tagSci-Fi & FantasyForever of the Wood

Forever of the Wood

byLesLumens©

This is an entry in the '09 Literotica Earth Day Contest. If found anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story has been posted without my permission. © Copyright LesLumens

The characters from my previous two Earth Day stories, "Steward of the Wood" and "Daughter of the Wood" return in this story. If you enjoy this tale, you might want to go back and read those for a deeper look at the history of the returning characters.


♠~~~~~∞~~~~~♠

Daniel rose from his chair with a groan, wondering how many more times he might be able to accomplish it without help. As he picked up his cane from the table in his wrinkled left hand, he could almost hear old man Johanson's words echoing back to him from across the many long years.

My time is almost up, Daniel. I can feel it in my bones. Don't you bother telling me it ain't, 'cause I know better.

He understood now — standing in almost the exact same spot as the man who had been as a third grandfather to him. His time was slipping away, too.

Daniel's cane tapped on the hardwood floor as he walked to the window. The first sight of the trees buoyed his spirit, and made him feel stronger. He knew that his love awaited him there — rather impatiently. The whispers of her voice in his head and the ivy rubbing up against the window left little doubt of that.

He understood her impatience all too well. He didn't spend much time in Mr. Johanson's house, which he'd purchased to give his daughter and her new husband some privacy all those years ago. Most of the time, he remained with his love, near her pool in the woods, which stood between his new home and the house where he'd grown up.

Before he walked out the door, he checked his cellphone, to make sure that he'd turned it on. All too often, things like that slipped from his memory of late. He wouldn't wait any longer to return to her side, but he needed to be able to stay in touch with the world outside the wood, as well.

The plants in the house rustled in anticipation as he walked to the front door. As usual, his paper was lying in the grass right in front of the porch. Daniel had yet to figure out how she managed to transport it from the mailbox at the end of the drive to the front door without leaving her wood, but he was grateful for it.

One of the stories on the front page confirmed what had driven him to return to the house, and the world beyond the wood. The Governor and a group of speculative investors were pushing hard for the new highway. Though it wouldn't cross his property, Daniel was determined to stop them from destroying a vast swath of the nearby nature, replacing it with four lanes of asphalt, hotels, gas stations, and restaurants.

He found the Governor's push to have the vote on Earth Day particularly insulting.

Shaking his head in irritation, he rolled the paper up and tossed it near the door on the porch as he turned toward his true home. He felt stronger with every step toward the wood, his cane little more than an accessory by the time he stepped beneath the shadowed boughs. The curved handle warmed in his hand, seemingly as eager to return as he was. As soon as she'd seen the need coming, his love had coaxed a tree and some vines to grow into the beautiful cane.

The scent of wildflowers tickled his nose, and birds erupted into song as he crossed the barrier between untouched nature and manicured lawn. A squirrel scrambled down a young maple tree only inches away, chattered at him, and then used his shoulders as a stepping stone to leap to an oak on the other side of the trail.

He'd grown used to it over the years, though the habit the animals had of stealing anything he tried to eat right out of his hand was irritating sometimes.

Only a few steps down the leaf-covered trail into the wood, she seemingly materialized from the undergrowth, wrapped her arms around him, and planted kiss after kiss on his face.

"Come. You have been gone too long," Xantina said with a perfect pout when she finally stopped kissing him.

Daniel held his nymph mate's hand, as stricken by her unchanging beauty now as he was on the day that she revealed herself to him. He brought her golden-hued hand to his lips to kiss it, and then reached out to run his fingers through her hair — the color of new leaves.

Xantina giggled, her willowy, nude body shivering from his touch, and causing her ample breasts to jiggle. Daniel felt his manhood rising, her sensual beauty and her magic easily able to overcome the infirmities of his seventy-four years.

She took his hand again, tugging him toward her pool at the center of the wood. Her body swayed as she walked the trail backwards, her steps unerring. Branches and fronds that crossed the path moved aside to let her pass, where any but she or her mate would have found the trail vanishing with each step. Her radiant smile could have tugged him along, even if she didn't hold his hand.

Upon reaching her spring-fed pool, Xantina let out a musical laugh and helped Daniel remove his clothing, which she carelessly tossed into the ferns and flowers that surrounded the pool. She kissed him again once he was nude — a lingering, passionate kiss this time — and caressed his erection with her hand.

"Xantina, the kids are coming," he reminded her, though he wanted nothing more than to sink down into the moss and ferns with her.

She stuck her tongue out at him, a gesture that she'd picked up from her daughter, when Xanbrina was a little girl. She laughed again, and turned to dive into her pool. Naturally, she gave a perfectly timed kick of her feet just before they sank below the surface of the water, splashing her love.

He was expecting it, as the game was as much a part of their relationship as their kisses, but he made no effort to move out of the way. Taken back to the days when he was a child and she was but his imaginary friend, Daniel slipped through the ferns, sank into the pool, and splashed her back as soon as she surfaced.

Xantina blew a drop of water off the tip of her nose, and then cocked her ear to the wind.

Daniel felt it, too. As the years had passed, he'd grown more attuned to the natural world around him, able to sense things beyond the ability of most people to discern. Likewise, he had a bond with those of his family that none other could have possibly understood. It was the latter that had attracted his attention, and that of his mate.

"Oh dear," Daniel said with a raise of his bushy white eyebrows.

♠~~~~~∞~~~~~♠

Gary stood in the bedroom doorway, just as spellbound by his wife's beauty as his father-in-law was with her mother's. Xanbrina brushed her honey-blonde hair — the tresses just as lustrous as they were on the day he met her, over twenty-five years ago. In a few more years, he would look more like her father than her husband.

Brina smiled at his reflection in the mirror. "I hope that you aren't about to tell me that you have to go in to work today." He shook his head while crossing the room to hug her from behind, and kiss her neck. "I love you."

She moaned from his touch and his words. "I love you too." She put her brush down on the dresser and spun in his arms to kiss him properly. "What is it, then? I know that look in your eyes."

"Kia asked to borrow the car."

Brina's smile faded into irritation. "What?" She let out a sigh. "You reminded her?"

"Yes. She just rolled her eyes at me and walked off."

Brina's voice had an ominous timbre to it that he knew all too well when she asked, "Where is she?"

"In her room." Brina turned as if to walk out of the room, but Gary caught her hand and said, "Maybe we shouldn't push her too much, Honey."

Brina sighed again, and offered a half-smile. "This is too important, Gary. We've already held on to her too tight. She's eighteen, and she's probably just as lost as I was at that age. Mom can help her deal with things, and calm some of her fears about..."

He held up a hand and interrupted her with a laugh. "Please don't talk about her having sex. I don't think I'm ready to deal with that yet."

She laughed, and hugged him. "You're as bad as Daddy," she whispered in his ear.

"And you're just like your mother," he whispered back.

She pulled back, wearing a naughty smile, and twitched her eyebrows. "You seem to like that, sometimes."

He sighed as blood rushed to his nether regions in response to his wife's coquettish tease. "Go talk to her, but at least think about giving her space, if she needs it."

"I will. Wish me luck?"

"Good luck — you're going to need it. She's in a mood today."

Xanbrina made her way to her daughter's room, and saw the door was open. She peeked in to find Kia standing in front of the mirror, alternately holding two different blouses in front of her and nervously twisting a lock of her strawberry-blonde hair. For just a moment, she saw the smart, sweet girl that she remembered — that she knew was still lurking beneath the rebellious teenage front.

"The blushing pink, but don't let your father see it," Brina suggested as she stepped into the room. She knew that the way the blouse accentuated Kia's full breasts would cause her husband to sputter with worry.

Kia sighed and rolled her eyes, but she did toss aside the red top, far more modest by comparison, in favor of her mother's suggestion. "Mom, I have a life."

"Honey, we planned this visit with Mom a week ago. It's important — and not so disconnected with you having a life as you might think."

"I have a date with Steve. Can I have the car or not?"

"Xankia..."

Kia growled and tossed her blouse aside. "Don't call me that. I want to have a normal life. I don't want to be a freak."

Brina winced, the words stabbing directly into her heart. Without another word, she turned to leave the room.

"Mom — wait," Kia called out, and hurried to the door before her mother could leave. "I'm... I'm sorry. I didn't mean that."

Brina sucked in a quavering breath, her eyes misting with unshed tears. "You can have the car," she said in a small voice, without turning around, and then walked away.

"Mom..."

Gary saw the look on his wife's face when she walked into the front room. "Brina?"

"I'm going ahead. She can have the car." Xanbrina shrugged, and puckered her lips into a kiss. "I love you. I'll see you in a little bit."

"I love you, too." He understood that his wife needed some time alone with her parents — especially her dryad mother.

In the meantime, his trembling, obviously ashamed daughter needed some comforting as well.

♠~~~~~∞~~~~~♠

Daniel drifted back into reality as Brina walked toward the wood, kicking off her shoes as soon as she stepped on the grass outside. He'd clearly heard every bit of the conversations inside his boyhood home, as if he sat a short distance away from each of them. He could still sense every one of his daughter's footfalls. "Did you do that?"

Xantina giggled and threw her arms around her mate's neck. "No, silly. You did."

"But how?" He curled his arms around her to cup her bottom beneath the water of the pool.

"You let go," she cryptically answered, and then nuzzled her nose against his.

Daniel knew that their daughter had nearly reached the pool, and his mate confirmed it by diving beneath the water to resurface at the pool's edge. Xantina climbed out of the pool to hug her daughter, who finally let her emotions free, sobbing into her mother's shoulder.

"Shh — all young ones say mean things," Xantina comforted her daughter. "Come swim with us. You will feel better."

None could long remain sad in the presence of the bubbly nymph. Brina soon lifted her head with a final sniffle, and reached for her blouse to remove it.

After so many years of seeing her so, Daniel barely noticed his daughter's nudity any longer, or felt any self-consciousness about his own. Somehow, Xantina's prejudice against clothes felt right here, in her place. Once mother and daughter dived into the pool, he pushed off a submerged rock and floated over to hug Brina. "Your mother's right."

"I know, Daddy. I'm just so worried about her. I'm afraid that we sheltered her too much." She turned to her mother and said, "She seems pretty serious about the boy she's seeing, and I though that maybe you could..."

Though Brina hadn't mentioned it before, she knew that her thoughts were an open book to her mother. When she was her daughter's age, her mother had taken her on a magical journey, letting her see, feel, and learn about sex to calm a young woman's fears.

What Brina didn't know — or at least chose not to know — was that her daughter was not nearly as sheltered as she believed.

Xantina grinned at her daughter. "She does not fear the nice thing. She only waits for her one."

Brina could feel her mother's amusement through the link they shared, and caught other little snippets of thought as well. "She's already been experimenting, hasn't she?"

Xantina stroked her daughter's cheek and let out a giggle. "She waits for the nicest thing of all, but she has done other nice things."

"I guess I got upset over nothing, then." Brina dunked her head beneath the water, and then smoothed out her hair. "She is being careful, isn't she?"

Xantina answered with a nod of her head. Unable to resist any longer, she swam over to kiss her mate. She simply couldn't go longer than a few minutes without doing so whenever they were together. "She should still come see the nice things with me, but it does not have to be today."

"Is Gary coming?" Daniel asked. He needed to talk to his son-in-law about the highway project.

"In a little while. I needed to calm down."

Xantina pouted, knowing that her mate's thoughts were outside the wood. While she agreed with what he was doing, and understood the need, he'd already lived in that world for two days now. He needed to relax as well, and she knew just how to accomplish it.

Brina and Daniel both raised their hands too late to avoid her splash.

♠~~~~~∞~~~~~♠

"Maybe I should call Steve and..." Kia began.

Gary shook his head. "No, go ahead on your date." His daughter had finally managed to calm down, though she was still deathly ashamed of what she'd said to her mother. "I don't know exactly what your mother and grandmother have planned, but I have the feeling that they don't want you distracted — and you're certainly distracted."

He leaned in a little closer and asked, "Have I met this Steve?"

Kia's cheeks warmed as she thought about the man who'd caught her eye. "His dad is Franklin — the one who owns that land."

Gary grunted in acknowledgment. He remembered the young man, and couldn't think of any immediate reason to disapprove of him. Franklin owned the largest tract of local land along the route of the proposed highway. He'd resisted at first, but the proponents of the project had finally made him an offer that changed his mind. "Go ahead on your date. I don't need to go through the ritual of warnings, do I?"

Kia rolled her eyes, but she smiled this time. "No, Dad. I know all about seatbelts, and the birds, and the bees, and condoms, and STDs..."

"Okay." He held up his hand to cut her off. "You can apologize to your mother tomorrow."

"I will, Dad." She hugged him and said, "I'm sorry."

"Just think about it next time. Now, go on." He handed her the keys.

A short while later, Kia hurried from the house wearing a jacket that struck him as a bit warm for the day. It made him suspicious that she was wearing something that he wouldn't have liked, but he decided to let it go. His wife rarely protested the racy clothing, and sometimes purchased it, so he deferred to her judgment.

Knowing the calming influence his mother-in-law exuded, he had little doubt that his wife had fully relaxed by now. He already missed her, and needed to talk to her father, so Gary stepped out the front door and turned toward the wood.

As always, Gary marveled at the abundance of flora and fauna. Everything grew to the extent of its natural bounty, and beyond. Many of the plants were rare in the area, and some were unique. The smell of flowers and damp earth after a spring rain filled the space beneath the canopy. A smile spread across his face when he heard twin, musical giggles from the center of the wood — his wife and her nymph mother.

He emerged into the clearing to see Daniel and Xantina, who both sat in the pool submerged to the neck. The clear, sparkling water did nothing to hide the nymph, and her startling beauty still made him a bit uncomfortable, even after years of seeing her so. He was just about to ask after his wife when he realized what was happening — too late.

Brina burst up from the water and hit him with a double-handed splash, absolutely soaking him, and then swam back from the edge of the pool, laughing.

Gary chuckled and said, "Brina, you could have waited until I got undressed."

Xanbrina blew a raspberry at her husband and said, "That wouldn't have been anywhere near as much fun. I do the laundry, so quit complaining and come in."

Even though he knew it was coming, Gary couldn't stop his cheeks from reddening when he dropped his pants and his wife licked her lips in response. He splashed down into the pool as quickly as possible, kissed his love, and asked her. "Feeling better?"

She kissed him again and answered, "Yes. How's Kia?"

"I calmed her down, but she knows how wrong she was to say that. She's off on her date."

Xantina splashed her love with a little pout. "Hurry and talk of these things that scurry in your head."

He wiped the water out of his eyes with a chuckle. "Yes, Love." He then turned to Gary and asked, "What's the word?"

"Not good. I've talked to everyone with land on the route, but they're being paid way above market value. Franklin was the last hold-out, and he's boxing things up now. That leaves us with no chance of even delaying it with an eminent domain court battle."

"What about the environmental studies?"

"They must all be on the payroll. Last one came in today, and they're all giving the green light."

Daniel sighed. "We're running out of time and options. I don't know if we can stop this."

Xantina wrapped her arms around him from behind and kissed the back of his neck. "It is the way of things. All things pass, and are renewed."

He shivered and melted into his mate's embrace. "I can't help thinking that it could be us next."

"All things pass," Xantina repeated, and kissed him again.

"Not as long as I draw breath — for however much longer that may be."

Brina took her father's hand. "Don't talk like that, Daddy."

"Honey..."

"Just don't." Brina smiled. "They won't touch a single leaf here for as long as I'm around, either."

Gary put his arm around his wife. "Same goes for me."

Xantina smiled, knowing that the devotion didn't stop there. Even if Kia didn't know it yet, her heart and her destiny were tied here as well.

♠~~~~~∞~~~~~♠

Kia glanced over at Steve as his car pulled into the driveway at his house. Everything had been fine — wonderful actually — as they watched the afternoon matinee and then went out for something to eat. Then, on the drive back to pick up her car, he'd grown quiet.

As the car rolled to a stop, Kia asked, "What's wrong?"

Steve sighed and put the car into park. "Dad took that offer on the land."

Kia reached over and laid her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry. I know you didn't want him too. I can't imagine losing all the memories."

"It's not just that. He's looking at places in Florida."

She smiled and stroked her fingertips over his arm. "It's not that far away. You'll be able to drive there in a day for holidays and things."

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