"Would you soap my back?" she asked, looking over her shoulder at me, smiling.
Standing in a communal shower, the sounds of other people laughing and bathing reduced to a backdrop of sound, a distant hum, I stared at her. I'd met Ann the evening before, soon after I'd arrived at this weekend workshop. Located in a hot-springs area in northern California, a clothing-optional community that found its roots in the hippie days of the 60's, it had enjoyed a renewal in this new-age decade.
A delightful woman I'd met on-line whose sensitivity and insights I'd come to cherish, had recommended that I might benefit from this concentrated weekend that was designed to deal with the issues of sex, love and intimacy. While I was not put off by nudity - mine or others - there were certain aspects of intimacy that were newer to me. Such things as emotional honesty.
Anyway, I'd gulped, swallowed my apprehension and drove up to this relatively remote spot on a Friday afternoon. It was rugged and exceptionally beautiful, but at first I didn't see that, for in my self-centered way, I was caught up in my shyness, thinking, "What am I DOING here?"
Mulling on that existential quandary, I'd not even been aware when she walked up, that is until she sat beside me on a pillow against the wall. Sticking her hand out, she said, "Hi. My name's Ann. What's yours?"
Years of social conditioning allow one to go on autopilot and without thinking -- after all, she hadn't asked me the meaning of life! -- I shook her hand, admiring her firm grip, and replied, "My name's Bill." Perhaps thinking we were in the Amazon, I added, "I'm from northern California. You?"
She frowned for half a moment and then laughed, pointing out the obvious, "Uh, this IS northern California. And I'm from San Rafael."
We chatted for a few minutes. Yes, she'd been to a couple of these work shops. No, I didn't have a "buddy."
It turns out that the facilitators of this workshop recommended that folks buddy up to form a small mutual support group. Often, this wasn't the person with whom you did "work" during the weekend, but rather a kindred spirit with whom you might share your feelings about the work you'd done.
"Wanna be my buddy for the weekend?" she asked.
"Even if I'm from Mars?" I countered.
Smiling, she nodded and said, "Even."
Now, the following day, I was naked and in the shower with her. This was a part of the "exercise." Clothing, or more correctly, its lack, was an issue for some people. We tended to use it to hide more than our bodies. Taking off one's clothes, as with all the exercises, was optional and 98% of the folks opted to do just that... take off their clothes. It had a lot to do with trust, letting go of masks and stretching... stretching one's emotional boundaries, those artificial restraints that often go under the guise of "propriety."
Another artificial boundary was removed when the men's and women's locker rooms and bathrooms were made unisex. Just in case we didn't get the message right away, this exercise was included to help us along. We were to all take showers together. No more instruction than that. Those who needed SPECIFIC instructions -- "Um... do we touch each other?" -- were left to figure out life for themselves. At least in the shower room.
So here I was, all wet, admiring the total-body tan of the attractive girl in front of me, the one I'd met the evening before. I only knew her first name. The rest didn't seem important.
"Gimmie that soap, woman!" I growled in a fake, commanding voice.
She stood with her back to me, head bowed slightly, relaxed and waiting, the water streaming off her tanned buttocks. I started in a "safe" place, across her shoulders and working my way gently down her back. When I moved to her sides, she raised her arms above her head, offering me that tender area in the axillae.
I soaped her arms down to her "pits" and then down her sides, brushing my fingers across the tail of her breasts that blended into her sides. She made no comment other than to moan softly, letting me know it was okay... more than okay.
Dropping to one knee, I soaped down to the flare of her hips and then back to the swell of her buttocks. She pushed back against my hand, bending slightly in invitation. I ran soapy fingers through the crack of her butt, briefly touching her wrinkled anus.
"Oh, yes. Get all of me," she murmured.
"Front too?" I asked.
In answer, arms up again, she turned around and faced me. "Front too."
Her breasts were as tan as the rest of her body, medium heavy, full with up-tilted large nipples and slightly raised areolae. Her stomach was flat and her pubic hair had a sun-bleached coppery color. She had tight curls and ringlets that hid her labia. Part of the top and sides were trimmed, more of a fashion statement I thought than serving any functional value.
I washed upward from her ankles, working my way slowly to the inside of her thighs. At my touch, she shifted one leg out, opening herself at the juncture of her legs and, in the process, opening up her now-visible labia just a little. I sat back and just looked at her for a moment, watching the water stream off her pussy.
"Like it?" she asked
I smiled, nodded and then said, "Looks like you're peeing."
She didn't close her legs or look away in embarrassment. Rather, she smiled as said, "I often DO when I'm in the shower."
"Want to now?"
Again, that sweet smile as she shook her head. "Well, I'd *want* to I guess ... but I can't. First, I just went. Second, I'd be a little... uh... gee, I'm not sure what to say."
"Me too." I wasn't quite sure what she was alluding to, but it was easy to offer a sympathetic me too.
After finishing our communal shower and getting "dressed," (I wore a T-shirt and Ann wore a light cotton wrap, left unwrapped) we filtered back into the main room, a large space with a vaulted, open-beam ceiling. We chatted with people for a few minutes before the workshop was to resume.
Ann put her hand on my arm and said, "Bill, I'd like you to meet a friend of mine, Sandy. And Sandy, I'd like you to meet my buddy, Bill. He's the one I was telling you about."
Telling what? I wondered as I looked at Ann's friend and almost fell into her eyes. Sandy was tall, several inches taller than Ann and an inch or two taller than me I guessed. She had long, wavy strawberry blond hair down over her shoulders and intense, light-blue eyes. Like Ann, she reached out and gave me a firm hand shake. No wilting, limp fingers here. She shook my hand and I could feel her gentle strength. I liked that.
Perhaps most striking were her breasts. It was not their size: I thought them perhaps a B cup. (Later Diane said, "Between a B and a C.") What *was* it that attracted my attention? Perhaps their firmness, their youthfulness? Yes, some of that to be sure. They were hands-down, flat-out beautiful.
Were they augmented? I knew a little of that procedure and my practiced eye caught no tell-tale signs of subtle reconstruction incisions. Plastic surgeons are good, but the most artful surgeon can do no better than leaving a thin white line. No, there was no hint of surgical augmentation. The firmness and perky nipples were all her's (and God's) and I concluded this all in the first thirty seconds of our meeting.
I'm a product of my conditioning and my mother's words were etched into my forebrain. "William, when you are talking to a woman, do not look down her dress. Wait until she's talking to someone else." I suspect the second part of that admonition may have been my own addendum. So I waited a few moments until she was engaged with Ann and then let my eyes fall to the rest of her body. Like Ann, she was wearing a flowing robe, unbelted and hanging open. It was thrown on as I might throw a sweater over my shoulders, ostensibly in case it got colder, but actually, mostly for the appearance.
While her legs were long, she was not geaky, for her slim torso was in proper proportion. Her softly rounded belly curved to a full growth of rusty public hair, medium sparse and wavy. The labia could just be seen through the untrimmed public hair nestled between her long, shapely thighs.
I was starting to experience that sensation I've grown to recognize and appreciate, that initial pre-tumescence, a stirring in the loins if you will, and I suppose I lost it. My hind brain had taken control and I might well have been standing there, slack jawed, perhaps drooling a little, staring at her pussy when I heard, as if through a fog, "Bill?"
They were both looking at me. Busted! My eyes darted about the room, searching for some witty comment to deflect their obvious thoughts. From long experience I knew that in a minute or two, I'd think of something very clever, but I also knew from an equally long and well-established track record that the best I'd come up with right then was to get red in the face and perhaps stutter.
"Sorry. I'm back," I offered, holding my hands out, palms up as if to say, "What can you expect? After all, I'm a guy."
Sandy again held out her hand and said, "Nice to have met you, Bill. Hope to see you again."
Jezz, I thought. We're going to be in the same room for the next two days. How you going to miss me?
"Uh... sure. Be seein' you."
She smiled at both of us and walked off. My tongue was thick.
Ann said sotto voce, "I thought that might happen!"
"God! Who IS that woman?" I asked, shaking my head, still looking at her, by now across the room. "I'm sure there's nothing I can tell you that you won't find out for yourself in the next two days. Just don't hurt her, okay?"
"Hurt her?" I asked dumbly.
"I'm sorry, Bill. I'm just being a mother hen. Anyway, there's an exercise coming up -- I'm not supposed to tell you -- but there's an exercise coming up that will give you the chance to get to know her better... or at least her body. Interested?"
"Does a bear shit in the woods?" I gave her my ain't-I-bright look.
She gave me her oh-God look and said, "Clever."
I then tried my little-boy look and digging into the hardwood floor with my toe and said in a contrite voice, "What do I do?"
"You'll figure something out, guy. Just keep your wits about you and be prepared to move fast."
At this point our conversation was cut off by the facilitators who chased all the men outside. Again, without any explanation, we -- the men -- were given our choice of lipsticks! Several of the guys looked perplexed and persisted in asking, "What do we DO with this stuff?"
At times I'm slow, but I'm really not dumb at all. It was clear to me that a big part of the exercise was to make a situation possible, but the process was up to the individual. "Got it, " I mumbled to myself and made my way back to the door that led inside.
At that moment, the leader opened the door and said, "You can go inside now." I almost ran him over.
Soft music was playing and the sun illuminated the translucent skylights, casting a warm light on all the women who were each lying on towels spread over the conference room floor. There were about thirty of them, each lying supine, feet toward our door, hands by their sides.
I stopped in utter awe and some guy ran into me from behind; I could feel his dick against my buttock. "THAT'S not what I came here for," I thought briefly as I singled her out. She was lying in the near geometric center of the room, right under the largest skylight.
Without looking right or left, I walked right up to her and dropped to one knee. She looked at me and smiled briefly. I had no notion what the women had been told. Did she know what was *supposed* to happen?
Well, give me a tube of lipstick and a to-die-for redhead lying totally nude on the floor with no incumbering instructions, and I'll think of *something* I assure you.
Without speaking, I held up the lipstick that she might see it and then raised my eyebrows in the universal interrogative. Without uttering a sound and without smiling, she simply nodded her head. I was being given permission... for just what remained to be seen.
Kneeling by her left side, facing her body, I reached across and drew a bold lipstick line starting on her mid right thigh and sweeping up across her body, between her breasts, ending on her left deltoid. That was the main stem of the flower I began drawing on her body. Branches and leaves curled over and almost touched her pubic hair. More leaves framed her left breast while flowers burst out across her torso and chest. One nipple became the center of the largest blossom and, as I painted it, it became hard and urgent. Once, she sighed.
I slowed. The mural was almost finished, but I wasn't. Attention to detail, that I reasoned, was the key to successful body art. (Jezz, Billy, what a lot of crap. All you want to do is feel her up, huh?)
When we'd finished, the facilitators formed a circle with the men sitting on the outside while the ladies paraded around inside, each showing her "art." What a strange and wonderful collection that was! Given no particular direction, the men had done all sorts of fantastic things, some of which were even attractive.
I squirmed and felt a warm flush when Sandy's flowers were given the loudest applause.
"Hello. This is Sandy calling. Is Bill there?"
I recognized her voice immediately. She had a characteristic lilt and musical quality that even came across the limited fidelity of our local phone lines.
A couple of weeks before, I'd spend part of an intense and emotionally charged weekend with her in a workshop dealing with love, sex and intimacy. It had been my character make up to look with some reservation and suspicion on most of what passed for "love." After all, how many of us, deep in lust, have mistaken that raw and powerful emotional tug as love? Too many to count, I'm sure.