This story is a work of fiction. At the same time, the universe is an ever-expanding continuum in which time equals space. Probability dissolves. Possibility is reality. In that sense, it is a true story, of the past or future in the infinity of unknown time-space.
Jane stared through the blinking of the wipers fending off the early morning drizzle. They were on Interstate 90, escaping the confines of the city, and the coziness of her apartment in Amherst. They had just passed Orchard Park, on their way to the Westfield exit. From there, they would drive along Chautauqua Lake on Route 430, and then on Route 17 to the Park. She knew that they had a good two hours of driving left.
"Good!" she thought to herself. "Maybe the sun will come out."
That would take one thing off her mind.
Jane stole a glance at her fiancé, watching the road ahead as he drove. The camping trip had been at his insistence. David was so determined to do it. For Jane's part, a nice Bed and Breakfast tour through the Amish Country of Pennsylvania would have been her choice.
They could have searched for antiques for the new house. It would have been a romantic time in the rural setting; just the two of them, their final venture out of town together as an engaged couple. Soon the details and demands of the wedding would overtake them, making trips impossible until the honeymoon on Cape Cod. The wedding was slated for mid-August. For this trip they squeezed together their last unspoken-for days of vacation and wrapped them around the Independence Day holiday to create a five day interval for their trip.
David had that resolute look in his eyes. He enjoyed the out of doors more than Jane. She protested that she didn't know anything about camping.
"Just leave it to me!" he had told her. "We're both in good shape. I'm experienced in the woods. Summer is an easy time to camp. The weather will be with us."
David had set about the task of gathering and buying just the right equipment. He packed both backpacks and fastened them to the frames. He made sure that they had the proper clothes and boots. He dug his tent and sleeping bags out of his parents' attic in Rochester. David told her they were 'set'. Jane half-thought that he took on the project to evade shopping for silver and china patterns, and helping her plan wedding details, like the choice of cocktail napkins for the reception. The details were annoying to Jane, too, but had to be taken care of.
"Where are we going to stop and buy food, David?" asked Jane, as she broke the silence.
David broke into laughter. When he calmed down he looked at her in mock disbelief, shaking his head.
"We're not!" he declared. "This is real camping. We'll live off the land if we can. There are streams and brooks all over in the Park. I've got my collapsible fishing pole."
Jane looked at him, her eyes wide in un-mocked disbelief, wanting to speak, but unable.
"Relax, Jane. I packed some dried food in case things don't work out," he explained. "It's not the tastiest, but is more than enough to keep us going. I even 'cheated' and slipped in a few cans of tuna."
"A few cans of tuna, David? You're always thinking of me."
Jane rolled her eyes and slouched back into the seat. She didn't really fear for her safety. David could take care of that. One thing that she loved about him was that he wasn't afraid to make big plans, and then carry them out. She enjoyed watching him tackle them. Riding next to him, it occurred to her that in their fast-approaching married life, she wouldn't be just watching any more.
The camping trip wasn't her idea of the best way to 'get away and be romantic', but Jane was not going to pout. She reached over and patted David on the thigh as he drove the Explorer.
"Just get me home in one piece and I'll still marry you," she said.
"Don't worry—you're going to love it."
At twenty-nine, Jane and David were a little older than most engaged couples. Although they both went to UB, they never met until four years later when they were running in a 5K race. They had already been engaged for eighteen months. Jane was from Buffalo and worked as a pharmacist in a hospital. David was from Rochester, but stayed in Buffalo after college and became a CPA. They were a traditional couple, so they decided to keep separate apartments until after the wedding and that pleased Jane's family. Although they didn't share apartments, they did share keys.
David was tall and dark-haired, with broad shoulders and a trim physique. He had a look that women liked, although he never seemed to be aware of it. Many people thought he was always serious, but Jane was first attracted to his broad smile would set people at ease at the right time. He was courteous all times. Everyone in Jane's family liked him. David was a modest young man, although he had accomplished much. He always found time and patience for Jane's elderly grandparents and her many young nieces and nephews.
Jane was a good match for David. She had also accomplished a lot in a different profession. She was a bit reserved. She was good looking, too, in a different way, of average height with light hair and skin. She usually wore glasses, especially when working, and that made a few mistake her for bookish. Her slim, toned body had many men's head swiveling when they were lucky enough to see her without her white lab coat.
The Explorer was carrying them along Chautauqua Lake. The rain had grudgingly let up and the sun was imposing itself through the clouds. On the forested hillsides surrounding the lake it made a mottling of shadows and brightness. The trees were in full leaf as spring had surrendered to summer. A deep green blanket ahead stretched as far as Jane could see with the blue lake alongside and below in contrast. As her eyes drank in the view, Jane realized that it was a work of art beyond the capacity of a mortal being.
"David, I can see why you love it out here."
She looked over when he didn't answer. When he saw her searching he gave his reply.
"Yes, it's an awesome sight, but it's only part of the reason I brought you out here. I wanted to because it will be our last chance before the wedding to be completely alone together, without any possibility of distraction or interruption; a retreat to get connected in a beautiful place like this."
Jane contemplated the layers of meaning in David's words. She had dreamt of 'getting connected' in a nice fluffy bed at a romantic inn. It was clear that David meant something else. She wondered if he felt a need for more from her that what she was giving him—a connection of spirits that Jane hadn't realized was missing. The statement thrust an unpleasant stab into her contented frame of mind.
"I thought that we were connected, David. I love you. We're going to be married. You love me. What do you mean?"
"We are; I know you do; and I do, too," he answered each point in succession. "I only wanted to say that it's not possible to be connected enough."
Jane silently analyzed the content of the answer. She decided to accept it without understanding it. David glanced over and Jane made her body language tell him that she was happy again.
"You know," he resumed in a more playful tone, "getting connected can take on a lot of meanings."
As he said it he ran hand gently from her knee toward her hip and let his hand rest on the khaki pants that covered her thigh.
"Just relax and concentrate on your driving," she said with a laugh.
"Relax now, but we'll see about later," she thought to herself.
She let his hand stay resting on her thigh and closed her hand over it. She decided to tease him.
"How do you propose to get 'connected' in a public park?" she asked in her most demure voice.
"Where we're going, Jane, it's a wilderness. I wouldn't worry about anyone seeing us do anything."
"Like Adam and Eve, I suppose."
Jane was starting to become intrigued by the possibilities.
David didn't answer because they were entering Allegany State Park, their destination. He pulled into a parking space and disappeared into the office to register while Jane waited in the car.
"Let's mount up!" Jane heard David call out to her.
"He must be kidding!" Jane said to herself. "I thought that we would drive in a ways first."
At the back of the vehicle David helped Jane mount her backpack on her shoulders. Hers was lighter than his and the frame that he bought helped balance the weight. David adjusted the straps and she stood testing it.
"It's not too bad," Jane said.
"You're carrying about thirty pounds," he said. "Don't worry, you'll be tired enough when we reach our first campsite."
"How much is yours?" she asked.
"You don't want to know," he replied. Jane judged David's pack to be about fifty pounds, comparing its size to her own.
As they began walking, David passed on more information to her.
"This is part of the Allegany National Forest. The park is a plateau, one hundred square miles, covered by a forest. There's an area with man-made amenities that we'll pass through first. We'll head due south. Before we get on top of the plateau we'll have to trek up to it."
"David," said Jane, "there a lot of people here. I thought that this place was isolated."
"Don't worry!" he answered. "As we get farther in, we'll see fewer and fewer; then there will be no one around—just us."
They left off conversation for a time as they worked to get on top of the plateau and out of the populated area. The ground and vegetation was still wet from the early morning rain. As they walked along the trail Jane saw her new boots getting dirty already, and water was dripping off the vegetation onto her as she passed it. She still felt strong, defying her heavy load. The sun was out but the clouds would not burn completely away. The half-sun, half-shade lent mystery to their journey. They soon fell out of sight from other hikers.
The struggling patches of sunshine reminded Jane of the earlier view of the verdant hills that she had enjoyed so much during their drive along the lake. It had been a distant vision then, a daunting blanket in pureness of green, daring and beckoning them at the same time. As she looked about her, she realized that what had been the idyll of the mind's eye a few hours ago were her surroundings.
Treading along, following David's lead, she glanced upward to the canopy of trees over the narrow path. Greenness surrounded her. Leaves, vines and fronds closed over and surrounded them. As quickly as David would break through the dense vegetation, it closed behind as Jane passed through the opening.
Although they spoke no words, there was no silence. Unseen birds sang out in claim to their unfenced territories. Droplets of the earlier rain spattered as they fell from the high treetops to the ground. The four boots of the pair brushed the ground underneath them in a ceaseless marching—forward, upward, forward, upward. Here and there was a quick hustle through the underbrush as a rabbit or chipmunk sprang to avoid them. The smell of the wet forest, a musty, musky scent, peeked out from every corner.
Every half-minute or so a quiet breeze would shake the trees and Jane felt a cold spent raindrop strike her face. When the hike first started it felt like a tiny stab. With the onset of fatigue in the uphill trudge, it became a caress. As it ran down her face it mixed with her sweat, giving a salty taste as it seeped between her lips. The air on the forested hillside was surprisingly cool. The overarching trees drank up the warmth of the sunlight before it could descend to earth. She was tiring, but felt good.
The universe inside the canopy enveloped her. Her every sense was invested in the forest. She tried to capture its totality; what had appeared to be a blanket in the distance was, in truth, a menagerie of a trillion tiny pieces. In the midst of the non-silent silence, there she and David existed in the flesh, finding harmony with all that was around them. She wondered if they were guests in the infinity or if they had been engulfed by it—two of those trillion bits. She knew that they could be removed at once, and the deep forest would remain as before, never missing them, or even with knowledge of their fleeting presence.
Jane should have had many things on her mind, but her surroundings allowed her only to think of the present moment. Her job and apartment didn't matter. The yearning for antiquing in Pennsylvania stayed behind in the parking lot with the Explorer. Wedding plans seemed not worth caring about. The weight of her pack seemed not present. She could not feel the clothing covering her body. Only Jane remained, with her man breaking trail in front of her, naked to the forest.
"Does David feel this, too?" she wondered. "I have never felt this way. What would he say if I tried to explain it to him? What is the force that pulls me deeper into the forest, away from my private existence? I can't resist it. Why don't I want to resist?"
"Let's stop for some water," called out David from in front. His voice shook her from her reverie, but the questions kept spinning in her head. She kept them to herself, knowing how silly she would sound if she tried to ask them out loud.
They stepped off the trail into the woods to where they heard a brook coursing over the stones in its path. David dipped his canteen in and filled it, then put in a white purification tablet and shook it. The couple found a large rock to sit on. They eased off their packs and set down on it while they waited for the tablet to dissolve.
Jane's questions refused to disappear. She was searching for the right words to ask David. It wasn't easy. .
"It really feels different here in the forest, doesn't it?" David spoke up without warning. "You feel isolated from all your cares and worries. They can't get to you—or you to them, even if you wanted to. You keep walking; every patch looks just like the one before it, but the forest just draws you in deeper and deeper. You can't stop going on; the forest won't let you; you don't want to. A line dissolves, that separates being 'in it' and 'part of it'."
David paused and looked at Jane. She wanted to answer with all the thoughts that were haunting her. She tried to force out the words, but could not.
"After you're out here a little while longer, you'll feel it too," David said, and looked at her with a look that made her feel that he understood her unspoken mind.
David's words stunned Jane. A chill coursed through her as he seemed to be reading her mind. It was difficult to adapt to the new feelings. They were neither thoughts nor emotions. She wondered if they were reality on a higher plane than what she'd ever known. There was no comfort in these thoughts. It was clear to her that retreat from them was impossible. She decided to be patient—to watch and wait until she understood them better.
"Yes," she finally answered in a low voice. In her state, it was all that she could say. It was a courteous answer to acknowledge that she had heard his words, but in her unspoken thoughts she knew she had no right to agree or not with them.
After a short rest, they were back on the trail. Jane followed her guide through the forest as David blazed the trail ahead of her.
By two-thirty the couple had been hiking for more than six hours.
"Time to set up camp!" David announced.
Jane let out a sigh of relief. She had never been so tired. She, nevertheless, had that good feeling that comes with the completion of hard toil. David found a good place for the campsite. It was off the forest path, in an opening in the trees on flat ground, where nearby the terrain descended to a creek. They put up the tent and then worked to haul in enough firewood to serve them through the night.
"There were some raspberries back that way," he pointed. "I'll see if I can catch some fish."
David disappeared into the tent and emerged with his fishing pole and a small kettle of five inches that he handed to her. They went separate directions to provision the end-of day meal.
Jane returned to the camp first with the little kettle with ripened berries. She set it aside and started to arrange their things in the tent. She spread insulating foam pads on the ground, unrolled the sleeping bags over them and zipped them together. She shook her head as she contemplated the logistics of making love to David in the fluffy cocoon
The afternoon sun was hot and the work was done for the time being, so she stayed in the tent, away from the heat and glare. She took off her boots and stretched out on the unrolled sleeping bags. Only then did Jane start counting off the aching and tired muscles from neck to ankle. She debated with herself whether to relax and rest them, or to keep moving to prevent them from stiffening. She decided on the first, since she had little to do, and her muscles were bound to stiffen up sooner or later, anyway.
Her brain was not tired. It was aching to work. In her relaxed state of body, her mind was free to wander. The day had provided her with some many wonders to contemplate.
She spent a few minutes remembering the inspiring view of the hills and lake that mesmerized her during the drive past Chautauqua Lake and the mystery of the forest's infinity that enveloped her on the hike to the campsite. Her thoughts drifted to her plans for ravishment at the hands of her beloved David this night after they consumed their meal?
In the background of her consciousness she heard the song of the brook. It was so relaxing. She felt weight on her eyelids. She thought of David fishing a ways upstream. It reminded her of her eagerness to make love to him. In her mind's eye she painted him, erect, nude as she was, kneeling above, smiling, preparing to take her.
She was lying below him, spreading her legs, opening herself, panting, almost unable to wait for him to enter her. She reached out her bare arms in welcome. He lowered himself, bending his face down to her chest, taking nipples between lips. The instant sensation signaled pleasure all over her body. He rose up and kissed her. She grasped his hips, pulling him forward to where his penis hovered over her waiting lips. Her tongue caught his dripping fluid and tasted it. He lowered himself into her hungry mouth below him. Then he withdrew and eased himself back down until they were face to face again. She felt him, hard, pressing and searching. She reached below and helped guide him inside her. As he pushed into her she rose her hips up to meet him until he was fully inside. She...
"Hey, wake up in there!" It was David rousing her. "We'll eat well tonight; I caught some fish.
Jane poked her head out from the tent. The sun was much lower than when she had seen it the last time. David already had a campfire started. Nearby lay eight fish, cleaned, scaled, with heads removed (thank goodness!).
"Are they trout?" she asked.
"No, just some perch and rock bass, but they'll make good eating. There's a bag of rice in my pack; we'll have some of that, and the berries that you picked, too."
Jane emerged with the rice. "I saw that you have some oatmeal in your pack. We can have it in the morning and I'll pick some more berries and we can put them on top."
David gave a nod of approval. She watched him intertwining some green sticks into a sort of grate with two long sticks serving as handles.
"How are you going to cook the fish?" she asked.
"We'll just fix them between the splines on this frame and roast them over the fire. We'll do four pieces first, and then roast the second round while eating the first."
Night had fallen by the time they started eating. The only light came from the hot coals of the fire. David had banked it down to make cooking easier. The fire gave out plenty of warmth, but away from it the air had taken on a chill. They sat on a log side by side eating their earned rations. Jane had forgotten how hungry she had been. The food tasted good. Part of it was the way that Nature had deposited it in their hands as they reached out for it.
David piled some wood on the fire after the cooking was done. The fire brightened and flames danced once again. As they finished all the food they had made, David turned to Jane.
"We did a lot of walking today. Take off your boots and socks. Let me see your feet," he said. "I want to check them."
"They're alright, David," she assured him, but after spotting the insistence in his eyes she obeyed and bared her feet.
She swung around to face him and deposited them in his lap. She adjusted her pack so that she was comfortable. Her feet felt good to be exposed to the open air. David was inspecting them, and his hands on her felt good, too.
"See, they're okay, David," she said again.
He was holding one foot, then the other, the bottom cradled in a palm, his hand stroking over the top of it. It was sensuous and soothing.
"Why did I tell him they're okay; he might let go of them," she scolded herself.
"I'm not sure yet, I have to inspect them some more," he answered in a stern voice. Jane put her hands in front of her face to hide the smile that his false discipline brought on, but she knew that David saw her eyes dancing out of the corner of his eye. Jane allowed herself to glide into a deeper relaxation as she enjoyed his ministrations. David said nothing, just kept working and massaging her feet, each taking its turn.
"Please don't stop, it feels so good," Jane whispered to herself.
David slid his hands under Jane's pant legs and up her calves toward her knees. He passed his hands over the smooth flesh and began kneading the muscles underneath. Jane opened herself to the pleasure, and opened her soul to him at the same time.
"David," she began, "today while we were walking in the forest I felt something strange come over me. I felt that we were separated from the world, surrounded by a new universe. It was a strange, but good feeling; I wanted to be part of it. The feeling was so strong, but I didn't know how to tell you. Then you spoke to me and said exactly what I was thinking. It wasn't natural; it was better. I couldn't say anything then. I was too stunned. I thought about it for the rest of the day."
She he gazed into David's eyes searching for a reaction. He kept up the massage on her lower legs but yielded no change of expression.
"I know," he said in a soft voice.
The fire flickered, throwing brightness and darkness over them as it consumed the wood. The forest was like the fire. It cast shadows in regions that once seemed clear and illuminated corners of bygone darkness.
"I was not ready for this when we came here, David. I don't know if I'm ready now."
"A person is never ready, but may be called at any moment," David answered. "Many hear the call but few listen to it."
"I'm traveling inside my soul. I'm afraid to go on, but I cannot stop. A force pulls me in deeper each time I try to escape," Jane continued.
"Don't stop; don't be afraid," he said. "I have seen inside your soul. You'll find no ugliness there."
"But, David, I do have it inside me," she insisted, "and I know where to find it."
"I search for beauty rather than ugliness," David answered at once, "and you must learn to do the same. Beauty will always overcome ugliness."
What he said to her was like a sudden blow that forced the air from her. She covered her gaping mouth, too late to block the escape. Tears formed and ran down her face. His words were ringing in her ears, so profound and final. The chords awoke her spirit and it flew out of her, searching out David's own to join with it. She looked up. In the clearing where they had made their campsite the open space allowed her to see the heavens. The canopy of stars formed the apse of their cathedral. The smoke from the fire was incense. The trees of the forest that surrounded their little clearing were angels' wings stretching to join the tips together in the holy space.
Jane could not define the power that had created her vision, but she determined that it had been shown to her, a gift, that she promised to never forget.
As the campfire began to fade to embers Jane went into the tent to prepare to make love to David. He remained behind tending the fire, shoveling earth over it for safety. Inside the tent, Jane removed her clothing. She tipped the flashlight upwards to illuminate the space, and hoped that David would view her silhouette undressing. He had seen her many times, but on this occasion she wanted things to be special. She needed to bare all to him.
She knelt, nude, on the sleeping bags, giving him ample time to trace all her curves: from the line of her head and jaw, downward to her shoulders, her breasts hanging firmly from her chest, and the curves of a woman that would ignite his desire for her. As the chill air of the night closed in, she slipped into the cocoon to wait for him and the night drew its shade on her...
Jane would remember precious few details of what followed. She recalled how she lay motionless on her side listening to him work preparing the campsite for the night. The earlier words by the campfire played over again in her mind. Her eyes felt droopy; she was determined not to sleep. He entered the tent, slipped into the sleeping bag along with her, nude, as she was. They embraced, holding each other for the warmth of skin and spirit. It was pure and sweet, sensuous and sublime. Jane purged analysis from her thoughts and allowed herself to be absorbed into the universe of it. She longed for it to never end.
She awoke to a blast of light into the door of the tent. She searched for David in her arms, but heard him chopping wood outside.
"Oh, no! I fell asleep before we could make love."
She reached into her pack and threw on her clothes. She had to join him as quickly as she could. She glanced at her watch. It was seven in the morning. She stepped out of the tent.
"Good morning, sleepy-head!" he greeted her.
He had a fire started. All of the cooking and eating utensils from the meal the previous night had been scoured clean. In the little kettle some water was boiling. He handed her a metal cup filled with black coffee.
"It's just 'instant', but it tastes good in the morning, just the same."
He looked at her smiling.
"David," she began, "I'm so sorry about last night. I didn't mean to..."
"Sorry about what?" David interrupted her. "It was a long day yesterday and it will be long one today, too. I'm glad that you got some sleep."
"Yes, but..." Jane started, but he interrupted her again.
"We were together, side-by-side. It was a great way to sleep. It was very nice for me."
He stood and put his arm around her shoulder and gave her a tender kiss on her lips. Jane knew that what he said was true.
Through the taste of coffee, she could tell that he had already brushed his teeth and she saw that he had shaved. She wondered how long he had been awake, and wanted to clean up, too.
As she made her way to the brook he called after her.
"You might pick some more raspberries and I'll start the oatmeal cooking. We'll eat, then strike the camp."
The sun rose high by midmorning as they hiked en route to the next campsite. The temperature was rising. The rain of the previous day combined with the heat to make the forest floor drip with humidity. The air was not moving. Their shirts started soaking through, but they trudged on. Every once in a while they stopped to drink water from David's canteen.
Few words passed between them as they labored. Many thoughts circulated in Jane's head. The experiences of the previous day gave her a heightened awareness.
She regretted the lost chance for lovemaking with David the night before, regardless of his assurances. The natural setting unleashed instincts, submerging the concerns of civilization.
A lingering unanswered question, "Why was David's ardor not more insistent?"
He had never held himself back from desire. That question, however, faded to secondary importance. She was more intent on finding an opportunity to press the action. She wanted to chase him until he could run from her no longer. She would ravish him and force him inside her. She would then imprison him deep inside her until, crying out in ecstasy; he poured himself out deep inside her.
"Poor David," she chuckled to herself, "when I'm done he'll beg me to let him sleep—after he begs me for more." David didn't see Jane's eyes sparkling as she imagined all the ways that she would wear him out. Jane surprised herself with her primitive urges.
"What use is convention," she wondered, "here in the forest?"
They trudged on through the forest trail. The wet heat pressed down on them. As she tired Jane's designs of sexual exploit gave way to a desire for rest and comfort.
"How much longer to lunch?" she pleaded. The sun was directly overhead. Sweat drenched them.
"Not much longer," he replied. They kept on pushing forward.
Soon, a faint whispering insinuated itself into the mix of forest sounds. At each step it became a little stronger. After a time it was clear to Jane that they were approaching flowing water. It quickened her steps. Without warning, the shroud of foliage gave way to a clearing. Through it rolled a creek with a brisk-running current. The rocks around it were bare of vegetation. They were light grey—almost white. They set their packs down on the bank.
"A good place for lunch!" David declared.
Jane went closer to the edge of the flow. The water was clear, like crystal with no weeds or gravel on the bottom. The depth was about two feet. It flowed over a bed of solid rock that the ages had honed smooth.
"Taste it! Go ahead," David urged.
Jane scooped a handful and brought it to her mouth. It was cold and refreshing with a sweet taste. She took some more and savored it—the second sample was as good as the first.
"It's limestone." David explained. "The creek is spring-fed, and then flows to a pond down below. The limestone makes it taste so good. The underground makes it cold."
It was such a welcome relief from the thirst and heat of the trail.
"Let's wash off some of this grime," David shouted out over the sound of the water. He was already disrobing. He was naked before Jane had her boots off.
She watched as he lowered his body into the flowing water. His lean frame appeared so natural and strong. The water embraced him as he submerged himself He stayed under water almost a half minute. With no warning he thrust himself up from the water and stood in the midst of the stream.
"I feel like a new man!" he avowed. "Get in—you'll feel better."
Jane had at last shed her clothing. She stepped into the water. The coldness shocked her. She tried to ease down. The iciness bit her and made her stop. She tried again to no avail. She looked at David who was rolling his eyes and laughing at her. Water was still dripping from him as he stood on the limestone bank—from his hair and face, down his hairy chest and legs.
All at once Jane plunged herself in, sitting waist deep facing the current. The water was freezing; it made her heart pound and that made her remember that she was alive. She decided to match David and lay back, letting the frigid water cover her, head and all.
The water rinsed away any dirt or stain. She was renewed by the cleansing and refreshment. She rose her head up to breathe and spread her legs apart to allow the current of chilling limestone water to flow against all parts of her. Jane opened herself with two fingers and allowed the babbling current to drum a beat on her vulva. She lost hold of conscious thought. Spirit and flesh merged with the unrelenting, frigid flow. The urge to escape to the warm slabs of rock a few feet away did not occur to her
"You better come on out before you freeze," she heard David calling in the distance.
His voice shook her from her trance. She glanced over to him. He was sunning himself on the bare, hot rocks, almost dry. Jane convinced herself, with great effort, to leave the water. It was only when she stood on the sun-baked rocks of the bank that she realized how cold she had been in her immersion.
She lay down next to David to warm herself. The sun became her friend as it warmed and dried her. Bare skin rested on the warm stones. Her thoughts returned to her naked lover lying nearby and her earlier plans of sex. Jane rolled onto her side to survey his body and was reminded why he excited her. He was silent, but she knew that he was not sleeping.
"I'll tease him first," she thought.
"I'm going to drink some more water," she announced.
She arose and sauntered to the creek. She looked back and saw him avert his eyes too late. She returned her attention to the creek. She could feel David's eyes on her backside. She eased herself to her knees, and then thrust her hands to the bed of the creek to brace herself. Jane's face was nearly touching the surface of the water with her buttocks pointed to the sky. She drank her fill, but remained longer to be sure that David had his fill, as well.
When she was sure she accomplished her task she stood and turned. In a second she was kneeling beside him, bent low and kissed his mouth. He didn't seem excited; she wondered why, but she would be sure to change that soon. She leaned over him so that her breasts rested on his chest. David did not move. She bent her head lower so that her lips brushed his earlobe.
"I want you," she whispered into his ear in a husky voice. "I can't wait any more."
Jane straddled him. Their warm skin, just cleaned from the bath in the creek pressed together. David reached his arms over her and kissed her. Jane's excitement grew as she sensed his desire waking.
"You'll have to wait a little longer," he told her. "We have to get dressed and get moving again."
"What?" Jane was startled and confused. "No, I need you now!"
She pressed herself down at him again and she could feel him becoming hard, in spite of his words.
David pushed her gently back and pointed at the sky.
"Those clouds gathering up there mean rain soon. We've got to get moving to make it to our campsite and set up. If we don't get moving now, we'll get caught in the open," he explained.
"Ohhh! I don't believe it. I thought that you were the horny one," she protested.
"Sorry, Jane. That's the way it is. Nice view, though."
David was laughing as Jane let out some angry sounds in protest.
"Give me a raincheck for later, alright?" he said as he kept trying not to laugh at her.
He kissed her and she was calming as she got dressed.
David refilled his canteen and then handed her a few granola bars from his backpack. It was their lunch. They walked and ate. Jane was sure that they could have fit in a lovemaking session before starting out. What could she do? He was her guide.
After several miles of walking it was mid-afternoon and the sky was definitely turning grey. David was hurrying along. A breeze picked up, signaling a faster movement of the weather.
"Let's set up the tent over there." He pointed to a space among the trees where the tent would fit. When the tent was up David took his camp shovel and started trenching around the tent. He dug deep, especially on the upslope side.
"Put the packs inside the tent. Then take some jerky out of my pack and soak it in some water. We won't be able to cook tonight. Take a couple of boxes of raisins out, too. Don't use all the water. It's all we've got. I don't think there is a stream close by, and we won't have time to search before the rain starts."
Jane bent to the task as David continued his trenching. After a while he had a moat constructed that would drain any runoff away from the tent. Jane was waiting for him inside. She had stowed the backpacks and rolled out the sleeping bags for them to sit on. As David got situated, a rumble of thunder sounded ominous in the distance as the rain started to pelt the side of the tent.
"I guess you knew what you were talking about when you said it was going to rain," Jane admitted. "Will we be alright in here?"
"I think so," said David. The tent is anchored well and the trenching should take care of whatever rain falls. The trees will help block the wind. I'll check on things later, just in case. Don't worry."
"What about the lightning?" she asked
"The trees are a lot taller than we are. They'll take care of it."
"What if a tree gets hit and falls on us?" Jane was a little scared and covering her bases.
"You worry too much. Let's eat."
They shared the strips of jerky. Jane had never eaten it. It wasn't her first choice, but it wasn't bad considering how hungry she was. Outside, the storm raged harder with each passing minute. The tent billowed as the wind blew, but it stayed in place and the occupants were dry.
"We're going to have to eat better tomorrow," David said. "We've been burning many more calories than we've been taking in. There's a small town not far from here, Irvine Mills. They must have a general store. We'll walk down there tomorrow and buy supplies."
"I could take more weight in my pack than you started me out with," Jane volunteered.
David nodded approval.
"We'll bring it back to this campsite and stay tomorrow night. Then we'll start back. We'll retrace our steps. Then, our five days will be over."
"I wouldn't mind another chance at you at the limestone creek," Jane said. "You won't refuse me twice!"
They sat in the tent listening to the storm raging outside. It was hypnotizing. Although the tent seemed to shudder with each gust of wind, they became accustomed to it and the tent gained their confidence. After a while the thunder and lightning faded away. The torrent slowed to a steady rain. David checked the flow of rainwater around the tent in the channels that he dug and judged it in good shape. By that time, darkness had fallen.
The two sat huddled in the tent. The temperature had fallen and the dampness in the air brought a chill. The dinner of jerky and the raisin desert was consumed. It wasn't satisfying like the fish and rice of the previous night, but enough to provide what they required. They decided to enclose themselves within the sleeping bags, fully clothed.
"This isn't very good for love making," Jane observed.
She wasn't usually so blunt, but in the new environment old rules seemed to not matter. David said nothing. Jane turned on her stomach; David kneaded the muscles in her back through her clothing.