Such Great Heights an “R” Romance
By: Kassandra Dick
The dense rainforest climbing up Kilimanjaro gave way to bristly bearded groundsels and then to barren rock. Thousands of tourists and mountaineers alike made mile-long ant lines up the popular routes. Meanwhile, four individuals picked their way up a hidden trail to the north.
This steep and treacherous climb had no camps. They’d travelled for four days, climbing up slowly and cautiously, sleeping in well-protected clearings. Now the peak was in view, perhaps only an hour away.
They had no porters and no escort, but that suited them all. Nen moved up the rock ahead of them as though guided by a magnetic pull. When it looked like they could no longer climb in one direction, he’d take them straight on and the rocky holds revealed themselves. Francisco kept stride with him and they discussed minerals and budgets.
Twenty paces behind, Firyali and Charlotte followed on in a comfortable silence. The two had grown closer every day, with Firyali doting on Charlotte like an old friend. She had their hiking gear flown to them at base camp. She filled their bags with delicious food. She braided and oiled Charlotte’s hair to keep it still for the journey. She’d had her own braids removed for the hike and wore her hair in a lively little afro underneath her handkerchief. Now she was sharing the story of how Nen had named his ship the Silver Slipper.
“This is where he wanted to propose to me.” Firyali said, slightly winded. “At the top of this mountain, he planned to kneel down and offer up half his life for me.”
“How romantic.” Charlotte sighed, although she didn’t understand where this was going.
“Yes, well it would have been, had I not gone to a party the week before our trek.” The wind picked up and Charlotte had to strain to hear Firyali. “I’d worn a stunning blue cocktail dress of my own design and…” she paused both for tension and to take a sip of water. “And high-heeled silver slippers.”
Charlotte took a drink, and she took a moment to drink in the alien landscape. They had only a few meters to climb and the men were waiting for them so they could all summit together.
“Anyway, I may have had too much to drink and I missed the last step when we were leaving. I fell so hard that I broke my shoe… and my heel.”
Nen caught the last of the story and chimed in, “I was heart-broken. I had made all the arrangements for our trip, but now my future fiancé could not even walk. So instead we sailed with some friends and I proposed to her right there on the boat.”
“Which used to be called the one-eyed wench, by the way,” said Firyali disapprovingly. “I told him I’d only agree to marry him if he changed the name, and well, now you know what a bastard he really is.”
Charlotte could not help but laugh. As soon as she did, the other three were thrown into hysterics. Firyali tossed her head back and Nen was folded over with one hand on his wife’s shoulder and one hand on Francisco’s. Francisco put an arm around Charlotte and the four of them pressed on, still chortling in the thin air.
When they summited the shining mountain, they sprawled out and soaked in the crisp clear sunlight. The sky was a blue lake they could have jumped into, the land below was like a mirage. They could see the trains of tiny hikers across the massive crater from them and a few more scattered all about. Nen produced a flask and they sat and drank and chatted for a long time before making their retreat west towards Shira camp.
There they collapsed into a heap. Too tired to even pitch a tent. All except Nen had been thoroughly exhausted by the delicate descent. Nen seemed supercharged.
“I guess it’s time to make camp,” said Francisco, watching his friend pace back and forth. But instead of rising to action, he sprawled out again with his head on Charlotte’s lap and his legs across Firyali’s. He looked like he could fall asleep. Firyali had her eyes shut and was relaxing in the fading sun like a house cat.
Shaking his head, Nen took out a radio and spoke for a few moments, but the wind muffled his words. Finally, he said, “Well, friends, we’ve climbed the great mountain, no one said we should have to walk back down.”
Just before sunset, they heard the familiar purr of a helicopter. Only Charlotte and Nen felt the twinge of shame as they took the easy route off the mountain. Their eyes met when the other two were whooping and gathering up their packs. Nen smiled brightly and shrugged.
On the outskirts of Arusha, the night had begun without them. The sky was a pleasant black with thousands of stars and no moon. They dropped their bags in front of Firyali’s villa and stared up at the sky, listening to the insects.
Although the cottage was a modest single room, it had vaulted ceilings and huge windows, which were covered. The walls were painted with lovely golds and reds. The paintings were all simple, tasteful nudes. Firyali kicked up her feet on a comfy leather couch. There was a king sized bed on the other wall. A golden clawed tub was situated near the entrance and Nen found his way to the bar at the back, next to a practical and tidy kitchenette.
Nen handed the women glasses of wine and he and Francisco left to collect their gear from outside and check on the rest of the property. Meanwhile Firyali and Charlotte decided to share a bath, “To save water.”
Firyali sang and tended to Charlotte’s hair, Charlotte sponged herself and then Firyali in turn. Firyali felt shivers wherever Charlotte brushed her skin. Each touch was like a kiss. Charlotte saw Firyali looking at her with parted lips. She wanted to taste those lips. She moved closer and closed her eyes, feeling the heat off Firyali’s skin, smelling the coco-butter in her hair.
The door opened and startled them both. Francisco stepped through the threshold and stopped in his tracks. Seeing two deities bathing made him simultaneously reverent and excited. Nen pushed in from behind, overloaded with gear. He caught glimpse of what had stalled his friend and whistled.
“You two better not have used all the hot water.”
Firyali laughed and splashed at him. “Come on out.” He said, dropping his cargo and taking off his shirt. “It’s our turn.”
The women obeyed, Firyali standing up boldly and reaching for two towels, Charlotte following more timidly, taking her towel and keeping her eyes on Franco. She wanted him to say something, but he just stared at her with a perplexing smile. Firyali hated to be interrupted like that, so she pulled Charlotte close to her and waited until she kissed her first. They held each other still, letting their towels and their inhibitions fall.
Nen was fully in the nude by the time they separated. He hopped into the tub, his heavy member swinging jauntily as he did. He had soaped himself up and was rinsing off when Firyali made a move towards Francisco, and Charlotte realized she’d been staring at Nen the whole time.
Francisco allowed Firyali to undress him. He watched Charlotte, who looked just as eager as he felt. Firyali took her time with his sweater, stealing a kiss before lifting it off completely. Nen stole this opportunity to take Charlotte’s hand. She knelt beside him, that same secret smile on her face he’d seen before. He poured his lips over hers. Her small mouth was a joy to explore.
“Alright, Nen, you’ve had your turn. Let us wash this foul smelling beast.”
When Francisco was stood in the bath, Firyali handed Charlotte a sponge and they set to work on him, dripping soapy bubbles over his shoulders and watching them slide over the ripples of his abs. The two sprites scrubbed him clean, but denied him a towel so that he had to cross the room naked and wrestle it from them on the bed.
Nen gave out a roar of delight and joined the fray. He threw Charlotte over his shoulder and danced around the room, spanking her pink. Francisco knelt at the edge of the bed and kissed Firyali up and down her thighs.
Nen set Charlotte on the kitchen counter and kissed her again. When he entered her, it made her cry out. He eased up and tried again. Her groan was calmer this time. He moved slowly. He looked to his wife. She was arching her back in pleasure with the man busy beneath her.
Nen felt himself rising higher at the sight of his wife and the feeling of Charlotte’s tiny body now gyrating in time to his own. He held her softly, but gave it to her deeply and decisively. She tightened around him, so he slowed his pace, he wouldn’t let her reach that edge just yet.
Francisco peeked over at his wife and felt a pang of jealousy, but he looked back at Firyali and his heart opened once more. She pulled him on top of her and in the same motion slid him inside. Franco kissed her fully, and thrust forward as deep as she could let him. Her muted moans told him she was alright. He released her and found a rhythm, feeling ever so faintly the tightening of her abs, the lick of her nipples against his chest, the warmth of her breath on his neck.
When Firyali came, it was a domino effect, the living room shuddered with each of them and was still again when they were. They fell into bed, legs, arms, fingers interwoven as if they’d been created to fit that way. Francisco was the last to sleep, he played with Charlotte’s hair and pulled her nearer to him. That forever feeling was back and he felt this night would never end.
When Charlotte awoke she needed to pee, so she crept out from under Franco’s arm. She found one of the men’s sweatshirts and pulled on her boots. Outside the world was humid. The sun was shining so brightly, she felt as if this new day had been waiting for her. She stood there in the warm air so long that Francisco woke up and went out to find her.
There they stood as one. The dawn caressed them and saturated their vision so that all they could do was close their eyes and see that magical memory of last night.
“I’m guessing you got the deal,” Charlotte teased. Franco just held her in his arms.
“I love you,” was all the answer she needed.
By: Kassandra Dick
- Essayist and Ghost Writer | ASAP PapersSeptember 2016 – PresentProviding expert advice and editing for ESL university students. Ghost writing research papers with clients.
- ESL Art instructor | Tamwood International CampsJune 2016 – PresentSeasonal Art instructor for international students ages 7-18, with varying degrees of English. Developed creative lesson plans based on student’s interests and abilities. Included cultural arts and crafts like Hieroglyphs, Dream Catchers, origami and Haida Art, as well as classic skills like pointillism, jewelry making, and collage.
- English Instructor, math instructor, study skills instructor | Beacon Literacy Inc.January 2012 – August 2014I provided individualized instruction for English (not ESL) learning for ages 5-18. Accent reduction classes for adults. Math for grades 1-6 and study skills for High school students, including time management, goal setting, review, and finding resources.