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Kindred of the Wood (Part Two of Two)

Mara discovers that her first crush is more of a kindred spirit than she ever would have guessed.
Sitting around the fire at Wade’s camp that evening, Mara glanced at her furiously blushing father and stifled a laugh. Her great uncle continued the story, much to her father’s chagrin.

“Now, I didn’t see Steve’s gallantry, so I had no idea what was going on when I paddled up. There he was, standing on the bank holding his paddle planted in the ground like a knight with a lance, lookin’ for all the world like he’d thrash anybody who dared set foot on land.

“I asked him what he was on about, and he puffs up his chest and says that he’s standing guard. His voice only cracked a little.”

A few chuckles popped up here and there around the fire. Mara took another drink from her cup, once again feeling the warm rush as the homemade wine settled in her stomach. Though Paul always kept a couple of gallon jugs weighed down in the deep, cold waters of the lake, tonight was the first time she’d been allowed to partake. Despite having only sipped a half a cup so far, she already felt light-headed, and more than a little giddy.

“Well,” her great uncle continued, “I was about to ask what he was standing guard for when they came walking down the trail from answering nature’s call. I tell you, those girls could have come right out of the pages of a magazine. Prettiest things you ever did see, and wearing bikinis so small you could have stuffed them both in a cup. Them girls told Steve here thank you, and then they both gave him a kiss. He just stood there with his mouth open, as bright red as a stop sign, and grinnin’ from ear to ear while he watched them go back out on the lake – until I asked him if he was tryin’ to catch flies.”

Mara’s mother couldn’t hold back any longer and snorted as the laughter bubbled up from her. It spread like wildfire through everyone around the fire while Steve looked down, covering his eyes and shaking his head.

The laughter settled a little and Mara’s father said, “Thanks so much for telling that story, Uncle Carl. Really – thanks.”

Mara and her mother looked at each other, and then simultaneously broke out into laughter again, setting off another round that lasted until her father picked up his guitar and started to play.

Listening to her father strum, accompanied after a bar or so by Wade’s father plucking the banjo, Mara looked around at everyone and sighed, already missing her great aunts and uncles and second cousins. Wade, she thought, looked a little distant, his eyes focused on the fire and his expression unreadable. She finished her cup of wine and looked up at the darkening sky. Soon enough, they’d have to start back to their own camps.

She sighed again, and her mother patted her leg, whispering, “I know.”

A few minutes later, as she debated whether enough time had passed for her to safely ask for another cup of wine, Mara noticed that Wade was missing from his camp chair. As if reading her mind, her mother said, “He went down by the lake. Why don’t you go see if you can figure out what’s bothering him?”

“Okay,” Mara responded, and handed over her cup. An odd sensation of floating struck her as she stood.

Her mother giggled and shook the cup. “It packs a punch. Walk a little; go see if Wade’s okay. You can have some more later if you want it. Just don’t get any ideas that it means you’re all grown up. You’re still my little girl until I say otherwise.”

“Okay, Mom.” Mara rolled her eyes and turned toward the beach. The floating sensation remained, but not quite so pronounced as it was when she’d first stood up. The walk down to the water felt almost dreamlike, but hardly unpleasant.

As soon as she stepped off the tree-lined path onto the open beach, the most profound and vivid sense of deja vu that Mara had ever experienced washed over her.

It had been a night exactly like this one, the clouds a rosy hue, reflecting the last sliver of the sinking sun. The quiet sound of music drifted down from the camp above, along with the occasional voice or laugh. A cooling breeze stirred her hair as she looked at Wade sitting on the beach; his shoulders slumped as he tossed pebbles toward the water with negligent flips of his wrist.

Five years ago, she’d stepped on this very spot, for the very same reason. Then, she’d immediately skipped to his side and unceremoniously plopped down next to him. He hadn’t wanted to talk, but a little cajoling at least got him to smile.

She couldn’t remember what had prompted it or who had initiated it, and quite purposely hadn’t thought about it in years, but she could certainly remember the kiss now. It had been nothing more than a shy peck – a moment quickly interrupted by Wade’s sister walking up to them making gagging noises with every step.

Her first kiss.

Other more recent memories mingled with that long-ago day – the feeling of his hand in hers, his deep blue eyes...

“Oh. Hey.”

Mara snapped back into reality at the sound of his voice. Her face burned as she tried to master the confusing emotions surging through her. Thankful for the fading, crimson glow of the sunset that masked her blush, she walked to his side. “You okay?”

He’d turned back toward the water as she approached, once again flipping pebbles into the waves lapping against the shore. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

Trying to cover her own tumultuous feelings, Mara flippantly asked, “Didn’t we go through this five years ago? Don’t make me tickle you again.”

His wince stabbed her like a knife. Unable to keep the hurt out of her voice, she said, “Sorry, I’ll leave you alone.”

He turned before she could leave and said, “Wait. I’m sorry. I just...” He let out a great sigh.

Mara sat down next to him. “What’s wrong?”

Wade stared off into the distance where the glow of a lantern against the dark silhouette of the trees across the lake marked the way back to Mara’s camp. “I don’t want to bother anybody.”

“With what?”

He shrugged. “My girlfriend broke up with me about a week before we came up here.”

“Join the club.” When he looked over with obvious questions in his eyes, Mara summoned up her courage, knowing that the only way to get him to talk would be for her to open up first. “He believed a bunch of stupid rumors and thought I was cheating on him. How about you?”

“I was talking about coming out here, trying to hint that I wanted her to come with me, and she just blew up. She kept going on and on about that stupid lake and how I cared more about it than her. When I told her that I wanted her to come with me, she got even madder, screaming at me about being dirty in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do, and...”

When he trailed off into a sigh, Mara said, “She just doesn’t get it. If she couldn’t understand why you come out here, then she didn’t even try to know you. You’re better off without her.”

Wade let out a curious half-chuckle, half-grunting sort of sound. “Maybe. We always ended up fighting whenever Dad and I came out here.”

Mara’s cheeks warmed a little when she realized both how much she’d sounded like her mother trying to console her, and just how similar her situation was to Wade’s. Some small, peevish part of her piped up that she had it far harder, because she had to hide the family secret, which made her blush all the more from the selfishness of the thought.

For a few minutes, they sat in silence, and Mara started to feel the depression creeping up on her again. Needing a change in subject as much as she suspected that he did, she asked, “I’ve always wondered why you and your dad don’t fish?”

“We don’t eat ‘em. Not much sense in trying to catch something you aren’t going to eat.”

“Well, you picked the right lake for it. The fish here must be smarter than the rest or something. They’re always getting off the hook before you can reel them in.”

Wade chuckled, the sound having some genuine mirth. “Yeah, they’re a wily bunch. That’s why we always tell people that they’re better off fishing across one of the portages.”

“You two okay?”

Mara turned to see her mother standing at the head of the beach. “Yeah, Mom. Just trying to out-wallow each other in pity.”

Kia smiled and nodded back toward the camp. “Everybody’s starting to ask about you.”

“We’ll come back up in a minute or two.”

“Better hurry, the jug is almost empty.”

Sharing a worried glance, Mara and Wade both stood up at the same time to make sure that they got a final cup before the wine was gone.

****

Mara fidgeted one last time and peeled back the corner of the sleeping bag draped over her hips. She felt restless, and more than a little irritated by that, as everything she’d ever heard said that drinking alcohol was supposed to have the opposite effect. Her parents were certainly sleeping soundly, cuddled up together in a way that was more than a little creepy for her to think about.

Careful not to wake them or her snoring brother, she slipped out of the tent and walked down to the lake. The moon was up, full and bright, providing more than enough illumination for her to find her way without a flashlight.

The surface of the lake danced with silver flashes, reflecting the light of the moon above. Even though she lived in the country, sheltered by the trees and miles from the bustle of any city or town, there were still sounds that intruded upon nature there. Here, there was nothing to despoil the purity of the wilderness night song.

The feeling of restless energy subsided as she stood looking out over the lake with the sound of lapping waves and chirping crickets for company. Sitting down, she decided to enjoy the night until she felt tired enough to sleep.

She thought that the giggle was her imagination at first. When she didn’t hear anything for a minute or two, she passed it off as an effect of the wine and sleepiness, returning to her silent reverie.

Then she heard it again – louder, and more distinct. This time, she turned toward the sound and saw an enormous fish tail break the surface. Her eyes widened and she gasped as it flipped water into the air before slapping against the surface and vanishing once more. The thought of swimming in the lake with such a monster fish started the theme from Jaws playing in her head, and caused her to unconsciously scoot back a few inches.

Alert once more, her eyes scanned the undulating water for any sign of the fish or the ghostly giggling. The initial spike of fear faded away, replaced instead by nagging curiosity. That didn’t change when something different popped up amongst the waves out in the lake, a flash of silver that seemed more radiant than reflective. When it vanished, the great tail once again appeared for a moment.

On a whim, Mara quietly called out, “Hello?” No answer greeted her, so she tried again.

This time, a feminine voice responded, “Hello,” and then giggled.

Mara turned toward the voice and beheld the source. The woman floated on the surface, her silvery hair sparkling in the moonlight and framing a beautiful, smiling face. Her skin was a pale blue, blending in with the water lapping about her breasts.

“Who are you?” Mara asked, all bemused by the unexpected encounter.

“La’isa,” the woman answered, emphasizing the syllables in a musical voice. She swam closer, revealing the fish tail propelling her through the water. “Why do they call you such a strange thing?” she asked when she was closer. Her lips and nipples were pinkish-purple in color, both contrasting and somehow blending in with her blue skin.

Mara knew that the woman was a nymph. She felt the same mixture of innocence, simple wisdom, and capriciousness that made up her great-grandmother’s presence. “What do you mean?”

“It is not your name.”

Realization dawned on Mara, and she answered, “My real name is Xanmara. They call me Mara when we’re around other people.”

“Oh,” La’isa responded, and then giggled again. She swam up to the shore and lifted herself out of the water. One moment, she had a mermaid tail, and the next, she had normal human legs as she sat down next to Mara. “You are very pretty.”

Now it was Mara’s turn to giggle. The nymph was so much like her great-grandmother Xantina, who always made her smile. “Thank you. So are you.”

“Come swim with me.”

Mara started to protest, but then looked out at the lake. It looked so peaceful and inviting – calling out to her on levels that no normal person could have perceived. She nodded, and scooted down toward the water.

La’isa scrunched up her nose and plucked at Mara’s t-shirt. “You will get them wet. Take them away.”

Though the wilderness was remote and the hour late, that notion was a bit too much for even Mara to consider. If nothing else, Wade was camped just across the lake, and the thought of him wandering down to the lakeshore to see her swimming around nude overwhelmed her natural instinct to obey joyously with the request. “It’ll be okay.”

The nymph rolled her eyes at Mara – an expression all too common on her great-grandmother’s face when the same subject arose – but slipped into the water without further protest. As quickly as it had vanished, La’isa’s mermaid tail appeared once again as soon as the nymph had fully submerged her legs.

Mara, raised around her great-grandmother’s pool, had learned to swim before she learned to talk, but her form paled next to the nymph, who seemed even more at one with the aquatic environment than even the water-loving Xantina. There was little doubt in Mara’s mind that La’isa could have easily vanished in a surge of graceful speed, but she floated along leisurely at Mara’s side.

Recognizing that they were headed toward the other side of the lake – although thankfully angling away from the beach that marked Wade’s camp – Mara asked, “Where are we going?”

“My place. Come see.” With that, the nymph did put on a burst of speed, edging ahead and spinning in the water with a laugh of purest joy.

Mara knew that something was odd as soon as she saw the finger of the lake curling inland. After spending so many years here with her family, she knew that she should have recognized the spot so close to their campsite and Wade’s, but she didn’t. Slowing to tread water, she muttered, “How..?”

“It hides. It is my place,” the nymph answered, wearing a wide smile.

Mara nodded and started swimming again, remembering that her great-grandmother’s wood had the same sort of magical ability to turn away people who weren’t invited.

As soon as she passed into the curving inlet, Mara saw the fish. Everywhere she looked, pikes and bass breached the surface – some larger than any she’d ever seen before. Even more swam toward them, looming beneath the glittering surface of the water to brush against her legs. La’isa reached out to stroke the scaly side of an impressive pike, greeting it in some unpronounceable language.

Mara suddenly felt great pangs of guilt. “They’re your friends. I’m so sorry. We didn’t know,” she apologized, thinking of how many fish had come from the lake to end up in frying pans within her family’s camp.

“It is the way of things. I let them off the pointy things many times, but they know they are only safe here.”

That explained the poor fishing on the lake beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Floating amongst the fish darting below, Mara drank in the sights of La’isa’s home. The water seemed bluer and the flora along the banks greener even in the color-diluting light of the moon. “It’s beautiful.”

That prompted yet another giggle. “Thank you. Come.”

Mara’s eyebrows popped up when she detected just a hint of devious frivolity that she knew all too well. Her great-grandmother had that look and tone just before starting a splash war, or pulling someone into her spring-fed pool. Despite knowing that she was in for a surprise, Mara swam along with the nymph, feeling her smile widen with every kick of her legs.

The curving inlet appeared to open up into a vast, circular pool ahead. La’isa swam closer to shore, and then slipped up onto the bank, legs replacing her tail in the blink of an eye. She waved Mara toward her, pressing a finger against her lips. Obeying the request for silence, Mara climbed out of the water and followed the nymph through the trees.

Because she was concentrating on her footing in the dim light to avoid stepping on anything pointy, Mara almost bumped into the nymph when La’isa stopped and knelt down behind a bush. Mara did the same, and then her mouth dropped wide open when she saw what the nymph was looking at.

Wade was standing in the water with his back turned toward them, the waves lapping against his knees, only thirty or forty feet away – and he was stark naked.

“Isn’t he pretty?” La’isa whispered directly into Mara’s ear.

Unable to summon up the presence of mind to answer, Mara could only gape at Wade’s muscular body as he rubbed his temples and continued toward the opposite bank. His butt muscles bunched with his steps, absolutely hypnotizing Mara with the way they moved. When he spun around and hopped up to sit down on the bank, Mara’s legs squeezed together of their own volition, responding to the sharp tingle of wetness that hit her when she saw his cock lying in stunning splendor across his thigh.

Lifting her eyes from the sight, Mara’s gaze homed in on his face. His expression was sad and lonely – heart-wrenching. Her eyes misting up, Mara remembered feeling that way when she and her family had to leave after sharing that kiss on the beach with him. She’d cried for hours when she found out that they couldn’t return the following year. It wasn’t much easier the year after, and it was only that summer when she’d finally started dating, telling herself over and over again that her feelings for Wade were just a crush.

Somewhere deep inside, she’d never believed it.

The nymph whispered into her ear again, “Well?”

Mara snapped back into reality and shrank away from the bush. She continued to back away in a crouch, trembling slightly as a chaotic swirl of emotions overwhelmed her. Unable to think straight, she only knew that she had to get away before he saw her – saw the truth in her eyes that she was fighting so hard to deny.

Feeling that she was far enough away, Mara stood and headed back to where she’d climbed out of the water. La’isa followed, her footfalls utterly silent, and asked, “What’s wrong.”

Mara sat down on the bank, wincing at even the minuscule sound of her feet slipping into the water. “I... I have to go. I’m sorry,” she whispered, unsure if the nymph could even hear the tiny sound.

The swim back to camp felt as if it took an eternity. She prayed to anyone who would listen that Wade wouldn’t see her – wouldn’t know she had been there. Moving as swiftly and silently as she could manage, she reached the opposite shore and abandoned any semblance of stealth to scurry up into the concealing greenery.

A minute or two later, Mara slipped into her sleeping bag and curled up until she could pull it over her head. Physically and emotionally exhausted, she drifted off into a fitful sleep shortly thereafter.

****

Mara put on a brave face the next morning through breakfast and seeing her extended family off, but she knew that it wasn’t completely convincing from the looks of concern that her mother often cast her way.

As soon as the canoes were out of earshot, Mara went straight up the trail to the sunlit hilltop. To her relief, her mother didn’t follow.

The tumult in Mara’s heart hadn’t calmed in the slightest since the night before. There was no more denying that she felt something far more than friendship for Wade. She’d known it five years ago when she kissed him – if in a naive, girlish sort of way – and she knew it now with acute clarity.

It was too much to bear.

It was too soon after having her life pulled out from under her to deal with even the thought of a relationship burdened by the necessity of the family secret. The man whom she’d spent the last two years with – and given her virginity to – had left her with hate and anger burning in his eyes equal to the love and desire that once smoldered there.

She felt betrayed by her heart for opening up to someone now, when she was so vulnerable and lost. On top of that, Wade was beyond geographically undesirable. How could she have fallen in love with someone who lived so far away? Hadn’t she learned her lesson last time about how much it hurt?

Fallen in love. The words burned in her brain like an accusation. The attraction was more – far more – than physical, but it was seeing him nude, so magnificent and perfect, that had torn down the protective walls she’d built around her heart. Even now, she had butterflies in her stomach and felt her body responding to the memory before she could push it away.

“Mara – honey, Wade’s here.”

Startled by her mother’s voice breaking through the storm of emotions tossing her mercilessly to and fro, Mara panicked. “Tell him I’m sick,” she blurted out.

“Honey, what...”

“Please, Mom,” Mara pleaded, two great tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Okay. Your father and I were going to go out on the lake today, but if you need me to stay...”

Mara shook her head vigorously. “No. Just go.”

“Glen’s off with some boys he met the day before yesterday, and I doubt he’ll be back before nightfall. We’ll have the radio. Just call if you need us. I love you.”

“I love you,” Mara responded, feeling the sting of spurning her mother’s desire to help, and Wade’s friendship in the space of so few words.

It was the latter that eventually wormed its way into her consciousness, making her feel ashamed. Her half-formed plan of avoiding him for the remainder of the trip so she didn’t have to confront her feelings was inexcusably unfair to Wade. He hadn’t done anything wrong, and certainly didn’t deserve being left to wonder why she didn’t want to see him.

No matter how terrifying the prospect was, she had to talk to him. There was no way that she could live with herself if she hurt him out of her own selfish needs. Somehow, she had to make him understand what she was doing without telling him the real reason for it.

More secrets.

Her stomach went sour as she looked at the trail her mother had walked down earlier. It was such a simple thing – a single step forward – yet she didn’t move. Steeling her will, she drew upon wells of courage and determination hidden deep inside her until this very moment.

Her lower lip quivering, Mara took that heart-wrenching step.

****

“As if this isn’t hard enough,” Mara muttered in a weepy voice as she returned to the beach below Wade’s camp. His canoe was tied up on the bank, but he was nowhere to be found. Assuming that he’d gone somewhere with his father, she climbed back in her canoe, wondering if she could find the strength to go through with this again.

Pushing off with her paddle, Mara drifted back out into the lake. Her eyes were drawn first toward the beach behind her, and then off to the side. The magic that had always concealed the inlet from her was gone now, at least when she directly looked at it. Whenever it was in her peripheral vision or she simply glanced over the area, it looked as though the shoreline was solid across the mouth of the finger of water.

There was someone else she owed an apology, and she could at least explain to La’isa why she had left so abruptly.

Careful to keep her eyes and ears alert, Mara paddled along the shore toward the inlet. After pausing to make absolutely certain that nobody was watching her or approaching, she turned the canoe and paddled in.

The fish were jumping immediately beyond the invisible magical border, and Mara had trouble believing just how many she saw darting or lazily drifting along beneath her in the water. Unsure about how well the magic masked sound, and certainly not wanting to reveal the nymph’s secret place, Mara whispered near the surface of the water, “La’isa, it’s Xanmara.”

When there was no response, she paddled a little deeper into the inlet and tried again. After two more attempts, she was beginning to believe that she’d so offended the nymph that La’isa wouldn’t come out for her.

Coming up toward the circular terminus of the inlet, Mara decided to try one last time and then turn around. She certainly wasn’t ready to see the spot where Wade had stood bathed in the silvery light of the moon the night before. Just before she could whisper the nymph’s name again, she heard a splash behind her – far larger than what she would expect from even the wily old fish that dwelled here.

Turning around, she saw La’isa’s tail vanish beneath the water. It was something, at least. Mara pulled in her paddle and waited a minute to see if the nymph would come to the surface. Her canoe continued to drift unnoticed from the momentum of her last paddle stroke.

“M-mara?”

Mara spun toward the voice so quickly in alarm that her hair whipped in front of her face to obscure her vision for a moment. When the golden curtain dropped away, she saw Wade sitting on the bank in almost the same place he was the night before – thankfully clothed this time.

You’ve got to do this, she thought, fighting against both the pattering of her heart upon seeing him and the tears trying to well up in her eyes. She put her paddle in the water and concentrated on the motion of propelling the canoe toward him.

He extended his hand to help her out of the canoe when she turned to bump up against the shoreline. “Thought you were sick. What are you doing here?”

Mara thought that he sounded a little nervous, which only made this all the more important and necessary. He had obviously seen through her pitiful subterfuge and was beating himself up over imagined wrongs. She took his hand with a mixture of longing and pain, stepping out of the bobbing boat onto the soft bed of loam.

“I need to talk to you,” Mara began, the words strangely freeing as they passed her lips.

Wade interrupted her before she could continue. “Mara, I’m sorry. I tried to... I didn’t mean to weird you out.”

Confused, Mara blinked and asked, “What are you talking about?”

“I need to say this now, or I’m going to chicken out.”

A flash of movement in Mara’s peripheral vision – La’isa’s tail breaking the surface – caused her stomach to clench up. Please, please, please – not now! The last thing she needed was the nymph making this even harder. Wade glanced out over the water for a second, and she held her breath, waiting for the panic to cross his face, revealing that he’d seen the nymph.

He turned back to her. “Mara, I know I’ve been weird. The thing is...” His eyes darted out to the water for another fraction of a second. “I’m in love with you.”

Mara’s heart sang and broke simultaneously. “Oh god, Wade.”

“I know. I’m sorry. It’s stupid. Don’t worry; I’m not going to hang all over you or anything. I’ll leave you alone.”

All of the good reasons she had not to go down this path fell away. That final word – alone – was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She didn’t want to be alone any more. Damn the odds and damn the consequences, she threw her arms around him and sobbed into his shoulder, “I love you too.”

Hesitantly, Wade lifted his arms. They were stiff at first as he embraced her, and then softened as he let out a great sigh. “You... I... Really?”

“Yes, I love you. I didn’t want to, but I can’t help it.”

Wade cleared his throat as a splash sounded nearby. “Uh, there’s something else I need to tell you.”

“Please. Not now. Just hold me,” Mara begged in a rush, knowing that she couldn’t handle another shock right now.

“I have to. I can’t go through this again.” Cradling her cheek in his hand, he lifted her face to look into his eyes. “I want you to meet my mom.”

Mara’s bewilderment lasted for all of a heartbeat, just long enough for Wade to glance down, and a musical giggle to arise from the lapping waves at their feet.

“See. I told you that you were being silly, Wade,” La’isa chided as she stared up at the couple with a beatific smile.

Mara couldn’t help it. With tears still streaming down her face, she broke out into gales of laughter. Seeing the stung expression on Wade’s face, she erased it by the simple expedient of putting her hand on the back of his head, tilting it down, and standing on her tiptoes to kiss him soundly.

“You’re not freaking out?” He asked in wonder as their lips parted.

“Tell him, Xanmara,” the nymph encouraged.

“Xanmara? Like La’Dara?” Wade muttered, understanding dawning in his eyes.

Mara nodded. “My great-grandmother is a dryad.”

A flip of La’isa’s tail soaked them both, leaving them dripping. “Now that you are done being silly, take away those things you cover yourself with.”

Wade’s face turned bright red. “Uhm, Mom sort of...”

Mara blushed as well as she wiped her eyes, but mingled with that embarrassment was a great swell of desire. “Gramma is the same way.”

Obviously nervous, Wade grabbed the tail of his t-shirt and tugged it upward while turning to avert his eyes. Mara watched the wet, clinging cloth slide upward to reveal his muscled torso before she reached for the tail of her own shirt.

Not realizing that Mara was admiring him with undisguised desire, it was all Wade could do to keep staring out over the lake when her t-shirt landed atop his. He dropped his shorts and made a little show of struggling to kick them off past his shoes. He then sat down to untie his laces, further delaying the moment when he would have to drop his briefs.

Mara’s bra landed atop the growing pile of clothing with a little whump. His modesty and attempt to protect hers brought a bemused smile of arousal to her lips as she kicked off her shoes. Her shorts joined the pile, her heart beating rapidly as he lifted his butt off the ground and hooked his thumbs in the waistband of the briefs covering him.

Mara shuddered as his gorgeous cock flopped free. Like all men of nymph blood, only the lightest and sparsest of hair grew on his body. Never taking her eyes off him, Mara slid her panties down her legs, revealing the final evidence of her nymph heritage, a body that would never sprout a single follicle anywhere except the golden tresses atop her head.

Here at last was someone she could share all her secrets with. Never again would she have to hide her heritage while opening her heart. Wade knew her. He understood her – better than any other man ever could.

And he loved her. It had been written on his face and in his deep blue eyes for so long, and Mara lamented the time she’d wasted in not recognizing it.

“There,” La’isa declared, and then wiggled her fingers in a wave before spinning in the water.

“I thought you wanted to talk?” Wade asked.

The nymph giggled. “Later. You want to do the nice things, and the coverings would be in the way.” With that, she vanished beneath the water, her tail waving above the surface before it followed her.

“Mom, wait,” Wade helplessly pleaded to the ripples on the pond. He coughed and shifted nervously. “She can be kind of...”

Mara stepped in front of him, her cheeks rosy as his widening eyes met hers. Running her hands down her body, she silently confirmed the nymph’s parting statement before kneeling and leaning over him.

The kiss they shared nearly took Mara’s breath away. Tenderness and desire mingled in equal parts as his hand caressed her cheek and an arm enfolded her. Mara let her body sink down atop him, her stiff nipples pressing against his broad chest and his manhood swelling beneath her leg. Her fingers explored the contours of his muscles, setting off tingles that spread from her head to her toes.

“I love you,” he declared in a rushed whisper when their lips parted for the briefest of moments.

“Oh, I love you,” she agreed, her voice thick with passion. “I want you.”

Wade pulled her down to him again, his lips finding her neck. Mara whimpered with every feather-light kiss, her hips swiveling to press her folds against him for a measure of much needed relief.

Soon, that wasn’t enough.

Mara put her hands beneath her, scooting backward at the same time, her nipples brushing his chest. She planted her knees in the warm loam and rose above them, his erection bumping against her bottom. Curling her fingers around his manhood, she pressed the tip against her folds.

A long moan escaped Mara and she threw her head back in rapture from the feeling of his thick cock filling her. Wade groaned beneath her and whispered, “You’re so beautiful,” when she let her head fall forward again, golden tresses framing her face and rustling in the breeze.

A silly grin spread across Mara’s face and she agreed, “So are you.” She rocked her hips almost imperceptibly, stirring his cock inside her. They fit together so perfectly, like two pieces of a puzzle – made for each other in every way.

She could feel every vein and contour of him enfolded in her satiny embrace, her intimate muscles contracting in time with the throbbing of his manhood. He groaned, his hands gliding over her hips and fingertips tantalizing her bottom in a soft caress.

“Oh yes,” Mara cooed, her hips rocking just a little faster and one hand moving to cup her right breast. She teased the dark pink point of one nipple, and then the other, reveling in a sense of fullness unlike anything she’d ever experienced before.

Mara’s eyes widened and she let out a restrained yelp of surprise when Wade’s hips lifted toward her. He matched her rhythm, his motion joining her undulating hips to swell the warmth slowly building in her loins.

Oddly, though she knew that it drew closer with every moment, she felt none of the urgency of impending climax, and no need to rush to fulfillment. Wade was smiling, his face filled with the same joy and closeness she felt. Joined in harmonious motion, they reveled in each other’s pleasure.

It came upon her not in a rush, but rather as a gentle wave of bliss that traveled through every inch of her. Only a long, high-pitched moan escaped her as she came, her hips still stroking him inside her at the same measured pace. Every movement sent another ripple of sweet release through her, drawing out her climax for long, wonderful moments.

Mara’s hands slid up his sweat-dampened chest as she reclined over him with a content sigh. She rested her head on his shoulder, tingling all over and shivering.

“Did you..?”

“Oh yes. Oh yes, yes, yes,” Mara whimpered. “Mmm – thank you.”

Wade kissed her hair, wrapping his arms around her. Though he still throbbed inside her, he made no effort to seek his own release. Mara quite nearly dozed off in the comfort of his arms and the afterglow of the beautiful orgasm he’d given her. Only the sun warming her back and bottom eventually forced her to rouse. She made a sad little sound as his half-hard cock slipped free.

Twigs and leaf stems aplenty lie beneath her back, but she didn’t feel a one as he rolled over to kiss her. His lips were so soft against hers, the lightest of pecks delivered over and over again. Her entire world was his kisses, the lapping of the water, and the wind rustling through the trees.

When he paused for a moment to smile down at her, she felt her passions stirring again. “You didn’t, did you?”

He shook his head, still grinning. “Doesn’t matter.”

“Yes it does,” she disagreed, seeking his lips and sliding a guiding hand behind him.

Following her silent direction, he lifted a leg high and swung it over her. Mara reached between them to wrap her fingers around his cock, moaning as she felt it swelling once again.

The temptation of her firm breasts rising and falling with her quickening breaths overwhelmed him, and he kissed one of the buds crowning them, his erection slipping from her fingers. Mara cried out from the electric tingle his kiss sent through her, and then again when he sucked her nipple between his lips.

Moaning and writhing from his ministrations, Mara bent her knees, parting her legs wide. An ache deep inside her demanded attention, so she pushed on his shoulders to that end.

Wade released her nipple with a final suck and a kiss, then moved one knee at a time until his twitching member hovered above her nether lips. Their eyes met, and Mara gave a single nod of her head. He was still gazing deep into her eyes when his cock slipped inside her.

If anything, he felt even bigger and harder than before. Mara gasped as he filled her full, and then squealed as he pulled back. She glanced down just in time to see his glistening cock vanish inside her once more, his muscles bunching to push his hips forward.

Wade groaned, “God, Mara,” as his hips worked, burying his cock deep inside her, then retreating until the rim of the bulbous head popped free of her canal. A slight shift of his stance caused the shaft to slide against her swollen clit on the next thrust.

“Yes – right there,” Mara gushed. “God, yes.”

He seemed to know exactly when she needed more, increasing the pace of his thrusts to add to the hot friction. Mara tingled all over, her body moving in sinuous waves as she whimpered in bliss. She caressed her breasts, her heart soaring at the smile it brought to his lips. The firm globes jiggled ever so slightly each time their bodies came together.

Wade let out a long, deep groan. “You feel incredible.”

“So do you. Come for me.”

“You first.”

“Ah,” Mara sang out as a stronger, sharper burst of pleasure caused her to slap one arm to the sun-warmed earth and her toes to curl. “Ohh – if you insist.”

The hand still caressing her breast slid down Mara’s body, three fingers settling just above her hood. She pressed down, making slow circles every few seconds, but still letting his cock do most of the work.

Seeing that he was just as enraptured by this as when she’d teased her breasts, Mara put on a coquettish expression and asked, “Do you like... Mmm! Like watching me touch myself?”

His head nodding with almost comical intensity, he answered, “Yeah.”

“I like it too.”

Wade grunted from a squeeze of her intimate muscles and said, “You’re too sexy.”

“No, you,” she countered, the last word transforming into a warbling moan when he pumped into her faster – harder – their bodies colliding with a quiet slap.

Growls began to intermingle with Wade’s grunts and groans, his expression tightening. Mara’s whimpers grew louder, her fingers moving faster over her hood. This time, the urgency was there – subdued – but certainly there. Her muscles tightened as the pressure swelled, chilly sparks joining the warm glow in her mound.

“Too good. Can’t...” Wade said from between clenched teeth, losing the battle to keep his seed from surging forth.

“Don’t stop. Almost... Almost there,” Mara pleaded.

“I... God...” Wade stammered. Then his hips jolted forward and his breath exploded from him in a near roar.

She felt the first pulse of his buried cock, and cried out the word yes, knowing that he was pumping her full of cream. Before the word had even fully passed her lips, orgasm claimed her.

The initial shock of sweet agony caused her to half sit up and scream, loud and long. Her fingers dug into the soft earth at her sides, and her legs clamped tight around Wade’s quivering hips. All the while, she could feel him throbbing, flooding her depths with cum.

An exhausted, almost pained sounding groan escaped Wade, and he fell forward onto his hands. He hovered over her, his pants an echo of hers, sweat dripping from his flushed skin to mingle with the beads adorning every inch of her.

Mara wore a wide grin, her continuing cries of release now mixed with short laughs. Wade couldn’t help but chuckle as well in the face of her joy, but a squeeze of her walls around him caused the sound to change into a loud, high-pitched exclamation that made her laugh even harder.

Mara wrapped her arms and legs around him, holding his softening cock deep inside as the aftershocks rippled through her. She still couldn’t overcome the irrational urge to laugh, and didn’t even try to fight the compulsion to kiss him repeatedly.

She’d never been happier in her life, and wanted this moment to last forever.

Unfortunately, a painful truth crept into her thoughts after a few minutes, and she couldn’t suppress the whimper that came with it.

Wade stroked her cheek and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“I have to go home in a week.” Her lower lip began to quiver. “You’ll be so far away.”

“Oh, that’s right. I kinda got distracted before I could tell you.”

“Tell me what?”

“I got a scholarship to play football.”

His grin more or less gave away the answer, but Mara asked the question anyway. “Where?”

“Guess it’ll be your turn to show me around.”

Mara let out a squeal of delight and tightened her arms around him.

****

Two very special families met that evening in La’isa’s pool, forevermore linked by the bonds of love as Kindred of the Wood.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.


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