Life, much like writing, is a learning process. With each hiccup, each triumph, and each failure we become better, or at least that's the hope. Of course, a reader should never notice the struggle in the writing, and if they do, then perhaps the writer has not learned enough. Perhaps they are not quite doing their job. Life, on the other hand, is a bit different. Often people see our struggles before we can see them ourselves. I can particularly relate to that, but in my writing it is harder to ignore the truth. I recently decided to put my current work-in-progress on the back burner and start something new. I found a story that I am falling in love with. I've started writing it with relative ease and excitement, something that was missing from my previous project. I'm sure that I will return to the other manuscript, but for now, I'm doing what works. And so, I decided to share. It may not be the most riveting, heart palpitating scene, but I see where it is going. And it's good.
**Please keep in mind this is a rough draft, has not been looked at by an editor, or anyone other than the author for that matter. This work is not yet titled. **
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This is a work of fiction. All characters, places, events, and incidents are fictitious and products of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. Copyright © 2013 by T.M. Souders
SCENE 1 - The Glover's Cove Saga
The humidity cloaked Bertha’s skin. Her tank top and jean cut-offs stuck to her as she ran through the back-end of Glover’s Cove, with her best friend, Dawn, just a few paces behind her. The one hundred fifty acres extended clear into the woods and tree lines west of the property that bordered Lake Erie, settling into a small inlet. The family name, the property dubbed a little slice of heaven by locals, and that small arm of water gave the well-known residence the name Glover’s Cove.
Bertha stumbled over a large tree root of an ancient maple, nearly falling before catching herself and regaining her balance. Without missing a step, she paused, tore off her wedges and threw them behind her while Dawn struggled to keep up. Her laughter carried through the trees, while her feet thumped over the bare earth. Her heart pounded hard in her chest, and her lungs screamed, but her legs moved faster yet, the muscles tightening and burning as she sprinted. A breeze tickled her skin, setting it on edge. The scent of fresh water and silt filled her nose as she pumped her arms. Just another couple yards and she would break through the thick trees into a sun-dappled clearing, where water met land. She was almost there.
“Bertie Glover, you dirty beast you! You run like a boy!” Dawn shouted from behind her. But her friend’s epithets were of no use because she made the last leap over a fallen Oak, like a gazelle in the wild, landing on her bare feet and onto a mossy knoll. The tell-tale snapping of branches and rustling of leaves signaled Dawn’s approach. She had to hurry.
Bertha tore down her shorts in one clean swoop, kicking them off into the grass and leaving behind her tiny lace panties—the ones she hid from her parents in the back of her sock drawer. She may have been eighteen, but there were still some things better kept private . She took another step toward the water, while reaching up over her head and tearing her multi-colored tank top off first, then her bra. She paid no mind to where they landed as she threw them. In the next second, she leapt forward, her arms out in front of her, waiting and wanting the fresh, cool water to wash over her. And in the moments before she hit the water, she heard Dawn yell, “You dirty bitch! You’re faster than a fucking cheetah.”
The warmth of the water glided over Bertha’s skin like silk. She extended her arms, until they nearly touched her head, and drew them back in tandem with the movement of her legs, like a frog. A trail of bubbles followed her as she slowly exhausted all of the air in her lungs. The run there had tired her and in only seconds—much too soon—Bertha rose to the surface panting. She turned around, treading water, and spotted Dawn, all graceful arms, long neck, and blonde hair, piled high on her head, slowly swimming toward her. Laughter rose from the back of Bertha’s throat as she took in Dawn’s annoyed expression.
Dawn came to a stop three feet in front of her. “God, do you have to turn everything into a competition? We can’t just have a nice walk down to the lake. No, we have to sprint down and make it a race.”
Bertha screwed up her face and stuck out her tongue. “I can’t help it I’m faster.”
“Ha! Right. Faster, brighter, smarter, prettier, better built. Does the list ever end?”
Bertha cocked her head. “You have better breasts than me.” She nodded in the direction of Dawn’s ta-ta’s.
Dawn, always one to succumb to flattery, assessed Bertha with her scrupulous brown eyes, as if searching for sincerity before accepting the compliment. “Better? Yours are twice as big.”
“Twice as big, yes, but too big. Yours are perfect and round like little melons. They’ll be perky far longer than mine will. When I’m fifty and they’re down to my waist, yours will still be right up in your chest where they belong.” Bertha kept a straight face, knowing that this would appease the vain part of her friend.
Dawn pursed her lips and, after a moment, said. “Next time, I’m just gonna take my good ‘ol time and walk. Or better yet, turn back around and go get an ice cream or root beer float at Peach’s. Teach you a lesson. You’ll be waitin’ here all day, maybe even thinking I twisted my ankle somewhere back in those trees. Then you’ll have to come searching for me in your birthday suit. Maybe I’ll really teach you a lesson and send Randy Pheeny out here, tell him you had some trouble.” Dawn chuckled before her laughter turned into a rip-roaring keening. Tears pooled in her eyes as she continued. “Then he’ll come out here searching, trying to come to your rescue like he does, and lo and behold, imagine his surprise when he finds you wandering the grass, naked as a Jay.” Tipping her head back, Dawn’s laughter erupted once more through the inlet.
Bertha glared at her, but a hint of a smile played on the corners of her mouth. “You’re so loud, all you’d have to do is yell from here and he’d come runnin’. No need to go searching for him.” In one quick movement, Bertha moved her arm and hand like a paddle and doused Dawn’s jubilant face with lake water, wetting some of her precious Goldilocks. Knowing better, Bertha quickly turned and retreated, swimming away as fast as she could amidst her laughter.
Muttered curses trailed behind her. In seconds, Bertha knew that Dawn, a much faster swimmer, would be at her heels. She swam to the other side of the inlet, where it was shallow enough to stand, and sure enough, Dawn caught up to her just as her feet reached the muddy bank. Bertha took purchase on the earth and moved her arms in the water as hard as she could. But Dawn grabbed her through the deluge of water and dragged her in, splashing her at the same time. Bertha stood through a torrent of coughing and fought back. Both women grabbed at each other’s arms, splashing and pushing all the while laughing and choking through the spray of lake water. They finished in a fit of concession, both of them screaming “Truce,” and moved to the edge of the bank. They crawled out of the water and sat back on the silt, dangling their legs in the water and exposing their pale breasts and bellies to the warmth of the afternoon sun. The preening of a nearby seagull filled the silence in the cove, intermingling with only the sounds of the women’s breathing.
“Holy shi—Oh my God, I’m sorry.” A deep voice called out from behind them. With a shriek, Dawn threw herself back in the water. Bertha turned to see a young man of about twenty-something, standing a few feet from the tree line. He turned his face, which took on a deep shade of scarlet, and stuttered his continued apologies, as his eyes darted from Bertha back to the side again.
Bertha couldn’t help it. She tipped her head to the sky, her long, wet hair tickling the middle of her back as she laughed.
“Bertie, get in here!” Dawn’s shrill voice yelled.
Bertha glanced back at the young man and took in his profile—tall and lean, but with a hint of muscle hidden beneath his beige pants and t-shirt. “You kno, if you’re that embarrassed and shocked by what you’ve seen, you should be keeping your eyes completely averted.”
The man ran a hand through his short blonde hair, then over his face. “You’re right. I am so sorry,” he said, waving one hand toward her, the other still over his face and covering his eyes.
“You know, this is private property!” Dawn yelled.
“I know. I’m sorry. I’m new to town, and I started taking a walk. I was just sightseeing. I must have gotten turned around.”
Bertha, always a bold person, and not one to squelch away from anything life had to offer, stood up and placed her hands on her hips. The weight of her large breasts, and the feel of the air over her bare, damp skin, made her only that much more aware of her current disposition. But something about the man’s complete and utter embarrassment left her wanting to shock him further.
“Well?” she asked. Her toes sunk into the mud, further grounding her in place. From behind her, she heard Dawn’s pleas to hide in the water. She could see the man’s restraint, as if he was forcing himself to keep his gaze away from her. After no answer, she asked again. “Well, what do you think of the view? It’s beautiful out here, don’t ya think?”
This mustn’t have been what the young man expected from her because his head whipped in her direction. “Yes, quite beautiful,” he said.
Bertha chuckled and raised one brow in question, before jumping back into the lake and disappearing beneath the murky waters.
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