The Naked Gardener

byWatchingCloud©

He was startled when the doorbell rang for the first time since he'd moved in. His first hope was that it was Liz, already dropping in unannounced, but reason told him it was more likely just a delivery. He trotted through the house and opened the front door.

"Howdy, neighbor," Liz said, smiling at him through the screen door. She was spandex shorts similar to last night and a matching sports bra. In each hand she carried a bulging plastic bag.

"Well, hi. Come on in."

"I meant to send you home with some produce last night, but it completely slipped my mind," she said, handing him the bags. "So, figured I'd swing on by and deliver them."

"Thanks," he said, taking them and leading the way to the kitchen. En route, he cursed himself for not picking up the place a bit. "Honestly, I'd kinda hoped that you could just keep cooking them for me, since I'm not very skilled in that department."

"You might be able to sweet talk me into that," she said, surveying his kitchen. "In fact, I've got a whole bunch of leftover spaghetti, if you want to come over for dinner again."

"Don't want to wear out my welcome already," he said, though he liked the idea.

"Nonsense. I'm not trying to be a hermit. I enjoy the company."

"Alright then."

"Nice place," she said. "Never met the previous owner."

"Yeah, I like it. Needs some work, though. And it's still a mess from unpacking. I got about halfway done and ran out of steam."

"Let me know if you want a hand."

"You're too kind."

"I know," she said with an easy smile.

"Drink? I can show you around, if you're not in a hurry."

Liz accepted both offers, and he spent the better part of the next hour showing her around the house and his yard. He indicated where he'd thought about installing his future garden and she quickly dove into giving him more pointers than he could possibly hope to remember come next spring when he would be ready to give it a try. He listened appreciatively and attentively.

"Well, I shouldn't keep you from your work any longer," she said. "Get me going on gardening and I can talk all day."

"It's fine. I'll definitely have to hit you up for help come next year."

"See you at six again?"

"Absolutely."

Her smile reflected the way he felt -- buoyant and excited. He wondered if perhaps she needed his company as much as he needed hers. It had been nearly a year since he'd been in anything resembling a meaningful relationship. With Liz, each meeting held more anticipation than the last. Dinner couldn't come soon enough.

* * * * *

Either Liz was testing him or simply taking him at his word, because when he arrived for dinner that evening she was only wearing her favored spandex shorts and nothing else. Neither commented on that fact, and by the time they were through eating Van found that her bare breasts were no longer the distraction they had once been. Not that he didn't look -- they were gorgeous, after all -- but it blurred more into his attraction to her as a whole.

Liz, for her part, seemed to relax further as the evening wore on as well. He suspected that she was just as nervous when he'd arrived. That he was comfortable lent to her comfort.

"Another fine dinner," Van said. "Compliments to the chef."

"Yeah, I sure can reheat a mean leftover," she said.

"Details."

"So, I don't know about you, but I usually like to relax in the pool after dinner," she said as she cleared the dishes from the table.

"Never been fortunate enough to own a pool, but that sounds nice. Especially around here in summer."

"It's one of the few things that actually doesn't bother my skin too much. Well, not after the initial shock, anyway."

"Huh. Well, that's good. Can see why you'd want a place with a pool, then."

"You up for a dip?"

Van hesitated for a moment as he wrestled with the circumstances. She had to know that he didn't have swimwear along, just as it was safe to assume that Liz probably never wore anything swimming anyway. Did that mean she was asking him to go skinny dipping with her? Accepting her nudity due to her condition was one thing. He wasn't sure he could be quite so casual with his own.

"Tempting," he said, stalling for time. Mostly, he was just worried about embarrassing himself.

"Come on," she said, taking his hand in their first truly intimate gesture. "The water's great."

"Alright."

Liz didn't let go of his hand until they were out on the concrete apron surrounding the pool. The ground was still warm under his bare feet, though the sun had already dipped below the trees surrounding her property. He had to admit, a swim in her pool sounded very inviting after a hot day.

Without hesitation, Liz peeled off her shorts and tossed them onto a lawn chair. Her pubic hair, which he had only briefly noticed during their first meeting, was trimmed short but unshaven. The way she stood confidently before him was almost like a decree that he too would have to undress or have his manhood questioned.

Van tried to assure himself that if there was one person who would unquestioningly accept him naked, it was Liz. He pulled his shirt over his head and set it beside her shorts. Then, before he could change his mind, he unzipped his shorts and pulled both them and his underwear down in one quick motion and tossed them on the pile.

Liz favored him a big and perhaps appreciative smile that made him relax a bit. She gave him a quick look up and down, which he could hardly find fault with given the number of times he'd done the same with her. He was incredibly relieved that he had managed to not get aroused -- perhaps his greatest fear about getting naked. Between her natural physical beauty and his growing affection for her, keeping himself in check could have been a challenge.

"I hope I didn't push you into this," she said, with a sheepish look of concern.

"No," he said, actually grateful that he was taking this leap with her. "Nudged, perhaps, but I'm glad you did."

"See? It's no big deal at all."

"Gotta admit that it's kinda comfortable. Not used to getting a little breeze down there." He was glad he could joke about himself.

"Wait til you feel the water. Or have you gone skinny dipping before?"

"Nope, never."

"Well, let's go then."

She took his hand and pulled him off the side of the pool and into the water. He'd expected a temperature shock, but it was actually rather mild and very comfortable. She was right, too, in that the sensation of being "free" under water was liberating.

"Oh, this is nice," he said, shaking the water from his hair.

"Told ya."

"You realize that between your cooking, your pool, and your company, you might not be able to keep me away."

"I'll let you know if you ever wear out your welcome."

"Hope I don't."

They swam around for a while, making small talk and simply enjoying the other's company. Van's usual evening routine of eating alone, watching television, and corresponding with acquaintances by computer paled in comparison. He could think of few things he'd rather be doing that just hanging out with Liz and he hoped this would be the first of many such evenings.

"So, this really helps with your pain?"

"Somewhat, yes," she said, half floating on her back beside him. "I think the combination of cooler temperature and relatively constant pressure keeps it down to a very low level."

"Is your pain an all over thing?"

"Yes and no. Some parts are much more sensitive than others. My hands and feet hardly feel it at all. My face is a little worse. I think my arms and legs are probably the worst, with my chest and back somewhere in between."

He wondered for a moment whether she felt the pain in her genitals, but he was far too uncomfortable to ask. There were no doubt a lot of nerve endings down there, and the thought that she might suffer even worse at an intimate touch was discouraging. If this relationship was to develop like he hoped it might, that could become an issue.

"I'm glad you take it in stride so well," he said. "I can see how it would be easy to get frustrated and bitter about having to endure something like that."

"There were times when I didn't handle it well," she said. "I've come to accept it for what it is, though. And, fortunately, I'm in a position now where I can be more accommodating."

"I'm happy for you."

"Thanks. Now, unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to wind up this lovely evening pretty soon. I have a flight to catch first thing in the morning and I'm not even packed yet."

"Flying? Where are you off to?" He followed Liz out of the pool, enjoying the unique view of her naked form as water dripped from it in the blue light emanating from the pool.

"Montana," she said, taking a seat on a picnic table bench halfway between the pool and the house. "Oh, sorry, forgot that there are towels by the door if you want one. I prefer to air dry when I can, since those towels feel like sandpaper on my skin after swimming."

"Thanks. Guess I can air dry with ya." He sat beside her, but a polite couple feet away.

"Yeah. I'm off to take a painting class for a few days. And, if I'm lucky, maybe take in some scenery and some cooler weather."

"Wow, sounds like fun."

"Hope so. I'll have to wear clothes for a few days, so it better be."

"Will I get to see some of your work when you return?"

"If it doesn't suck, maybe."

"Fair enough."

"Say, if you want, you're welcome to use my pool while I'm gone. Or help yourself to anything in the garden. I can only imagine how overgrown it'll get by the time I get back."

"I think you've got me well stocked already," he said. "But, I might take you up on the pool. Wouldn't be the same without you, though."

"You could call me, tell me how wonderful the water feels."

Van held an imaginary phone up to his ear. "'Hey Liz. Yeah, the water's wet. Wish you were here.'"

Liz giggled. "Okay, well, maybe that wouldn't be too exciting. You could call me, though. If you wanted."

Casual acquaintances didn't call each other from vacation. Neighbors didn't either. Van's heart beat a little quicker.

"You'll have to give me your number, then."

The warm evening air had them dry quicker than Van had expected. He dressed for the short drive home while Liz merely gathered up her shorts and tossed them on the living room couch when they returned inside. She scribbled her number on a sticky note and gave it to him before leading him to the front door.

They stood close to one another on the front porch in awkward silence for a few moments. He wondered if it was appropriate to give her a hug or something. And, even if it was, whether the pain such a gesture might inflict would be too great.

"Hope you have a wonderful trip," he said.

"Yeah," she said, her voice soft and face unreadable in the dark. "It's been really nice getting to know you."

"You too."

The silence returned for several long moments. Almost as one, they leaned in toward each other and kissed. He wanted to hold her, place a hand on her back, but was too afraid. The kiss, though, was simple and wonderful, and apparently caused little or no pain.

It lasted only a moment before they broke it off. He wanted more, but for now the tension between them had been snapped. Less is more, he'd once been told, and perhaps that was good advice, especially with her leaving early the next day.

"Good night," he said.

"Good night," she echoed.

* * * * *

The following week was one of blissful impatience for Van. He was so excited about his budding relationship with Liz that he found boundless energy with which to finish his unpacking, clean the house, and get some serious writing done. His reward at the end of each day was a phone conversation with Liz.

He'd been reluctant to call her on the first night of her trip, mostly for fear of coming across as overly enthusiastic. She sounded so happy to hear from him, however, that he cast aside any doubt about her reciprocal feelings. They talked for nearly two hours until the battery on Van's phone was about to die. It felt like many of the long phone calls he'd shared with early loves back in high school, which made him feel both silly and wonderful.

That first night, their conversation had focused on how her class was going and other innocuous topics. By the second and third nights, the subject of their kiss and missing each other became more prevalent, and open discussion of this becoming an ongoing relationship was unmistakable. And as Liz's trip started to wind down at the end of the week, their conversations had moved on to open flirting and sexual innuendo.

Each day he strove to get as much done as he could, fueled by the anticipation of listening to her voice each night. He savored kicking back on the couch, bantering playfully, and visualizing her lying naked on a hotel bed over a thousand miles away. Between the innuendo and his imagination, he could hardly wait for her return. From the way she sounded, it was clear that she was equally eager to see him again as well.

Finally, the day of her return arrived. She was due to get back early in the evening, and Van had convinced her to come over to his place for dinner. The last couple hours of waiting were the worst, so he busied himself with preparing the food -- a stir fry incorporating many of the vegetables from her garden.

When the doorbell rang, his heart skipped a beat and he forcibly restrained himself from running to answer it. Liz almost looked like a stranger, standing on his porch in a floral print sundress. After getting past all the clothing, however, the smile and eyes were all Liz and he didn't hesitate to step forward and kiss her deeply. She kissed back with equal enthusiasm.

"Good to see you, too," she said as they finally broke it off.

"Sorry, been waiting far too long to do that again," he said, stepping aside to let her in the house.

"I know. Me too."

They kissed again, and if Van had harbored a single, lingering doubt about her feelings for him it would have vanished completely.

"Good flight back?"

"Flight was okay," she said. "Though I've been more comfortable. Speaking of which, mind if I dress down a bit?"

"Feel free," he said, heading toward the kitchen to give her a modicum of privacy. "I'm just gonna get dinner started."

Van fired up the stove and pulled out the chicken and vegetables from the fridge. He needed the distraction to keep his mind from Liz undressing a few feet away in the living room. Too many days of fantasizing were weakening his resolve.

"So, what's on the menu?"

Van glanced up at Liz and almost lost that resolve in an instant. She stood in the doorway, leaning casually against the frame with her arms crossed below her bare breasts. The only thing she wore was a pair of translucent pink panties. The vision was heavenly and he could feel a stirring in his shorts.

"Chicken and veggie stir fry," he said, turning his focus back to dinner. "Hope that's okay. It's mostly stuff from your garden."

"Sounds great, especially after a week of mostly restaurant crap."

Van managed to finish dinner without ruining anything in distraction. Liz professed a love for the meal and he was pleasantly surprised that it turned out as well as it did. Small talk was the order throughout dinner, though it carried a subtle undertone of impatience. They needed dinner, but both were looking forward to what might come afterward.

"So, you gonna show me all the cleaning you claim to have gotten done while I was gone this week?" Liz asked as they cleared the last of the dishes from the table.

"Sure," he said and led her back into the living room. "Yeah, not much change here, though I did finally get a few of my old pictures hung."

Liz followed him to his office, where he had rearranged the furniture and cleared out all the unpacked boxes.

"Very nice," she said. "Feels more conducive for writing."

"Hope so. After seeing the window with the view of the backyard and woods, I knew this room would have to be the office. Hopefully, I won't be too distracted by things outside."

"Like what? Neighbors?"

"Well, yeah, I can think of one neighbor who would be incredibly distracting."

"Really?" Her playful tone told him that she was well aware of the effect that her body had on him.

He led her next to the master bedroom, which had also been considerably picked up. He had even gone so far as to drive into town and pick up some extra furnishings and decoration in an effort to make it feel less spartan. It was a far cry from Liz's style acumen, but definitely an improvement.

"I like what you've done," she said, taking his hand and pulling him into the middle of the room.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. I'm impressed with how busy you've been."

"I was inspired."

Liz stepped in closer and they kissed. For several minutes, their lips and tongues exchanged a sensitive affection. When she wrapped her arms around him, Van tentatively placed his own hands on her back. He quickly withdrew them when she involuntarily shuddered.

"I'm sorry," he said, feeling terrible.

"No, it's okay," she said. "You can touch me. You just can't do it gently, because that hurts worse. Be firm."

Van tried to get his mind around how he would be able to do that, since his every instinct when with a woman was to gently touch and stroke her body. Still, she was telling him what she wanted, and he was determined to try to do as she asked.

He placed his hands just under her arms with his fingers wrapped around her shoulder blades. His grip was firm, but not hard. Liz nodded and smiled, and then leaned in to resume their kissing.

For the next several minutes, Van carefully moved his hands from one spot to the next, careful not to drag them across her skin in the process. He held her neck and arm, the small of her back and her butt. With each move, he could sense just a brief flash of tension through Liz before she settled into the steady pressure.

"Still good?" he asked when they broke off for a moment's breather.

"Yeah, better," she said. "Don't worry about hurting me. I'm pretty tough and used to pain. It's just the prolonged, gentle stuff that can really get to me."

"You realize this isn't easy."

"I know. And I want you to know I appreciate how considerate you are."

They kissed again, and this time Van place one hand around her side and his other over one of her breasts. He didn't know if that would be more or less painful than anything else, but the way her body tensed and then immediately relaxed into a purring moan suggested it was okay. He gently squeezed, careful to keep his hand in place and not slide it across the skin, and Liz gave every indication that she was fine with that. In the middle of his palm, he could feel her nipple harden, and he savored the chance to finally touch the beautiful breasts he'd spent so much time admiring.

Liz broke off their kiss, took his shirt by the hem, and lifted it over his head. Tossing it aside on the floor, she gave him a sly grin and started unbuttoning his shorts.

"Hardly fair with you wearing so much clothing," she said.

"Wouldn't want to be unfair," he said. "Just didn't want to frighten you away."

"You won't. I like your body."

"Well, that works out well, then, since I'm rather enamored with yours."

Liz pulled his shorts and underwear down and he stepped clear so she could add them to his discarded shirt. His cock, fully erect, bounced in her direction and she took it in one hand and gently stroked it. Van's heart fluttered at the contact.

"There's something I've been wanting to do most all week," Liz said.

"What's that?"

Liz knelt on the floor in front of him and kissed the tip of his cock. It involuntarily twitched at the contact, bopping her in the nose and eliciting a laugh. She took his unruly member in one hand and wrapped her lips around the head. With her tongue, she teased the tip and swirled around the circumference.

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byWatchingCloud© 34 comments/ 106579 views/ 82 favorites

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