He walked out of their little house hidden in the sand dunes, and headed down the thin white path towards the beach. He was wearing long denim cut off shorts and nothing else, the heat off the path barely registering on his feet, sweat already glistening on his bare back. He loved the heat, he could take it, had been in hotter, more uncomfortable conditions. A weekend at a secluded beach house with Sam was a million miles away from a metal box in Iraq.

He hadn't seen another person since they'd arrived yesterday in his truck, enough food and beer to last them a week (he was hoping to convince her to play hooky with him) and hardly any clothes. Sam had surprised him (pleasantly so) when she had dropped small light bag into the truck next to his own and when they had stopped for gas he'd taken a quick look in the bag to find a sundress, that little black dress he loved so much (and usually had him on his knees), some very small underwear and a black bikini.

He wished they'd been able to get a week away, a lifetime away, but with the schedules they kept, a weekend had been a difficult task on it's own.

So it was four long hot days with very little clothing.

At the end of the path, there were a few steps but he still couldn't see Sam. She'd left the house a few minutes before him with a book under her arm and a couple of towels. A few steps more and he was on the hot sand, Sam finally in his sight on their private alcove of sand that was costing them a small fortune but was worth it to see the long expanse of pale skin before him.

He had to stop and think for a moment, all he could see in the sunshine was a lot of skin and a little pile of black material on the sand next to the skin.

Oh boy.

He wanted to pull at the bottom of his shirt but there was nothing to pull at. Composing himself he walked over the hot sand to her, casting a shadow over her bare backside. She continued to read for another minute before looking up at him, then behind her at the shadow over her body.

"You're screwing up my tan Jack."

"You're naked Carter."

"Yes Sir." He groaned and stepped around, taking in the body he knew so well already, taking a few looks around the beach too, up towards the house and at either end of their little alcove. "No one's going to see if that's what you're worrying about."

She put her book down and turned onto her back, smiling at him and squinting in the bright sunshine. He had to pull at his shorts this time, staring at her body. He saw her naked everyday when they were together. He knew every mark, scar, freckle, the mole, dimples, and dints, every little part of her body, but this was different. This sunshine made her pale skin shine, made her whole body luminescent, glow, and it was mesmerising, she was mesmerising, and it was like the first time he'd seen her.

He felt dizzy.


"Hmm?" He looked to her face and found her laughing at him. "What?"

"You were staring."

"Oh. Why are you naked?"

"All over tan."

"All over tan?"

"You need more of an explanation?"

"All over tan."

"Yep. You should try it."

"I'm tanned enough thanks." She smiled at him, taking in his body from where she lay, looking up at strong brown legs and the grey hairs that stood out on his tanned chest, little white scars sticking out in places.

"Every part?"

"You already know the answer to that Sam." He finally lay down on the towel next to her, lying on his side to face her. He was having a hard time talking to her face, but then, he'd never tried to fight the urge to stare at her body before, why bother now he could?

"I wanted to ask you about that actually." She said, lying on her front again, much to his disappointment. "You don't strike me as the sunbathing naked kinda guy." He laughed and she missed the momentary hollow look in his eyes.

"I fish in the nude."


"Naked gardening?"

"Don't bullshit me Jack."

"Secret trips to nudist camps."

"Ha! You'd never be able to behave yourself at a nudist camp."

"Only got eyes for you Carter."

"Yeah, now maybe, come on Jack, what's the secret?" He looked at her face, and thought about it. He trusted her enough to tell her he loved her, why hold out on his past.

"Okay, I was marched through an Iraqi desert for three days. Well, I think it was in Iraq, it was definitely a desert." He said, trying hard to keep eye contact with her, though now it wasn't because she was naked, but because he was sharing something with her. Much harder than trying to restrain any desire he ever felt for her. "Certainly not my worst memory, but not a pleasant one."

"Oh Jack," she started, "I'm sorry, I didn't," He didn't let her finish, he had to keep going, keep talking to get as much as he could out.

"I even have a little scar where they threatened to cut off my balls."

"Jack, I'm sorry, I didn't think."

"It's okay Sam, I did get a good tan out of it, and you do seem to like it."

"I do," she whispered. He smiled. He didn't want like to make her sad. Didn't want her sympathy, he just wanted her to know.

"And I only have to top it up with nude fishing once a year or so." She laughed and moved quickly to kiss him on the lips.

"You should've said, I would've come fishing with you years ago." He laughed and lay back, his hands behind his head, looking out to the sea, one eye on Sam's naked backside.

"So, going to join me in some sunbathing naked?" She asked, picking her book back up.

"Nah, I'm just going to lie here and stare at your ass for a bit. Maybe play Mario." He patted his left pocket.

"And I just thought you were pleased to see me."

"Oh I am Carter, but you read your novel. We can have sex in the sand later."