Sweat starts to run down my face and drip off my chin. Just one more mile I repeat to myself in my head as I pump up the last hill of my route.

I'm spending some time away from home and college in Louisiana, living with my dad and taking some online courses. I'm close to graduating and I'm just burnt out, so I decide to take it easy and try to get my head straight. Who cares if I graduate a little late.

He lives in a very small town in the mountains of Vermont, where I grew up. I haven't been able to spend much time here since my parents split up when I was a kid. Everything is absolutely gorgeous. The town is pretty isolated, with cell service impossible and high speed internet just recently having arrived. The next town over is close, and a little bigger, but still no more than 700 people. I liked to ride my bike there, it has beautiful views of the mountains and a few small farms along the way. There is a nice little bakery and used book store I like to go have lunch at and read.

Sometimes I need to ride my bike to get my head straight, and do some serious thinking. The main thing on my mind that I just can't figure out is how to come out. I am bisexual, but never have been with a woman before. Who do I tell? What do I say? Where can I find some balls to even do it in the first place? I was in a very long relationship with a man, the only person I have ever been with. He knows, and one other friend, but no one else does. Now that it is over I want to come out. No use keeping it hidden, I'm single and maybe I want a relationship with a woman someday...

I arrive at the bakery sweaty and breathing heavy from the ride. I sit on the front porch a few moments to catch my breath and enjoy the breeze. I catch sight of a woman sitting outside reading, and think how gorgeous she is. She has shortish, dark, wildly curly hair that is drifting around her freckled face in the breeze. She is wearing a pretty orange sundress of a thin, soft material, and I can see her nipples harden from the cool breeze. I can feel myself blushing and force myself to tear my eyes away so she doesn't see me staring. I go inside, get a cup of coffee and a croissant, and start to browse books and try to clear my head. Just as I settled on a book and started thumbing through it, I see my dad's neighbor sitting outside and chatting with the beautiful woman on the porch, so I go outside to greet him. He introduces me to her, his niece Lark. She lives and works over on one of the farms down the road. My neighbor informs her that my dad and him plan on having a bonfire and a few beers, and that she should come over.

"Sure! I like beer, and fire!"

"Well you'll like this one then, she likes beer and fire also."

She gives me a smile. God, she's pretty… "Cool, cool." She laughs. "Nice to meet you, Ira!" she says as she departs with her uncle.

We end up getting along great when she comes over, drinking and laughing and having a good time catching stuff on fire. Over the next couple of weeks, we do quite a bit of hiking and biking. We start going in groups, with my dad and her friends, and eventually we become really close. I visit her a lot on the farm, where she lives in a small two room house set away from the main house. We talk all the time about books we're reading, movies we like, music we listen to. She shows me how to do all of her work on the farm, which I love doing. She shows me how to milk the cows and the goats, and I show her how to make ricotta, mozzarella, and goat cheeses out of the fresh milk.

We start to regularly make dinner for each other and watch movies over in her little house. One night we watched The Godfather, and ate spaghetti and garlic bread made with tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, and cheese from the farm. Another time we watched our favorite Miyazaki flicks and made miso soup and okonomiyaki with cabbage, bacon, and green onion from the farm. A Japanese friend back at school showed me how to make those. She uses octopus, but we used crab meat because there probably isn't anywhere to buy octopus in Vermont.

We talk about school, and how it was hard for both of us. Middle school was really rough for me, because I had a boy's haircut, boyish tendencies, and played pokemon and was always drawing. I was always getting called lesbo, dyke, dork, nerd, freak. High school wasn't so bad, I had friends and people were nicer to me. She went through similar things, being called names for being boyish. People called her Mark.

"Mark? Seriously? That's the best they could come up with?"

"It used to really piss me off, I think that's why it stuck. But it's still kind of my nickname and I don't mind anymore, because no one is saying it to hurt me."

"I think it's cute!"

It was worse for her in high school, because she was sporty and there was a serious rumor that just wouldn't die that she had a girlfriend. I tell her all about my relationship with my ex, and our break up, and she just makes me feel so much better about the whole thing. Even though he dumped me, for the second time, I feel guilty that I'm not taking him back. He dumped me a while ago, and I still feel this way even though I know I'm making the right decision. He's been begging me to take him back, that he'll change, but I've heard it all before. She helped me realize that I was addicted to making him happy, and I routinely would go out of my way for him and neglect other important things in my life.

On day we go on a hike, just the two of us. I wonder if she knows I'm crazy about her. I walk behind her so I can just stare at her. She's slightly taller than me at around 5' 7". Her build is slim and a little muscular and she's in better shape than me. I'm 5'5", and weigh about 130 lbs. I have a tiny bit of fat on my belly, and more on my ass. I don't mind, it makes it big and round and I have really wide hips. My body is made for baby making, curvy and soft, while her's is slim and a little muscular, but still so amazingly feminine. Her wild black corkscrews are pulled into two tiny pigtails, with a headband to tame the rest of it. She's wearing her bike shorts which go halfway to her knees and are skin tight. Most people's are just black but hers are bright purple and I just want to smack her ass. I decide to do it, and pretend to be a pervy p.e teacher and tell her to hustle. She laughs and plays along, and calls me coach. She is just way, way way to fucking adorable, and she's driving me crazy. We play silly games like that all the way to our destination, stopping every now and then to sick flowers in each others hair.

A river crosses our path every now and then, and is always within earshot. I love the way it sounds, with the wind in the trees. We stop to dunk our heads in the icy water to cool off once or twice. The icy water and the hot sun are an amazing combination that I have loved since I first learned to swim in the Black river growing up. I can't wait to get to the swimming hole Lark is taking me to. It's big and deep enough to accommodate a couple of people, and it's completely remote. The trail has disappeared, but she knows the way. No chance of seeing any flatlanders on vacation.

We finally get there, and it's perfect. There are giant rocks everywhere, all smooth and soaked with hot sun, and we pick a flat one to sit on. I start to take my tee shirt off, eager to get down to my bikini and jump in.

"wait, before we get in, I brought something" she says, and pulls out a fat joint. The smell is intoxicating, musky, rich and piney. "My homegrown!" she proudly announces. "It's so dank, it was hard to roll. I could have just brought the pipe, but I felt like splurging a bit."

I was psyched. I have an elevated sense of touch as it is, and when I get high I can get extremely horny. She knows this from previous conversations, and I can't help but think maybe she's counting on that. She admitted that most of the greatest sex she's had involved some weed. I know I won't be able to keep from staring at her openly, and hope she doesn't notice. We get halfway through it and we're completely blissed out with a nice, energetic sativa high. Sometimes it's nice to get completely decadent about your weed and go all out. We are laying on our backs, shoulder to shoulder, giggling like morons.

"Why the fuck do women have to hide away their chests and be ashamed of their bodies? Women should be able to topless when they feel like it, like men," one of us starts up. We've had this conversation before. She told me about how she went to Breast Fest in Burlington, where thousands of women walk around topless all day and have signs that say things like "Get your laws off my breasts!"

"That sounds awesome, I want to go! It really is stupid. What's the big deal? They're just titties."

"Well I've had enough, starting now" she declares, and peels off her sports bra.

I am completely stunned. They are so fucking perfect. Round and full looking c cups, perky, with pink-brown nipples. Her tight sports bra left an imprint on her skin, and she has a tan line from working and exercising in it…

"What? They're just titties!"

There is sweat trickling down between them. Her nipples stiffen from the open air…Now I have a goofy, blissed out smile on my face.


She makes a lunge at the back of my bikini. This snaps me out of it and I start to squeal with laughter and play a little hard to get while she tries to untie it. "They're free"! she exclaims when it falls off. I have 34bs, with light pink puffy nipples. This whole situation is causing me to be very aroused. I wonder if it's noticeable through my bikini and notice I'm leaving a little wet patch on the rock, so I quickly jump in. She jumps in after me, with a little squeal of glee.

The icy water hits me like lightning as I sink to the bottom. I turn over and face the sky through the rippling ceiling, float for a few moments and wonder if I'm dreaming. I resurface and watch her, still gliding through the crystal clear water until she surfaces, and we both go scrambling back to our rock.

The hot rock seems to sizzle my skin. It feels great. Icy water, hot sun, hot rock. The cold shocks all your senses wide open, and then the heat just glows on your skin and your sense of touch triples and you just feel so alive. Our nipples are rock hard, even as the goosebumps disappear our nipples remain erect.

We pull out the sandwiches we brought and scarf them down. I want to reach over and grab her breast, roll her erect nipple gently between my fingers. Strawberry jam falls out of hers and lands on her areola. She laughs and wipes it off, and licks her fingers. She's killing me. She's absolutely killing me. I wanted to lick it off as much as I've ever wanted to do anything. I wanted to lick it off and suckle on that breast like a baby. Holy shit….

I'm eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a complete goddess, who rolled me a fatty of her best homegrown, topless by a river in the sun in Vermont. This can't be real.

"That sandwich killed my buzz," says Lark and pulls out our half finished joint.

We light it up and talk about the farm, and take plunges into the river between hits.

"That shit really is a one hit wonder…" she says right before she exhales, smoke curling out of her nostrils. She passes it to me.

"Yeayou right. I'm glad I've had like five." She laughs at my New Orleans slang, and also in apparent agreement.

She's the one who started pulling our clothes off, so I decide to do her one better and slip off my bottom and jump in the river. We both grew up skinny dipping and I know she does it sometimes, I just haven't done it with her. We grew up with old hippies and weirdo's walking around naked, and thus with the idea that nudity is no big deal, so I don't think she'll take it the wrong way. Or the way I'm taking it, I guess… When I return, I see that she followed my lead.

"Not much better in this world than a good skinny dip." She says with a smile.

"Not much better in this world than this whole day!" I reply. I enjoy a little inward gloating about getting her naked so easily.

"Next time, I'll bring the weed and you bring lunch".

I gaze at her from the water, perched laying out on the blanket with her eyes closed, and I just want to take her right there. No warning, just go up and start licking her sex… She puts a tiny bit of sunscreen on her vulva, I watch her rub in on and fantasize that shes touching herself, she wants me…

"Burnt pussy is no.. bueno…." She mutters while she applies the lotion. She does a little competitive swimming, so it's completely bare. Mine is trimmed very close to the skin, so I rub on a little as well. Oh god… this is torture. She asks If I can help her harvest blackberries and milk the goats tomorrow. Of course I will. I love it there. The joint comes to an end, and I watch her skillfully take the last little hit. For some reason it turns me on to see a woman do that.

While before we had the giggles, this time around we are a little more serious. We lay out on the blanket on the rock, soaking up the sun, and talk about past relationships, our family, what we want to do with our lives, stuff like that. Lark gets up and walks a few feet away, over to the grass, and squats down to pee. I watch her the entire time, admiring the muscles rippling in her legs, her cute little ass. I watch her walk back, too, her breast swaying slightly with each step. Her vulva is large, round… very pronounced rising from her flat belly. Her body is just…amazing…

She stops before she lays back down next to me. I can tell by the look in her eyes she knows I was staring at her.

"Your body is amazing" I blurt out before I can think of anything better to say. "…I wish I could get in better shape like you." I follow up hoping to save it. I really could care less, I'm not overweight or anything and I'm happy with my body.

"Oh, come on… you're beautiful." She lays back down. "Your body type is different. Besides, you can't help it, cuz you been eatin them greens. You ate them greens when you was younger."

She was all smiles, and we got the giggles for a little while. She loved saying that, ever since I told her what it meant. In south Louisiana, when a girl with a ghetto booty walks by, black guys will say "She ate them greens when she was younger!" or "Where dat come from?" and someone will say "neck bones!" Apparently collard greens with pork neck will give you ghetto booty. I didn't know this until I was hanging out with one of my black guy friends when someone made a comment from across the street. He understands that I'm half yankee and I need explanation every now and then.

I get up to go pee and to get the water bottles, and to stare at her lounging from a distance again. Her knees are up in the air slightly, with her legs a little bit apart. She has a peaceful smile, and her eyes are closed. Every now and then she smiles a bit bigger for a second, makes a soft little noise, like she's daydreaming. I walk a little closer, and noticed something that made me freeze; she was getting wet.

Her baby smooth crotch was shining wet in the sunlight. Her clitoris was obviously erect, and her vagina was pulsing with desire, begging to grab something and hold it tight, her vulva rising and falling with every pulse. I lay down beside her and we both shudder as our bodies brush together. My heart is pounding and I'm breathing heavy and I know I have to do something about this situation. Should I rest my head on her shoulder and breathe on her neck? Put my arm around her? Just throw all caution to the wind and take her right there…


"Yes, Ira?"

"I haven't really told anyone about this…my ex knows but that's it… and one friend of mine…"

"You know you can tell me anything, girl."

"I…well, um…I k-kind of l-li.."

I start to stutter. Why is this so hard to say? She rolls over to face me and puts her hand on my shoulder and gently pushes me to do the same. When I look into her eyes, so sincere and patient, I start to tear up and bite my lip.

Fuck, why is this so hard?

Lark sees my tears and quickly sits up and hugs me. She didn't care that we were naked, that our breasts pressed against each other, she just knew I needed some support.

"Anything, girl. Absolutely anything, ok? Just let it out. "

She pulls away from the embrace, and hands me my water bottle. I take a sip, a deep breath, and it calms my nerves. Her support gives me the strength I need.

"I'm attracted to girls. I always have been…I guess that makes me bisexual."

WHOOSH. 1000 pounds off my shoulders. I feel weak and shaky and suddenly very exposed, even though I've been nude for about an hour.

"Oh Ira…I'm so proud of you! I know that was hard."

She wipes away the tears from my face with her thumb.

"You can't be ashamed of who you are. There's nothing wrong with you, you know that?"

I nod, and look at the ground. She brushes the hair from my face and puts her hand under my chin, and lifts my face back up. It sends electric chills down my spine, and she wipes away my last little tear.

"Have you been with a woman before?"

"No…I haven't been with anyone but my ex… "

"…I have."

Holy shit…holy shitholyshit.

"I had a girlfriend in high school… we had sex once, and then broke up because she realized that it was just a phase for her. I haven't done anything like that since, but…I don't think… it wasn't just a phase for me…" She trails off.

I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say. I decide to stop thinking, and just see what happens when I give myself over to primal instinct.

She's sitting next to me cross legged and is looking at the ground sheepishly, and I can see that she is still as aroused as before. I put my hand on her thigh, and the muscle jumps. She makes a startled noise and quickly looks up at me, but doesn't push my hand away. I move it up her side, sliding my hands along her luxurious, smooth skin. I gently pull her towards me and start to lie down on my side and she does the same, facing me. We are much closer now than when we did this just a few minutes ago, and our breasts brush together. Chills run down my spine again and I start to shudder. Both of our nipples stiffen at the contact and goose bumps spread over us. I can see that she is shaking, also.

We just look into each other's eyes for a little while. Mine are olive green, with a tiny bit of light brown around the pupil. Hers are an amazing slate blue green, with a few freckles and an irregular splash of golden brown. I never noticed that before. I slip one of my legs to rest in between hers, and start twisting on of her little pigtails around my index finger. She starts making soft little noises, and closes her eyes. She is breathing heavily and I can tell she's enjoying this, she wants it as bad as I do. I nestle my face between her shoulder and neck.

"I'll have you know that this entire day has been complete torture" I softly say into her ear.

I continue to play with her pigtails, and pull them out and slip off her headband. The tip of my tongue traces the edge of her ear, followed by some nibbling… She starts to moan, and grabs a fistful of my hair. All of the sudden she's on top of me, with both hands pulling my hair in tight fists. She's completely ravenous, her muscles twitching with excitement, and her pussy wet, hot and throbbing on my belly. Her wild corkscrew curls encircle her face like a crazy halo of an animalic goddess.

I grab her, pull her to my body. My hands are running all over her body, I can't decide where to keep them because I just can't get enough of her. I have one hand on her breast, and the other gripped in hair. We are kissing each other all over our faces, neck and shoulders, and make our way to each others lips. I suck her bottom lip into my mouth, and she hungrily sucks my tongue into hers. Her mouth tastes so good… there is still a trace on peanut butter and weed in her breath. I just want more and more of it. We continue to kiss passionately for a few moments, and suddenly she stops and gets up.

Oh no…. Is she reconsidering? I'm sorry…Oh my god.

All of these things run through my head in a split second, but then I see that she's just throwing our blanket in the more comfortable grass. She's grinning as she grabs me and practically drags me over there, even though I'm running too.

We lay down and quickly pick up where we left off. I move a hand down to her ass, trailing my fingertips down her spine on the way. She moans and bucks her body wildly, sliding back and forth on my belly easily on her slippery, wet pussy. We are making all manner of grunts, groans, and whimpers. I flip her over and now I'm on top, and I latch on to one of her nipples. Licking and sucking, tasting her sweat, listening to her moan and feeling her shiver and her erect nipple, her soft as velvet areola in my mouth, smelling her arousal and seeing her ecstasy. Every sense is filled with her body, this moment. I lick her from her nipple, down her belly and over her hard abdominal muscles, down to her vulva. I lick around It, but I don't all the way down to just yet. I lick just above it like a dog, lapping up the wetness of her desire that has spread there from her rubbing against me.

"Ira…please…please…" she's whimpering now. "Ira! Please! Take me… take me now…

I torture her a little more. I suck hard on her inner thigh, right next to her opening. She is crying out now.

"TAKE me Ira! Please! Please… she moans and tries to grab my head and stick my face where she needs is to be.

When I leave her inner thigh, I leave a huge red and purple hickey. I lap hungrily at her, licking up her wetness. I lick her all over her pussy, belly and inner thighs before plunging my tongue into her. She yelps suddenly, and I twist my tongue around inside of her. She tastes absolutely amazing. I move my attention to her clitoris. I tease it with the tip of my tongue, and she scratches my back hard, and it drives me wild. I wonder if she drew blood as I slip my fingers into her. I continue the attention to her clitoris with my tongue, and feel around inside of her. I've never been inside of anyone but myself, and exploring her is absolutely amazing. I feel a raised mound of flesh a few inches in on the roof of her vagina.

"There! Right there…" she tells me, and her moans get louder, so start rubbing in quick little circle motions while maintaining the attention to her clitoris. She's crying out with such vigor, I don't think she'll last much longer and I'm right.

"IRA!" My chest gets butterflies hearing her yelling my name.

She comes hard, releasing her stream onto my hand and over my chin. Before it's over, I put my mouth over her and lap up some of her sweet nectar as it squirts into my mouth. She lays there on the blanket, panting and whimpering, drenched in sweat.

"You have been driving me crazy for so long." I am caressing her cheeks, and stroking her hair, speaking softly to her ear. "The first time I saw you, at the bakery, I was blushing at your pointy nipples through your beautiful orange sun dress… I couldn't sit outside because I knew I would just be staring at you all creepily…" she giggled softly.

"I'm really glad I went over to your place with my uncle that night…" she turns over, and holds my face in her hands. "Ira, you…You're my best friend."

"Lark…you're such a great friend." She starts brushing her fingertips across my breasts, and down my belly. It makes my muscles twitch and my breath comes quick. " I don't know how I could have come out without you. I know I can have the courage to tell more people now thanks to you. You're the best friend any one could ask fo..oohh…" her hand moves down between my legs. She plays with my clitoris, and plunges a finger into me. She takes it out and puts it in her mouth, and sucks it clean.

"Tastes so much better than I remember…"

"L-Lark…" I stammer feebly. I'm shaking like a leaf. I can only manage to make weak little moans, repeat her name occasionally as she rotates her fingers around inside me. She licks at my nipple, softly bites it, and moves her head away, trying to tease me. I try to grab her head and move it back to my breast, and she does the same thing and again escapes. My breasts want her attention so badly that they almost hurt. I grab and twist my nipple but that only makes it worse. My moans go from long and satisfying, to quick and urgent. My whole body wants her, begs for her. She moves down my belly in hot, wet kisses that trail all the way down to right above my clitoris. She runs the tip of her tongue along my labia, circling around my opening but not going in. Then she repeats the performance she did on my nipples with my clitoris, licking, gently nibbling, then moving her head away again and again. As she does this she grips one breast firmly in her hand, and rolls my nipple around in her fingers occasionally. I don't know how much longer I can take this.

She moves back up my belly with more kisses, and this time latches on to my nipple and starts to suck. She starts to whimper a little, and I know she enjoys this very much. I think she stays at my breast longer than she planned, because she just couldn't tear herself away. Along with the raging desire I already have, I start to feel a very deep, warm glow in my belly and sex as I hold her in my arms and watch and felt her suckle from me like a child. This woman is driving me to levels of arousal I've never even been close to, or even thought possible.

After a few minutes she detaches from me breast, panting. When her eyes meet mine I just need to kiss her. I take her face in my hands and draw it to mine, and give her a slow, long and tender kiss. Before she suckled from me, I was so aroused I was almost panicking. I had never felt that way before. It relaxed my body and mind, even while pushing my arousal even higher, at a deeper level.

Now she wraps her arms and legs around me, and draws me to her body. I melt at her touch, become supple as warmed wax in her hands. She pulls me down and I follow, completely powerless at this point to do anything but what she directs me to do. I can't keep my body from trembling as she directs my face to her breast. My heart is racing and my body shaking as I begin to suckle her. It feels so good, I start whimpering uncontrollably. After a moment or two with her fingertips brushing lightly down my forearm, chest, and belly, I start to sound urgent and panicky again.

"shh…relax. Just relax Ira. I know what you need… but to give it to you, I need you to do something for me."

I open my eyes and look up into hers, asking her without saying anything, pleading her for release.

"I want you to stop thinking, and completely relax all of your muscles. Just let your body do what it wants and don't try to control it."

I start to lick her hardened nipple again, going around it in circles with my tongue. I put my mouth over it and start sucking again, trying to follow her advice. Now she slides one of her legs in between mine, and wraps her arm around my backside. She teases my opening from behind, and it makes me groan. My muscles are contracting; my womanhood pulsing with the desire to grab onto her fingers. When she finally enters me, it doesn't take her long to locate my g spot.

"Relax, Ira." She says so softly in my ear. Her voice is like an angel. "You're so close. Just let go."

She starts thrusting into me and massaging my g spot with her fingers. I start to lose control of my body, and start rubbing myself against her leg. I stop thinking about sucking on her breast and just focus on the amazing things she's doing to my body. I realize that I'm still doing it, suckling rhythmically. I have no power to stop, reflex has taken over. My mouth is taking her breast just like my lungs take air, and my heart pumps blood. I have completely given myself to my body's needs, and given my body to her.

I feel the orgasm starting to rise in my body. It gets stronger and stronger and I think it's going to happen. One clench of my muscles around her fingers and it would happen, quickly. I stay relaxed, and let it continue to rise, the feeling seeping into my chest, my limbs, my brain. All of the sudden the feeling magnifies throughout my sex, and I feel like I'm about to pee. I get scared and gasp, letting go of her breast.

"Lark! I'm going to…I'm… mmh! I can't form a sentence.

"Just let it happen, don't hold back. Come on, let it out, that's a good girl…"

My whole body erupts with the most intense orgasm I've ever had. Waves of heat wash outward from my sex across my whole body. I feel the intensity flare in my chest and head, not just my sex like the orgasms I've experienced. My body bucks wildly as I cry out, and I feel a jet of something warm and wet release from my body and run down her thigh. Pinpricks creep across my scalp as my body stills and I start to collect myself.

Lark looks at me and smiles, and I can feel the contented smile across my face, too. I'm panting heavily and don't think I can even move. She gently slips her leg from between mine, and rolls me onto my back. I discover that I can move as I reach out for her. I just want to cling to her right now. She crawls over me and licks me clean, lapping up my juices from my womanhood and down my thighs.

"mmmmhh..oh Ira… you taste… your nectar…mhh. "

"Have you tasted it before? I mean… with your first girl?"

"No, we were young and inexperienced… we made each other come but not like that." She finished up and plopped herself next to me. I laid my heads on her chest and buried my face in her neck. She started running her fingers through my hair, smoothing it out, fixing the tangles.

"So, what do you think about your first big-girl orgasm?"

I giggle. We were talking about our sexual experiences the other day, and she told me about the first time some one REALLY made her come. I was confused, and she explained female ejaculation to me. I told her I've come before and that's never happened, so I don't think I can do it. She told me I bet you can, your boyfriend just never gave it to you. It's more complicated than a man's orgasm. There are tons of women who think they just don't do it just because they haven't, but she thinks that all women can if taken care of properly.

"It was…intense. It was a full body thing, and it lasted much longer than any I've had before." I nuzzle deeper into her neck. "Thank you."

We just lie there for a while, and I feel like I'm dozing off. I don't think I've ever been more comfortable. I'm still basking in the afterglow of the orgasm. The smell of her body mixes with the smell of the forest and the river, and I just want to walk around and smell that all the time. Little patches of sunlight filtering down from the trees above us, the gentle breeze… this is perfect. I could die happy. I could die now and be totally satisfied with life.

I come out of my half sleep when Lark pulls me into a tight hug.

"I love you, Ira."

My stomach did a little flip. It's not like we've never told this to each other. I love my friends and I tell them so, and so does she. That's something I really love about south Louisiana, friends aren't squeamish about hugging each other and saying "I love you." Even though I've heard it from her before, it seems to take on more meaning now.

"I love you too, Mark." She laughs. I love making her laugh.

"I thought, when this started, that we were just doing to be friends who mess around with each other. But…I don't know about you, but that was the most intimate thing I've ever experienced.

"yea…" I can't really say much right now. I'm still in shock. Shock isn't the right word, it sounds too harsh. Happy-shock.

And…I like this…what we're doing right now…I guess what I'm trying to say is…Ira, do you want to get coffee sometime?"

I smile and start giggling a little. We get coffee all the time.

"You're a funny one." I tell her. She gives me one of her big grins.

We enjoy one more dip in the river before putting our clothes on and heading back. Unlike the hike there, the hike back is mostly silent. We walk slow, arm in arm, and just savor this time together.