PART 3: Busy Winter
Chapter 24: Halfway There
Our first semester of massage therapy school classes finished about a week before Christmas. Kaitlyn and I had over half of our required course hours, both of us taking a few extra credit hours, partly to bank against possible slippage in the spring semester but also to pack in a few extra skills. We’d checked on local housing costs and come to the conclusion that if it wasn’t for Jess’ help with the housing, that would have been the most expensive part of the whole affair, not the class fees, so while we had this gift of cheap housing, we wanted to pack in as many courses as we could reasonably manage given our time and schedules.
Regular healing in Jess’ back yard kept us from collapsing with exhaustion with this jam-packed schedule. Most days, there was snow back there, at least along the yard’s north-facing fence, but we went out anyway, needing the respite even if it did cost us some freezing wet streaks from the patio out to the lawn and back.
Jess converted quickly to indoor home nudism, and she’d joined us out in the back yard a few times under cover of night for massages and such while it was still warm out, but she’d stopped joining us once the typical evening temperature dropped through 10°C below room temp.
“Why do you two do that?” Jess asked us one night as we were about to go bare into the night again.
“It’s kinda fun,” Kaitlyn offered, giving a part of the truth.
“Lunacy,” replied Jess with a shake of her head.
“C’mon, join us!” dared Kaitlyn, and not for the first time.
Jess surprised us this time, bargaining, “What’re the stakes?”
“Every minute I stay out longer than you, you take one of my cooking or meal cleanup slots; my choice which,” offered Kaitlyn.
Jess scrunched her mouth in uncertainty. “I dunno, that racks up pretty quick. Five minutes per slot, straight trade,” Jess countered.
“Three to one?” Kaitlyn offered.
“Four,” bargained Jess.
Rather than shake on it, Jess just turned to the back door, switched off the patio motion light, and streaked naked into the night over the crusty, twice refrozen snow, gasping less from the immediate cold than from the sharpness of the breaking crust as she crunched through the top layer again and again. The cold would come in due course, Kaitlyn and I knew.
“Tempted to cheat?” I whispered at Kaitlyn as we followed Jess out.
“Nah, I don’t need to; she’s a newbie at this.”
“She’s better acclimatized,” I reasoned; “a Salt Lake native and more padding on her besides.”
Kaitlyn got a worried look on her face, but I didn’t feel her pull on a magical insulation blanket. She could walk naked out in the coldest weather as long as she remained awake to maintain such a blanket of trapped air around her body, but she’d chosen to take the honorable path, going toe-to-toe with Jess.
Toes being our body parts getting coldest fastest.
“The game ends when Vin arrives,” I said, taking up the role of referee. “If you’re both still out here then, it’s a draw.”
They nodded, but Jess asked, “You want in on this bet? Same terms.”
“Nah,” I said. “Now that you mention it, as the employee here, a lowly referee, I need compensation to stay out here! Hazard pay!”
“Oooh, poor baby!” Kaitlyn snarked. “You want a health plan, too?”
“Yeah, I do, one that pays off in certificates for sexy nursing services when I inevitably catch a cold this winter.”
“We’d do that for free,” the two answered simultaneously before cracking up in laughter together.
I smiled at that. Now I was almost hoping I would get sick this year.
“You know, Davie, that whole thing about catching a cold just from being outside in the cold air is bunk,” Jess pointed out. “The dominant factor is being stuck inside with more people than in the warm months, so viruses can spread more easily.”
“All the more reason for us to stay outside, then,” I joked.
Jess went on, ignoring my sass, “There’s even an argument for becoming acclimatized to it and getting stronger under the stress of it. Who knows, these naked winter sessions might actually reduce our chances of getting sick.”
I pondered this thought and the scene that sparked it, three naked people standing in a suburban back yard, in the snow under the moonless light-polluted sky. “Got any guesses on how effective it will be?” I finally asked her.
“Too few data points,” Jess said, shaking her head, “but we should run the experiment as scientifically as we can manage. Vin can be the control group, Kaitlyn and I will be the normal treatment group, and you get to be the double-treatment group,” she said, then looked wickedly at Kaitlyn, who grinned wickedly back, knowing where her semi-sister was going with this.
I caught up to their plan too late to start backing up and running, so they easily tackled me into the snow, then started scooping double handfuls of the stuff over me, stifling giggles. If they hadn’t been worried about attracting attention from the neighbors, they’d probably have been cackling outright, the evil, evil witches!
They let me up to my feet, so I took off in a lap around the yard to warm up rather than retaliate. I gave that up after the second lap, the wind from the run cooling me down faster than the exercise warmed me.
I was tempted to put on a magical insulating bubble myself, but I held off out of solidarity with Kaitlyn. Besides, I was kind of curious to try the experiment Jess had proposed.
Kaitlyn was beginning to chatter and so began doing jumping jacks, sending her firm perfect-handful breasts in jubbly circles over her chest.
I joined in with her backyard calisthenics, jogging in place, making my flaccid cock flop about despite the shrinkage. This was working better than running around the yard, I decided.
Jess — not being one for cardio — began high-stepping, occasionally pulling one knee up to her breast and squashing it in tight, standing on one foot. “Are y’all going down to Moab for Christmas?” she asked.
“Yeah,” we said together, and I added, “Will you be coming with us?”
Jess immediately replied, “Oh yes, of course.”
The answer was so fast and definite that Kaitlyn got a concerned look on her face. “I thought you had family up here.”
She said it without a chatter; the exercise was working despite the dropping temperature.
“No one close,” Jess admitted, clearly unwilling to explain more.
Wordlessly, Kaitlyn and I converged on her, wrapping her in a hug. “Incorrect: you’ve got us,” Kaitlyn whispered into her ear.
Just then, the backyard patio light came on, illuminating us. Vin’s incredulous voice came from a backlit form on the rear steps, demanding, “What’re you weirdos doing?”
We pulled back from the hug like a flower opening up to sunlight, arms still entwined but eyes looking meaningfully at the others. We nodded, let go of each other, stooped, gathered a snowball each, and pelted the form all at once, so smoothly it was like we’d rehearsed it.
“What’d I say‽” the voice squeaked as its owner fled amidst piff sounds from two hits out of three fired.
Shortly after the light went back off, we called the contest a draw and returned inside to enjoy a couples’ session in Jess’ room.
Jess joined us in our nighttime snow runs several more times that winter, but Vin refused each time we invited him out.
Of us four, only he got a cold that winter.