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Three naked bodies hit the water simultaneously and disappeared. A moment later, three heads broke the surface screaming in unison Yow, it's cold! Their traditional yell was truer than usual: notwithstanding the unseasonable heat of Indian Summer, October was pushing the limits of the season for their favorite swimming hole.

Why did I let you two talk me into this? yelled Jill, her teeth chattering, mostly for effect.

Holly's jaw dropped, also for effect. Who talked who into what?

Funny, said her brother Terry, I seem to remem- ber saying No way in hell am I going in that water, Indian Summer or no.

With a glance at each other, brother and sister began splashing their friend for all they were worth. Jill gave back as good as she received, but she was outnumbered four hands to two, and finally surrendered by diving under the water. She surfaced near the bank and climbed out, saying Okay, I'm done.

The hell you are! Holly and Terry clambered out as fast as the water would let them, and proceeded to chase the laughing Jill up and down the bank until they outflanked her. Still giggling, Jill found her- self taken by hands and feet and swung unceremoniously back into the water. When she surfaced, the two sib- lings were grappling, trying to throw each other in. Holly was victorious, and no sooner had Terry hit the water then he was scrambling out again, friendly ven- geance on his face. But Holly was already jumping in, accepting the inevitable. Spoil-sport, said Terry, making a face.

Oh, kiss and make up, you two, said Jill, and when they had, she added Am I forgiven too?

Well, just this once, replied Holly, kissing her.

Only if you promise never, ever to do it again, said Terry, completing the circle by kissing Jill. But this last kiss lasted rather longer than the first two, and neither saw Holly's face as she turned away and climbed out.

It is cold, said Terry. Enough?

Enough, agreed Jill, and they joined Holly on the bank. The three stood shivering, hugging them- selves, though the setting sun was still hot. I don't suppose... began one, That anyone thought to bring... continued another, Towels? finished the third.

None of them had figured on swimming when plan- ning an overnight camping trip in October. Bathing suits were no problem; they probably wouldn't have brought them even in July, as the trio had been skinny dipping together since grammar school. But the ques- tion of how to dry themselves hung in the air until Terry suggested running around and let the wind do it. The motion passed for lack of a better one, and they raced all through the trees around the swimming hole until they dropped with exhaustion.

As they lay panting on the ground, Terry gazed at the two girls (oops young women he reminded him- self) who had been his best friends since forever: Jill with her blonde hair, her slender body whose secrets he had just recently begun to know, and a face worth dying for; Holly with hair and eyes the same brown as his own, her face so much plainer than Jill's, but to Terry no less beautiful, her body com- fortably plump, especially her breasts, those wonder- ful breasts that a part of him longed to touch, even as the rest of him shied away from the forbidden temptation. Terry was suddenly aware that he had an erection, and no graceful way to hide it. Too late, the girls had already seen it. Oops, he said sheep- ishly, blushing furiously.

Holly got up. I'll get the fire going, she said, and leave you two alone.

Terry and Jill watched Holly hurry away, and looked at each other uncomfortably. That fall they had started college, choosing the same one more by coincidence than by design. Knowing nobody else in their new environment, they had clung to each other for support, and it was both a profound shock and the most natural thing in the world when their intimate friendship of so many years blossomed into romance. By the time they had been in school a month, they had given each other their virginity.

But Holly, a year older, had entered a different college, and they couldn't all be together as often as in high school. And when Jill and Terry became lovers, though nobody said a word, Holly knew it. And that was when the trouble began.

We can't go on like this, said Jill as she sat beside Terry, their backs against a tree.

I know. It's tearing her apart. He sighed. I wish we could make her understand. It doesn't change anything between her and I, or her and you.

Well, I'm afraid it does.

Well, it shouldn't. They sat in silence for a while.

I love you both so much, said Terry, And I'd never do anything to hurt either of you. Not if I knew it was going to.

I feel the same way. But now we know, don't we? I feel like I've betrayed her, by taking you as...

Your lover?

Yeah. Terry? Tears were filling Jill's eyes. Do you think we could... go back to...

Just being friends? Terry nodded slowly. But I love making love with you. I don't want to give that up.

Oh god, neither do I, but is it worth losing Holly? The tears were running down her face now. She'll always be your sister, but I don't think I can stand to lose her, and I am!

Terry took her in his arms and held her while her tears fell, and some of his own as well. At last, when their sobs had ceased, he said Okay, Jill. What we did was a wonderful thing, and I'll never regret it. But it was a mistake. Are we still friends?

Oh, yes! Jill cried, and more tears fell.

As they watched the sun disappear behind the distant mountains, Terry remarked, with a catch in his throat, You know, I feel like the sun is going down on our friendship.

It's not.

I know. But that's how I feel. They started back toward camp, close together but not touching. I guess we better stick to the official sleeping arrangements, huh?

It's ironic, Holly said to herself as she set about starting the fire. Jill could have had any boy in high school goodness knows they were all chasing after her. All except Terry. I guess that's why they've been such good friends, because he never tried to put the make on her. Of course, she grinned at the thought, He always figured he never had a chance with her anyway, with her being so beautiful, and him with his face as plain as mine. Not ugly, mind you, but nothing that would turn a girls head. She sighed sadly. How nice it must be to be beautiful, to never have to go on diets, to always have everyone looking at you, admiring you. She stopped in her tracks, the skillet she was carrying forgotten. I'm jealous! Jealous of Jill's looks, and I've never been jealous of her before. And I'm jealous of her romance with Terry. Thinking about the way they looked at each other, Holly knew she had never felt that way about anybody. At least, not about any of the boys I went out with. Certainly nobody's ever felt that way about me. And when they look at each other like that, I feel so left out, so alone, so superfluous. Brushing away a tear, she set the skillet to heat on the fire and sat staring into the flames until Terry and Jill returned.

Dinner was a somber affair, with nobody speaking much. When all the food had been eaten or put away or tossed into the woods for the scavengers, Jill spoke. Holly, Terry and I have something to tell you. Holly forced a smile. You're getting married?

There was an uncomfortable silence.

Not quite, said Terry. No, Jill and I have been talking, and we've decided Jill and I thought that you... I mean that we... he looked helplessly at Jill.

What Terry's trying to say is that we've real- ized that we made a mistake.

A mistake?

All of us were happy together when we were just friends, and that's how we want it to be again.

Holly said nothing, but looked from Jill to Terry and back again.

What she's trying to say, said Terry, Is that we realize how left out we've made you feel, and we...

No! Holly interrupted, Don't do this because of me! You love each other, and I can't - I won't - her words failed, and she burst into tears.

Of course we love each other, Jill said, putting her arm around her, We'll always love each other. But we love you too, and to break up our friendship...

It's too high a price to pay just for sex. Terry's words left a bitter taste in his mouth. It not just the sex, he thought.

But after the tears there were hugs and kisses (short ones between everyone now), and when Terry and Holly brought out their dulcimers, it was just like old times as they talked and laughed and sang the evening away. And when they sang Julian of Norwich, the words seemed to have been written just for them:

Love, like the yellow daffodil is coming through the snow, Love, like the yellow daffodil is lord of all I know. Ring out, bells of Norwich and let the winter come and go, All shall be well again, I know. All shall be well, I'm telling you, let the winter come and go, All shall be well again, I know.

I wish I had a face and a figure like yours, said Holly to Jill as they made ready to sleep in the larger of the two tents, Terry having retired to the smaller.

Whatever for?

Oh, don't give me that crap. Look at this face. Plain as cheap vanilla pudding. Look at this body. Flab everywhere. My ass is too big. My boobs are too big.

Well, I think you have lovely boobs.

They're awful, they get in the way, I can't run without having them bounce like basketballs. How would you like to carry around weights like these? Feel this. Reaching into her nightgown, Holly bared a breast and held it up with her hand. They did tend to sag when not supported by a bra, Jill observed, but not all that much. Go ahead, feel this weight.

Jill reached out and let Holly's breast fill her hand, feeling its weight. She shivered, and took her hand away. I still think they're lovely. Look at me, I'm flat as a board. Which was not quite accurate, but the only use Jill had ever found for a bra was for accentuating what little she had.

Wanna trade? said Holly, blushing.

Sure! said Jill, and she blushed too.

Well, thought Terry, Old Morpheus is definitely nowhere to be found in this tent, and it doesn't look like he's going to come visiting any time soon. He sat up and stared out of the tent. Guess I'll take a walk and see if the god of sleep is lurking about in the woods.

As he wandered he thought about how strange life was, and how unfair. How odd that of the few people he considered his best friends, one should be his sister, when just about everyone else he knew considered their siblings, younger or older, to be nuisances. Not that they never had fights, but whenever one of them needed someone to celebrate with, or a shoulder to cry on, or a leg to pull, the other had always been there. How odd that another best friend should be the most sought-after girl in high school, when he wouldn't have dared even try to get her to go out with him. But he had shared secrets with Jill that none of his girl- friends had been privy to, and Jill in turn had trust- ed him with confidences that only he and Holly had shared. And how unfair that when fate had joined him and Jill closer than ever before, it had threatened to destroy the trio. It's really ironic, he thought, That of all the women in the world that could be my lover, the two I love most should be the least appro- priate.

Terry was not the only one to be abandoned by Morpheus. Jill had been lying in her sleeping bag, her thoughts not far removed from Terry's, seeking the gift of unconsciousness that Holly had already received. Turning on her side, Jill gazed at her friend as she lay half in and half out of her sleep- ing bag. Holly's breasts rose and fell under the thin fabric of her nightgown like swells on the Sea of Dreams, and Jill remembered the icy thrill she had felt when she had, just for a moment, held one of them. She pushed the thought from her mind and looked away, out into the night, but her eyes and thoughts returned to Holly, to Holly's breasts. The longer Jill looked at Holly, the more she wanted to reach out and touch her. And then Jill's hand began to move, and she scarcely breathed as she let it reach slowly across the short distance between them. As it rose with her breath, one soft mound filled Jill's trembling hand and a shiver of excitement made Jill's entire body tingle. Carefully she caressed her friend, fascinated by the liquid texture of the others flesh. When her fingers encountered a little bump and felt it grow under their touch, and Jill shivered again. Holly sighed, and Jill glanced up at her face.

Holly's eyes had opened.

As they stared at each other through that long frozen moment of time, Holly's eyes showed only an intense awareness of Jill's presence, and Jill unable to even think, let alone move, until at length Holly whispered, You really think they're pretty?

Jill swallowed - I think they're beautiful. I think you're beautiful. Jill felt that she couldn't have broken Holly's gaze if her life depended on it. No, she thought, I feel like my life depends on hold- ing this gaze forever. Holly's face seemed to grow un- til Jill couldn't see anything else, until all she could see were Holly's brown eyes, full of uncertainty and trust, until at last she felt their lips touch, and Jill's eyes finally closed as their kiss branded their souls with an affirmation of their friendship and their love.

Nothing, Jill whispered, No one can change how I feel about you. Holly's only reply was another kiss, but her eyes were full of tears. She looked down to where Jill's hand still held her breast. Jill felt the blood rush to her face and looked away, withdrawing her hand. But Holly took Jill's hand in hers and held it, saying No, wait.

Jill waited.

Please Holly's whisper was almost inaudible. Please keep touching me?

Jill cupped Holly's trembling breast with her hand, squeezing it gently, and kissed Holly once more. This time their lips parted, and the kiss took them beyond mere friendship to an intimacy Holly had only dreamed of. This, thought Holly, This is what they must feel. When their eyes met again, Jill saw reflec- ted in Holly's eyes her own uncertainty about what was happening, and her aching need that it keep on happen- ing. Then together, moving so slowly that neither could be sure whether she was leading or following, they drew off their nightgowns.

Now four hands touched four naked breasts, large and small, amid kisses and hugs. And the kisses moved from lips to cheeks, from necks to shoulders, from arms to hands to fingers, and then to the breasts beneath the fingers. Gasps and sighs were exchanged as lips discovered the taste of nipples, and fingers tangled in brown hair and blonde. Jill's hand was the first to dare straying between a pair of thighs not her own, to find the hidden moistness there; a moment later she felt Holly's palm press against her own mound. Sighs gave way to moans as two friends shared new secrets. Legs moved to make room for questing fingers, which moved gently, tentatively at first, then more quickly as they grew wet with their spiral- ing passion.

After Jill and Holly had brought each other to long, shuddering orgasms, Jill put her fingers, still sticky from Holly's quim, to her lips. One smell, one taste, and Jill knew what she was going to do next. Staring into her friends eyes, Jill put her fingers in her mouth, one after another, and slowly shifted her position. When Jill was sure that Holly knew what she intended, she lowered her head and planted a kiss full on her pussy. Holly whimpered softly. Her thighs parted, opening her sex like a flower. Jill had never entertained lesbian fantasies; she was amazed at how the sight of another woman's sex no, Holly's sex could excite her so. And the taste of her was outside any- thing she had ever imagined. Taking a deep breath, Jill proceeded to kiss and taste every secret part of Holly that she could reach.

Jill? whispered Holly, and Jill looked up with a start. Oh, please don't stop, that feels so wonderful, but...

What, Holly?

Would you.. I mean I'd like to do that. To you. Can we do it together?

After a few false starts with uncomfortable pos- itions, they settled down on their sides, each with her upper leg cast over the other's body. Holly stared in fascination at the glistening crevice before her, all shades of pink and coral. She had seen Jill naked many times, but never like this. Jill felt a hot breath tickle her nest, followed by a timid kiss, then another, then a less timid kiss that lingered. A soft tongue spread her lips and searched until it and found her clitoris, forcing an ahhhhh in response. From the tiny button, Holly kissed all down the smooth wet furrow to the secret entrance below, and then, stretching to reach, slipped her tongue inside.

Jill?

Yes? she answered without looking up.

You taste wonderful.

Thanks. So do you. And the two friends began to make love in earnest.

Passing by the girls tent on his way back to his own, Terry heard a moan. That sounds like Jill, he thought, But she only moans like that when we... There was another moan, and this one wasn't from Jill. Un- able to accept what his ears were telling him, Terry knelt behind the tent and put his eye to an ill-mended tear in the fabric. This is not happening! He rubbed his eyes and pinched himself before looking again. Jill, his lover - former lover he reminded himself and Holly, his sister, were entwined in an embrace of un- mistakable intimacy. There was just enough moonlight shining into the opening of the tent to see a blonde head nodding rhythmically between a pair of plump thighs. Any possible remaining doubt was eliminated by an occasional wet smack or slurp. Those thighs My sister's thighs! began to jerk spasmodically, and it was clearly Holly's voice that breathed Jill... oh, Jill... Ohhhhh! as Jill brought her to orgasm. A moment later it was Jill who cried out softly as she came, her hips bucking to press herself hard against Holly's hidden face.

After a while Holly spoke softly. I'd never have guessed that you were gay. But it doesn't matter, she hurried on, because...

I'm not, Jill interrupted.

Oh. Of course not. Well, bi then. But...

Holly. You're the second person I've ever made love with. You know who the first was.

Oh. Well, this is my first time with anybody.

Holly! A sophomore in college and you're still a virgin?

Come on, Jill, you'd have been the first to know if I'd lost it.

Yeah, okay. But hasn't there been anyone I mean, I know you've had boyfriends, maybe not a lot, but...

There wasn't ever anybody I wanted, not like that, except there just wasn't anybody.

Jill thought of Terry, staring at his sister and getting an erection. Except who?

Nobody, there wasn't anybody.

Holly. Look at me. Nobody except for who?

Holly whispered something too soft to hear.

Your brother? Oh god, Holly. Terry heard a sob. No, Holly, listen to me! This afternoon, when Terry got a hard-on, and you left? I was watching him, and he wasn't looking at me, he was looking at you!

No, that's impossible.

It's true.

I don't believe you.

Why is him wanting you more impossible than you wanting him? And why would I lie to you?

Is that why you and Terry broke up?

No! Terry doesn't even know that I know. And we haven't broken up, we've come back together all three of us, just like we've alway been.

But Jill what have we done? Terry will know what happened here tonight, as surely as I knew when you two did it. What will he think?

Terry decided that the time had come to tell them exactly what he thought. Moving quickly to the front of the tent, he crouched down and crawled in. Both girls stared at him in shock, fear and embarras- sment, but he moved directly to Holly, took her face gently in his hands, and kissed her. You really want me, he whispered, just like I want you? Holly made no sound, but her eyes spoke what her tongue could not. Their lips met again, parted this time, and their arms made circles around each other like some old, old vine.

Make love to me, pleaded Holly when they broke for air.

Jill had turned away so her friends wouldn't see her tears, and hearing these words she crawled out of the tent. But she heard her name from two voices speaking as one, and reluctantly she returned.

Stay with us, urged Holly.

You've made love with both of us now, what's left to hide? Terry added.

We want you here for this.

Jill looked at her two friends, her two lovers, who were about to become lovers themselves, and she knew that all would indeed be well again.

Holly lay back on her sleeping bag and watched Terry as he removed his shorts. She reached out to touch his erection, and he responded by stroking her breasts, and then her quim. I've dreamed about this for a long time, he said, bending over her to kiss first one nipple, then the other. He began moving into position, but Jill said Terry, wait. She's not pro- tected like I am.

What? said Holly.

I'm on the pill. You're not. She looked at Terry. Do you have a condom?

I don't want rubber inside me, I want Terry.

No, I don't have one.

Jill looked stricken. I don't want to say this, but I think you should wait until you're safe. There's other ways to make love...

I'm as safe now as I ever am! Haven't you notic- ed the moon? Ever since her first period, Holly had been in rhythm with the moon. This had caused Jill and Terry to declare her their own personal goddess incar- nate, to Holly's acute embarrassment. But far from be- ing a simple joke, this synchronicity symbolized for them their love and reverence for the outdoors.

She's right, Holly, said Terry, It's still a risk. What would you do if you got pregnant? And by me, for god's sake?

I don't want to wait, she pleaded, I want you to take me right here, right now, with Jill here beside us.

Oh, Holly. Jill looked at her sadly. Look, what if he pulls out before he comes. Would that be enough?

I wanted this to be perfect. Holly sighed. But you're right. I won't put this off for another day, not for an hour. So I guess we'll do it like you said.

Jill looked on as Terry settled down between Holly's thighs, pausing to take each breast-berry into his mouth, which caused Holly to moan until he silenced her with another kiss. Holly reached between them and stroked his rigid limb before guiding it to her sacred spring, still wet from her love-making with Jill. Jill knew that whatever was left of Holly's maiden-head would be little or no hindrance, and she was happy that Holly wouldn't have to lose her vir- ginity in pain, as she had. Terry slid smoothly into his sister, neither quickly nor slowly, and Holly sucked in her breath in a long gasp, her eyes widening as they stared into his. Terry's eyes closed and he fell gently onto Holly, murmuring her name over and over. As his hips began rocking, Holly reached out to find Jill's hand, and for the first time that day Jill felt her eyes fill with tears of joy rather than sor- row.

Holly closed her eyes. She was full of him now, their joining complete, and he paused for one long, wonderful moment to savor the feeling of their bodies merged, his within hers for the very first time, their souls like two trees, grown together from close- planted seeds, only now discovering that their roots were as intertwined as their branches.

It was, understandably, not long at all before Terry's breathing and movements betrayed his impending climax, and Jill had to remind him to not increase Holly's risk further. As soon as he emerged from his sisters depths, a long jet arced out to land on her thigh. Jill grabbed the bucking shaft and captured it with her mouth, holding it there as Terry gasped out his orgasm.

I wish I'd done that, said Holly, as Jill licked the last creamy drops from her leg. What's it taste like?

Jill answered by kissing Holly, letting her taste the seed that she had wanted to feel inside her. Terry, you left something unfinished here.

What?

You haven't made Holly come yet. Wouldn't you like to find out what she tastes like?

Does she taste anything like you?

Better, said Jill, which caused Holly to blush.

~a new beginning~


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