The Blue Diamond, (c) Copyright,2000 Michael Mann
Author:  Michael Mann, highpeaks@mailandnews.com
All rights reserved - Copy/Duplication  

 Seated on a cushion of leaves, the solitary man waits at the trailhead. He savors the aromas and melodies from the forest surrounding him. Last night was all nervousness, wondering about his ability to finish what he'd begun. A peace filled him now. In a few hours his life would never be the same. This single event was the axis on which the rest of his life would turn. To execute the particulars was all that remained undone. The few accomplices he relied on for help had remained silent. The final outcome was the only variable he could not wholly predict.  

 A green ragtop Jeep pulls into the mud patch that pretends to be a parking spot. Three young women emerge and proceed to lace up boots, unload backpacks, and stretch shapely, conditioned legs. He studies them with his binoculars, pulling them in close for inspection. Each is attractive. Each different in height, weight and hair color. Before they start up the trail he knows which is to be "The One".  

 The chatter of the women, as they march single file, sounds cheerful. The observer stands up, camouflage clothing rendering him practically invisible. He moves quickly along the shortcut that he marked the day before, eager to get ahead of them.  

 ***

To ensure the availability of the popular campsite, Kate had reserved "The Blue Diamond" six months in advance. Today she leads Beth and Melissa up the gradual slope, beginning the four-hour trek to their destination. Her lover had taken her there for a three-day camp out a year ago. 'Taken', Kate grins, thinking of the many ways she had been taken and how she had done some taking of her own.  This was going to be an erotic nostalgia trip. 

 She remembers the site as a sensual paradise. They had the freedom to enjoy nature's pleasures in ways that can only be experienced in complete solitude.  Jokingly they had acted out the roles of explorers forging into a new undiscovered territory. On the last day of their stay he claimed the land in her honor with a white towel tied to a pole. The flag was imprinted with her initials, written in pink juice from berries he'd crushed.

 Curiously she wonders, 'Does my flag still fly?' 

 Three hours later she glances back and smiles at her troop. They return the gesture. The effort of walking uphill has increased. They are trudging quietly, engrossed in the serene forest; lost in their own thoughts. 

Their shadow man lay atop a grassy bluff 200 yards ahead, watching them approach. The field glasses focus on Kate, his obsession. Scanning her deliberately from the ground up, he enjoys the shiny, tanned skin of her flexing thighs and the dark, wet, stains highlighting the creases of her emerald-green shorts. Her perspiration soaked top clings to her torso, delineating her chest.

 "Come on Hon, no one out here cares. Take off that sweaty shirt and cool off." He whispers audibly. "How about I give you a bath later." 

 His mind paints graphic images of her nude soapy form. He pictures his callused hands scrubbing away the dust and dried salt from the slick softness of her skin. She moans from the pleasure of his attentiveness. 

 Continuing vertically with his glasses, he studies her face. The muscles in her cheeks seem to labor as she clenches her jaw briefly. Beads of moisture on her forehead wet the wavy, auburn hair framing her oval face.  Her eyes are not visible through the small round shades that rest on her slightly Roman nose. He imagines them as deep, dark, chocolate pools that can warm a heart on a winter's night. Her lips are slightly pursed, showing a little strain or fatigue. She turns back to her companions and smiles, her face blossoming. Reflexively he inhales deeply as if he could smell her fragrance.

 "God she's beautiful!"

Kate plods on, enjoying the moment. Finches, blue jays and even a humming bird grace them with their colorful presence. She picks a wild daisy from a patch, gives it an obligatory sniff and tucks it behind her left ear. Her heart is skipping even though her legs are becoming leaden. 

 Once they pass, he watches Kate walk away, enjoying her hips exaggerated sway, observing the striations of her shoulder muscles as they tense and relax to hold her balance while carrying the pack over the rough terrain. Witnessing her body fight the physical challenge of the mountain is visually pleasurable. 

 Continuing on his secret trail he climbs a small cliff. His athletic, 190-pound, body has no problem navigating the boulder-strewn ridge. He arrives at the campsite 20 minutes ahead of them. Grabbing a quick bite of tasteless trail food he plants himself in what he has dubbed his "observatory" and waits for her heavenly body to appear.

 Their laughter precedes them by a full two minutes. 

 'So much for seeing any wildlife for a few days', he muses, 'at least furry wildlife.' 

 The women start setting up camp as soon as they arrive. He listens to their banter. The distance prevents him from hearing complete sentences but the laughter and the occasional word out of context makes him smile.

 Melissa and Beth decide to set up the tents, while Kate begins to cook supper. She grabs a pot and leaves to fetch water to boil. As she approaches the deep, cold "Blue Diamond" pool the memories from last summer come flooding back. The waterfall tumbles gently down the rock face this late in the summer. The two of them had stood stark naked under the needling droplets, locked in an embrace, lips to lips and hips to hips reveling in the sensation of their warmth in contrast with the snow melt water. It was an unforgettable moment that they captured in a photo, now hidden at home in her closet. More than a few times in the last year she had eased her loneliness by retrieving memories with that picture. Kate flushes from the recollection.  

 She filled the pot with water and set it aside. Still squatting, she removes her crusty tank top. Without a second thought, she removes her damp sports bra as well. Discarding the bra, she rinses the shirt in the cool liquid. Holding it over her face, she wrings out a shower. The refreshing coolness drips onto her closed eyelids, rivulets course down her torso. 

 Using it as a wash cloth, she wipes the back of her neck, groaning from the freshening effect. Bringing it around front, she swabs her breasts and stomach. Chilled by the water and soft breeze, her nipples rise.

***

 He sees her leave the campsite and follows. Well hidden and silent, he watches her at the pool. Her sudden undressing excites him, how sensuous her movements, how lovely her body. His biology responds to her attractiveness and he moves to reposition himself more comfortably, inadvertently snapping a twig under his foot. 

 Kate hears a noise from the forest, breaking her reverie. She stands, holding the shirt in front for cover, and looks in the sound's direction. Seeing nothing, she dons her wet shirt, gathers her belongings and returns to camp.

 ***

 'She looked right at me. That was too close. I can't spoil everything by getting caught now.' His concern forces him back to his camp for a cold, dry meal and a fitful night's sleep.

 ***

 The women enjoy a leisurely supper. Afterwards, they sit around a campfire that's just big enough to fend off a few mosquitoes.  Passing a wineskin, the telling of tales begins, at first serious, then silly. As their inhibitions fade, the stories become provocative.

 Melissa, the only married one present, receives the initial salvo of intimate questions. 

 "Mel, What's it like to screw the same guy for five years? That's if you still do "IT"!" laughed Beth. "I don't know if I could handle a one item menu for the rest of my life."

 "Well Beth, let me first say that Mark and I are still doing IT, and, IT, couldn't be better. I think you'll change your tune when you find the man that can curl your toes every time."

 "Every time? Give me a break." Said Beth the perpetual cynic. "And please tell me you don't do it the same time every week, or is that every month?" 

 "We don't have scheduled sex, but the opportunity for intimacy is limited when you have two children. So the weekends offer the best "link up" opportunity with some "spontaneous combustion" occurring during the week."

 "You need to get your nose out of those Science books, Mel." Chided Kate rolling her eyes.

 "Good sex in marriage takes planning." Melissa taps her temple with her index finger. "We've planned to be impulsive." 

 "Huh?" Kate and Beth look at her bewildered.

 "We have prearranged horny signals."

 "Finally a word I can relate to, horny," says Beth.

 "If either of us is particularly wanton we give the signal. If the other is willing, they respond with a gesture of confirmation. If they are not in the mood they respond with the "delay launch" sign. This way, we can start the countdown anywhere, anytime. I know getting the "ready for launch" signal across a crowded store ignites my burners!" She says emphatically. "Once the mutual agreement is reached the game begins. Until we can find time alone we tease each other mercilessly. There's that small element of risk to increase the excitement. Once I got caught flashing my boob at him in a parking lot. We never did get around to shopping." Melissa grins. "After all the teasing we don't need a lot of time alone to complete the "mission", if you know what I mean."

 "So what are those signals?" inquires Kate, winking at Beth.

 "No way! This is like baseball. Part of the game is not letting the other team know what play is "on". You'll have to try and steal the signs." 

 "Damn! You married people are like a secret society." joked Beth. "Is there a bridal shower I don't know about, thrown by married women, to train the new bride?"

 "If I told you, I'd have to kill you!"

 "Hey Mel, weren't you and Mark working at the lab the night they lost the Mars lander? Were you guys, uh, distracting each other then?"

 "NO! Don't be spreading vicious gossip!" Mel shook her head and laughed at the suggestion.

 "Beth, what happened between you and Josh? I thought you two were great together." Melissa asks, concerned about her friend's recent heartache.

 "Yeah, we were. He was being great with someone named Pam at the same time. I wouldn't be so mad if he hadn't lied about wanting to see only me for the last six months."

 "Better to find out now than later."

 "Yeah, You're right. Ok, that's enough about me. Kate's turn in the hot seat," says Beth, abruptly changing the subject.

 Kate's campout last summer with Jack had changed their relationship to a serious love affair. They prod Kate for, "Details Woman, details!"  

 "Ok, remember, you asked for it." 

 She proceeds to incite her friends with a narrative of romantic interludes. Beth and Melissa periodically expel voluntary sighs of empathy and desire as she describes her hedonistic weekend. They blankly stare into the fire, picturing themselves under the falls, in the pool and under the stars, with a loving, appreciative man. The breeze through the pines propels a scent superior to any incense. The living sound of the forest provides earthy background music. 

 "There are two moments that seem exceptionally special. On our last night here, we had a quick swim to wash up after hiking to the top of the falls and back. We returned to camp and sat by a fire to warm up, drinking a little wine. I was nestled between his outstretched legs, our bare feet toward the fire. Both of us were topless and I was leaning against his chest. His hands were lying in my lap as he started reciting "Poems, Prayers and Promises" softly in my ear! To hear him whisper the lyrics as his hands began caressing me, mmmm" a shiver of recollection tingled through her. "I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the heat from the fire, his toying fingers and his voice." 

 She was surprised by how much she was willing to reveal, but not intoxicated enough to divulge how he had timed his recital with his touch. "I've known my Lady's pleasures" signaled the first graze of his palms across her breasts as his lips tickled her neck. 

 The song's essence seemed to suit the occasion so perfectly, "Lie there by the fire and watch the evenin' tire..."

 "And talk of poems, prayers and promises,

Things that we believe in,

How right it is to love someone,

How right it is to care..."

 "I'd like to raise a family..." hinted she might mean more to him than just a fling, that her growing affection was not unrequited.

 'Could it have been just a game to him?' she wondered. 

 As if reading her thoughts, Beth the perpetual cynic says, "Yeah, men'll say anything to get a little honey on their stinger." 

 "I told him I'd never felt so connected with anyone before." Kate admitted, feeling this might be a mistake, but continued. "That's when Jack told me about his theory called "Lego Love"."

 She was unable to suppress a giggle.

 Beth burst with laughter.

 Melissa, in the middle of drinking some wine, sprayed it out, gagging and laughing at the absurd sound of it. "Jeez, give us some warning!"

 "I know, I know, it sounds stupid. I laughed when he said it. You must remember he was formulating his hypothesis under-the-influence. This is how Jack explained the "Lego" theory. You know what the toy blocks look like, right? His theory is that couples that are a match fit together like Legos. No matter how you position them they fit snuggly together and are adaptable for building a life together."

 Melissa, in a lewd and suggestive tone says, "And did you try all the positions to find out?" 

 Kate's face reddens; "Well, we tried quite a few. Everything seemed to fit nicely, but the theory applies to more than sex."

 Still smarting from her break up, Beth observes, "I've only been a Tinker Toy."

 The three roar with laughter, each knowing exactly how that feels. 

 After a brief silence, "You said two moments stood out. What was the other?" Beth asks.

 "The morning we were leaving Jack got up early and made me breakfast in bed. After, we packed up the camp and went for our morning skinny dip. We lay in the sun for a while, drying off. He ran back to camp, saying he had to get something. He came back with a bowl full of berries and a white towel. The berries were crushed to a pulp. With his finger he paints my initials on the towel, ties it to a pole and plants it like a flag saying, "I claim this land in the name of Kate the Conqueror." He looked so funny standing there naked, holding the flagpole. Jokingly I said, 'If this is my dominion you must kneel before me!' and he did." 

 The part Kate doesn't relate verbally she replays in her mind. This naked man kneeling before her, head bowed submissively, triggers a desire that she never experienced before, to dominate. Taking two steps closer, she places her hands on the sides of his face and lifts his head. He is eye level with her soft pubic hair. She moves closer still. The hair now surrounds his nose. She turns his unresisting head side to side, enjoying the tickling. She hears him inhale her scent. Content with being led, he doesn't attempt to initiate any contact. Placing a foot upon a nearby rock to separate her legs, he watches as she spreads her lower lips with apprehensive fingers, exposing her wet pinkness. Her free hand on the back of his head pulls him in. 

 "Taste me," She commands.

 He obeys without hesitation, starting slowly, gradually building a flame of desire; artfully applying his lips and tongue until her legs weaken to the point of near collapse from the wonderful stimulation. Her hands on his shoulders for support; she opens her eyes and looks down to see if he is aroused. Seeing him ready, she moves his head away. 

 'Babe, sit over there,' pointing to a boulder. 

 He complies silently. 

 'Slide forward and put your legs together.'

 She straddles his lap. Holding him in her hand she guides his entrance, lowering herself, filling herself. Controlling the depth and pace she begins her ride slowly, increasing her momentum and pounding to the finish. As her climax approaches she commands him to use his hands and mouth to suit her need. Her orgasm is tremendously loud and exhausting. Afterward she sits impaled on him, arms around his neck and head on his shoulder, regaining strength. Finally, recovered enough to rise she guides him to the towel where she allows him his pleasure, enjoying his want that she created

 Continuing her narrative to her friends, "We fooled around a little. While we're lying on the towel Jack tells me he wants to leave his mark of conquest. Before I know what he's talking about he dips his hand in the berry juice and slaps a pink handprint on my left ass cheek. Well, retaliation breeds respect, so I had to mark my conquistador. I returned the favor on his butt, and a nice firm one it is may I say. We stayed there, letting the "brands" dry, lazily talking and enjoying the sunshine", wink, "then dressed and headed home."

 "I had to cancel a Doctor's appointment because that silly hand print wouldn't wash off! It took three weeks before it faded away."

 Melissa and Beth sat grinning at her.

 "When was the last time you talked to him?" Melissa asked.

 "A week ago. Since he's been working in California the calls and e-mails have become less frequent. He's supposed to be back next month. We'll have to sort out this relationship then. I think he's cooling off. Probably found a blonde beach bunny out there to play with."

 "Life's a beach." Beth cracked; followed by "I can't believe you said that" groans from the other two.

 A prolonged silence adds the period to the evening. Briefly the ladies plan the next days hike to the top of the falls. They duck into their separate tents, undress, slip into their bags and say a "Walton's" goodnight. Kate lays in the dark recounting her story. Her hand lazily drifts over her breasts before she gradually falls into a sound sleep.

 ***

 He wakes before dawn feeling fatigued after a fidgety night. Not being hungry, he drags himself to the pool and wades in so he won't make a splash that might wake the women. The cold shock revives him mentally and physically better than a pot of coffee. His muscular body slices the numbing water. He swims laps across the 250-foot width, crawl stroke, backstroke, and sidestroke to break the monotony. After four laps he picks up his bar of soap and washes. Dressing in fresh clothes and collecting his things he takes his position in the "observatory".

 ***

 An hour after sunrise Kate can't sleep anymore. She grabs her towel, soap and a change of clothes. Quietly she leaves camp to bath. The morning light shimmers off the pool surface as Kate dives in. Rolling onto her back she glides, looking at the sky, the morning star still visible. "The promise of another sunny day", her head sings.

 ***

 As soon as he hears Kate's splash he steals into the women's camp to make sure no one gets in his way.

 ***

 The chilly water flowing across her naked skin invigorates Kate. The currents caused by her motion feel like fingers caressing her. After a lengthy, luxurious swim she washes and rinses her skin and hair. Now cold, she wades from the pool and dries herself in the sunshine.

 ***

 He is late arriving at the pool but in time to watch her wash her hair. Her body, from the cold water, exhibits a healthy pink between the tan lines. She stands in profile to him. The water glistens on her skin like the clear glaze on a china doll. 

 Her breasts are pulled high and firm, rolling with her circular arm motions, as she shampoos her shoulder length wavy hair. Kate dunks to rinse. Standing, she throws her head back, sending a shimmering spray behind her. With head tipped back, her palms squeegee the excess water from her hair, silvery reflections streak down her back. 

 As he watches her, his resolve to continue weakens. His mind yields to his inner conflict.

 'Why do I deserve someone so beautiful? She will never agree to this. How could I have been foolish enough to think this was possible? This is never going to turn out like I'd hoped.'

 He looks away, filled with shame, self-doubt and remorse. Kate dries and dresses in clean hiking shorts and tee shirt. When her boots are tied she heads down the trail to camp. The voyeur walks to the pool and stands looking down the path after her. 

 *** 

 Kate senses oddness in the camp. 'It's too quiet.'  

 "Come on ladies! Rise and shine. Lets get going early so we can make it to the top before it gets hot." 

 There was no response from either of their tents. Kate opens the flap to Beth's and finds it empty. She runs to Melissa's and finds it also empty. 

 "Very funny! Come out, come out, where ever you are!" She shouts with some trembling in her voice. "The jokes over. Ha ha, this isn't funny anymore." 

 There's not a sound in response. 

 "MEL! BETH!" Kate begins to feel the onset of panic.

 Hearing her call out for her friends' shocks him into remembering how far things have gone. He can't set the clock back and undo what's been done; to continue on to the finale is the only option left. 

 He picks up a 5-foot log lying on the shore, throwing it into the pool to create a loud splash. He circles behind a boulder at the path's end to wait for his treasure to appear.

 Hearing a splash, Kate runs back to the beach. "Come on you guys! You're pissing me off!"

 No one's there. She stands staring across the water at the floating log, watching the expanding ripples extinguish themselves on the rocky shore.

 Silently he approaches, tapping her on the shoulder with his free hand, "Hey."

 Kate, startled, reflexively cries out and whirls in self-defense. His own quick reaction saves him from a broken jaw but not fast enough to prevent a solid strike from her elbow that knocks him to the ground. As he rubs feeling back into his chin he watches her expression change from fear, to shock, to perplexed. 

 "Jack? What the hell are you doing here? What's going on?" Then, changing to more urgent matters, "Have you seen Beth and Mel?" the tension evident in her voice.

 From his seat in the dust he points into the forest. Her friends are there at a distance, eyes like saucers. Each has a hand over their mouth holding back laughter; their other hands slowly wave apprehensively. 

 "Kate?"

 She turns her attention to Jack. He is in front of her kneeling. In one hand is a stick with a tattered white towel attached. On the towel, in faded pink letters, are her initials, K.M., and underneath, freshly scrawled in pink berry juice, are his, " + J.P.". His other hand holds an open black velvet box containing a sparkling diamond ring, bluish in tint from reflecting the sky overhead. 

 "Will you marry me?"