Off the Trail

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Ass

It was a dry heat, they always said.

Amaya brushed back a few strands of black hair and paused for water. In the shade, even the whisper of a breeze cooled her. This didn’t really qualify as hot, not yet anyway. Maybe it’d get there this afternoon. The kind of heat that soaked into your skin and your muscles and opened you up like a lover.

Amaya sighed and squinted at the slope above her. It was slow going skirting her way along the irregular riverbank, but she was sure this way was faster than her meandering path last time. She wanted to spend all day in that paradise she’d stumbled upon, and that had meant setting aside her usual preference to wander. She’d even followed the dull, official trail for the first few miles.

Amaya closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and felt the familiar thrill of arousal.

It wasn’t the kind of thing she was going to admit to Jacki. Her friend had shaken her head in her usual way.

“By yourself, Amaya? I don’t get you sometimes. You’re always the careful one except about this. You aren’t worried about getting hurt out in the wilderness? Or running into weirdos, or pot farmers, or, I dunno, mountain lions?”

“The only cougar out there will be me,” she’d replied, making air claws. “Rawr.”

Jacki had laughed herself silly over that, of course. Amaya’s fellow waitress was fifteen years her senior, divorced, with a kid in college and a long record of breaking men’s hearts.

Amaya took another breath, massaging her ass before moving on. It was the smell that did it, mostly, the sharp scents of coyote brush, sage, and even some pines down here by the river. After all this time it still wasn’t quite home, but it was near enough to rhyme. The woods were where she’d first learned some of the secret joys of womanhood, thanks to the clumsy, eager hands of Danny Paulson.

She still laughed when she thought about the aftermath. Making love on a bed of pine needles had seemed both romantic and comfortable, but she’d realized the mistake soon after. It’d taken over an hour in the shower that evening to extract most of the little needly bits. As for the pitch situation, in the end she’d given up and viciously mowed down her pubic hair.

Her relationship with Danny hadn’t lasted, but the lure of the outdoors had stuck. She’d tried to convince another guy later that summer, but he’d been too shy. And then Dad had died. Her mind hurried past those memories: her screaming arguments with Mom, their fragile finances, the cancellation of her college plans, the desperate move across country to live with cousins.

Amaya rounded a bend and sighted along the previously hidden canyon. Was this the one? There, that striking outcropping of green rock, framed by two gnarled oak trees. She’d been careful to remember from last time. Up above was her own private Shangri-La.

California was beautiful, and eventually she’d found a new life here. But even out in these almost-familiar hills, the memories pulled her back.

“So, where are you from?” she’d get asked, so often that it made her more tired than angry.

“North Carolina,” she’d say, and half the time the person would laugh, sometimes nervous at realizing their faux pas, and sometimes open-heartedly at her little joke. But of course they didn’t understand. India was postcards and Mom’s travel fantasies and relatives she’d never met. North Carolina was pine and ash and mountains and screaming ecstasy into Danny’s shoulder while he desperately pumped his cock inside her.

Amaya studied the scene for a while, letting her mind explore possible routes, filling in the details hidden from her view. She’d grown up wandering dense woods, and it was so much easier out here, with the trees sparse and the land laid bare. The thick brush was its own challenge, but animals found their own paths, and so could humans.

After a few minutes Amaya set off up the left side of the canyon, picking her way along the route that seemed easiest, detouring where she had to. Practically no one out here seemed to wander off-trail in these tricky areas, but that just made every little place so much more special.

She’d dressed sensibly as always, with a light long-sleeved shirt and some tough pants. By the time she rounded the outcropping she was glad of it. This route was certainly faster than the serendipitous one last time, but the brush was even worse.

Amaya leaned against the oak and smiled in satisfaction at the view beyond. A small creek meandered through the canyon, until the rock outcropping forced the water sharply to the side. Immediately below her, the creek spilled down a good thirty feet in a jumbled waterfall that was nearly hidden at this narrowest point of the canyon. And above the falls, the canyon floor suddenly flattened, its walls rising steeply on either side of a small valley. There the creek widened into a series of clear pools, bordered by lush grasses and a scattering of trees. Even the smell was different.

When she’d stumbled on this paradise last time it’d bostancı escort been late, and she’d had an evening shift to get back to. This time, she could take her leisure.

A dry log provided the perfect seat. Amaya set down her small pack, unlaced her boots, and pulled out her lunch. It was early, but she was hungry, and once she got in the water she’d want to stay.

While she ate, she scanned for the perfect spot. There, a few flat rocks sloping into a deep pool. She finished her lunch and found her little towel.

She undressed quickly, dropping her clothes in a pile next to her pack. The sun kissed her dark skin, warmer than any lover’s caress. Amaya’s breath quickened. It’d been a while since she’d gone buck naked out in the open. The outdoors always did this to her, but she’d never been much of an exhibitionist. When she’d hiked with Jeffrey or others, she’d sometimes snuck in a quickie when she was off-trail to pee. Two fingers working furtively while she was in earshot of other people—maybe the nerves added something to her excitement, but she doubted it. She liked it more when she could take her time on her own.

Maybe if she’d stuck with Jeffrey longer, she could’ve explained it to him. But it turned out there were a lot of reasons for going outdoors, and Jeffrey’s didn’t match up so well with hers. The sex had been all right, and she supposed that was better than not getting any. But it’d all happened in dark, musty bedrooms. She hoped he’d found some athletic young woman to go run up mountains the way he’d wanted. Maybe even now they were in a bedroom somewhere having boring sex.

Amaya dropped her towel and water bottle on the flat rock and waded into the cool water.

It wasn’t as deep as she’d hoped—just above her knees. But it was enough to immerse herself. When she popped her head up again, she felt clean, invigorated, her blood singing with the shock of contrast. Like being reborn: her own tiny sacred river.

She lay back on her towel, legs partly submerged, just enough so the water lapped at her pussy like a lover. The warm air and powerful sun dried her quickly. But even naked like this, she wouldn’t burn easily.

Years ago her mother had chided her about letting her skin get even darker.

“What, you mean like Dad?” Amaya had immediately regretted the outburst, but certainly Mom had never said anything like it again. Probably they both regretted what they’d said.

Her nipples hardened deliciously with the water and changing temperatures. Mostly she’d never been a big fan of her tiny breasts, but in the right circumstances her nipples could be incredibly sensitive. These were the right circumstances.

She circled them with her fingers, feeling the tingling heat build between her legs. She had all day for this. When she finally dipped a finger into her cleft, she was wet and aching with need.

Eyes closed, listening to the cicadas, sun baking her. No pine needles or pitch to worry about, just as well given the way she’d let her bush grow. Everything was perfect. She didn’t want to move much, or push herself too fast towards orgasm. Maybe she’d spend all afternoon letting her mind drift, her fingers working their slow magic. Fantasies unfolding, melting together.

This was her special place. She could be someone else for a while. Amaya, without all the faded dreams trailing behind. A body shivering despite the heat, drawing the scorching air closer to her bosom, reaching up to the sun itself. Filling herself through every orifice. Icarus didn’t know shit about making love to the sun.

* * *

Andrew cursed again, pulling out his map and GPS. He needed to get higher up somehow. This brush was atrocious. It didn’t show up on satellite photos or topo maps, and he’d kind of hoped it wouldn’t be this bad. But he was familiar enough with the area that he should’ve known better.

He looked up the canyon again. There, that narrowing point: he was sure now that the canyon hid a waterfall. He’d been pleased to see there was still water flowing in the creek, which didn’t have all that big a watershed. Thankfully it’d been a wet year.

Well, he’d promised himself an adventure. Another chapter done in his thesis, the longest one yet, and he deserved this. He’d really been hoping for company, but it wasn’t to be. Laura had gently declined his invitation and everything else it implied. He supposed it was better that he knew, but he still felt like an idiot. And it was going to be hard to set aside the fantasies he’d been building up for months.

It took another forty-five minutes of terrible bushwhacking to reach the base of the rocks, and he was drawn forward by the gentle roar of falling water. Several more minutes to work around the rockfall and actually get a proper view.

It was a nice waterfall, modestly bouncing down a near-vertical jumbled rock face. But that was about it. No pretty pools, nowhere even to sit comfortably. He took some photos from his awkward position sancaktepe escort and then retreated back to flatter ground.

Well. Was that it, then? He sat and ate his lunch while consulting the map. It actually looked as though the top of the waterfall might be a prettier spot. Certainly it was flatter, and if he could get up there he could explore further back up the canyon.

Retracing his steps to the trailhead would be quick. He’d wind up at his studio apartment well before dinner, and then he’d shower and sit on the couch and feel sorry for himself about Laura and probably just start work on the next chapter.

Andrew sighed and looked at the map and the terrain above him. Might as well exhaust the fuck out of himself.

The route up was easier than he’d expected. Apparently he’d already fought through the worst of the brush. Maybe he should have approached the waterfall from the side.

Andrew aimed above and to the left of the waterfall, where two trees framed a picturesque outcropping of serpentine. As he gained height, he could see the canyon widening ahead, and he caught a glimpse of green grasses and wildflowers. Maybe the canyon alone would be worth the effort. If not, well, at least he’d gotten a good day’s exercise.

Finally he worked his way around the outcropping and stood in the shade of the oak. It was indeed a glorious small valley, and to his delight the creek widened along the flat into some pools with –

His mouth dropped open and he blinked in shock.

A naked South Asian woman lay on her back in the pool, apparently asleep. She was slim and muscular, with perfect small boobs and an astonishing bush of curly black hair. Her face was all sharp, angular features, compelling if not precisely beautiful. But the overall effect was like a blow to his head. She was the most astonishing thing he’d ever seen. She belonged there, like a naiad, and he was intruding.

He knew he should quietly leave and give her privacy. God knows how she’d take unexpected company in such a remote spot. But he must’ve made a noise, or maybe she wasn’t really sleeping, because she shifted and opened her eyes.

* * *

Amaya’s mouth was dry. She smiled and blinked away a jumbled fantasy involving both Jeffrey and another man. Her body ached in that familiar way, reminding her she’d fallen asleep masturbating. Well, there was plenty more time for that. She trailed her sticky fingers in the cool stream, stretched, and reached for her water bottle. And then she saw him.

Her heart hammered and she tried to shove away the panic. She was utterly vulnerable, and who knows how long he’d been staring at her. She’d been so sure of her solitude. Fool.

She fought an instinctive urge to cover up. He’d already seen everything, and it felt dangerous to show weakness. She could be a cougar. This was her spot! He was the intruder, and he should be ashamed to be spying on her.

The truth was he looked shocked, the way someone might if they’d only just stumbled upon a naked person. Already he was backing away. A white guy about her age, hair tied back in a silly little pony tail that was festooned with twigs and leaves. Something about that comforted her. And the mood was ruined anyway. Even if he left she’d be half-convinced the guy was spying on her.

“Hello,” she said, her voice cracking slightly. She swallowed and spoke louder. “Didn’t expect visitors. Why don’t you come on down? There’s plenty of room.”

He stared at her for a few seconds. Desperately trying to meet her eyes and not her other parts. She had to give him credit for that.

“I’m sorry,” he said nervously, glancing away. “I had no idea anyone was here. I was just exploring, and wondered what was above that waterfall. Uh, I guess I know now. Have a nice day -“

“Don’t be silly,” Amaya said. “It’s hot out here, and this is a nice spot. You come up the canyon?”

“Yeah,” he said.

“A hell of a bushwhack, isn’t it?” she said.

“Yeah. Is there an easier way?”

“Not that I know. I came around from higher up the previous time, but that was after wandering most of the day. Less brush, but otherwise probably harder.”

This was her place. She was the one inviting him in. The powerful one, the Amaya who didn’t give a fuck.

* * *

He really should go. But she was being friendly, and didn’t seem nearly as embarrassed as he was. He was overheated and desperately wanted to get in that water. And she was so fucking beautiful. Just seeing her almost made up for Laura. Even her voice was pretty, some odd mix of accents. It reminded him of a classmate who’d grown up in Appalachia.

She splashed her legs and his eyes involuntarily flicked down at the movement. He looked at his map.

“Look,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting anyone. But now that you’re here, why don’t you come down and join me in the water. Don’t be shy. I promise it feels better after you dunk yourself. My name’s Amaya.”

“Andrew,” he found himself zeytinburnu escort saying. And just like that his feet made the decision for him.

Amaya seemed to relax as Andrew picked his way down the slope and dropped his pack on a nearby rock. He tested the water: deliciously cool. The canyon behind Amaya looked just as pretty. Maybe there were other pools and he could give her privacy.

“Andrew,” she said with an edge, “I’m feeling a little underdressed, so could you just get on with it?”

And then he finally understood, that she was a lot more nervous than she’d seemed, and she’d grasped at something to even things up a little. It made a strange kind of sense.

“Yeah,” he said, unbuttoning his shirt. “Sorry, wasn’t expecting company. I’m not thinking straight.”

He couldn’t tell if that had made her feel any better. With a sigh he stripped off his shirt, then unlaced his boots. If he was really going to go naked, he’d better get some sunscreen on soon.

Amaya casually watched Andrew as he undressed. He seemed genuinely nervous about the whole situation, which gave her a selfish reassurance.

He was pretty good-looking, actually. Not as ripped as Jeffrey, but her ex had been kind of a gym freak. Andrew turned away from her to pull off his shorts, and she realized she was staring at his ass. He had a better ass than Jeffrey. Better than most of her lovers, even if it was almost hilariously pale. His light body hair glowed golden in the sunlight. She hoped he had a lot of sunscreen. Maybe she could help him with that, on some of the usually-hidden spots. She couldn’t believe she was thinking this way.

He kept himself turned away from her as he slid into the water, hissing slightly with the sudden cold. He came up spluttering after a quick dunk.

“Refreshing, isn’t it?” she asked. He turned and nodded with a little smile, then quickly looked away again. He must’ve gotten an eyeful of her pussy from that angle. She found she didn’t give a fuck. She spread her legs slightly, feeling the warmth spreading again. The sun was nearing its zenith. A gloriously hot day.

“There’s a rock with your name on it.”

Andrew looked at the rock dubiously. He’d be showing her everything if he sat there. Not that he usually any particular body issues, but he was feeling a little small right now. The water really was cold.

But she was so pretty, and he’d be right across from her. She didn’t seem the cruel sort. With a sigh he pulled himself up and sat dripping. To cover his nervousness he spent some time undoing his ponytail to let his hair dry.

Amaya stole a few frank looks at Andrew. She liked looking at him. A sweet smile, and pretty hair once he undid his ponytail. Totally normal male parts, as far as she could tell in their shrunken state. He didn’t seem to shave his body hair, but there was no question who had the more impressive bush of the two of them. She was suddenly embarrassed. She’d kept it a lot better trimmed when she was with Jeffrey.

“Thanks for inviting me to stay,” he said as he worked on his hair. “I really didn’t expect to meet anyone out here.”

“Me neither,” Amaya said. “Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever met another person when I’m off-trail.”

“You do this a lot, then? Explore?”

“Whenever I’m out here, which isn’t as often as I like. But it reminds me of home. I used to do it all the time when I was growing up.”

“North Carolina?” he guessed.

Amaya was silent for a bit. She wasn’t sure why she’d revealed that bit of personal history. And then he’d guessed correctly. No bullshit about the Himalayas or whatever. It was depressing how much that meant to her.

“Yeah,” she said eventually. “I miss it. How’d you guess?”

“I have a classmate who grew up there,” he said. “Your accent reminds me of him. And he gets that same look on his face when he talks about it.”

It wasn’t Danny, of course. Sweet, stupid Danny. Her first. Whatever school Andrew attended definitely wasn’t the place Danny would’ve washed up.

The silence stretched. A comfortable silence. Amaya’s body had absorbed its fill of sun, and now it overflowed, leaving her humming with restless energy. She opened her eyes again, catching him watching her. And she didn’t mind. She wondered how he’d react if she took his soft cock in her mouth. The shocking thought sent her heart racing.

“This is heavenly,” Andrew said. “I still feel like an intruder on your spot.”

“I don’t mind at all,” Amaya said. “Though I suppose it takes away some of the mystery. I’d half-convinced myself I was the first human ever to visit this beautiful place. It’s so out-of-the-way.”

“It is nowadays,” agreed Andrew. “But a hundred years ago this was a lot less of a wilderness. Little mining shacks here and there, some homesteaders. That hiking trail was originally a road, after all. And then you go back further, before some incredibly ugly history, and this whole area was part of the Yuki lands. They weren’t any less appreciative of a gorgeous spot like this, particularly with reliable water, so I’m sure it was visited plenty over the years.”

“Oh,” Amaya said, feeling foolish. Andrew would already have a girlfriend from school. The two of them probably had philosophic arguments while he fucked her with that serious look on his face.

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