2.

« Let's take a walk somewhere ! »

They had been chatting for almost an hour. Jacob couldn't believe his luck : Sasha was fun, she loved art, and could talk about anything. Her invitation came just at the right moment.

« Where do you want to go ? »

« Somewhere wild, a forest, or desert. Do you know where we could go ? »

« I grew up five miles from here, I know this area like the back of my hand. But it's the middle of the night. »

« The moon is almost full, and I have excellent night vision. »

« All right. I think I know the perfect place. »

Jacob led Sasha out and took her hand.

« Where is your car parked ? »

« Don't worry about that. Let's take yours. »

« Okay. »

Something was a little off about this girl, but he couldn't put his finger on what made him tick. So he decided to follow his guts and enjoy the night while it lasted.

After a short drive, he stopped on the side of a dirt road, in front of a patch of trees. She had been right. The moon was full and bright, and he could see almost as well as in daylight.

« It's peaceful. »

« It's one of my favorite places in the world. »

« I can see why. »

Taking her hand again, he led her into the wood. She had sure footing despite her city shoes and wasn't afraid of the noises and rustlings of a forest at night.

They were walking down a trail that was showing faintly through the trees under the moonlight when Sasha stopped suddenly, looking determined.

« We can't go this way. »

« Why? The path is clear, and it's a way to the beautiful clearing I wanted to show you. »

« I... I can't go this way. Why don't we go that way? I smell water, is there a pond, or a stream? » she asked, pointing right at the deepest part of the woods.

« There is a little pool that way, yes, but there's no way to find it at night, it's much too dark out there. »

Her eyes got bright with excitement and her smile grew wicked.

« Follow me. »

This time she led him through the woods. Jacob was stunned she could find her way so well, when she had never been here before. Before long, they reached the pond. It glinted in the moonlight and the toads were singing softly. Sasha let out a small laugh.

« Told you I'd find it! »

She let go of his hand and started to unbutton her shirt. He looked puzzled.

« What are you doing ? »

« Isn't that obvious? You've never been skinny dipping here before? »

Her clothes dropped softly on the ground and she got in the water. Jacob couldn't take his eyes off of her. Her skin was almost luminescent, it was like watching Venus being born again. Except this Venus had a tattoo of a dragon down her back, all over her left shoulder, its head teasing her breast. She dived, disappearing from his sight for a second, and surfaced again with a sigh.

« It's perfect. You should join me! »

He hadn't been there for years. The last time, he'd been a teenager, hoping to score with Hannah Waverly, but she'd been afraid all the time, and he hadn't gone more than first base. He thought he was too grown-up for such a kid's play but then, she was so enticing... He watched her swim for one more minute, and then surrendered to temptation.

The water was fresh, but not chilly, and it was so nice after the hot days they've had lately. She was enjoying herself, and he followed her lead, diving and swimming. Being naked gave him a freedom he never thought he craved. The "must" and the "have to" disappeared, along with the obligations and responsibilities. And so he just floated in the water, watching the trees and listening to the toads while Sasha was floating beside him. He got back on his feet and wiped his hair out of his face.

And then she was in front of him, putting her arms around his neck and kissing him. Her lips were hot, her mouth ravenous. Frozen by surprise for a second, Jacob let himself fall into the kiss. He opened his lips and let the kiss deepen. Tongues intertwined hungrily, noses bumped, teeth scraped. She was wild and he matched her pace.

Her shiver made him realize they were still naked, still damp, and still in the woods. Time to get back.

« Where are you staying at? »

« I haven't checked in anywhere. »

« In that case, my house is not very far. But we need to go back to your car to pick up your things. »

« Don't worry about that, tomorrow is soon enough. »

She kissed him before he could say another word. They finished dressing in silence and went back to the car, his arm around her shoulders and hers around his waist.

The sky was getting pink on the east when they arrived.

The tiny ranch had cost Jacob a year's worth of savings, plus a hefty loan, but he just loved it. To the art lover in him, it was perfect: built over a century ago, with a wraparound porch, and the mandatory swing, a lovely wood siding painted a dark blue with white trims and lots of windows to get the natural light. He enjoyed every square inch of it.

He had also put a lot of effort into the restorations. He had researched the style and the materials, worked with skilled craftsmen and the result was a classic feel, with all the modern comfort.

He led her to his bedroom on the second floor.

« Do you want to take a shower? »

« Oh yes! I'd love it! »

He showed her the main bath and offered to get a t-shirt for the night. When he came back she was already in the shower, turned away from him. The tail of her dragon tattoo was a splash of red and green on her fair skin.