For some time I had felt the world pressing in. The routine grew set and implacable and I lived from weekend to weekend. Time that once stretched open to long horizons now grew measured and compact. Defined by project and commute, meetings and complaint, my life seemed more and more to belong to someone else. My calendar and events lists appeared each day beside the inbox and called for my attention impatiently. Red flags and exclamations announced deadlines and priorities set by others. I had no now and all my future felt booked and set. I needed a vacation. Thinking about it later I couldn't say how I chose the cottage or if perhaps it chose me. The ad promised hiking and peace and abundant bird life, but so did any number of other possibilities. However it happened, I took a deep breath, booked a week and left my life behind.
The directions they sent said to drive toward the mountains and so I did. The towns grew smaller and the traffic dwindled and the dark green of the long rows of vines pressed in close beside the road. The cottage perched on the foot of the mountains overlooking the broad green valley floor and sat at the very end of every road I'd travelled that day. I sat on the wide front porch and considered the world. Below me, I could see the top of a pick-up truck as it made its way between the miles of grapes. Its pace, deliberately slow enough not to even raise a trailing cloud of dust. At times I could see the head of a worker seeming to float between the aisles. The sun beat down on the hard sandy ground and the wind was restless and strong. The bright green of the fields seemed almost shocking, set against the dark and stony mountains, rising improbably from a sea of sand.
In the later afternoon and in the mornings I followed the small path out through the carefully tended gardens and into the wilderness of the mountains beyond the vineyard. The trail followed the deep cut of a stream. At times I could hear the sound of running water but the stream was careful never to reveal itself. Its course was only visible by the change in vegetation. Pampas grass in stiff plumes and lush tree ferns instead of the stiff and rattling reeds and the oddly graceful spray of the desert rose shockingly red from its thick, squat trunk. It was a landscape of unexpected and sudden treasures. Clumps of brilliant blue flowers bloomed fiercely in the morning but vanished without a trace by midday. White flowers rose waxy and perfect on slim translucent stems from ground impossibly hard and baked. Once, the wild clatter of hooves on the bare rock echoed from crag to crag, as a herd of skittish klipspringers bounded away. I always saved the mountain pool for the trip back.
I could hear the pool long before I saw it. The splash of water falling rang out loud and sudden in such a dry and empty landscape. The path twisted so that I could not see the pool until I stood before it. The first time, I thought, even from a short distance away, that it appeared to be hardly enough to cool my feet. But when I stood full in front of it I saw that it spread cool and clear and utterly inviting between a steep cleft in the bare ledge. The rock around the pool was worn smooth and shining from the torrents that must flow in the rains. Lying on the smooth warm rock after the chill of the water I remembered the welcoming warmth of the sand after too long in the sea when I was young.
That day, I walked long in valleys between the peaks. I left the trail and followed ridges until I had shut out all sounds and sights of civilization. The bird calls echoed from the rocks around me. Nothing but wind and sun punctuated by the calls of birds and frogs and from the cliffs above me the warning bark of a baboon sentinel. By the time I reached the pool I was hot and dusty and eager for the water's chill embrace. I stripped off my sweaty clothes leaving them in a heap and dove in, feeling the water cool and caressing all along my body. I swam to the end just under the waterfall and closed my eyes to let the warmer water falling from above pelt down on my head and shoulders. I turned on my back and floated for a moment; the contrast between the chill of the water and the heat of the air against my cock was stirring and I smiled to feel myself rise. I opened my eyes to swim back and saw you.
You were stretched out lazily on a towel spread over the rock, invisible there beside the rise of the ledge until now. You lay on your side, turned toward me, head propped in your hand smiling. I let myself sink as much as I could in the water. It was too deep to stand and I trod water with as much composure as I could muster. I was suddenly too aware of the white of my ass where the tan on my back ended. Suddenly too aware of the quality of the smile that had just left my face. Suddenly too aware of the rise of my cock from the water just a moment before.
You didn't say a word, only reached back and loosened your hair so it fell to your shoulders when you shook it slightly. Then stood and stretched slowly, easily, arms reaching for the deep blue of the sky above you, and then, as your hands came down you slipped the straps of your swimming suit from your shoulders and slowly, easily eased the top over your breasts and with a shimmy let it fall, unheeded, at your feet. I almost forgot to breathe as I watched you. Watched your legs stretch and flex as you walked to the water's edge. Watched the way your belly tightened as you slid into the water and drew in your breath at the sudden cold. Watched your nipples tighten. Saw the smile shift to resolve as you slipped into the water altogether and swam toward me.
You passed by me so close your shoulder and then your hip and thigh slid against me. Your skin was slick and smooth and blazing against me. I turned and followed you, swimming side by side, our hands brushing with each stroke. At the far end, as we turned, we slid past one another in a long caress, chest and belly, hips and legs all sliding so easily past, the touch so glittering and silver and smooth in the water as if we were creatures of the sea and our skin the smooth cool skin of dolphins. We swam on, and at each turn the touch became more deliberate, but just so easy. Now my hand gliding along your back, now your hand slipping between my legs, now my hand along the length of your leg as you floated by all the way from the swell of your ass until your smallest toe slipped between my fingers.
So we swam this water dance, until, breathing deeply we paused at the shallower end and faced one another. I stepped close enough so the water between us was no longer so cool, no longer a space between us so much as a channel that carried the heat of our bodies from one to the other. Close enough so that the hardness of my cock brushed your thighs and I could reach out and touch the racing pulse in your throat.
My touch brought you closer and you slid into my arms, pressing me back against the smooth rock of the pool, eyes never leaving mine as your hands came around my neck and you reached for me with your lips. Without my thinking it my hands found your sides and slid up past the curve of your breasts, over your shoulders to finally pause and frame your face. The warmth of your breath filled me as your lips met mine. I closed my eyes and felt only the soft pressure of your tongue along the inside edge of my lips and the fullness of your lower lip. I felt the tip of my tongue drawn in to meet yours. A question asked and a question answered. And then deeper questions, searching, as your mouth opened to mine and our lips and tongues were suddenly free to ask and tell and whisper all their secrets. My hands left your face and lazily, slowly, moved down again, drawn by a sure and persistent gravity, over the round smoothness of your shoulders, fingers pressing along the length of your back, down and back, each time discovering the delight of your skin so soft and warm and smooth.
You brought your arms around my neck and leaned back slightly offering me your neck and the fullness of your breasts below. And I, I needed no second invitation. I breathed in your scent, sunshine and lavender, along with the deeper smell of water and life in a dry, dry land. My hands cupped your breasts turning the nipples up to catch and kiss and you laughed and leaned back further until we tipped and slid back into the water. Slid back and under without letting go. We fell so slowly, sinking easily with your hands on my shoulders and your hair in drifting swirls against my face. Until, lungs bursting, my legs found bottom and I pushed for the brilliant light above, bringing you with me.
I stood then, braced against the sun warmed rock of the pool, and held you. Your head against my shoulder, eyes closed and arms around my shoulders. I felt your fingers on the muscles of my upper arms and shoulders. There, in our small and echoing room, the sound of the water falling, the small movements of your fingers, the lap of the waves on my chest, all these small sensations wove together so sound and touch and the wind above us created a deeply private space, a universe for two.
You pushed away from me gently and leaned back to float on the water, legs moving slightly to keep you steady and arms outstretched. My one hand slid under you, supporting you, while the other rested so lightly on your belly. And ever so lightly my palm followed your curves. Followed the rise of your breasts and just brushed your nipples. Followed the line of your shoulders and paused at the beating pulse in your neck. Then back down your body to slide along the soft, pale skin of your thighs circling slowly, bridging from thigh to thigh as your legs opened for me until, certainly but without hurry, I found the mound of your sex.
I was suddenly aware of our breath, deep and quickening and at times, with a catch. I could feel it in the rise and press of your body in my hand below you as though you were riding waves of desire. It was a moment of such perfect balance between me and you, between the clear water and the brilliant blue of the sky above the water. My fingers slipped along the lips of your pussy, rising to the top and circling back, fingertips light against this softest skin, barely touching, feeling you reach for me with your body in the tiny movements of your hips and the clutch of your hands in the water.
Slowly, we drifted this way to where the water was shallower and you turned in my arms and your legs slid along my sides and wrapped around my waist while your hands went around my neck. Our faces were suddenly close and the shine of sunlight from the wavelets around us sparkled in your eyes and from the highlights in your hair. I closed my eyes for a moment and from the sun on your skin and your hair breathed in the smell of lavender and the clean smell of evergreens. Our faces came together slowly and the soft warmth of your lips against mine came as a great relief. And we spoke like this without words for a time. A conversation of pressure and give and take, lips and tongues leading on and then drawing back.
I paused and leaned back to look at you, your eyes heavy now with desire, your fingers strong and insistent in my hair and on my neck. The taste of your mouth still sweet on my lips. I felt hot where your legs wrapped around me and chill where you were absent. I felt you move against me now and the water lapped against my chest in small waves echoing the pulse of your hips. You reached down between us and I felt your fingers move along my thighs. Your touch so soft, almost floating, rising a little and then falling again, teasing and seeking to draw me out, bring me to you. I watched your eyes, looking into you as you looked into me and all the while your fingers reached and we both knew where they would end but still the reaching was a promise of all that was to come. I breathed as lightly as I could so that all of me focused on the touch of your fingers and the way the water moved in the smallest waves from you to me and back again in patterns too complex to decipher. I held so still, so perfectly still to feel the thousand small touches that came with every movement of your hand until, finally your fingers lightly stroked the shaft of my cock.
My cock stirred and you smiled and took me more firmly in hand until I felt myself begin to harden in your grasp. Just then a breeze stirred the leaves around the pool and the sun slid behind a small cloud. The air was suddenly cool where the wind dried the water on our skin. And just as suddenly I was soft in your hand and we looked down together. I saw the quick pucker of gooseflesh rise on our arms and you shivered. We laughed.
"It seems so romantic, the pool, the water," you began.
"But the truth is it's cold," I finished and we laughed.
I stepped out of the pool and reached back so that you could take my hand. You followed, rising out of the water so beautifully. The ends of your hair were damp and clung to your neck and you seemed to sparkle with a thousand of drops of water. I turned to admire you and brought your hand up as though we were dancing and I was leading a turn and you stepped up on the rocks so smoothly, stepped up a half step higher than me so that your face was level with mine, stepped up and now so close the tips of your nipples brushed my chest and the warmth of your breath caressed my cheek. Steady now, with my feet on firm ground, I brought you to me and felt you arch your back to press your breasts against me.
The heat of our bodies so close and the warmth of the sun suddenly strong again on our shoulders, the press of your leg as you brought it up between mine, the thrust of your tongue as we kissed, they all called to me and I responded. My cock rose strongly now and I felt your lips smile against mine.
"Not so shy now, are you?" you whispered.
"Warming up to the situation," I answered.
And this time instead of laughter we became not serious but intent. My hands moved along your shoulders and then down your sides, light on your hips, but firm and drawing you closer. Without talking, we moved to where you were lying when I first saw you and you pulled away and picked up the towel you used as a pillow.
"Dry me," you said, and turned so your back was to me.
The towel was warm from the sun and I dried your neck and then your shoulders, then long down your back while you leaned into the pressure. Over the twin curves of your ass and then kneeling I dried your legs, rising up between your thighs and then down again, then sliding up and lightly over your pussy and then down again past knees and calves. I turned you now, still kneeling, with hands on your hips. Turned you until my mouth was level with your belly and I kissed you there while my hands went round to grip your ass. I felt you sigh more than heard you and my kisses moved down and down, the tip of my tongue parting the lips of your pussy, sliding down and pressing in, spreading your lips wider and wider still. My tongue reached in and then slid upwards lightly, barely touching you, feeling the small hood where the inner lips met. Sometimes using just the tip of my tongue and sometimes pressing in more deeply, moving as you moved so slowly against me, both of us swaying as though we were a tree caught up in the gentle call of the wind. Both of us moving in time to the cascade of the water tumbling from the rock above, moving without thinking and without care.
My fingers slid along your ass mirroring the touch of my tongue. I wondered how long you would be able to stand and stay steady as your hands found my shoulders and I felt you lean down, slowly folding over me. I knew you were speaking but the words were only fragments, thoughts broken and scattered so that they were little more than a rhythm like breathing turned to a song of passion discovered and passion released.
Finally, I felt your arms slide down and your breasts against my shoulder and your knees bending and I followed you, catching you in your slow fall. Carefully, I brought us both down to lie on the blanket you had spread on the rocks so warm with the sun. You reached for my cock and almost anchored yourself with your grip and I never released your hips, never stopped my softly relentless tongue.
At first, we were side by side and then you turned to be over me and I felt your hair falling across my thighs, felt your fingers tighten on my cock, felt the heat of your lips around me drawing me in. I gasped with the sharpness of your teeth on the swollen head of my cock and then the exquisite glide of your tongue, while above me your hips moved more strongly now, pressing against my face, sliding over me. And I was so wet with you, so gloriously wet with you, my face and hands slippery with you.
Inevitably, we let go our gentleness and gave in to a fiercer passion. My fingers slid along your ass and pressed against the pucker where you were clenched so tight and you pressed back and then down onto my face while your mouth tightened around my shaft and we became lost in liquid sounds of love as rushing and wild as the water spilling over the rocks below us. I felt myself letting go, losing hold on where and who I was, felt myself sinking into you, felt only this, this deep and flowing feeling between us that seemed to catch us up and carry us onward together.
The world came back to me slowly. Without us thinking we had turned to face one another and I felt your arm across my shoulder and your leg over mine, and the softness of your hair against my chest. You must have felt me start to speak, felt the words rising from deep inside because you leaned back and smiled and put a finger on my lips and stilled me. Your finger left my lips and you brushed back my hair with a look that said everything I wanted to know without answering a single question.
You stood then and dressed. I handed you your towel and you slung it over your shoulder and posed for me. Strong and wonderful, one hand on your hip and a smile on your lips; and then turned and left me with the drumming of the waterfall and the buzz of insects and the call of birds seeking the pool's relief.
I took a long moment to dress again. A long moment to wonder about single shining moments. Treasures complete and unexpected, each as perfect as a pearl. For a long moment I let my mind wander and wondered about strands of chance and circumstance and the connections between moments like this, between you and me. I imagined a shining string of pearls and in that long moment began to wonder about the choices I suddenly realized were now and mine. And I walked away from the pool that day, walked away from the mountain pool, and the footsteps I passed, those same footsteps I had left behind, they were so much, much heavier than the ones I left now, going forward.