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Orchard House Part 36: Dance Naked

Note: Two For Tuesday continues with the second half of our double post. Hope you enjoy the read, and if you’re new to the story, click the link below to go to the main page to start from the beginning. Feel free to share and like across your social networks. Don’t keep Orchard House all to yourself 😉

Orchard House: Daily Serial Novel

Part 36: Dance Naked

We both looked out into the orchard and its vast darkness. You could see a few trees up front, but beyond that it was pitch black. “No blues tonight,” Summer noted. “No. Too bad. I really enjoyed that.”

She smiled and snuggled closer. “Me, too.”

“It was nice dancing in the dark.”

She nodded. “It’s so dark out here in the country you could just about get away with anything.”

“Yes, I guess you could.”

“Uh oh, I feel a spontaneous moment coming on.”

“What do you mean?”

She looked at me and her eyes were trying not to reveal her mischievous thought. “Still up for a dare?” she asked.

“Um…well…I don’t know. What is it?”

“Have you ever gone streaking?”

I laughed out loud. “Oh no, wait just one minute…”

“Did you?”

“Yeah, once. A buddy of mine dared me to go streaking around the yard.”

She snickered. “Did you do it?”

“Yep.”

“Broad daylight or night?”

“Daylight.”

She sighed. “Well, this won’t be much a challenge then…”

“I was twelve years old.”

She laughed. “Well, I think it’s time to relive your childhood.”

“How so?”

“Let’s dance in the orchard.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “We did that the other night. Not that I have a problem doing it again.”

“Naked.”

“What??!”

“Yeah, let’s dance naked in the orchard. Our spontaneous, out of character moment for the evening.”

“No way. Nope.”

“Oh come on, you’re turning down a dare.”

“It’s silly. Streaking through the orchard. It’s so…”

“So what? Adventurous? Naughty? Against your religion?”

“No, it’s just…”

“I think you’re scared. Embarrassed even.”

“Okay yeah I am. I’m a shy person.”

“Well I can be too, but you forget I’ve already seen you naked.”

“What? When?”

“The first day I met you, remember? You came out of the shower and Bam! Happy birthday to me!”

I must have turned several shades of red because she laughed so hard she nearly fell off my lap.

“I don’t think this is such a…”

“Chicken.”

“What?”

“You’re a big old chicken,” she teased.

“I am not.”

She got up from my lap and put her hand on her hips. “Then let’s do it.”

“Summer,” I protested.

“You can’t be that shy. Come on, you’re not going to be alone. I’ll be there with you. Just as exposed as you.”

“No, this is ridiculous,” I said, heading for the door. “I’m going in.”

“Hey, wait,” she exclaimed, coming in after me. She tried to catch up but I went to the bathroom and shut the door behind me, turning the lock to ensure I would be alone.

“Matthew, wait, please…” she pleaded from the other side. “Look, if it bothers you that much…” I heard her heavy sigh. “Okay, look forget it. We’ll just…”

I opened the door and came out. “No, we won’t forget it.”

Her jaw dropped open, and a smile spread across her face, seeing me wrapped up in just a towel. “Oh my,” she said. “Does this truly mean no dare goes unchallenged?”

“Yep. Come on.” I headed for the rear door, pulling it open. Jackson lay there on the small porch, his brown and white bulk nearly blocking the way. I stared out at the dark orchard.

“Time to put your money where your mouth is,“ I said, turning to face Summer again. But she was gone. I laughed. “Now, who’s the chicken?”

I opened the screen door and stepped over the dog. The first thing that struck me was it’s kind of chilly on summer nights when all you are wearing is a flimsy bath towel. I took it off and draped it over the porch railing. Without looking back, I stepped down to the cool grass and ran into the orchard. I went about five trees in, just enough so I would be out of the direct light of the porch, and turned. I was alone and stark naked, but out here in the dark it didn’t matter. I could see the white of my skin, but parts of my body were unseen in the dark shadows. I knew to her inside the house I was invisible, just a vague form on the edge of the orchard. Though I could see her standing in the doorway, I was like a ghost in the night. But from where I stood, I could see her clearly; her beautiful freckled face in the light cast from the kitchen, how those freckles spread across her shoulders disappearing beneath the floral bath towel that was wrapped around her lithe frame. As she opened the door, and the towel fell from her body, I could see her perfect, naked and exposed in the artificial light. As she stepped off the porch, her sweet porcelain skin touched by the moonlight, I knew that I would never, as long as I live, see anything as beautiful as this. From head to toe she was everything I could have imagined and more. From the swell of her firm uplifted breasts, to her smooth round belly where a pierced ring glistened, down her bare, shaven body to her long smooth legs, she was a beautiful vision of angelic beauty. No sight could compare with seeing her step off the porch and coming towards me in a slow sultry walk designed for me to get a good long look before she too entered the darkness of the orchard.

She hesitated at the edge of the first tree as if pondering if this was the right thing to do, and then she smiled. She stepped towards me, and as I stepped forward to meet her, she broke into run and ran past me, a giggle trailing behind her. For a moment, I was reminded of a Monty Python moment where two lovers run across a field towards each other only to run right past in opposite directions. I turned and watched her go, her hair flowing out behind her, the movement of her hips and legs carrying her away from me, her bare back and shaking butt a teasing sight in the restricted light of the moon. I ran after her.

Once she knew I was in pursuit, she let out a little squeal and took off faster, casting a look back over her shoulder to ensure she wasn’t running so fast I couldn’t keep up. I’ve always considered myself fit for my age, and I guess I was right in that assumption. I was able to follow close on her heels, and I feel I could have caught her if that had been my desire. But my desire lay in the joy of watching her run in front of me. The thrill of the playful chase made me feel as if we were teenagers, and I was once again a kid on a dare streaking through the yard. This time however, it wasn’t prankster boys who had set me on this path, but the most beautiful woman under all of God’s creation.

Into the orchard we fled, as she dodged around trees, skipping to the next row, playfully spinning around like she was chasing her own shadow. She jumped over a small irrigation ditch and I jumped after, nearly colliding with her, but when I righted myself she was dashing once more amongst the apples and peaches. Watching her ahead of me, catching glimpses of her beautiful nude form, I was reminded of a John Mellencamp song. Dance naked. I laughed. I had never felt so alive and free as I did right now.

She did another mad pirouette and her body moved gracefully like an angel fallen to earth. Seeing her like this was exciting. Not just in a sexual attraction kind of way. While her shape and form, and all the curves it contained, were the most beautiful I could have imagined, in this moment it wasn’t just her body being free, but her spirit as well. Everything about her seemed to explode into the night air, like a bottle that has been sealed up for so long, once it’s opened there’s a big whoosh, as what is inside escapes and blossoms outward from where it was enslaved. Seeing her this night, like this, was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen, and I just wanted to confess my adoration, my attraction, my love for her right then and there as loud as I could. But instead of letting it burst forth from my lips, I reached for her. She dodged my grasp, skipping down the rows as we made our way back to the vicinity of the house. We had returned to where we started our chase, about five trees into the orchard.

Summer stopped, and spun to face me. A part of me felt like a charging bull, but I stopped myself and laughed. “This is crazy,” I said. “I have never done anything like this before.”

She laughed too. “Me neither.”

I looked her over head to foot, but my gaze wasn’t a lecherous dirty thing, it was adoration, a sweet admiration of how God made the beautiful girl standing in front of me. Every line, every curve, every freckle, every gleam in her eye was pure heavenly perfection. I’m sure she could tell me a hundred things she didn’t like about her body, but I could have told her a hundred more that were perfection.

“You are beautiful,” I said, as I took in this sight of her. As her eyes took me in as well, I wondered if she was having similar thoughts about me. To me, I was definitely flawed. My abs was nothing what they used to be ten years ago. The hair on my chest, once blonde, now was looking like a skunk trail running down the front of me. Age lines, those things they called Crow’s Feet, had begun to form around my eyes, but seeing Summer look at me I hoped she saw none of these imperfections.

“You are the most beautiful man I’ve ever known,” she said, as if reading my thoughts.

I reached for her, sliding one arm around her waist. Her bare skin was like lightning beneath my hand and I pulled her close to me until our naked bodies touched, her full breasts resting against my chest, her smooth round stomach touching mine, her soft cheek pressed to my own. And like this we began to sway in time to an unheard song, one that dwelled within us, instead of being carried to our ears on the night air. And if John Mellencamp’s song, Dance naked, had been on the soundtrack of our lives as we streaked through the orchard, it was now something by Chris Isaak, slow and sensual, lonely and bare.

My lips found hers and right away the kiss was different. There’s a marked difference when you kiss someone for the first time and when you kiss someone you know you are madly in love with. The butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, nervous jitters…all these things melt away when you know this is the one. Summer and I had moved beyond the point of lonely friends sharing a kiss because we liked each other, or thought the other attractive. We had entered a new phase of our relationship. We had fallen in love. I could feel this with every fiber of my being, from the blood in my veins to the pores of my skin, every essence of me cried her name. And I knew she felt the same way. From the way her body leaned so easily and comfortable against mine, how her head tilted back to welcome my lips upon hers, to the slight tremors of her flesh, the soft breath of her body inhaling this newfound sensation that neither of us had ever felt before. With her melting against me, and I like the proverbial putty in her hands, we sank easily to the ground to lie upon the fine grass.

Before Summer, lovemaking had seemed an almost forced act, high in expectations, disappointing in results, but in her hands here beneath the apple trees there was nothing more natural and expressive, nothing more gentle and passionate than how she welcomed my hands to her body, and I into her loving embrace. She cradled me to her bosom, as I kissed her, my lips lingering on nearly every freckle that painted her beautiful skin. And as we wrapped ourselves around each other, sinking into the most ecstatic of entanglements, the stars above us seemed to blink out one by one, leaving us to our private moments and intimacies, just as you should now.

Part 37: Dreams Come To Life

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.

Orchard House Part 35: Kiss And Drive

Note: Today it’s Two For Tuesday, and so we will celebrate with two parts of the story, instead of the usual one. Not only that, but these two parts fit together in a nice way, and I don’t feel like making my readers wait a full day for the second half. So, here we go with part one of our double post. I’ll post the second one here soon.

As always, if you are new to Orchard House and need to catch up, click the link below to go to the main page and table of contents. Thanks for reading!

Orchard House: Daily Serial Novel

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Part 35: Kiss And Drive

The hike down the mountain seemed much shorter than when we hiked up. Perhaps it was because we were going downhill the whole way, or that we were alternating between running and limping, in an effort to reach the bottom before it was too dark to see the path. After the clearing at the halfway mark, night descended on us like a dark shroud. Holding hands to stay together and slowing up our pace, we hiked the rest of the way with only the moonlight and stars in the sky to guide us. Reaching the car, we looked back to where we had been. You couldn’t see the top of the mountain or the rocks that dominated it, as it was too dark now. I think we were both thinking of our time up there and how beautiful the sky had been, how wonderful being close to each other was. A part of me wished we had stayed up there in that old stone house and cuddled up in the floor next to the hearth. I could picture it in my head, she and I, arms and legs entwined, lips pressed together, bodies drowning in the heat of the moment.

“You okay?” Summer asked.

Startled from my reverie, I tried to regain my composure. “Yeah. Sorry. I was lost in thought.”

“I got a penny,” she said.

“Just thinking of you and me.”

“Good?”

“Yeah, very.”

She slid up close to me and I was surprised how easily my arm went around her, how natural she felt by my side, her hip touching mine. “I’m glad,” she said, nuzzling against my neck. I kissed her on her forehead and waited to see if this tender moment between us would pass. It didn’t.

The drive home to Orchard House started off in silence. It had been a long day up in the mountains, but we both agreed it had been wonderful. For me, sharing the sunset together was something that was ours alone to share. I’d never watched the sun set with anyone before, and I knew no matter how many more I would witness from this day forth, none could compare to this one. The warm moment at the foot of the trail afterwards seemed to cap off the day. We both were contented and at peace with ourselves, and each other.

After a few minutes of riding in silence, her hand holding mine in her lap, she reached for the radio, flipping through channels, seeking out some tunes to fit the mood. She settled on an indie station, coming in faint here in the mountains, but still clear enough to hear the acoustic folk pop song playing. The singer could be heard lamenting the girl he’d left behind, and his voice, caught somewhere between Roy Orbison and John Waite, expressed his regret.

“With the wind in her hair, she whispers to me,

This is the last first kiss I’ll ever believe;

There’s always been you to set me free,

With the wind in her hair, she whispers to me…Don’t go…”

Summer sighed. “This song is so sad, but I like it.”

I agreed. Despite his apparent sorrow, you couldn’t help but get reeled in by his emotion. “He’s in love with you,” I said.

She turned to me. “What?”

I caught myself and laughed. “I mean, the guy singing. He’s in love with the girl. That’s why it’s so sad.”

“So when you’re in love with someone, you’re sad?”

“No, you shouldn’t be. But he seems to have messed up and left her behind.”

She turned to look out the window. “Hope he finally got it worked out.”

“Yeah, me too.”

The DJ piped in, cutting the song off as it was fading out. “Alright, that was a mild blast from the past, a one hit wonder of say, five years ago, The Wind In Her Hair, by Dan Marsten. Hey, did you know Danny grew up only about ten miles from here over in Sunset Fields. Small world, huh? Well, hey if you want another one hit wonder, but just a little more upbeat and a heck of a lot happier, check out this real blast from 1979, Phil Seymour and Precious To Me…”

I grinned as the next song began, jangly guitars and a definite Beatles influence. “I had this record when I was a kid.”

Summer smirked. “Why does that not surprise me?”

She lay her head on the window sill, and closed her eyes, the wind tousling her hair. It made me think of the sad song we had just heard. In that moment, I believe I realized I didn’t ever want to leave her, that I was going to want her by my side forever. It’s hard to look back and pinpoint the exact moment the realization hits you that you have fallen in love. We can narrow it down, possibly recall the day, but the precise moment when that warning bell goes off in your head is often lost.

“So, still think I can’t kiss and drive?”

She raised her head up and looked at me, a mischievous smile playing across her face. “I don’t think you can.”

“I’m waiting, “ I teased.

With that dare in place, she leaned towards me, sliding across the seat so her leg was resting right against mine. She reached up her hand and turned my face from the road to her. Her soft kiss sent pleasant chills up my spine. I tried not to close my eyes as I felt myself give in to the butterfly rush that came with the touch of her lips. It didn’t really matter though, eyes opened or closed, because I was no longer looking at the road at all. Good thing it was a straight and lazy stretch of pavement, otherwise we would have been over in a ditch somewhere. Summer opened her mouth against mine and I felt the car starting to sway from its course. I righted it the best that I could without taking her kiss from me. She smiled, and the laugh that followed almost seemed to echo in my mouth. We pulled away, both of us giggling like teenagers on a Friday night after a high school football game that neither of us watched.

“Not too shabby, “ she said. “I guess you can kiss and drive.”

Looking ahead now at the road , I found myself grinning ear to ear. “I can’t let a dare go unchallenged.”

“Hmmm, I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Uh-oh,” I said. “What are you thinking?”

She didn’t answer, but instead just kissed my cheek, keeping her thoughts to herself. This worried me, because if there was one thing I learned from Ashley, it’s when women keep their thoughts to themselves trouble is not far behind.

On the way home we stopped off in town and ate some tacos at a little Mexican restaurant chain. I half expected to see the migrant workers we kept seeing in the orchard, but they weren’t there. Summer reasoned that real Latinos wouldn’t be caught in a fake taco shop, as she called it. As for ourselves, it didn’t matter to us if the food wasn’t true Mexican fare, we were starving.

When we finally got back to the house we realized because it had been closed up all day in the summer heat, the air had become quite stuffy. We went from room to room turning on every AC unit we could find. Then we retired outside, where we sat on the side porch to await the cooling down of the house. I sat in the porch swing and Summer settled herself onto my lap. The night was quiet except for the sound of crickets and cicadas. Every now and then, we would hear the distant croak of a frog from the creek bed across the road from the drive.

“I could so get used to this,” Summer said.

I put my arm around her and gently squeezed. “I already am.”

Part 36: Dance Naked

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.

Orchard House Part 34: Sharp Top

New to Orchard House? click the link below to go to the table of contents. Hope you have a pleasant stay.

Orchard House: Daily Serial Novel

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Part 34: Sharp Top

If the clearing had been a place to rest before the hard climb, then our kisses must have been the batteries to recharge us. The rest of the hike took close to two hours and we pushed ourselves to the limit to achieve the rocky summit. As brush and dirt slowly turned to rocks and bare leafless trees, the trail wound us up and around outcroppings that in older days must have been hard to navigate without the clear marked trail we had. As we reached the top, we noticed just how popular a spot this was. Varied groups of people had also made the hike and were milled about on the rocks enjoying a 360 degree view of the valley below. Kids jumped from rock to rock in a carefree exploration that could never be achieved behind a video game console. Couples leaned on each other sharing quiet reflective moments, filled with a sense of wonder about the world around them and how the open skies were truly the limit, not only here on this mountaintop, but for the rest of their lives. An elderly couple, whom I found hard to believe to have made the hike, sat on a bench outside an old weather worn cabin that had been built ages ago among the huge rock outcroppings. A peek inside showed us it was empty except for an open fireplace. The elderly man spoke up. “It’s a good place to get out of the wind and rain when it picks up.”

“Yeah, I imagine. How long did it take you to make the hike?”

“Oh, I don’t know. “ He looked over at his wife. “What do you think, Hon? About an hour?”

“Yes,“ she said, smiling at us both. “Thereabouts, I guess.”

I looked at Summer with a shocked look. Here it had taken us three hours and they had made it in one.

“Of course twenty minutes of that was on the bus,” the man added.

“Bus?”

“Yeah, go down that little trail right there and it’s a bus stop. Last one leaves out right before sunset though, so if ya’ll are here for that, I’m afraid you’ll just have to roll down the hill on your own.”

“A bus,“ I said to Summer. “Now, why didn’t we think of that?”

“It’s still a little walk from here,“ the elderly missus told us. “Bus has to stop when it starts getting rocky. But it does save some wear on the feet.”

“This is his first hike in a while,” Summer replied.

“Oh me. Well then, you better take care of this fellow tonight. He won’t be good for nothing else after this mountain is through with him.”

“Oh Ma, leave them alone,“ her husband playfully admonished. “They look like a right perfect couple.”

A right perfect couple. I looked at Summer and she smiled at me. I could see it in her eyes, the want. Like me, that’s what she wanted out of life – to be part of something right, something perfect. Something we had never found with anyone else before. And yet here on this rocky mountaintop in front of this elderly couple who had shared years and years of sunsets, it somehow dawned on us – we were no longer two people walking through life alone and miserable. We were a couple stepping bravely into the unknown, knowing it was right, and that our companion was the most perfect one the heavens could ever have placed here for us.

What was left of the afternoon we spent among the rocks of Sharp Top. Sitting on top of a huge flat boulder resting between two others rocks of even larger size, we felt the wind and sun on our faces. Her head leaning on my shoulder with my arm protective around her, we sat in silence, comforted in the closeness of each other and the sheer wastefulness of the day. Other visitors also enjoyed the day, yet kept their distance from us, maybe realizing this was something special at work, a tender relationship developing before their eyes and they didn’t want to hinder its growth. As the day grew later, people began to wind back down the mountainside, either the way they had come or down the smaller trail to catch the bus. As the sun began its slow descent and the colors of the clouds began to change, we found ourselves with a slight sunburn from being outside all day. But it wasn’t the heat of the burn that warmed us from the inside out; it was knowing that we had each other to share this beautiful day with. As she rested against me, I found myself wishing that somehow we could have just as many sunsets together as the elderly couple sitting outside the cabin.

It was this thought – the prospect of other sunsets – that got me to thinking about the future and what would come after these days at Orchard House. “Summer,” I asked. “Do you really think I should pick up writing again?”

She smiled. “Yes I do. I think it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but for some reason you set it down and never picked it back up. It’s in your blood though. You just need something or someone to get your writing blood pumping again.”

“I’ve never had anyone to push me to do anything. No one really encouraged me to keep writing.”

“Ashley?” she asked.

“No, she just had the attitude of do what you want as long as it doesn’t affect what I want.” I sighed. “She never really cared what I wrote.”

“That’s sad.”

“That’s why when I was into the poetry thing I never wrote her anything.”

“Nobody ever wrote me anything either.”

I smiled. Looking at her now in the late afternoon sun, I could write volumes of it.

Summer patted my hand. “You really should write, Matthew. Your description of our kiss was amazing.”

“Our kiss was amazing.”

“Yes it was.”

“I hope there’s many more,” I ventured.

Her smile said it all. “Me too.”

We sat there a few more minutes on our rocky perch in silence. It was so peaceful. Even more so that the sun was dipping. We watched the last remaining families make their way to the paths and for a moment I thought I heard the bus straining its way up the mountain. “Want to stay and watch the sunset? Or do you want to catch the last bus down?”

She leaned closer to me. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to stay. I really want to see the sunset with you. “

“I want to see it with you, too.”

“If your legs are too tired to make the hike down though..”

“I’m okay. You can just roll me down the trail like a spare tire.”

She laughed. “As long as I don’t have to change you.”

“You already have.”

“You have changed me too, Matthew.”

“So, what’s next for you?”

“What do you mean?”

“After you finish up all your mom’s affairs. What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know really. All my life I have worked in restaurants or retail. It’s really all I know to do, and yet I don’t want to do it anymore. “

“What would be your ideal job then?”

A wistful look came across her face. “I’d love to work in a nursery.”

“Kids?”

She laughed. “No. flowers.”

“Cool.”

“Yeah, I love flowers and gardening. It’s so relaxing. I picked it up from my mom. She always had a wonderful garden, and as a kid I helped her a lot. Maybe in that sense, I can hang onto a little piece of her through gardening, you know?”

“Yeah, I know,” I agreed. “I kind of did the opposite with writing. When my folks died, I quit writing. It reminded me of them, how they had encouraged me and were proud of me. It’s just when I pick up a pen now I think of them and it bums me out.”

“Well, why don’t you write a story for them? I mean, you could write about Hope and Gunboats there at Orchard House, but you could also write it for your parents, too.”

“I guess it’s worth a shot. Hey look at that…” I pointed at the sky. It was really changing colors now. Clouds were streaked with orange as they sailed across the sky; a sky that was now shifting from orange to burgundy.

“It’s beautiful,” Summer said.

“Yeah. It reminds me of a poem.”

“Really?”

I looked down into her face, daring to look at her dark eyes, now reflecting the colors of cloud and sky back at me. I closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them up again, Summer was staring into my face, perhaps watching my eyes reflect the wondrous sunset too. In that moment, the words finally came easy for me.

“If we could stay here forever,

Under the shimmering velvet sky

To run my fingers through your chestnut hair

And never say goodbye;

We could watch the colors swirl

At the closing of the day

From the clouds above the mountaintops

To where we softly lay

Your face turned upwards to the light

The sun catches your dark eyes

Oh, if we could only stay here forever

Under the shimmering velvet sky.”

She was silent for a moment, but a certain glow had come across her face. “Wow,” she said. “That was beautiful. Who wrote it?”

“I just did.”

She smiled. “For me?”

“For you. The poem no one had written you before.”

“Matthew.”

“Yes?”

“I…” she hesitated. There was the beginning of a tear in her eye and she wiped it away with the back of her hand. I could tell she was struggling with what to say, until finally the words she mustered were a simple “thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I said, and though I felt there was more both of us wanted to say in this moment, we just let the echo of the poem speak what we felt, as we held each other and watched the sun dip and disappear on the far horizon.

Part 35: Kiss And Drive

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.