tagErotic CouplingsPanic Ch. 01

Panic Ch. 01


I told my boss that I never took work with me when I went camping, but she didn't listen to me. If she had, she'd never have sent her son and his fiancée out to my campsite in order to give me the packet of material I'd already told her I wasn't going to look at until Sunday night. But she did, and it led to nothing but trouble.

She knew that I did this at a set time every year. I'd put in for the time off months in advance. This group has been meeting in the Blackwater River State Forest for twenty years. What, did she think I was going to take my laptop out there? The conditions are very primitive--no electrical hookups, no water hookups, no showers, no toilets. More importantly, cells and Blackberries don't work there. Wi-Fi? Ha!

That's the way we like it. As soon as we arrive at the site, cell phones and wristwatches are ceremoniously removed and stashed in the glove boxes of our cars, not to be donned again until camp has been struck and we're returning to the outside world.

It's a beautiful site—reached by a long, winding, red dirt road and flanked by a creek with swift, tea-colored seventy-degree water. The campsite itself remains the same, but not the creek. Sometimes it is very low, sometimes high after a year of heavy rains. But the water is always cold, and there are always shifting pebbly sandbars with tangles of driftwood that shine silver in the sun.

For once I managed to get it together early, taking off from Houston shortly after midnight, and I and made great time on the road, so I got there at midmorning, before it got really hot. Even so, Karen and Del Hannity were there before me. They do live within a few miles of the forest, after all.

We hardly ever correspond during the rest of the year, but we're always glad to see each other when the time comes. Melea Plauger had come from Atlanta, and there were Mike DeCastro and his wife and daughter, who had come all the way from Pompano Beach.

Karen and Del and I greeted each other with hugs, and Karen said that no one had yet put dibs on the space next to their tent. I pulled my tent, air mattress and sleeping bag out of my car and slung them down there, before parking it out of the way.

"Where's your truck?" I asked Karen, for I didn't see their big old Dodge Ram truck anywhere around. Before Karen could answer, the truck in question came up the road leading in and stopped in the clearing in front of the tents. A tall, lean young man got out, came to the back of the truck, and let down the tailgate. He had clear sallow Mediterranean skin overlaid by a bronze tan, curly dark hair, and a fashionable stubbly beard. He was shirtless, but wearing those stupid looking pants that young dudes still like, that make them look like little boys who stole their dads' Bermudas. He even had the print boxers showing above the waistband of the pants, which were riding low; on the other hand, it revealed a nice portion of his taut, flat lower belly, even to where his crotch hair was trying to climb up into his navel.

"Mm-hmm, who's that?" I said.

"That's my nephew, Jesse," Karen said.

"Ah, come on, since when did you have a nephew?"

"Well, a sort of nephew. A step-nephew? He's my sister's stepson--her husband's from a previous marriage. Don't mind if he seems kind of down while he's here. Sheryl got us to bring him along to take his mind off things. He's a drummer, and the band he was in just replaced him. He's kind of bummed out."

"Well, no wonder," I said. "Poor guy. Say, all this history and genealogy is nice, but what I'd really like to know is, is he legal?" Thinking: young and pretty and dark-haired and a musician. Jackpot!


"I like looking at young stuff, but I enjoy it more if I can be sure that I am not committing statutory rape in my heart."

Karen rolled her eyes. "He voted in the last presidential election," she said. "I know because my car was in the shop and he drove me to the polls. You can meet him. By the way, it's always Jesse, never Jess." I raised an eyebrow of inquiry. "His last name is Picken. Yeah, I know. Groan. I don't know what his momma and daddy were thinking." She started toward the truck and I flexed my chest muscles, sucked in my tummy, and followed her. "Hey, Jesse. I want you to meet a friend of mine, Esmé Trent from Texas."

Merry green eyes crinkled at me as he took the hand I gave him to shake. It was big, long-fingered, a bit rough, and cold because he was handling bags of ice.

"Glad to meet you, Ms. Trent," he said. When he smiled, the sun flashed on a silver bead in his mouth--was that a tongue stud?

"Esmé, please. Ms. Trent is what I am at work. Tell me, does that hardware in your mouth ever get in your way?"

"Not so far."

"Jesse, I want you to put ice in the coolers that have food in them," Karen said. "And drain out that one that has mostly water and put a full bag in. And please, be gentle with the beer. I'm gonna open one as soon as I've got things set up."

Karen put Jesse to work, and I set up my tent. It was one of these new tents that are so easy to set up that they practically go up by themselves. I staked it down, plunging the slender steel pegs into the sandy dirt, and arranged my air mattress so that the valve was next to the door. I hooked it up to my hand pump and had gotten the mattress about half inflated when Jesse came back.

"Let me finish that for you," he said. I thanked him and let him take over, while I got my sleeping bag out of my car. I plead guilty to letting guys follow their chivalrous instincts, especially if it involves something that calls for upper body strength or is likely to strain the back. Take tires. I am perfectly capable of changing a tire, and I've done so, but if I get a flat in the daytime out on the interstate and a human being with testicles comes along while I'm getting the tire off the lugs, I'll let that human being take over every time. And now this air pump. I got the rest of my stuff out, and then unfolded a camp chair to sit down and watch how Jesse's muscles moved under his skin.

There are always a certain number of kids at this campout--it has been happening long enough to where some of the kids that came at the beginning have grown up and have kids of their own. I wish I knew the art of establishing rapport with rug rats. Oh, I can get along with them--my college friend Sidonie asked me to be godmother to her two kids. I had fun sending them birthday cards with money in them and attending their games, programs, graduations and weddings, but I'm very glad that nothing happened where I had to raise them. They, and their parents, sometimes came to this event, but not this year--there was another wedding in the family pending and everybody was heavily involved with that.

The pack of young kids asked if they could go into the creek, and their parents said they could, if someone would watch them. A young teenage girl undertook to shepherd them, and they scrambled down the steep bank like little goats and disappeared. One could hear their shouts and splashes faintly over the rushing of the water.

Now Karen and Melea produced pre-rolled joints and fired one up. We drew up camp chairs in a little circle, got ourselves drinks, and the joint started to come around. This was practically the only time I smoked reefer anymore. I did my share in college and in the years after, but you know how it is—your friends, i.e., your connections grow up and grow old and quit, and it's not worth the effort to drum up new ones. Connections, that is.

The rush hit me sometime between the second and third time the doobie came around, and as usual, I felt like laughing. Then the other effect of the herb started to kick in. Pot, if it's any good, tends to make me ferociously horny. All my sexual thoughts come stampeding to the forefront from every corner of my mind, like a houseful of cats who hear the can opener. Naturally I want to find some man and jump his bones, and in absence of that, there's always solo flight... The sensations are more sensational, and the orgasms are O-ier, and seem to last for minutes instead of seconds. My nipples pointed up under the tank and light-weight bra I was wearing, just thinking about it, and my pussy started to ache--in a good way, of course.

Young Jesse was close at hand, looking quite frankly delectable, despite the silly clothing. I didn't know what his attitude toward older women was, and for all I knew, he could have a girl somewhere, although he didn't bring her and Karen didn't mention one. But I could dream, couldn't I? I could look at him through half-lidded eyes and take in some of the details I hadn't noticed before. Like his cute pointy quarter-sized nipples; how they'd feel under my tongue, and was he the kind of man who liked having them messed with, or was it merely a reaction of erectile tissue that he could take or leave alone? I was glad to see that they were not pierced, because the very thought made me want to clap my hands protectively over my own. His wide angular shoulders; the thin skim of hair on his chest; the way the skin on his belly went into fine folds like puppy skin when he leaned forward, because there was virtually no subcutaneous fat there. Nice long legs--I don't generally admire the long-waisted, short-legged look some men have, no matter how attractive they are otherwise. It does not age well. Look at their fathers and be warned. I wondered what kind of package he had, and felt nostalgia for the good old days when guys wore pants that fit and you could take a guess.

I stretched languorously, extending my legs in front of me, tensing my quadriceps. Something about flexing that set of muscles always makes me feel sexy, because it involves tilting one's pubis up. Suddenly I looked across and saw two of the women in the group looking my way; one said something to the other in a low voice and they laughed. Another one of the effects of weed is paranoia. Also, I noticed it was getting hot.

"I think I'll go for a dip," I said. "I need to cool off." I stood up and put my Coke can, which I had emptied, into the trash bag we reserved for aluminum cans.

One of these days I am going to get a tent big enough to stand up in. If there's anything that's awkward, it's changing clothes while sitting on the ground. Hardly anybody looks graceful doing it. It's worse than having a mirror on the bathroom door while you're sitting on the toilet. I got out of my shorts and tank top and into my tankini, wondering if it was time to think about retiring from the cougar game. I put on surf booties against the gravel and mysterious sharp objects at the bottom of the stream and descended one of the narrow twisting ways down the bank to the water, not as quickly as the children had done. Once the water had gotten past my ankles, it felt wonderful. I took up handfuls of water and splashed my upper legs, to make going into deeper water easier, and my face, which felt hotter than usual. Further upstream, there were some deep-water holes. I came upon the first of them unexpectedly--I mentioned that the creek changed from year to year and season to season. I went from knee-deep to hip deep all of a sudden. It must have rained up north, I thought. The creek bottom sloped less precipitously as I went on, and then the creek got shallower. I got the feeling that someone was behind me, and when I turned around, it was Jesse. He had changed out of the rapper pants into Hawaiian print swimming trunks.


"How come you up and left so fast?"

"Felt hot," I said.

"I was just about to suggest we come down here when you got up."

"Well, here we are. Karen told me about your change in employment. What a bummer."

"Yeah. Well, these things happen." We started talking about the music scene, which I didn't know much about firsthand, but enough to make conversation about. We were still walking through the water as we talked, and I started and nearly fell. Jesse grabbed my arm instinctively.

"Thanks. I thought I was stepping on a stone, but then it squished underfoot," I explained. "I thought it was alive. It's probably just a lump of that computer-colored clay we have around here. The kids like to make stuff with it." He slid his hand down to mine, and didn't let go of it. We continued that way a little further.

"I didn't come out with you just to talk about bands," Jesse said. "I wanted to be sure I was reading your signals right."

"Signals?" I gave him a sidelong glance.

"Karen warned me about you," he said with a wicked grin. "She said that you were a cougar who dragged young guys off to her lair and devoured them. True?"

"You could come to my lair later on and find out. Right now, you can show me what it's like to be kissed by a man with a tongue stud. I've never done that."

We stopped and he put his arms around me. The kiss wasn't deep; it didn't need to be. It was sensual and complicated. He rolled that silver ball around on my tongue and brushed the insides of my lips with it. I started chasing it around with my tongue, and after we'd done that for a minute or two, I was weak in the knees and my cunt felt as if it weighed a pound.

"Wow," I said. "That was different. What else can you do with that bit of jewelry?"

He smiled, bent down and pulled down the strap of my top, exposing a breast. He gently sucked on the nipple and rubbed it with the stud at the same time. It hardened and the sensation went straight south. "The other one's jealous," I growled. He exposed my other breast and used a rapid flicking movement. "Good Lord. I think my thing just melted and started running down my leg."

Jesse grinned wider and without warning he slipped two fingers inside the leg band of my swimsuit bottom. I felt them sliding over my clitoris for just a few seconds, and surged toward his hand, but he withdrew it. "Nope, it's still there."

I pressed against him again, slipping my tongue between his lips. He nipped at it playfully. I'd noticed his cock hardening; when I bent my head to lick one of his nipples and flick the other one with my thumb, it swelled and leaped against my belly. I just had to touch it. It was a good handful, long, and steely hard.

"Damn shame there's so much traffic going up and down this creek," I said, still giving his cock firm caresses through his swim trunks. "We can...carry on this discussion further tonight. Um, your tent or mine?"

"Yours," he replied promptly. "Mine is a one-man tent." He pulled me close again, and I had to let his tool be trapped between us. He thrust it against my belly. "I wish we could go there now," he said. "Think we could?"

"We'd probably better not. This outfit isn't very prudish, as Karen will probably have told you, but there are kids around. It would be kind of gauche for us to gallop into the main campsite and dive into my tent in broad daylight with everybody sitting there eating lunch."

"Too bad. It's so simple and direct. Well, let's get into deeper water and go for a dip. Got to chill this thing--" he indicated his cock, which was making an unseemly tent in his swim trunks. So we did, splashing each other and getting completely wet. He would go under water and sneak up on me, tickling me or grabbing my ankles. He had the advantage over me. It's not that I can't swim; it's that I can't open my eyes underwater. I just had the one pair of contacts with me, which I was wearing, and if I lost them, God knew how I'd get home. After a while, Jesse said he was decent enough to face the public and we walked back down the creek.

When we strolled into the main campsite, Karen was putting together ham and cheese sandwiches.

"Just in time for lunch," she said. "How have y'all two been getting along?"

"Swimmingly," I said.

"Huh," Karen said. "Well, take good care of him. I promised his stepmom I'd return him in as good shape as I got him."

We didn't spend every minute of the afternoon together; he talked with the other guys, and helped gather and cut up wood for the big fire we'd sit around in the evening. He undertook to teach some of the kids the art of skipping stones, and I wanted to hang out with the women friends I only saw at that time. But I was looking forward to the evening.

Ordinarily, after dinner is my favorite time of the day when I'm with this bunch. The six-string guitars come out, although sometimes someone will bring a wooden recorder, and there are usually a few eggs, and we have a good old-fashioned jam. We sing mostly the good old songs--lots of Neil Young and Eagles stuff, and real folk songs, and anything else that's compatible with that. Karen and I sang the high part of "Seven Bridges Road" and I sang the high part of "Southern Cross," like we've done for several years, and we would go on until we were sleepy or out of voice. Sometimes the soft strumming of guitars would go on until nearly daylight

This time we also had Jesse, who had brought a hand drum that was suitable for playing in an acoustic gathering like this. As far as I could make out, he was good; I don't know why his band decided to get rid of him and take on someone else. But I do know that bands fire people all the time and it's not necessarily to do with their ability. I mean, look at the Beatles. I hoped that Jesse would not end up working in some obscure government office, the ambitions of his youth crammed into a small closet in his heart.

Usually I'll hang out with the late night musical crowd as late as possible unless I'm with someone. Sometimes I come alone, and some years I have brought a friend; this was the first time I had taken up with someone I'd met during the weekend. Jesse sat very close to me during the jam. Occasionally our eyes would meet and he would give me a warm, somehow secret smile, and his green eyes would glance in the direction of my tent. As the evening went on, he would reach under the arm of my camp chair to give my thigh a stealthy caress. More reefer had gone around, but I would have been ready even without that. When it was late enough so that the moon stood high in the sky, I said I was going to bed. The other people said good-night, some of them looking speculatively at Jesse to see what he would do.

I had brushed my teeth as best I could under these circumstances, and I crawled into the tent. In just a few minutes, I heard the sound of the door being unzipped, and Jesse came in and zipped it up behind him. We had stayed in our bathing suits the rest of the day, so there wasn't much to remove. We lay close together--you can't do much else when your bed is 54" wide.

"Before we get much further," I said, "do you have any bad sleeping habits?"

"What do you mean?"

"I snore. If it wakes you up, nudge me and I'll quit."

"I steal covers. If you get cold, grab 'em back from me. But we're not going to sleep yet, are we?"

"I should hope not." His skin was warm and smelled a little of the creek's dark water, and his nipples were almost as hard, when I licked them, as the silver ball in his mouth. If I could not see him in the daylight, I could find him in the dark and learn the shape of his body with my hands, my mouth, my skin. And he found me. He fluttered his silver-armored tongue against mine, on my lips, my nipples, and I had all I could do to keep silent. I twisted around until I was in a position to get hold of his thick phallus. It felt as big as a flashlight, and not one of those that take AA batteries, either. I licked the salty drop of precum that had welled up in its eye and twirled my tongue around the head and that little flat spot just underneath the tip. When I touched it or licked it, the whole cock lurched wildly and its owner give stressed little gasps.

He pulled out of my mouth. "You asked me what else I could do. Let me do this for you," he whispered. "I know you'll like it." He kissed his way down my belly, and then kissed the insides of my thighs. Then south of my landing strip, there were the other lips he wanted to kiss, achingly swollen and glazed with lust. I felt the soft prickle of his beard on the outer of those tender lips, then his warm lips, and then...oh, God, that silver-studded tongue sliding in the grooves between my inner labia and clit, flicking around and over it, dipping lower into my vagina, returning to touch the hooded tip of my clit and along the left side that has always been the most sensitive, and it was too much. I thrust against his mouth, choking back a scream as an orgasm roared through my body like a fire through a room full of flammables. There was nothing in the world but those contractions, the clenching of not merely my cunt but ass and abdominal muscles; I panted, grimacing, because I couldn't cry out.

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