The lake had been our family's vacation place for my entire life. Ria, my mom's best friend in college, married a guy who owned a resort, and invited Mom every year. We paid a token amount to cover the cabin we used being unavailable, and left it in pristine condition so that the resort didn't foot an extra cleaning bill. Ria and Mom spent plenty of time together, and Ria's husband Frank was fine with the arrangement, so we got a great vacation each year.

There were cabins among the trees and by the lakeside. We'd stay in the trees, but we'd still spend plenty of time on the lake. Ria loaned us kayaks, and from the earliest I remember I would sit in the front of a tandem kayak, bundled up in life vests, while we explored the edges of the large freshwater lake.

Most of the time Ria would also loan us her son, Liam. Ria wouldn't take vacation time of her own, so she'd be working. We spent evenings with the family, but during the day Mom and Dad looked after Liam, giving me someone to play with. He was a year older than me, so he and I knew one another from the time Dad would carry me in a backpack while Liam held my mom's hand.

I don't remember those days, but I've seen photos. Back then, I had long, pale blond hair and intense brown eyes, while Liam's hair was short and sandy blonde, his eyes hazel. Over the years my hair darkened past his, so that by our mid-teens his was a light brown, still bordering on sandy, while mine had become a deep brown. My eyes were unchanged, but Liam's were not; still hazel, but with a darker brownish tint, where the photos of him at three show a paler green hue.

I do remember him chasing me up a mountain path when I was about five. That's the first distinct memory of any in my life. It stayed with me because, while he was chasing me, he turned his ankle on a rock and fell flat, sliding a few inches along the rough ground from his speed. He bawled, unsurprisingly. He had skinned his knee, but had no other damage. Mom worried that we needed to take him to the doctor, but when we rushed him home, Ria just fixed him up with a bandaid and hugs and he was fine.

I remember Liam when I was seven, and had decided that my name wasn't Camryn anymore. No one in the world was named Camryn, other than me, so now I had to be Alice. Where I had found that name, I have no idea. It wasn't my middle name, or the name of any relative. So I remember instructing Liam to call me Alice, and then the following year confusing him by telling him to call me Cam again. The name had surfaced a few times, and I'd decided that it was now socially acceptable to be a Camryn.

I remember Liam kissing me when I was twelve, just before the end of vacation. The kiss - which must have lasted all of a half-second - stayed with me, as such things do at that age, so when we returned to the lake after my thirteenth birthday I was in a kind of eager terror that he'd want to kiss me again.

But that year I hardly saw him. At fourteen he had hit a growth spurt. He'd become gangly, and his voice, which had been unsteady the previous year, had settled into a much lower range. He spent most of his time with local kids, some of whom were working at the resort. And some of them were girls!

So I decided I hated him, especially when he seemed to do nothing more than mock me, and I hated his friends, too. Particularly the girls.

But on the last day of our vacation, he came to visit us. He seemed nervous. We walked together into the trees, and I decided I didn't hate him, and kissed him. For maybe a full second.

We stayed in touch for a time after that. Facebook was becoming popular, and we became Facebook friends. Most of his updates were about his friends, and photos of girls he knew in swimsuits. Since most were older than him, and he was older than me by a year, the girls were mid-teens and had grown out in ways I couldn't imagine ever doing. I was short, and though I was no longer flat-chested, I couldn't imagine becoming anyone whose photo Liam would post.

At the same time, I found myself getting an uneasy feeling when I thought about Liam. My stomach felt queasy, like I'd eaten something that didn't sit well, but it didn't feel bad, just weird.

And sometimes the strange feeling settled slightly lower than my belly, especially if he posted a photo of one of his busty female friends.

One evening I'd seen a post he'd made, and it made me itch. I thought my undies were too small, or maybe they'd been washed with something that had made them irritating to my skin. After I'd gone to bed I poked at them, but they felt normal. I found that if I set my palm over the front of my underwear and squeezed, it seemed to ease the itching, but when I stopped, it came back.

Then I realized that when I squeezed, the itching was still there, but felt different. With or without my hand, the sensation wasn't unpleasant, but with it, I felt a kind of warmth that seemed to feed on itself, and when I had squeezed a few times there was a feeling in my belly like when the car had travelled too quickly over a hill.

I didn't understand why there seemed to be a connection between thoughts of Liam and the odd warmth, but when I thought of him, it seemed to make the warmth spread further. Especially if I thought about him when I pressed my hand against my undies.

It wasn't just warmth in my belly. I felt slightly winded, as if I'd just run upstairs. I thought about the picture Liam had posted. It was taken by another friend, of Liam standing with a girl who filled out a bikini top which had a narrow, deep keyhole in its neckline. He wasn't touching her, just standing beside her, in shorts and tee shirt, but the thought of him towering over her, grinning at the camera through his geeky glasses made the heat in my belly feel dark.

If I slipped my hand inside my undies the squeezing seemed to grow the weird feeling more. The feeling scared me. It was connected to Liam and to the girl I automatically hated, so it had to be something bad, but I didn't want to stop feeling it. It didn't feel good, exactly, but it did feel like something I needed to learn more about.

I slipped off my pajama pants and my panties, snuggling as deeply into the sheets as I could, in case Mom came in. I didn't think I could explain why I didn't want to wear my pajamas, but not having them on made my touch feel like it "worked" better - whatever that meant.

My palm was feeling damp. What the heck? Had I wet myself? No, surely I would have noticed that. When I ran a finger over myself my skin felt slippery, oily. And interesting. So I explored, with my fingers instead of the flat of my palm.

Why had I started panting? Why was I out of breath? I didn't know what was going on. I didn't feel weak like I would if I'd run home, but I was breathing hard, as if I had.

Weirdest of all, I felt tight at the base of my belly, almost as if something had changed inside me. There was a tingling, which had become focused on the small ridge just above where I'd become oily. I poked my fingers there and a shock zinged through my body. Like being tickled, but sharper and without the overwhelming need to end it that tickling always gave me.

In fact the shock called to me, and I touched myself again, more carefully. My breath caught, and I moved my finger away, then approached slowly, stroking the area where the feeling was focused.

When I did I felt my legs tense, and I groaned. I still couldn't say that this feeling was good but it seemed to be taking over me, and I needed more of it.

It wasn't just at the base of my belly. My pajama top was itching too, now. I took it off, surprised to see that my nipples were sticking out from my small breasts. I felt my left breast to see what had changed, and more feeling washed into that place between my legs.

Returning my finger to the small ridge, I began to touch that place inside it, my other hand still squeezing my left breast. Something else was happening now. It wasn't just the shortness of breath. I felt something I could only think of as my body tightening inside. I started to wonder if I was doing something really bad. Maybe girls' bodies weren't meant to do this. Maybe I was breaking something.

Even panicked, I wasn't able to stop, though. I had to know what was at the end of this journey.

I was making noises. I wanted to silence them, and I did for a time, but as soon as the feelings began to rise again I forgot, and heard the soft sounds coming from my throat.

My hips were writhing, now. It seemed that I couldn't lie still. Naked under the sheet I felt my butt lifting from the mattress, then pressing into it. Something was happening.

Something was happening.

Something was happening.

I felt myself begin to tense up. Real panic hit. I moved my finger away from that place between my legs, but I couldn't control the sudden changes within my body, and suddenly I cried out loudly as waves and waves of intense feeling cascaded out into me.

I hadn't been sure if what I'd been doing to this point felt especially good, or if it had just felt necessary. But this was definitely good. I cried out again as I returned my finger to that place and stroked, the feeling absolutely amazing, flooding out into every part of me.

It seemed to last a long time until the joyful twinkling inside my body faded, but even after it did, there was a satiated warmth within me that I'd never felt before.

There was a knock on my door, and Mom came in without waiting for me to reply.

Immediately shuffling more deeply into the sheets, I said, "Hey, Mom." My voice sounded wrong. Rougher than it should be.

"I heard a noise, sweetie," she said. "Are you okay? Were you having a nightmare?"

"Oh, um," I replied, having no idea what I could tell her. "Maybe. I, uh, feel like I just woke up."

"Where are your pajamas?" Mom asked. Apparently I hadn't ducked down as far as I'd thought.

"I was too hot," I said. "I think I took them off. Maybe I took them off in my sleep."

Mom gave me a strange look, then said, "Are you feeling okay?"

When I assured her that I did, she left, but she still wore an odd expression.

After that, I touched myself often. I looked up what had happened on the Internet, and finally figured out a little about masturbation, and that it was like having sex. Which I'd never been interested in before, and which I now knew could be good, but was scary.

I didn't need to think of Liam to touch myself, and seeing him with his friends finally annoyed me enough that I unfriended him, but I guess I felt grateful that he'd unknowingly opened up a chapter in my life.


Over the next few years I rarely saw Liam. We would show up at the resort every year and go hiking, kayaking and taking bus tours of the mountains, and Liam would meet us occasionally with his mom, but at other times he was working at the resort or off with his friends.

He'd remained taller than average, which I guess is what made him fit in well with older kids back in his young teens. He'd added a little more weight, and lost some of his beanpole appearance, but he was still lean. More athletic than gangly, now, probably with the muscles he gained working around the resort and rowing.

When I was eighteen and nineteen he wasn't around at all during our vacations. He was off backpacking. on his own vacation with college friends. He was studying physics at state university. When Ria told us that, I was surprised. In spite of his geeky glasses, I'd never thought of him as a science and engineering type. His Western drawl made me think he'd always be working on the resort, as if he was a ranch hand.

I was mature enough, barely, to recognize the assumption as bigotry, and feel guilty about it. Not that there was anything wrong with being a ranch hand. But I was at university, too, studying computer science and math - well, about to, at eighteen, and between freshman and sophomore at nineteen - and I'd have liked the chance to talk to him about overlap, especially in math. I envisioned him telling me about the formation of stars in that drawl, and felt an affection for him that I hadn't in years. I was disappointed that he couldn't be around, but then, he'd really become little more than an acquaintance. His friends were locals and people at college.

I'd never hit the kind of growth spurt that Liam had. I might asymptotically approach five-two, but I'd never pass it. On the other hand, sex was no longer an abstract concept. I'd dated a couple of times before university, and had a medium-term boyfriend in freshman year. Though I hadn't thought of Liam in that context in several years, I'd have liked to see what happened to his eyes when it dawned on him that I now had breasts - ones which might well not be out of place in the photos he used to post - and that I didn't shrink from contact with the opposite sex.


At twenty, I'd seriously debated not accompanying my parents. I was really too old for a family vacation, and friends from college had invited me and a single guy whom I liked okay. I figured I'd go with them instead, but it turned out that my parents' early schedule that year allowed me to do both.

Liam was home, and we got somewhat reacquainted. He'd broken up with a girlfriend at college, and was recovering from heartbreak. We walked in the mountains a few times, and paddled kayaks far further than my parents had ever taken me when I was just a passenger in the front.

We remained casual friends. More than acquaintances, again, but our conversations were light and unsentimental. I didn't consider consoling him over his breakup, or sharing my plans to vacation with friends who included a possible romantic partner. Neither of us mentioned the two kisses of our young teens. But we did reconnect on Facebook.



I had mixed emotions about the vacation before my senior year, as I explained to Liam when we had dinner with his parents and him on the day we arrived.

"See," I said, "I realized, this is probably my last trip. With my parents, anyway. I'd like to come back, but after this year it's going to depend on coordinating vacation schedules, and what I do with my two weeks a year off of whatever random job I end up with. So it's kinda bittersweet. We've been coming up here every year, and I guess I just always assumed I'll be back next year, and now it's... just maybe? Probably not?"

Liam frowned. He still had an expressive face, but there was no way you'd call it geeky. His glasses were metal-framed, of a light bronze that blended well with his light brown hair, which was short, but curly. His frame was lean, his shoulders broader than I remembered. He'd never be confused for a football player, but he'd also never be thought of as a wimp. He could well have passed for a runner or athlete.

So I have to say he frowned, because that manly face couldn't be pouting. "I guess I hadn't thought of it that way, either. There's always been next year. But maybe you'll visit by yourself if you can't coordinate with your parents."

I shrugged. "If I can't come here with them, I'll probably vacation somewhere closer to home," I said. "Else if I'm going to do the whole expensive vacation thing, maybe Mexico or Costa Rica. Or Europe. Depending on how much said random programming job pays, of course."

"Well, we'll stay in touch," Liam said, "but I'll miss teaching you how to row without capsizing and waiting for you to catch up on mountain trails."

"As if," I retorted. "You're only faster than me because my backpack is usually heavier."

"Your backpack is heavier because you fill it with makeup, too many water bottles, and changes of clothes!" he jibed.

"Do not!"

"Do too!" he countered.

I laughed and changed the subject. "So now I'm legal, and this may be my last chance to experience the area, is there a good late night bar? Party place?"

Liam raised his eyebrows. "Legal for what?"

"To drink, of course, jerk," I replied. "I've been legal for everything else for three years, now."

Liam leered at me. "Five years, here," he said.

"Whatever," I said. "Night club, drinking, dancing, that kind of thing."

"Casino in town has a DJ on Friday," he said. "Other days there's a place in the city. Twenty minute drive."

"How much is a taxi?" I asked.

"Why don't you let me take you?" Liam suggested. "It ain't the big city, but if that's what you want to do on vacation, I can help. Tomorrow?"

"Sure," I said. "We're planning to take it easy tomorrow."

"You'd better have some boots," Liam suggested. "It ain't high heels and short dresses."

"Hmm. I should probably get some," I said. "I outgrew my last pair." I'd last worn them at fifteen, but they were kids' boots, not designed to last.

Liam directed me to the best store in town for Western wear - one that catered to the locals, rather than tourists. Then he offered to go kayaking with me on the following day.

"What's with being so obliging?" I asked. "You've barely said hello in years."

Liam shrugged. "Guess you got me thinking," he said. "Might be the last chance for me to spend time with my oldest friend, too."

"Oldest fr..." I started, then thought. "Shit, I guess that's true, especially for me. I never thought about it that way, since I only see you once a year."

"Uh-huh," Liam agreed. "You wanna pack for an overnight camp? Do you have a tent? Sleeping bag?"

I nodded. "Both. I didn't expect to use them, but they're in the car."

"If your parents can spare you for two days," Liam said, "there's a nice little cove a few miles away that ain't on the road."

"Hmm," I replied. "Yeah, that sounds like fun... oldest friend. After we go two-stepping tomorrow."

"Sounds good," he said, with a grin.


I didn't mind buying boots. I would wear them at home or at college, and they weren't something I would try to find in either place. Decent cowboy boots and jeans would be something I'd wear to parties at college.

The ones I decided on were snakeskin, but fit like lambskin gloves. They also cost a significant fraction of all the spending money I'd allowed myself for the summer break, but unless I grew another shoe size - not going to happen - they'd last me for years.

I had a couple of pairs of jeans in my luggage, including a pair tight enough to have shown a pimple on my ass if I'd had one. I did add a belt and buckle, and a dark embroidered shirt. Far too extravagant for a trip to a Western bar that wasn't even a date, but all of the clothing would see plenty of use over my senior year.

I debated visiting a hairdresser, but decided I liked my current style and wasn't sure whether to trust a stylist in a strange town. My hair was shoulder-length, layered, still its natural deep brown. I'd worn it straight for a time, and hadn't kicked the habit of pushing it back from my face, but in its current form it framed my face well, and I decided not to risk changing it.

Besides, I was fine with boots, but I wasn't going to be wearing a cowboy hat.


I promised my parents that I'd be back before two a.m. They wanted me at the cabin before midnight, and I knew they'd worry, but I wanted to be sure that I could stay at the bar until well after midnight, and leaving at one and allowing driving time would get me back between one-thirty and two, so I insisted. Not that they would have objected strongly to any time I chose to return - they had treated me as an independent adult for years - but I didn't want to stress them unnecessarily. Even so, they'd probably stay awake until I returned.

Liam picked me up just after eight. In a pickup truck, of course. I climbed the fifty feet or so of steps to sit in the huge cab, approximately twenty-five feet from the driver. The roof of the cab was high enough to accommodate Liam's height including his cowboy hat.

I'd never liked pickups.

"You're graduated now, right?" I asked him on the drive to town.

"Yeah, just helping Dad out," Liam said. "Guess I ain't in a much different position from you. I've got offers on the East Coast. I hate to leave this place, but I ain't gonna be here in a couple of months."

"Well, shit," I said. "I hadn't really thought that through, but of course you won't be staying here. Maybe we can visit the lake at the same time sometime."

"I'd like that," he said, his voice raised over the pickup's engine. "Figure out when your mom's gonna visit mine and we can try to make a reunion of it."

The evening threatened to be chilly, in spite of the time of year, and I'd worn a long coat. That's something I had brought from home. When I slipped out of it at the club, Liam eyed me appreciatively. I felt like he'd finally had the realization that I'd been anticipating. Yeah, I may be ten inches shorter than him, and five shorter than the bikini-clad bimbos he liked to show as his friends on Facebook, but my waist was narrow over wider hips and below thirty-four D-cup boobs. If he liked curves, I had them. I hadn't when we'd drifted apart eight years or so ago, and last year he'd been too detached to pay attention.

The club seemed more like a church hall than the kind of dance clubs I was familiar with, but it was lively. I danced with several guys. But I danced a lot with Liam, including a couple of two-steps and a few line dances. I drank while he restricted his intake to one beer, but I paced myself, too.

I briefly reconsidered my stance on cowboy hats. Without one, I was clearly the shortest person in the room. But then, I thought, if I wore a hat with a brim, no dance partner over five-eight would ever see my eyes.

Liam wasn't the best dancer I partnered with, but then I knew I wasn't all that great, especially with two-step, though I wasn't too bad with swing. But he knew the basics, and I had fun with him. I was a little surprised when he stayed on the floor after the DJ (it seems a crime to call him a DJ, but I guess he was) slowed things down around midnight. He hooked his thumb through my belt loop in the traditional fashion, and I got the distinct impression that if it hadn't been for that, he'd have been holding my ass.

I was quite tipsy when Liam led me back out to the truck and drove me back to the cabin. Once there, he opened the truck door and helped me descend the fifty feet of steps before leaving me at the cabin door. As I'd expected, Mom and Dad were both awake. They seemed pleased with my arrival time and relative sobriety.

It's good that they'd never seen me getting home at four a.m. after a college party, or after overnighting with a friend. Or, well, a "friend."


On the lake

We were up well before seven. Mom and Dad expected me to join them for a drive. I realized I hadn't told them that I was going kayaking with Liam. I'd fully intended to, and they needed to know, especially if we were going to be out overnight, but preparations for the dance had pushed it out of my mind.

So I apologized to them, but Mom said it was fine, and she was glad I was able to get caught up with Liam.

Expecting Liam was going to show up with two of the resort's regular kayaks, I was surprised when I walked down to the dock that he was waiting with a tandem, which we hadn't used since we were in the single digits in age, and Mom's and Dad's passengers.

Sharing a tandem kayak meant we had to pack it for two. My gear included my one-person tent, tightly rolled sleeping bag, and a lightweight track suit for cooler temperatures, since I was wearing a short tee and cutoffs for the trip. Plus my ultra-waterproof bag for my phone and personal items.

Liam had a small stove and lightweight cookware set as well as his own camping equipment. He took care of packing both sets of gear into the kayak. It looked like it had been a tight fit.

He offered to let me take the front seat, since the view would be better. I declined, because he knew the cove, and would be better able to navigate from the front.

"Besides," I added, "with you in the front, you won't notice when I slack off and you do all the work."

"I'll notice," he said, with a laugh. "Cove is about five miles direct, maybe six if we want to stop on the way. I'm thinking we should go direct, and if you want to see more sights we'll see if we want to take a shore route back tomorrow."

"Okay," I said.

We positioned ourselves in the kayak and got underway. Both of us were bulked up with life vests, and Liam did block a fair sized angle of view, but then the more interesting scenery was to the side, not straight ahead to miles of open water.

From behind, I could see Liam's sandy curls blowing in the wind. A cord hung from the arms of his glasses to prevent them falling. In spite of the size of the life jacket, his broad shoulders and powerful arms were apparent from the back.

I would guess that Liam was doing two thirds of the work of moving the boat. He'd grown up with this kind of activity. I was no weakling, but I didn't have the kind of strength I would if I'd been paddling or rowing most days, especially in my arms. Maybe if I could have paddled with my legs...

There were larger and faster boats on the lake, all of which created wakes that could be problematic. For the most part we were out of the path of the large sightseeing boats, so the wakes when they reached us were small. The drivers of the smaller, faster boats, and those towing skiers, gave us a wide berth. When Liam saw one pass he turned the kayak so that we hit the wake head on before continuing.

Just after noon he angled us toward the shore. When we got close, he pointed to a tree on a hill. "Eagle," he yelled. What looked like a large knot on a bare branch resolved into the body of a bald eagle. As we came closer I could see the head, but its lighter color was harder to discern against the sky.

Liam steered us in to a narrow cove that angled to a sharp point where a small stream joined the lake. We lifted the kayak from the water, unpacked it, then moved it a few feet further from the water. There was flat ground beside the stream. It had been cleared of brush. I wondered if Liam and his friends had done that, or if this was a popular spot.

"Ain't no road access here," he reminded me, as he opened up his tent. "No one's gonna show up unless they're on a long, long hike, or coming in from the lake like we did. There's no fire restriction right now, so we can have a campfire this evening if you want."

"That would be fun," I admitted.

After we'd erected our tents and moved our sleeping bags and few belongings into them, Liam handed me a sandwich in a ziploc bag. "There's a hike into the hills, if you're up to it."

I took the sandwich, then squeezed slightly sore biceps. "It's my arms that are tired after the trip. Unless we have to crawl up the path I'm good for a hike," I said.

"Okay. We might find some huckleberries higher up. It's a bit early for them, but I'll bet we can find one or two," Liam said.

We ate, then began the trek into the hills. The trail was barely more than a few bent grasses. It circled around stands of brush. Presumably it was used so infrequently that it wasn't worth cutting through plants that would grow back.

In spite of my legs being in good condition, I was winded when the trail flattened out. Liam had mostly walked ahead of me, but when the ground cleared enough for him to walk beside me, he dropped back. A finger threaded into one of my belt loops. I wasn't wearing a belt with the cutoffs, since they were tight around my waist. His touch was friendly, not intimate or intrusive, just a way to keep us connected.

We stopped to look back, out over the lake, which seemed much diminished, even though we hadn't seemed to climb far.

"So, where are the berries?" I asked.

He gestured with his free hand. "Over by those rocks." Then he led me in that direction, releasing my belt loop when we got close. I took his hand in mine as we traversed the last few yards.

"These are the bushes," he said, looking down in disappointment at plain green leaves. "I guess we're too early."

"It's okay," I said. "It was a pleasant hike. I think I'd like to rest for a minute before going back."

"Sure," Liam said.

Before finding somewhere to sit, I released his hand and explored around the edge of the rocks. I found a few dark purple berries on one bush and called Liam over.

"Oh yeah, those are huckleberries," he said. He picked one and popped it in his mouth. "Yeah, that's ripe."

I picked a few and sampled them. They tasted a little flat, like raw blueberries, which always had a much stronger flavor after baking into muffins or pancakes. I'd eaten plenty of huckleberry baked goods and knew that the cooked berries were interesting, but these were a little disappointing.

Still, I picked more and took a small handful of them over to a small grassy hill, then sat, lifting the hem of my shirt to hold the berries. Liam sat beside me, berry-free.

"Say ah," I instructed.

Liam looked suspiciously at me, but complied. "Ah..."

I made as if to throw a berry into his open mouth, but instead I quickly brought my finger up to it and pushed it inside. His lips closed on my finger, and the huckleberry stayed in place as I drew my hand out.

After I'd fed him a few berries this way, he took one from the pouch my shirt had formed and did the same for me. I sucked it from his finger and chewed. Still not a very interesting flavor, but refreshing.

Liam did try to throw the next one into my open mouth. It bounced off my forehead. When I tried to catch it I almost spilled the berries from my shirt, grabbing the hem to stop them falling. Then I fought against him grabbing any more, pulling my shirt higher to prevent him taking another. "Not if you're just going to waste them," I said.

When he promised not to throw any more, I relented, and we shared the last dozen huckleberries, each pressing them between the other's lips.

"You've ruined your shirt, you know," Liam said.

Glancing down, I saw that he was right. I hadn't realized how much juice had squeezed out of the berries when I'd been grabbing my hem to keep them safe. There was a wide purple stain across the white fabric. "Shit," I said. "It's not a shirt I really care about, but still, shit. I wonder if I can soak it to keep the stain from setting."

Liam shrugged. "I wouldn't know."

If I bundled the shirt up, maybe I could avoid it air drying too much and the stain wouldn't set as tightly. I was wearing my swimsuit top beneath it, and the afternoon was warm, so I shrugged out of the shirt. "Let's go back down," I said. "I'll rinse it in the lake."

I held out my hand to Liam, who reached out to take it, using it to lift himself to his feet. I liked the feel of his long fingers in mine, and didn't release his hand until the trail narrowed and I had to follow him again. I took his hand again from time to time when the trail widened.

When we emerged close to the campsite, I did what he'd done earlier, hooking my thumb into a belt loop on his jeans. He did the same with my cutoffs, and we trekked in companionable closeness into the camp. Then I pulled away and headed to the lake to soak my shirt, twisting and squeezing it to rinse out the stain.

When I'd wrung the tee shirt out four or five times, I turned to find Liam looking at me appraisingly. He glanced away quickly, and he'd mostly avoided staring, so I gave him a pass. Besides, I'd been checking him out from time to time. He wasn't the boy I remembered, by a long way. And I wasn't the girl he'd once known.

I shook out the shirt. The stain had faded considerably but was still obvious, more red than purple now. I hung it over a guy wire to dry, then shrugged. "I guess it was a lost cause," I said. "It doesn't really matter."

"It's not all bad," Liam said. "I got to see you with your shirt off. That's worth something."

I eyed him. His tone was teasing, not emotionally charged or creepy. He grinned easily, not ogling me, and I sighed. "For you, maybe, not for me. I can still wear it, I guess, as long as I don't care that it looks like I was shot in the chest."

"On a completely unrelated subject," Liam said, "I need to get wood. Do you want to help?"

It took a second before the double entendre registered with me. Then I said, "Wait. You didn't just connect me taking off my shirt to you getting wood, did you? Really?"

"I specifically said it was a completely unrelated subject," Liam retorted, blithely. "If you're making a connection, it's on you, not me!"

Laughing, I asked, "What happened to the innocent little boy who kissed me and then avoided me?"

"The way I recall it, you kissed me," he said.

"That was later," I replied.

"Oh, so you kissed me after I kissed you? It sounds like you couldn't get enough," he said.

"This conversation is going way off the rails," I objected, grinning. "Let's go get... I mean collect wood."

"As you wish," Liam said, and we headed into the woods to gather branches.


In a half hour, we had made a good sized pile of fuel for a campfire. More than we'd need for tonight, Liam claimed. He unpacked the small burner and began to brew us coffee.

My tee shirt was mostly dry. I put it back on. It was tight, and a little chilly, but I figured it would dry more quickly with my body heat than on the guy wire, and although it was cool now, the day was still warm, and when the air cooled off the shirt would be warmer than my bikini top.

Being wet, the shirt molded itself to the shape of my top, including the low neckline and the cleavage within it, so if I'd really cared about modesty in front of Liam, the shirt wouldn't have been much help.

Strangely though, his comments about seeing me without my shirt and "getting wood" had made me feel easier in his presence. He relaxed enough to make off-color comments without worrying about upsetting me, which made me comfortable enough not to get upset. I watched him as he monitored the pot of water and decided I liked what I saw. He'd matured a lot since the days when we knew each other well.

Last year we'd begun to get reacquainted. He'd been upset over his breakup, and was having trouble relaxing, but his tension had eased on our walks, and by the time I left we'd been less distant than at any time since the year I'd ended our visit with a kiss.

This year seemed almost as if the past seven or so years hadn't happened. Except that we'd grown up. We'd both become adults. We'd both had relationships. We were people now, not kids.

"Sugar?" Liam asked.

"Sure, if you have it," I said. "One spoon."

"One completely guessed quantity," he corrected me, pouring white powder from a ziploc bag into a lightweight metal cup. Then he added some coffee from the pot, swirling to stir, before topping it up. "I haven't unwrapped the spoons." He poured coffee into the other cup without sugar.

"How did you measure the coffee?" I asked.

"Two completely guessed quantities," he replied, then brought the tin cups over. He set one down before me, so that I didn't need to take it by the hot metal, then sat beside me.

Before his butt hit the ground, I caught one of his belt loops again to pull him a few inches closer. "I want your body heat nearby," I said. "The shirt isn't dry yet."

He laughed. "No objection here, Cam."

"Alice," I said.


"Alice. Remember?"

"Uh, no," he confessed.

"That's okay. Stay with Cam. You don't remember the year I decided that it wasn't my name?"

"Hmm. Now that you say that, I guess I do. So what is it?"

"It's Camryn," I replied. "Alice was just that year. I wondered if you remembered."

"Vaguely," he admitted.

"Are you going to chase me down the trails?" I asked.

He turned to study me. "What's with you today?"

Shrugging, I replied, "I just feel like this is the first year in a long time that we've felt like we're friends again," I said, "and I'm remembering when we were. When you tried to catch me and slipped and hurt your knee. When you'd be in the front of Dad's kayak while I was in Mom's, but you told me you could paddle your own and you'd teach me how. When you seemed just a kid to me, even though I was even more of a kid."

"They were good times," he said. "You know you've always been my friend."

"Maybe," I said, "but it seemed like your friends were the local kids, and you didn't have time for me. Hold on," I said, as I saw him about to speak, "I'm not complaining, or trying to make you feel bad. It's just that this year it feels like we're okay, and the last few have been strained."

He nodded, but didn't speak for a while. I took a sip of my coffee. It was far too strong and far too sweet, but it was coffee.

"Yeah," he said, eventually. Then another long pause. I started to think that he was going to stop with the one word, when he finally said, "Yeah, they have been. I guess I started to feel that being close to you was confusing me, because you'd go away again and I wouldn't be able to see you. My friends here would still be here when you weren't, and somehow that young kid thought he'd protect his feelings better by avoiding you. And I was getting paid for helping, and that seemed important."

"I can see that," I said. "I felt lonely when I didn't see you here, but this isn't my life, so I would get over it when I went home."

"Hnh," Liam grunted. "That year when you kissed me?"

I nodded. "I remember."

"I decided I was in love with you. You kissed me, then you left. The same day. Or was it the next day?" he mused. "I spent the next month moping around because I'd fallen for you and you'd left me. I was fifteen? I think?"

"Fuck, really?" I breathed. "God, I'm sorry."

Liam laughed. "It's fine. You weren't to know. Teen hormones and lack of experience and all that. I wasn't in love. I had no idea what love was. But I thought that I did. I didn't blame you. I didn't think it was your fault that you were taken away right after giving me a kiss."

"You got over it pretty quickly, if I remember correctly," I said. "That was when you started posting picture of girls with big tits."

"Oh, God, you're right," Liam said. "when I stopped moping I started noticing that some of my friends were... becoming better developed. Something about that made me wonder why I'd been in love with a girl who was more like my temporary kid sister."

I sighed dramatically. "I've never been anyone's first love before, and now I find I was replaced on a whim."

"What can I say?" he said. "Teen hormones and lack of experience."

"Teen hormones sated by big boobs," I suggested.

"Yeah," he said, "but what I didn't know then was that big boobs are themselves sated by older guys."

"Aww, poor Liam," I mocked. "Surrounded by breasts, and none to play with."

"Not... none, exactly," Liam said. "I, umm, got to second base. With two different girls. But none that led to... anything more. Shit, I was fifteen. I'm glad it didn't - now. At the time, not so much."

"When I saw you last year, you were getting over your girlfriend," I said. "So I guess you got beyond second base eventually."

"I should fuckin' hope so, in six years," Liam said. "But we're getting away from your original topic. I never considered that I wasn't your friend, but I guess I was avoiding you because even adolescent Liam recognized he could get hurt."

"So why does it feel like we're friends again?" I asked.

"Because you don't scare me anymore," Liam replied, drawing back and adopting the dramatic tones of a horror movie. Then he grinned. "More to the point, I realize that distance and not spending time together is the way of the world, not just vacation friendships. My local friends who I thought would always be here for me have left, or they paired off. Some of them are here and they're such major assholes that I don't want to know them. I had friends at college who I knew I'd eventually lose. Neither of my college exes were ever going to be long-term. Why shouldn't I have a friend who I only see for two weeks a year?"

"Yeah," I said.

"Except now I probably won't see you after this year, unless we make a special effort," Liam said. "And in a way I feel just like I did as a young teen, thinking about how I shouldn't get close to you. But this time I don't wanna run. When we end up far away again I don't wanna regret wasting time when I could have been spending it with my friend."

I took another sip from the tin cup. "God, you make terrible coffee," I said. "I'm not sure I want a friend who cares so little for my caffeine needs."

"Is it that bad?" he asked, though his tone was amused.

I finished the coffee, then turned the cup over. The last few drops spilled out as syrupy undissolved sugar.

Liam sighed. "I'll unpack the spoon next time."

I squeezed his arm. "It's the thought that counts, right?"



The air began to turn chilly. I hadn't expected that until later, but we were in increasing shade from the hills behind us. My shirt still hadn't dried completely. "I should change," I said. "I'm getting cold."

"We could light the fire," Liam offered. "We've got plenty of wood."

"Yeah, okay," I agreed. "What about food?"

"Mac and cheese okay? Because it's that or fried air."

"Let me think," I said. "Mac and cheese... air... yeah, I think I'll take mac and cheese."

"You stack wood for the fire," Liam said, "and I'll make it."

"That's not another of your snide euphemisms, is it?" I asked.

Liam frowned, looking puzzled. "Making it?" he queried.

"Stacking wood," I replied, beginning to sort small twigs for kindling.

"Oh, no," he answered. "Not this time.

The fire was burning well by the time he returned with our mac and cheese, and I'd been facing it, close enough that my shirt felt that it was nearly dry.

I ate with my back to the fire, facing Liam, which let the back of my shirt dry too. The late afternoon felt much warmer without my shirt chilling me.

"So," I began. "You said you had a couple of exes at college. Do you have any non-exes?"

"No non-exes," Liam said. "No exes-to-be. No exes-in-waiting."

"You can't say that," I argued. "You just haven't dated the exes-to-be, yet."

Liam looked heavenward. "Yeah, alright, just the first category. I've been single for a while. You?"

"Same," I said. "There was a guy last summer, but we broke up not long after getting back to college. Just casual dates since then. You want me to wash up?"

Liam blinked at the change in topic. "I'll get it," he said. "You stay warm. Your shirt is steaming, so it ain't dry yet."

"It is?" I asked, trying to crane my head around to see.

"Just a little," he said. "Your chest was steaming before you turned around."

"Huh. I see," I said. "So you were staring at my chest."

"Well, I have to be sure it ain't gonna catch fire," he said. "I was all prepared to pick you up and toss you into the lake if your boobs took aflame."

"Protect the boobs, is it?" I asked.

"Hell, yeah," Liam agreed.

I laughed, then moved to sit facing the fire, beside the spot that Liam had left. After patting my shirt all around, I decided it was dry enough. My bikini top was pinching, after I'd worn it for so long and it had gone through a couple of wet-dry cycles, so I reached beneath the tee to unfasten it, drawing it out of the arms of the tee. Partway through the process, I glanced up to find Liam watching me, fascinated.

When he returned from cleaning the plates and pot I was surprised to see that he had a can in each hand.

"I didn't think you'd have found room for beer in the boat," I said.

"Not much," he agreed. "Hard cider, not beer. Don't need chilling so much. Did keep it under a wet cloth."

He handed me a can. It was cool and damp. I popped the tab, saluted Liam with it as he lowered himself to the ground beside me, then tasted it.

"This makes up for the coffee," I said. "Thanks."

"That ain't all," Liam said, with a mischievous grin. He pulled a couple more ziploc bags out of his pocket, dropping both on the ground by my foot. One was crammed full of chocolate chips, the other of white chocolate chips. "I recalled you like the white ones."

"Oh, my God," I said. "I do! How did you know that?"

"We stole some from your mom that one year, when she was making cookies. You picked out all the white ones."

"I did!" I exclaimed. "I'd totally forgotten that."

Opening the bag of white chips, I took two and munched on them between sips of the cider. "You don't want any?"

Liam grinned and opened the second bag, taking a couple of the regular chocolate chips. "I figured you wouldn't mind if I took some of the real chocolate."

"Of course I don't," I said. "You brought them for both of us, right?"

"Unh-uh. For you. Ain't good to take a lady's chocolate without her permission."

"Except my mom's," I said, with a laugh. "Well, then, the lady says we share. As long as I get most of the white ones."

"Fair enough," said Liam.

"I can't believe you prefer those," I said. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I like chocolate, but white chocolate, it's like chocolate with all the boring bits removed."

"It's like chocolate with all the good bits removed," Liam argued.

"Nuh-uh," I said. "You haven't had the opportunity to train your palette. Likely because I ate all the ones I stole. Open wide."

Liam gave me a skeptical look, but opened his mouth. I grabbed a white chocolate chip and set it on his tongue, my middle finger pushing it into place.

He closed his lips and sucked before I could withdraw my finger. After I'd done so, he chewed the chip. "Huh," he said. "Tastes of huckleberries."

It took me a second to realize he was referring to my finger, not the chocolate. "Does not," I said. "With all the shirt washing, it probably tastes of lake water."

"Maybe the lake water tastes of huckleberries," Liam suggested. He took my hand and suckled my finger again. My belly responded with a pleasant tingle. "Yep," he said, releasing me. "Huckleberries."

I laughed. "Bullshit."

"I'm telling you," he said, taking my hand again. He suckled my middle finger until my breath caught, a wicked look in his eyes as they held mine. I felt a gentle tingle in my belly, and, for the first time in years, remembered the time that I'd first felt that tingle. Thinking about Liam.

I tried to suppress a shiver, and drew my hand back. "Jerk," I said, my voice not sounding quite right.

"Aww, why?" Liam asked.

"You know why, dammit," I said.

He shrugged, still feigning innocence.

I grabbed his closest hand and yanked it hard up to my face, then sucked his middle finger. Hard. Then I tossed his hand aside again. "No huckleberry," I said. "Just chocolate."

"Well, duh," Liam said, with a smirk. "I wasn't carrying the huckleberries. You were. The proof is right there," he added, pointing at the faint purple stain between my breasts.

"You're staring again," I griped.

Liam raised both hands in a gesture of surrender, can of cider still held in the left one. "Maybe you should distract me by showing me more of the wonders of white chocolate flavor."

"Okay," I said, "but you have to promise to taste the chocolate, not my finger."

"I'll try," he said.

I took a large swig of my cider, then slipped another piece of white chocolate between his lips. He took it without his lips lingering.

"Unh-uh," he said. "Still tastes bland. Maybe you should try one of each. Like this." He collected one chip from each bag. Grasping them both between middle finger and thumb, he held them to my mouth.

I took them, letting my teeth lightly scratch Liam's finger. Then I chewed up both chips together.

"That's okay, I guess," I said. "Really, that's not bad at all."

I picked up one of each type of chip to feed a sample to Liam. I held the two together to his lips. He sucked them in and chewed.

"That didn't work," he said. "They didn't mix. It was like the good chocolate on the left and the bland chocolate on the right. Try again."

Knowing exactly what he was doing, I sighed, and repeated the process.

"Wait until I've bit into them," he said, taking hold of the hand before his mouth. He pressed his teeth into the two chocolate chips, my fingers between his lips. His teeth grazed my thumb and middle finger, then he swirled his tongue over both and sucked.

I managed to avoid shivering again, but my belly tingled. "Ass," I said, as I drew my hand back.

Liam raised his eyes.

"If you know how I reacted to the last time you got me keyed up," I said, "you wouldn't be so indifferent."

"Uh," Liam replied. "How did I ever get you... 'keyed up' before?"

What the hell. I wanted to see his reaction.

"Back when you were mostly ignoring me," I said, "and for some reason I totally don't understand I kissed you," I said. "And then you started posting pictures to make me jealous. You made me mad. But you made me feel something else, too, like I needed to touch myself. So I did. For the first time ever."

"Jesus," Liam said, heavy amusement in his tone. "You diddled yourself over me? For the first time? That's hot."

"Not over you," I objected, then, "Well, I guess it was over you, mostly. Yes, I fantasized about you while I pleasured myself. But I had no idea what I was fantasizing about. Just you and that girl who was almost wearing a bikini top."

"That's funny," Liam said, "since I was only posting the pictures because I imagined I was getting over you." He swallowed some cider. "So you were my first 'love,'" he made air quotes using his free hand and waving the can around in the other, "and I was your first lust. I think you got the better part of that deal."

I leaned against Liam, grinning. "I think so too," I said, drinking another swallow of cider.


Liam slipped his right hand around me as I moved close. It came to rest on the bare skin of my waist. I didn't mind at all. My arousal was only mild, but it was real, and I liked him touching me. The cider was stronger than beer, and it made me feel warm. I began to feed Liam occasional chocolate chips, always paired, one white, one normal, without any pretense of making him taste them, and popped several white chips into my mouth.

"Was she one of the girls you got to second base with?" I asked.


"The girl in the photo," I said. "The one with the bikini like," I drew an outline over the top of my breasts, with a deep keyhole between them. I could sense Liam's eyes following my finger.

"Oh, umm. She wasn't one of the two I mentioned."

"Which means you did, but you didn't include her?" I asked.

"Right," Liam said. "It's a long story. Do you wanna hear it? It don't show me in the best light."

I blinked at that. Had he done something against her will? I figured I needed to hear the story, whatever it was.

"Sure," I agreed.

"Well, it was a year later with her," Liam said, "which is why I didn't include it. She was eighteen. I was sixteen. And it was third base, though that definitely included plenty of second."

"I see," I said.

"I was infatuated with her," he said. "I had been for the entire year. I ain't anymore."

"I'm guessing that's part of the story?" I said.

"Yeah," Liam said. "She knew I was. She'd have 'accidents' around me. Ways I could see her cleavage, or up her skirt. And I guess I kinda knew that they were deliberate accidents, but I was a horny teen and was always looking for the next accident, even when I kinda knew she was playing me.

"Then she'd come on to me, and tell me how she was done with her boyfriend, but she wasn't ready to give up the sex. So of course I was waiting for her to dump him and then come looking for sex. Which I'd never done then, of course.

"So one day she comes to me and invites me to take a ride with her. Tells me she'd dumped the boyfriend. She finds us a quiet place and we make out in the back seat for a couple hours. She shows me what to do. Where to touch. What I figure you learned for yourself that one time."

He grinned at me, a spark of mischief in his eye, but no mockery.

"First time I ever see a girl climax," he continued, "and all from my finger. Twice. I think it's fuckin' magic. I'm hard as a rock and horny as hell. I think I'm gonna come in my pants. I'm kinda surprised I didn't, to be truthful. And I'm thinking I'm gonna get a turn, but she says she don't trust condoms in the car. We'll get together in a few days when I can come over to her house.

"And then next day, she's at school with her boyfriend who has his arm around her. And she gives me a look, like you fuckin' keep your mouth shut, you little shit. And I have to, because her boyfriend would kill me. So she got a no-risk fingering because I could never say anything."

"Well, shit," I said. "I guess I was right to hate her, even if I got the timing wrong."

"Why would you have hated her?" Liam asked.

"'Cause at the time I was jealous," I said. "I don't care either way, now, but I'd feel guilty if nothing ever happened for me to have been jealous of."

Liam's fingers moved against my waist. "Yeah, but I'm not blameless," he said. "I wanted to steal her from her boyfriend. She wasn't only playing on my immature horniness, she knew I was happy to help her cheat if I got what I wanted."

"That's why you say it shows you in a bad light?" I asked.

"Yah," Liam said. "But I guess I learned from it. I didn't have much to do with any of that crowd after that. And the boyfriend is still one of those major assholes I mentioned."

Liam's fingers had moved higher, now resting against my side, slightly inside my tee. I liked how they felt against my skin, especially after his tale. As cruel as the girl was to him, the idea of adolescent Liam learning how to finger Keyhole Bikini Girl was erotic.

"I still think what she did sucks," I said. "She was an adult. You weren't, horniness or not."

He grunted agreement. I took another chocolate chip and slid it between his lips.

"That was just one," Liam objected.

"I'm done wasting my white chips on you if you don't have the taste to appreciate them," I said. "I'll give you two regular at a time, if you like."

So saying, I took two chocolate chips, pressing them into his mouth, and leaving my finger in place for several seconds. He continued to suckle it well after swallowing the chocolate.

My willingness to let him play sensual games with my finger seemed to encourage him. His hand slipped higher up my side, and his fingertips explored the very edge of the rise of my right breast.

I ate another white chip and drank the rest of my cider. Then I fed him another dark chip, stroking his tongue after he'd sucked the chip from my finger.

Being this close to Liam was both relaxing and exhilarating. I was enjoying the little kick of arousal in the pit of my stomach, and the reminder that it carried of that first venture of self-discovery gave me an extra thrill.

Which I guess was a little strange, in that Liam and I had both become different people in the past seven years, and I'd never recalled that time when I was with anyone else. Somehow it was still tied back to him, to that silly little kiss, and to my aroused annoyance at seeing him with keyhole girl.

I poked another chip into Liam's mouth. After he'd spent half a minute exploring my finger with his tongue, the fingers of his right hand caressed the very edge of my breast again. I ate another two pieces of white chocolate, then asked, "Are you searching for fire?"

Liam glanced at the campfire, clearly having no clue to what I was referring. Then he frowned at me.

"You claimed my chest was at risk of catching fire," I said. "Seems that you're trying to check that it isn't happening."

Liam looked sheepish, and his hand moved back a half inch.

"It's alright," I said, airily. "I don't mind you checking. Better safe than sorry, right?"

"Uh, right," Liam agreed, his fingers sliding further forward. "Boob fires are the worst."

I laughed and wriggled closer to him as his right hand moved further, cupping my breast.

Liam drained his cider, then set down the empty can.

I turned slightly to lean my back against his chest. Taking his now-free left hand, I lifted it, tucking it inside my shirt so that he had one hand on each breast. He squeezed gently, seeming content for the moment just to maintain contact with my boobs. Occasionally his fingers found my nipples and pinched lightly, giving me distinct but still mild spikes of arousal.

"Do you like them?" I murmured.

"Yeah, I do," Liam replied.

"Good," I said, "'cause they like what you're doing."

After several minutes of very pleasant, laid-back fondling, I leaned forward, forcing Liam to move his hands away.

"Would you like to try another white chocolate chip?" I asked.

"I guess," he said. "I'm still not thrilled by them, but I'm sure you have something in mind."

"Mmm," I replied. "I think I can make you enjoy it."

Liam grinned in amusement. "Show me."

I stood, then turned to face him, and squatted down onto his thighs. The fire was warm on my back as I took a white chip.

"Like this," I suggested. Extending my tongue slightly, I placed the white chocolate chip on its tip, then leaned forward.

"That might work." Liam's voice was hoarse as he leaned toward me, parting his lips to capture my tongue.

I took his hands in mine, holding them still as my tongue penetrated his mouth. When he sucked the chocolate from my tongue, I groaned, and Liam leaned firmly into me, the meeting of our lips turning instantly into a sensuous kiss.

When his tongue returned the pressure and sought access to my mouth, I lifted his hands to my shirt, then held his waist, moving against him, as his mouth and hands fueled my excitement.

Liam's hands didn't stay outside my shirt for long. When they slipped under the cloth, his touch wasn't laid-back. He pinched my nipples hard enough to make me moan into the kiss.

After a few moments, I leaned back from him to pull my shirt over my head. Liam's eyes became large at the sight of my firm breasts, dark pink nipples swollen and hard. When I moved back to him, his lips met mine hungrily, each hand finding a breast to squeeze. I groaned, pressing my groin to his belly. Sliding my hands around his back I rocked, my sex sliding against him as my arousal burned within me.

Liam released my breasts. Lowering his hands to my cutoffs, he unfastened them, until the fly was completely open. Then he slipped the fingers of his right hand inside, where they encountered my bikini bottom. His left hand returned to my right breast as he pressed the fingers of his right against my sex, making me break the kiss and moan. As I started to pant, I returned to the kiss with even greater passion.

Liam gripped my waist with both hands and lifted me away from him. "Take them off," he croaked.

I complied, standing to let my cutoffs drop to the ground, then quickly pulling down my bottoms and stepping out of them.

Liam's strong hands took my waist again, guiding me against him as I returned to squat on my knees. He guided my left breast into his mouth, then wedged the fingers of his right hand between his belly and my clit. Squeezing my ass with his left hand he began to move me against his fingers.

Rocking my hips, I moved my body up and down his. Liam's head raised and lowered to keep my nipple firmly inside his mouth, and his tongue scrubbed against it.

"Oh, God," I moaned, my cheek against Liam's head. "Oh, God, Liam, I'm getting so close."

I rocked faster against his lap, my right breast bouncing, until Liam moved his left hand from my ass to my breast. Grasping it firmly, he pinched my nipple hard. The feeling shot from my boob to my clit, and passion welled up and overflowed.

"Oh, fuck," I cried out. My arching back threatened to pull my breast from Liam's mouth, but he gripped my nipple with his teeth, and stretched it instead of releasing it. The thrill tore down the last blockage, and my climax erupted within me, making me whimper. "Oh, fuck, Liam," I groaned. "Oh, fuck."


When my racing heart and gasping breaths finally slowed enough to speak, I groaned. "Please tell me you have condoms."

"I don't," Liam returned, his reply almost a wail. "It's okay. Back at... at the resort. Tomorrow."

"Awww..." I sighed, then continued, sharply, "No. Screw that. I don't want you to wait that long."

I moved off Liam and unfastened his jeans. Then, "Your turn," I breathed. "Take them off. And anything underneath."

Liam also wore his swimsuit under his pants. It must have been compressing his cock, because when he pulled it down his shaft seemed to unroll. It was hard, wide, the skin so stretched by his erection that it seemed almost translucent. Fluid tipped the circumcised head. God, I wanted him inside me, but not enough to take stupid risks.

I gripped the head of his shaft, and rubbed the fluid around. Liam responded with a "Nnn..." and a gasp.

"Lie down," I ordered. He did, lifting his head just enough that his eyes could track my naked body as I worked on him.

I supplemented the wetness that had leaked from his cock with a little spit, then wrapped my hand around him and began to jounce my hand up and down, keeping my grip light so that my hand slid along his shaft.

Liam's eyes were fixed to my boobs, which bounced as I worked. His lips parted further and face became more flushed as time passed.

When his breath started to catch, I slowed down. Then I licked my thumb, pressed against the underside of his shaft, at the back of the head, and started to rub.

"Nnnghhh!" Liam groaned. "Oh, Christ."

Another droplet leaked from the head of his cock, and I dragged my thumb around it, then used it to lubricate my rapid rubbing.

His cock twitched. I angled it away, and it twitched again, then began spurting, fluid fountaining over to land a few feet to the other side of his body, as Liam moaned softly.


When he was done, I walked down to the lake. The shadow had spread to the sky now, and stars were becoming visible. I hadn't realized how long we'd been making out. Night fell late at this latitude, and it would be completely dark soon.

I washed my hands in lake water. It was chilly, away from the fire, completely naked, and I was shivering when I returned to the camp. Liam was recovering, grinning broadly and lustfully as his eyes roamed. I found my track suit and slipped it on, then tossed my hair back and returned his grin.

"So do you like white chocolate chips now?" I asked, with a grin.

"To tell you the truth, I don't remember what happened to it," Liam said. "I might have swallowed it without tasting. I got distracted."

I ate a couple more of the chips. "I guess I'll just keep them for myself, then. And you were saying something about tomorrow?" I suggested.

"Ah, well. Yeah," he said. "One of the cabins is out of commission. If a bed and condom supply interests you."

"Mmm, it does," I replied.



My small tent and sleeping bag were designed for colder climates than this, and I slept well on the hard ground in spite of the chill in the air.

Dawn was chilly, but not too cold for my track suit. I brewed the coffee, using a spoon to measure and to add sugar to mine. I also cooked bacon and scrambled eggs, which was all the rest of the food Liam had brought. He stirred from his tent at the smell, and I presented him with coffee, which he admitted was superior to what he'd made the previous evening.

After we'd eaten, Liam washed the cookware. I moved back into my tent to strip, awkwardly, and put my swimsuit, cutoffs and tee shirt back on. It was still too cool for the short clothes, but I'd warm up while paddling.

I packed up my gear, then helped Liam carry the kayak to the water, where he stowed everything. We were on the water before I'd had chance to become too cold.

"You wanna take the scenic route, or head straight back?" Liam asked.

I thought about that for a while. Long enough that Liam called back over his shoulder, wondering if I'd heard him.

"Can we come back to the scenic trail another day?" I asked.

"Sure," Liam said.

"'Cause I'm thinking about that bed, and finishing what we started last night," I said. "And I really don't want the extra time or extra paddling effort to get in the way of that."

Liam laughed.

"What's funny?" I asked.

"I ain't said anything, 'cause I wasn't sure you'd still want to," he said. "Was gonna wait to see if you were still interested when we got back home. I guess you're thinking the same as me."

"If that thinking is getting you inside me and taking my time fucking you, I guess I am," I said.

"Shit, you're gonna make it hard for me to paddle," Liam said.

"I do want a shower first. Is that working in the cabin?"

"The counters got cracked," Liam said. "There's a contractor coming in next week to work on them. Other than that it's fine."

"How is your next couple of weeks?" I asked. "I mean, you've taken plenty of time off with me. Are you going to be hard at work when we get back?"

"Nah," Liam said. "I'm taking it easy while I decide what to do. I'm helping Dad's crew, but they don't need me."

"I'm kinda thinking I'll tell Mom and Dad that I'm going to spend the rest of the time renewing my oldest friendship," I said. "They can do most of their sightseeing without me. Would you be okay with that?"

"Okay with hiding in the cabin having sex twenty-four seven?" Liam asked. "I could live with that."

"I was thinking more you and me travelling around without them. Maybe some more kayak trips," I said. "And just maybe some casual fucking, when we get bored."

"Yeah, I could live with that, too," Liam said. "We could take out a motorboat if you want to camp further afield. We could carry more supplies and camp out in comfort. Or we can drive up into the mountains."

"It's all good," I said, "as long as I get more vacation time with you before we head in different directions."


My arms were aching when we arrived at the resort, with today's exercise layered on top of yesterday's. I got directions to the unused cabin, then went home to grab a change of clothes.

I had hoped that Mom and Dad would have already left for the day. It wasn't that I didn't want to see them, but I did want to get to the other cabin as soon as possible. As it was, I spent an extra half hour explaining my plans, and telling them that I probably wouldn't be sleeping in the family cabin much, without explicitly saying I'd be sleeping with Liam. I'm sure they understood that, but as I said, they treated me as an adult.

When I arrived at Liam's cabin, he'd already showered. I had brought a bag with toiletries, shampoo, a couple of changes of underwear and shorts and tee shirts. After taking a quick shower I dressed in panties and tee shirt only, then sought out my friend.

He'd brewed coffee - much better coffee this time, with the cabin's coffee pot and a spoon to measure and stir the sugar. I took a mug from him, then followed him to the bedroom.

"This feels a bit weird," I said.

"What does?" asked Liam.

"It's one thing to meet up and organically get to having sex," I said. "It's another to meet explicitly to have sex. Especially since we're friends, not dating partners."

"That could be easily fixed," Liam suggested. "We could date."

"Hmm," I said. "So I get to call you my boyfriend for the next two weeks? My holiday romance?" I shrugged. "Sure, why not?"

"Then make like my girlfriend, and come to bed with me," Liam said.

"Okay," I replied with a grin, and climbed onto the bed.

My long tee lasted about fifteen seconds after his lips met mine. He took the hem and pulled it up over my head while I unfastened the lightweight robe he wore, pushing him down to the bed and straddling him. His underwear was seriously bulging, so I helped him out of it.

He wasn't as hard as he had been the previous night, but then we'd only been making out for a few seconds. I helped him out by licking my thumb and rubbing the underside of his shaft, making him groan.

"You have something to wrap this?" I asked.

Liam nodded and produced a condom packet. "Do you want to, or shall I?"

"Give it to me," I instructed, and when he did, I opened the packet and carefully retrieved the condom and unrolled it onto him.

Then I lay down between his thighs, closed my lips over the head of his shaft, and reached down between my legs to touch myself through my panties.

As I started to pant, Liam's excitement grew. I didn't move my head very much, but my growing arousal made it impossible for me not to suckle the head of his shaft some, and that together with my own moans had Liam squirming beneath me.

So when I finally released his shaft, we were both breathing heavily. Liam watched me as I pulled my panties down and then slipped them off, his eyes feasting on the way my breasts quivered, and travelling across the thin bands of hair at my sex.

Crouching over him, I began to feed his length into me. My solo play had left me plenty wet, and, with care, soon I had him completely inside me.

Liam's eyes were full of lust as I took his hands in mine and began to bounce. I kept the pace as gentle as I could for as long as I could, but heat was growing in my belly, and Liam's eyes were burning as his breathing quickened.

When he took his hands from mine to reach for my breasts, I was thankful, because my nipples were aching for his touch. He brushed his thumbs across them, his fingers resting on the outer surface of each breast, and I felt my sex instantly tightening as he did. I breathed deeply and resumed bouncing, higher against him than I had been.

Liam's shaft was deep, deep inside. Every time we moved together I felt my passage rearrange around him. And as slick as I was becoming, every movement was easier and more intense.

He dropped his hands to my hips, using his grip to control the amount we separated, and the power with which we drove back together. It seemed to me that he lifted me almost entirely off his cock, but he was always inside me when he slammed my body back down against his.

I began to moan with each thrust. My nipples were aching for his touch again, but his hands were elsewhere. I leaned forward, and groaned, "Suck my breast!"

Liam needed no persuasion. He lifted his face, curling his body forward, and as I arched my back he fastened his lips to my nipple, sucking it hard. "Oh, God," I groaned. "Oh, God, you feel so fucking good."

I wrapped my hands around his head, digging my fingers into his hair so that he couldn't move his face from my chest. My pelvis was grinding powerfully against his body when I leaned my head down, and whispered, "Fuck me, Liam! God, fuck me!"

At my words he gripped my hips tightly and slammed into me. I felt myself sliding toward the precipice. "Oh, fuck!" I cried. "Oh, fuck! Liam...!"

My sex tensed, ready for orgasm, then tensed further, and further, until it burst in release, wave after wave of intense feeling flooding from the place where our bodies were joined.

As I erupted around him, Liam groaned, and I felt the hard throbbing of his shaft within me. His mouth left my breast. "Oh, Christ," he breathed. "Fuck, Cam. Fuck."

I chuckled weakly at his reaction. Then I lay down along him, my breasts pressed to his chest. "Was that good for you, my boyfriend?"

"Fuck," he breathed once more. "That was incredible. I don't know what you did, but... fuck."

"Do you know any other words than fuck?" I asked, amused.

"No words." Liam grunted, in a mock-caveman voice. "Liam. Cam. Fuck. Boobs. Good. Fuck very good."

"You're an ass," I said, affectionately.

"And you're going to be in trouble unless I get out of you right now," he said, reaching for the condom.

I rolled off him. "Oh, look, he really can speak."

"I can speak," he agreed, "but I'm not sure that I can walk."


It was barely past noon when we curled up together, naked, to take a nap. Later in the afternoon, after another shower, we visited a nearby tourist shop which sold wooden and other sculptures by local artists. The owners knew Liam. He introduced me as his girlfriend, without qualifying it as "for the next couple of weeks," and the designation allowed him to hold my hand as he showed me around.

We had a burger at a local grill on the way back to the cabin, where we made love again.

Over the next two days we spent some time with my parents. Mom especially was bewildered by our temporary romantic status, but as I explained, I'd had boyfriends who had lasted less than two weeks, so why not? It was our last chance to spend time together, and we were each other's oldest friends.

I insisted that Liam take me to the dance on Friday that he'd mentioned. Since it catered to tourists rather than townsfolk, I took the excuse to wear heels and a dress, mostly for the pleasure of seeing Liam's eyes pop. I wasn't disappointed.

During the following week, the contractors were taking care of the cabin repairs, so we thought we'd take that time to head out camping. Liam's parents had a different suggestion. The resort had a small houseboat for summer-only use, that they could spare for a few days. So we spent Monday through Thursday of the second week travelling around the lake, tying up occasionally to hike, and making love on the water late at night, with no sound but the gentle washing of small waves against the boat hull, and no light but the stars.



My heart was heavy on Thursday after we unloaded the houseboat. We went out to the grill again to eat burgers - and drink huckleberry milkshakes - before returning to the cabin.

"This is kinda our last night," I said to Liam, as we sat together on the couch in the small den. "Day after tomorrow we're flying out. Tomorrow your parents want us all to get together for dinner. I'll have to pack. Even if you and I can find time tomorrow night, it won't be for long.

Liam signed. "Yeah, I know." After a long pause, he said, "I know I said this is the way life is, but it isn't what I want."

"I know," I agreed. "This fake holiday romance thing we have, I don't think it was ever fake. I wouldn't pretend that we were destined to be together or any of that shit, and I wouldn't pretend that those two kisses we shared when we were too young to know better meant we were in love, but I guess you've never been far from my thoughts since then, or even before that."

"Right," said Liam. "I told you I decided I was in love with you at fourteen or fifteen, whenever it was. I wasn't. But I kinda was, too, you know? I've missed you. Right up until last year, when you treated me as a friend and helped me get through feeling sorry for myself. I've been looking forward to this visit since then. I haven't seen anyone over this past year, and part of that was because I liked spending time with you last year, just casually, more than I did with any of the girls I'd dated. This year, well, it ain't been casual, and the feelings I have ain't casual, either."

"I've seen guys," I said. "I've fucked guys. I don't want you to think I see myself as some kind of saint, some kind of 'waiting for Mr. Right' girl. But all my relationships felt like they were missing something. Something I haven't felt I was missing with you. Are we..." I stopped, finding I had to clear my throat, then continued. "Are we in love, Liam?"

He looked at me for a good thirty seconds. His eyes seemed to burn into my soul. Then he sighed. "I reckon we are, Cam. Shit."

"Yeah," I agreed, "shit."

I took his hand and squeezed it. He looked over at me, concern in his hazel eyes. Reaching out with his free hand, he ran a finger beneath each of my eyes. I didn't think I was crying, but his finger was damp. I grabbed his hand before he could take it back, and sucked the salty moisture from his finger. Then I moved his finger from my lips.

"Kiss me," I whispered.

Liam nodded. He immediately disengaged both of his hands from mine, setting them on my shoulders and pulling me close.

Heat passed between us as we kissed, even when the movement of our lips was gentle. Something had changed between us. There was a passion present even before lust had a chance to build. Something beyond the affection that had been growing between us. There was a connection that may have lain unrecognized for a long time, or that might be new. I couldn't tell. But even as my throat tightened in a moan, I knew it was there, and it was real.

The sound I made brought an immediate response from Liam, who drew me more tightly against him, then lay back against the arm of the sofa, lifting me onto his body. His hands ran down my back, slipping under my tee shirt to hold my waist. My breasts compressed against his chest, my bra trying to collapse, digging into me as I tried to press ever more closely to him.

Breaking the kiss, I whispered, "I want you." After a slow breath, I added, "I want you so much."

Liam nodded. Without speaking he moved me aside, stood, and took my hand. I squeezed his tightly as he turned off the lights to the den, heading to the bedroom.

Standing by the bed, I held his eyes as I lifted off his tee shirt. Then he did the same, leaving me in bra and shorts. I stepped out of my shorts and climbed onto the bed in my underwear. Liam dropped his jeans and joined me.

"Turn the light off," I asked. He did, turning the room totally dark. Here in the woods the nearest light was fifty yards away on the other side of the house.

Feeling around for Liam I eased his body onto mine and fixed my lips on his. It was his turn to groan with sudden emotion, and his body rocked against mine as our kiss grew demanding.

Liam's hands moved around my back, lifting me slightly from the bed as he unsnapped my bra. He drew the straps off. Then his powerful hands gripped my breasts, squashing them hard and pushing them up as he rolled his body against mine, hands wedged between his chest and mine.

"Nnnngh..." I groaned as my need grew within me. My hands ran over Liam's back and over his butt. I could feel his erection pushing against me through his underwear and mine.

Gripping Liam's hips, I flipped him onto his back, rolling myself onto him. His hands moved from my breasts and wrapped around my back. Our kiss became ever more demanding, until I broke it and slid down his body.

Fastening my lips to his left nipple, I sucked and toyed with it, using my teeth and tongue. Liam let out a deep groan, his back lifting, pushing his chest into my face. My hands explored his hips and thighs, feeling the thin layer of hair.

I switched to his right nipple. Liam's fingers stroked my scalp. My sex pressed to his thigh, and I rocked slowly as I suckled his nipple.

Sliding back up his body, I took his hands, pressing them to my breasts. Then I lifted myself a few inches, so that his fingers and thumbs could roll the tips of my breasts between them. "Oh, God," I breathed, as gentle but insistent arousal flowed from my breasts to my sex.

Still holding my chest high for Liam's hands' access, I lowered my face to his, then dug my tongue deep into his mouth. He groaned in passion, then caught my tongue and suckled it, making me suddenly completely wet.

"Nnhhh..." I groaned, as the feeling in my belly took flight. "Condom..." I breathed. I felt him nod. "Can you put it on in the dark?" I whispered.

"Yah," he replied, softly.

I rolled off him, then felt him slide his underwear off. I slipped out of my panties as he took his time with the condom.

He reached for me, but I held back. "I want you on top," I whispered.

"Okay," Liam replied.

I rolled onto my back, then felt his hands touching me, figuring out where I was, before his body slid over me. Reaching under his thighs, I found his hard shaft, and carefully pressed it into me.

Liam was very gentle as I guided him inside. Then I lifted my hips against him. "You're there," I whispered.

"Good," he murmured, his voice husky. "God, you feel so good around me."

"You belong inside me," I said.

Liam made a sound like he was trying to speak, but the words wouldn't come out. A few seconds later he tried again. His voice still caught as he said, "I know."

Then he started to move, slowly withdrawing, then pushing deep. Slowly, but every inch of movement fed the fires burning deep inside me.

The first few strokes took him even deeper, until he was completely settled in place. My passage molded itself to him, sensuous pressure over the entire length of his shaft. My breathing matched his movements as my hips adjusted to his, lifting to let him press deep, falling to let him withdraw.

For minutes he just moved slowly, each stroke tingling inside me. My breathing was increasingly rough, though still measured.

I caressed the backs of his thighs with the balls of my feet, running them softly over his skin. Then I raised my knees further, crossing my ankles over Liam's butt, allowing me to rock my pelvis even more firmly against him.

I heard myself start to moan with each movement. It wasn't under any voluntary control, but a soft sound emerged with every breath.

The sounds seemed to excite Liam. His hands gripped my butt, and he moved faster against me, his own breath now rasping with occasional voiced sighs. My breasts were rippling against his chest. I buried my face in his neck and began to kiss him, uncontrolled movements of my lips against his skin.

"Touch my breasts," I whispered.

Liam released my butt, then slipped his hands between my shaking breasts and his chest. When he pinched my nipple my back arched and my thighs lifted with the jolt of heat that filled me. "Ohhh!" I cried.

Liam seemed to like that reaction. He pinched my nipple again, fire streaking out into my body. "Ohhh!" came from my lips again.

The shock of arousal didn't diminish. "Oh God," I groaned. "Liam! I'm going to come!"

He kissed my forehead. "Let it happen," he breathed.

As if I had any choice...

The waves of need built, until they suddenly pounded against my body's defenses and overwhelmed them. I crested, hard, waves of feeling washing into me from my pulsing passage. I heard myself whimpering. "Oh God, oh God..."

When my body's uncontrolled quaking started to ebb, I took Liam's face in mine. I kissed each eyelid, then his lips. He wasn't yet spent, and the additional passion seemed to drive him on. He groaned loudly into the kiss.

I tightened my hips and began to thrust them harder against Liam. He groaned again and began to pant. I grasped his butt and slammed my sex against him with each thrust,

Liam grunted. "Unh... unh... unh... ohhhh...."

I felt his cock tighten, then begin to spasm, deep within me. The feeling made me realize I had climbed back to the edge. I pressed myself firmly to him, letting the pumping of his cock within me tip me over.

As I came I felt water flowing from my eyes. I didn't know when I had started crying, but the gentle sobs tensed my body, giving new flutters of arousal, which confused my senses.

Liam saw my tears. He kissed my eyes. "What is it, love?"

"I don't want to lose you," I croaked. "It's taken twenty one years to get here. I want to have you for another twenty one. Twice that. Three times."

"I know, love," he breathed. He relaxed against me. "Let me trash this condom, love," he said. "Then there's something I need to ask you."



I arrived at Liam's parents' dinner after my parents did, and after trading texts with Liam. Standing at the door, I called out, "Everyone! I have something to share before we eat. Can you all take a break?"

Liam's mother needed a moment before she could set her cooking aside. Liam moved up beside me.

When Ria was able to join us, our families stood in a half-circle about the two of us. "I've been coming here for twenty years - right, mom?" I glanced at my mother, who nodded. "We've all known each other for that long, and Ria and Frank, you've always seemed like part of the family who I only see once a year.

"After I leave college and start working, it's all gonna be different, and it's gonna be real hard to stay in touch and see everyone at the same time. Liam's gonna be working on the east coast, he says, and we won't have much vacation time, but I want for us all to be close, even if we can't be together here every year."

I realized my vision was blurred. Liam seemed to notice my tears before I'd recognized them for what they were. He held out a tissue, which I took gratefully. I used it to blot my eyes.

"Today," I said, my voice unsteady, "Liam gave me a going-away gift that's gonna help us stay close. It's all very last-minute, and we haven't had chance to tell anyone yet." I'd been keeping my left hand behind my back, casually, a finger hooked through one of those useful belt loops so that it didn't seem unnatural. Now I brought it out, but because I automatically brushed my hair back, Mom saw the ring before anyone else. Her lips moved. I'm sure they formed the word "fuck," but she was too polite to say it aloud, and I was too polite to mention it.

Mom wasn't too polite or too shocked to have tears in her eyes before I held my hand out for everyone else to see.

I took Liam's hand in mine, and he gave me a reassuring squeeze. "Liam and I have been part of each other's lives on and off for longer than either of us can remember," I said, my voice still husky with emotion. "We're not gonna let whatever comes next separate us. Next year, I'm gonna be looking for work wherever he is, and from then on, our future is with each other. And with both of our families."

I glanced around into four pairs of eyes in various stages of shock or emotion. I was going to say more, but Liam spoke first.

"In one way we've known each other for twenty years," he said. "In another, we've been together for two weeks. So, don't worry, we ain't gonna rush the wedding. And when it happens, it's gonna be here, where our memories are."

Mom and Ria had started staring at each other rather than at Liam and me. They'd been very close friends for longer than Liam and me. Years longer than either of us had been alive. They were both crying when they stepped into each other's embrace. Then they opened their arms to welcome the two of us into the group hug.