Chapter 12: One En-Haunted Evening
Kaitlyn and I were stunned when we rolled up to the house where the party was being held. It was huge. Three stories and probably 7000 square feet on the ground floor alone, all sitting on a large plot of manicured grounds. Cars were packed up and down side streets for blocks, and music flowed out through doors that were opening to admit more guests ahead of us.
“Tickets, please?” asked the tuxedo-clad security man on the front door. Jess handed them over, and he waved us inside.
Big as the place was, it was packed, and Kaitlyn and I were hampered through the crowd by the heavy folded massage tables we’d brought along.
Shortly one of the hosts came up to us and said, “You must be the massage people!” holding out a hand in greeting. “I’m Molly Alexander. Welcome to our party! Your working rooms are down this way…” she began, then led us off to a pair of side-by-side rooms down one hallway, cleared out for us and decorated to fit the party’s Halloween theme: low spooky lighting, fake cobwebs, scary props…
“These are great!” enthused Kaitlyn.
Molly smiled at her, thanked us for coming, then returned to her duties as door greeter while we got our massage gear set up.
I’d just spread a fresh sheet over my table when someone knocked on the door. I went to it and saw a handsome middle-aged woman dressed as some sort of industrial age iron worker: plain white tee shirt under dull blue coveralls, both grease-stained, sleeves rolled up in a workmanlike fashion.
She handed me a ticket and flowed past me, saying, “Here you go, young man!”
As I closed the door, I read the ticket’s face: “Winner! 15 Minute Massage” it said in big bold print. The term made me sigh inwardly, but I resolved not to complain to our hosts about it since we weren’t charging for the service; it fell under the law’s exception for gratuitous massage, right?
Underneath the bold title on the ticket were directions to the room they’d set aside for me. I inferred from this that our hosts had some kind of system set up to keep us from spending the whole party doing back-to-back massages, so I accepted the ticket and recited the formula they’d drilled into us in class, “Please undress to your level of comfort. There’s a privacy screen in the corner with a towel draped over it for your use. When you’re ready, please lay face down here on the table.”
She blushed a bit, apparently for a strange man asking her to undress, so I added, “Massage is about healing the body, so the more of it I have access to, the better the work I can do. I can work through your clothes if need be, but nude is best, if you’re willing.”
Her blush deepened. “Y-you want me to strip to my skin? In front of a stranger?”
It was worse than I’d guessed: her rational mind must have seized up on the word ‘undress,’ this country’s society having gotten to a point where they avoid taking showers after exercise lest someone see a naked person. My evergreen refrain since arriving in this country began again in my head: people are strange. Especially Americans.
I decided I needed to repeat my little speech, only with a bit more delicacy. “No, ma’am, you can remove as much or as little of your clothing as you wish, and you can do it behind that screen there. You can wrap yourself in the towel if you wish, and I’ll take that as a signal to keep you draped while I work, as much as I can consistent with doing the massage.”
She was apparently still hung up somehow on the nudity, having missed the towel bit entirely, because she tremulously asked, “And you’ll just calmly work on a naked woman?”
In my most cultured and calm tone, I replied, “Yes, ma’am. Please relax; you’ll enjoy it, and you’re utterly safe with me. This just works best naked, and it will soon be my profession, so I intend to do my job professionally. I am going to massage therapy school, you know.”
With a nod of decision, the woman retreated behind the screen, so I began to prepare myself. Knowing I had to finish getting ready before my client did, I slipped the scrub bottoms on underneath my wizard robe, pulled the robe quickly over my head, and threw the scrub top on, running a hand through my hair to repair the damage as well as I could. The scrubs were thin and white, which we’d chosen on advice from our instructors since it hid oil spots best. We were going to use these as our ‘fully clothed’ uniforms for skittish clients, deciding that tonight’s party was a good time to try using them. My first client was definitely one of the skittish ones.
I kept myself busy at a small side table facing away from the massage table dominating the center of the room as I felt the woman come out from behind the screen and lay down. I waited to turn until she’d settled, so I was surprised to find she was laying there completely naked, face-up, smiling nervously at me, a blush now spreading down from forehead to breast-tops. I had told her to lay face down, hadn’t I?
I put on a masterful smile and, deciding to keep my questions to myself, told her, “Thank you, ma’am, you’ll enjoy this. Please turn over to start with. A person’s back is usually where most of the problems are, the muscles there constantly working to keep a body upright.”
She was plumper than either Jess or Kaitlyn’s mother Mary, and I was happy to note that I enjoyed working on her, taking this as a good sign that I’d do well in this profession. One of my fears was that I would only enjoy working on the beautiful ones, coming to dread working on the normal people, but apparently I just enjoyed touching bodies.
I worked fast, 15 minutes being quite short for a professional massage. I decided to spend most of our allotted time on her back, leaving me time only for a bit of a rub-down on her front.
The blush was long gone by the time I had her turn over, but it returned for a brief encore once she was face-up again. “Everything okay, ma’am?” I asked.
“Oh, it’s glorious. I’ve never done this before, you know.”
“I had indeed guessed that, yes,” I replied with a wry smile. “And how do you find your first massage?”
“Oh, I’ve definitely got to do this again,” she replied, her blush deepening.
I was keeping things chaste, having a hard time sorting out these signals. She was clearly embarrassed at being nude in front of a strange man, yet she’d stripped anyway, not even making use of the towel I’d offered. Thinking on it while I worked, I thought I realized what was going on here, so I probed, “Would you like your breasts massaged as well?”
She went scarlet with this, laughing nervously, but shortly she said, “Yes, please! I thought you’d never ask!”
“You are the client. You can ask for whatever you like.”
That prolonged her blush. With a squeak, she extended her request: “Nipples, too? Please?”
“Of course, ma’am.”
Her eyes closed in bliss as I orbited her breasts with my oil-slicked hands, and I’d swear she had a quiet orgasm after a few seconds of me rubbing her nipples: she bit her lip, moaned low and quiet, and her legs shook slightly.
I decided that was my cue to finish, so I took a series of long flowing strokes down her whole body while her flush faded, then said in a quiet calming tone, “Time’s up, ma’am.”
My client smiled broadly while I helped her sit and then step down off the table, our brief session successfully completed.
As the woman got dressed again behind the screen, I slipped the wizard robe over my full-coverage massage outfit, being re-dressed for the party in seconds.
I debated whether to leave my client alone in the room, to let her finish in peace, but I decided that opening the door while she was half-dressed might not go over well, so I waited for her to finish, then escorted her out the door.
Seeing no one waiting for me outside in the hall, I decided I was correct in my initial guess that we were going to be given regular breaks to mingle and enjoy the party, so I followed my first client out, closing the door behind me.
I’d just finished setting up my massage gear when the room’s door opened, admitting a cute young guy wearing nothing but California beach boy board shorts.
“Like, ah, gimme a mo’, dudette…” drawled the guy as he popped halfway out the door again, then came in the rest of the way now carrying a small surfboard which he’d apparently propped up in the hallway to open the door.
He strode forward with his hand out, so I said, “Hi, I’m Kaitlyn. You must be my first client of the night.”
“Right,” he said, drawing the word out in a fluttery California surfer dude accent.
He presented a ticket, so to give myself time to study it, I threw out “Gnarly outfit!” that being as much surfer lingo as I could muster on short notice.
“Totally tubular, right?” he replied, maintaining the assumed accent.
I didn’t think that even the most hard-core of surfer dudes would be wearing nothing but board shorts on the cusp of November, even in sunny California. I knew from a brief LA area vacation as a child that the Pacific’s plenty cold even in late July, so I made up a story in my mind that he’d been off in Australia when that Trek Wars beam thingy had sent him straight from a beach barbie on the Gold Coast to the Alexanders’ party, dropping him right in front of the drinks table. I further imagined that his first line on seeing all that alcohol was “Radical, dude!” but I had to cut my musings short there.
I walked around behind the guy and latched the door quietly, taking the opportunity to check him out more thoroughly; he was tanned all over. I don’t mean an orange spray-on tan, I mean this guy really did look like a surfer, in the water every day. The only thing that would sell the costume better was if his hair was dripping saltwater. He was even muscled like a surfer! It made me all tingly.
‘Lock it down, Kaitlyn, you’re married now!’ I scolded myself.
Before I could begin my patter, the guy was stepping out of his shorts, the only thing he’d had on!
“I’ll just lay down here, then, shall I?” with a small smirk.
“Yes, please do. Give me a second, and I’ll get changed. I don’t want to get oil on my costume.”
“You’re welcome to dress as I am,” he offered, hands folded behind his head, supine and looking up at me, his smirk deepening.
I put my hands on my hips, lifted an eyebrow, and kind of stared him down, but before the moment got awkward, I thought, ‘What the hell? You’re also a bit of a nudist now, aren’t you, Kate-girl?’ Aloud, I said brightly, “All right!” and was amused to see that I’d wiped the smirk off his face and caused his jaw to drop. By the time I saw those widened eyes again, my wizard robe was tossed in the corner, and I was standing there naked in front of him, not even wearing footwear, since we’d wanted to be prepared to do magic at any time.
“Duuuuude…” he said, trying to stay in character, eyes roaming up and down my completely naked body.
“C’mon, flip over and get yer head down, me boyo. I’ll start with your shoulders,” I told him. I didn’t have to start there, but I felt I needed to keep a handle on this situation. When he didn’t begin moving fast enough to suit my desire for physical dominance, I clapped my hands twice rapidly and admonished him, “C’mon, face in the hole there,” pointing at it, lifting a bit on his hip to encourage him to flip over, guiding his head down, relaxing as I got my way. Satisfied, I reinforced the message, telling him, “That’s right.”
I then began a vigorous massage, enjoying the feel of his ropy muscles. “You aren’t actually a surfer, are you?”
“No, just lots of gym time,” he said, correctly inferring the reason I’d asked.
“It looks good on you,” I said simply, not trying to lead him on, but unwilling to be cold to him, either.
“Thanks. You, um, look pretty good, too.”
“Thanks. I’ve been a bike commuter for months, and I was a gym rat for years before that. Still go from time to time, mainly for upper body work.”
We chatted on like that, having found a mutually satisfactory topic, exchanging ideas about favorite exercises — slow leg lifts for me, bicep curls with hand weights for him — most hated exercises — burpees for me, running for him — and so on. He interspersed groans and sighs with the storytelling, and I was gratified to feel him loosen up under my ministrations.
“All right, turn over, please,” I told him about halfway through our session.
When he turned over, I think we were both surprised that he didn’t have an erection. I’d apparently distracted him pretty well with the chatting.
That didn’t last. As my breasts swayed above him and my hands worked his body, he stiffened right up. I was professional about it, not staring at it or touching it, outwardly continuing the massage as if he were sexless as a Ken doll.
Inwardly, I was contemplating his stiffy, telling myself, “I could really carve a wave on that stick…”
The surfer dude busted out in a belly laugh, coming up into a low boat pose!
“Did I say that aloud?” I asked, coloring.
“Oh yeah, you did!” he informed me through his continuing chortles.
“Inside voice, Kaitlyn, inside voice!” I scolded myself quietly, implicitly trying to excuse the slip.
He didn’t take advantage, just lay back down and let me continue. As I worked, his eyes closed in pleasure, and his groans and sighs resumed. I took the deflation of his stiffy as a sign of success: my massage was apparently better than sex! Well, as long as he kept his eyes closed, anyway.
I gave his belly a quick pair of light slaps, saying, “Ride’s over, me boyo!”
“Glassy!” he complimented.
I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or not, but he was smiling when he said it, so I guessed it was. He slipped gracefully off the table, bent for his shorts, slipped them on, and walked to the door.
“You want to get your robe on first, my wonderful wiz that was?” he said, glancing at the door meaningfully.
I’d wager that not too many surfer dudes can make a credible Wizard of Oz joke, so I gave him a broad smile for that and the thoughtfulness.
I then decided it was insufficient reward, so I slipped under his arm, opened the door, and walked out into the hallway, opening the door wide. No one was around, but I got my thrill anyway, which was doubled when he peeked his head into the hall, and I motioned him out. “Enjoy the party, dude!”
He just shook his head as he fumbled inside the doorway for his shorty surfboard, his eyes too busy tracking me to aid in the search. He eventually found it, pulled it out into the hallway with himself, got under way, and promptly bumped into a wall, having failed to pull his eyes from me yet.
“Over the falls, man!” he commented.
This left me mystified again. More surfer jargon, I guessed.
Then he turned to face down the hallway and got on back to the party, turning back once to find me still watching him. I waved, and he almost wiped out again.
I reluctantly went back into the room and squirmed back into the robe, a bit disappointed at not being caught; such a pity! I sighed and finished up with a small mirror in the room, straightening my hair from the mess the robe had made out of it. Then I pushed a bit of power back into the robe’s fabric, stiffening the fabric back up again, the task easing as I progressed, increasing the distance between my body and the robe through most of its length. “Hang loose, Kate-girl!” I told my reflection with a self-satisfied smirk.
I decided to roam the halls for a bit: this house was just amazing, and I wouldn’t likely have a better chance to explore it!
After about 15 minutes of mingling with the party guests, I hadn’t seen Jess or Kaitlyn at all, so I decided to check back at my assigned room and found someone waiting outside the door, a woman dressed in a bridal gown with metal bolts stuck to the side of her neck, pallid makeup coating her skin from scalp line to collarbone, apparently disappearing beneath the dress’s neckline.
“Bride of Frankenstein?” I guessed.
“Bingo!” she responded brightly, holding one of the now-familiar tickets out eagerly toward me.
Taking it, I replied, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to leave you waiting. I’m the masseur.”
“I hope you have wizardly hands, then. It’s been a beastly day,” she said. Without letting me respond, she said, pointing at the ticket she’d handed over, “Don’t worry, I just got here. See? There’s a printed starting time.”
Indeed, there it was, up in the corner. I compared that to the one printed on the first ticket, and found that they were half an hour apart. So, fifteen on, fifteen off. I could work with that. I recited the procedure to her and slipped my wizard robe back off, ready to go again.
As with my first client, this one also chose to go completely naked, but when I stepped up to her table to begin work, she said, “Do you have to wear that?” pointing at my scrubs.”I mean, can I ask for reciprocal treatment?”
“You’re asking me to undress to my level of comfort, too?” I asked.
“Yeah, but I’m hoping that level is the same as mine,” she responded coyly, rolling partly onto her side, displaying herself to me.
I was game, so I stripped off the massage outfit before her, widening her smile as I went. I figured this didn’t count as a ‘professional’ engagement; we certainly weren’t being paid, so no one was going to accuse me of stripping for money.
“So, where were we? Ah, if you’ll just lie back down?” I prompted her. I noticed that she chose to lay her head sideways on her hands, watching me rather than put her face down into the breathing hole or to look off to the dark side of the dimly-lit room.
I gave her the same brief but professional massage I’d done for my first client that night, though without any clear sign of an orgasm despite my work on her breasts, then helped her off the table. She didn’t go behind the screen to re-dress. She just plucked each item off the chair she’d tossed them upon and donned them in full view. I stood there enjoying the reverse strip-tease, then helped her into her bridal gown. As she was finishing with her accessories, I slipped my wizard robe on over my skin.
“Naughty wizard!” she teased.
I spun it back on her, asking, “So, did you find my hands to be wizardly, then?”
“Oh, yes, but I especially liked watching your…staff,” she replied, holding a finger to her cheek in a coy little pose.
I didn’t know how much of a ‘staff’ she could have seen, since I’d used my powers of concentration to keep myself flaccid, but I quoted, “A wizard’s staff has a knob on the end.”
“Ooooh, I love the Discworld novels!”
“Tonight will change how you re-read them, I’m sure,” I replied drolly, and escorted her out the door.
After finishing with my first client, I’d gone poking my nose around the Alexanders’ home, looking into every room that wasn’t locked.
One time I opened a door without a light on underneath and got a side-on view of a couple humping! I made my quick apologies, closed the door quickly, and got on down the hall. I’d have to be more careful. Or would I? Had they left the door unlocked on purpose? They hadn’t seemed too upset at being caught in flagrante delicto, though they also hadn’t beckoned me inside. Hmmmm…
The next most notable sight on that tour was a big den where they had several video game systems set up, console and computer. Jess was here, and she looked briefly up from her game and mouthed a ‘hi’ at me before returning her attention to the frantic action on the screen. She was playing a kobold in a game I thought I recognized, having spectated a few times while she played on idle nights over the past months. Yeah, definitely, this was the same game; she was playing her Meepo character again.
I didn’t want to butt in, so I resumed my tour, walking around the outside of the house through its back yard on my way back. How the rich do live!
By the time I got back to my assigned massage room, I’d spent perhaps 10 minutes just walking. This place was huge!
I poked my head into my assigned room and saw no one, so I flung the door wide and took my massage therapist’s scrubs behind the dressing screen and quickly exchanged my wizard’s robe for them.
As I was finishing up, a corpulent man came in the door wearing some kind of coveralls and hat. A mechanic? It was hard to tell with him backlit against the brighter hallway like that. “Come in. You are my second client tonight?”
“Oh, sí,” he said, affecting a credible Latino accent.
Thinking of my big brother, I silently guessed, ‘Hispanic mechanic?’
Shortly after the door closed, my eyes got readjusted to the dim spooky light in the room, and I saw Fidel Castro! “Very scary,” I commented.
He smiled and said, “I choot your counterrevolutionary blah blah blah in the head or something.”
“You’re already far past my skill level in commie guerilla banter. Here, let me show you what I’m actually good at.” I then gave him the standard opening patter for a massage. He went off behind the screen, coming out a minute later with a towel wrapped around him. This pleased me, though I knew it shouldn’t. Our teachers at the massage therapy school had told us to expect clients of all sorts. I’d have to get used to this or get out of the game.
“Please get up on the table, face down.”
He did, making it creak. I wasn’t seriously worried about it breaking because I’d been lifting it regularly for classes; it’d probably support the weight of a VW Bug! Irrationally, I wondered whether he was materially shortening its life anyway. Even if not, it’d probably make the customers feel more at ease if our tables didn’t creak when they got onto them. Maybe we’d best have some non-folding tables for this sort of case once we got established in practice? Something to think about.
I got started in on him. The feel of this man under my hands was a very different thing from the surfer dude, but I buckled down and gave him my best, both sides, and he left happy.
I slipped my wizard robe over my scrubs and followed my client out into the party. I’d just started looking for Davie when I saw him circling around the dancing area. When he saw that my hands were empty, he offered to go get us some drinks while I found a seat. Such a sweet man!
On my way to a likely looking spot, a bare-chested man wearing a beat-up pair of farmer’s overalls came up to me and drawled around the stalk of wheat he was chewing on, “Hey there, little witch, where’s your kitty-cat?”
I’ll never know why exactly, but I lifted the front of my robe and flashed my well-kept kitty at this cliché of a farmer saying, “Here it is!” Maybe it was that I knew how real farmers dressed, and this wasn’t it. Maybe it was that I was dressed as a mage, not as a witch. Regardless, this guy annoyed me, and I simply struck back reflexively in the first way that occurred to me.
While eyeing his dropped jaw with satisfaction, I saw Davie over the guy’s shoulder, so I pointed at him and said loudly enough to carry to Davie, “Do you want to see his familiar, too? It’s a python!”
The farmer whirled to see what I’d been pointing at while I dropped the hem of my wizard robe.
The man turned from the sight of my kitty and faced my hubby. Davie was quite a bit taller than the faux farmer, and I could see my hubby raise himself up straighter and attempt to broaden his shoulders, a clear primate threat display towards my provocateur. Nevertheless, my gentle Davie did the social thing and reached down to the waistline of his robe, gathered the fabric, and raised his eyebrow challengingly. The farm guy just shook his head ‘no’ and melted back into the party.
I laughed hard, almost spilling the drink Davie handed to me.
As we were finishing our drinks and preparing to go find our third pair of clients for the night, we found Jess and explained what we’d discovered about the massage session pacing to her, scheduling the wizard fight for the next break. We agreed to meet in the back yard in a bit over fifteen minutes.
As I was walking up to the door of the room I’d been assigned, someone else was walking up toward it from the other end of the hallway, carrying a ticket. It was another woman, this one in a tight black leather bodysuit, a black leather hood over her head, little leather triangles poking up from the top of the hood. “Catwoman?” I asked. She nodded, so I said, “I am the Wizard of Massage. Your ticket?” She handed it over, I checked it, and we went inside.
I gave her the spiel, but she said, “I had to get a close friend to help me into this suit tonight. Would you help me out of it?”
I tried to be professional about it and agreed. She just started removing the outer parts next to the massage table, laying them on my working side table, then she spun her back to me and began directing me how to stretch the leather over each joint as she moved like a contortionist to get out of it, revealing an inch or three of her lovely skin with each constrained move. Once we’d gotten it below her breasts, I could see she was wearing a black cotton everyday bra. Within two seconds, I saw that she was wearing a modest set of black brief panties to go with it, clearly not needing anything especially sexy under that bodysuit.
I was about to tell her she could go behind the curtain to finish stripping and grab a towel when she unclasped her bra, handed it to me, and slipped her panties down, all very businesslike. As I was setting them aside, she lay on the table face down, then asked, “You aren’t wearing that to massage me, are you?” pointing at my wizard robe.
I explained that I normally undressed and put on my massage uniform while the client got ready.
She said, “Well, fair’s fair. Your turn.”
I explained that I wasn’t wearing anything under the robe, to which she repeated, “Fair’s fair,” so I slipped it off, standing there before her, bare from scalp to soles. “My, you’re really in shape, aren’t you?” she purred. Yes, Catwoman purred at me! Be jealous!
“I’m a bike commuter, ma’am,” I said, reaching out for the tattered scraps of my professionalism, I having nothing else to cover myself in now.
“In this weather?” she scoffed.
“Biking keeps you warm,” I pointed out. “About the only time I don’t bike to school is when there’s snowpack on the roads; that’s just plain dangerous.”
“Sensible,” she commented.
I then patted the table she lay upon and added, “I also drive when I have to take this heavy thing to class. Other than that, I sack up and bike out.”
At the last, she looked down at my crotch. I realized after a second that she was contemplating sacks, so I interrupted her musing by asking, “Did you want me in my masseur’s uniform now?”
“Not if you don’t want to,” she offered, not breaking her gaze.
I decided I didn’t much like my new scrubs, so I began in on her like that, just as with my prior client.
At the end of the massage, I helped her back into the body suit.
“I notice it’s easier to get into the suit this time,” she said. “I wonder if it’s the oil or your skill in limbering me up?”
“Maybe just practice?” I replied, wishing to deflect the compliment.
“No, I practiced several times since getting the suit in a few weeks ago. You did this for me. I thank you, my bare-assed wizard,” she said, adding a kiss on my cheek. Then she walked out the door, leaving me still naked, framed in the doorway!
I dove for the door and closed it without being seen, as far as I was aware. Whew!
On turning back to the work table to get re-dressed, I noticed that Catwoman’s bra and panties were still on the side table. I’d been too distracted getting her back into the bodysuit to think about her underwear; my mind was on…other things. I set her underthings aside carefully in a corner and made a mental note to bring them to her attention the next time I saw her.
I slipped my mage robe over my head, arranged it on my body, and went off to get into a fight.
After downing my drink on the dance floor, I saw it was about time for my next client to show up if our inference about the schedule was correct. On getting to my door, I opened it and saw out of the corner of my eye a huge lurching figure following me down the hallway.
I fought my irrational fear down — you’re at a party Kaitlyn, not in some alleyway! — and faced the monstrosity. When he got close enough, I could see he was an astronaut. This wasn’t some cheap store-bought costume, either, it looked like he’d gone and raided Cape Canaveral!
“Good evening?” I said nervously.
He slid the visor up, revealing a gently smiling face which had been hidden before by mirrored inner glass and the glare off the clear outer bubble. Then his massive paw of a glove came up and handed me a ticket. “It’s time, right? My, uh, watch is a little difficult to see at the moment,” he joked.
“Sure, I just got here myself. I’m Kaitlyn. Come on in,” I invited him. “Where’d you get the suit?” I asked once we were inside and the door latched behind us.
“It’s a genuine NASA design. Well, a bit lighter and roomier inside since it isn’t actually airtight and insulated for outer space conditions, but it’s made from the same plans. They’re available to the public, you know; we paid for them,” he replied, referring to the US taxpayers.
“Ah,” was all I said, so he went on. “Although it’s not as tight as a real NASA suit, it’s still pretty difficult to get off, so would you help me off with it?”
As I began figuring out how to get him out of this massive suit, he continued with his story, interspersing it with directions about how to release various latches and bayonet collars and such. “I have a buddy out in Silicon Valley who used to work for an SFX house.” When I cocked my head, he said, “Special effects, as opposed to visual effects, so like real-life practical stuff, not CG. He used to build monster costumes and other special stuff like this suit for movies before he got out of that meat grinder and into software. Different kind of meat grinder, I suppose, but it pays better. Anyway, he still takes commissions for things like this on the side now.”
“Not to be vulgar, but how much does a thing like this cost?” I asked him while wrenching one of his arms off. He looked a bit embarrassed, so I butted in, “Let me guess, if I have to ask…”
“Yeah, you can’t afford it,” he confirmed.
“Well, it looks great on you,” I said, wanting to leave the uncomfortable subject behind. Then to ensure the break, I continued, “But let’s see if it looks even better in a pile on the floor.”
He laughed at this spin on the old bar pickup line and helped me get it the rest of the way off.
When he stepped out of the leg pieces, now wearing only his boxers, I directed him to the dressing screen and the fresh towel, reusing the same patter as before.
I pulled my wizard robe off while his back was turned, not wanting to embarrass him with my quick strip. I was back in my therapist’s uniform in a blink.
He re-emerged wearing the towel and lay face down on the table without any instruction from me. Apparently he’d done this before.
He had a bit of roundness about the middle, but nowhere near as bad as Fidel, I was relieved to see. I inferred that like his friend the movie effects designer, he had a sedentary job now, and it showed.
I was further gratified during the massage to find that he’d left the boxers behind the screen. That let me do a much better job, almost as good as doing without the towel entirely. People talk about buttocks as if they were a separate thing on the body, but they’re just the topmost muscles of the legs, so if the legs need massaging, so do the gluteus maximi in my limited but growing experience. Especially for people that sit on them all day.
He groaned when I began massaging his buttocks, then spoke, “Dragging that suit around is a chore. I think I’m going to have to hire you for a halftime break next Halloween, too! What do you charge?”
“If you have to ask…” I joked, and he laughed. “I’m not sure we’ll be back up here next year. We’re only in town for school.” I then told him about Davie and I, about our plans, and invited him down to Moab next spring.
“I hadn’t planned my summer vacation next year yet. That sounds great!”
I’d begun to see possibilities at this party. This might be our best effort-for-reward advertising! Maybe we’d have to come back regardless just to keep the ball rolling.
I shook the distracting thoughts out of my head, realizing we’d eaten a lot of time getting the bulky suit off, and we’d have to get the suit back on if I wasn’t going to avoid being late for my wizard battle with Davie! I hurried up on his back, then bid him turn over and gave him a more thoughtful but quick front massage.
“All right, let’s get you back into that suit. We’ve only got three minutes before I have to get into a fight with another wizard.”
He smiled at me, asking, “Beware of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger?”
“Damn straight, Buzz. Radagast the Brown has become wayward in recent years, and he requires correction. You’re welcome to observe the fight on the back lawn. C’mon, time’s wasting, let’s get that suit on.”
As I was wrestling him into his suit, he said, “Believe it or not, this is a lot easier than when I had a friend help me into it earlier tonight. You’ve done a great job with this massage, Kaitlyn!”
“Awww,” I said.
“Truly! I look forward to visiting you in Moab next year.”
After the astronaut left, I stripped my scrubs off and put the wizard robe on. I was going to need access to real magic for the upcoming fight.
Radagast vs. Gandalf, Fight!
Out on the lawn I saw my wife striding purposefully towards me, anger on her face. “Radagast the Brown! I call thee to account!”
“Thou arrogant fool, Gandalf! I did what any man would have done!”
Then I saw Kaitlyn gather a stream of moonlight and hurtle it at me, scattering sparkles in the fine dust I’d magically pulled up into the air as we closed the distance, the light scattering off the dust, making it visible to the few onlookers our shouts had attracted.
When the light impacted my chest, I jumped backwards with a shout, “Aaahh! You struck at me, thou overweening peacock!” Then I threw another beam of light back at my wife, this one gathered from the orange light of a tiki torch nearby, which I nearly blew out with a puff of air that I pulled over the top of it at the same time, causing a dip in the nearby light as I threw my bolt, making it appear brighter.
We exchanged magical faux blows and other non-specific insults like that for several minutes, running around the back yard, jumping onto swings and benches, I once lifting myself quickly into a tree to continue the fight from among the branches, using Gaia’s help to move rapidly and sure-footedly without needing to look. Kaitlyn followed me up with the grace of a monkey; our gymnastics drew several gasps from the crowd.
We’d gathered quite an audience by this point between the shouting and light show when Jess jumped in and broke up the fight. “Brother, sister! This is a happy occasion, here on All Hallow’s Eve! Let us go dance with the spirits of those passed and drink the spirits made by craftsmen past! No more fighting! Let us be rejoined, unified against evil!”
Then we all joined hands and gave a stage bow to the crowd, who applauded as we squeezed between them.
“What were those lightning bolts?” Jess whispered in my ear as we re-entered the house, which now felt hot and stifling to me. We’d gotten used to the cold and were plenty exercised besides.
I just waved jazz hands at her and said, “Magic!” in a dramatically mysterious tone.
She hit me on the shoulder but didn’t pursue it. After all, everyone knows magic isn’t real, right?
On my way to meet my next client, I ran into Catwoman again and told her what she’d left in the room.
“Yes,” she told me, “I know. They’re a gift. Perhaps your friend the blue wizard would like them?”
I could still see Catwoman’s curvaceous body in my mind’s eye, the spooky room’s candlelight licking its curves, so I just nodded and said, “Yes, I think she would. Thank you!” grasping her hand warmly.
By that hand she pulled me in close and kissed me on the cheek, then disappeared back into the party.
I walked to my assigned massage room and saw no one waiting outside, and on opening the door, saw no one inside either, so I decided to try dashing into my massage outfit again quickly before the next one arrived.
Just as soon as I’d gotten the robe over my head and onto a side chair, the door opened, framing a figure in the brighter hallway light. I could see only a silhouette, my eyes previously having adjusted for the dim candlelight in the massage room.
My hands flew to my crotch as I said, “Oh, sorry, just changing!”
“Relax, I’ve already seen it,” said the figure in a low contralto. “The lower half, anyway. What else did you think those gasps were for when you were swinging through the trees out there?”
“I…thought they were impressed by my acrobatics,” I said sheepishly.
“Oh, that, too, but me and my girlfriends were most impressed by the rest of the show, I’ll tell you that.” Then she closed the door behind her, allowing my eyes to dilate again, revealing a young overweight woman wearing a traditional witch’s costume: black everything, conical hat, the works.
“I’ll just get into my masseur’s uniform, then?” I asked tentatively, wanting to get back to the task she’d interrupted.
“I’d rather you didn’t. Here, help me out of this costume.”
It wasn’t that I was embarrassed, per se. I was proud of my body and not afraid to show it, but I didn’t want to get thrown out of this party into the cold night street without keys to the car. But, I figured that request counted as consent, so just as with my prior two clients, I helped this one undress.
While I worked, I considered how unlikely it was that all four of my clients tonight would be female, if they were holding some kind of random drawing for the tickets. Were they pre-sorting them into two drawings, me getting the female clients, Kaitlyn getting all the men? I’d have to ask her.
I quickly had the round little witch in her skin and helped her onto the table. “Would you like a towel?” I asked solicitously.
“I don’t need it if you don’t,” she said, so I got to work.
After I flipped her over, she asked, “Would you show me some more acrobatics? Please?” she added, almost begging.
“What would you like to see?”
“Will this table hold the both of us?”
Wary, I said, “Yes,” drawing out the word.
“Straddle me while you work. I want to watch you. Just watch,” and she held her hands up beside her head in a ‘hands off’ gesture.
I dutifully climbed up, straddled her, and worked her body from above, feeling the fleshy rolls move under my fingers, using my memories of anatomy from class and Gaia to guide my strokes. I could tell that she wanted to close her eyes, but she also wanted to keep looking, so I began to sway my body in a slow rhythm, trying to hypnotize her. Her eyes got heavier as I worked, but never quite closed until I said quietly, “Time’s up.”
She sighed and closed her eyes resignedly then let me help her down off the table and back into her costume. She drunk my body in as she slowly re-dressed, then got a small smirk on her face as she quickly stepped to the door and then pulled it wide open after herself, skipping quickly down the hall.
‘Evil, evil little witch,’ I thought wryly to myself, realizing I’d have to either step naked into the hall to close it or dress quickly with the door left wide open, hoping no one would walk down the hall. I opted for the latter, bending far forward to pick my robe up off the floor without showing myself to the hallway any more than I had to, then retreated deeper into the room to throw it over my head.
My breathing began to slow as I realized I’d made it.
I walked back to my room, leaving Davie talking with some leather-clad minx. I hoped he’d tell me about her, because I couldn’t stop and find out for myself: I had a massage to get to.
In the hallway I saw a silhouette of a cliché cowboy before my door, standing in a classic bowlegged stance, one hand at his hip. “Reach for the sky!” he demanded.
“Best let it go,” I advised him. “Many’s the afternoon I’ve made a ragged hole in the center of the target with a 1911 at 15 yards, but tonight you’re especially unlucky, me boyo, because I’ve got my wizard staff on me, and it’s already drawn. Best concede right now, else you’ll shortly be a small cone of ash on the carpet, at the mercy of the Roomba’s next pass through this hallway.”
“All right, ya got me!” he acceded, giving up on the fight.
“Most sensible,” I agreed, returning my staff to the vertical position from the cocked double-handed pose I’d taken upon receiving his impertinent challenge. “I’m Kaitlyn,” I greeted him with a smile. “You’re my next client?”
“Indeed, ma’am,” he said.
“Come on in,” I bade him, watching his massive Stetson pass by as he walked inside. Then noticing something else, I said to his back, “You wanna leave those chaps on through the massage?”
I saw his neck turn pink, and he turned to me stammering, “I-I, ah-ah, th-th-think I’ll, ah, leave them behind the screen. Over there,” he said, pointing into the dark corner where the dressing screen stood.
“As you wish, Mr. Earp,” I said, then watched him retreat behind the screen. I saw that he was short enough that he couldn’t see over it, so once he was behind it, I slipped my wizard robe off and quickly pulled on my therapist’s scrubs. It was quite a thrill to re-dress on the other side of a dressing screen like that!
Then I realized that movement behind the screen had stopped, and I saw the cowboy peeking through a gap in the screen! I’d been caught after all! “I, um, thought you couldn’t see me,” I said with an embarrassed flush climbing my face from chest level.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be peeking,” he said from behind the screen. “I just heard cloth rustling and wanted to know what was up. Sorry,” he repeated.
“Well, my husband and I have a policy when it comes to friendly massages: since we invite the receiver to undress to their level of comfort, we think they should also get to tell us to undress to their level of comfort, too. I didn’t offer before, and I should have, so I’m the one who should be apologizing.” He didn’t respond to that, so I went on, “That means you can tell me to re-dress to any level I can with what I have on hand. That’s the wizard robe you’ve seen already, these scrubs, or nothing at all, if that’s what you want.”
He remained silent, but he came around the screen wearing the towel, worn up around his chest. He was blushing like a schoolgirl caught walking out of the showers by the coach! He stammered, “I-I-I d-d-don’t think I could ask you to und-d-d-dress, since I’m not w-w-w-willing to m-myself,” he said, waving at his towel-wrapped body.
“It’s not about fair, it’s about your comfort. You’re the client,” I pointed out.
“Well, then doubly so. I’d be very distracted seeing you naked,” he said, then belatedly added “again.”
“As you wish. Please take that flash as a bonus, then, not as an attempt to shock you, all right?”
“I certainly shall,” he said, smiling at me nervously.
“Climb on up there and lay face down,” I said, then began the massage, taking his extreme use of the towel as a hint to be very careful about draping.
Halfway along the back-side massage, I found I’d gotten another underwear client. Sigh. Well, his loss, I supposed.
I finished him up and decided to just slip the wizard robe over my head and leave the room while he dressed, deciding my bashful client would be more comfortable alone.
Out in the crowd, I found Kaitlyn, drink already in hand this time. I asked her, “Hey, have all your clients been male?”
“How did you guess?”
“Mine have all been female,” I replied with a small smile.
“It could make a girl jealous,” she replied mysteriously.
“Are you going to be telling me any stories tonight?”
“Depends, will you have stories for me?”
“Oh yeah. Every one of mine has been a trip.” Kaitlyn got a surprised look on her face, so I went on, “Not too sexy, but as for yourself, keep to our rules, and I’ll be fine with it, okay?”
As she was nodding agreement, someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was another witch who gestured me to bend down to her ear in the noisy crowd. She whispered, “I want to get a special massage. My, ah, friend told me what you did for her.”
I looked at Kaitlyn, then returned my head to the short witch, this one much slimmer than her friend and said, “I’m married. There are rules.”
“Oh, I’m not asking you to do anything you didn’t for her, only…” She paused, steeling herself to her request, she finally asked, “I want to do it out in the solarium! Fully naked, the both of us!”
“Will our hosts let us do that?” I asked.
“Oh, I’m really good friends with the Alexanders. I think they’ll be fine with it. Anyone gets mad, I’ll tell them it’s all my idea. So please? Will you do that for me?”
“Well, we’re on break, but we could give you a quickie out there. You’re sure about this?” I asked.
“Sure hell, I’m buzzing with anticipation!” She bounced deliberately on her toes a few times to punctuate the point. “But what do you mean ‘we’?”
“This is my wife Kaitlyn,” I said, putting my arm around her. “She’s acting as masseuse here tonight as well. How would you like to make it a four-handed massage?”
This grown woman let out a positive squee of delight, bouncing quite unconsciously now and much more rapidly than the affected way she’d done before. “Oh yes, oh yes, please!”
Kaitlyn smiled broadly at that and led her out to the solarium while I ran off to fetch some supplies from my room.
When I got back, I had to push my way through a crowd lining the walls of the room, politely but insistently. Standing in the center of the room among the patio furniture was the slender witch, stripped to the waist, Kaitlyn slowly undressing her as people around the pair pushed in for a look. All along the glass between the solarium’s interior and the back yard were more onlookers.
I spread a towel over a low strong-looking metal patio table, then arranged the other massage things on the ground nearby.
By the time I was done, the slender witch was stepping bare out from the pooled costume at her feet.
Kaitlyn helped her down onto the table, then came over to me and held her arms up, silently asking me to remove her wizard robe. There was a gasp when the crowd saw that she was completely naked underneath.
I held my hands up in turn, and Kaitlyn repeated the stripping, earning more sighs than gasps this time. We set our robes aside and began work on the witch, Kaitlyn on one side of the table, me on the other.
We did our work with unusual amounts of swaying, playing to the crowd, but keeping it chaste.
When we flipped our client over, we saw a nervous but broad smile on her face which relaxed into pure bliss as we continued our work.
Just as we were about to finish, our client lifted her head enough to reach for one of the bowls I kept my warmed oil in, wetting her fingertips thoroughly, then lay her head back, drew her knees up and apart, and began rubbing herself with her oil-slicked digits!
Kaitlyn and I looked at each other, and I shrugged. This wasn’t paid work, so we could join our client’s implicit invitation or not, as we chose. Kaitlyn re-lubed her fingers and began working the client’s nipple on that side, so I began working the other nipple.
The clients hips began to lift and fall in rhythm, responding to a hidden lover as our hands worked erotically up and down her body, staying away from her crotch, where she was already quite busy, but also contributing to her ecstasy.
A few minutes later, she locked into a bowed plank pose, her tight buttocks thrusting her hips sharply upward as she let out a keening toward the sky through the curving solarium roof, “Eeeeeeeeyyaaaaiiiiaaahhh!” Her thighs and belly quivered for several seconds, and then her buns relaxed and sank quietly back down to the table, her eyes opening and a smile spreading on her face several seconds later.
The crowd around us broke into applause, louder apparently than for our wizard battle, though I didn’t know if that was because it was inside a small enclosed room this time or if they’d just enjoyed our nude massage and masturbation show better than the wizard battle. We’d worked harder on the mock battle, but this show had broader appeal.
The young woman got shakily off the table and ran off to the edge of the crowd, still naked, into the arms of two other witches, one of whom was the taller round one I’d massaged earlier. They were all giggling ecstatically, jabbering together at high speed.
Kaitlyn handed me my robe, and I handed her hers, and we slipped them back on as attention was elsewhere.
That left me with time to really study the crowd for the first time, watching it disperse, most of it following the slim witch, still naked as she was.
The first thing I noticed is that Jess apparently hadn’t been among them. Had she missed the show? A pity if so.
The second thing I noticed was our hosts in the back yard, arm in arm outside the glass looking in, watching the crowd from out there as I’d been doing from in here. I bowed to them, and they waved happily back, the man mouthing ‘Thank you!’ at me. I nudged Kaitlyn, bringing her attention to them, and she bowed as well. The woman kissed her fingertips and blew it at Kaitlyn, who reached out and grabbed it to her chest, smiling back.
We gathered up our things just in time for the next scheduled massage session.
Outside my room, I saw a ghost.
Okay, so it was a person with a sheet draped over their head.
A person in a sheet holding a ticket. This must be my next client.
“Good evening,” I greeted the figure. “I am the Mage of Massage,” I intoned, trying on the title for the first time.
“You certainly are!” came a smooth alto voice from underneath the cloth. “I just saw your show, and now it’s my turn!”
She sounded quite eager at this, so I opened the door and motioned her inside.
As soon as the door clicked closed, the sheet was off, and there stood a voluptuous, gorgeous woman, perhaps 32. She was naked except for a pair of low-heeled party shoes, which she quickly stepped out of, which to my way of thinking left her considerably more naked. People are strange; I am a person; therefore, I am strange. Q.E.D.!
“Why ever did you cover up like that tonight‽” I asked incredulously.
“Because I’m tired of everyone ogling me, and I wanted to be anonymous for once,” she said, the corners on her mouth dropping.
“And yet you came to this party without anything on underneath,” I pointed out.
“Isn’t that how you’re dressed tonight?” she pointed out. “Take it off,” she bade me. As I silently pulled my robe over my head, she went on, “It’s part of the delicious feeling, Mr. Wizard. I’m anonymous, yet everything that the world wants so desperately to see is just one thin layer of fabric away from them, as hidden as if I were on the dark side of the Moon.”
“I think I understand,” I said, bowing deeply toward her. “Anonymous and chaste it will be then,” I promised, resolving in my head to keep my comments about her amazing body to myself.
She beamed at me as I helped her onto the table.
I got to work silently, and she groaned in relaxation, becoming putty in my hands.
“Time’s up,” I whispered above her twenty minutes later. I’d taken extra time with her, eating into my break, justifying it as wanting to extend her respite from the world, but in truth I just wanted more time with my voluptuous anonymous ghost.
Her eyes closed for several seconds, drinking in the momentary darkness and silence, then held her hand out to me, and I helped her down off the table. Wordlessly, I slipped the ghost sheet over her, re-concealing that amazing figure, and watched her walk silently back out into the party.
I stood there thinking about the experience until someone walked by the room and looked in, seeing me standing there starkers. He raised his eyebrows and just resumed walking down the hallway, a smile developing on his lips as he continued on his way.
Thompson’s toenails! I dove for my robe and threw it over my head, more concerned with cover than whether the sleeves aligned with where Gaia had placed the arms upon my body, then struggled with the arrangement until I’d sorted things out inside. When my head finally emerged from the collar, a couple of women were looking in the room, watching the show, apparently attracted by the first man’s voyeurism. I smiled awkwardly and shrugged, and they giggled and walked on.
I never saw the ghost again. The story I made up in my mind is that she glided silently out into her car and enjoyed the rest of the evening, as quiet as she’d been with me, grabbing for a slice of true solitude, dissatisfied with the artificial sort we’d had in that room together.
The solarium scene had been epic, and I just wanted to sit back with a drink and savor it. Surely nothing like that would ever happen to me again in this life!
Alas, I had an appointment to keep. This party/work schedule was wearing!
Standing outside my massage room was the hick farmer guy who’d approached me on the dance floor, the one I’d flashed my kitty at!
“Oh shit!” he said, looking ready to run. “I, um… I… I’m your next client? The winner of the massage, but… Should I go?”
I decided that he probably wasn’t a creep, so I said, “Relax, we shared a joke. I just hit back harder than you expected, that’s all.”
“I wasn’t expecting…what you showed me, that’s for sure!” he said.
“Come on in, let’s get started. I’m Kaitlyn,” holding out my hand to him to shake, which he did, somewhat limply. “Were you out in the solarium just now?”
“No, what happened?” he asked.
“Never mind,” I told him. “Well, you know from the dance floor what I’m wearing under this robe, which is nothin’ at all, but I have a pair of scrubs over there if you’d prefer that I wore that for the massage.”
“You’re offering me the choice? Naked or the scrubs?”
“Yes, whichever you’d prefer,” I repeated.
“Um, I, ah, um… I’m not wearing anything under the overalls,” he admitted.
I was tempted to go over to him and peek down them to check, but I decided to be professional about it. “There’s a towel over the dressing screen there that you’re welcome to wear, but it’s your choice. I can even massage you through the overalls, but the less you wear, the more I can do for you. Undress to your level of comfort. And I still need an answer on what you’d like me to wear.”
He stood and thought about that, not looking at me at all then said, “I can have the massage naked?”
“Yup,” I agreed. “That’s easiest for me, so I do my best work that way.”
“Then I want to do that. And I want you to be naked, too,” he said nervously, then added, “please?”
“Sure. Relax,” I told him, then pulled the wizard robe over my head and tossed it on a chair in a corner. “Your turn,” I prompted him, then leaned forward to tip his chin up, closing his mouth with a click. “You thought I was joking? C’mon now, peel, you! Your time’s ticking.”
He kicked off the worn-out leather boots he’d probably picked up at a thrift store, sat on a chair to remove the long thick socks he had on to protect his citified feet, then unhooked the straps holding the overalls up and dropped them. He was indeed wearing nothing else.
I had him get up onto the table face down while I set his things aside, retrieved the warm oil bowl, sat it down beside him on the massage table, and got to work.
“Oh, my goodness, this is awesome!” he groaned shortly into the massage.
“I’m just getting started,” I told him. “I’ll have you dribbling off this table in a puddle shortly.” He let out a long deep groan of anticipation at that.
A few minutes later, he lifted his head slightly up out of the hole at the top of the table and asked clearly though nervously, wanting to be heard but not looking around, “Can I look at you?”
“Of course you can. I’m looking at you, aren’t I?”
He dropped his head back down into the table at that, then a few moments later gathered his courage and turned his head toward me, laying it atop his forearm, gazing at me with a gentle smile on his face.
“Like what you see?” I teased.
“Oh, very much so! Are you, ah, um, a professional?”
Knowing there were a couple of meanings to that word, I chose the most charitable one and replied, “My husband and I are training to become massage therapists.”
His eyes darted down and away from me, then he said, “And you can do this nude?”
“As I understand the law on this, it isn’t at all clear. Our best guess is that we might get some town judge after us on the grounds that we’re operating a strip club if we work naked, so we’ve agreed that we’re not going to do that for our paying clients. But tonight’s a freebie, so we get to please ourselves.”
“And you like working naked?” he asked, apparently not believing it.
“Why not?” I returned. “It sure makes cleanup easy. Oil spills just absorb into the skin,” I pointed out, stroking one oiled finger up my thigh by way of illustration.
He laughed at that, then he looked thoughtful, apparently seeing the sense in it.
“Besides, as I said earlier, it’s not really fair if we ask you to strip down and then refuse to show ourselves to you, if that’s what you want. I suppose I could do okay as a professional stripper, but massage is what I’m actually interested in. If I could brush the whole salacious nudity thing aside and avoid problems with the law, I’d offer to do this for respectful professional clients, too. But, that’s not the world I’ll be going to when I graduate from massage school, so going forward, we’ll only be doing this for our friends and family.”
“You’ve massaged your family nude?” he said, shocked.
“You’re nude, aren’t you?” I said, purposely missing his point.
“Well, sure, but I mean you were also nude?”
“Why not? My parents used to bathe and dress me, Farmer Bob, and my sister would use the bathroom while I was showering some mornings when we were running late,” I informed him.
I left out my brothers, not wanting to complicate the issue. I wished we’d had a nudist household back then, but we hadn’t. Miguel and Vin had first seen me naked on that nudist picnic back on the 4th of July, as far as I knew.
“I suppose that makes sense,” he said, his eyes going distant, no longer staring at me. Then after some seconds stewing on it, he said, “I wish I was your friend.”
I realized he wanted to be included in the ‘friends and family’ category. “So turn over and tell me what you’re interested in,” I suggested, adding, “outside of work, I mean.”
He turned over, and I saw he was flaccid. I took it as a good sign that he could be distracted from thinking about me sexually without much difficulty.
Something drew my eye down his leg from his crotch, rather than up to his eye as normal, something I hadn’t noticed when he’d initially stripped: some kind of scarring on his right thigh.
I was internally debating whether to ask about it or to pretend not to have seen it when he said, “Pulled a pan of bacon off the kitchen stove as a kid. The pan hit me just above the knee as I was jumping backward, and the grease splashed over my thigh.” He shrugged and added, “It’s a lot better now than when I was a kid, trust me.”
It looked plenty horrid now, so I could only imagine what the scarring had originally looked like. The very idea of it nearly wrenched tears from me.
Before I could express some kind of condolence, he shifted to the topic I’d originally suggested. “I build company web sites by day, but I got into it because my main passion is graphic design. The problem is that so many people want to do that, perceiving it as just doing art all day for money, so it pays poorly except at the very highest levels, whereas boring corporate web site design pays well. My other main art is photography, but that’s pretty competitive, too, for much the same reason. Doubly so, in fact, now that everyone’s got a smartphone with a pretty good camera built in. When your main competition is Uncle Joe and his iPhone, it’s tough to make money.”
“Do you have a portfolio?” I asked him.
“Sure, on my smartphone, in the overalls.”
I turned to get it, catching him looking at my ass when I turned back to him with it.
He just smiled and shrugged, then unlocked the phone, poked at the screen a few times, then laid it on the table with a slideshow going. I noticed he set it on the other side of the table from me so I’d be forced to lean well over him to watch the show, dangling my boobs over him. Clever guy, isn’t he? I just shook my head at him, and he shrugged again, his smile wider than last time.
I played along, giving him a show as I watched his portfolio, continuing with the massage while I watched. What I saw impressed me, so once I saw the slideshow begin to repeat I said, “How would you like to build our massage practice’s web site in exchange for naked massages? Maybe the collateral for it, too? Business cards, that sort of thing? You’d have to come down to do the photography for it, but we would wish you to consider that a bonus rather than an obstacle. We could take you to see the sights, even do some of the massages outdoors, if you’d like.”
“Me? Naked outdoors?” he said, once again shocked, but I didn’t say anything, just let him decide. Eventually, he said, “You can do that down there?”
“If you know where to go and you’re reasonably careful with it, yeah. You can’t do it on Main Street, but out in the hills, there’s lots of places we won’t be bothered. It’s our favorite activity. Me and my husband, I mean.”
“He’s the other wizard?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I smiled, “and he’d have shown you his python if you’d have asked.”
“Ah, no, I don’t need to see that.”
“Well, if you accept my offer, you probably will anyway. Take that how you like,” I told him.
“So, you two… I guess you’re some kind of nudists, then?”
“Some kind, yes,” I agreed.
“And the photos, they’ll be nude?”
“No, like I said, the professional work we’ll have to be clothed for, so you’ll have to shoot us in our uniforms, but we’ve designed them to be about as skimpy as we can get away with in Moab’s legal and social climate. We have to keep the actual climate in mind too, of course, so we have some more covering options; we may have you shoot us in those, too. We’re not absolute nudists, just part-timers. Out in the hills in the warm months is one of those times, and we go nude out there whenever we can get away with it.”
“And you’d let me join you out there?” he asked, wonder creeping into his voice.
“As long as you’re respectful and friendly about it. I’m not offering you anything other than friendship here, Farmer Bob.”
“Farmer Carlo,“ he replied, correcting the appellation I’d given him with a smile, holding his hand out to me. “The name’s Carlo Dellai.”
I shook it and returned, “Kaitlyn Gutierrez. My husband is Davie Bhat. So, do we have an agreement?”
“Yeah, I have to give this a try. I’m nervous, you know, but dammit, I’m intrigued, too!”
He squirmed a bit on the table, so I just smiled at him and watched him think it over while I continued the massage. I noticed he wasn’t staring at my naked body any more, just occasionally taking appreciative looks and then returning to my face as we chatted about the details of what he’d do for our nascent therapy business.
I think we might have just recruited another true nudist.
After I finished Carlo’s massage and we both re-dressed, he doing it in front of me now, not hiding behind the screen, he asked, “When will you graduate?”
“Mid-April,” I said.
“How about I come down a week or so after you get back to Moab, after you’ve had time to settle back in?”
“It’ll still be a bit cold down there,” I warned, “especially overnight.”
“I’ve lived in the Salt Lake area all my life, Kaitlyn. You don’t know cold!”
“Hah!” I replied, conceding his point. “Well, we would like to get this started early in our business’s lifetime, so if you’d be willing…”
“It’s tough to get time off in high summer, so this’ll work better for me anyway,” Carlo replied.
I proposed, “Well, Earth Day is April 22nd. How about you come down a day before that so we can celebrate the whole day really connecting to the planet, as natural as you please?”
“Aww, that sounds awesome!” he enthused.
“It’s a plan, then,” I agreed.
After we’d exchanged contact info and he was on his way back out into the party, he paused at the door, turned, and hugged me in a brotherly way. “Thank you, Kaitlyn,” he said with feeling, adding, “for everything.”
He was short for a guy, not much taller than me, so it wasn’t much of a stretch upward to kiss him on the cheek. “See you, Carlo, and thank you as well!”
Out in the party, I decided it was time for me to try another of the magical experiments Kaitlyn and I had planned. I found a fruit bowl in a dining room and grabbed four apples, then walked out in the back yard with them.
When I got out there, I pulled a trickle of power from the lawn through my bare feet, able to keep my internal reserves topped up as I began to juggle the fruit.
I’d never juggled anything seriously before, but with my coordination aided by Gaia, I could toss each apple at exactly the right angle and have my hand in place to catch the next incoming fruit, not merely through kinesthesia but because I could literally see the living matter arcing through the air with my magical senses without seeing it with my eyes.
I then saw Kaitlyn walk past me briefly, tossing a fifth apple at me. I worked it smoothly into the pattern, worked and modified the pattern for another minute or two, then caught the apples all neatly in one arm, held against my body, the other hand darting around to catch each just before it would fall out of the pattern onto the ground.
As the small crowd I’d gathered applauded this demonstration, I popped one apple into my mouth, holding it there with my teeth as I passed the other four out to more onlookers, then bit the piece off my apple and swallowed down. I realized I had only drunk a few small drinks and hadn’t eaten anything, so I slipped inside once more, going to the nosh tables that had been mobbed before.
As I watched through the window into the back yard, I saw Kaitlyn working on another of our planned tricks: she was about to win an informal limbo competition being held out on the lawn. She was having great fun inching the hem of her robe higher and higher up her thighs as she moved under the pole, unnecessary though it was. She had quite the crowd of onlookers.
“She is lovely, isn’t she, Davie?” said a voice beside my ear.
I turned to see our hostess, Molly Alexander. “She is that. Thank you for inviting us.”
“No, thank you! You’re welcome back next year too if you’re going to make this kind of a showing. I feel I should be paying you to be here!”
“Oh, we’re just having fun,” I demurred.
“Well, you’ve absolutely made this year’s party. C’mon, you’ve got to want something for all the work you’ve put into your shows. Don’t tell me you didn’t work hard on this.”
I thought for a second, and then it came to me: “Client referrals.”
“You’ve got it. Jess says you’ll be practicing down in Moab?”
“That’s right,” I agreed.
“I think we might be able to increase the flow of tourists down there by some small amount,” Mrs. Alexander offered. “There is a precondition,” she said. I just raised my eyebrow, so she went on, “I feel I have to be able to speak about this service from personal experience.”
Then she waved a sixth ticket at me, a golden ticket, marked for one minute from now.
She’d planned this!
“You alone, or will you be bringing…” I cut that off, because I could now see that Kaitlyn, triumphant from winning the limbo contest, was conversing with Mr. Alexander who was also carrying a golden ticket. I modified my question, “Will this be two separate couples, or are Kaitlyn and I doing this together?”
“Whichever you like,” she purred at me.
I caught Kaitlyn’s eye through the glass, then said, “Together,” my attention returning to my hostess.
My wife lip-read my response to Molly, nodded, and mouthed “Together” back at me.
“We’ll be waiting in the master bedroom,” she told me as she went to gather up her husband. “You don’t need to bring anything but yourselves,” she called over her shoulder.