tagRomanceAshton Hill Naked Sundays

Ashton Hill Naked Sundays

byxelliebabex©

Authors note: Hello everyone. This is my entry into the National Nude Day contest. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you to Kate and Paul who were my sounding board and second set of eyes on this one. ~ellie.

Ashton Hill Naked Sundays

Chapter 1.

Estelle Eastman grinned widely as the last of her charges left the classroom. She loved her job, but felt like she needed this weekend. The pressure of assessments and reporting time looming left her exhausted. She was looking forward to not having to deal with the weekly call and lecture from her mother, who was away on a second honeymoon with lucky husband number three. Estelle had plans to hibernate, read trashy magazines, drink red wine and eat chocolate while wrapped in a big, warm, fluffy blanket.

"Estelle, you have to help me! You're my last chance!" Tarlee practically ran into the classroom with her dramatic announcement.

"Tarlee, come on in," Estelle laughed as she went about tidying her classroom and packing her laptop, planning, and an interesting book on early childhood education in the digital age into her matching carryalls. She'd do some work over the weekend between the trashy magazines. "Something I can help you with?" she asked calmly, knowing her unenthusiastic demeanour wouldn't daunt her friend.

"Oh my god, yes! Exciting news!" Tarlee grinned widely. "I know you're not into live bands and concerts, but..."

"No!" Estelle said shortly. "I hate crowds and the crush of bodies, and very few bands are better live than on Spotify while wearing my pyjamas and sipping a glass of wine."

"Just hear me out, please?" Tarlee whined. "It's not what you think."

"Let me see, there will be a band and a load of screaming fans. The parking will be terrible, and, knowing you, there won't be any seats. Everything will be over-priced, and we will end up in a cramped mosh pit having drinks spilt on us while strange guys grope us in the squash of bodies," Estelle sighed.

"As awesome as that sounds, no. I told you it's not like that!" Tarlee said again, pulling out a tiny chair next to an equally tiny desk and sitting awkwardly. "You're in luck, because..." she paused as Estelle went to argue against going to a concert again. Holding up her hand to silence her friend, she started again. "My cousin's friend's band, you know, the one I said signed with a label last time you refused to go to a concert with me," she waited for Estelle to nod. "They are awesome, and I joined their fan page after the last gig I went to. They finished a tour as the opening act for Saladin and have been in the studio writing for a few weeks." Tarlee began her carefully thought out campaign to get Estelle to go out tonight, watching her friend carefully.

"Saladin?" Estelle asked. "Aren't they rock? I thought you were into hip-hop."

"Yeah, rock. They are great. I am fully into indie rock bands now!" Tarlee enthused.

"I am just not into concerts, Tarlee. Can't you find someone else? It's the weekend; can't one of your friends from the city meet you there? You wouldn't have to drive all the way home again if you stayed with them," Estelle appealed to her friend's hatred of the distance between Ashton Hill and the city.

"That's just it! They are doing a small gig at an out of the way tavern, and they are only giving tickets to their fans who follow them, and I won tickets! When I say out of the way tavern, I mean out of the way for city folk, not for us; they are playing at the Glenn!" Tarlee almost exploded with the announcement. "Small venue, small select crowd, not far to drive, and home before midnight, I promise! I have no one else to go with me, and you know I can't go to something like this alone. Please, Estelle. I'll love you forever and ever!"

"I thought you already did?" Estelle raised her eyebrow. Both girls had come to this town straight out of university to do their country service with the education department. While Estelle had been there for three years and quite enjoyed country life, Tarlee had only arrived this year and found the slower pace of country life didn't really suit her, and had leaned heavily of Estelle, who was only a few years older, to help her adjust to the quieter life.

"I do, of course, I do, but I would love you even more, enough to help you get out of visits from your mother for the rest of the year," she wheedled.

"What is this band called? And it had better not have blood, death or metal in the name!" Estelle warned.

"Midnight Blue, and you won't regret this, I promise!" Tarlee squealed in delight and hugged her friend, bouncing up and down.

"I didn't say yes," Estelle hugged the girl in return as she was jostled.

"I don't have anyone else, Estelle, you have to come. Look, if we go and you are having a really awful time, I will bring you straight home. We go out to the pub here all the time; this is no different, except, instead of an awful jukebox it will be exceptional music from an exceptional band. Please, I promise you won't regret it. Plus, as of half an hour ago, we are officially done for the week and deserve to let our hair down. This is a great way to let off steam and purge all classroom drama from our systems."

"Fine," Estelle gave in, "but if they suck and I don't want to be there you won't make me stay," she said.

"Cross my heart, hope to die," Tarlee said earnestly before squealing with delight. "We'll pick you up at six!"

"Wait! What? Who's we?" Estelle tried to stop her friend, but Tarlee skipped away. She felt like she had just been conned into going to a gig when Tarlee obviously already had people going with her.

Midnight Blue was not a band she had ever heard of before, so that was good, at least. The truth was any band was okay with her as long as it wasn't Crossfire. Memories of her groupie fan girl days flared in her mind, making her face heat with shame and humiliation. She took another half hour ensuring her room was perfectly in place for the beginning of next week and picked up her heavy bags of work before heading out to her car.

"Estelle!" a distinctly male voice cried out. "Let me help you with that."

Estelle turned as the groundsman jogged toward her. She let herself admire his lean muscled frame. He was gorgeous, by anyone's standards, and flirted relentlessly with the younger teachers. She had let herself get carried away by the attention in her first year here... almost. She had gone on a couple of dates with him; he was funny and romantic and everything her ex was not. It was all a show though, just a means to an end, the end being getting her into bed. Their thing had been to go skinny dipping at a remote part of the dam and make love by the water's edge. It was a magical time, and she believed he really liked her and she could finally move past Jason Jones, the love of her life, even though she had left him in a rare moment of clarity, breaking her own heart in the process.

She had been happy seeing Darren until she started being warned off by other women who knew his history with the new teachers in town. It occurred to her then that they never went on real dates in public, and never slept at each other houses, always separating after their midnight swim. The reality of entering into yet another bad relationship where she took what scraps of attention were doled out to her gratefully hit her hard, and she had broken it off without much of an explanation. She told him that she needed to concentrate on her mother's health and headed to the city each weekend, much to her mother's delight. No one had known of their affair, so she and Darren could just go on with their lives. He had never truly stopped trying to rekindle that flame though.

She was smarter than that, she told herself each time she was tempted to get physical with him again. She wasn't ever going to repeat the mistakes of her past. She wanted more than just a pretty face and a hard body if she was ever going to have a proper relationship again. She believed it was a game for Darren to sleep with the new teachers when they came to town, even now, and she had an inkling that Tarlee was amusing herself by taking him up on his offer of distraction to stave off the boredom of country life.

"Thanks, Darren, but it's not as heavy as it looks," she said in a tired voice.

"I'm heading that way anyway," he said, taking the carryall from her. "Did Tarlee find you? I know she was looking for you today."

"Yeah, she found me, and ambushed me!" Estelle grumbled. "Why is it so hard to say no to that girl?" she despaired exaggeratedly.

"If you tell me, then we'll both know," Darren chuckled. "She's like a whirlwind the way she just sweeps people up into her plans."

"You too?" she asked, tilting her head.

"Designated driver," he chuckled again. "I think she used the fact that I don't drink very often against me somehow, but made it seem like a great idea at the time to escort the two of you and ensure you both got home safely. She's letting me bring a friend to keep me company while you girls go all fangirl over the band."

"So much for me being her only chance to go," Estelle rolled her eyes. "She made it seem like no one else had agreed to go with her, and she couldn't go alone."

"We should just be grateful that she usually uses that devious mind for good rather than evil, or we could really be in trouble," Darren chuckled. "I've got to run," he said, putting the bag into the boot of her car. "I'll see you in a few hours," he turned and jogged back towards the classrooms.

Estelle watched him go, wondering if he was off to help another damsel in distress. It didn't stop her admiring his physique as he ran. Images of him naked in the moonlight swam through her head as they had swum in the dam together, the hard planes of his muscled body glistening. Maybe if he didn't work at the school where she taught she could consider using him as a booty call; Friends with benefits, so to speak. But who needed that sort of complication at work when things went pear-shaped. On top of that, small-town gossip was nothing to be trifled with. She sighed and dismissed the image of a naked Darren from her mind.

Driving home, she wondered if he was going tonight because he had a thing with Tarlee now, or if he was just being a friend and driving them to the gig so they could both drink and dance until they dropped. Maybe if he and Tarlee weren't a thing she should just give in and have one night of madness with him. It wasn't like they hadn't been there before. She'd done far worse things at another time and another place in her life... far, far worse things. She shook her head before Jason Jones, and his equally gorgeous body, invaded her mind further, but it was already too late.

The thought of sex always made her mind stray back to the one great love of her life, the man who had never loved her back and used her mindless obsession with him without even giving her more than a passing thought when she was in the vicinity. Her brain was still working over her humiliating past, making her regret agreeing to go with Tarlee tonight, when she pulled up at her little cottage. All she wanted to do was sip a glass of wine and read while soaking in a bubble bath. She took a deep breath and thought of her friend. It was too late, now that she had agreed to go, and she knew Tarlee wouldn't let her take it back. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. How bad could a country pub be after all? Maybe having a big night out was what she needed; it had been a while since she really partied.

She'd taken her time washing and straightening her hair before carefully applying decorative make-up around her eyes and temples. If Tarlee wanted a rock chick friend, she would give her the total package. When she'd been at university, she'd hung out in the music scene with local bands like a stereotypical groupie, and she had loved it until she crashed and burned with a broken heart and her self-esteem in shreds. Luckily, she had been able to recover from the half-assed coursework she had been doing to be able to graduate the following year. Then she'd gratefully accepted a job teaching in the country, far away from her ex and his band, that guaranteed a permanent position after six months, unlike many of her friends who still battled with contract work and substitute teaching.

Checking herself out in the mirror, she pulled a face. It had been so long since she had dressed like this. The girl in the mirror was part of her past, a few years older and wiser, but still looking the same. She'd been lucky enough to inherit her mother's genes, giving her ash blonde hair and elfin facial features, but her father's island heritage gave her skin a warmer golden glow and her figure a curvier appearance. It didn't matter how many visits to the gym she made, she would always have a bigger ass than she wanted. Still, she knew her looks were better than average, and, in the four and a half years since walking away from Jason Jones, she had questioned the motives of every guy who hit on her.

She didn't want to be a piece of arm candy for anyone, grateful for scraps of attention while her significant other fucked anyone with a pussy who interested him and gave her barely a passing thought unless there was nothing or no one better to do. The pleated leather skirt and skin-tight red sleeveless tee still fit like a glove, and the boots, what Jason had used to call her "come fuck me" boots, needed a quick polish before looking acceptable. Her long straight naturally blonde hair flickered with golden highlights. She looked good. She looked like the girl she had been before withdrawing from the world of sex, drugs and rock music.

She was still considering whether to leave her hair down or wear it up when Tarlee arrived, barging into her cottage like she barged into her classroom every day. She called out a greeting to let her know where she was.

"We've got a few minutes. Darren has gone to pick up his friend while I..." Tarlee slowed her walk, and the chatter of her words died off mid-sentence. "Holy shit, I thought I was going to have to help you find something cool to wear in your drab school teacher wardrobe, but I can see I was wrong about that!"

"Hair up or down?" Estelle asked as Tarlee stared at her gobsmacked.

"Definitely up, makes your neck look so long and inviting," Tarlee advised. "Fuck, Estelle, why haven't I ever seen this side of you before? You look so hot!"

"Because I've always avoided letting you con me into going to concerts," Estelle rolled her eyes.

"Sure, but if I knew you were a rock chick I wouldn't have wasted my time asking you to the other ones," she said. "Seriously, you look incredible. I almost want to hit on you myself! Could you do something like that with my eye make-up?"

"Okay, if you do something with my hair," Estelle agreed. It was hard not to love Tarlee's enthusiasm for life and all things in it. She let herself feed off her friend's excitability and tried to match it with her own. She certainly didn't want to be the wet blanket tonight. She was still young, and it had been some time since she had been anywhere aside from the local pubs and festivals that happened in Ashton Hill. Her visits to the city always centred around her mother and giving her enough attention to tide her over until her next trip rather than having her mother visit her and comment on the quaintness of the small town.

"You girls ready?" Darren asked, knocking on Estelle's door and pushing it wider. Tarlee had left it open in her rush to help Estelle find a decent outfit, and then her stunned amazement when she saw her friend made her forget about it entirely.

"One more minute!" Estelle called out, putting the finishing touches of glittering stars around the outer edge of Tarlee's eyes.

"Typical women," a second male voice chuckled.

"Oh, hush, it will be worth the wait!" Tarlee scolded loudly as she grinned at Estelle.

"Who is that?" Estelle asked in a whisper.

"Chris Ashton, I think," Tarlee giggled and happily checked out her face in the mirror once Estelle had stopped fussing with it. "Awesome! Let's go!"

Estelle had seen Chris Ashton around town during his visits to see his grandfather, but she'd never met him properly or spoken to him. She stepped out of the bedroom, following Tarlee, and took in the man. While Chris didn't have the physique of the Greek God, like Darren, he was tall and solid and had a certain presence that came with the confidence of belonging to a rich and powerful family. A family that had founded the town she lived in now and owned a great deal of it.

"Wow!" Darren breathed. "It was definitely worth the wait!" Estelle watched as he raked his eyes over Tarlee and smiled, knowing she had made the right assumption about her friend and Darren. Before she noticed that his eyes gave her the same treatment, she acknowledged the other man in the room.

"Hi, Chris," she stepped forward, holding out her hand. "I'm Estelle, I don't think we've met before."

"Hey," he said, taking her hand in a firm grip before she pulled it away. "Ready to go?" He asked, sounding nervous, making her tilt her head slightly and look at him critically.

"Yes!" Tarlee exclaimed. "I'm so pumped for this!"

Tarlee never stopped talking as she and Estelle sat in the back of the car, letting the men have the front. Darren had synced up his phone, and a random mix of songs played during the drive, most of which Estelle approved of and enjoyed. As they drove up to the pub, it was easy to see the large temporary fencing that had been erected and the security manning it at intervals.

"You better get your tickets ready," Darren said, joining the procession of cars heading toward the car park.

"How did you win the tickets?" Estelle asked, suddenly concerned by all the security she could see around the building.

"Their page said they were going to film an unplugged set at a secret location; and all you had to do to be part of it was leave a message stating your address. I guess that they only invited locals to cut down on the fans gate-crashing the party and having a riot of people who couldn't get in."

"You left out those details when you told me about this," Estelle grumbled.

"Oops, too late now!" Tarlee grinned. "You wouldn't make us turn around now, would you?"

"Hell no, I love these guys!" Chris said. He'd been so silent the entire way Estelle had almost forgotten he was in the seat in front of her. "Unplugged and raw is going to be awesome!"

"You love them?" Estelle asked. She'd never heard of them before, but then there weren't many radio stations to choose from in Ashton Hill, and she tended to stick with old favourites on her Spotify account rather than the country music favoured there.

"Yeah, they're great, they haven't been mainstreaming very long, but they have been getting bigger on the indie scene for a while now. I saw them play a few times before they got signed by Crazy Horse Music and went on tour." Chris explained.

"If we ever get in there, I'm sure it will be great," Estelle said, trying to convince herself more than her companions that she was looking forward to the concert.

The line moved slowly, and Estelle sat back, listening to Chris and Tarlee talk about their favourite Midnight Blue songs, as well as other bands they both liked in common. It seemed the two had a lot in common, and Darren looked over his shoulder at Estelle and sighed as he realised his date had just been stolen by his friend, or at least it seemed that way. Estelle was hopeful, because the only thing worse than being duped into coming to this filming of an unplugged set was the fact that her friends had set her up on a blind date. It would be much easier for her to deal with if Chris and Tarlee had a thing for each other.

It took another fifteen minutes to clear the gates and be shepherded to a carpark. From there they appeared to be free to roam the pub, with only the exit to the rear beer garden barred from view. While not so crowded, they couldn't move, it was still crowded enough to be almost uncomfortable as they waited for the rear doors to open. Estelle noticed that Darren and Chris walked behind Tarlee and herself, protecting them from being jostled or groped by patrons who had already begun to drink far more than they should if they wanted to be allowed out to the garden where the temporary stage had been set up with all the filming equipment.

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