Baring Your Soul (With Friends) Part 1
Sherri curled up beside her husband, extending the bright blue bowl of popcorn to he and her friends as they stretched out on the leather sectional.
“So what we watching?,” she asked, running the soft pad of her lounging sock up the length of her man's bare, muscled leg in the silver and green silky work out shorts. She couldn't get her fill of Todd, her handsome husband of eleven years. She sighed contentedly snuggling deeper into his gray university sweatshirt. She had snagged it from the load of laundry headed for the wash, before Nick and Jenny arrived for their movie night. She loved wearing his clothes. It still held a hint of spicy cologne.
Jenny smiled coyly at her man. They'd been married exactly 3 years yesterday. “Well..”
Sherri wondered at the simple word being dragged out so mysteriously. “Nick and I came across this show the other night, it's on again tonight, called Bare Your Soul. It's about this man and woman who come to a deserted Caribbean island to meet their soul mate, after trying the dating scene-bars, clubs,”
Jenny waved a pink glossed hand in the air. “You get the idea. Anyway, in this particular dating endeavor, the two people agree to bare it all- au natural. Stripping away the outer layers to reveal their true selves. They're put thru a series of fun, engaging activities together, all butt naked.”
Sherri pulled a face, one slim brow raised. “Real people actually do this kind of thing? They should have their heads examined.”
“Well they don't show everything,” Jenny insisted. “They blur out the good parts,” she said with an impish grin.
“Well thank heaven for that,” Sherri exclaimed, snagging a handful of buttered popcorn from her husbands cupped hand, prompting a playful scold.
Sherri leaned up to plant a kiss on his whiskered cheek. “Ahh, you love me.”
Todd bent to retrieve the remote from the cherry coffee table “Good thing for you,” he returned good-naturedly, pulling her down to plant a noisy smack on her lips, which prompted a hearty chuckle from their friends. “So guys, what's it gonna be? Bare Your Soul or Shark Attack?”
Sherri rolled her eyes. “Well, if those are our only options, bring on the nude dating! I'm gonna go grab some Cokes, who's game?”
At the chorus of cheers, she unfolded her slim frame from the couch and padded into the kitchen. She sniffed the air appreciatively, compliments of the stoneware potpourri pot simmering on the counter. Mmmm, lavendar vanilla. Her favorite.
Snagging the long neck bottles from the door of the fridge, and retrieving the bottle opener from the drawer of the cupboard, she returned to the living room to hand them out. Beads of condensation transferred from the bottles to her hand, dripping to the beige carpeting below.
“Oops, probably should have grabbed a napkin,” she apologized, wiping damp hands on the seat of her gray sweats. “So is this it?”
Todd had paused the television in mid-introduction, freezing an attractive couple as they walked towards the ocean, their bare backsides lighting up the screen, backdropped in tropical palm trees, curling ocean waves in aquamarine color and miles of sugar white sand.
Nick dropped an arm around his pretty wife, who threaded her fingers thru his. They still bore the look of newlyweds and acted the part, recent parents of baby Marley Ann.
Sherri and Todd loved each other. There was nothing they wouldn't do for each other, yet the zing had gone out of their love life. How would they ever get it back?
“Jenny and I watched it Tuesday for kicks, but it actually surprised me. It made sense. How many people go day after day, meeting the wrong people for superficial reasons, hiding a stretch mark here, muffin top there-”
“Nicholas!”, Jenny blurted, playfully smacking him on the arm.
“I didn't say you,” Nick returned, leaning down to nuzzle her smooth, creamy neck. Giggling, Jenny returned his kisses, struggling to sit up, leaning one elbow into the blue and cream throw pillows, pushing wild red curls out of her eyes.
“Get a room you two,” Todd grumbled, crossing his arms across his chest, pretending to look offended.
“Jealous much?,” Nick asked, drawing Jenny close to tuck her under his arm.
“Let's just watch the show,” Todd said, his voice rough and low, so low Sherri wasn't sure he'd spoken at all. She glanced at him curiously, but his expression gave nothing away.
Jenny whispered something in Nick's ear, to which he nodded, looking at the couple across the room with understanding.
Sherri didn't want pitying glances, didn't want them to see what happened after a decade of marriage. She just wanted their hot, passionate love life to return. What had happened to the two of them?
Nick offered a hand of peace offering, lifting it in the air, dropping it to rest on the sofa. “Hey man, I'm sorry. We didn't mean to flaunt our happiness. I know you guys are working it out in your own way. Truce?”
Sherri felt Todd slowly, then visibly relax, his tense muscles that flexed against her arm, growing still. He paused for a second before flashing one of his killer smiles, brilliant white, even rows. Sherri loved his smile.
Who was she kidding, she loved everything about him.
“Consider it forgotten. You two kids enjoy yourselves.”
Nick and Jenny looked at each other with unrestrained, passionate eyes.
“Just not on our couch!”, Todd added, prompting a round of giggles and chuckles. “Alrighty, let's get this show on the road.”
As the story began to unfold, the characters introduced and the wild and crazy dates began to play out on the wide screen, Sherri opened her palm atop Todd's knee, waiting, hoping for his answering touch, feeling tears prick the back of her eyelids when his big hand fitted into hers, squeezing gently. Their eyes met and held, speaking volumes without saying a word. They were going to be okay. Somehow, they were going to make it. Right then and then Sherri silently vowed to do whatever it took.
Midnight canoodling. Watching his favorite sports team with him. Dancing barefoot in the rain-whatever he wanted, she had to at least try.
“I could so do this”, Jenny remarked, her blue eyes fastened to the screen where the female character tumbled about in a clear body sized floating device, that appeared to be a giant bobbing exercise ball that had swallowed her up, off the beach. She was thrown into the air like a rag doll with each crashing wave, yet she seemed to be enjoying it. Her onlooker date seemed to enjoy the show as well, her large tanned breasts getting a workout of their own.
“The man, the ball or the nudity?,” Sherri challenged with a grin, taking a long drag of the effervescent soda in hand.
“Hey now,” Nick countered. “This is my bride we're talking about.”
Laughing, Sherri set the soda on a striped ceramic coaster. “I don't think you have anything to worry about. Jen, wouldn't dare cheat on the cutest guy in town, with the exception of my own dear husband of course,” she added.
“Exception being he's open for the taking?” Jenny inquired, turning her head from the relaxed position on her husband's lap, her long red hair dripping off the couch, some of the tangled curls grazing the carpeting. Nick idly stroked his big hand thru it and Jenny shivered in delight.
“No way, he's all mine,” Sherri responded, turning in Todd's loose embrace to beam up at him. His eyes were tired, but when he forced a smile to his lips, his face shone with love for his wife. “You're stuck with me forever, Sher. I hope I don't disappoint.”
Sherri wrapped her arms around his waist, holding him tightly, murmuring with conviction. “You could never disappoint me. I love you to the moon and back.”
“Why don't we do that?,” Jenny asked, gesturing to the screen where the couples were ending the night, beneath a bright glow of white moonlight.
“Do what?,” Sherri asked, feeling a wave of nostalgia when the man drew his date close for a parting kiss. She couldn't help but wonder if there were other body parts awakening to excitement as their lips molded to each other, visibly appearing as one to the naked eye.
She shivered, causing Todd to look down in concern. “You cold?” he asked, drawing the chenille throw up around her shoulders.
Sherri managed a smile at him, shaking her head. “Thanks”
If he wondered at her response he didn't show it, returning his attention back to the screen.
Sherri looked across the room to the couple tangled in each other's arms. Nick's long legs lovingly encased Jenny's, his beefy arms lightly resting across her small chest. Good grief, was all the world in love except for them?
She bolted upright, to which Todd slowly removed his arm from around her shoulder, a curious look on his face.
They were in love, she and her husband- they were! So why didn't it feel like it anymore? Where were the fireworks when they kissed? When had making love transformed into plain, dis-satisfying sex? Why did spending time with their kids appeal more than carving out time for a date night with each other?
Jenny focused her attention on her friend, who seemed suddenly visibly upset. “Sher, you okay?”
Sherri nodded, smiling brightly. “I'll be fine,” she said running a quick hand over her face, willing herself to calm down. She and Todd were going to make it. So what if they had fallen into a little slump? Everybody did.
“So what is it you think we should do?,” she asked her friend.” Her mind was suddenly open, very open to any crazy, quirky ideas her bestie might have to spice things up.
Nick waggled his eyebrows at Sherri. “You might regret asking that,” to which Todd's laughter rumbled lightly in his chest. They all knew Jenny's tendency towards the kinky; her sensual nature that came out in sometimes inopportune moments. She had little filter when it came to sex, not that the trio minded. They'd been friends since college and nothing much from Jenny's lips surprised them anymore.
Jenny dangled her head over the edge of the sofa cushion, angling her body to look at Sherri. “Just that we could reenact some of those scenes, kinda. Except with our spouses- naked,” she said, punctuating her statement, writing the words mid-air.
“Oh come on,” Sherri started- closing her mouth as Jenny raised a pleading hand.
“Haven't you always wondered what it would be like to be on a nudist beach? I'm not talking with crowds of gawking beach goers but like a deserted island where it's just the four of us. Moon light skinny dipping, no laundry to wash and best of all, Sher,” she paused for effect. “No tan lines.”
She knew that would get her. Sherri was a sun worshipper, always berating the blocks of skin that failed to see the light of day due to modest culture opinion.
Sherri allowed herself to daydream, fantasizing of a tropical island much like the one winding to a conclusion before them, shrouded in a fine balmy mist where you could get personal massages, body mud masks in heated natural pools, experiment with paints and watercolors on sensitized skin as the sun bathed you in its warm, invigorating glow.... She imagined Todd looking at her with new eyes, passion filled eyes, eyes of a husband for a wife.
She blushed a little at the proposed memory.
“See,” Jenny hooted triumphantly. “You're entertaining the idea aren't you?”
“Hey don't we men have a say in all this?,” Nick protested, drawing idle circles on his wife's slim ankle, exposed by the shorty shorts she wore. Sherri could tell he was putting in his two cents in defense of his masculinity only. He'd do anything for his cute and spunky bride.
Jenny shimmied up to sit on the back of her heels, reaching out to lay a hot pink nail across his pouting mouth. “Hon, picture this,” she said spreading out her hand as she looked towards the ceiling. “I'll be running around all day-every day in n-o-t-h-i-n-g. That means lots of sex. I'll be the sun goddess at your beck and call.”
Nick enjoyed this tidbit of information.
He looked across at the two, not quite as relaxed with each other as he and Jenny. “You guys really okay with this? I mean we'd be exposing our man and lady parts to each other. I mean we'll be as discreet as possible, but I think the idea Jenny has is that this will be a liberating getaway. Bare as the day we were born.”
Todd cleared his throat, leaning forward to shut off the program. “Sherri and I are struggling, that hasn't been a secret. We've tried everything else to liven things up in the bedroom. Since the kids arrived, it just hasn't been the same. Maybe this is what we're looking for. It puts you in a very vulnerable position that's for sure and I'm not talking body boards and the boys either.”
Laughter rippled in the room, lightening the moment.
Jenny sat up a little straighter, smoothing the pink polka dot tee over her trim waist, mentally making plans in her head. “So this is it- we're really going to do it?” Her eyes danced like a newborn pixie, excitedly flitting from here to there. She was a bundle of energy.
The guys looked at each other and shrugged. Happy wife- happy life.
“You and Sher find a place, make the plans and we'll find someone to watch the kids,” Nick responded. “I sure hope I'm not going to regret this.”
Jenny grinned at Sherri, motioning her to the kitchen table where the laptop sat. “If you consider more sex than you've ever had with your wife a regret, then...”
She left her statement dangling, sending off a wink to her husband as she grabbed Sherri's hand and dragged her behind the swinging door, hearing as the door whispered shut, their men good naturedly grumbling about losing control in their home. Grinning at each other they grabbed paper and pen and began surfing the net, propelled by the risque possibilities.
“You're not going to believe what we found!”, Jenny exclaimed, running onto the tennis court, Sherri trailing behind, her face also flushed with excitement.
Todd and Nick looked up from their intense tennis match, sweat pouring from their fit, muscular frames.
Jenny waved a paper in the air, calling the husbands over to the bench.
Todd snagged a towel from his workout bag, swiping it over his face before joining his wife and dropping a kiss on the top of her sun warmed head.
“What's up ladies?”
Jenny radiated excitement. She was hyper on steroids. Nick had to sling an arm around her tiny waist, drawing her to sit on his knee, causing her to still a moment. Of course a long, passionate kiss didn't hurt either. Jenny drew a deep breath, gathering her calm before explaining the email in her hand.
“Sher and I were doing vacation research, trying to see how to get this done in the most cost effective way and we stumbled across this-”, she gestured to the paper in her hand.
Nick scanned the document over her shoulder, eyebrows raised as he read.
“So anyway the website is MarriageRomance.com and they have this Friendship Directory thing. It's where you subscribe and join all these other married couples in hopes of connecting, making new friends and potentially meeting them if your interests match. So last week Sher and I joined up, just to see what it was and struck up a friendship with an older couple, get this- in Hawaii! We explained what we're wanting to do with you guys, explore the islands without rules, clothing optional...and here they own their own piece of the island! Not only that, they're nudists at heart and would love for us to come check out their home. All we have to cover is the air fare and we're set!”
Jenny bounced on Nick's knee in excitement, until he leaned down to whisper something in her ear, turning his body slightly away from the couple, bringing a red stain of color to Jenny's already warmed cheeks.
Sherri hid a grin, darting a glance at her husband to see if he'd picked up on the subtle response to their friends' exuberant acrobatics. He had. In response, Todd laid a hand across her own knee, squeezing gently and when she looked at him in surprise, he gave a sexy wink. Sherri felt a shiver begin in the pit of her stomach and shimmy down her leg- he was turned on by their public PDA! This could set out to be an interesting vacation after all.
Todd, the more objective of the four held out his hand for a copy of the email. “Let's go over this together tonight after the kids get in bed and see what we're getting into. If everything's on the up and up, we'll plan to go- in the fall?,” he asked, receiving a collective nod from the others. “Speaking of kids, looks like ours have arrived.”
The parents grabbed up their belongings as a minivan pulled beneath a shaded oak, and two laughing, smiling children piled out, followed by a silvery haired couple.
“Mom, Dad thanks for offering to take them for a few hours,” Sherri said, moving towards the ruckus, brushing her Mom's cheek with a kiss, leaning down to tousle one of the towheaded boys. “Ready to go home Trev?”
Todd buckled 4 year old Trevor into their SUV, then 8 year old Miley who was clutching her ratty brown teddy bear, looking all for the world like she would fall asleep any moment.
Nick and Jenny collected their sleeping daughter from the minivan. “Dan, Marie-Thank you for watching our Josie. I hope she wasn't any trouble for you.”
Marie waved away their concern, laughter sparkling in her faded blue eyes. “Not at all, a complete joy. Being around children makes us feel younger, right Dan?” She smiled up at her tall husband who bore a slight paunch with silver white hair. He smiled down at her adoringly, to which Sherri felt a lump in her throat. The love her parents had for each other was evident in the lines of laughter near their eyes and the respect and admiration they showed when looking at or speaking to the other. She wanted that for she and Todd. That they whole world would know in an instant that they were happily in love, even when their hair turned old and gray.
“We love having the lil' curtain climbers around,” he joked with a hearty chuckle. Anytime we can help.”
“Good to hear,” said Todd, shutting the kids side car door and walking around to help his wife inside. He looked at her parents over the hood of the SUV. “We're trying to plan a couples retreat here in the next few months and could use a hand with the kids if that's okay with you. We'll be glad to pay you.”
The couples promised to meet up in the near future and go over the particulars, said their goodbyes and headed off to their separate homes, with the younger parents to put their children down for naps.
After supper, Nick and Jen were planning to stop by and go over the website and email that had been sent and finalize any of the last minute loose ends, so Sherri wanted to whip up a quick dessert as Trevor and Miley slept.
Soft music played from the radio in the corner of the room as the couples sat around the dining room table, peering at the laptop stationed in the middle.
“Ok, so explain how this works,” Nick said, nursing an icy can of soda. Jenny retrieved the pen that was caught up into a quick, messy bun and poised it over the pad of paper between she and Sherri.
“Well see how there's a bunch of questions, like here for instance,” she said jabbing a finger at the list, some boxes checked, others not. “This one says- would you be comfortable in a swimsuit with another couple?”
She looked around the table and at their nods, continued. “So Sherri and I put yes. We put the same for just being in the same room as the other spouse, like a motel room. Now this next one says would you be comfortable in situations where a spouse had sex with the other spouse-”
She was abruptly cut off by Nick.
“Absolutely not!,” he interjected passionately, drawing an arm around his wife. “She's all mine and I dare any other men to cross that line,” he said glaring daggers at Todd.
Jenny laughed, putting her hands up in surrender, falling back against his chest. “Alright, alright, we get the point.” She sat back up, gesturing to the screen. “And as you see, Sher and I answered no.”
Nick relaxed, loosening his hold on the soda can. The muscles in Todd's jaw were working overtime.
Sherri leaned over to plant a kiss on the tip of his nose. “Calm down Casanova, we know our husbands well.”
“So, after Jen and I filled out the Friendship profile, we were matched to a few other couples and that's how we met Eric and Lindy. They seem like a great couple. They're hoping to Skype with us later in the week, a more face to face before we actually get on the plane. Jenny and I looked up their couples ministry online and their passion is to provide a haven of fellowship both with the couples, but also to allow us to experience a week of relaxation, passion and a reconnecting with our spouses. They talked of a reef where they offer excellent snorkeling, they have a yacht that we could go on one evening. I mentioned a few activities we saw on that Bare Your Soul show and they're going to look into it.”
Todd smiled at his wife as she was getting caught up in the excitement of planning. She looked younger than her 42 years, her green eyes bright, her posture relaxed. She glanced his way and smiled, her entire countenance aglow with her love. They had to do this trip with Nick and Jenny. To see her so happy, it made him want to do whatever he could to put that kind of smile on her face.
Jenny jumped up at the faint cry of baby Josie as she stirred in the baby carrier in the next room.
“That's our cue guys, we need to get her home and in bed. She'll be up in three hours for a feeding.”
Nick retrieved the carrier, jostling it with his foot to calm the fussing infant as Jenny went around to give Sherri a hug, kissing her cheek. “Thanks for the chocolate pie- it was delish. Todd, take care of my best friend,” she said giving him a quick hug, whispering in his ear just before pulling away, “She really does adore you, ya know.”
She looked at him pointedly before joining her husband and baby, as their friends walked them to the door.
Sherri lifted her hand in goodbye as their car lights faded into the night, feeling Todd's arm go around her waist, resting low on her hips. She looked at him questioningly, as he closed the front door with a decisive push, took her hand and pulled her silently towards the stairs. “I need to practice up on my moves since we'll have an attentive audience and newlywed competition,” he murmured against her ear, drinking in the heady scent of jasmine vanilla that wafted off the collar of the deep blue crocheted blouse she wore.
“No argument here,” Sherri whispered, dropping slow, sensual kisses across the strong column of his sun tanned neck. With a low growl, he hauled her up into his arms and climbed the remaining stairs to their room, closing them inside their private haven.
Comment by: jezuz11 Date: 8/15/2014 6:39:12 AM
Can't wait to hear about the trip to Hawaii!!