I stood inches away from the lake, water gently lapping at my toes as I clenched and unclenched my toes, savoring the feeling of the mud against my skin. A warm breeze blew. The stars shone brilliantly across the sky. I stood on a small plain of mud, hidden from the outside world by a dense crescent of trees.
Next to me, resting on the thick roots of a nearby tree, lay my clothes and a towel. Breathing deeply, my arms clasped to my body, I was trying to psyche myself up. I wore nothing but an exuberant smile and a silver cross necklace.
I took yet another look around, making absolutely certain I was alone. The water was calm. The air was silent. Not even a shadow stirred in the night. Even from here, the center of the lake was nearly invisible in the darkness. Slowly, timidly, I pulled my arm away from my breasts and my hand away from my crotch, until finally, I stood completely exposed. I let out a deep sigh, the sum of all my worries and fears.
It felt ... freeing.
I took my first tentative step into the lake, my grin beaming. I was really doing it! I was really skinny dipping! The water enveloped me as I waded deeper and deeper into the lake. Cool, wet pressure surrounded me, almost caressing me. I gasped quietly as the water reached my crotch, a sudden icy surprise, but I continued onward.
I was amazed at my own bravery. I hadn't been sure I would really have the courage to try this, but I had surprised and impressed even myself. I didn't even like to be seen in my underwear, not even by my roommate Katie, and here I was, naked as a jaybird, skinny dipping! I giggled loudly. This had been such a great idea! I had been planning it for weeks, cancelling and rescheduling over and over as my courage ebbed and flowed, until finally, tonight, I had cast caution to the wind and decided to seize the day with both hands! Wouldn't Katie be proud of me? And she had said I wouldn't have the guts to try it ... Hadn't I shown her!
My toes left the lakebed as I pushed myself off into the water and began to lazily swim towards the center of the large lake. From here, I could just barely see the shore. Scintillating constellations shown overhead, stars twinkling their messaged of "congratulations" and "happy birthday" across the light-years to little old Emily Fischer.
I felt so free, so comfortable, so natural and primal and just so ... right! I couldn't believe I had chained myself to bikinis and swimsuits for so long! How much money had I wasted on decorative irritants? I had never felt so good swimming before! The water against my bare flesh was heavenly, invigorating, euphoric! My spirits soared as I paddled across the black water, giggling ecstatically at these new sensations. I was absolutely giddy, reveling in this novel experience.
I lay on my back and watched the night sky, moving only enough to keep myself buoyant. I was completely alone. Only the quiet buzzing of dragonflies broke the otherwise total silence. The water of the lake held me with the gentleness of a tender lover. I was completely at peace. Maybe this birthday was still salvageable, even if my friends had apparently forgotten about it entirely.
Eventually, I felt satiated. The water was amazing, but nevertheless, I had a warm bed waiting for me at home. I slowly swam towards the shore, and waded into the small grove where I had hidden my clothes. My nipples hardened in the night air once I left the water behind. Goosebumps erupted along my limbs as I skipped to shore, my cross bouncing against my collarbone, still giddy from my au natural swim.
I walked over to where I had left my clothes, and stopped. I looked around. I double checked that I had the right tree. Where are they? Where are my clothes?! They couldn't have gone far, they don't have legs.
Alright! Alright, it's dark out, maybe I just missed them. I'm going to close my eyes, and take a deep breath, and count to three, and they'll be right here. One ... two ... three ... And... ?! Darn it! Darn, dang, gosh, golly, damn! Where are they?!
I was hyperventilating. I clenched my fists rhythmically and focused on my breathing, trying to calm myself down. Maybe I just came out of the wrong part of the lake ... Yeah, that must be it! I had gotten mixed up while swimming and came out someplace new. But if I wanted to go search for my clothes, I'd have to leave my little sheltered enclave...
I cursed into the night.
I peeked out from behind the trees. I was still alone, so far as I could tell. Huddled over, futilely trying to cover my breasts and pussy from any potential voyeurs, I waddled along the shore line, studying the tree line for any hint of my clothes. Nothing ... nothing ... nothing ... shit!
My clothes were gone. Just ... gone.
What was I going to do now? I couldn't stay here, someone would come down eventually. Besides, I had church tomorrow morning. I hadn't brought my cell phone, so at least that hadn't gotten stolen, but I couldn't call for help either.
Suddenly, a terrible thought struck me.
What if whoever had taken my clothes had been watching me? What if they were still here? Then again, they might not have seen me in the water. Besides, they'd have to be nearby to see me at all tonight, and I couldn't see or hear anything. I covered my body reflexively. Standing as still as possible, I surveyed the area around me, but I couldn't detect anyone. Why had they taken it, then? Just for laughs? Just to see what would happen? Maybe they had just really needed some clothes and had thought mine were abandoned...
Whatever, it didn't matter now. I just had to get home. Once I was there, I'd be safe. But that meant I'd have to make my way back across campus ... alone ... at night ... naked.
You know, maybe there were enough berries and stuff around the lake that I couldjust live here forever instead, you know? Become a hermit, wait until my hair grew to Godiva-esque lengths and I could get back home with my modesty intact...
It was a thought, right?
A branch snapped in the darkness.
Who was there?!
I started, my heart pounding like a taiko drum team until a sharp pain in the sole of my foot made me realize that it had just been me. I lifted up my foot to examine it, revealing two small fragments of branch beneath. After my heartbeat returned to normal, I realized I couldn't stay here any longer, not if I didn't want my heart to explode.
I'd have to risk it.
I took a moment to plan out my route in my head. I was pretty sure I could swing it and make it all the way back to my apartment building without getting caught. I crossed myself, kissed my necklace for luck, took a deep breath, and stepped out from the trees.
I didn't bother trying to cover my body. I wanted to focus on staying hidden and being aware of my surroundings, and I'd rather someone catch a glimpse from a distance than I bump into someone unexpectedly. I slinked through the trees surrounding the lake, keeping my ears perked for any sudden noises, a difficult task with my heart pounding so loudly.
I crept from tree to tree, scouting ahead from each hiding place, staying low to the ground as I scuttled to safety. At every sound I froze, trying to locate its source, feeling like a hunted animal, prey to any predator that might come across me in my defenseless state. What would I do if someone caught me? No, no ... better not to even think about it ... No sense in worrying myself over something that wouldn't happen, right?
From the darkness came a giggle. Crap ... I paused, listening for the source. Voices were approaching, getting louder. I frantically searched around me for some sort of covering, but there were only trees. I could try to get away from them, but they might hear me, or worse, see me ... I could hide behind a tree, but if they walked past me, I'd be exposed ... I could head back to the lake, but I'd lose all my progress and have to start all over...
An idea bubbled up past my fears and worries. I could go up! Above me were the sturdy, leafy branches of an ancient tree. I scampered up its trunk, climbing into the branches as I tried unsuccessfully to protect my most sensitive spots from the rough bark. I silently thanked my older brothers for always losing their Frisbee in our trees and forcing me to go up and get it as a kid. That training had finally paid off. I was in the middle of climbing onto an even higher branch when a couple appeared below me at the base of the tree.
I froze. I had managed to find a good spot to rest in. I was high enough off the ground and the leaves were dense enough that I was unlikely to be seen unless somebody was looking directly up at me. But I couldn't move without making any noise, and now I was trapped spread-eagled between the branch below me and the branch above. My arms and legs were spread. I had no way of even hiding myself should one of them look up at me. If I tried to take one of my hands down from the branch above, I might lose my balance.
I tried to breathe as silently as I could, praying that they couldn't hear my heartbeat pounding in my bare chest. I watched as beneath me, the guy took the girls' hands in his and raised them up over her head. He pressed her against the tree and kissed her lips, her cheeks, her neck. I felt like a voyeur watching them, but if I closed my eyes, I might miss a chance to escape. I decided I had to keep watching them.
She giggled as he nuzzled her neck and pressed himself against her body. "Matthew!" she cooed. "What are you doing? We're in public..." She gently pushed him away from her.
.... There is more of this story ...