By Molly McMann
In the morning, Betsy woke to the patter of raindrops on her bedroom window. She had been planning to use her Saturday to do some late autumn yard work and wasn’t going to let a little rain deter her. She loved having a cute little house with a yard and a picket fence, and she was happy to do whatever work was required to maintain it. The largest tree in the little yard was an oak that had stubbornly held onto its leaves through most of November but had recently shed them. And so, after eating a bowl of cereal with blueberries and making a small amount of coffee (not as strong as how Kate preferred it), Betsy prepared to get to work.
Barefoot, she stepped outside onto the porch still sipping her coffee, and was pleased to find it was not very cold. The rain had slowed to a drizzling mist, and the sun was peeking in and and out among the ragged clouds. She decided not to put on shoes, but stuffed her hair up under her ball cap to keep the rain out of her eyes. Soon Betsy was busily at work raking leaves, stuffing them in compost bags and dragging the bags out to the curb for recycling pickup. The bags were heavy because the leaves were so wet, and it was hard work. She would have been sweating, but the sprinkling rain washed it from her body and kept her feeling refreshed.
Passersby invariably slowed their pace to watch the now-famous Avery College Nudist at work in her yard. These were mostly people from the neighborhood or the college who had seen her many times, yet a glimpse of her always brought them joy. A natural blonde Nordic beauty, Betsy Andrews would have turned heads fully clothed. Her little waist, round bottom and perky breasts were eye-catching even when shrouded by fabric.
Completely naked, she was quite literally breathtaking — perhaps especially at this very moment when a break in the clouds allowed the full sun to illuminate her body even as the rain continued to fall. On the horizon, a rainbow appeared, but it could not compete with her and lost its confidence. Glistening-wet in the sun, her golden brown skin displayed every youthful muscle movement with such delicate precision Michelangelo likely would have gone mad trying to capture it.
Sometimes these passersby would call out a greeting, and Betsy would wave or even trot over to chat. She had, over the past three months, become acquainted with most people in the neighborhood, and was unfailingly friendly to all. It was an incongruous sight — the visitor in a raincoat and boots huddling under an umbrella on one side of the fence, while on the other, a naked girl who seemed as comfortable in a November rain as she might have been on a sunny summer day.
And she was — mentally. For perhaps the first time in her life, Betsy was feeling confident in herself. All her life she had deferred to decisions made by others, and where had that gotten her? She’d been going naked for three months — not because she wanted to, but because she feared losing Kate if she admitted the truth. Maybe she still wasn’t brave enough for that, but at least now she had a plan. The approaching winter provided her with a logical escape. Kate had already acknowledged that Betsy needed a coat — which was clearly permitted under the “protective clothing” clause in the nudist rights court ruling. But that was only step one. Betsy would start with the coat and then, as winter settled in, she would gradually tell Kate the cold was just too much to endure and that she had to “give up” full-time nudism. Surely Kate would accept that, and Betsy would not have to confess that she’d been lying about it all this time.
Ironically, the cold itself didn’t actually bother her much. That first snowy day had been so invigorating it had turned into a sexual high. And while she would not have said she “enjoyed” walking naked through that ice storm, she had felt a triumphant sense of accomplishment afterwards — which she would have appreciated a bit more had not it also been the night Kate announced she was leaving on her trip.
The separation had been good for them, Betsy had come to realize. They were going to have a much stronger and more equitable relationship when Kate came home. Kate was just going to have to accept some changes — including Betsy deciding for herself whether to maintain or withdraw her nudity registration. Betsy’s growing self-confidence gave her the courage to risk Kate’s reaction to her decision. If Kate would actually break up with her over something so superficial, well, that was something Betsy probably needed to know before investing more of her life in this relationship. She had elaborate fantasies about their wedding day, but she also had doubts about Kate’s commitment to her. Maybe it was time to test that.
And then, of course, there were her brothers. Seeing Roy and David at Solstice is what really put a deadline on getting out of the nudity requirement. Because they were now spread all over the commonwealth, Betsy’s sister, brothers and aunt had for the past several years been meeting for Solstice at a picturesque ski lodge in the mountains. It was nowhere near Kingsley, but was within the province of Huron so if Betsy remained a registered nudist she’d have to go there naked. It was bad enough that the boys had seen videos of her on the Internet, but she was determined not to let them see her naked in person. And it wasn’t just a matter of them seeing her. Betsy’s family had always been boisterously physical — lots of hugging and wrestling and butt-slapping. Every time she saw them after a long separation, Betsy’s brothers would pick her up and carry her around and toss her back and forth as she squirmed and tried to escape, and eventually one of them would hold her arms while the other mercilessly tickled her until she squealed and nearly peed. She loved that, but how could she possibly do it naked?
Had Solstice not been a factor, Betsy would have more time to play out this too-cold-to-go-naked game. After all, she’d been putting her body on display for three months so it was kind of arbitrary exactly when she stopped, and it would have been tantalizing to find out how far into the winter she could really go. She knew, of course, that there was a limit to what she could endure, but she hadn’t gotten to it yet. She still had a few weeks, as November turned to December. The weather forecast was calling for unseasonably mild temperatures for several more days, but then a cold front was expected to bring sub-freezing temperatures and perhaps a blizzard. THAT, she mused, should be sufficient to satisfy both her strategy and her desire.
The rain had picked up as Betsy raked, and by the time she was done it was coming down steadily. She put her rake away and decided to go across the street for a hot chocolate. The cafe was more of a summer institution but remained open all year. Most of its seating was outdoors, however, and the inside portion was very small. Betsy went through her gate, crossed the street and made her way among the empty wet tables to the entrance. It was nearly noon so the lunch crowd had already arrived. Every table was filled and because of the small space, the tables were crammed close together. Betsy had to excuse her way among the tables, pausing several times because people always wanted to chat with her and she did not want to be rude.
She made her way to the counter and stood at the carry-out sign to order her hot chocolate. The bar stools were all occupied except one, and although she hadn’t intended to stay, Betsy succumbed to the effusive invitations from those seated on either side of the empty seat. The vinyl bar stool was slippery against her wet bottom and she looked at her reflection in the mirror behind the counter as people on both sides wanted to pass the time with her. Everyone seemed to like her so much, but would they if she were wearing clothes? Perhaps she needed to find out.
After drinking most of her hot chocolate, Betsy was finding the crowded indoor space hot and stifling. She finished up, said her goodbyes and was out again in the rain. It felt good, and she walked around the block before going back in through her gate, up to the porch and inside. On her phone was a nice text from Kate, saying “sorry we had that misunderstanding last night. Chat tonight at eight?” Betsy noticed, of course, that it was not a true apology or admission of having been wrong. Kate only said she was sorry they had a “misunderstanding” without saying which of them misunderstood. But it was a start, and Kate was clearly trying. Betsy texted back “talk to you at eight!!” followed by several cheery emojis.
Eight o’clock was perfect because Betsy was going out again — to dance! Tiffany and LaShona from one of her classes always went dancing on Saturday nights, and had repeatedly invited her. Betsy loved to dance, but always spent her Saturdays doing whatever Kate wanted to do. Often it was some work-related thing where Betsy was only expected to look pretty and listen to boring shop talk about financial institutions. Sometimes dancing was involved, but not the kind of dancing Betsy was itching to do. She did love slow dancing with Kate at those fancy parties, wearing her high heels, antique pearls, dangly earrings and long white gloves. That was nice, but she was in the mood for the kind of frenzied, crazy dancing for which it would be unwise to wear high heels or delicate jewelry.
When Kate called precisely at eight, Betsy was in the bathtub. They didn’t talk about Kate’s job, and they didn’t bicker. Kate had missed hearing about the bowling alley and wanted Betsy to describe it in detail while doing to herself what Kate would be doing if she were present. Betsy obliged, putting the phone on speaker and placing it safely on the edge of the tub as she sank down low in the water and recounted the events of the previous evening until she had a most delightful and rather loud orgasm.
Betsy was still in the tub when the call ended, but she wasn’t finished. She wanted another orgasm, and she wanted to have it alone. She let her mind go wherever it wanted — to Michelle and Dean, then to Tiffany and Lu Chen, and back again. Michelle was bowling naked with purple lipstick kisses all over her body as Betsy took a deep breath and slid her head underwater. The surface of the water became still for a moment and then Betsy resurfaced, gasping for breath and still rubbing herself ferociously as water splashed out of the tub.
Panting, Betsy immediately stood and stepped out of the tub. Without drying off, she walked straight through the house and out the front door, pulling it shut until she felt the lock snap shut. Having already hidden her house key under a clay pot, Betsy stepped off the porch and walked into the night.
The rain had stopped hours earlier, the pavement dry except for puddles, but Betsy was dripping wet from her bath, shivering a little in the chilly night air. She had decided she liked to shiver — it made her feel so alive — and she loved being so absolutely and completely naked. She wore no shoes, no jewelry, no makeup, no perfume — not even a hair tie. She looked behind herself to see the wet footprints she’d left on the sidewalk, and then she began to run.
Within two minutes, Betsy was trotting barefoot down Fourth Street, the busy main strip of Avery’s restaurant and bar district. People were everywhere, all of them in coats, all of them watching the girl who was always naked, her boobs bouncing with her stride and her bare feet splashing in every puddle she could find along the way. When she was still a few blocks from her destination, she slowed to a walk amid the thickening crowd.
Having just had two massive orgasms, Betsy was again feeling starkly naked in that uncomfortable, unsexy way that she used to dread. She had done it on purpose this time — itching to experience that kind of intense embarrassment again — in front of a lot of people. She wanted to feel vulnerable, and exposed and even a little afraid. She wanted to feel it ALL, plus the cold as well. Her skin had partially dried in the crisp night air, her nipples hard as pebbles, but her hair was still sopping wet and sending streams of transported bathwater down her body.
She knew that her sensual feelings would return eventually to rescue her, and she was glad of that, but first she wanted to push herself a little more. She bounded up the steps of “Zoot’s,” the dance club where she was to meet Tiffany, LaShona and several other girls she knew from class.
Inside, the club was decorated like a movie set from the 1940s, and it had a full brass orchestra playing jazz. On the main dance floor, couples were jitterbugging, many of them wearing period attire — guys in suits twirling girls with long skirts, lifting them off the ground like acrobats. They all looked so sophisticated and grown-up despite being college kids. People were starting to notice Betsy, and she felt extremely uncomfortable. This had been a mistake. She half-turned, thinking she might leave, when she was surprised to see herself in a mirrored wall — the crowd behind her, faces looking in her direction. Why hadn’t she at least done her hair and put on makeup? Her hair was plastered wetly to her skull and being barefoot made her feel like a child. Over the music, came a loud wolf whistle and now everyone in the club was staring at her.
“Bet-SEEEE!” Bet-SEEEE!” Multiple voices called her name, but the sound seemed to come from everywhere. Across the room, Tiffany waved at her from within a crowd of guys. Betsy hesitated, but reminded herself that this was what she wanted.
“Betsy, you’re dripping wet,” Tiffany said as she approached. “Is it raining again?”
“Um, no, it’s not raining,” Betsy said nervously, now feeling additionally embarrassed by what she would have to admit.
“Then how come you’re all wet?”
“Well, I just . . . I just got out of the bathtub and ran over.”
“Without drying off.”
“Well . . . I was in a hurry and–”
“God, I’m SO jealous of you,” Tiffany laughed. “I spend an hour on my hair and makeup and you don’t even TRY and you still look like–”
“Like a goddess!” A guy’s voice called out from somewhere within the group around them. The voice sounded familiar and she was looking around to see who spoke.
“And not just any goddess, Reginald,” another familiar voice said, “but a water nymph.”
“Right you are, Trevor.”
Betsy’s eyes found the speakers and she recognized them instantly. She’d met Trevor and Reginald on her campus mail job when she had to get signatures from officers at all the fraternities. Each frat house had presented a challenge for the naked girl on rollerblades who was just trying to deliver the mail. At one house she’d had to play air hockey, and at another they tricked her into eating marijuana brownies, and then at the Omega House . . . oh god. Betsy suddenly remembered what she’d done in front of Trevor and Reginald. High on brownies and manipulated by the two smooth-talking boys, she had stood in front of a big mirror and . . . and masturbated! Of all the humiliating things she’d done the past three months, this was the one she most regretted. She had never done it since, and had nearly put the incident out of her mind. But now, as she looked at the faces of all the smirking boys around her, she was convinced that they all knew. It might even have been secretly recorded! Maybe they’d all watched it on video over and over!
“That is quite an intriguing postulation,” Reginald was still going on. “We presumed our naked visitor was a mere mortal, yet now she is revealed to be a water nymph.”
“What the Ancient Greeks termed the Naiad, I believe.”
“Which would not only explain why she is always so wet, but also her otherworldly beauty.”
“That girl DOES like to be wet,” Tiffany said, playing along with the double meaning but not knowing the background. “Betsy, why are you always so wet?”
Betsy felt her face burning and looked down at herself to see her chest redden, but deep inside, she felt something else burning too. She looked up and made deliberate eye contact with each grinning boy in turn, imagining they were all watching her masturbate right now. That did it. Erotic energy jolted through her and she felt invincible again — like a superhero regaining her lost powers just in time to save the day.
“Gosh, I DO get wet a lot, don’t I?” she said in her best impression of Marilyn Monroe. “I guess I get WET so much because I so LOVE being wet.” Giggling fetchingly, she lifted her arms to run her fingers through her wet hair — putting her breasts and underarms on display and sending fresh drops of bathwater raining down her chest. “Ooooh, now I’m even wetter!”
Betsy grinned at Trevor and Reginald, challenging them to come up with an erudite bon mot in response, but their sophisticated personas had completely fallen away and they only stared back at her wide-eyed like the boys that they were. Betsy laughed at them. With her hands now on her hips and her chest proudly out, she said in her normal voice, “now if we’ve sufficiently covered the topic of my wetness, could we please dance?”
LaShona recovered first. “We’re still one short for the group,” she said, still laughing at Betsy’s performance. “Oh, there he is. Charlie! Over here!”
Betsy turned to see another familiar face — the underclassman who had been serving as butler the day Betsy had arrived at the mansion-like Omega House.
“Charles!” she cried and ran to greet him. Making a show of throwing her arms around him, she said into his ear, “does everyone know?”
“What I did in front of the mirror that day. Did you tell them?”
“Of course not, Betsy. We swore not to. All we told the guys was that you delivered that letter and drank a martini with us. And I told how you cooled off with that water I brought you. Heck, that was exciting enough all by itself. We didn’t need to say more than that.” Betsy was so relieved she kissed him on the mouth as everyone cheered.
Zoot’s had two dance floors. One was occupied by the couples Betsy had passed on the way in. The second was for a group dance that was like a cross between swing dancing and square dancing. The girls and guys formed separate lines facing each other and began the dance with one set of partners and traded down the line on cue. Betsy got to twirl into and out of the arms of boy after boy, all of their hands briefly on her bare waist — sometimes on her hip, sometimes her butt. So many hands on her! She loved it, but her bare feet got stepped on a few times and so many people were lined up to take part in the dance they had to take turns. That wasn’t enough dancing for Betsy and her toes still hurt from the last time they got stepped on. After a while, she began making her goodbyes, making sure to hug Reginald, Trevor and especially Charles.
Tiffany and LaShona followed along with Betsy (as did several others who concluded that the best party must be whichever one Betsy was at). They went across the street to “Woody’s Wild Side,” which had a DJ playing hip-hop and techno dance tunes. That’s exactly what Betsy wanted right now. As delicious as it had been to swing dance with a dozen guys at once — all of their hands on her — Betsy needed to burn off some energy, and the best way she could do that was dancing solo. She went straight to the dance floor and within seconds, one fact was crystal clear to everyone in the club: The Avery Nudist could dance. At Zoot’s, she’d been limited by the structure of the group dance, but here she was free to move however she wanted — and she had moves.
Cellphones came out to record the moment for posterity, but Betsy was oblivious to this. Though she had sometimes been nervous and self-conscious in front of an audience, even Old Betsy would get lost in the music when she was dancing. New Betsy was even less inhibited — not that her dancing was intentionally sexually explicit. She was just dancing, but the fact that she was naked made it a sexual experience for those fortunate enough to be in attendance that evening. Even for the thousands of people who would soon see the videos on the Internet this was a special, while those who witnessed it in person would brag about it for years afterwards.
Hours later, a very sweaty Betsy was in front of the club cooling off. Tiffany, LaShona and a dozen others had come out with her, all of them crowded under the canvas awning because the rain had resumed. It was not coming down very hard, but runoff from the awning cascaded down in a sheet a few feet from where they stood. Betsy stepped out into it, turning her face up into the flow of water and rubbing her hot body with her hands as if she were taking a shower at home. The group of mostly girls and a few guys began walking together in the general direction of their various homes. Umbrellas popped open and jacket hoods were put up as the rain began to come down harder. Betsy needed none of that. Her only concern was that the bottoms of her feet had gotten dirty so she was splashing through puddles and then scuffing her feet through the grass to clean them off.
By ones and twos, people split off from the group until it was just Betsy, Tiffany and LaShona standing on a street corner where their paths diverged. Betsy hugged them both and walked on alone. She passed a shop that sold women’s coats and stopped to look at the warmly dressed but headless mannequins in the shop windows. She could see her own shadowy reflection in the glass superimposed on each mannequin as she stood in front of each fashionable jacket and coat in turn. She took note of the shop’s hours posted on the door and went on her way home.
That night she lay in bed too hyped up to sleep. She felt victorious. She had conquered her own fears and weaknesses, and really wasn’t bothered by going naked anymore. Even when she tried to make herself uncomfortable, it didn’t last long — and most of the time she actually enjoyed it. So why not just stay a nudist? It was a tantalizing thought, and she wished it were that simple. Seeing her brothers at Solstice was the most pressing reason she needed to stop this, but not the only one. She wanted to feel like a normal person again instead of being an artificial “celebrity” famous only for being naked. Any reasonably fit and attractive young woman who decided to go naked in public would be getting just as much adulation as she was getting, Betsy told herself, so what kind of accomplishment was that? Most importantly, there was Kate. Betsy used to fear Kate would leave her if she stopped going naked. Now she feared Kate only loved her because she was naked. If that was true, Betsy needed to know.
For the next week, the weather remained unseasonably warm for November. Betsy therefore could not yet activate her plan, so she decided to make the most of her final weeks as a nudist. She was just going to enjoy herself to the fullest and not think about what would soon need to happen. Most days she wore her tennis shoes, but occasionally she went barefoot just for the fun of it. She loved leaving the house with nothing whatsoever, leaving her key under the pot, but she could not do that when going to class because she needed her tablet, phone and other items that she carried in her Ariel backpack. She could squeeze her shoes in there too, and often did in the afternoons if it was sunny and she wanted to feel the cool sidewalk beneath her feet. Most evenings she socialized — going to bars, coffeehouses and the homes of friends. Sometimes she would meet new people who were flustered and did not know where to put their eyes. She always tried to put them at ease. “It’s okay to look,” she would say. “I know I’m naked, and it doesn’t bother me when people look.” She liked saying that because it broke the ice and people wanted to talk about it. Betsy made it a point to always say, “I really do love being naked all the time, but I suppose I may have to stop when it gets really cold.”
Every evening she and Kate talked on the phone, and Betsy felt things were changing for the better. Kate seemed to have accepted that Betsy would no longer meekly accept whatever she said. Kate would still tell boring stories about work, but sometimes Betsy would tell her they were boring, and Kate would laugh and agree. During most calls, Betsy would eventually give herself an orgasm while telling Kate about some recent encounter. Sometimes she was not in the mood to do this, and Kate never pressed her on it.
When the weather finally turned cold again, it did so abruptly. The TV news had been predicting it for days, and one morning it suddenly arrived — a sharp drop in temperature and a blizzard on its way. Now was the time for Betsy’s plan to move forward. She would buy a coat that afternoon, and if the coming blizzard was as bad as predicted, no one would question her decision to go back to wearing clothing. She could still go naked in private among her friends and Kate’s co-workers, of course, but out in public she would blend in with normal people again.
That was her plan, but first she had to get to class. According to the TV news, the temperature was 10 degrees Fahrenheit — which was at least ten degrees colder than anything she’d experienced so far. She could feel the difference as soon as she stepped out on the porch wearing her usual outfit of tennis shoes and a ball cap. The air was bitingly cold and her breath came out in steamy puffs as she walked briskly past people who were layered and bundled. She was cold, but somehow they looked more uncomfortable.
She was shivering and grateful when she reached her first class, but feeling victorious. She made it from class to class the same way, sometimes jogging to keep her metabolism high. She felt elated each time she made it to her next objective. After her last class of the day she was walking home, and not even briskly. The temperature had risen to the mid-20s and there was no wind so it really didn’t feel bad. Her fingers were the only part of her body that bothered her, so tomorrow she would wear her mittens. But wait . . . wasn’t she planning to be wearing a coat tomorrow? Her way home again brought her to the shop with the headless mannequins, and this time the shop was open. Betsy stood in the icy cold looking in the windows, which caught the attention of the sales clerk, who poked her head out the door.
“Why don’t you come inside and try one on?”
“No thanks,” Betsy said. “I’m just browsing.”
“Want to browse inside where it’s warm?”
Betsy shook her head. “Maybe tomorrow.”
She walked home in the frigid cold, and climbed in bed under the covers to warm up. She knew why she was so reluctant to buy a coat, or even try one on. It would be the end of her streak — her streaking streak. Regardless of exactly why she started doing this, Betsy had by this point gone naked for 95 straight days. That was an achievement. Even slipping on a coat to try it on would bring that personal record to an end. Although she was determined to go back to wearing clothing, Betsy wanted just a little more time to really test herself against the elements. No doubt she did have her physical limit, but it would be so thrilling to find out what that limit really was. Perhaps at least she could shoot for Day 100?
In the morning, she woke to a full-fledged blizzard. On the TV news, the weatherman was warning of treacherous conditions — bitter cold, high winds and drifting snow. She looked outside where heavily bundled pedestrians plodded through the snow, their heads down and shoulders hunched as the wind whipped at their coats. Okay, Betsy thought, this is what you wanted. Let’s see how tough you really are.
Twenty minutes later, she was out on her porch locking the door. She had decided to wear the knee-high boots Kate had bought her the night of the ice storm, along with the rainbow-striped stocking hat and matching mittens. She had considered also wearing the leg-warmers and long scarf which completed the ensemble, but decided they would not do much to keep her warm — and if she was going to walk through a blizzard naked, she wanted to do it as naked as possible. She felt guilty enough wearing the mittens.
Betsy could already feel the stinging spray of snow before she left the porch, and by the time she reached the sidewalk she was having serious thoughts of retreat. She did not have to do this, she reminded herself. She could just wear one of Kate’s coats for now and get her own later. If ever the “protective clothing” clause applied, it was today. And yet Betsy did not turn back but bent her head down against the wind and powered through the drifting snow.
Betsy told herself she only had to make it three blocks to campus and could then cut through the Humanities Building to get warm. She kept her mind focused on that goal as wind and snow pummeled her like a sandblaster. When she reached the main road separating the neighborhood and campus, she had to wait at the intersection for the light to change. Motorists and pedestrians, many of whom had seen the Avery nudist walking to school before, gaped at her with fresh amazement.
When she finally pushed through the revolving door into the Humanities Building, Betsy felt her skin tingling in the relative warmth of the drafty hallway, and she knew she was going to be okay. She could hop-scotch her way through campus. She smiled at a gaggle of students staring at her slack-jawed. “Nice day!” she called cheerily as she strode purposefully towards the opposite door.
Betsy took two more detours through other buildings before reaching the one where she had her first class. Before going inside she paused at the top of the stone steps and yelled through the howling wind to the gray clouds overhead, “is THAT all you got?”
She was a few minutes late for class, but the prof did not complain — though he paused in mid-sentence as everyone watched Betsy pull off a mitten with her teeth. “Sorry,” she stage-whispered, settling in a chair and fishing her tablet out of her backpack. No one asked if she was okay because the answer was obvious. Though her skin was bright red, she was radiantly grinning from ear to ear and bouncing in her seat as if to music no one else could hear.
The storm did not let up all day, but Betsy strode through it with pluck and growing confidence. She was on her way to her last class — running late again because of her detours – when she saw Lu Chen, Taylor and Aaron coming back outside.
“The college just closed for the rest of the day,” Lu Chen yelled in the wind. “Wanna go drink?”
“Dizzy’s. Zach and Evan are meeting us there. That’s like four blocks, so do you want to duck into a classroom for a few minutes to warm up first?”
“Nah, I can do another four blocks.”
Actually it was five blocks, which makes a difference when you’re naked in a blizzard, but Betsy endured it. When they got to the bar, Zach and Evan already had one of the circular booths, so they all scooted in. It was a retro diner booth with red vinyl upholstery, but instead of a full-sized table, it had only a short round coffee table in the middle. This put Betsy’s full body on display, her reddened skin still covered in goose bumps and her nipples hard and pointy. The booth was also next to a window, outside of which the blizzard continued to rage.
“I can’t imagine how you walked through this naked,” Evan said. “Do you have super powers? Did they send you here when the planet Krypton exploded?”
“Stubbornness is my super power,” Betsy said, “but my mortal skin is getting chapped and I didn’t bring any lotion. Anybody got some?”
“Fresh out,” Evan said, patting his pockets.
“It was a girl question,” Lu Chen said, pulling a plastic bottle from her purse, “and yes, Supergirl, I’ve got some.”
Betsy squeezed some lotion onto her hand, and began rubbing it on her body as everyone in the bar watched. Throughout, she talked enthusiastically about her contest with Mother Nature, occasionally interjecting a bit of commentary on whatever body part she was moisturizing at the moment. “My nipples are really tender,” she noted in an off-hand manner as with the index fingers of both hands she circled round and round her areola, rubbing in the lotion. Later, as she spread her legs and began meticulously applying lotion along her labia, she commented “and my pussy is so chapped. I need to bring my own lotion tomorrow so I can do this during classes as a preventative. Can someone do my back?”
“Dibs!” Lu Chen shouted and began rubbing lotion on Betsy’s back. “God, I’m so gay now!”
If mostly-straight Lu Chen was finding this an erotic experience, mostly-gay Betsy definitely was. She was aroused — very, very aroused. She wished Lu Chen was putting lotion on her breasts instead of her back — in front of everyone. And though she had pretended to be oblivious to what she was saying earlier, Betsy knew she was putting on a show when she said “my nipples” and “my pussy.” She liked saying those words, in part because it was an invitation to look. She wondered if perhaps she could work the words “my pussy” into every conversation.
Despite her distracting horniness, Betsy started thinking she should say something to her friends about what she planned to do over Solstice. “So I might stop going naked soon,” she blurted.
“You’re finally going to buy a coat now that you’ve kicked Mother Nature’s ass?” Taylor asked.
“Yes, but I’m also thinking of going back to wearing clothes.” There, she’d said it.
Everyone laughed at first but Lu Chen looked at her questioningly and said, “Betsy, are you serious?”
“Yes, I am,” Betsy began, having given some thought to what she would tell her friends. “Being a full-time nudist was something I decided to try when we moved here to Huron, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to do it forever.”
“But you seem to really love being naked all the time,” Taylor said.
“I do,” Betsy said truthfully. “But I feel like I need to be a normal person again. I get so much attention being like this, but I don’t know if people like me for who I am or just because I’m naked.”
“I hope you know that WE love you for who you are,” Lu Chen said patting her arm.
“Absolutely!,” Evan said emphatically. “I mean, from a guy perspective naturally we love that you go naked, but the best part of your body is above your neck. Am I right, gentlemen?”
“Totally,” Aaron said. “So you have to promise that your face will stay naked.”
“Especially the eyes and the smile,” Zach put in. “Those are the best parts.”
“Awww,” Betsy said. “That’s nice to hear, and I’m just sure you couldn’t be bullshitting me.” As she said this, Betsy spread her knees wide until all three guys were stricken speechless and staring at her crotch. “Yep. Just as I thought,” she said, now crossing her legs and sitting up primly.
“That was so not fair,” Aaron said.
“But feel free to be so-not-fair again whenever you like,” Zach added.
“I think I proved my point,” Betsy said.
“All you proved was that we ALSO appreciate your pink parts,” Evan argued, “and it makes me sad to think I might never see them again.”
“Oh, you’ll still get to see my pink parts when I visit your apartment,” Betsy said. “I love being naked too much to give it up altogether. I just wouldn’t be nude in public anymore.”
“That’s still hard to picture,” Lu Chen said. I’ve never seen you any other way but naked. How’m I supposed to turn into a lesbian if you’re not naked all the time.”
“We could do this,” Betsy said, grabbing Lu Chen by the ears and kissing her on the mouth. This produced much cheering, not just at their table but the rest of the bar. Lu Chen and Betsy both blushed.
“I’m surprised you still blush,” Taylor said to Betsy.
“I love blushing,” Betsy said. “Sorry if I made you uncomfortable, LuLu.”
“Oh my poor boyfriend,” Lu Chen sighed.
By this point they’d each had several drinks and began preparing to go back out into the blizzard. For the others, this involved zipping themselves into heavy coats and tying on their hoods. Betsy put on her rainbow colored hat and mittens, and slung her backpack over one shoulder. Outside, the wind was fierce, limiting conversation. At first, the others tried to block the wind for Betsy, but she did not cooperate — forging to the lead to duel directly with Mother Nature. Their paths soon took them in separate directions and Betsy was slogging her way alone through drifts of snow nearly to her knees, grateful for her tall boots. She slowed a bit as she passed the shop with the warmly dressed mannequins in the window. The same clerk was working and Betsy waved at her but kept walking. She had just turned off the main road and into her neighborhood when she saw the Channel 5 van pulling up. She knew the crew by name now.
“Hi, Maddie,” she said, having to yell to be heard in the howling wind. “I hope you’re not just here to ask me if I’m cold again. I keep telling you guys, YES, I’m freakin’ cold.”
“Well, we were definitely curious how you were managing on a day like this, Betsy,” Maddie said as Todd, the burly cameraman, quickly got set up.
“I’m doing fine, but I can’t stay out in this for very long, so whatever you want to do needs to be quick.”
“Gotcha. I promise we’ll be quick, and we can give you a ride home afterwards. We do have an idea for something different. Could we talk you into doing a stand-up?”
“You be the weather correspondent on the scene telling viewers about what you see around you.”
“No, just tape, so if you make a flub, just keep going and we’ll edit out the mistakes for the six o’clock.”
Betsy might have resisted under other circumstances, but had just consumed three drinks, displayed her pink parts and kissed LuLu on the lips so she was in the mood to be adventurous.
Maddie gave her the microphone, and positioned her next to a huge snowdrift with the college across the street as the backdrop.
“Just start whenever you want”, Maddie yelled over the wind. “Don’t worry about mistakes. We can do several takes and stitch them together.”
Betsy grinned. The snow was coming down almost sideways, stinging her skin and blowing her long stocking cap like a flag, but she felt fine. More than fine.
“This is Betsy Andrews with the Channel 5 Action Cam,” she emoted in imitation of TV news announcers. “I’m here in front of Avery College, which has closed down for the day due to the continuing blizzard that you can see all around me.” She wasn’t sure what else to say, but Maddie was signaling for her to continue. “The forecast is for more of the same tomorrow, so stay tuned to Channel 5 for school closings and other updates. If you don’t have to go out in this, stay home because this kind of weather can be dangerous. I think my pussy may have frozen shut. Just kidding, please edit that out. You probably can’t say pussy on TV anyway. If you NEED to go out, be prepared and dress warmly. For example, I’m wearing these boots” (here, she held one leg out sideways), “and these nice warm mittens” (with her free hand she waved to the camera), “and don’t forget to wear a hat to help retain body heat! That’s all for now. This is Betsy Andrews with Channel 5, Metro Kingsley’s coolest TV news station!”
She struck a pose grinning at the camera until Maddie cried “cut. That was wonderful,” she cried, and ran over to embrace Betsy, but as they hugged, a gust of icy wind took Betsy’s hat off and she chased after it knee-deep in snow, falling face first into a snowbank as she grabbed the hat.
Betsy was shivering uncontrollably as Maddie and Todd helped her into the van and gave her a ride home.
“Don’t forget to watch the 6:00 news,” Maddie said as they pulled up.
“You c-can c-cut the p-pussy p-part, right?”
“For the broadcast, definitely,” Maddie replied, “but I can’t promise it won’t show up on a late-night blooper reel. They do that a lot.”
When she was finally inside again, Betsy took a long, hot bath and didn’t get out until her toes were wrinkled. When the six o’clock news came on, she was in front of the TV with popcorn. For the first time, she was utterly delighted without reservation to see herself naked on TV.
As always, they teased her segment relentlessly, saving it for the end — which she now found flattering. When it finally ran, she was relieved to see that they had indeed edited out her little joke, but she squealed when she saw herself hold one leg out to the side to showcase her boots. The camera zoomed in — supposedly to show the boots, but her open pussy was visible at the top of the frame. Definitely not frozen shut. At the end of the program they used Betsy again, showing her chasing after her hat and falling into the snow as the credits rolled. When the program was over, Betsy replayed the recording, squealing again at the same moment. She checked the station’s website repeatedly, and as soon as the video was posted she sent the link to Kate. They weren’t scheduled to talk until nine, but Kate called a few minutes later.
“That was fantastic, Babe,” she said, “but are you sure you’re okay being out in that kind of weather? I thought you were going to buy a coat. I’m afraid you’re going to catch pneumonia.”
Betsy had to laugh to herself. Kate was saying exactly what she wanted her to — yet Betsy was undermining her own strategy. “I was, you know, just pretending that the cold didn’t bother me,” she lied, “but actually I was freezing.” Betsy regretted having to say it this way, because she was actually proud of how well she endured the cold.
“Get a coat, Betsy. Please tell me you’ll get a coat tomorrow.”
“I’ll . . . look at coats,” Betsy said. “Actually, Kate, I have to tell you something. It’s not just the coat. I’ve been thinking that I might . . . stop being a nudist.”
“What?? Betsy did something happen to you? Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine, and nothing happened to me. It’s just that . . . I miss being a normal person. I don’t really like being the center of attention.”
“But you love being naked. How could you give that up?”
“I . . . I do love it, Kate, I truly do, but I have . . . conflicting feelings.”
“This is such a shock, Betsy And after all the trouble we went through making this possible for you. . . but I suppose it’s your decision.”
“Kate, this is MY decis– oh, um, thank you for being understanding about it, Kate. Part of it is that we’re going to be seeing my family soon and I feel really weird being naked in front of my brothers.”
“Yes, well about that, things here are really at a critical moment and I’m afraid I’m going to have to stay a little longer.”
“You’re going to miss Solstice?”
“I didn’t say that, Betsy. It’s just going to be extremely tight. I know it’s important to you that I meet your family, but–”
“I thought it would be important to you too.”
“Don’t put one of your guilt trips on me, Betsy. You have no idea the pressure I’m under. The things I do for you, like arranging this nudity thing that you’re apparently just going to piss away like it was a whim that you’ve lost interest in. And now I have to bust my ass to make it to your precious little Solstice-in-the-mountains experience. People celebrate Solstice in the city too, you know, but apparently that’s not good enough.”
Betsy was silent. After a pause, Kate’s voice had softened again and she said, “Betsy, don’t cry.”
“I’m not crying.”
“But, I know I’ve upset you.”
“I’m not upset. I was just thinking that you’re right. The logistics just aren’t working out so let’s just decide right now that you’re not coming this year. There’ll be another opportunity . . . perhaps . . . for you to meet my family.”
“Betsy, I can probably–”
“No, no, I don’t want you to do that. If you come you’ll just be worried about work so don’t come.”
“Well . . . that would simplify things, but–”
“So it’s decided. Oh, I need to go. There’s a movie on TV that I want to watch. Bye.”
Before Kate could react, Betsy disconnected. She had no idea what was on TV.
In the morning, Avery was closed again, but provincial offices were open. Betsy had done some research online, but couldn’t find what she needed so she’d made an appointment. Outside, the snow had subsided for the moment, but it was still bitter cold with high winds. Betsy put on her tennis shoes and ball cap and went out to her car. She hadn’t driven it in a week and had trouble just getting the door open. She let out a squeak as she sat her bare bottom on the cold leather seat, but it was a sensation that she always enjoyed. She turned the ignition and nothing happened except a faint groan. Crap. She had let the car sit too long, and now it wouldn’t start in the bitter cold.
Still sitting in the freezing car, Betsy looked up the address of her destination on her phone to see how close it was to the elevated train stops. Five or six blocks it appeared. She could do that. Betsy got out of her car and began walking to the Avery train station a few blocks away. Without her boots, she had to be careful where she stepped so she wouldn’t get snow on her bare ankles. Halfway to the train station the wind whipped her ball cap off and it flew so far she didn’t try to chase it. She trudged on, indifferent to the sting of the wind on her bare skin, her hair swirling like a flag. The glass-walled shelter at the train stop was unheated, but at least she was out of the wind.
She had to wait 10 minutes for the train, and being rush hour it was crowded with commuters, who did their best to pretend they weren’t looking at Betsy. Some of them had no doubt seen her on the news and knew she was going naked in this weather. Like the seen-it-all cosmopolitan sophisticates that they were, however, her fellow travelers left her alone and tried very hard to focus on their newspapers and celllphones as if this happened to them every day.
Betsy studied her phone to be sure she was getting off at the closest stop. When it came, she popped out the doors and strode purposefully out into the worsening blizzard in the center of downtown Kingsley. The distance turned out to be six blocks and the wind was worse, whipping among the high-rise buildings downtown. When she finally pushed her way through the revolving door into the Huron provincial office building, Betsy put her purse and shoes on the security conveyor belt in front of the astonished security guard, and stepped through the full-body scanner entirely nude — still half-expecting she might somehow set off the alarm.
Retrieving her purse and shoes, she walked barefoot to the elevators among a crowd of bundled-up government workers. On the fifth floor, she went down a long hallway until she found the office labeled “Department of Diversity” and went in. A guy her age sitting at the reception desk looked up at her in surprise. “It’s you!” he exclaimed.
“I think so, yes,” Betsy answered, treasuring his befuddled reaction — she was going to miss that. “I have an appointment with Ms. Randall.”
“You do? Oh, right — here it is in her calendar.” He picked up the phone and sang out, “Miss Betsy Andrews is here!”
A door behind him opened, and a middle aged woman emerged. “Miss Andrews, how nice to finally meet you. Please do come in.”
Betsy made her way back into the office and accepted the seat facing Ms. Randall’s desk. Only then did she start putting on her shoes.
“I was absolutely thrilled to get your email,” Ms. Randall said, seating herself behind her desk. “You’re our only nudist in the northern district.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed,” Betsy said. “I’m sorry to have to take up your time, but I couldn’t find the answer to my question on your website.”
“Oh? I’m sorry to hear that. What can I do for you.”
“I want to withdraw my nudist registration.”