I'd read about the Honey Hollow swimming hole on a naturally dammed section of Cunningham Creek in the Baltimore Sun's travel section, and I'd never heard of it before, even though it was just up the road from Thurmont, where I lived. I'd heard of the Honey Hollow Reservoir, of course, because it provided water to Thurmont. It was up in a fold of the Catoctin Mountains, and the paper said it was a beautiful mile and a half hike up beyond the reservoir to a naturally fed, rock-bottom swimming hole that harkened back to our grandfather's era. I decided right there and then I'd check that swimming hole out. I did so first in July, and although the hike lived up to its hype, the swimming hole was crowded with families with young children and a group of smart-alecky high schoolers, and so I put swimming there on a backburner.

Today I'd gotten my chance, though. After a mid-September cold snap the previous week warning us of the approach of autumn, this week was in the 80s. The apple picking had been wrapped up at Collins's farm, so I'd settled on today to make another go at the swimming hole. It was mid week and the families would be busy doing something else and all of the kids would be back in school anyway.

As I pulled up to the parking area above the reservoir dam and at the foot of the fire trail leading up into the fold in the mountains, I had to pull in close to a humongous black Dodge Ram, because a large tree had fallen into the parking area and had left little room for parking. Still, there was only one vehicle here, so chances were good that I'd be able to get in a swim without fighting a crowd. My Toyota pickup looked tiny and vulnerable beside that big old Dodge Ram, and I couldn't help but think of Sydney Collins, the farmer who had hired me since spring to work in his orchard. He had a Dodge Ram too. It wasn't black, though; it was red. It had a logo on the side like this one. I looked at the logo as I wedged myself out of the driver's door of my pickup, but I was too close in the scant space between the two vehicles to make it out.

Anyway, seeing that truck, especially there nudged up to my small pickup, reminded me that I was going to have to do something about Sydney Collins pretty soon. He was beginning to crowd me in; I'd have to decide.

I crossed the boulder-strewn creek bed that would be under an impassable torrent down to the reservoir on rainy days. And as I started the ascent up the rock-bedded fire trail running through a forest of lush oaks, hickories, and tulip poplar trees, already starting to change color, I thought about where I wasand how I'd gotten here.

I'd graduated from high school in June and was all ready to enter Mount St. Mary's this fall, when the roof caved in on my family. My dad's military police unit, the 115th, that had been on security duty up at the president's Camp David retreat, had been called to Iraq. My mother had taken his absence and the danger he was in so badly that her nerves had forced her to cut back her hours at the supermarket. So, I'd done what I had to do. I'd put off going to college to stick with the family until Dad could get home and had gotten a job as quickly as I could.

Mr. Collins had been a godsendwell, in that respect, at least. He'd taken me on immediately to work in the orchard and said he'd find something for me to do even after the harvest was in. He said it was the least he could do to support my dad and the rest of the troops that were over there in Iraq. The pay was all right, and the work helped me to trim down and muscle up better than spending money at a gym would do.

I'd caught on real fast, though, what Mr. Collins's real interest in me was. He wasn't married and had some of the other guys working for him living up at the house. I overheard them talking and I paid some close attention to how they related to each other, and so I knew pretty quickly what Mr. Collins was like and what he expected of his hired hands. I wasn't shocked or put off, really. Just conflicted. I'd had some confusion about what I wanted and was like myself in high school, but I'd never been brave enoughor fool enoughto go anywhere with some of my thoughts.

Sydney Collins brought those thoughts back, though. He was old from my perspective, but he probably wasn't all that old. And he was a rangy, solid guy. Not handsome by any means, but not ugly, either. I guess a woman would have called him sexy enough. I just didn't know.

What I did know that Sydney Collins was, though, was a touchy-feely sort of guy and one with something on his mind that included me in his plans.

The day before I'd come up here to check out the swimming hole again, he'd more or less trapped me at the fence while I was watching the new, sleek black mare he'd bought trotting around at pasture and put his arm around me in that real friendly manner he had.

'You like her, Jake?' he asked. 'I hope so. She cost me a good penny.'

'Yep,' I answered. 'She looks mighty fine. Ridden her yet?'

'No,' he responded. 'She's still mighty skittish about that. She's fine quality and needs to be brought along proper. I'm bringing in a horse handler to break her in for me. I want her to want to be ridden by me when I first mount her.'

We paused, admiring the marein fact admiring the whole beauty of the green pasture land on the gentle slope between valley and mountain, with its white fences and azure-blue sky. Everything would have been perfect if I wasn't so aware of that arm Collins had draped around my shoulder.

'Why don't you come on up to the house with me, Jake?' Collins suddenly said in a low, husky voice. 'There's something I'd like to show you.'

'Sorry, I can't today, Mr. Collins,' I answered. My mind raced for a reason. 'My mom needs me to pick up the girls at school this afternoon. She can't do it today. Maybe another day . . .'

'Fine,' Collins said a bit stiffly and removed his arm from around my shoulder. 'Maybe another day. It can wait. But not tomorrow. I understand you aren't coming in to work tomorrow.'

'That's right,' I said. 'I need to do some thinking and I've heard there's an old-fashioned swimming hole up above Honey Hollow Reservoir. I'm thinking of hiking up there tomorrow afternoon.'

'That sounds like fun,' Collins said as he turned to walk on up to his house. 'It's supposed to be a hot day; do some skinny dipping up there for me, you hear?'

Skinny dipping at the watering hole. That reminded me as I picked my way over the rocks of a stream bed intersecting that fire trail that I hadn't thought about bringing a swim suit. Well, we'd just have to see what was what, I thought, as I passed the half-way point between the parking area and the swimming hole. A brush-choked clearing was off to my left by the fire trail. The remnants of a stone fireplace told me that someone had once lived up heremaybe had been born in a cabin here and lived their whole life here and died here, leading a normal, dull life. I wasn't sure I wanted to do that. I wanted some risk and danger in my life. I wanted to know that I had lived life to the hilt. That was kind of hard to do in Thurmont, Maryland, though.

And speaking of that, as soon as I came up onto the swimming hole, I knew I wanted to swim in it. It was deserted today. The creek bed was a good bit down from the fire trail, and it would take some risk and effort just to get down to it. The swimming hole was in a gorge of sorts lined with great slabs of gray rock that jutted out here and there at square angles, like it had been quarried. But it had been nature, not man that had quarried it. The swimming hole itself was just a slightly wider section of the creek bed and had three chambers that I could see from the trail far above it. Three different rock-walled 'rooms,' the first one down more private than the lower two. I couldn't see what was farther up the creek from this cascade of rocks, because what would be the wall on that side of the upper chamber was maybe a twenty-five-feet high rock cliff with a waterfall noisily feeding the upper swimming hole. At the same level, naturally arranged piles of large, square-sided slab of rock separated that chamber from the next. And then there was another drop of about fifteen feet, with a waterfall down to the lowest swimming hole. The middle chamber was the largest and looked like the cleanest and the most easily assessible one from here, so I picked my way down the side of the ravine to the terracing of solid rock surrounding that area and stripped off my shorts, T-shirt, and briefs and eased myself into the water.

It was like heaven in the water, and I just laid back and floated and luxuriated in the solitude.

It was a false solitude, though. I heard, or rather sensed, a shifting of pebbles on rock and looked over to the side of the swimming hole. I wasn't alone. A mannot old, but not young, probably ten or eleven years older than I waswas crouched down on his haunches and staring at me. He wasn't looking menacingly and he didn't scare me, but he was looking pretty hard at me, and there I was, naked, in a clear-water swimming hole.

'How's the water?' he asked in a low, melodious voice. Not threatening at all. Warm and interesting voice.

'Ummm. It's pretty cold,' I said. And then I nonsensically went on. 'I . . . I thought I was the only one here.'

'Otherwise you wouldn't be skinny dipping, I guess,' he said. He followed this with a friendly smile. He was a handsome man. Well-built from what I could seeat least his chest and arm muscles were bulgy against the fabric of his T-shirt and showed that he wasn't afraid of manual work. Dark complexioned and with dark hair and hazel eyes that contrasted with his skin tone and that danced when he spoke. He had a slow-starting smile that exuded confidence and good will.

I strangely felt calm in his presence even though the mere thought that I was naked in the water before him made me twitch nervously every couple of minutes. I was lost between wanting to talk with him, to hear the cool, calming tone of his voice again, and wanting him to go away so that I could dress and escape from here.

'No, no,' I answered. 'I don't usually do this sort of thing.'

'No, I didn't think so. But there's no harm, is there? We're all alone up here in this beautiful setting, and it's a sweaty walk up that trail, despite the tree overhang. And it's a hot day. This swimming hole is made for skinny dipping, don't you think?'

'Yes, yes, I guess it is,' I responded.

'In fact, I'm hot from the hike, too. Just seeing you in that cool water makes me feel hot out here on this stone ledge. I think I'll join you, if you don't mind.'

I did mind. I very much minded. But I was tongue tied. He had as much right to be here and to swim here as I did. I tried not to watch as he stripped off his jeans, T-shirt and bootshe hadn't been wearing any briefsand rose to his full height before jumping into the water. But of course I looked. He was very well put together indeed. Darkly tanned skin everywhere but where low-riding jeans shorts would hit. He obviously worked out of doors. And the paleness of his pelvis area highlighted a low-hanging dick and heavy balls that were covered in curly black hair that trailed all the way up his groin, belly, and sternum and parted and flared out across his well-muscled chest. His forearms and legs were well covered with curly black hair as well. Altogether a well-constructed, graceful package.

A splash of water and he was in the pool as well.

'Oh, you're right,' he said with a sputter. 'It's cold in here all right. We probably should huddle to keep from freezing.'

Just the image of that set my teeth to chatteringand it wasn't from the cold. I clumsily moved through the resisting water to the other side of the pool from him. There was nowhere in this pool that was far from anywhere else in this pool, however.

'Ah, come on, I was just joking,' he said. 'Besides, I can tell you liked what you saw. The coldness of the water should be having the opposite effect on you than what I can see.'

His voice was still calm and soothing. Incongruously, It was full of innocent playfulness too. I felt embarrassed and on the defensive that I was upset by what he said. And, damn, it was true. I was getting hard. And I couldn't hide it very well. The water this high up on the mountainside was pristine clear.

'So, I'll bet you've never swum in the nude with another man, have you?' the stranger asked, as he turned on his back and floated. I could clearly see his well-toned body and big, flopping penis right at the surface of the water. 'I'm Lance, by the way. Lance Stevens. And you're . . . ?'

'Umm, Jake, Jake Henderson,' I said. It was like he was playing me. Sticking in something provocative and immediately taking the edge off it with something friendly and nonthreatening. All the time gettng to know me better, though, getting more intimate.

'Jake. That's a good name. Live around here, Jake?'

'Umm, yes, just down the mountain, in Thurmont.'

'In high school, Jake? Cutting classes are you?'

'Uh, no, I graduated last year. I should be starting college now, but my dad's in Iraq and I have to work until he gets home.' I had no idea what I was telling him all this. He was just so easy to talk to, despite the awkwardness of this situation.

'Ah, already through high school. Old enough then.'

Old enough? Old enough for what, I asked myself. But I knew why he asked; I just didn't want to admit I knew. I was beginning to feel all tingly inside and my cock hardened further and started to twitch.

'Lots of girlfriends, I'll bet. A good looking, strapping lad like you must get prime pussy every Saturday night.'

'Ummm. No, nothing like that,' I said. I was backing away without really realizing it, but had come up close to the rocky edge of the pool. I was backing up, though, because Lance had righted himself from his float and was drifting closer to me.

'So, ever done it with a man, Jake?' Still that 'I couldn't possibly be saying anything improper' tone of voice he had established.

'No, no, of course not,' I croaked. I meant to yell it out, but all I could manage was a croak.

Lance waved his hands in the water, moving a bit away from me, giving me more room. As it was I was having trouble breathingand that had nothing to do with the cold water or the thinness of the air at this altitude.

'But you've thought of it, of course,' Lance said in a frank tone as if there was no more reasonable thought for a young man to have. 'I mean we all have, haven't we, if we're honest with ourselves? And it's just the two of us up here in this remote spot. We can certainly be honest with each other. I mean I fuck women a lot, a couple a week easily. But sex is sex is sex and a man has got to have his sex, right? When there's no woman available and I need to get it off, any sex is good sex. Haven't you found that too?'

Still that calming, ultrareasonable, honey-toned voice. Openly talking of things I'd barely allowed myself to even think about. And doing it so well that I didn't even really notice that he had drifted back to very close to me and had the fingers of one of his hands brushing my upper arm just below the surface of the water.

'Ummm, ummm,' I answered. I fully realized I wasn't being coherent at all. This was all just so overwhelming. He had that lulling voice of his. And the image of him standing there, on the rock, nude, achingly beautiful of body, stretched out and ready to jump in pool was emblazoned on the back of my brain.

'So, don't tell me you haven't thought about it, Jake. We all do, of course. Don't you?'

'No . . . Ummm, yes, I guess so now and then.'

Wrong answer. The hand that wasn't using its fingers to brush my arm was now tentatively fondling my cock. And my cock was responding, not paying a bit of attention to the signals of confusion and muddleheadedness and panic that were racing around my body.

Lance was still lulling me with a nonstop soothing chant in the sing song voice of his. He was pulling me with him through the opening in the rock into the first, more confining, more private poolthe pool with the cascading waterfall that filled my ears with the sound of rushing water. I was crying out as Lance's hands raced across my body, finding curves and crevices and making me tremble and twitch and feel oh so aroused and concerned and needy and reluctant and violated all at once. The splashing of the waterfall dulled even to my own ears my cries and moans of receding protests as Lance turned me and hunched down and made a lap to accommodate the mounds of my buttocks. My own cries should have steeled my defenses against the feel of his strong, throbbing cock running under mine and his fingers pinching at my nipples and his teeth nipping at the hollow of my neck as he pulled me closer into him and let me feel the heat and inviting hardness of him. But the noisy splashing of the waterfall covered all of that, dulled my senses of what the cries should have alerted me to.

I did clearly hear the cry of pain and invasion when Lance lifted me and settled me down on his cock head and forced his way past my virgin ring and ever-so slowly and relentlessly filled me to capacity to the bottoming depth deep inside me. But it was too late then for cries. And there was no one else in this forested fastness to hear me or to come to my rescue or to witness this passing beyond a threshold that I never again could regain.

My whimpers of pain and violation slowly receded into cries of passion and urgings of filling and satisfying as Lance lifted and lowered me in that watery swirl on his powerful tool. He nuzzled my cheek with his lips and continued to whisper calming words of endearment and encouragement to me, as he lifted me up and down on his manhood with strong hands on my hips. I arched my back in the taking, first, stiff as a board, but as I realized both that I had now given up all there was to surrender and that I not only could now accommodate it but also was enjoying it, the tension flowed out of my body and I began to match the rhythm of the fuck. Sensing I had melted to him, Lance nibbled at my cheek and I turned my head to him and let him possess my mouth, making my surrender, my acquiescence, my complicity complete.

He settled me down into his lap, his dick far up into me, just holding now, as he moved a hand around to my cock and stroked me off until the water around us was cloudy with my cream.

Then he raised out of his crouch and moved through the water, still buried deep inside me, back to the middle pool. He moved over to the side of the pool, near where our clothes lay. He made a cushion of sorts with my clothes on the rocky ledge dropping right at the side of the pool and, pulling me off his tool, turned me and laid me gently down on my cushioning clothes on my back. He was standing in the water between my legs then. He lifted and spread my thighs, pushing my knees up into my torso, with his strong hands, and slowly slid his cock back inside me and fucked me, fucking and fucking and fucking until I felt him give a little lurch and then pull his cock out and shoot his warm cum on my belly.

He came up on the rock and lay stretched out beside me then and cradled me in his arms and rocked me back and forth gently while soothing my soul with his thanks for giving my virginity to him.

'Do you come here often?' Lance asked in a low voice. 'This is my first time here, but if you . . .' He was fingering my hole with a tantalizing finger and I had every reason to believe that he would have taken me again right there if I'd asked him to.

'Maybe,' I said. 'I'll have to think about it. This is just all happening too fast, though.'

Lulled by that rich, calming voice of his, I slept then, luxuriating in the feel of his strong, callused hands gliding across my young, heretofore innocent body. When I awoke, he was gone from the pool. And when I had dressed and slowly worked my painful way back down to the trailhead parking area, the big black Dodge Ram was gone as well.

Within a half hour, though, I saw it again. I decided to stop by Collins's orchard to check my work schedule before going home, and I was about to pull into the farm road when I saw that big black Dodge Ram again in the farm yard. I could make out Lance sitting in the driver's seat and there was Sydney Collins leaning up against the window, looking up into the cab and smiling and laughing at something he was discussing with Lance. I pulled my truck up to the side of the road, where the branches of the trees blocked me from the view of the farm yard but where I could get a good look at what was going on there.

I saw Collins transfer a thick envelope to Lance's hands, those hands that only recently were unlocking my virginity and touching me in my most intimate recesses. Collins stood back, and Lance got out of the cab of his truck and the two slowly walked toward the pasture, toward where the new, black mare twitched and skitted about, waiting for someone to break her in to be ridden by Sydney Collins.

I could clearly read the logo on Lance's truck now. It said 'Lance Stevens, Horse Handler.'

I got back into my Toyota pickup and started toward home. No use crying over what was lost. I somehow knew I was moving in this direction anyway. I just needed someone to break me in right, to get me past the skittish phase. I knew now that the next time Collins asked me up to his house, I would go with him. And that this wasn't my last visit to the Honey Hollow swimming hole, either.



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