Soft as GlassbyLucyH©
A circling hawk, silhouetted against the cloudless blue sky, screamed keee keee keee.
Jamie hauled luggage and a pair of mountain bikes from the back of the van. He was content not to be part of the conversation between his girlfriend, Lene, and her father because he was too distracted, trying to pin a name on an elusive feeling that bothered him. Was it déjà vu, maybe? The place felt familiar when it shouldn't, though he couldn't say what about it triggered the feeling. He worried at it, but didn't get anywhere.
Lene patted the leg pocket of her cargo pants. "Yep, the GPS is right here. Extra batteries are in my pack."
Her father reminded her, not for the first time, "You leave a voicemail if you don't get us when you call to check in, alright?"
"Sure. And a text message. Want e-mail? We can do that too."
"It can't hurt." Lene's dad looked past her and caught Jamie's eye. He thought he detected a slight frown under the moustache, and perhaps a silent message. You take care of my daughter, bring her back in one piece, and don't you dare get her knocked up.
After the amount of fussing her parents did over a week long bike trip, Jamie wondered how they were going to deal with her being gone for over two years with the Peace Corps. More selfishly, Jamie wondered how he was going to deal with her leaving. He forced his mind off the subject and back to fixing his displaced bike chain and loading up with camping gear. Instead of brooding about her imminent departure, he was determined to enjoy their week together.
Lene snapped the front wheel onto her bike and wrangled some of their packs onto the back.
Her father looked in the back of the van, and then shut the doors. "You have your repair kit, right? First aid kit?" he called.
"Dad, you helped us pack. Yes. They're still in there," she said with good-natured exasperation. She tucked a wisp of long blonde hair behind her ear and propped her heavily laden bicycle up against a halfway collapsed chain-link fence.
Lene got a hug from her father, and Jamie got a manly thump on the shoulder. "Okay. Be careful you two. See you in a week."
"Thank you for the ride," she said. Jamie echoed the sentiment.
"Oh, you're welcome." Her father got back into the driver's seat and waved out the window as he pulled away. The van disappeared around a curve in the country road.
The hawk took a sharp dive and skimmed the tall grass. It rose with something small and dark in its talons.
Lene came up behind Jamie and wrapped her sunscreen-slathered arms around him.She kissed the back of his neck, then gave him a gentle nip. His body flushed with heat, thinking about the things she promised to do with him later, most which were not the least bit gentle. He laid his hands over hers and squeezed.
A mile off the old logging road, they set up camp amid rows of young jack pines that stretched out in all directions across the flat terrain. The scenery wasn't much to look at and there wasn't a lot of wildlife, but that was why they picked the place; it didn't attract many hikers, and they wanted to be alone. So far, so good. Lene hadn't noticed a single creature since the hawk and the field mouse at their drop-off. She strung the bag of food between two trees some distance from the camp site, just in case there were bears they didn't know about, and then crunched her way back over twigs and pine cones. She stopped by the bikes to watch Jamie hammer in a tent stake with a rock. Staring at Jamie was one of her favorite pastimes. For most of the day, he'd been riding beside her just out of reach, or in front of her so that she'd almost run into a tree stump while undressing him in her imagination. He got her wound up pretty tight just by being there; she was never so crazy about anyone else. Leaving himwouldshred her heart to ribbons, even if it was the right thing to do.
She'd been looking forward to volunteering with the Peace Corps since she heard about it in the tenth grade. Months ago, she decided to stick with her plans because she would always resent him if she gave up the opportunity for his sake; she feared that if she didn't go right after graduation, she never would. It was tempting to back out though, with her departure date so close.
He looked up at her with a smile as warm as the summer sun. It felt like he carried a piece of July inside him. Even in the dead of winter, he had warm hands and what looked like a perfect tan, but it went beyond the physical. He seemed to have twice as much life in him as anyone else, and a brain that effervesced with gentle humor and quirky ideas.
After the end of the month, she was afraid she might never see that smile again. He promised to write letters, send dirty pictures, visit her on the island, and meet her at the airport when she returned, but she thought the odds were low. Her best friend's engagement dissolved within their first two months away at university, a mere half day's drive from home. Even though Lene was unlikely to find any compatible guys while she was away, due to cultural differences, what were the odds that her boyfriend would wait two years for her to come home? She wouldn't hold it against him if he found someone else; most people in his position would. She swallowed the lump in her throat and blinked to chase the glaze of tears out of her eyes.
Jamie dropped the rock and dusted his hands off on the sides of his jeans as he stood up. "Ta-da! Home, sweet home." "Yep. Here we are. No roommates, parents, or neighbors. Just us and the pine trees." She unzipped the screen of their neon orange pup tent, so they could put things inside.
"...Just us and the pine trees." Translation: anything she did to him would have a week to heal before anyone they knew sawhim, and there was nobody aroundto mind if he screamed;arare opportunity for unwholesome fun.
He had a bad case of nerves that was getting worse by the minute. What they'd planned was scary on its own, but it took on a whole new level of scary when they got into the trees, and he realized why the place felt familiar. He'd dreamt about it all his life. The dreams came back to him in vivid detail that day:
Three year old Jamie wandered through the vast field of stumps and seedlings, lost and lonely until he woke from his nap and yelled for his babysitter.
In first grade, a drought threatened the fledgling forest. He wanted to water the saplings to save them, but he didn't have a watering can. He cut himself with a sharp stick and watered several with his blood, but broke down crying when he realized that, even if he bled to death, he could only revive a few.
Adult Jamie was naked, lashed to a tree trunk with a thick vine. He heard someone moving behind him, but couldn't ask what was going on because his tongue was the root of the vine that bound him to the tree.
He'd told Lene about it the next morning. She grinned. "Tied to a tree naked, eh? Is that a hint?" That was the day they started planning their camping trip.
Jamie didn't know how to tell her they'd just entered that same forest in real life. It would be hard to say without sounding like a flake.
Lene climbed into their tiny tent and arranged things as Jamie handed them to her. The tent moved every time she sat up, and her head bumped into the nylon. When he brought the second sleeping bag, she sighed and shook her head. "How do you feel about spending the evening outside?It doesn't seem at all buggy so far." She reached out and stroked his denim-clad leg.
He looked back toward the road, though he knew it was well out of sight. The ghost of a full moon hovered in the deepening blue between the treetops, waiting for the sun to quit hogging the sky. For a moment, he entertained the notion that she might also be thinking about his tree dreams. "Why do you ask?"
She waved a hand to indicate the inside of the tent. "It's just that it's awfully cozy in here, and it occurs to me there's nothing really solid to tie you to. Besides, it looks like it's going to be a nice clear night."
Jamie tried not to sound disappointed. "Aha. Okay, I'll give it a try."
Lene bounced out of the tent with the little purple quilted bag of bondage clutter, which she'd passed off as 'girl stuff' to warn her father away from it when they were packing. She turned around outside the tent door and collected the stick – a thin, straight branch she'd cut from a tree with her pocket knife and stripped of bark when they stopped for lunch.
Lene held the stick up for his inspection. "What's the rule again? Does it have to be smaller than my thumb or yours, do you suppose?"
He gave it his approval based on the way it made his muscles tense up and the blood rush to his groin, but didn't make him worry about damage to vital organs.
They found a patch of level ground between a couple of tree trunks and cleared away the pinecones before unzipping the sleeping bag and laying it out; blue and green plaid flannel side up. Lene sat on the edge and untied her running shoes.
Jamie settled down beside her, but hesitated with his hands on his shoelace. He fought back the urge to say that he'd changed his mind for real. He knew he had to go through with this. Lene called tormenting him a sex game, but for him it filled a need, permanent and marrow deep.
Seven year old Jamie sprinted across the lawn with the abducted teddy bear tucked under his arm like a football, and Jenny Ross in hot pursuit.
"Give the animal back, mister!" she yelled.
He could outrun her easily, but stopped and faced her instead. "You have to fight me first. I have lasers."
"They won't work. I have a force field, remember?" Jenny barreled into him and beat on him with her fists, demanding that he surrender the bear.
He held onto it tightly.
Now, his lover was ready to torture him viciously, simply because he asked for it. No safe-word. No mercy. He was pretty sure he'd get soul sick if he didn't take her up on it. That didn't make it easy to force himself through the motions of untying his shoes, though. She had both shoes off, with socks tucked neatly inside, before he managed to move.
She shuffled up behind him and put her hands up under his t-shirt, resting her palms against his shoulder blades. "You ready?"
He meant to say yes, but what came out of his mouth was, "If I said no, would you hurt me?" His fingers tangled with shoelaces that seemed unusually complicated.
"Of course not." She scratched his back affectionately, waking up a crowd of nerve endings that clamored for attention.
"You know, this place looks exactly like the dream I had about being tied to a tree with a vine." Jamie shifted his body this way and that to help her nails hit the spots that needed them most.
"Huh. Spooky coincidence?" She didn't sound terribly concerned.
"I don't really think it's a coincidence. More like a premonition." He finally got his shoes off and set them beside hers.
She rubbed the spot between his shoulder blades that always got cramped from bike riding. "Neat. There are plenty of trees. Shall I tie you to one?"
"If you like. Or I'd let you keep doing that all night, especially a little higher."
She obliged for a moment, then nuzzled his neck and withdrew her hands. "I like."
He turned around so that he could look into her serious grey eyes. Her shoulders looked relaxed, and she kept a little smile on her lips, but she ruined the calm vibe she was trying to project by forgetting to breathe.
"Well then. I'm all yours – every inch." He got the words out, but noticed that he was whispering unnecessarily.
They wrapped around each other and sealed their pact with a kiss. He closed his eyes and caressed her tongue with his. Lene's hair, ruffled by the breeze, tickled his nose.Feeling her arms around him brought his anxiety level down to bearable, and stirred the lust that his attack of nerves temporarily eclipsed. He breathed in the aphrodisiac aroma of SPF 50.
She bit his tongue.
He squeaked in surprise and reflexively tried to pull it back. She held on. Struggling just gouged him worse; he stopped fighting her and panted. She bit harder, making him squeak and squirm again before he could force himself to stop. He tried not to whimper or squeeze her too tightly, though the fight to keep his cool was one that he expected to lose eventually. She held his entire consciousness with her teeth. Yes.
When she released his tongue, the sting lingered and the kiss tasted faintly of blood. God, yes. The clothes he'd been nervous about losing a few minutes ago were now just in the way, especially the suddenly too tight jeans. With one arm still snug around her shoulders, he reached down to unbuckle, unbutton, and unzip her pants, and then his – a challenge since she kept her arms around his waist and there wasn't much space between them.
She pulled his shirt off over his head, forcing him to stop kissing her for a few seconds. He tugged it the rest of the way off and tossed it aside. The rest of their clothes went quickly, too, scattered haphazardly so Jamie and Lene could feel each other skin to skin. He reveled in her softness, and the contrast between his perma-tanned hand and her moon-glow pale shoulder, where her collar bone started its elegant swoop.
His opposite. Her familiar hands told him she wanted him as much as he wanted her. He hated the idea of waiting, perhaps for hours, to be inside her. Even for Jamie, that was too much torture to bear.
They collapsed together on the makeshift bed. Lene dug her fingernails into his thigh and caught a bit of his forearm between her teeth. His skin tasted salty, witha faint flavor that had no name other than Jamie. Kissing made her ache for him physically, and biting him drove her halfway to orgasm. Why did Mother Nature only give her two arms? She wanted to touch him everywhere at once.
He surprised her by shifting his weight, nudging her onto her back the way he sometimes did when they got around to screwing before she tied him up. It usually worked out that way when there were other people in the next room, and the need to be extra quiet kept her from pushing him very hard.
Cutting to the chase was the last thing she'd expected him to do, considering the circumstances, even as crazed as they were for each other.
It was hard to think about it coherently, though, with him all over her, kissing and nibbling her neck and shoulders. She curled her fingers into his hair as he worked his way down her chest. When he sucked at her nipple and teased it with his teeth, she arched her back and pulled his hair. His breathing quickened, and so did his mouth on her breast. In his enthusiasm, he pinched her nipple a little too hard between his teeth and it hurt, but her squeak made him ease up instantly; she forgot about it just as fast.
His erection bumped against her thigh and made it impossible to resist drawing her knees up and grinding against him. He didn't need to be asked twice. He pressed into her and she wrapped her legs around him. They belonged together like this. She was his, and he was hers. Every tiny movement made her vibrate with the joy of being alive. If she could pick one moment to live in forever, this would be it. It wasn't clear who was leading and who was following; they moved in time together by instinct.
She strained against him, trying to work him deeper inside her, to open up to him completely and give her every bit of pleasure that she could offer because he deserved to have it all. That included clawing his back hard because he loved it. His eyes slid closed, and he groaned with pain and ecstasy; the most beautiful sound in the world. It thrilled her to be the one with the privilege of drawing it out of him. He thrust into her with more force, and it hurt her hips to be shoved against the hard ground like that, but it was trivial compared with the satisfaction of feeling his whole body stiffen as he came inside her. It made her happy all the way down to her toes.
A minute later, she got around to mentioning that he was squashing her a bit. He moved over, and they lay panting side by side on the sleeping bag. She laughed. "That wasn't quite what I meant to do."
"I figured." Jamie nuzzled her shoulder and draped an arm across her stomach. "Sorry. I got a little over excited. That was vicious. It hurts to talk now." It didn't sound like he minded.
She interlaced her fingers with his and grinned. "Don't be sorry. As it turns out, I needed that." She turned her head to squint at him in the glare of the setting sun. "Let me see your tongue."
He obliged. The marks of her teeth were clearly visible. She liked that. She closed her eyes. "I'll make that worse if we start over. Do you want to?"
"Yes. Give me a few minutes, though." He brushed her cheek with his lips.
"Of course." She petted his arm and worried. Although it was a law of nature that the only time Jamie wasn't a masochist was immediately post-orgasm, so needing a break was a given, she thought she sensed ambivalence in his tone. Considering the way he hesitated before saying he was ready in the first place, shewas afraid that he'd derailed their original plan and rolled her onto her back more because he was having second thoughts than because of over-excitement. Should she second guess him, or trust him to know his own mind and be honest?
They held hands quietly for a few minutes while the sunset faded. She used her other hand toplay with her clit, trying to bring herself to orgasm, but couldn't quite get there. It was probably because of the worrying. She opened her eyes in time to see gold give way to deep blue. The continued lack of mosquitoes pleased Lene, but it bothered her that there weren't any fireflies or crickets in evidence either.
She listened carefully. No twilight bird calls; just the faint rustle of pine needles against pine needles when the air stirred. It felt wrong, but probably that had a lot to do with her being on edge because she wasn't sure that Jamie was okay.
Momentarily sated, Jamie went back to worrying and got nervous again. What was it about this place that gave him distressing dreams? What if they were they bad omens that he was foolishly ignoring? But how could they be bad omens if they were part of what brought him there in the first place? Again, he considered talking to Lene about it, but everything he could think of to say sounded stupid.
Lene gnawed on her lip as she watched the last glow of sunset leach out of the sky. She stole a sideways glance at him and it dawned on him that he might not be the only one wondering whether starting over was a good idea. Panic flapped madly in his chest. He'd counted on her rock solid pragmatism ever since their first time together, when he offered her duct tape and his belt, and she taped him to his bed and laid into him without a flicker of hesitation. He had doubted his own nerve, but never considered the possibility that she might not be ready to carry through with something she said she wanted to do.
She sighed and the worry lines on her forehead smoothed out, but she didn't smile.
Jamie sat up so he could look her straight in the eyes. She opened her mouth, as though she were about to say something, but he laid his finger across her parted lips. The words stayed unspoken. She held his gaze and waited. He drew a slow deep breath. Lene was pretty in the sunshine, but naked in moonlight, she was unearthly beautiful. It wasn't because darkness hid her flaws. It was because the soft, silver white made her shine and stand out from everything around her.
He let his hand come to rest in her kitten soft hair. "Lene, sweetheart, please let's start over now. I want you to hurt me until I can't hold still for you anymore. Make me scream and beg you to stop, and then keep going until I'm completely out of my mind and you've had enough. That's why we're out here. I know you want to do it, too. Even mentioning it makes you wet in the five seconds it takes me to get a raging hard on."