Author’s note: All players are over 18 in this mostly fictional Nude Day 2021 contest entry set in suburban Southern California before smartphones. Tags: romance, veterans, bicycles, parade. Views expressed may not be the author’s. Details may be incorrect or invented. The startup may seem slow. Enjoy!
Wounded warrior returns home.
I was beat to shit.
That frenzied all-nighter at my graphics workstation was brutal but I put finishing touches on the demo designs and emailed the files to the main office. Now I could take some time off.
The morning was warm enough for me to just strip, mix a strong drink, and jump in the pool out back, But I knew exercise first would do me good, even in my current feeble state. A bike ride on the ‘river’ path called me.
And this was a Tuesday so I might find Katya on the path. I had not seen her for some weeks; I was so fucking busy! At least working from home beats commuting.
I stripped anyway and covered myself with flashy biking shorts and a sports bra under a bright red tee. My lemon-blonde hair stayed in its long ponytail. I sucked coffee, noshed a cinnamon roll, and checked my gear. My Trek mountain bike was set for pavement, not gravel, so I just clipped water bottles to the frame and pedaled the few residential blocks to what passed for a parkway.
They called this narrow stream a ‘river’ but it was really a concrete storm drain, a wash draining the dam and reservoir in the mountains above here. Paved pathways on either side were safe zones for walkers and riders. Lunatic skateboarders illegally dared the wash floor in dry months.
My timing rocked! I plopped on a cement bench to make sure everything was tight, and Katya rolled up on her old Raleigh road cruiser. Bike togs as sunshiney as my hair set off her own black bob and natural light tan. She plopped beside me and gave me a hug.
“You look fucking awful, Lin,” she observed. “Like an overworked field slave. No sleep, I bet.”
“Sleep is for losers, Kat,” I retorted. “I’ll lose myself real good after this ride.”
“What else you got to lose?” she asked. “Not weight, for sure. You’re as lean as you’ve ever been. Me, I could use a few pounds less on my ass.” She patted her strong thigh.
“So don’t sample the merchandise. Leave the avocados alone.”
“What, you don’t want guacamole and chips when I come to swim? We can do enough laps in the pool to work-em off.”
“Ha! You never met a tortilla chip you didn’t like.”
“Like you’re any better with your peach ice cream?”
“Sure, drowned in rum. Attitude adjustment, fuck the world!”
“So try to beat guac-n-chips washed down with tequila sunrises. Mucho vitamins to keep us fresh.”
And on with our usual banter.
We were friends since infancy almost, growing up and staying in this same neighborhood, in the cookie-cutter development houses our folks had left for us, on opposite sides of the block. She could, and did, hop across the alley and jump in my aging backyard pool whenever she wanted.
We were rare survivors of this suburb. Most of our childhood friends were gone. Families moved away. Kids died, married, matriculated, emigrated, found distant jobs, went military, etc. Katya and I had our own rough patches but we stayed here after junior college and toxic relationships. We were embedded.
I worked at home, designing stuff I cannot mention because NDAs. Katya was now produce manager at her family’s grocery, groomed to soon take over the whole supermarket. Tuesdays and Wednesdays were her ‘weekends’ when we rode — if *I* was free then.
We saddled up and rolled downhill to the first road bridge, crossed over, and pedaled uphill on the narrower, prettier path. We chattered as we warmed up, then saved our breaths when we pumped hard to tighten our sweet legs and bubbly butts. A girl has got to stay fit, y’know. At least the smog was thin today.
We plopped ourselves on another cement bench after some few miles, sipped from our water bottles, and scanned the occasional passing joggers and bikers. Then onward a few more miles, and another rest break, and more people-watching.
Most of those on wheels rode vanilla road or mountain bikes but something odder approached. I recognized it as a semi-recumbent, like a Harley chopper with a human motor. Low; a big wheel in back and smaller up front with raked handlebars; a laid-back seat, not a groin-eating saddle. It looked comfortable.
The guy riding it looked almost familiar. He stopped by us.
“Morning, ladies. Mind if I share the bench with you?”
“No problem,” we chorused. Damn, I knew that voice!
He clumsily pulled his long, lanky body off the ‘bent, fetched his own water bottle, and took the end of the bench. His aura felt strong. Who *was* he?
Gray-tinted oval wire glasses framed hazel eyes under a thatch of dark hair. He wore a bright Rising Sun tee and candy-striped, calf-length surfer shorts. I saw scars on his legs.
I escort izmir stared at him. I knew those hands and that strong face, more worn than when I last saw him… years ago.
Katya was staring, too.
“Stef?” she almost whispered. “Stefan Culver? Is that you?”
He capped his water bottle and stared back at us.
“Yeah, but… Katya? Katya Rincon? And… Lindy Edmonds? Really? Holy fuck! You’re both still here? Am I dreaming?”
He stood creakily. We flowed up beside him, and hugged him, and kissed him, and panted.
“Stef, what the fuck?” I croaked. “It’s been so long! Where…?”
We hugged tighter, then loosened a bit and held hands while closely watching faces.
“I bet we all have stories,” he said. “Let’s ride while it’s cool and talk later. Hey, is the Tastee-Freez still open? Let’s stop for malts. Don’t mind that I’m pretty stiff. I’ll tell you about it.”
We hugged and kissed again and then saddled up for a slow cruise uphill. The paved path was too narrow for three bikes to ride abreast so I took the lead, Katya followed, and Stefan rode behind us, undoubtedly getting nice views of our tasty butts.
Joggers thinned out after more miles. Bikers were fewer, too. We were the only customers at the ice-cream shop up on a cross-street. We took our refreshments to a shaded table outside and shared our histories.
Our early years needed no replay. We were friends from kindergarten through junior high and into the first year of high school when Stef’s parents divorced and he disappeared.
Stefan had lived at the end of the block from my and Katya’s houses. We three skinny-dipped in our pool when my folks were not around, and played board games when we were young, and kissing games after puberty. I never sucked or fucked Stef and I doubt Katya did either. But if he had stayed in school with us, he probably would have been our first.
I was getting wet just looking at my friend — a man now.
He griped that his divorced parents restructured their lives and bounced him back-n-forth as they kept moving to nearby towns and their high schools, four in three years. He got too bound to each new school to stay in touch here, and flip-phones were costly then so few kids had one; it was beyond his budget.
“I sure remember the last time I saw you girls. A bunch of the season’s high-school grads were enrolling at the junior college and you were in sign-up lines there.”
Yes, I remembered friendly waves. His hair was longer then, and his face was smoother.
“Then came the 9-11 attacks. Shit! A bunch of us figured our country needed us. So we headed for the recruiting offices and enlisted, mostly in the Army.”
Yes, so many kids we knew vanished then.
“The sandbox was for shit. You remember ‘Mayhee’, that’s Stan Mahowald? He didn’t make it. Neither did Ken Willis, a damn fine chess player, and Cyndi Barnes, a great mechanic. Crazy lazy Larry Olsen, my old best friend, got banged up worse than me. I was pretty lucky.”
He finished his malted shake and slid the cup aside.
“I don’t have war porn tales for you. Fuck that. I’ll just say I was working in logistics on a later tour, thought I was safely away from the action, but a junk IED took out our Hummer on a main road, wrecked my legs a bit. The left ain’t too bad but the right has a lot of metal and ceramics in it. I manage okay on my ‘bent bike and adapted Jeep; walking is hard. I’m still doing physical therapy at a funky VA clinic.”
Katya and I both shuddered. We held his hands.
I remembered reading about him in the local news page on the war. Something about him being unable to walk so he crawled to drag wounded soldiers out of range of flying bullets; he took some hits and was awarded a Silver Star. Shit!
He continued talking, his voice steady, almost unemotional.
“Funny, I kept running into local guys there. You know Mickey ‘Mouse’ Morris, that short kid, lived a couple blocks over? He flew the medevac chopper, got me to the docs real quick. Had a good laugh on me being just as clutzy as I was on the track team. With painkillers, I laughed, too.”
I shivered as I listened. I almost cried.
“So they patched me up a little, and flew me to Wiesbaden for fancy surgery, then gave me sergeant’s stripes and planted me at a desk near DC to finish my enlistment, minus leaves I didn’t take. I’ve just mustered out and come back home. Our old neighborhood feels good.”
He paused. I squeezed his hand. He squeezed back.
“You remember Tina Feines, right? Lived down at the corner.”
“Oh sure,” Katya said, smiling. “She was cute. You were sweet on her in junior high until her family moved away.”
“Yeah, her mom gave us rides to school when the weather was bad. We’d cuddle in the back seat, try to stay out of view of the mirror. No kissing, just kids being close.” He smiled.
“Anyway, my cruddy older stepbrother Sam bought their house, turned it into a biker crashpad, burnt a hole in the living-room floor planks, izmir escort bayan bricked-in that fucker as a ‘conversation pit’ or whatever. Redneck engineering, y’know.” He chuckled.
“Then Sam got a good job that has him scuttling between truck stops, so now he’s off on a long-haul gig, and he rents me the place real cheap because nobody else would take it. With my Army benefits, I can just afford to live there. But I’ll need a job sometime.” He shrugged.
Katya’s face lit up. “You said you worked logistics, right? Our store’s shipping manager is retiring soon. Could you stand having me as your boss? Will you take orders from me? Be my personal slave?”
She rubbed his arm. I caught a hint of teasing.
“Your store’s still in that commercial strip down the boulevard, right? It’s a short bike ride. Will you use whips and chains on me? And leather? You always were a little kinky.”
She slapped his arm. “Submit, slave! Kiss my feet!”
“What, not your ass? Ha! Too easy.”
He pinched her nose, same as he had so often, so long ago. Then he grinned at me.
“You know what’ll really entice me? I’m just down the alley from your place, Lin. Maybe I can sneak in the back after work and go skinny-dipping when your folks aren’t around.”
I grinned back. “They retired from the missile plant, moved to San Diego, left me the house. You’re welcome to come in the front or back anytime.”
I made a quick decision about this hero, my lifelong friend.
“I’ll get you keys. But don’t fuck with my workstation, my job.”
“I’ll give you my keys too,” Katya said. “My folks moved to a condo and gave me the house. I don’t have a pool but I’m sure we can find other entertainment. With or without whips, slave!”
“So I’ll be harassed by the boss? I can live with that.”
Stefan roughly stood and bowed to her. She slithered up, lightly slapped his cheek, then hugged and kissed him. I stood for a group hug and more kisses. The clerk at the takeout window laughed and made smoochy noises. No tip for her!
“Let’s ride uphill some more,” Stefan said. “I need the workout.”
“Then let’s roll to my place,” I said, “and cool off in the pool with icy cocktails.”
“Clothing optional as usual?” Katya asked. “Or banned?” She turned a stern face to Stefan. “Think of it as the new normal, slave. Dress for work and shopping. Otherwise, not.”
Her lips quivered, then hinted at a tiny smile. He tensed.
“Uh, ladies, my legs ain’t too pretty now. That’s why I wear these long board shorts.”
He was not smiling. I saw pain and embarrassment in his hazel eyes. I kissed him hard.
“Quit that shit, man! We’ve all seen each other; we know we’re less than perfect. We’re friends forever, no matter what. As long as you leave my workstation alone, anyway. Touch it and I’ll have to drown you.”
“And don’t eat all the avocados,” Katya demanded. “They’re our best profit point, slave.” She kissed him as hard as I did.
We untangled, saddled up, and pedaled smoothly, ascending the rising grade, gearing down to maintain our easy cadences.
A few more miles of this were quite sufficient for us all. Midday heat rose. We took the next road bridge and crossed the ‘river’. The narrow path on that side edged a restricted service road wide enough for us to ride three across. We easily rolled and chatted. We only had to dodge one slow maintenance truck.
My and Katya’s stories were not as dramatic as Stefan’s but still had tragi-comic points. We went to the community college, she for business stuff, me in digital graphics. I got real lucky, a remote-work job with a design firm. She was climbing the ranks at her family market. Our parents gave us our childhood homes. We had burnt through some dicey boyfriends, no longer in the picture, whew. We rode, swam, and commiserated on her free Tuesdays and Wednesdays when I was not slaving.
We three laughed and groaned at our revelations. Stefan told oddly funny tales of his multiple high schools. He did not say much of his Army years and only bitched a little about being caught in a useless war based on lies.
“Iraqis and Afghans didn’t attack us on 9-11, Egyptians and Saudis did, but we didn’t invade THERE. The 9-11 shits trained in Germany and Florida and Texas but we didn’t invade THERE. Saddam was a turd but he was mostly OUR turd and he didn’t attack us. All those lives wasted on bullshit.”
He fumed. I looked into Katya’s eyes. We blinked a message.
“What, no girls in your life after you left us?” she asked, defusing the conversation. “You didn’t go gay, did you?”
A moment passed.
“Don’t knock it till you try it,” he said, deadpan, “and yeah, there was a girl or two at each school, and on base when I wasn’t deployed, and some female troops in the sandbox found me, but nothing serious, nothing lasting. Everything and everybody just flashed past too fast. No time to build anything personal.”
We rolled in silence for a few minutes till we reached the izmir escortlar last homeward-bound street. The sun rode a few hands above the knobby horizon.
“I am fucking ready for a drink, a swim, and sleep,” I groaned. “It’s been over thirty-six hours for me. Do you guys need to go to your places first?” Neither said yes. “Well, let’s party till I drop. I might last twenty-five minutes.”
I led our parade through my front yard, unlocked the side gate, and leaned my bike inside against the tall oak fence. “C’mon in.”
I peeled off my tee and sports bra, sat on a redwood stool to rid myself of footwear, shucked out of my shorts and panties, and threw my bare-ass self into the smallish pool, no loud splashing needed. Instant relief! Well, a good start, anyway.
I dragged myself out, dripping, and saw my friends get naked while I staggered, dripping, to the outside fridge, to drippily fetch the premixed Mai Tai cocktails.
“Wow, Stef, you’re pretty buff but your legs are really gnarly,” Katya gasped. “Umm, you said you have mechanicals in there. Is water a problem?”
“Nope, the hardware’s sealed in. Swimming is almost the best therapy for me. Just don’t expect any speed dashes. And if I balance right, I can even do this.”
They stood nude about halfway down the deep section, his long cock drooping, her boobs ripe. She squealed when he scooped her up in his arms and jumped in. The splash was cannonball quality. Chlorinated water hit my boobs, the fence, the garden, the sliding glass door.
“Hey! Don’t waste the H2O!” I shouted.
Stefan aimed a splash at me. Soaked!
I really was beat to shit, staggering now. I finished my drink, rinsed under the outdoor shower, and unlocked the slider so I could retreat inside. My naked friends watched me towel-dry my bare body. I jiggled nicely but tiredly.
“I might be human again before morning but I fucking MUST get down now. If you don’t want to rush off, you’re welcome to the pool, the kitchen, the guest room, whatever you want. I love you guys the best! So don’t wake me with bad news.”
My naked friends climbed from the pool, shook themselves off somewhat, and hugged me, dampening me again. Stef kissed my mouth and neck and nipples. Fuck, I would NEVER get dry now! Katya stopped at my neck — far enough.
I toweled my body again and crawled to my bed and oblivion.
I think I dreamt. Or maybe I only absorbed impressions. I think I sensed savory scents amid kitchen sounds, and heard soft moans and cries like a woman cumming. I dreamt that Stefan and Katya were fucking, and then he and I were fucking, and then we ate currywurst. But no cats appeared. Only a dream.
I crawled out of bed in darkness to pee. Ahhh…
The house was quiet. I glanced in the kitchen where stovetop LEDs lit fresh cookware and tableware in the dish rack. I peeked in the guest room’s open door — it was empty but the queen bed looked rumpled. So they HAD eaten and screwed here! Well, he was not yet her employee, so okay. I smiled and went back to my bed for more spicy dreams.
I dreamt of Stefan’s legs. Every scar was a mystery track, a ghost road to travel. Only a dream?
Strong coffee and a microwaved breakfast burrito revived me after my sunrise yoga positions. My kitchen table held a note penciled in two hands.
“Let’s ride earlier. Call me after nine. -K” sat above “Call me too. -S” and a cell number. Ah, plenty of time!
The pool was warm enough for me to swim many naked laps. I luxuriated, then showered, dried, and toddled bare-ass to my workstation to check for messages. Nothing critical awaited.
I was happy to work from home with no need to overdress. Too bad I could not go nude in public. I sighed, dressed for biking, and stepped outside. Katya’s cruiser still leaned beside mine but Stefan’s ‘bent was not in sight.
I waited till nine-ten to make my calls. Each said they would be right over. I rummaged in my spare-stuff drawer and found extra house and gate keys for Stefan. With any luck, I would entertain him in MY bed today and/or tonight. Well, a girl can dream, right?
It was not long before Katya walked through my alley gate and Stefan was at my front door, his ‘bent leaning on a porch post. We hugged and kissed, made sure we had water, saddled up, and rode to the parkway, then up almost to the dam, further than yesterday because cooler now. We stopped for sodas and fat sandwiches at the Tastee-Freez on the downhill run.
The counter girl laughed at us again when we group-hugged. Did that count as lousy customer service?
We rolled back to my place as midday heated up and were quickly naked in my pool downing more chilled Mai Tai’s. Stefan watched me and Katya float on our backs with our boobs rampant; we watched his back-strokes, his cock half-masted.
I was not exhausted. I decided to be boldly proactive.
“Stefan Culver, get your ass up on the pool edge here.” I patted the tiles.
“Uh, yes ma’am, right away ma’am.”
So he could follow orders. Excellent.
He scooted into place, sitting in front of me, feet in the water. I moved closer, pushed his knees apart, stroked his scarred legs, and fisted his cock. He throbbed in my hand.