Kristen Chapter #9: Celebration

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Published on 23.02.06 11:23 Age: 14 yrs

Letters : 17927 Words : 3099

By: Nemo

Kristen's parent receive friends to celebrate her new job.

Kristen was in the shower for a long time. She kept finding little smudges of automotive grease all over her body. She scrubbed herself quite severely, until her skin felt raw.

Her nerves were raw, too. She was still shaky from the shocks of her morning at Black Knife Beach. She had hoped for a quiet weekend at home, on familiar turf where she could calm her nerves and sort out the conflicting emotions that raged within her. And now, this.

“You can’t possibly understand an earthquake until you’ve been in one,” her high school science teacher used to say. “You can read all the reports, listen to all the survivors and watch all the film clips. But until you have felt the solid earth turn to jelly under your own two feet, you cannot possibly conceive how profoundly an earthquake will change your world view.”

Kristen understood now. She had used the ill-considered word “indecent,” and—WHOOOOOOOOM!!!!—a huge hidden fissure had opened up under her feet. The familiar turf was gone.

Her own parents were nudists. Unbelievable! Young Kristen herself had run and played naked at nudist clubs. And everybody knew about it—friends, relatives, neighbors. Everyone had been in on the secret, it seemed, except Kristen.

Nothing was making sense. Was she dreaming? If so, she wasn’t able to wake up. And in a disconcerting way, this didn’t really feel like a dream—perhaps the life she remembered had been the dream, and she had just awakened to the real world.

Kristen turned off the water and let out a long, slow sigh that was almost a sob. She opened the glass door and pulled the large fluffy towel into the shower stall. She dried herself slowly and carefully. She was acutely aware of the feel of the towel against her skin.

Everything seemed different now. Colors looked more intense. She noticed the sound of the water trickling down the drain, the soft sound of the towel as it rubbed against her skin. She noticed the mingled scents of the soap and her shampoo. She heard the faint murmur of her mother’s voice on the phone downstairs.

Kristen carefully dried each foot and stepped out of the shower. She hung the wet towel on the towel rack and turned to the vanity. With a hair dryer, she combed out her damp hair. There was something comforting about the dryer’s blast of warm air. She played the hot air briefly over her neat little patch of pubic hair, and blushed suddenly. She was confused—she did this after every shower—it didn’t mean anything. But this time, somehow…

Well, things seemed very different now.

When her hair was dry and neatly brushed, she breathed another deep sigh that shook her entire body. Her outfit was complete.

Kristen desperately wanted to put some clothes on, but it was out of the question. Not after her mother’s bizarre psychodrama about ruining Kristen’s life by raising her to wear clothes. In his own quiet way, her father seemed to share the worry that they had blighted her life. It broke Kristen’s heart to see the way her parents reproached themselves. It was nonsense. “Indecent.” The word had been like a knife straight through their hearts. How could she have known?

She had to put their minds at ease, and this was the only way she could see to do that. No clothes, no matter what happened. It had to be her own idea. And she couldn’t let them see her embarrassment. She took a deep breath and opened the bathroom door.

She heard her mother on the phone at the foot of the stairs.

“—didn’t know anything about it… No, nothing… That’s right, she accepted it anyway… That’s what I thought… Well, we’re sure proud of her… Probably not, she seems to be pretty bashful now… Well, maybe… I’m sure it will be okay… Okay, thanks… Yeah, I just wanted to let everybody know before… Right. See you later.”

Kristen walked down the stairs as her mother started to dial another number. “Who was that?” she asked.

Her mother glanced up from the phone. “Kristen!” she said, clearly startled. “I thought you said you were going to take a shower and get dressed.”

Kristen forced a wan smile. “Well, I was thinking about what you said. I have to get used to being nude sometime.” Her body trembling, she shrugged awkwardly. “I guess there’s no better time than right now.”

Her mother’s face lit up, but a shadow of doubt instantly clouded her expression. “Are you sure? You look, uh… kind of shaky.”

Kristen tried to turn her uneasy smile up a notch. “I’m still a little nervous, I suppose. I’m not used to this. But you’re right. I—I’ll never get used to it if I keep putting clothes on.”

Her mother’s face lit up again. “Good,” she said. “Good. Now, I don’t want you to feel that you have to do more than you’re comfortable with. Use your own judgment, you know.”

“Okay,” Kristen answered. “My judgment is, uh, that I should just steer clear of clothes for a while. Uh, if it’s okay with you and Dad.”

Her mother beamed. “That’s just fine,” she said.

“Oh, so who was that on the phone?” Kristen repeated.

Her mother’s face reddened. “Oh, Kristen, I’m so sorry! I forgot all about that. We arranged a little party for you tonight. You know, to celebrate your getting the lifeguard job.”

Kristen struggled to mask her dismay.

“We arranged it days ago, before we knew you were going to Black Knife Beach,” her mother continued. “While you were taking your shower, I called around to let everyone know about your assignment, and—you know—the possibility that you might not be dressed. Everybody was pleased as could be. I didn’t think anyone would be offended, but I didn’t want to take a chance.”

Kristen’s mouth was dry. “When—when will they be arriving?”

Her mother glanced at her watch. “I suppose the first ones will get here in about an hour.” Her face clouded over once again. “I guess you’ll want to get dressed after all. Sorry. This was supposed to be a nice surprise for you, and it hasn’t worked out the way we intended.”

Kristen steeled herself. She clamped one hand tightly on the stair rail to try to keep her body from trembling. “W—would it be okay with you if…”—she swallowed hard and tightened her grip on the stair rail—“if I didn’t get dressed?”

Her mother gave her a penetrating look. “Are you really sure you want to do this?” she asked.

Kristen nodded.

Her mother squealed with delight and gave Kristen a big hug. “Oh, sweetie, I’m so proud of you!”

“Hey, keep it down out here!” Kristen’s father stepped in from the kitchen. “What’s all the hubbub?”

Her mother smiled brightly. “Kristen’s decided to stay nude for the party tonight!”

A smile quickly crossed her father’s lips, then he put on a stern and concerned expression. “Are you sure about this? An awful lot has happened to you today. We’re both happy for you, but I’m worried we might be pushing you along too fast.”

If they didn’t stop giving her opportunities to chicken out, Kristen worried, she really would chicken out. “If—if I can go naked in front of strangers at the beach,” she said, “I should be able to go naked in front of friends and family at home.”

“Maybe we can get you a robe to keep nearby, in case…”

No!” Kristen shouted, more forcefully than she had intended. She blushed. “I—I mean, if I get embarrassed, then I’m just going to have to face it, right?”

Her father’s face glowed with warm affection. His eyes glistened, and his voice trembled a little. “We may have screwed up totally in the way we raised you, Kristen. But you have grown into someone better than we could ever have dared to dream.” He stepped forward and gave the naked young woman a fatherly hug. Then her mother stepped forward, and the entire family gathered in a warm group embrace.

Kristen was sent out to relax on the patio behind the house while her parents finished their preparations for the party. She felt a little uneasy, stepping outside the house in the nude. But her mother was right—the only way anyone could see her on the patio would be if they climbed a tree or jumped the fence.

The air was fresh and cool, perfumed with the scent of the many flowers in her mother’s garden. She breathed deeply. The patio was bathed in sunlight, filtered by the trees. The air seemed to be filled with the music of a hundred sweet-voiced birds. It seemed to Kristen that her senses had never been so acute.

She reclined on one of the chaise lounges and closed her eyes.

She didn’t know what to expect this evening. Her parents said they were nudists. Would they undress for the party? Many of their friends were nudists, too. Would they undress, now that the secret was out? Kristen was resigned to the idea that she would be naked, but she felt uneasy at the prospect of being the only naked person at the party. She felt uneasy, too, at the thought of her parents, or her parents’ friends—adults she had known all her life—walking around naked at the party. What do old people look like naked? She slowly realized that she felt more uncomfortable about seeing other people naked than about being seen naked.

So much had changed since this morning. Everything was different now—everything. There was no going back. Such a strange, strange day…

“Wake up, sweetie.” Kristen’s mother was jostling her shoulder.

Kristen blinked and rubbed her eyes. “Did—did I fall asleep?” she asked.

“I think so,” her mother answered.

A thought flashed through Kristen’s mind: had it all been a dream?

“Come on in the house, sweetie,” her mother said. “The guests have started to arrive.”

Kristen started to sit up, and instantly realized that she was on the patio, stark naked. If this was a dream, it was a stubborn one. Her mother was wearing a casual outfit, different from what she had been wearing before. She had changed for the party, but she was still dressed.

Kristen followed her mother through the glass patio door and into the kitchen.

The house was crowded already. Several of the guests had brought covered dishes, and the kitchen was full of delicious smells. The scene was chaotic, with ladies setting out food for a sort of informal buffet, and a ragged line of celebrants snaking around the kitchen table, filling up paper plates. Kristen was the only naked person in the room.

Kristen worked her way through the kitchen, shaking hands and accepting congratulations from everyone she passed. It was like a scene from a dream—she was naked, and it was as if no one noticed. A few people told her she looked nice tonight, and she blushed. But they might have said the same thing if she had been wearing clothes. Some of her parents’ friends had brought their children. There were a few people of about Kristen’s age. Some of the boys eyed her naked body pretty intently, and Kristen blushed again. But she realized that these boys eyed her in the same way when she had clothes on.

Slowly she worked her way through the house, greeting everyone she passed. Most of the guests were gathered in the living room. Kristen dutifully worked her way around the room, acting the part of the gracious hostess. Many of the guests, male and female, hugged her. It was an innocent, friendly gesture—her family knew a lot of huggers. She felt a little grateful that she was the only nude person at the party. Skin to skin, those friendly hugs might have been a little awkward.

This was one of her parents’ parties, and her parents’ parties were boring. Once she had greeted everyone, the adults formed in little clumps and talked about their tedious adult concerns. The young people sat sulking in the corners, making a very visible display or their boredom. Kristen would have joined them if she hadn’t been the guest of honor.

Periodically one of the adults would come over and offer a few words of advice or encouragement. “I wondered when those nutty parents of yours were going to let you in on the good stuff,” her mother’s friend Melody said.

Some guests came bearing gifts, and for a moment all eyes would be on Kristen as she accepted the gift. A girl her own age brought her a huge pair of gag sunglasses. Someone else brought a child’s tiny sand bucket and shovel. Her mother’s friend Anne gave a more practical gift—a big, broad-brimmed sun hat and a pair of sandals. Kristen tried them on, and blushed when someone joked that she was overdressed.

Mr. Robinson, whose family owned and operated a spa where customers could rent a room with a tanning bed and a hot tub, offered a large bottle of sun screen. “We got you this when we heard that you were going to be working as a lifeguard,” he said. “When your mother told me that you were going to be at Black Knife Beach, I realized that wasn’t enough.” He pulled out a large display box containing a dozen of the bottles. There was laughter and a smattering of applause. Someone called out, “Try it on,” and a voice responded, “She’s already overdressed.”

Mr. Robinson quietly invited Kristen to stop by the spa on Sunday. “We’re closed Sundays for our weekly maintenance, and friends come by sometimes. The whole place is nude on Sundays—pool, sauna, exercise room. Feel free to stop by. You might want to spend some time on a tanning bed, to even out your tan.”

Kristen’s cheeks reddened. “Thanks,” she said. “I—I just might do that.”

A middle-aged couple stepped up to Kristen. She knew the man—a wealthy real-estate developer well known around town for his blunt manner and his crude wit. The wife smiled and nodded silently whenever the man talked. Whenever he paused for a breath, she stopped nodding. “Now, Kristen,” he said, “I want you to do me a favor. I want you to promise me that you’ll convince your parents to start coming back out to the nudist club. We miss ‘em, and I sure would appreciate it if you’d do that for me. Okay?”

Kristen shrugged awkwardly. “Well, I can tell them you asked,” she said.

The man seemed to weigh that answer for a moment. He didn’t seem very satisfied with it, but he forged ahead. “Okay, next item. Right after your mama called us, our son Tommy called. You remember Tommy?”

“Yes, I do,” Kristen said, with a smile. Tommy had been a couple years ahead of her at school, and his gentle personality stood in stark contrast to that of his ham-handed father. A lot of boys had been interested in Kristen. Tommy was one of the few who seemed interested in what she thought, not just how she looked.

“Well, he’s out there at that community college now, and he’s living with three frat brothers or something in a big old house that’s maybe a ten minute drive from Black Knife Beach. Okay? Now I wouldn’t mention this, but they’ve got this big vacant room up on the third floor, and it’s just going to waste. Got its own private bathroom up there and everything. Your parents being friends, and you knowing Tommy, I thought maybe you’d be interested.”

Kristen smiled. She had wanted to find an apartment near the beach, and this place had come to her. But she didn’t know—sharing a house with four men.

“In my day,” the man continued, “everybody assumed that boys and girls living together were shacked up. But times change. I know ‘em all, and they’re all good boys. You’ve got nothing to worry about. They’ve got a room going a-wasting, and you need a place to stay. Interested?”

“It—it’s tempting,” Kristen said, warming to the idea.

“It’s more than that,” the man responded, his wife nodding dutifully. “It’s rent-free. No sense begging friends for money. We’re not making a penny off the room with it sittin’ empty.”

“Rent-free?” Kristen smiled with astonishment. “That—that’s awfully nice of you.”

“Aw, nothin’ to it. There’s just one thing. Now, it shouldn’t be a problem, considering the circumstances. You’d have to stay nude in the house.”

Kristen blushed. Of course. Tommy’s parents were nudists. Tommy was a nudist. “A—a nudist house?”

“Oh, no, no. Of course, since our boy moved in there, the dress code in that house has become pretty damn casual,” he laughed.

Kristen was confused. “You just said I’d have to stay nude in the house.”

“Sure,” he said. “Pretty the place up a little. You’d go nude in lieu of rent.”

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