He stared out the window at the homes beyond the gulch, his view of them obscured by trees and the lightly falling rain. His mind, foggy from the weather or too much wine the night before, was dangerously close to drifting into a similar gloom. The weather definitely wasn't helping. Neither was the day's planned activities, or more precisely, the lack of plans.
He embraced the possibilities of no work for a day, no chores, nothing required of him except to stare out the window, if that's what he wanted to do. His family was equally unprogrammed for once. No chauffeuring to dance, soccer or sleepovers. It was a true holiday, everything on hold.
He stared, scanning the house directly across the gulch from theirs -- the "monstrosity". Sitting in the "breakfast nook," the marketing label for an afterthought of space next to the kitchen, he imagined the lives of the monstrosity's occupants. The house had changed hands frequently in the time he'd been living here: an older widower, a young couple who had exchanged their house with the widower (he still couldn't believe that one), the couple divorced -- she keeping the house and remarrying with a new family, they moving away but keeping the house as a rental, and then a string of renters -- mostly families -- the house was suited for families.
It was a late 50s, mid- 60s at the latest, developer box: shiplap siding, cheap single-pane sliding windows, and the requisite patio sliding doors leading off to a deck from the kitchen, a patio from the downstairs den. Really, it was an eyesore, the only saving grace the lush forest and the intervening gulch blocking it from his view. The various owners had modified the outside, adding the deck, the patio, cutting in new sliding doors here and there, but from the start the house wanted to be in warmer climes than the Pacific Northwest.
He'd never been in the place. In all the years it had changed hands, it hadn't gone on the market, the usual chance to tour his neighbors' homes. Not that he would have taken the effort, should the opportunity have presented itself, except for one keen interest: seeing the sight-lines to his house. It was something he'd done from all of the neighboring homes at the front of his property.
The gulch, and the forest of trees between the rear of his home and the others below and behind his, was a green scrim during the height of summer. It was one of the reasons they'd purchased the place -- the near-complete envelope of greenery with open sky above that created a private haven. An envelope, but not claustrophobic: the different species, plantings, slope of the hill, and wildly different shapes, densities and colors of foliage created a never-ending distraction looking out his back windows. When the sun set, the light was almost indescribable: yellows and greens deep in the crowns of the black oaks, obscured by the dying catalpa and dappled by the mimosa. He could stand at the nook window and simply stare at the shifting light forever, or so it seemed.
But winter was a different story. The deciduous canopy would fall away, revealing the monstrosities of the homes on the other hillside. The one at the bottom of the gulch, hidden so nicely in the summer, was revealed in all its misguided ugliness come November. Others, even further away -- either up the slope of the hill opposite, or off to the side down the street a ways -- would be revealed, reminding him how impoverished most of the architecture was in this part of the neighborhood. Land sales from the primary homes as owners died and heirs split the lots in the 50s resulted in quick bucks from developers putting up cardboard and baling wire pieces of crap.
He sighed, wishing he could afford to finish the remodeling they had begun a few years back. That project had made their kitchen a wonder of 21st century living -- light and airy, but cozy and warm, in spite of its north-facing exposure. He spent most of his time at home in the kitchen and the "nook," now a more integral part of the entire room. Between the kitchen and the gulch was a small strip of yard, no more than 15 feet deep, mostly mud-soaked grass, and of course beyond that, the wonderful riot of green trees and foliage. Except in the winter.
They had discussed re-landscaping the back yard -- pulling out the horrible cedars and hollys, replacing them with evergreens more suitable to their taste. As they looked at catalogs and discussed ideas with designers, a plan began to emerge, a plan that would continue the idea of a multi-layered green envelope, year-round.
But that plan was only a pipe-dream at the moment, he remembered. They couldn't afford what really needed to be done, and they couldn't imagine anything cheaper.
He felt self-conscious sitting in the nook. Private though it was from all of the next-door neighbors, he felt he was on stage at the top of his side of the gulch -- on stage and exposed. Up until a year ago, before he had decided to live naked, he hadn't really given it a second thought, but since then it was top of mind.
He had walked the street below, looking up at the house. He had imagined all of the sight lines, seeing how the kitchen countertops would obstruct views of anything below his waist, and identifying any of the neighboring windows that might see more. From the kitchen, the image of his nude body reflecting back from the windows, he would look out and imagine who might be in their rooms and what they might see.
There was nothing illegal about what he was doing -- it was his house and he could be naked all he wished. In his community, he had recently learned, he could be naked outside without violating any laws, as long as his behavior wasn't sexual. Which, for his part, it wasn't...mostly. He enjoyed the freedom of walking through the house without a stitch of clothing, the feeling of air on his skin and the way his cock and balls could swing freely.
For the most part, during the summer, he knew no one could see much -- perhaps his bare chest, and if he was really stupid or daring, his whole body if he stepped outside to empty the trash during the day, but only by a limited number of view points and for a very limited amount of time. Perhaps they'd see a flash of skin, know he was naked, but be unable to see much more. At least, he had convinced himself that was true.
But during the winter the entire back of his house was open to view, not only by the house at the bottom of the gulch, but by most of the others up the far hill. He wasn't especially concerned by them -- they were far enough away that even if they did see he was naked, they couldn't make out much.
To be fair, although he spent the majority of his time in these rooms, and the majority of that time naked, he didn't spend all that much time at the house at all. He worked 60 hour weeks, leaving when it was dark and returning well into the evening. It was on days like this, when he wasn't at work, that he realized he was risking his reputation with his recent addiction to being nude.
His day usually started early -- 6AM, sometimes earlier -- when he'd come to the kitchen to wash dishes, prepare breakfast and make his lunch. He would usually strip off his pajamas before attacking the dishes -- not only did they tend to get in the way, it made the job a little less dreary doing it in the nude. He would look over the gulch, the houses dark, figuring no one was staring back at the only lighted window along his side of the ridge. He would empty the food scrap bucket from the sink outside into the composter, the crisp morning air raising the hair on his arm. From that vantage point he was hidden from the houses across the gulch, but more exposed to the neighbors immediately to the sides, a fairly low risk, he calculated, given the time of day.
Sometimes he would stand for a few minutes and look over the gulch, enjoying the morning air on his skin. Sometimes he would take a few minutes and piss around the composter, relieving himself without holding his penis. It was a truly liberating experience, and he rationalized, kept the rat population away from the composter.
In the evening, when the family was upstairs doing their work, he rarely had the opportunity to disrobe -- and when he did, it was equally unlikely anyone outside the house could see him. But on days like this, when he was at home during the middle of the day, with nothing to do, he wanted nothing more than to strip off his clothes and hang out in the nook, reading, surfing or just...hang out.
He sat and stared, noting that no one seemed to be home in the monstrosity. Hardly surprising given the holiday. They hadn't been home the day before, but must have come home and left -- the bedroom blinds were open, and he remembered seeing he garage light on the night before. There were many telltales as to their absence: no lights, no steam from the vents, no activity whatsoever. He decided to strip and enjoy the day.
Standing at the stove, heating leftovers from last night's meal, he looked at his reflection in the glass door leading to the back yard: A middle-aged man, his butt slightly sagging but still round and tight when he tensed it, his chest still retaining some of its former glory, and most worrisome, a slightly expanding waistline; hell it was a paunch. That his penis was exposed should have been the least of his concerns -- his body was not a sight for sore eyes.
He heard footsteps coming toward the kitchen and his heart beat faster. The thought that his clothes were too far away to put on before one of his kids appeared came just before the realization that it was his wife entering the room. He breathed easier, smiling to himself. She had never really acknowledged his recent desire to live naked, nor had she joined in. As disappointed as he was in his own reflection, it paled in comparison to her own self-loathing: a far too large butt, breasts sagging and a roll of middle-aged fat she couldn't seem to burn off, no matter how much exercise and diet.
He didn't see her that way. In fact, he didn't see her that way at all...literally. She had long stopped taking her clothes off in front of him, preferring to shower alone, dressing in other rooms and sliding into bed, with pajamas, either before him, or after. His penis gave a little jerk at the thought she was in the kitchen with him. He loved the normalcy of their activity -- making coffee, washing dishes -- in this case, she was carrying the empty hamper to the laundry room -- in spite of his nakedness life went on. Not only hadn't she acknowledged his year-long habit, she didn't seem to care, one way or the other. Either she wasn't too put off by his middle-age figure, or, he imagined every once in a while, she might be slightly turned on by it. At least, if not turned on, he hoped, mildly amused.
From his current location, he was hidden by almost all views into the kitchen except the glass block backsplash behind the stove. If the next door neighbor were in her kitchen, or at her back door emptying her garbage, she would have a clear view of him, including the patch of pubic hair above the stove. He bent down to confirm she wasn't home -- at least her lights weren't on -- and continued preparing his snack.
He looked again at the full-length reflection in the back door glass, looking through to the forest beyond. He could just barely make out any of the houses across the way -- their windows dark rectangles in the afternoon gloom. He took the pot off the stove, turning to pour the soup into a bowl. He couldn't avoid but see his full nudity reflected back at him, his cock hanging loosely, his sac tight from the cool air. He set the pot onto the counter, bending to get a bowl and thought he saw movement in one of the windows in the monstrosity.
As he poured the soup, he glanced up and over to see if he was imagining things. There. Again. He looked at one of the windows above the garage, obviously a bedroom. A silhouette, faint in the darkened room, passed across the window. He paused, wondering if he should turn off the light in the kitchen. His wife came up the stairs, her footsteps heavy from the hamper full of clean laundry. Too hard to explain, he thought, imagining her questions as to why the lights were out.
He continued to pour the soup and look across the gulch. Nothing.
Taking a seat at the table in the nook, he stared out at the window. He left the light off over the table, making it less obvious he was there. Still likely they could see him from across the way, but if he was fairly still, they might not notice him. He stared that way, now with renewed interest as he sipped from his spoon.
Moments later he was rewarded. A light came on in the room, confirming it was a bedroom. He watched as a figure moved across the field of view. A second figure appeared and then disappeared; at first he thought it might be a sibling or parent, until he realized it was the mirrored surface of the bedroom closet sliding door.
He didn't know much about the family that lived there. If it was still the same as had been there last summer, he thought there was a teenage daughter, 17? 18? He couldn't remember what year she was in high school. There was definitely a younger girl -- 10, and possibly a much younger kid, 4? He couldn't remember. But he could tell this was someone older -- likely the teenager.
He watched as she moved from one side of the room to the other. She was dressed, that much he could tell, but what she was doing escaped him. Back and forth -- the blinds were down, but open -- her window faced the street that formed the bottom of the gulch. The city had paved over the gulch floor years before when they subdivided the area for homes. He tried to imagine what her viewpoint was: she could see down and out, perhaps she had turned the blinds so no one could see in from below. But from his position, they were wide open, affording him a clear view of her entire room.
She stopped in front of the closet doors and pulled her shirt up over her head. His heart stopped for a moment, as he waited to see where this was heading. She tossed the shirt across the room and shimmied out of her jeans, leaving her in panties and dark bra. He stared, the soup forgotten, his cock beginning to react.
She stood at the mirror assessing herself, her hands on her hips as she turned one way and the other. He couldn't see much, as she was several hundred feet away, but he could see enough. He got up, hoping to get a clearer view, careful not to catch her eye by any movement. He flicked off the lights and waited, watching for any change in her behavior. She continued to look at herself and then reached behind her back.
Positioned now at the kitchen window, he had a much more direct view into her room. She removed the bra, obviously revealing her breasts, but frustratingly he couldn't make much out. He could tell from the bra that they must be small, but from this distance even her nipples and areolas were too faint to see. The tip of his cock brushed against the counter edge on its gradual trip up.
Her hands peeled her panties down and she re-stood, appraising her reflection. He could see the dark patch of hair at the top of her thighs, but again, it was too far to tell much else. He moved his hand down to stroke himself, listening for any movement in the house. She turned and walked across the room, oblivious to his presence. Standing in front of a dresser, she began to choose a variety of items.
Placing them on a chair next to the closet, she opened the door, his view of her limited now to just her back, her ass cheeks clearly tight even from this distance, but not much else. She pulled several items off the clothes rod and slid the door closed. Holding up one skirt after another, she quickly put several different items together, in between revealing her naked reflection to him.
It was at the same time frustrating and amazing, he mused. So innocent of being observed, and yet so far away he couldn't really make anything out. He just stared and lightly played with himself as the scene continued. Eventually, she put on a new bra, white this time, and slipped on her underwear and outfit, cupping her breasts to confirm the effect she desired.
He quickly got dressed, concerned his luck would run out -- she would look up and see him, or somehow his erection would give him away to anyone entering the kitchen. Trying to ignore her as she continued to putter around her bedroom, he flicked on the lights and cleaned the kitchen.
* - * - *
"It looks like it will be sunny today, sweetheart," his wife mentioned over coffee the next day. "Maybe we should rake down below?"
He knew it wasn't a choice. "Sure. Let me get some clothes on." The kids were sleeping in, as usual, so he breakfasted naked, and equally usual, his wife didn't seem to notice or mind. With the morning light brighter outside than in, he was pretty confident no one across the way could see anything, but that hadn't stopped him from double-checking to see if anyone was visible before he sat down at the nook table.
Half an hour later the two of them were on the lower lawn at the street below, rakes in hand clearing the sidewalk. Their property stretched from one street down the ridge to the street at the base of the gulch and they had not yet developed it as others along the valley floor had done. He looked across the street and saw activity. Her bedroom light was on, but as he suspected, the blinds hid the room from view. Her father, he couldn't remember his name, was puttering around in the garage. A few minutes after they had started, he came out and waved.
"Hey!" Whatever-his-name was (Dick, Derek, Jim?) greeted them.
He was convinced he would be humiliated, certain the guy was going to call him on exposing himself to his family.
"Hey!" They shouted back, continuing to rake.
Looking up, he saw the guy and his younger daughter coming across the street. Here it comes, he thought, she's going to say something like, 'Look Daddy, it's the naked man I keep telling you about.' He smiled and offered his hand.
"Dean. Good morning."
Dean! "So, great day for doing a little yard work, eh?"
"Yeah...just trying to get ahead of winter. Hey, I wanted to mention something to you." Dean looked between the two of them, slightly uncomfortable.
Here it comes, he winced, preparing for the worst.
"I'm glad the two of you are down here...I don't know how to tell you this, but...well, I've been seeing a lot of funny stuff going on across the way and I thought you should know about it."
They looked at each other, concerned. "Funny stuff?" He asked, mentally getting ready to run. Anywhere.
"Yeah. I know you like to keep it kind of natural, and all..."
He lost track of what the guy was saying, convinced he had been busted.
"...so I thought you should know. I picked up as much of it as I could, but maybe it would be better if you cut back some of the undergrowth."
He heard is wife thanking him and apologizing, and Dean telling her it was alright, and the blood pounding in his ears had quieted enough to let him figure out it had nothing to do with him.
"Are you okay, honey?" She looked concerned.
"Hnnnh. Oh. Yeah. Sorry. Must be out of breath from the raking. Not in as good a shape as I used to be. I'm sorry, I don't know if we've all been introduced. This is Katy, my wife. And you are?" He held out his hand to the daughter.
"Kylie," she took his hand awkwardly. Dean greeted Katy and exchanged a few more pleasantries.
"I recall you have a young one, right?" Elroy started a new conversation.
"Yep. Trip's only four, and Anna's just turned 18."
"That's quite a spread," Katy remarked, continuing to rake.
"We're a blended family. Anna's was with my 1st wife -- she passed away, and Kylie came as a package deal with Bets. We decided to have one together..." He smiled, proud.