''Here, just cross to the other side and walk along the stream. It's not as fabulous as the other place, but you will pretty much have it to yourself,'' I said, the hitch-hiker I picked up at the turn-off of the minor road getting ready to get out of the car.
He was older than typical backpackers exploring the area in the summer months, maybe in his late thirties, maybe even a bit older, tanned and a bit weathered though cleanly shaven, his clothes practical and well worn rather than obviously designed and bought for the after-college gap year.
''Thank you so much, I really appreciate this,'' the yawning American vowels made softer by a hint of the Southern drawl, the smile wide and nearly perfect between the narrow lips.
He came out of the car, small backpack in hand, ready to get on his way but stopped when I got out too.
''Just going to have a smoke,'' I took a packet out and extended it to him, ''don't suppose you'd like one?''
He smiled again and hesitated, ''Ahh, I'll have one, actually, thanks.''
We stood next to each other, leaning against the side of the car, looking at the path winding its way above the stream hidden from view, gently sloping up towards the grey massif of the mountain rising in the distance against the unseasonably blue sky.
''You might be able to do some pool jumping... or a very small swim,'' I laughed.
"I don't really have a change of clothes, so probably not... though it feels hot.''
I shrugged, ''You can skinny dip, there seems to be nobody here today. Then just dry out on a sunny rock.''
''That would be awesome!'' he exclaimed, and the sheer enthusiasm of that made me laugh.
''Or... hold on...'' I moved towards the boot of the car and dug out a towel I carried for various kinds of unplanned needs and emergencies.
''You can have this, it's still pretty clean,'' I handed the thick mink-colored bundle to him.
''I couldn't take your towel... unless...'' he looked at me expectantly.
''You don't fancy a walk by any chance?'' the smile was there again, crinkling the skin in the corners of his eyes, softening the lines of his face, ''Or a... very small swim?''
I hesitated. I wasn't in a rush and it was not just sunny but warm. I hadn't been up the rock pools for months now, and although I didn't fancy a swim, even a very small one, I imagined dipping my feet in the mountain water.
''Hmmm... maybe a paddle... though I don't have walking boots with me. It's dry,'' I eyed my high-tops sceptically, ''I should be all right in these for a mile or two I suppose.''
We talked a bit more for the first ten minutes or so, the standard not-quite-small talk of travellers meeting on the road, then walked in a strangely comfortable, companionable silence to the first rapids, past the smaller stone arch, higher up to where the water from the bigger cataract tumbled down a narrow chasm between rust-stained rock walls, pooled in the deep green of the basin below, the sun threading light through the gleam of emerald beads.
I showed him the way round and down a narrow crevice that avoided the five foot drop and the associated mini-scramble down and we stood on the edge of the pool, the water lapping clear on the shallow, slowly sloping ledge in front of us, the rocks around us, not claustrophobically enclosing but providing a focus for the eyes, taking the line of sight to the peaks above us, now visibly nearer, the waterfall's rumble loud enough to mute everything but words said at close distance.
''It's deep just there, if you jumped you would hardly touch the bottom,'' I indicted the darker part of the pool to our left, then looked up, ''Ohhh, look, an eagle!''
His eyes followed the line of my hand to the dark angular shape soaring up the thermal to the south of the sharpest peak, wings unmoving, then kept following it when I crouched down to untie my shoes.
My feet felt hot, not quite yet sweaty but constrained by the canvas, the seam imprints criss-crossing the skin like messy rope marks. The polish had flaked off some of the smaller nails and the still intact perfection of the deep red lacquer on the big toenail was underlined by a symmetrical crescent of dark purple, a result of a recent stubbing.
I sighed and flexed my toes, the rock warm under my bare soles, its smooth folds and undulations pressing against the muscles, harder on the balls and heels, just brushing against the outer edge of the arches. I turned my left foot to its side, rubbed the edge on the rock, then did the same with the right one, pulled my shoulders back, tilted my head up to the sky, eyes closed; then heard a low, quickly stifled sigh, not quite a moan but not far from it, just audible on the background of the waterfall's rumble, but not loud enough to acknowledge it when I opened my eyes again.
I lowered myself down a higher rock ledge to the side of the pool, pulled my jeans up a bit and dipped my feet in the water, small eddies swirling around my toes, the current slow here but still detectable, wrapping my ankles in ribbons of hillside iciness.
Only then I looked straight at my companion. He was standing still, his face turned almost completely away from me, looking up at the sky again, his right arm hanging loosely down his side, the left one in his pocket. From the angle I was looking I could see a bulge in his trousers, not entirely obvious but unmistakeable, more pronounced because of the way the lower section of his back tensed and arched just a little bit, the dark khaki fabric stretched taut over an elongated shape of erection.
''Hey!'' I called, which sounded silly to my own ears but I wasn't sure what would have been better in the circumstances. He turned his head towards me, his right hand shifting, the fingers brushing along his groin, stopping briefly as if undecided whether to move up or return to a neutral position.
I smiled, not flirtatiously but aiming for more of an indulgent acknowledgement, my eyes flitting briefly to his hard-on, then returning to his face. I patted the ground next to me, ''At least dip your toes if you are not up to jumping.''
He laughed, seemingly more relaxed and without responding, bent down, quickly undid his shoes, pulled them off. His t-shirt came off next, followed by a splash of a body entering the water, followed by a loud yell.
''Ohhh fucking hell, this is COLD!'' His head appeared above the water, he took a big, gasping breath and disappeared again. I followed the undulations of the surface, his body a disappearing flash of gold and brown in the emerald. A few seconds later he emerged to the right of me, shaking his head again, a spray of icy water covering me, leaned forward on the stone bank, his elbow almost, but not quite, touching my thigh, the rest of his body almost, but not quite, brushing against my feet underwater.
He wasn't looking at me when he said, stumblingly, still a bit breathless from the cold or maybe not just from the cold, ''Sorry... apologies for... earlier... I... kinda have a thing for....''
I laughed and touched his bare, wet shoulder. More a reassuring pat than an intimate gesture.
''For feet, yes?''
''Yea...'' he mumbled, face still away.
''Must have it pretty bad then, if a glimpse of that...'' I stretched my right leg and poked him somewhere in the region of his knee, ''...had such an effect.''
He tensed at that touch, inhaled deeply, rapidly.
''Yea... pretty bad, I guess. It's also this place... something about it... closed and open at the same time... I dunno...''
''And now?'' I moved my foot, now purposefully, pressing the wet fabric of his trousers along his inner thigh.
''Oh God...'' he groaned, shifting his body, first away, then down and towards my foot. It was the sound of his, the low moan on a long exhale rather than the touch that made my heartbeat pick up, my breathing too, a shift from a one-sided flash of desire to an erotic charge between us, arousal spreading over my skin, my nipples hardening, my hands a little shaky. I decided to play it down for now.
''Cold water isn't helping much then?'' I was laughing as I said it, my body leaning back, face to the sun, supported on bent arms, my left foot now wedged in his crotch, pressing against his growing erection, toes moving a little, him unmoving apart from the flexing muscles of his thighs.
''Maybe... a bit...'' he mumbled.
I shifted back, pulled my foot out from between his legs, and both of them out of the water, bottom half of my jeans wet now, water dripping down, my knees bent, my feet flat on the edge of the rock. I could see him flinch, then turn his face towards me and move slightly in the water, his breath warm on my toes.
I adjusted my position so my feet were placed wider apart, the left one still resting on the edge of the pool, the right lifted on its heel, toes brushing his chin.
''Go on. It's OK.''
His tongue moved, pointed and stiff, along the groove between the ball of my foot and the toes, stretched up and slid in the gap between the big toe and the next one, probed all the gaps one by one, his breath faster, hotter. His lips closed on the toes in a prolonged sequence, sucking them, individually, slowly, then faster, more voraciously, two then three at once. I sighed, the sigh turned into a moan, looked at him, just the top of his head, the thick dark hair drying rapidly and untidily, visible through the gap between my knees.
I lowered myself down on my back, legs spread, knees bent, my feet sideways on their edges now, his tongue flat and pliant on the sole, slow, long licks. The tip flipped to the soft skin of the arch and I moaned louder, slipped my hand behind the belt of my jeans, it was too tight, pulled out, undid the buckle and the buttons, slipped in again, my cunt wet and hot, my clit erect, sensitive, my fingers finding the right places and the right rhythm.
''Get... out... up... here....'' I moaned. Faster than I thought possible he was out, dripping water all over the hot rocks, and me too, and I shifted again, spread myself along the edge of the pool. He crouched down, dropped to his knees, his hands as well as his mouth on my foot, waves of desire flowing through me, curves of lust in arcs connecting all the places: where his mouth was, my pulsing clit, my erect nipples, all breathing life into the glowing ember at the base of my spine, getting hotter, spreading.
I slow down, adjust, relax my muscles, find more comfortable places on the uneven rock floor, look down at him between my knees again.
''The other foot now...shift... so you're on your side... I want to touch you... '' he seems to understand exactly what I mean and is soon holding, stroking, licking my left foot, his tongue changing from frantic to slow, from stiff and pointed to flat and muscular to gentle and soft. I push my right foot into his groin, find the rigid cock stretching the wet material of his trousers, slide my foot along it and flex my toes to scrape its length. He's moaning now, his hips moving to meet my touch, his mouth busy, his breath fast and shallow on my wet, slippery skin.
My fingers rub faster, rub harder, and when his tongue swirls across my arch again, my knees lift up, my legs tense, my toes flex upward, I'm opening and presenting the right spots to his mouth, ''Lick... there... the arch... fuuuuck... yesss.... flat tongue... harder... ohhhh....''
He responds to my mounting arousal, his touch focusing where I want him, his cock hot and throbbing, and when I get to the edge, when I start plateauing, panting and almost incoherent, pleasure flowing from my cunt and nipples in spirals around my whole body, I push harder with my other foot and manage to moan, to shout ''Come now, come for me!'', the forward movement of his hips, his hardness pulsing, his pleasure spilling through the fabric into sticky warmth dripping down my sole push me over and I come in a long paroxysm, my scream bouncing off the rocks, flying up to where another eagle is soaring up the same thermal.