Cahill stood waist deep in the cool lake water, watching through
the growing twilight as Amy began unsnapping her jeans. "I
don't care how long we've known each other. Y'all turn around
until I get in the water."
was an unnecessary gesture towards modesty. With clouds hiding
the full moon, there was little light, and she was standing in
front of the campfire. All Mark and the other three men could
see was her silhouette.
request was answered by an irreverent round of boos, whistles,
and cries of "Take it off. Take it off." Walt's voice
cut through the din. "Come on, Sis. Don't start playing shy
on us just because you're the scrawniest person here."
Marshall, you'll pay for that!" Amy turned her back to them,
shucked off the jeans, and began tugging at her sweatshirt. In
Mark's opinion, that silhouette in the firelight looked anything
but scrawny. Still, count on Walt to come up with the perfect
line to get his kid sister moving.
she joined them, there was a lot of horseplay, even a short-lived
football game featuring an old sneaker Willie found on the shore,
but very little swimming. It was during a lull in the action,
that Amy suggested Mark "toss" her. "Tossing"
was an acrobatic stunt that would involve him heaving her straight
up out of the water. If done right, she'd have time to arch forward
and re-enter in a controlled dive. They'd done this many times
in the past, but never in the dark--much less while skinny-dipping.
you sure?" Mark was both surprised and a little dubious.
course, I'm sure. Come on. It'll be fun."
everyone else began urging them to give it a try, he agreed. "All
right. But you guys aren't fooling me. All y'all want is to get
my head under water."
took Amy's hand and helped her into position standing in front
of him, facing away. The dark water lapped at her pale, bare shoulders.
When he asked, "You ready?" she nodded.
his hands on her waist, Mark exhaled to offset his body's natural
buoyancy and then began pushing his way down toward a squatting
position at her feet. To reach that goal, he had to use her body
to help propel and guide his descent. As his hands slid down her
sides and his body brushed against her skin, Mark found himself
struggling to ignore the feel of that warm, silky, and very naked
in position, he tapped on her feet, the signal for her to rise
up on tiptoe so he could cup a heel in each hand. When everything
was in place, he shifted forward slightly and she leaned back
against his shoulder, letting him know she was ready.
when Mark lost his struggle. The touch of her legs along his chest,
the smooth contour of her thighs resting lightly against his shoulder,
the sensation of her hip nestled against the side of his face,
it was more than he could ignore. There was an excited churning
in his stomach and a dizzy confusion inside his skull. His mind
wouldn't work. His body couldn't move.
twitched her legs as a reminder she was ready, but he couldn't
respond. It took oxygen deprivation to break the spell. Almost
out of air, he began propelling her upward. But the long pause
had gotten them out of synch. A knee buckled, a hand, or was it
a foot, slipped and while only halfway out of the water, Amy began
falling awkwardly back into the lake.
the choking and gasping ended, neither of them got any sympathy
from the onlookers. "That has to be the most pathetic excuse
for a toss I've ever seen," said Willie, his voice thick
with feigned disgust.
that was pretty sad, you two," agreed Frank.
two nothing, it was all his fault," insisted Amy, pointing
at Mark. "He even looks guilty."
become so dark, she was the only one close enough to make out
his expression. But Amy was wrong. The look on Mark's face had
nothing to do with guilt. Its source was a storm of other emotions
so strong and unsettling he could barely breathe. It wasn't easy,
but he managed to croak, "I'm innocent. And I must have swallowed
at least half the lake."
drifted closer and put a hand on his shoulder. "You poor
thing," she said, giving him a wink that belied her teasing
tone. "Do you need help? What about some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation?
I think Frank got a merit badge in first aid. Would you like for
him come help?"
personal," said Frank, "but if I've got to give him
mouth-to-mouth, I say let nature take its course."
strong show of compassion continued until Walt broke in. "I
can't stand it. I promised myself I wouldn't do this. But seeing
what a shambles you and Mark made of things, I'm wondering if
you want to try that overhand toss we used to do?"
overhand was tougher to pull off because the thrower had to squat
with his hands held shoulder high like a weight lifter about to
lift a barbell over his head. This made it harder for the person
being tossed to keep their balance. But since the thrower could
extend his arms straight up during the toss, if everything worked
just right, the results could be a high and spectacular ascent.
but Mark agreed he was unfit for duty. After a feeble protest,
he moved out of the way so Willie and Frank could get into position
on either side of Amy.
clouds that promised but again failed to deliver any rain were
breaking up. Bright moonlight now bathed the lake. This made it
easy for Mark to watch as, after a good deal of talk and shuffling
about, Walt disappeared beneath the surface. A moment later, Amy
went soaring into the warm, night sky.
was a high, absolutely perfect toss. Willie, Frank, and Walt were
covered with spray which partially blocked their view. Mark was
the only one who saw all of Amy's moonlight flight, and he was
he remembered the event, it was always in slow motion. The sight
of her wet, nude, nymph-like body soaring gracefully above the
lake was beautiful, and erotic, and devastating.
emotions still battering him instantly coalesced into a total
and all-consuming love for Amy Marshall. He'd fought against that
feeling for months. Thanks to another girl, he thought he was
winning. Now he knew better. He'd lost--big time.
a guy like him didn't stand a chance with a beautiful girl like
Amy. Making a move on her was doomed, and their life-long friendship
would never be the same.
he watched Amy's graceful, moonlit form arch slowly and then begin
heading back toward the lake. As she sliced through the dark surface,
Mark knew he was in trouble. He could have someone else; the sexy
party-girl he always thought he wanted. But he was in love with
Amy, his best friend, the beautiful girl he could never have.
Or could he?
Fullerton has a B.S. from LSU, a Master's
degree in history from Louisiana Tech and a Purple Heart from
Vietnam. His fiction has appeared in several publications, including:
USADeepSouth, DeadMule.com, and Rose and Thorn. Currently living
in Dallas, he's just finished his second novel, We Danced to
Ray Charles. Read