, only coming out into the world to deal with their abuse when we felt like it, and back then that wasn't often."

Melissa sensed a sad ending to the story. "I'm sorry, Patricia...I gather Valerie isn't around anymore?"

"Your boss isn't the first man who tried to rape the land out here, Melissa. Even back when we first got here, there were greedy developers with their eye on the riverfront property. Everybody knew about the birds here and how it would put them at risk for extinction, and they also knew a few nature-loving souls like us lived out here to begin with. But they didn't care. Valerie, though, she wouldn't give up without a fight. She joined a group of activists here and they fought back, hard, my Valerie most of all. Got arrested a couple of times, she did, but she wouldn't let anything stop her from saving the marsh and our home. But then...well, Melissa, you'd have been about ten years old, I'm guessing. Do you remember the explosion at the refinery across the river?"

"Oh my God, Patricia, yes!" Melissa wanted to cry now, but out of respect for her new friend she held the tears back. "I was eleven. Something about a gas leak, wasn't it?"

"That's what they said in the papers. What really happened was that company was after our land, and we were holding a vigil outside their building in protest. I was there too, but I was far enough back in the crowd that my hair only got singed. Valerie was up on the stage as usual, rousing the crowd to hang in there with us, when the bomb went off."

"It was a bomb?"

"Never proven," Patricia admitted, "But the damage to the refinery was minor enough that they had it up and running again within a week, and the explosion happened when no one was inside except the security guard. He wasn't hurt. Eight of us outside were killed, including my Valerie, and dozens more injured." Melissa stopped and took a deep breath. "But they did back off on trying to take our land. I guess the issue got too hot for them after the explosion."

Melissa said nothing, but slipped her arms around Patricia and hugged her tightly.

"Thank you, Melissa. In any event, after that, I declared war on everybody who wanted to come anywhere near our land. For Valerie, for the birds, for nature, that's been my motto ever since then. It's one reason why no one got near it before now, even after the restrictions were removed. Others have tried before your boss, but they got the same rude awakening when they got too close to my abode."

Melissa pulled back. "You mean you booby trapped the road? Those flat tires on the bus weren't an accident, were they?"

"No, dear, they weren't," Patricia said proudly. "I saw you and Mr. Morahan out here in his SUV a few weeks ago, and the next time I went into town I stopped by an Internet café and did a little digging. It didn't take long to find out who that guy was and that he had bought the land, and even then I sensed you were an unwilling participant. Don't ask how I knew, I just knew. Or maybe I just hoped." On that note she took Melissa's hand and squeezed it tightly. "So I was able to call around to a few contacts in that group Valerie was with, and I learned when y'all would be back here. And I was ready."

"Not that I feel sorry for them or anything," Melissa said. "But just what do you have planned?"

"I'm going to let them stew there in their bus and get a taste of nature. Don't worry, it won't be all bad. They'll get to see a beautiful sunset and a true night in the country, and then the sunrise will seal the deal if any of them hasn't already sold his soul. If I believe they've learned their lesson, I'll see to it that they all get back to town safely."

"And if not?" Melissa asked.

"As I told you, it's a long walk home. They probably won't be smelling very good after a night in the bus either, and they might even take to beating up on one another if past experience is any guide."

"How do you know they won't call the cops on you?" Melissa demanded. "In fact, they probably already have!"

"No reception out here, dear," Patricia reassured her. "No need, after all, since people only come out here to get away from the crap your boss is trying to bring in here in the first place."

Melissa looked relieved. Then she stood up. "Oh, Patricia, I...the investors and Mr. Morahan, they deserve it, but --"

"The bus driver," Patricia said.

"Yes. Rusty's an honest guy, just doing his job, and he never had any intention of messing with your land."

Patricia stood up and brushed the dirt off her pants. "You're right, we've got to free him. Let's go do that, and then you're mine for a dip in the pond, girl."

"I'd better be," Melissa said with a grin, feeling genuinely free for the first time in her life and enjoying the wonderful tickle that seemed to radiate out from between her legs to her entire body.

On the bus, morale had turned from bad to worse as the men craned their necks to spy on the two women.

"What in the hell are they up to out there?"

"I can barely see 'em, you think I can hear 'em?"

"Doesn't anybody have a mobile? Call the damn cops!"

"No signal way out here! Besides, where do we tell them we are?! Do you even know the name of this place?"

"Morahan's Woods."

"Jesus Christ, are you tryin' to be funny at a time like this?"

Mr. Sheridan, nearly alone among the crowd in that he was sober and uninjured, was banging away at the bus door. But Patricia's wedge held, and he was getting nowhere. He finally gave up when one of the men who had been watching Patricia and Melissa called out that they were returning. "Thank heavens," he said, and sank back in the nearest empty seat.

Patricia expertly removed the branch, and opened the door. Mr. Sheridan scrambled to his feet, but Melissa was easily able to throw him off his balance with a slight push, and he went sprawling back where he had come from. "Gentlemen, I have an announcement," she said. "My new friend Patricia would like to treat you to a night on her land, so you can experience the beautiful countryside you are planning to destroy." Two or three of the other men had managed to get to their feet and were running toward her, but Patricia stepped up behind her and they all backed off, sensing they would have to choose between hitting a girl and getting beaten up by one in front of their buddies. "We just came back to help Rusty. The rest of you get comfortable and enjoy the natural show."

"What are we supposed to eat? Or drink?" demanded Mr. Bucks.

"You know as well as I those snacks and drinks survived the crash," Melissa told him.

"I gotta take a piss!" called out one of the others, quickly followed by a chorus of agreement.

"You're all men, you can just use bottles. There are bottles all over the bus." Melissa could scarcely believe her own brazenness as she said it, but Patricia laughed heartily in agreement as she was helping Rusty out of his seat. That, plus getting Rusty off the bus, was all that mattered to Melissa.

As soon as Patricia had Rusty safely outside, Melissa followed closely behind her and slammed the door shut again. Patricia quickly put the branch back in place, just in time to block Mr. Sheridan, who had dived for the lever as soon as the coast was clear. Ignoring the shouts of outrage from the bus, the two women turned their attention to Rusty. "Can you walk okay?" Melissa asked him.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure I can," Rusty said, stepping gingerly in circles as he assessed his leg. "Old Mr. Morahan cut off the circulation for quite a while, but I don't think there's any real damage."

"Okay, now listen," Patricia told him. "If you go back out to the main road where you came from but turn left instead of right this time, a couple of friends of mine are waiting in a van. They'll drive you home, as long as you can agree to keep your mouth shut about what happened here."

"No problem," Rusty said. "Disgusting the way all those guys talked to Melissa anyway. I'll never tell 'em anything."

"Good call," Patricia said. "Now go ahead, they're waiting for you."

Rusty did not need to be told twice. As soon as they had seen him off up the road, Melissa and Patricia turned to one another and embraced in full view of the bus. "Let's give 'em a bit of a tease, shall we?" Patricia asked.

"Love it," Melissa replied.

Aboard the bus, the sight was greeted with a string of obscenities amidst the outrage and disbelief. "Fuckin' dyke, I always knew she was!" "Wait'll I tell Melissa's father at the golf club," and worse. Of course Melissa and Patricia heard none of it, as they were enjoying one another's touch and aware of nothing else. Patricia's delightfully feminine form against her own felt right in a way Melissa had never experienced with a man, and now she knew she never would.

"Now then," Patricia said. "The pond?"

"Thought you'd never ask," Melissa quipped. And the two meandered hand in hand across the clearing.

Melissa was aware of one last howl from the bus, unmistakably Mr. Morahan: "Melissa, you let us off this bus or you're goin' to jail, little lady!" She ignored it, although she was now aware that the pond was only just in sight of the bus.

"You know the men will be able to see this," she warned Patricia.

"Exactly, girl. You'll be free and loved and enjoying nature, and they'll be trapped in that sweltering bus knowing there are two beautiful nude women just out of their reach. What could be finer?"

They were both still laughing when they reached their earlier perch just above the waterline. With no fanfare, Patricia matter-of-factly pulled her shirt over her head, revealing larger breasts than Melissa had expected them to be with her baggy clothing. She had already gathered that Patricia wasn't wearing a bra. "Haven't worn one in years," Patricia said, once again anticipating Melissa's thoughts. "I ain't no horse, I don't need to be in a harness all the time." Admiring both Patricia's breasts and her brazenness, Melissa set about unbuttoning her blouse. Despite the wear and tear from the accident and the time outdoors since then, she didn't feel right about tearing the delicate garment off; and besides that she was still feeling a bit shy. Acutely aware that she was being spied on from the bus, but giddy with the knowledge that none of the men would ever get close enough for a good look, Melissa finally pulled the blouse away. Standing before Patricia in her bra, she burst into a nervous laugh.

"Shy, are you?" asked Patricia, who was down to her panties by then.

"I shouldn't be, I know," Melissa said, and she reached back to undo her bra. The heat and humidity were very much making themselves known to Melissa's heavy work clothes, hairspray and makeup, and she was feeling like a sweaty ball of flammability just then. The gentle breeze on her bare upper body was wonderfully refreshing, and it also made her eager for more. So she found her modesty was nearly gone, as was her bra.

"You look beautiful in that," Patricia allowed. "I never wear one anymore myself, but I do like the look on other women."

"Thanks," Melissa said, relaxing a bit as she pulled away the garment and let her breasts fall free. Smaller than Patricia's but with bigger nipples, they stood out a bit more as well. Melissa drank in the hungry look Patricia was now giving them, and unzipped her skirt. It fell gracefully around her hips and legs, which were still clad in what was left of her stockings. "Gee, I'd forgotten I was even still wearing these." The feet were mostly gone, but the tight fabric still clung itchily to her sweaty legs.

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