“I don’t know why I bother showering,” Nikkia says. “As soon as I’m done, I just start sweating again. I’ve never been so hot in my life.”
She lies on the bed, sliding on her stomach, stretching her arms in front of her.
“You’ve never looked hotter,” Terry says, turning from his laptop and admiring the view of her shoulders, back, butt, and legs.
He doesn’t see her roll her eyes, but he knows she does it as she says, “Oh, please.”
He grins at her, which she can’t see, then he returns his attention to the laptop’s screen. Nikkia’s arms stop their stretch and hug a pillow, her cheek resting on the soft fabric.
She watches him sitting at the desk and working at his computer. “How were the photos today?” she asks.
“Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. It’s unbelievable. Every day, it’s the same thing. I could stay here for a year and still see new things.” He sighs as he closes the laptop. “But we only have a few more days. And I’ll be taking shots like crazy.”
Smiling, Nikkia says, “An artist with a new subject. Like you were with me after we met.”
“No, it was after you got comfortable with me. It wasn’t right after we met.”
“Mmm-hmm. I had to make sure you had good intentions. I don’t pose for just anybody.” She rolls over. Her hand makes a gliding journey down her body, like they had done their first day of their trip here, sliding on the river in a boat to get their first close-up look at the rainforest.
“I’m glad I passed the test,” Terry says as he gets out the chair and stands above her, looking down at her, again admiring the view. After a long moment, he bends down and kisses her lightly. First on the lips, then on her nipples.
Nikkia sighs with the kisses and says, “Don’t you dare. I just took a shower. You’re going to make me even hotter and sweatier.”
“And the problem is?”
“The problem is I’m worn out from the hike. Aren’t you tired from all that?”
“Sure,” he has to admit. He gives her nipples one more kiss, then takes a deep breath. “Yeah, I better shower, too. Clean up before bed.”
“You’ll be more welcome in here if you do. Hey, can I look at your photos while you’re in the shower?”
“Of course.” Terry hands her the laptop then hits the shower.
Nikkia sits up in bed, opens the laptop, and launches the photo viewer. Color bursts from the screen, as if her eyes had been used to seeing drabness, and suddenly a rich world has opened before her, with all the colors more vibrant than she’d ever seen.
We’re definitely not in Kansas any longer, Toto.
Clicking through the photos makes Nikkia feel like she’s back in the rainforest, walking on the trail, immersed in that loud, hot, amazing world. The thousand shades of green. Plants are thick and wild, grown without any limitation in this hothouse. The callings of brilliant birds as colorful as the flowers. This is nature as a lover, not as a mother. This is nature madly in love with life and pleasure and color and plants and animals. This is nature seducing you with her kaleidoscopic eyes.
Yet, there’s discomfort in the jungle, too. Nikkia remembers that as she scrolls through the pictures. Sweating in the intense heat, her clothes long ago soaked and sticking to her skin. Then there’s the fear of what lies beyond what she can see. Beauty is out there, but also danger. Jaguars, spiders, and snakes. Insects bigger than any she’s seen before. Nature could seduce you with those sultry eyes of hers, but she could also bite.
Still, though, it’s well worth it to walk in her, surround yourself with her and inhale her spirit, for she has deep resources to share. You inhale her and take her into yourself and let her breathe with you. She becomes part of you.
Nikkia is deeply grateful for joining Terry on this assignment. She hasn’t gone with him on all of his photography trips, since her work schedule doesn’t allow it every time. And then there have been some locations that didn’t exactly interest her. She had been fine with skipping his photo tour of barns in Kentucky. But this one, in the rainforest, she is very thankful for tagging along.
She’s still immersed in the photos when Terry comes out of the bathroom, showered and towel-dried, and he stretches onto the bed beside her. Laying on his side watching her. Matching her in nakedness. Clearly pleased that she has been looking through his photos.
“What do you think it would be like to live in the rainforest?” she asks, not taking her eyes off the pictures.
“You mean a ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane’ kind of thing?”
They both think of a Tarzan-like house high in the trees. Tree limbs tied together make up the floor and walls, with thick tropical leaves as the roof. A simple bed in the corner. Luscious, sweet fruits always on the table. The talking of macaws and other birds always coming through the windows.
“It’d be great for getting away for a little bit,” he says. “But remember, we wouldn’t have air conditioning. And snakes have no problem climbing up trees.”
“Hmm. Yeah, that’s true. Let’s just go into the jungle in day trips like we’re doing.”
She shuts down the laptop and closes it and slides it on top of the night stand. Then she turns to him, her hand laying on his shoulder and gliding down him, down his ribs and belly, and stopping at the curve of his ass.
“Besides,” she says, “I don’t look that great in cheetah print. Now and then is nice, but not all of the time. A girl needs more variety in her wardrobe.”
“But that’s a good idea for a photo shoot when we get home. You in some cheetah print lingerie.”
She can’t help but smile. “I like it. Show my wild side.”
He matches her smile, saying, “And I love it when you show that.” He slides toward her like a snake and kisses her, a kiss that proves to her that he means those words.