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By:Lulu Pratt & Simone Sowood

Is it because he saw me naked and liked what he saw? Or is it just being naked at the lake with a girl?

"It's interesting," I admit, almost against my will.

"Oh God, skinny dipping is interesting?" Zane laughs.

"Stop making fun of me," I say, splashing water in his direction.

"I will, once you stop being such a cute little nerd," Zane counters.

My cheeks burn at the sound of the word cute. He thinks I'm cute? There have been hints of it since the first party, but nothing I could ever really make a move on, nothing I could trust to not just be typical Zane Lewis flirting.

"That's not going to work on me, Zane," I tell him.

"What's not going to work, Harper?"

Somehow he's even closer to me in the water, so close I can almost feel the heat of his body, and I find myself looking down through the darkness obscuring us from each other from the chest down, trying to see if I can see his cock, trying to discover if, as I suspect, he's still sporting a semi-erection.

"That whole charm thing," I reply.

"If I were charming you, I would tell you that the only reason I wanted to come here was to try to talk you into skinny dipping with me," Zane says.

I laugh. "I pretty much guessed that," I say.

"See? Cute and smart. Cute nerd," Zane insists.

I shake my head, and at the same time I find myself moving closer to Zane in the water.

We're floating there, treading water, just inches away from each other like some kind of bizarre game of chicken. I think each of us is waiting for the other one to pull back, or at least do something about the situation. As close as we are, I can see more of Zane's body in the clear water. A few nights before, when I watched him masturbating, I'd never imagined that I might actually see him up close like this. See his naked body, covered in lean muscle and his tattoos, within a hand's reach of me.

For a few seconds we stay like that, staring at each other, neither of us talking. Then Zane closes the last little bit of distance between us. He puts his hands on my waist and pulls me up against him through the water, and his lips brush against mine.

"If you want me to stop, just say so," he murmurs against my lips.

Even before I can say anything, though I don't really have the brains to speak, he kisses me again, more deeply than the first time.

I put my arms around his shoulders without even thinking, opening my mouth when I feel Zane's tongue sweep along my lips. I press my body against his and all at once the only thing I can think of is how good he feels, how hot, how much smoother his skin is than I would have imagined.

His hands go all over me and I moan against his mouth, sliding my fingertips along his shoulders, down his back. We move a little closer to shore, and Zane plunges his tongue into my mouth, probing and tasting me, while I counter with my own tongue, battling him, both of us trying to dominate, just like in the video game earlier that day.

I shiver as the cold, and the feeling of Zane's hands all over me overwhelms every nerve in my body. I break away from his lips for a moment. Zane ducks down to kiss and nibble along my throat, down almost to my chest, and I let my hands wander all over him, barely missing his erection. I can feel it pressing against my hip, and I have to admit that there's a very, very big part of me that wants to feel that thickness, that heat, deep inside me.   


We're barely in the water anymore, tangled up in each other in the shallows, tumbling around and kissing each other over and over again.

All at once I'm pulling away, panting a little bit from how turned on I am. I can feel how wet my pussy is, far beyond anything the water could have done, slick and hot and tight.

"We …  should stop," I say, even though it's the last thing in the world I really want. What I want is for Zane to pull me out of the water and pin me down on the grass and take me.

"You're right," Zane says, breathing heavily. It's like agony, hearing him say it.

"It would just be too weird, going any farther than that," I say, because I know I have to say it, because it's the right thing to say. Every nerve in my body is screaming at me to take it back.

"Way too weird," Zane agrees, and I have to resist the urge to tell him to stop agreeing with me, to argue with me like he always seems to. Why isn't he arguing with me now? I can feel how hard his cock is. I know he wants me as much as I want him.

But instead I pull myself off him and take a second to steady myself in the shallows before climbing up onto the shore to the grass.

"We should head back home. Our parents are probably starting to worry a bit," I say.

I don't even bother to dry off, but just pull my clothes onto my wet body.

Zane follows suit.

The cold water sobered me up, and the one beer I did finish was hours ago, so I drive us back to my parents' house.

Neither of us talks the whole way back home.

I'm sure that tomorrow night at the party, it's just going to be so incredibly awkward.

Mom is still up when I get into the house, but she's in her pajamas, watching something on TV. She gives me a look when I come into the room, and I'm suddenly aware that my hair's still damp, my clothes are sticking to me, and my make-up's probably a mess.

"What's happened?" she asks.

I shrug. "Nothing," I say, probably too quickly.

"Either of you find dates for tomorrow's party?"

I shake my head. "Nah, no luck there," I say.

"Nothing is going on with you and him?"

"Mom, please," I say, rolling my eyes. "Nothing is different between us."

Before she can try to get any more questions in, I tell her I need to check my email, and that I need to get some sleep if I'm going to help Bev set up and then enjoy the party the next night.

I rush off to my room and close the door behind me and every inch of my body still tingles from what Zane and I did.



The house has never been more crowded in my entire life, at least, not that I can remember. At the same time, as I wander around my parents' big anniversary blowout party, I feel lonely. Everyone who comes into the house or wanders out into the yard and sees me seems to want to know how the military is treating me, and whether I plan on staying in or taking my retirement.

My only comfort is overhearing the other people my age at the party, including Harper, getting the same kinds of questions I'm fielding. What their next career move is going to be, when they're going to settle down and get married. All the usual things that older adults ask younger adults, over and over again.

In and outside a house filled with practically everyone I know outside of the army, I feel like I can't escape.

I spot Harper edging away from a group of older people, looking around for an exit of her own. When her gaze lands on me, I grin and shrug. She rolls her eyes and shakes her head. I've been watching her all night. In fact I've been watching her every time she's anywhere near, ever since the night before.

I could not get the memory of her out of my head.

I look around, there's only one place I know of in the whole house where none of the guests will be. My room upstairs has a bunch of even-younger kids in it, drinking sodas, eating snacks and arguing over my PlayStation. The only empty place in the whole house will be my parents' room on the ground floor. I lick my lips. No one is going to notice if we're gone for, like, twenty minutes or so.

I have to get Harper alone.

I move a little closer to her, and start to almost walk past her in the crowd of people wandering around the house, catching her eye with a quick gesture I learned in the army that comes in handy. Hopefully no one else notices it.

"My parents' room," I murmur, as I walk past her.

"Two minutes," she says just as quickly, her voice low in my ear.

I nod quickly and hurry in the direction of my parents' bedroom, trying to look like I'm doing some kind of urgent chore.

I feel like there's a hot wire running through my spine from my skull to my hips as I wait for Harper to follow me. Just remembering her from the night before in the water completely naked is enough to start getting me hard. It's all I've been able to think about ever since it happened.

Harper slips into the room, closing the door quickly behind her, and I've got my arms around her waist before I can even think about what I'm doing. My mouth is against hers. Instantly Harper's lips open to the touch of my tongue and she responds to my every touch. I push her up against the wall to get as much contact with her body as I possibly can.

"I - I take it you're having a frustrating night, too," Harper says when I break away from her lips finally, dipping down to her neck.

"God, if I hear one more question about what I'm going to do, I'm going to show them some shit I learned in basic," I tell her, and close my mouth over hers again.

"Didn't we say we couldn't do-" Harper breaks off with a moan, and her hands are all over me, sliding against my chest, grazing against the rock-hard ridge at the front of my pants. I groan out and my hips push against her hand.

"Not here," I say, pulling back a little bit. Attached to my parents' bedroom is their bathroom, and while the idea of bending Harper over my mom and dad's bed is pretty horrifying, I think we can both get some stress relief that I know we need in the bathroom without it being too gross.

I drag her into the big bathroom and close the door behind us. I'm all over her again almost before I can think about whether or not I should be. Harper moans and the sound makes the hot tension between my hips, down along my groin, burn more intensely.