Her arm swung like a hook, fast. My neck and shoulders tensed right before her hand hit the back my neck. Fingers squeezed into me, pulled me forward and down. My arms flew out to my sides, protective and ineffectual. Tensing up was a mistake. I felt the jarred rattling in my bones. “Stay relaxed,” I thought to myself, “Stay loose.”

I got a finger in her belt loop and was able to throw her off balance. She crashed down in the dirt right on her back. Her arms were up in the air trying to grab me, but I jumped backwards. She quickly flipped onto her side and scissored her leg, hooking my ankle. “Fuck,” I was down now too, landing hard on my hip.”

I knew what was coming. She’s fast when I’m down. She was on top of me in a heartbeat. She pressed my cheek with her own, pushing my head and forcing the side of my face deeper into the earth. The noise of the ground filled me, tiny sounds of dirt shifting magnified in my ear. I felt the pain in my neck and knew I’d be stiff and sore the next day. I gave up straining.

She rested on me. Her heart pounded against my chest. She had my arms pinned, but her grip loosened. Her face lay against mine as if I was her pillow. She turned her head so that we were looking in the same direction. Her lips next to mine, cheek to cheek. I felt her smile. She pressed my arms down, lifting her face and chest. She positioned her body on top of mine. We were the same height exactly, with a similar build. Our belts touched, our thighs, our knees. Her feet rested inside mine. She stretched my arms out to the side, her hands moved to mine, palm to palm.

Instead of kissing me and gently nudging my lips apart with her tongue, she simply said, “Open your mouth.” Sweet prodding wasn’t her way and it wasn’t my way when I was with her. I opened my mouth for her. She smiled at me and stuck her tongue in – I felt the warmth of her mouth, her breath, but nothing else. Then the tip of her tongue tickled the roof of my mouth. She licked inside my cheeks. Her tongue ran along the backs of my teeth. The vibration of her tongue firmly bumping along the thin, sharp edges of my incisors ran down my body with a jolt.

I could bite her fucking tongue off right now. It ran through my mind. The vulnerability of her exploring my mouth with her tongue while she owns me here, held tight to the ground. We were both in danger. I could bite her tongue off. Her blood would gush into my mouth. Jesus. The thought made me lift my hips and press into her. She forcefully pressed her own hips back against me and moved as if she was fucking me. She was fucking me. I pressed my teeth into her tongue and held her in my mouth, not hurting her, but making the possibilities clear. She smiled. Her hips stopped just above me.

We were camping with friends. We were friends, not lovers, but something changed on that trip. There was the first day when we hiked in and set up camp. I watched the muscles in her back travel under her thin, worn t-shirt. She used the back of a small axe to drive tent stakes into the ground. That afternoon, we all walked to the river. I was the first to strip and jump into the freezing water. She was the last, sitting on the rock warming herself and watching before we taunted her enough to force her hand. I saw how her pride drove her in that moment. She didn’t want to swim, but it was impossible for her to say no when she was teased. “Come on, I dare you,” I said. The words hit. I saw the glint in her eye.

The water was freezing, she yelled out as she hit the water. She was in it for only a second before crawling back onto her warm rock, shivering. I stayed in the water, swimming hard to stay warm. I was laughing with our friends, but secretly glancing at her as often as I could. I wanted to stare openly. I felt like I had never seen her before that day. I was swimming to the middle of the river and suddenly stopped and jerked around. I caught her looking at me and saw a deep blush creep up her neck and into her cheeks.

I swam back and rested against the pebbles on the beach to dry off. I wanted her to see my body there on the ground, my knees bent, slightly opened. “See if you want me,” I thought to myself. My body felt good. The river had a strong current and swimming in it pulled at all my muscles in the way that makes you feel fully alive. My heart beat with a deep strength and my muscles were strong and relaxed. I felt her eyes on me. I looked and saw her watching the river, but I knew she was glancing sideways at me as she sat there. I felt her taking me in. I felt the adventure beginning.

It was the second day when it really started. After breakfast, our friends went back to the river. We hiked. She wanted to run. I’m not a runner, but I kept up with her. We raced without acknowledging any competition. “Can you do this?” I felt her challenging me as she jumped over the small creek without slowing. I kept up. I pushed myself hard for her. I felt my chest burn. We both tired ourselves too much. We hiked back more slowly, not talking. She touched the trees. She reached out and pet them.

I walked behind her to watch. She wanted to feel the woods under her fingers. We came across a patch of Madrone trees and she stopped to put both palms on the smooth, red wood. She pushed the peeling bark aside and stroked the branches. I came up beside her and she held my wrist and put my hand on the tree. The wood was so smooth and rippled in big waves like a muscled arm. I wrapped an arm around her chest and pushed a hand up under her shirt. Her stomach was tight, clenched. I rubbed her. She held the tree, one hand on the young trunk and one on a branch. She relaxed and curved her body, suddenly so much more feminine and soft. “Keep your grip on the tree,” I told her. She let me explore her completely.

I slid between her and the tree, resting my back against it. I lifted her shirt and licked her belly. I tugged at her pants, pressed my nose into her hair. I smelled her sweat. I hadn’t kissed her yet. I hadn’t touched her face. But I jerked her pants down and fucked her with my mouth, holding her ass in my hands. I couldn’t believe she took it. She had always seemed so controlled and in charge, but now she gave in to me. I sucked loudly on her lips. I took my time. When she came, she jerked against my face. I looked up and her mouth was open, her eyes squeezed shut tight. My eyes were wide open, staring at her. She caught the drool at the edge of her lip with her tongue. I watched her. She let me.

I pulled her pants up for her. I stood behind her and pulled on her hip bones, squeezing us together. “I always thought you were a fucking cock,” I whispered. “You sat in the corner staring, silent. I thought you were judging all of us.” She breathed heavily and spoke to me in a foreign language. I don’t know what she said, but I knew it was a curse. She marked me with her words. She spoke for a long time, muttering under her breath, before she spat on the ground. “Fuck you,” I said and immediately regretted my ineffective response. I slapped her hard between her shoulder blades.

She turned around to look at me. Staring. She picked up a rock and scraped it across her palm. “Turn around,” she told me, and I did. She lifted my shirt and scraped my back with the rough edge of the rock. I let her. I imagined myself running on the trail and slipping over a steep edge, my back getting scraped up as I slid over rocks and roots. She dragged the rock against me. I enjoyed the pain.

That night, we fucked. We took turns. It wasn’t like we were fucking at the same time. She was fucking me. I was fucking her. It was one sided over and over again. She muttered in the same foreign tongue I couldn’t understand. I swore at her with my common language. We bit and clawed each other. She thumped the back of my thighs with her fists. I felt the bruising begin. I moaned. Over and over. Something breaking. Something learned.

We fell asleep after hours of this. We fell asleep while she fucked me. I woke up with her on my back, her hand between my legs. I woke her and we walked outside, naked and silent. It was black, a deep fog hushed everything. We shivered together, looking up at the moonless sky. She gripped the back of my neck and I took a quick, deep breath. “Look up at the dark world above our heads,” she said. “It’s all around us,” I answered.

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