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Secret of the Wood (Part Two of Two)

Everyone has secrets, but some are harder to share.
Brooke sat in the anchor’s chair, reading the last of the news item on the paper that the cameraman had handed her. Other than the clothes she was wearing, she looked every bit the part.

“I’m Brooke Kline, for Channel Seven News.”

Dan and the crew who were there preparing for a real broadcast applauded, and Brooke’s smiling face blushed bright red before she covered it with her hands and looked down for second.

“You’re a natural. One take,” the cameraman remarked.

The station manager laughed. “Wish it was that easy around here all the time. I’ll go get you a copy.”

Dan walked over to the still blushing Brooke and offered a hand. She took it and stood, her eyes locking with his for a few seconds.

“You were great,” he said, his eyes lost in hers.

“Thanks.”

A slightly amused cough from the cameraman snapped them back into reality. Daniel nodded toward the front of the desk and led Brooke off the set. He fended off her self-criticism until the station manager returned with the copy of the video, and capped his argument with, “You’ll see for yourself when you watch this.”

Daniel held out his hand to the station manager and smiled. “Thanks, James.”

James took his hand and shook it. “Any time, Dan. Your Dad saved my butt in that bogus slander case. This isn’t even a fraction of the thanks I owe you.” He turned his attention to Brooke and nodded. “You’re aiming for the right profession, I’ll tell you that.”

“I hope so.”

“Back to work. I have advertisers to call,” James said, waving as he headed back to his office.

“Let’s go, so I can maybe stop blushing,” Brooke said.

Dan smiled and walked her out to the car. Once he’d opened her door for her and crossed to take his own seat behind the wheel, he turned toward her and asked, “So, did you have fun?”

“Yes. I never – ever – would have guessed what you were up to.” Once again, her eyes met his. “It was just... The most...”

Daniel’s heart started racing as she leaned toward him. She tugged on his wrist, drawing him toward her as well. Her lips parted, and her eyes drifted closed.

The kiss was something that he knew he would remember until his dying day. Though they’d kissed at the end of the last several dates, this was something far different. Their lips met in a soft caress that only lasted a second, and then she leaned back slightly.

“Thank you,” she said in a soft, shy voice, her face only far enough away to look into his eyes again.

“You’re welcome.”

A horn tooting startled them both, and Dan looked up to see someone driving by giving him the thumbs-up signal.

“Uhm... I guess we better get out of here.”

Brooke’s cheeks were once again quite flushed when she gave him an enthusiastic nod.

Back out on the road, Dan said, “I didn’t really have anything else planned for the day. Is there anything you want to do?”

“Try not to be seen in public with this stupid grin on my face,” she replied and punctuated it with an embarrassed laugh. “That was the sweetest, most thoughtful thing that anyone has ever done for me.”

“I was hoping that you’d like it.”

“I loved it.”

The word love on her lips gave him chills. “So, you hungry?”

Brooke nodded. “Subway sounds good. Why don’t we make a picnic of it, like we did that day horseback riding?”

Dan was quite happy to agree with that.

A short while later, the couple stepped into Dan’s spot beneath the elm, subs in hand. Brooke said, “I can see why you spend so much time here. It’s so beautiful, and peaceful.”

Dan desperately wanted to say that she fit right in, but didn’t want to sound as love-struck as he felt.

Brooke’s eyes widened and she whispered, “Look at that squirrel. It’s almost close enough to touch.”

He held his breath, but knew he was in trouble when another squirrel skittered down the tree, its claws clicking on the bark. He fed the animals regularly, and they were completely unafraid of him. A second later, the first squirrel did exactly what he hoped it wouldn’t do.

Brooke gasped when it jumped off the tree onto his shoulder.

Dan chuckled and shook his head against the squirrel’s bushy tail, tickling his nose. “Sorry, guys. I didn’t bring any treats with me today.”

“Wow. Do you think it would let me touch it?”

Seeing the wonder in her eyes sent relief flooding through him. He wasn’t going to have to explain. “Maybe. He likes his chin scratched. Move slow, and let him have a sniff first, so he can get to know you.”

The squirrel tensed when she tentatively reached toward it. Dan said, “It’s okay. She’s not going to hurt you.” He then looked back at Brooke. “Move a little closer.”

She raised her hand a little more, and the squirrel darted its head forward to sniff for a second. It almost immediately scrambled away to hide with only its eyes peeking up over Dan’s back, and then slowly climbed back up on his shoulder toward her. After a few more seconds of hesitation, it sniffed her fingers again.

“Turn your hand palm up, slowly.”

She followed his directions, and then he said, “Okay, give his chin a little scratch.”

The squirrel twitched its tail as she scratched its chin, drawing a giggle from her.

From the tree overhead, the other squirrel chattered. The one on Dan’s shoulder shrank back, looked up, and almost immediately leapt back into the tree. Both squirrels then climbed back up into the boughs.

Dan laughed and said, “That was his girlfriend. I guess she was feeling a little threatened.”

Brooke picked a long hair from the squirrel’s tail off Dan’s shoulder. “You must have been a druid in a past life or something.”

He nodded toward the ground, and the couple sat down on the soft carpet of forest debris. “You believe in stuff like that?”

“Yeah. You?”

“Sure. There are plenty of things we can’t explain. Maybe some of it is things that we just don’t understand, but I think there’s magic in the world.”

Little did she know that he had more than just blind faith to base that belief on.

“I’ve never really talked about it with anyone that much. People look at you like you’re crazy.”

“Not me,” he said and smiled.

Brooke reached into her purse for a bottle of hand sanitizer before opening her sub. She glanced up into the tree for a second and asked, “You don’t think they’ll be offended, do you?”

He laughed and shook his head, taking the bottle after she was done before opening his sandwich as well.

The hours passed unnoticed as the couple sat and talked. The kiss they shared when he dropped her off at her house that evening was far longer than any previous, and left him absolutely spellbound.

****

Ten-year-old Glen’s voice piped up from the back seat as Kia drove home from the store. “Mom, why is Uncle Dan acting so goofy?”

“He’s in love, Glen.”

He stuck out his tongue and declared, “Bleh.”

Kia laughed, glad that her son had chosen to wait until Dan wasn’t around before asking that question. Her brother had come to her – albeit reluctantly – looking for inspiration, because he’d exhausted his own ideas for dates with Brooke. She’d started with finding out what they’d done so far, and then moved on to how the relationship was coming along.

The look on his face had been priceless when she’d asked about kissing, and whether there was any tongue involved yet.

In the end, she suggested that it was time to surprise Brooke with the knowledge that he could cook – and not just on the grill. The timing was perfect, because she, her husband, and the kids would be at her mother’s house having a birthday dinner for Gary. That left her house free for Dan to wine and dine Brooke.

She hoped that he’d taken her suggestion to go sit under his tree and relax when she offered to go to the store and get everything he needed – plus a few special touches. He’d been pacing and fidgeting the whole time, and she had little doubt that there would be a track worn in her floor if he was still at it.

She pulled up to the last stop sign in town and checked for traffic. When she looked to the right, her good mood evaporated, and her stomach went sour.

Kia hit a button on her phone to activate the voice dialing and said, “Mom,” to make the call.

She had no idea how she was going to tell her brother that she’d just seen Brooke handing a file folder to the reporter who had been harassing the family.

****

Brooke handed the folder back without even looking at it. “Look, Benson, I’m telling you that there’s nothing to find.”

He waved the folder and said, “Oh, come on. You can’t tell me that you don’t smell something rotten about them. Surely you want to find out what secrets they’re hiding just as much as I do. Just look at this. Look at all that land they have. They have to be embezzling from one of those environmental activists groups that they’re part of.”

She shook her head. “You’re wrong. Nothing he’s said seems the least bit suspicious.”

“You’ve got to try harder than that if you’re going to make it in this biz. Shake that tight little ass of yours and jiggle those tits, sweetheart. Once you’ve got all the blood out of the big head, he’ll spill everything.”

Brooke’s skin crawled, and not just because of the way he leered at her when he said it. She’d gone into this doing exactly that, and the thought of it made her nauseous now. After all, it had worked all her life. All she’d ever had to do was bat her eyelashes and shake her booty to get her way with any man.

What Dan had done for her at the television station and the hours of sitting and talking afterward had changed all that. Despite her convictions from the night before, he’d managed to break through her armor. Part of her screamed not to be a fool, but the part that believed Dan really was what he seemed was winning.

When she was with him, she felt wonderful. When they were apart, thinking about him was like a mirror on her soul, and she was more disappointed with what it reflected about her by the moment. Her whole life felt superficial and sleazy now, and Benson standing in front of her was the perfect example of it.

“I’m not your sweetheart,” she sneered, and turned her back on him, heading toward her car.

“You’re making a huge mistake. This is a golden opportunity.”

She tuned him out and slammed the car door. He just kept waving the file folder and talking as she started the engine, and he was still doing it as she drove away.

The golden opportunity that she’d stumbled upon had nothing to do with Benson and his offer to put in a word for her at the station. She had made a huge mistake, but it was in missing what an incredible guy Dan was just because he wasn’t part of the in-clique at school.

Now, she didn’t know if she could handle the guilt of having started dating him under false pretenses, in order to seize that golden opportunity. Tears welled up in her eyes as she made the decision to tell Dan everything. She just couldn’t live with lying to him any longer, even if it meant losing him.

****

Though it had taken some time, Daniel had managed to relax as his sister had suggested. He’d actually dozed off after a short while, and a peculiar sensation awakened him.

When he came back to his senses, he realized that what he was feeling was a squirrel trying to root its way into the pocket of the jacket he was using as a pillow, while three others looked on. He yawned and said, “Hold on, you impatient little bushtails.”

After distributing the peanuts he’d brought as treats for the squirrels, he stretched and reached for his cell to see what time it was. As soon as he turned it on, it beeped to signal an incoming message, startling the squirrels around him. “Sorry, guys,” he apologized.

The message was from his sister. Come to Grandma’s. We need to talk.

Dan’s brow furrowed as he wondered what it could be. He reached up and scratched the chin of the squirrel sitting on his shoulder staring curiously at the phone and said, “Sorry, I’ve got to get up.”

As soon as his furry friend leapt down, Dan stood up to stretch and yawn one more time. Brooke had said she was going to be busy until late today, so he still had a couple of hours to wait before he could call and ask her to come to dinner.

He was just about to start walking home when the squirrels began acting very peculiar. The animals had all focused their attention on the elm, and their tails twitched with excitement as they chattered to each other. He looked behind the tree and up into the branches, but didn’t see anything unusual. A quick look around did reveal a deer peeking out from between two small pines, and a pair of rabbits near the brown remains of cattails near the pond.

The crunch of gravel from a car pulling up to Kia’s house caused him to turn that way, but not before he saw the animals all scurry for cover. Another beep from his cell announced a second message from his sister. He sent her back a text letting her know that he’d gotten the message, and that he’d be there in a little while.

He closed the phone, stuck it in his pocket, and looked up to see Brooke standing at the edge of the clearing.

****

Kia, Brina, and her father all regarded Xantina curiously when the dryad laughed. The news Kia had delivered about seeing Brooke with the reporter was hardly a laughing matter.

The nymph rolled her eyes, stole a quick kiss from her mate, and said, “All will be well.”

“But, Mom,” Brina started to protest.

The elder Daniel then cocked his head as if listening for something in the distance. He nodded his head and a smile spread across his face. “I think she’s right.”

“What is it?” Kia asked.

“Think things are taking care of themselves,” the family patriarch answered.

****

Dan smiled and walked toward her. “Hey, Brooke. I thought you were...” He trailed off as he got close enough to see her clearly in the shadows of the trees and could tell that she’d been crying. “What’s wrong?”

“I... I need to...” She took a deep breath and closed her eyes as a tear rolled down her cheek. “God, this is so hard.”

He paused before reaching her, the tone of her voice causing his stomach to do flip-flops. “What is it?”

Her eyes opened again, and yet another tear streamed downward. “That day in the park...” After a brief pause, resigned resolve crossed her face and she quickly continued, “I was waiting for you.”

“Okay,” he responded, not understanding.

“I’m... I’m not who you think I am.” She turned away, seemingly unable to look at him. “I was waiting there because someone asked me to. Benson – he asked me to try to get on the inside and find out what I could about you. About your family.”

Daniel knew the reporter’s name, and he could feel his heart break.

“I should have known it was wrong, but he... It doesn’t matter. I should have known. I’m a fake.”

“What does he want?”

“He thinks that you’re embezzling or something. He... He just doesn’t understand.”

She turned fully away then and quickly blurted out, “There’s nothing to worry about. I didn’t tell him anything, because there’s nothing to tell.” Her voice broke up in a sob as she finished with, “I’m so sorry,” and started to walk away.

Dan caught her hand before she could make her escape, and turned her back toward him. She looked down and away, refusing to meet his eyes.

“I know it wasn’t all an act. It couldn’t have been.”

“I’m a fake. I told you.”

“Then why are you crying?”

“Please just let me go,” she sobbed, and weakly tried to wrench away.

Daniel cupped her cheek in his hand and caught her gaze. “I don’t ever want to let you go.”

“But I lied to you. I spied on you.”

“Doesn’t matter.” His smile said it far more clearly than the words ever could.

Brooke’s lips parted and a little whimper passed them. Her legs seemed to lose all strength for a second, and Dan quickly wrapped his other arm around her to support her.

“If it was all an act, you never would have told me. You wouldn’t be crying. I know you. The real you. Not the act. Not the popular cheerleader from school. It’s you that I’m falling in love with, Brooke.”

“I... I...” she sobbed, and then leaned into his chest, wrapping her arms tight around him as if afraid he might vanish if she didn’t.

Dan held her close, stroking her back and hair as she cried. The animals, which had gone quiet when she arrived, returned to their unknowable conversations and songs praising the day. The wind kicked up, moving aside overhead limbs to let a brilliant beam of sunlight shine down upon the couple below. He was lost in the embrace, and had no idea how much time had passed before the squirrel jumped up on his shoulder.

The squirrel’s tail tickled Brooke’s face, and she looked up to laugh, tears of joy having replaced those of sorrow.

“Way to interrupt, bushytail,” Dan said to the critter sitting on his shoulder.

“It’s...” Suddenly, Brooke’s eyes widened and she whispered, “D-dan...”

He turned his head, following her startled gaze, and thought, Oh boy.

At first, he thought it was his grandmother walking out of the elm as if through a door. After the first moment of shock, he realized that there were subtle differences. The dryad’s hair was a darker green, and her breasts were smaller and perkier than his grandmother’s. The nymph looked around, blinking her eyes like someone who has just awakened in an unfamiliar place.

“Who... What is she?” Brooke whispered as she cowered behind him.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Dan tried to comfort her as the nymph took notice of them.

The dryad started at first, but then tilted her head and regarded Dan curiously for a moment. She suddenly smiled, recognizing the aura of nature that was his birthright. “Hello. What is this place? This is not my place.”

“It is now, Sister,” a familiar voice sounded from the trees.

Before he could think better of it, Dan turned toward her and said, “Grandma?”

His grandfather stepped out of the trees right behind Xantina, and almost immediately darted in behind his mate to cover his nakedness when he noticed Brooke looking right at him. His cover quickly vanished as the two dryads let out simultaneous squeals of delight and rushed toward each other.

The elder Daniel chuckled nervously and shrugged his shoulders.

“Grandpa, what are you doing?”

“But, you said your grandparents died,” Brooke remarked.

“Uhm... I actually said they were in a better place,” Dan weakly explained.

“Cat’s out of the bag now, Dan.” He scratched his head and looked toward the two nymphs. “I’m going to have to have a little talk with your grandmother about that.”

Brooke’s grip on Dan’s arm relaxed a little. “This is just... Wow,” she said, and Dan was glad to notice that she didn’t sound afraid.

“Grandma, who is she?” Dan asked, as much to break the short silence that followed as from curiosity.

“She is my sister, Xannera,” Xantina said, and then nodded toward Dan.

Xannera walked over and said, “My place had become very small and stinky and loud. I was so tired and lonely, but you brought me here. This place is very nice. I like it here. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, but I don’t understand.”

“I think I do,” his grandfather offered. “That’s her tree, isn’t it? The one he transplanted here.”

Xantina nodded. “He heard her weeping, and he helped her.”

“I guess you do sort of have an ulterior motive for all the environmental stuff your family does,” Brooke observed. Her voice somehow managed to convey amusement, curiosity, and just a touch of awe all at the same time.

He looked at her and said, “You okay? I know this is a lot to take in.”

“You think?”

Dan echoed her smile and chuckled.

“I told you that I believe in magic. I never thought that I’d actually see it, but I really do believe in it.”

Xantina gracefully glided over and let out a musical laugh. “She is very pretty, Daniel. I like her.” The nymph then clasped Xannera and her mate’s hands. “Come. Take our hands. Make a circle.”

Dan already held Brooke’s hand, so he reached for Xannera’s, since she was on his side. Brooke hesitated a second when Dan’s grandfather held out his hand, but after reassuring smiles from both men, she completed the circle.

“Now close your eyes,” Xantina instructed.

“Do it. Trust me, your stomach will do flip-flops if you don’t,” the green-haired Daniel instructed.

Dan watched Brooke close her eyes, and then did the same. He snapped them back open a second later when he heard his mother say, “Mom?”

Brooke let out a gasp, which wasn’t surprising, all things considered. Kia and Brina sat together on the edge of Xantina’s pool, their clothing neatly piled a short distance away. The two women shared a glance, and then slipped into the pool. Though the crystal clear water did little to hide their nakedness, it was the best that they could do to reduce the shock to Brooke.

“Come meet my sister, Xannera,” Xantina declared, and then dived into the pool. The other dryad was close behind.

“Uhm... My grandmother has an aversion to clothing,” Dan explained to a wide-eyed Brooke.

Xantina splashed him and said, “Coverings are silly.”

Dan wiped water from the perfectly aimed splash out of his eyes, and his mouth dropped wide open when he saw Brooke tossing her blouse aside.

“Dan, your eyes are as wide as saucers,” his grandfather whispered to him as he passed to join everyone else in the pool.

Though he tried to heed the friendly advice, it was difficult to do with her standing right next to him in just her bra. “Brooke, you don’t have to.”

“He’s right,” his mother added as she swam up to the edge of the pool. “It takes some getting used to. You don’t have to embarrass yourself to make an impression. We should probably get dressed, too. Mom will endure – though we’ll probably get splashed a bit.”

Xantina blew a raspberry at her daughter.

Dan bent to pick up her blouse as Brooke giggled at his grandmother’s reaction, but she stopped him before he could reach it.

Her face was bright red, but she shrugged and squeezed his hand. “I take my shoes off when I go to Aiko’s house, because that’s what they do.”

Dan’s voice sounded just as nervous as Brooke’s. “This is a little different. You sure?”

She nodded and lifted one foot to untie her shoe.

Another splash from his grandmother prompted Dan to pull off his now soaked shirt. His heart thundered in his chest as he tried not to stare at Brooke removing her clothing. He had a second battle going on as well – trying to stem the flow of blood rushing between his legs as Brooke revealed her body.

Dan had just pulled down his jeans when Brooke walked over to the pool and dipped in a toe. The water was perfectly warm despite the season, and the dark-haired beauty waded in a second later. The sight of her bare bottom entranced him, leaving him standing with his thumbs hooked into the waist of his boxers.

Brooke turned, her blush having spread all the way down to her chest, though she had a smile on her face. “Are you coming?”

Though he’d seen his family naked all his life, Brooke was something altogether different. Dark pink circles capped her abundant breasts, surrounding large nipples that stood stiff and erect. A neatly manicured triangle of curls adorned her mound, such a sharp contrast to the women in his family, who only had hair on their heads.

When his grandmother tugged on Brooke’s hand to guide her toward the center of the pool, Dan took advantage of her glancing away to drop his boxers and hop into the pool to try to hide his swelling erection.

The elder Daniel clapped his hands to distract attention from his obviously nervous grandson and said, “Now, let’s get to know each other, and see if we can’t solve a few problems.”

****

Dan sat at the candlelit table in his sister’s dining room, smiling at Brooke, having finally had the opportunity to cook her the dinner that he’d planned. Because of his family’s traditional Earth Day gathering, he’d moved it up to lunch, so that the two of them could be with the rest of the family at his grandmother’s pool later that day.

The last several days had been a whirlwind of activity. As soon as his grandmother had given Brooke her blessing by welcoming her, the rest of the family had forgotten any reservations that they had about the young woman. That proved quite valuable, because Brooke was able to offer a lot of help in pulling off the plan his grandfather conceived.

The family had put together a mountain of financial records from every facet of their lives, along with statements from accountants, law partners, and anyone else they could think of. They then invited Benson over to the house. Within a few minutes, the reporter had grown visibly bored with having everything he’d tried to acquire on his own dumped in his lap, only to find nothing interesting.

That’s when Dan handed him a gem that took his mind off the family. With a lead to government corruption in hand and the perfect sound bite of Earth Day to present it, Benson had turned his attention to the scandal.

The initial report had aired just this morning, and the words no comment had suddenly become very popular amongst a few members of the county council. Brooke had mixed feelings about Benson acknowledging her as the person who shot the video.

The vote to sell the land was off the table for now, but Dan suspected that it would soon come back up again. His father and brother-in-law were working out how to buy the land themselves with some help from the forest preservation groups the family belonged to, in order to ensure that it never fell into Greentree’s hands.

“Your sister was right. You’re a wonderful cook,” Brooke remarked as she sat down her glass.

“Thanks. Have I told you that you look beautiful?”

She curled a lock of dark hair around her fingertip and answered, “Oh, a dozen times today, but you can say it again if you want.”

The last several days had broken down any lingering doubts that Brooke harbored about Dan’s feelings for her. The couple had found several opportunities to be alone, more than a few of which she was sure that his family had purposely provided, and he hadn’t once tried to take advantage of it. Though she wanted him more by the moment, the time just hadn’t felt right, and she suspected that he felt the same way.

“You’re beautiful.”

“I hope you never get tired of saying that,” she whispered as she leaned in for a kiss.

“Never,” he whispered back between kisses.

“Why don’t we take a walk?”

“Hmm?”

She stood up. “It’s a beautiful day. Let’s walk down by the pond.”

He rose from his seat as well, blew out the candles, and took her hand. The sun shone bright as they stepped out onto the porch into the unusually warm spring day. Hand in hand, they crossed the yard into the woods beyond. Pine needles scrunched underfoot as they followed the trail.

“I’ve been thinking...” Dan said.

“About what?”

“About what I want to do with my life.”

“And..?”

“I’m thinking about going into politics.”

“Why politics?”

He shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I guess I just want to do something different. Maybe if I’d been on the county council, we’d have found out about Greentree sooner, and had a chance to do something about it before it got as close to a vote as it did.”

She smiled and snuggled up closer to him as they crossed the old wooden bridge spanning the creek that fed the pond at his spot. “If that’s what you want to do, then you’ll always have at least one member of the media on your side.”

There was nothing of hesitation in her voice, and that locked his decision in stone. “I’m going to go for it.”

She squeezed his hand, and he didn’t need any more than that to know she’d be by his side all the way down the path he’d chosen, just as she was on the path winding through the evergreens.

“Do you think she’s here?” Brooke asked upon reaching the clearing by the pond.

Dan looked around and shrugged. “Don’t know. She’s been spending a lot of time with Grandma, trying to learn about how things have changed while she was sleeping.” Xantina had revealed that her sister nymph had been in a sort of hibernation for lifetimes as the city gobbled up her forest.

Brooke led him toward the elm, stepped out of her shoes, and asked, “So what is your Earth Day celebration like?”

“It’s just sort of a time for us all to catch up and be together. We have a lot of fun. It’s not really all that different from any other holiday gathering.”

“Except that you’re all naked?”

Dan laughed as he sat down next to the tree with her. “Well, yeah, there is that, and the splashing.”

“I still can’t believe I took my clothes off like that. I wasn’t even thinking about it until you told me that I didn’t have to. It just doesn’t feel strange there.” She paused to laugh. “Well, not too strange. I guess it will take some getting used to.”

“Yeah, Dad and Steve say that I’m lucky I never knew any different.”

Brooke’s lips parted slightly, and the couple came together in a kiss. Dan cradled her cheek in his hand, tingling all over from the taste of her lips and the feeling of her fingers running through his hair.

The tingle changed into a chill when her tongue slipped into the kiss. Her hand moved down from his hair to his back, and her other hand glided up his leg. Dan matched her passion, his heart beginning to race.

Brooke pulled back a little to take a breath, and rubbed her nose against his. Then she whispered, “Maybe I should get some practice.”

She sat back on her knees and reached for the top button on her blouse. Naturally, his eyes followed her fingers as the first two buttons popped open, but then he looked up into her eyes. She wore a sensual smile and let her eyes drift closed for a moment when his gaze met hers. Her cheeks flushed slightly as the buttons continued to open, revealing the valley between her breasts, then her bra, and finally her tummy.

Dan stroked his hand up her side as she shrugged off the blouse, and she responded to his touch with a moan. Her breasts thrust toward him as she reached around her back to unhook the clasp of her bra. She slowly slid the straps off her shoulders, and gasped when his hand cupped the unbound globe of her right breast.

A shudder passed through her as her bra fell to the carpet of grass, leaves, and pine needles. Dan’s fingers curl around the entire swell of her breast and he looked into her eyes again. She gave him just the slightest nod, and he scooted closer.

Brooke let out a sharp whimper and stiffened for a second as his thumb moved to the erect point of her right nipple, and he took the left between his lips in a gentle caress.

Her soft sounds of pleasure mingled with the birdsong, becoming a part of the symphony of nature around them. He adored her breasts with kisses, suckling the tips and teasing them with his tongue. She mussed his hair, her body slightly swaying in response to the touch of his lips. When her other hand gathered up the material of his shirt to pull it free of his jeans, he paused just long enough to pull the shirt over his head and toss it aside.

“Oh yes, Dan,” she moaned when he returned to his labor of love on her breasts. Her hands roamed over his bare torso, tracing the hills and valleys of his muscles, and slipping beneath the waist of his jeans.

Dan’s cock throbbed in protest against the denim constraining it, and he had to sit back to adjust his swollen member out of the uncomfortable position. Brooke’s hands glided up his back to his shoulders, and she stood up in the same sexy, graceful motion.

He rose to his feet as well while Brooke worked open the buttons on her skirt. The pleated cloth pooled at her feet a second later, revealing her white cotton panties. She stepped forward, and their lips met in a brief kiss. At the same time, she popped open the button of his jeans.

His zipper slid down, and she pulled down on the denim to expose his boxers. The kiss they shared this time was far from brief, and filled with passionate anticipation. She traced the outline of his stiff cock with her fingertips, making him groan, and then squeezed it with a slightly surprised sounding groan of her own.

“Make love to me, please,” she begged in a husky whisper.

Some dim part of his awareness that wasn’t focused on Brooke sinking down to the ground again caused him to blush, as he had to struggle a bit to remove his shoes and jeans. Fortunately, the feeling lasted only a moment as he watched her recline to tease her breasts with her fingertips.

Brooke offered silent instruction when he finally managed to drop his boxers and stepped out of them. As he sank to his knees, she lifted her bottom and glanced down at her panties. He took the hint, and pulled the cloth past the swell of her hips, revealing the arrow of dark curls on her mound.

She lifted her legs to let him completely remove her panties, leaving one leg bent at the knee and allowing the other to settle to the grass as the cotton garment slipped from his fingers. Wetness glistened in the sunlight on her folds, and the breeze blowing through the trees conspired to bring the scent of her arousal to him, filling his lungs.

Dan moved forward and dropped down onto his hands, seeking her lips again. As they kissed, she reached between their bodies to squeeze and stroke his cock. “Please,” she entreated him again, and angled his tip down to touch her nether lips.

Only a slight shift of position and her guiding hand allowed him to sink into her warm, wet embrace. She let out a long moan as he penetrated her, and gasped when his tip settled in her depths.

Her walls squeezed him tight, and then even tighter as her intimate muscles contracted around him. Her head lolled back, and a sharp whimper accompanied yet another tightening of her canal around him. Dan remained buried deep inside her for a second, reveling in the sensation of their bodies becoming as one.

He rocked his hips slowly and said, “Ah, Brooke, you feel so good.”

“Mmm, I’m so full. You’re so deep,” she responded, her voice rising and falling in pitch, in time with the motion of his body.

Dan walked his hands backwards and straightened, wanting to see her. Her half-closed eyes popped wide open and she cried out, “Oh!” as the change in angle caused him to hit all new pleasure triggers.

“Yes. Mmm, just like that,” she encouraged him while a hand moved between her legs.

Dan’s eyes roamed from her slightly flushed face to her breasts, and down to where she tickled and rubbed her swollen clit. Her wetness coated his shaft from root to tip, and the sight of her nether lips clinging to him as if trying to keep him from leaving her depths caused him to increase his pace unconsciously.

Though her eyes closed often in pleasure, whenever they were open, they sought his. He could see a perfect mixture of love and passion in her deep brown eyes, making his heart sing. She fit him like a glove, as if she were made for him, caressing him in ways he’d never dreamed of with every slow stroke. He felt no need to hurry, and truthfully never wanted it to end.

Brooke began to writhe on the grass as the minutes passed, her musical sounds of pleasure growing louder and more frequent as they coupled. Her breathing quickened, as did the pace of her fingers over her bud. Though he was feeling the first tickles of his own release in the tip of his cock, it was far more subdued than he was used to, much like the slow pace that he maintained.

“Oh. Oh. Oh yes. Oh yes,” she whimpered, her voice steadily rising in pitch. “I... I...” Whatever she had started to say transformed into a long, almost pained-sounding cry that culminated in a squeal.

Brooke bucked violently as she came, the hand between her legs slapping hard to the earth. She arched her back, her mouth open in a silent, jaw-trembling scream. Her toes and fingers curled as she squeezed unbelievably tight around him.

Another spasm wracked her body, and her bottom dropped to the grass again. The cry of ecstasy trapped in her throat finally made a warbling escape, followed by a loud gasp to draw air back into her starved lungs.

Dan’s cock slipped from her with the second lurch of her body, but he didn’t care in the least. The sight of her coming so energetically was better than any orgasm he’d ever experienced. He stroked her legs and simply watched her gasp, whimper, and moan her way through the seemingly endless waves of sexual release flowing through her.

Finally, her breathing grew more regular, and the tremors of her body dulled into shivers. Her eyes fluttered open. She smiled, and let out a long, languid moan.

“Oh, that was wonderful. I love you, Dan.”

“I love you, too.”

“Mmm, kiss me.”

He was happy to oblige that request, and reclined next to her to do so. A lingering tingle of her orgasm caused her to twitch when their lips first touched, but then they both melted into the soft, sweet kiss.

For long minutes, they simply looked at each other, caressing each other’s faces and tasting each other’s lips when the whim struck them. Then, she rolled over onto her side to better look at him, and felt his still-hard cock tickling her.

“You didn’t come?”

He shook his head. “Good thing. We sort of forgot about something.”

“Nuh uh. I’m on the pill.” She curled her fingers around his erection and purred, “It’s so gorgeous.”

Dan groaned, his cock throbbing in her grasp. She looked into his eyes, bit her lower lip and offered a coquettish smile as she sat up. Dan rolled onto his back and admired her body as she stood. He moaned when she stroked her fingers over her moist folds above him.

He sat up as she sauntered past him, her ass swaying in a teasing dance. She walked up next to the elm and put her hands on the trunk, bending low to thrust her bottom out at him.

Brooke looked back over her shoulder, a wave of chocolate brown hair obscuring one eye, and wiggled her ass in invitation.

Dan never took his eyes off her as he accepted.

“Mmm hmm,” Brooke moaned as he reached her and stroked his hands over her heart-shaped bottom, clearing away the pine needles stuck to her soft skin.

His caress slid higher, up her sides, and reached her breasts. He gave them a slight squeeze, and then leaned down to trace kisses up her bare back to her neck. Brooke panted, pushing her ass against his cock, and said, “I love the way you touch me.”

She bent a little lower, and when that didn’t accomplish her goal, one hand left the tree to reach between her legs, attempting to guide his cock inside her. He got the hint, and moved one hand down to her hips, while he used the other to rub the head of his cock up and down her moist folds.

A push of his hips, and he was once again nestled in her depths.

“So good,” she said as her fingers went to work on her clit.

Dan started slowly, as he had the first time, but Brooke had obviously sated her desire for soft lovemaking. She pushed her hips back toward him with every thrust, each time a little harder than the last.

He surrendered a little control over his desire, his cock sliding in and out of her fast enough for quiet claps to sound with each deep penetration. Still, Brooke urged him on. “Faster. Harder.”

Inflamed by the incredibly sexy tone of her voice and the way she fucked back at him, he gave her his all. The previously subdued sound of their bodies coming together grew loud, her ass jiggling from the force of his thrusts. “God yeah,” he growled as the hot friction built up the itch of impending climax within him.

“Yes. Take me. Fuck me,” she exclaimed, her flashing fingers brushing against his balls each time he drove his cock into her depths.

The quick pace eroded his control, and he knew he wouldn’t last much longer. He slowed a little, trying to delay the fast approaching explosion of his seed.

“Don’t stop. I’m so close. Give it to me. Come for me!” The last word turned into a broken squeal.

He didn’t have much choice, as slowing down had done absolutely nothing to dull the feeling of her walls milking him. He was past the point of no-return now. Surrendering to the inevitable, he pounded his cock home, grunting and growling in exertion.

“G-gonna... Gonna come,” he warned, knowing he had a few thrusts left, at best.

“Yes! Come for me!” she cried out, and then loosed a scream of ultimate ecstasy.

As orgasm claimed her, her canal clamped down on him, setting off his own climax. Dan buried his cock inside her with a growl that shot up in volume as his seed surged forth.

“Ah, fill me up!” Brooke squealed, and then screamed again as another wave of beautiful agony shot through her body.

Dan’s cock pulsed, shooting his cream deep inside her. Every spurt was harder than any he’d ever experienced before, sending chills up and down his spine from the rare, delightful sensation.

“Oh yes, Dan. Oh yes. Oh yes,” she whimpered as his throbbing caused her intimate muscles to contract, which in turn caused him to throb yet again. Her fingernails dug into the bark of the tree while her curled toes pushed into the soft earth below.

His energy drained from him along with his cum, Dan’s head dropped down until his chin was against his heaving chest. The shock of yet another squeeze of her intimate muscles around him instinctively caused him to jerk free. She yelped as cool air kissed her hot sex, and her depths ached from the sudden emptiness.

Brooke remained standing, one sticky-fingered hand hanging limp at her side, while the other formed a pillow for her to lean her head against the tree. Dan wasn’t so lucky, as his wobbly legs simply refused to support him. He gave them their way and sat down heavily on the ground, offering him a perfect view of cum starting to well up from between Brooke’s nether lips.

“Oh, that was so good. I swear I could feel it squirting inside me. Did you come hard?”

“Uh huh,” was all he could find the strength to mutter as he decided that even sitting up was too much effort. He lay down with a grunt, his softening cock slapping against his thigh.

She straightened and turned to face him, grinning when he groaned at the sight of her dipping her finger into the cream dribbling from her, and tasting it. “God, me too. Both times. No one has ever made me come so hard – so fast.”

She lay down next to him and rested her head on his chest, listening to the sound of his heartbeat. He wrapped an arm around her and sighed in spent bliss.

****

Xantina cooed as her mate pumped the last of his seed deep inside her. Just up the hill, Brina let her head loll back and reveled in the feeling of her husband filling her full as she quivered atop him. Steve and Kia were likewise enjoying the first waves of their simultaneous orgasms in a hotel room in town.

Because she was so intimately connected to the members of her family, and they to her, every couple had shared their bliss through her magic – with the added spice of Dan and Brooke’s first time thrown into the mix. The lovemaking was as much a part of the family Earth Day tradition as the gathering afterward.

Even Xannera shuddered in orgasm, having brought it on with her fingers as she watched the young couple engaged in the ultimate expression of love beneath her tree. She was beginning to understand that this thing her sister had spoken of was a very nice thing indeed.

Xantina’s ever-growing family settled into the afterglow, sharing the love that was the true Secret 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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