Chapter 8: Invited to Gaia’s Party
? Pikka-tink-ta-link! Pikka-tink-ta-link! ?
Kaitlyn dove across my lap for the living room side table where she’d set her phone down, exposing her bared buns to me while I dove the other way for the remote to turn down the movie we’d been watching: my choice tonight, Orlando with Tilda Swinton appearing in one of the most story-appropriate nude scenes on film, ever. Utter excellence!
As I was fiddling with the volume, Kaitlyn was chest-down on the couch across my lap, saying, “Oh, hi Carlo! How’s thing’s been going?”
“Yeah, we’re ready.”
Volume down and movie paused, I began a bongo solo with my freed-up hands — pattapattapat! — on my wife’s buns while she continued the exchange, “Well, Earth Day is mid-week, but you’d be welcome down as early as tomorrow, if you want. It’s Saturday, so you’ll be off, right?”
“Right,” she said slowly, drawing the word out with a smile stretching the side of her face, turned up at me half in annoyance at my persistent percussion on her posterior protuberances, half in amusement.
“All right, see ya, Carlo. And remember, you don’t need to bring any clothes if you don’t want, okay?” I heard a tinny laugh from the speaker. “I’m serious, Carlo. The house rules are clothing optional; I haven’t worn a thing since the twelfth. You might want to bring a spare outfit for use in town, but expect the week to be rather bohemian.”
“Okay, see you then.”
Rather than sign off himself, his reply sent her on a new tangent. “Yeah, that’ll work, but I recommend staying on I–70 past Green River, coming down Utah 128 instead. It’s a much prettier drive and calmer besides. The only reason to take one-ninety-one is if you’re in some kind of hurry.”
After another pause and an exchange of good-byes, she set the phone on the side table and pulled herself back across my lap to sit up in a kneeling pose beside me, fists on hips, telling me sternly, “I’m a blue belt you know, my annoying assailant.”
“Yeah, so am I, grasshopper. Wanna go two throws out of three?”
She pounced on me like a play-fighting kitten, her intent clear through the bond, so I let her win, ending up pinned face down on the couch, laughing, “I yield, I yield!”
She consolidated her victory by knee-walking up over my body to paddle me playfully in turn, evolving it into a gentle massage as she told me about her call, arranging for our acquaintance Carlo Dellai to come down tomorrow to celebrate Earth Day week with us, our tourist guide services in exchange for his graphic design services, getting our nascent massage therapy sideline’s marketing collateral sorted.
Kaitlyn observed, “Who better than a pair of nature mages to help a budding nudist celebrate Earth Day?”
Musingly I replied, “Earth Day…birthday… It’s Gaia’s birthday, Kaitlyn! And we’ll be showing up to the party in our birthday suits! Perfect!”
Shortly before lunch the next day, the upscale sedan Carlo told us to expect purred up the dirt and gravel path to our house.
Kaitlyn and I walked out onto the veranda to greet him in our skin, intending to begin as we wished to go on this week, but we did not expect him to step from behind the open car door’s concealment as naked as we were!
“I, ah, see you found us okay,” called Kaitlyn, clearly somewhat flummoxed.
“GPS is a wonderful thing, and your travel advice was spot-on. That drive down 128 was marvelous! I see I’ve dressed appropriately for the occasion,” Carlo said with a broad grin as he walked up to meet us.
I interpreted his developing blush as shy embarrassment at the start of his first social nudity experience. I was certainly not going to ask him how long it’d been since anyone saw him naked, but from the social signals I’d gathered, I wouldn’t have been willing to bet money on any time window under a year.
Carlo was short for a man, scarcely taller than my wife’s five-two and on the scrawny side, carrying neither extra fat nor extra muscle. As my discerning eye moved down his body, I noticed a large section of rippled-looking skin on his right thigh, then remembered Kaitlyn’s story from the Alexanders’ Halloween party: something about Carlo pulling a panful of bacon grease off the stove onto himself as a kid; yeowch!
He and my wife were quite a pair hugging gingerly beside his car, he more reticent than she until she said, “Aw, heck, Carlo, we’re going to be getting awfully close over this next week if I have anything to say about it.” Then she gave up on the shoulders-and-hands hug and pulled him into a deep full-body hug. He turned fully pink now, collarbones to hairline.
After she let him go, he came over to me and shook hands diffidently. We’d only chatted briefly a few times at the Alexanders’ parties. Kaitlyn’d spent the most time with him, being his masseuse at the Halloween party, the more social of us atop that, so the two of them exchanged most of the chatting as we got his things into the house, then sat him down to share our lunch.
“How much of the drive did you do like this?” my wife asked him as he sat at our kitchen dining table, waving a hand down his bare flank.
“Well, after our call last night I looked at the map online and saw that I wouldn’t have to go through town center to get here: there’s only that one short stretch down 5th Street from one highway to the other, cutting across Moab’s west end, just one four-way stop along the way, so shortly after I turned onto 128 where there’s that flat prairie section between the Interstate and where it drops down into the Colorado River canyon, I could see no other cars, at least a mile both ways, so I pulled off to the side of the road and stripped right there! I haven’t worn a thing for the past hour.”
I told him, “That’s quite a start for a newbie nudist!”
Carlo’s face fell slightly, laughing self-deprecatingly, “Just a start?”
We extolled him with some of our prior exploits until Carlo changed the subject, observing, “Did y’all find that it feels entirely different to drive with a seatbelt as your sole cover as to do without it?” When we nodded knowingly, he added, “Isn’t that weird?”
“Yeah, I remember,” I told him, thinking both of seat belts and sashes. “People are very strange creatures.”