A Veil of Sky, A Bed of Earth – Exhibitionist & Voyeur – Free Sex Story

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This is my entry in the Nude Day story Contest 2022. This is one of those stories which could go in multiple categories — First Time, Group Sex, Loving Wives, even (almost) Fantasy. As it is, I’ve stuck it in Exhibitionist and Voyeurism so it can keep business with its other skyclad brothers and sisters. I hope you enjoy it.

Apologies to anyone who is still waiting to the conclusion to one of my recent stories. It’s taking longer than I hoped, while this one flowed better and had a deadline. I am still working on it and thanks to anyone who has written to ask.

Most of the place names in the story are fictional.

Some of the less sexual bits of the choreography for the dance are based on the Pina Bausch version with the Cleveland Orchestra available on YouTube.

1. The Approach

“Girrus a hand with this, luv,” said Verna Baldwin as she tried to navigate her suitcase down the stairs of the cottage. It wasn’t the weight of the case that was causing her difficulty, so much as the way the narrow staircase curved round and round on its way down. There were many twentieth-century luxuries which hadn’t been borne in mind when the cottage had been designed, like a WiFi signal that extended past one room, consistently Hot-running water, or the ability of keeping any sort of heat in. It was the begin of June and it was still brassic in here. Verna mentally added ‘going on holiday to Lanzarote’ to the list of things the cottage made darn near impossible.

Her assistant, Emily Earnshaw, put down what she was reading and got up to help her, though by the time she’d wormed her way through the tall stack of hardbacks yet be sorted and the rest of the luggage that had already been brought down, Verna had already managed to disentangle the case long enough to have managed to get it into the book store area of cottage.

She dumped the case with the others next to the big Wuthering Heights display. Technically the shop-cum-apartment was half-a-mile the wrong side of the sign that said ‘Welcome to Bronte Country’, but it was their perennial best-seller with tourists passing on their way up to the Yorkshire Moors. It was one of the few new books that the shop sold — as luxurious illustrated version rather than the cheap and cheerful Penguin Classics version. That was a regretful but necessary concession to staying in company. She’d custom ordered the life-sized character cut-outs when she’d first opened the shop thirty years ago. Like everyone since 1978, the artist had drawn distinct inspiration for the Cathy from Kate Bush. Quite why he’d decided to model Heathcliff on Freddie Mercury was more of a mystery, but she’d grown quite fond of her constant companions over the last few decades. She’d have to get new ones in eventually though; like herself, they’d both seen better days.

“Right, that’s the lot,” said Verna, looking over her assembled luggage with a definite sense of satisfaction “I called for a car. Be here in about fifteen. Time for one last brew before I head off.”

Emily moved in the direction of the tea-pot, which lived perched on a pile of the less trendy Catherine Cooksons but Verna stopped her. “Y’alright pet, I’ll pour. You get back to yer book. Anything interesting?”

Emily held the dog-eared volume up for her boss’ inspection. “Book about witches. Elderly gentleman bought in a bunch of them while you were upstairs packing. I wasn’t sure where to stick them. I was having a flick through to get a feel.”

“Well, children’s fairytales’d be the place to start or is it more one of your high fantasy type of deals?”

“Nah, you know, actual, real, honest-to-goodness witchcraft. This book is by a guy called Gardner – set the whole thing off in the nineteen-fifties seems. See here, this page says witches are supposed to work their rituals to the Great Goddess outside in the nude. Clothes muck around with your natural connection to the Earth ‘parently.”

“Fancy that,” said Verna, less than impressed. “You won’t catch many capering around in the buff up here. You’d catch your death. Nah, that kind of things more for your soft Southern witches — y’know the Pimlico Coven and whatnot. Up north, they’ll be where any sensible old crone’d be – huddled round a cauldron for warmth and a good thing too. Still if the weathers as good as they say in Puerto del Carmen, I might have a go at it meself — I feel like getting in touch with my inner Goddess, though getting in touch with someone else’s outer God would be alright n’all.”

Verna laughed. Emily didn’t. If the girl had a funny bone, Verna had never been able to discover it. It definitely wasn’t anywhere near her hips. It wouldn’t really be fair to call her young assistant simply ‘bookish’. Hell, she ran a second-hand bookstore herself – ‘Bookish’ was a tautology for them both. But while she used books as a means of escaping real life for a few hours or even a whole afternoon, Emily seemed to use them as a way of understanding it. Instead of, you know, actually living. And to top it all, she at all times seemed to have at hand exactly the wrong book with the wrong message.

“So, what should I do with the books, Mrs Baldwin?” she asked.

“Leave ’em out. I’ll sort ’em when I get back,” said Verna. Technically they should go under Religion, she supposed, but the only person who ever looked back there was old Mrs Birkbeck and she’d have kittens if she saw the ‘occult’ invading what she regarded as her own personal shelf full of heaven. Still, if they weren’t on sale, they’d be in Emily’s hands and that might be worse. She picked up a volume at random,Sex Magic in Modern Witchcraft, the mind boggled. “No, on second thoughts, stick ’em in the stock room. They’ll be a bugger to shift anyhow.”

Oh, the girl was nice enough. Pretty too, especially if you defined ‘pretty’ as gorgeous except with no effort put in. She was punctual, tidy, good with numbers and had an almost inhuman ability to remember what they had in stock and what had sold — generally all the areas Verna herself was weak at. It’s just people found her, well, a littleoff in some not quite definable way. It wasn’t she was ill-mannered. It was that her grasp of basic social conventions was hazy at best.

For example, she tended to get rather overheated when discussing fiction with customers — which was great when she liked it, but not so great when she had ‘opinions’. She took her fantasy seriously, more so than her reality, maybe. Last week, one poor teenage customer had remarked that ‘You can never have too much Harry Potter’ and had been treated to a fifteen-minute lecture about exactly how much twee boarding college wizardry Emily believed was a sufficient. It turned out to be a lot less the J.K Rowling had written, although oddly not completely zero. He’d been about to buy the deluxe box set as well, more was the pity. He’d left with a battered and rather less expensive Ursula K. Le Guin that Verna wasn’t sure he was gonna get as much from.

Similarly, anyone approaching the counter clutching a copy of Game of Thrones would invariably be guided back towards the shelf with a recommendation any number of different fantasy series that were clearly better simply by being finished. Verna had been terrified the first time a Twilight fan had visited the shop, but to her great relief, Emily had just stared at it blankly, tutted and rung the purchase up. She’d was absolutely banned, under pain of instant dismissal from giving her comment on Wuthering Heights ever again — she’d quite enjoyed the bit with the ghost at the beginning, but had put the book down once it was clear that Heathcliff wasn’t gonna turn out to be a werewolf.

“You’ll be okay in the shop on your own will you?” Verna asked for the fifth time that day.

Emily looked up from her newly acquired book. “Sure. I unlock the door at nine. Lock it again at six. Someone wants a book, I sell it to them. It’s not difficult.”

“And Chip and Walter’s food in the cupboard by the kitchen door,” she repeated. It was rather redundant information. Even if Emily forgot where the food was, the two Alsatians would be all too happy to guide her to it.

“And you’ll take them out for a walk each evening. Not too late, mind, ’cause it’s not safe for a young woman out on her own these days. Not that it ever was.”

She realized that Emily too engrossed in skyclad foolery to listen to her. “I said, not too late. Don’t get your head stuck in that there book and forget to walk them before it gets dark.”

“No, Mrs Baldwin,” Emily said in a voice that suggested she processed only enough of what had just been said to give a binary answer.

“Hmm,” said Verna. That girl was a worry, especially on her own. Heaven knows what she’d come back to, but she hadn’t had a holiday in three years and she couldn’t really afford to shut the shop completely during her absence.

Just then the bell rang and a customer entered. It was young Neville Blackley from down the road – a nice local boy and a total Sci-Fi nerd. He’d been a frequent visitor to the shop ever since he was ten. His visits had dropped off a bit after he’d gone to university, but had returned more frequently in the last few months after he graduated. Verna had a pretty good idea about why.

“Hiya, Mrs Baldwin. Sorry, are you still open?”

“Always, for you Neville flower, only you’ll have to be quick. I’m off on my hols in a mo, so no extended browsing sessions please.”

“It’s okay,” he said. “I know what I want.” He went straight-over to their new book section and pulled out a deluxe edition of the Lord of the Rings. It was an gigantic tome that combined all three books into one, with colour illustrations every few pages and came in its own protective box with a gold embossed version of the One Ring on each side. It was the most expensive thing in the shop that wasn’t an encyclopaedia set. He brought it over to the counter.

“Hi,” he said to Emily, looking her up and down nervously.

Emily looked at him blankly and rang the purchase up. Neville, rather than pay straight away, hovered. To an expert in basic human interaction, that is to say anyone aside from Emily, the hovering spoke Wheel of Time sized volumes.

“Will that be all today?” she asked.

“Err, sure yes.” He reached in his trouser pocket and pulled out a debit card.

“It’s a lovely book, isn’t it?” she said as she processed the payment. Verna had trained her to say exactly that and only that for any purchase over thirty pounds, rather than risk losing any more sales, and this book was significantly more than thirty pounds. Verna knew damn well that Tolkien was Emily’s favourite author of all time. She spent more time in the Shire than she did in t’Shire and so on this one occasion, it would have been okay for her to have gone a little off-script. Verna decided to play Cilla Black.

“Emily’s a big fan. Does her own painting of scenes from Middle-Earth, don’t you dear? I’ve seen them they’re rather good. You should bring them in one day for Neville to have a look”

Rather good was an understatement. Her latest work had been an gigantic spectacular oil painting of Lothlorien that was clearly done by someone with a steady hand, a keen eye and absolutely nothing to do on a Friday night except to draw elf after elf after elf. Hundreds of the buggers there on that canvas. It must have taken her months. If you examined it carefully, you could tell which ones she’d draw first by how good the ears were.

“Oh, I don’t like to move them,” said Emily neutrally. Not even the compliment had caused her to blush. Verna briefly considered suggesting she invite Neville up to her bedroom, but she knew when she was beating a dead Rohirrim.

“So, what is it you think that makes Lord of the Rings still better than all the fantasy written afterwards?” asked Nevile, in a desperate attempt to kickstart a conversation.

“I dunno really,” said Emily. “The imagery. The world-building, maybe. I like the fact the Tolkien didn’t waste any time on pointless romantic sub-plots. I hate those.”

“Errm,” said Neville, in the sort of voice that knows that the only thing that would be more humiliating than uttering the next sentence would be to leave without saying anything. “A few of us were going to get together to watch the new Lord of the Rings televisions series. You know, the one on Amazon. I mean, it’ll probably be terrible, but if it is, at least we’ll have someone to complain about it to. So, I was wondering…”

He trailed off, as if looking for a reaction. Emily simply said, “Yes?”

“I mean, if you’d like to join us? Maybe?” he said.

“I’m sorry. I don’t watch television,” she said. For most girls, that would have been a nasty, fake way to turn a fella down, but Verna knew for a fact that she really didn’t watch T.V. and was just stating a fact.

“Oh, okay. I mean, you saw the movies, right? This is the same kind of thing, only just in episode format.”

“Oh, I didn’t watch the movies. Why would I watch someone else’s vision of them, when I’ve already got my own vision in my own head. And besides, I heard it has a skateboarding elf in it.”

“Well,” said Neville, “That’s really only a couple of seconds out of nearly ten hours. Most of it is really quite good…er, I would have said.”

Neville trailed off. Emily had picked up her book and was thumbing through it to try and discover her place. “Err, well anyway, thanks for the book.”

“No, thank you, Neville Love,” said Verna in order to maintain the warm customer relations that she prided her establishment on. Neville was a good customer and at this rate he might never be able to step into a bookshop again without therapy. “If you drop by week after next, I might have some new old Philip K. Dicks for you. Shop up in Huddersfield said they were overstocked and wanted to send some my way.”

“Yeah, maybe” said Neville, still obviously dreaming of more than electric sheep.

Verna held the door open for him, and as she did she saw a car pull up. “Oh, right, my lift’s here. I’ll be out in a second, duck. Just saying my goodbyes. Yeah, Ta. Oh, bye, Neville. Don’t forget, mind, week after next once I’m back from me holidays.”

“You never mentioned any new Dicks,” said Emily as Verna let the door swing to.

“Why would I? You wouldn’t be interested. Besides, there aren’t any, but I wanted that poor fella to actually come back and have another go after I’d given you a good wallop right on side of your thick head.”

“What do you mean?” said Emily. Verna looked at her trying to work out if she really didn’t know.

“What I mean, young lady, is that there is a nice lad — a gentleman even, you could even say, give him a few more years – good education, good job, nice to his mam too. If you want to know how a fella will treat a lady, always look at how he treats his mother – that’s what my old nan used to say and she were right and all. He’s well-spoken too, for all that means round here — and he’s taken a right proper shine to you and there’s you acting all like butter wouldn’t melt. You could do a lot worse and, I dare say, not a fair sight better.”

“Aw, he was just buying a book.”

“For the Love of…he was not just buying a book. He was buying the most expensive version of your favourite book. Now, there’s them as will flash a Rolex in a lass’s direction, or pull up in a Lamborghini wi’ a spare passenger seat, and there’s women that’ll impress – tarts for the most part, but that’s by the by. He’s not that type and neither are you, but it’s the same deal writ a good bit smaller. Flashing a bit of cash on things you like in the hopes you’ll notice and be impressed. More fool him. He’s following you around like a dog wi’a broken leg. Now either you take him in and nurse him back to health, or you take him round back and give him both barrels, but don’t pretend like you don’t notice. It’s not fair on him. It’s not the first time he’s been round here wi’ those big puppy dog eyes of his. I tell you, if you don’t give him some attention, maybe I will and then where will we be.”

“Hmm. I’ll think about it,” said Emily non-committally. Verna knew her well enough to know that was what she often said when she wanted a conversation to be over immediately. Neville Blackly wasn’t every girls cup of tea, but for a self-professed lover of hobbits, you’d think he’d be ideal. Still none of this getting through to her as far as Verna could tell, and with EasyJet Flight 1971 waiting for her at Gate Thirteen, Manchester Airport, there was little to be done but leave matters where there were for now.

“Aye, well make sure you do. Proper like. And put that blummin’ book on witches down before any of that nonsense starts seeping in. And make sure you walk them dogs – before it’s dark, mind. Right, anyway, that’s me off. Next time you see me, I’ll have a tan on.”

Emily put the book down, but as Verna headed out the door, she saw Emily pick up one another one from the pile — she wasn’t certain, but it she could swear it was the one on Sex magic.

“God Love us,” Verna muttered to herself as she got into the taxi. “What is she like?”

2. The Awakening

To Ted Norris, one of the benefits of being a plumber, and a self-employed plumber at that, was that you got the use of your own white van of an evening. There was a certain amount of unpacking needed beforehand and an equal amount of repacking the next morning, but it was worth it for the extra amount of freedom you got — freedom to do stuff that just wasn’t feasible in a family hatchback. It was a definite perk. The van made him and his Brenda the undisputed king and queen of the local dogging community.

They’d been at it for six months after a dry spell in their marriage had required radical action. Not every man would be happy sharing his Wife, but early on in their experimentation the strange calculus of Wife-sharing had become clear — the more you shared of her the more there seemed to be of her to go round. She was permanently Horny these days, even on those evening when they didn’t have an outing. Many who’d sneer at him, if only they knew, would go straight home to cold, sexless beds. He’d even gotten to some play with the other wives, though with nothing like the frequency Brenda got it on with the husbands.

They’d pulled into the wooden area and parked up about half-an-hour ago as the sun began to go down. With Ben off at his college leaving party and Becca at a sleep over, they had all evening to indulge their new hobby, and had set off early to be the first ones here. That said, it was June and it wasn’t getting dark much before nine, so they’d still managed to catch Gardener’s World before heading out. He was checking the football scores on his iPad while she was knitting another scarf. It was funny how she’d taken up knitting at around the same time as dogging, but it made sense. There was a lot of sitting around waiting for something to happen. Still, it’d be funny come Christmas when she handed them out to all their elderly relatives and he remember what they’d been doing for each one: Red with white snow-flakes — that was the infamous spit-roast; Blue and White Leeds United — that was when she’d gobbed off three guys in a row without even bothering to wipe down her blouse between men — happy times.

“Pass us the pasty, will you, pet. I’m right starving,” said Brenda, setting down her latest creation mid-stitch.

“You’ve only just had your tea. You go scoffing it now, there’ll be nothing left for after,” he warned. Their appetites both increased on these evenings out.

“Stop your blathering and hand it over. We can always stop at late-night chip shop on the way home,” she complained.

“Oh, you’ll nip out and get it in will you? Past all the yobs and drunken lasses. Not likely wi’ state you usually end up in. It’ll be muggins here who has get out and wait half-an-hour in the queue wi’ all them louts constantly mouthing off and starting stuff.”

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