When you're a freshman at St. Agnes, they give you what they call a peer counselor. That's a girl in the upper classes who becomes your official best friend, your guide to the school. My peer counselor is a junior named Julie Scanlon, and she's everything I'm not: confident, curvy, and, well, blonde. My skin is brown, my eyes are brown, and my hair is black. Julie could be a cheerleader, if our all-girl school had cheerleaders, and if Julie didn't hate them and everything they stand for. She's got blue eyes and beautiful layered hair — gold on top and sandy underneath — that hangs between her shoulder blades. Her legs are muscular and always naked. She wears her skirt just long enough so the nuns don't hassle her about it, and, usually, ankle socks. Her breasts are just the right size for her body, high and globey, if that's a word. I've never seen her wear anything but the school uniform, but she'd look great in anything.
She looks even better in nothing, which is what this story is about.
When I started at St. Agnes last fall, Julie showed me around the school, introduced me to my teachers, and had lunch with me. She said it was only temporary, and we'd stop talking so much when I started making my own friends, even though I could still count on her if I was having trouble with my classes, or teasing, or anything else. But after a few lunches with Julie, I didn't feel like making other friends. All through that first week, I noticed she smelled like peppermint, and on Friday I got up the nerve to ask her what kind of soap she used. She said it was an organic soap her parents got at the health food section of the supermarket. That weekend I went out and bought a bar, and when I got home I got right in the tub and rubbed it all over. I squeezed my sudsy little tits together and I liked the way they popped apart again under my hands. I did it over and over. The more I squeezed, the slipperier they got. The mint oil made my skin warm, and my nipples hot. My nipples are dark, and they stood up through the peppermint bubbles, burning like solid black flames. I hugged myself, taking a deep breath of the peppermint scent, and watching the foam ooze up through the almost-cleavage I made.
"Julie," I said.
Monday I asked her if there were any clubs I could join. She asked me what my interests were.
"I'm not sure," I said. "What clubs are there?"
Julie said she was in the English Club, and I told her right then that sounded great. I never read much, and didn't know anything about the poetry she said they liked. But hey, it was a chance to learn, right?
One of the club's projects this year was to memorize as many of Shakespeare's sonnets as we can, one or two a week, for fun. (OK, they have a weird idea of fun. I had to get over that part.) We didn't do them in order. Someone picked out one she liked and we all worked on it. By the end of March we'd gone through about a third of them. It was boring at first, because the language was hard to understand, but once I got used to it, I started to like it. Some of the sonnets even "spoke" to me, as Julie says.
So, after school on the first really warm afternoon in April — the cruelest month with his shoures sote (Julie got me reading other things, too) — five of us went up to the student lounge for a meeting. We were supposed be planning the Maypole dance, but we got to talking about the sonnets instead.
Trish — she's a senior and the club president — thought we should put on a recital at the end of the year, and Beth, a sophomore, said we should recite a few of them, to see how much we remembered.
"Strip Shakespeare!" Julie said.
Beth, Trish and Dana groaned. They'd been through it before, whatever it was. As the frosh, I was the one who had to ask Julie what she was talking about.
"We did it last year with Emily Dickinson," Trish said. "There were like ten us hanging out with nothing on. But we were in Julie's basement. And we were all wasted on her dad's beer."
"So? There's nobody around," Julie said. "The only kids left in school are down in the gym. And the damn robotics club. And God knows what the nuns are doing."
"But what is it?" I asked again.
"Tell the kid," Trish said.
"We sit in a circle and recite a sonnet," Julie told me. "Everybody does one line at a time, and if you mess up a line, you have to take something off. Everybody who ends up naked has to do a dare."
"Let's do it," Beth said.
"I'm in," said Dana.
"God, you two are such sluts," Trish said.
"What sluts?" Beth said. "You did it last year."
"Did you hear what I said about beer?"
"Besides, we haven't seen Olivia naked yet," Julie said.
"What's it, like an initiation?" I said. I was trying to sound mature, like Julie, but something bounced in my stomach.
"Oh, yeah," Trish said. She winked at me.
"And it'll be fair," Dana said. "At least now we're all wearing the same number of things."
I did a quick mental countdown: loafers and white socks (three pairs up to the knee, Julie and Trish in anklets), white pullover shirts, khaki skirts, bras, and —
"Unless one of us isn't wearing panties," I blurted out.
They looked at me like I'd just peed on the rug. Julie lifted her skirt, showing us her underwear — pink cotton briefs with a lacy waistband. She has a flat tummy, and her mound swelled against the crotch.
"Everybody show," she said.
The rest of us followed her lead, flashing each other in a twinkling of pink, white, blue, black and orange. The black belonged to Dana — a transparent mesh with a solid patch over her pubes. It was obvious she shaved, which didn't surprise me. She's a real, professional model, even if she's only a sophomore like Beth. She's like six feet tall — her parents must be giants — and thin as a pencil with endless grasshopper legs and hair down to her butt. She spends her weekends traipsing the runways up in New York. She got a hundred thousand dollar contract this year that made the local paper. Seeing her naked was going to make me hyperventilate, if it didn't kill me.
My panties were the white ones, and the only ones with a decoration: pink rosebuds. I felt like a little kid in footie pajamas.
"So we're even," Julie said. "Trish and Olivia, you in?"
"Yeah, what the fuck," said Trish. Reading is so great for your vocabulary.
Everybody looked at me. The last thing I wanted was to strip in front of Julie, but she was going to strip in front of me. And I did know my sonnets.
"OK, yeah," I said. "What does the winner get?"
"The winner goes home with all the losers' panties," Trish said.
"Oh, my God!"
"No, it's cool," Julie said. And to me, anything she said was cool, was. This spring, she smelled like lavender. So did I.
The lounge is just a classroom on the second floor nobody uses for anything else. It's got an old carpet in the middle with two ratty sofas and a pair of armchairs, arranged in a rectangle with the chairs at each end. Four of us sat down on the sofas. I wanted to sit next to Julie, or across from her, but I didn't get either privileged position. She took one of the chairs, like a queen, so we were sitting in a kind of flat-bottomed "U." Beth was to my right, Julie to hers. Trish was across from Beth, and I was looking right into Dana's dark eyes.
We had our book bags with us, lying at our feet. Beth pulled a creased Folger paperback from hers and held it up like a torch.
"Who referees?" she said.
"Olivia's the cherry," Julie said.
With that gesture, Julie made me, the only one of us who hadn't played before, a member of the group, even though I didn't know what "cherry" meant. I figured it was a like a newbie, but I didn't want to knock myself down in her eyes by asking another question.
Beth handed me the book.
"Don't I get to play?"
"You hand it off for the next one," she said.
I just sat there with the closed book in my hands, like I had thrown up into them.
"Come on," Trish said. "Pick one and give the first line."
"If you don't start, you have to take something off," Dana said.
"Give me a second!"
"One!" Dana said.
"OK," I said. I riffled through the pages and stopped on the one that always made me think of Julie.
"Just start it," Trish said.
"Being your slave," I read, "what should I do but tend / Upon the hours and times —"
"No, Beth does the next line," Julie said. "Keep it going to your right."
"Upon the hours and times of your desire," Beth said.
Julie was quick and flawless: "I have no precious time at all to spend..."
Trish: "Nor services to do, till you require."
"Nor dare I —," Dana began. "Nor dare I ... child..."
The cry went up.
"You blew it," Julie said. "Let's go."
Dana took off one shoe.
"Shoes and socks count as one," Trish said. "They both come off."
Dana set her shoes on the rug in front of her, neatly, side by side.
The circle had come back to me, but I had the book.
"Now what?" I asked.
"It skips you and goes to Beth," Julie said.
"Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour," Beth said.
So it went around, and it didn't take long. Dana didn't know the sonnet at all. By the end of the round, she'd messed up three lines. Her feet were bare and her shirt was off, and we all had a stunning view of that long, taut stomach between her bra and the waistband of her skirt. Her bra was black mesh, too, too, like her panties, but with no patch to hide her nipples. The fashion people must pay her in clothes.
Beth had taken off her shoes.
I was still all dressed, because I hadn't recited yet. Julie told me to pass the book to Beth, who riffled through it like I had and stopped at about a third of the way from the end.
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds," she read.
Everybody froze for a second.
"Go on," Julie said.
"No, that's the end of the line," Beth said.
"Admit impediments," Julie insisted.
"'Admit impediments' is in the second line." Beth turned the book around and, leaning over, held it up to Julie's face.
"Ugh!" Julie grunted. And she pulled off her shirt and dropped it on the floor.
"Everybody starts with their shoes," she explained when she saw me looking at her. "Besides, my feet get cold."
She was wearing a plain white bra that showed the slopes of upper breasts. As the game went on, it was going to be harder to think.
My shoes came off at "Or bends with the remover to remove," which was stupid, because it's such an easy line. I was just nervous, my first time, and I didn't realize it was my turn. I hesitated, and it cost me my penny-loafers.
But I recovered and got into the rhythm of it as we went on, laughing and making up lines and handing the book around and throwing our clothes into a pile on the rug and laughing some more.
Dana, the death-dealing model, was the first one out. She flubbed something in "When forty winters shall besiege thy brow." I guess she can't imagine herself getting old and weedy, with deep trenches in her beauty's field. Anyway, with the three other girls hooting, and me staring, she stood up, and slid her panties down those long, long legs, bending absolutely double as her hands reached her ankles,. her tits pressed to her knees. Her hair slid from her bare back and spilled over the floor. When she straightened up I saw I was right: She was shaved — completely. Probably for when she models swimwear. Her tits were small and set far apart, and she was impossibly long in the waist. Even her belly button was stretched out. It was more an oval than a circle.
Dana dropped her panties on the free wing chair, which Beth designated the "panty depository." They would pile up there for the winner to claim at the end.
"Olivia, you're staring," Trish said.
"Who wouldn't stare?" Julie said. "God, I envy her."
"Stop it. It's just a body," Dana said as she flopped back into her seat and crossed her legs.
"A million-dollar body," Beth said.
"Just a hundred thousand dollars," Dana corrected her.
"Oh, my bad!"
"What's her dare?" Trish asked, but Beth already had her smartphone out of her book bag. She entered a number.
"Hi," she said when whoever it was answered. "There's somebody here who wants to talk to you."
She gave Dana the phone.
"Tell him who you are and what you're doing," she said. "And you have to stay on as long as he wants."
"Who is it?" Dana asked.
"What do you care? He's a guy."
"Hello?" Dana said. "I'm Dana. Yeah, that one ... Six one. Really."
"Tell him you're naked," Beth mouthed.
"I'm naked," Dana said.
"Totally naked. Really. We're playing a strip game, and I was the first one out. I'm sitting here nude ... I never pose naked. I'm too young ... Well, Beth is topless, and so is another girl." She meant Trish. "One girl" — Julie — "took off her shirt and panties, but she still has her skirt and bra on. And her shoes and socks." She looked at me. "And there's a freshman here in her bra and panties ... No, I'm not that big ... Thirty-two B."
The other three girls giggled into their hands. Dana handed the phone to Beth.
"He wants to talk to you."
"Yeah, it's true," she said into the phone. "Everybody does a dare ... Oh, God! No. You promise? OK, hold on. — Dana, stand up and do a model pose."
Dana stood up and snapped into position automatically — hands on hips, her hair across half her face, and those lips in a killer pout — and before she knew what was happening, Beth took her picture with the phone and sent it off to the guy.
"You bitch!" Dana yelled. "Gimme that!"
The other three were laughing.
"Too late, he's already got it," Beth said.
"What if he posts it on the Internet? If they see it, it could ruin my modeling."
"He won't. He's cool," Beth said. She talked back into the phone. "Get it? Yeah, she is amazing. OK, that's only for you, no sharing. I'm serious. OK, see you later. Love you, too."
She closed the phone.
"Who was that?" Dana asked. "It sounded like a kid."
Beth just grinned. Enigmatic. That's a word I learned this year.
Trish was the second one out. She messed up on "O thou, my lovely boy." Of all of us, she's the only one who has what you would call knockers: big, soft breasts that need only a little lift to make deep cleavage, which she got from her silky push-up.
Dana told her to lick her own nipples. I still can't do that, but it was easy for Trish. Her brown buds got hard and glistened with spit. She went back and forth, lapping one and then the other. Her eyes closed and she breathed louder, huffing through her nose.
"God, she's really getting into it," Beth said.
"Mmmm-hmm," Trish said.
"Now you might as well get yourself off," Julie said.
Trish's hand slid down between her legs. She started rubbing herself with her fingertips, in a slow, round-the-clock motion, right at the top, where the black curls opened around the fleshy pink part. I wondered if every girl's pussy looked like a monkey's face.
"What's she doing?" I said.
"You're kidding, right?" Dana said.
Trish's hand went faster. She moaned a little, and suddenly she stopped. Her tit dropped from her mouth, and she slumped into her corner of the sofa with her eyes closed. Her legs were open, and she was angled toward me. I looked right up her hairy crotch, at her finger dug between her swollen, lips. I had no idea what was going on, but after what Dana said I was afraid to ask.
We waited awhile for her to sit back up. Then Julie, Beth and I went on with the game like nothing happened. Dana and Trish became the referees. Since they were naked, they couldn't play anymore. Beth only had her panties on, but she came back strong and kept them. Nobody seemed to notice when I lost my bra, but then, in the moment I'd been waiting for, Julie lost hers. She twisted her arms behind her back and easily unsnapped the hooks. I'll never forget the instant the straps and cups suddenly popped and went slack, and the thing came off. Her tits were bigger than I thought, looking at them through her shirt all year, and they were beautifully shaped. The upper slopes were short. The rounding underneath was full and firm. And in between, the pink nipples tilted up like swirls of soft strawberry ice cream.
I stared harder than I did at Dana, and before I could get my focus back, Dana read "They that have power to hurt and will do none." I hardly knew what was coming, but I kept going until the last line before the couplet, when I messed up on "But if that flower with base infection meet." I said "mere" instead of base, I think, and Dana threw her hand up. My rosebud panties went into the depository. I was left with the gold cross around my neck, which I guess didn't count as clothes.
Losing my last shred of covering, I was finally comfortable enough to curse.
"Look at that," Julie said. "No tan lines. How does she do that?"
"White girls get tan lines," I said. "Latinas are just dark."
"You're only half Latina," Julie said.
"What's her dare?" Trish said.
"She's got to go pee," Dana said.
"Right here?" I said.
"You go into the corridor, walk down to the girls' room, and you take a pee," Dana explained, slowly, like she was talking some kid in the lower tracks. Her humiliation with the smartphone made her mad, and she wanted revenge on somebody else.
"Naked, yes," Dana said. "You're catching on."
"Wow!" Julie said. "That's bitchy."
I looked at her pleadingly, but my God had had forsaken me.
"You have to do it," she said.
Beth, still in her panties, walked over to the door and opened it, looking up and down the corridor.
"All clear," she said. "Let's go."
I stood just inside the door, goose bumps turning my skin to sandpaper.
"The faster you do it, the faster you'll get back," Trish said.
I was still making up my mind when two open hands hit me hard in the back and I half tripped into the corridor. The door slammed shut behind me, and the lock clicked.