It was a dark night in the national park. The sounds of moaning and flesh meeting seemed to reverberate off the tall gum trees. The noise scared away the fruit bats living in the tall stringy bark over hanging the lonely tent. Small nocturnal creatures excited by the intrusion gathered around. They weren't used to the invasion of civilianisation no matter how temporary and watched the shadow play with interest.
The camp was small but thoughtful. No fire had been started. A black garbage bag zip locked at the top stood next to the canvas wall of the tent. It was shaking in rhythm with the movement within. The tent was dancing to the tune of two people groaning out their pleasure. More animals gathered around as the noise rose. It built until it reached a crescendo of high pitched screaming. A hand could be seen dragging down the canvas wall and then all was silent in the world again.
Evan rolled over and let out a loud satisfied sigh. He could feel the warmth of his wife's flesh against his side. The thin sheet of sweat covering their bodies joined where they touched to flow to the mattress. His breath seemed to add to the heat in their small tent.
"Ready for round two lover," his wife cooed. She rolled over and nuzzled her mouth into his neck. She could taste his salty sweat. Her hand slid down his body. At first she toyed with the greying hair of his chest before grasping his slick but softening appendage.
"Mmmmm," he groaned in response to his wife's skilled attention. "I can never get enough of you. But I might need a few minutes. The old body ain't what it used to be."
"You will always be a young man to me," she smiled.
"Thanks," he hugged her back.
"Ah," Evan sighed as he moved one hand behind his head and the other to hold his wife. "I love camping here."
"I know you do honey. We do come here every year."
"I just have so many great memories of the bush. Do you know I met my first love here?"
"I think you have mentioned it," she replied.
"Yeah I was young then. Young, naïve, everything was so pure and simple."
"Why don't you tell me about it, this story of young love while I see what I can do about this?" She whispered sexily as her practiced hand began to massage the slippery head of his cock.
"Well, it all happened right here." Evan began after kissing her forehead. "Of course that was twenty years ago now. It wasn't even a national park then."
It had been a desert.
The sun was dawning as young Evan drove up but even that was not enough to add beauty to the scene before him. The mining operation now abandoned had completely stripped the land of its vegetation. As he pulled his beat up car into the car park all he saw was dirt. What had once been forty hectares of thriving bushland was now simply barren and lifeless. That was the nature of mining but now that the veins so rich with coal had finally been used up there was a chance for regeneration. Looking around he was glad that the brightly coloured marquises and yellow tractors took the sting out of the overwhelming greyness left behind.
Evan was surprised by the large amount of cars already there as he found an empty space. Even more surprising was the variety. From new to old cars, sedan and dirty four wheel drives there didn't seem to be a trend. 'You can't generalise about who cares for the environment' he thought to himself.
The air was warming with the promise of a hot day but dust seemed to dry out the humidity. Slamming the car door behind him Evan crossed to the crowd gathered under the largest marquis. There was a good turn out. He recognised most of the people from town and waved to a few people he knew.
One of the officials noticed Evan walking up and handed him a volunteer information sheet. The marquis where they were was the eating area where the volunteers could grab food and drink. There was an amenities block set up behind with toilets and showers.
Different groups had been allocated up for the day. The local firemen had joined to begin turning the quarry into a dam. Admin staff were organising the facilities, others preparing food. Evan himself was a young man still at university and so made his way over to the distribution area to start planting the new trees they had brought.
Following the other volunteers it was a short walk over to where the trucks were being unloaded. Evan chatted causally with the man next to him. He was a shop owner from town who had brought his whole family out for the day. He explained how his wife was a great cook and would be making them some lovely meals but Evan tuned out as they saw the team leaders begin to take charge. Evan pulled his cap over his eyes for shade as he listened.
"We have a few trees here," a large man said sarcastically and smiled at the laughter that followed.
"But that's nothing. Once we get these trucks unloaded they will be making another three trips today. It's gonna be a big job to call this place a national park, but that's why we're here." He continued before pausing to watch the nodding heads.
"We have bobcats out there softening the soil so you poor buggers with spades will have an easier time digging. If you don't feel up to digging holes please just grab a plant, take it out of its pot and plant them in the holes dug," he explained. "Sponsors have donated a generous range of native saplings so please try to space them out. As each plant goes in we also need water taken out so if you need a break come and grab the hose."
"It's not going to be easy work, so keep the final product in mind. The mine has gifted this land to the public as a national park. It will be a monument to our effort today that will last and could be the most fulfilling thing any of us do this year."
Evan was left nodding. The man was never going to be elected mayor but his speech was inspirational all the same. Grabbing a spade and gloves he moved out into the open land.
The earth had already been tilled so initially the going was easy. His spade was strong and under his steel capped boot its blade bit into the ground. He upended rocks, clay and dirt with little trouble. Stopping to wait by each hole for a sapling to be brought over and deposited. Hole after hole he dug, cataloguing the different natives being planted in his mind.
Well, it began as an easy work out but as the morning passed the combination of physical effort and scorching sun had begun taking its affect. What had once been a happily buzzing conga line of industry was now settled in to work. People who had passed all morning, smiling and waving in a friendly manner now saved that energy.
Standing beside yet another shallow hole Evan stopped to wipe the sweat from his brow. He was leaning on his spade handle when he saw a small set of legs moving towards him carrying the largest plant he had seen yet.
"Whoa let me help. That thing is huge," Evan said as grasped the other side of the plant.
He thought he heard a small voice say thanks but couldn't be sure. They balanced it between them as it was lowered to the ground.
Standing up he noticed a dirt covered face quickly avert her eyes. He wondered if she was shy and stuck out his own grimy hand.
"Hi, I'm Evan." He said
"Abbey," she responded, taking his hand and lifting her eyes again as she smiled.
She looked cuter when she smiled. The cap she wore shaded her face but he could see icy blue eyes looking back at him. Dark hair was pulled back into a pony tail and her button nose crinkled with her lips. Smudges on her face enhanced the cuteness that belied the fact she looked his age.
"That's gonna be a big stringy bark one day," Evan mused out loud.
"It is, isn't it," said Abbey cryptically.
"Do you know what that plant is there," she followed up pointing behind her.
"Bottlebrush," he replied.
"And the next one," she asked, her smile changing into a smirk.
"Easy, ghost gum. If your going to test me at least make it a challenge." Evan shot back with a grin enjoying the game, "How about you. Do you the name of the one next along?"
"Emu paw, then paperbark." She replied naming the next two. Enjoying the impressed look that flashed along Evan's face she knelt down at the plant.
"You know your stuff," Evan offered as she patted down the dirt around the sapling.
"Thanks, I could say the same about you. Not that many people know the native strains."
"Yeah, um... do you want to grab a drink?"
"What?" Abbey asked turning back to him.
"Its getting hot and we have been out here a while do you feel like a break? We could get some water or even a coffee." Evan explained suddenly feeling lame.
"Yeah. Sure. I guess it's nearly lunch time," Abbey responded after a moment and looked up to the mid day sun.
They talked as they walked towards the marquis. Evan liked how gentle she had been planting the tree but was damned impressed with her knowledge of the plants. He thought that under the dirt and shyness was somebody quite attractive. The game of name that strain continued but they both kept their perfect record when they reached the shaded area.
Grabbing sandwiches and water they sat down at a table near the back. They found that the conversation had drifted on from causal chat regarding the weather. The fresh food was scrumptious and Evan was amazed how easily conversation flowed between them. They both lived in town and found that despite different backgrounds they had a lot in common, even sharing some friends. Evan found his attraction rising as he watched the cute brunette's hands wave as she talked.
"Wow, I can't believe your family used to work at this mine." Abbey exclaimed as she brought her bottle of water to her lips.
"Yeah it's a small world, particularly out here. I bet with your dad representing the greens on the council you must hate the deforestation that happened here."
"Absolutely. But dad has many tales to tell about the mines," she laughed.
"Well let's just hope our dad's never meet." He joined in the laughter.
"I'm sure you can tell why we are out here. What brings you out?"
"I'm studying environmental science at Sturt and this is going to be part of my thesis. Well that and the fact it's a good cause." Evan replied lifting his bottle and finishing the contents.
"Enviro huh?" Abbey replied with a smile as she put the lid on her bottle. "You can't be all bad then."
"Thanks just try and convince my dad." He smirked as he noticed people getting up to go back to work.
"Well, Evan thanks for a lovely lunch but it looks like we have work to do," she sighed.
"Yeah, it's a good cause tho, right?" Evan said rising, gallantly offering his hand to help her up.
Grasping his hand Abbey pulled herself up. For a brief moment Evan saw an emotion flash across her face. He recognised it because it was the same way he was feeling at that moment. Or he hoped that it was the same. He felt something for Abbey. Their joint love of nature gave them a connection.
As Abbey got to her feet they stood only a foot apart. Deodorant and perfume mixed. Their eyes locked and she searched them for a sign. Feelings were rushing through her and she held his hands tight.
He noticed her lips part that fraction as her head moved forward. Abbey was putting herself out there and Evan didn't wait. Their eyes closed. He kissed her and she kissed back. One small kiss, a first kiss that held a quiet fervour.
"Are sure this is a good cause?" Evan whispered as their eyes stayed locked to each other.
"The best," Abbey sighed as they turned to walk back.
'She's so cute' Evan thought to himself. 'I love her eyes and her hands are so small.'
Taking his big hand in her own Abbey's spoke to herself as well 'He's so dreamy, I felt so small and safe in his arms. I could have kissed him all day.'
"Whatcha doing later?" Evan asked.
"I dunno, thought I might do some gardening" laughed Abbey.
"I meant later than that," he replied. "I heard there's a bbq on. Do you wana grab some dinner together before we go back to town."
"I have to spend some time with my dad and the other councillors but if you can wait, ok," she agreed.
The rest of the day was hard work. He dug holes and moved hoses. Dirt and sweat seemed to be constant. His hat did little to keep the sun off and before long his shirt was saturated like he had been swimming. Evan tried to keep his concentration on the work but whenever he stopped he found his eye picking out the trim form of Abbey. She must have felt the same way because at almost every hole he dug he found her smiling sweetly back at him with a new plant.
Abbey was just as dirty as he was. Caked mud was drying up her arms but her face was alive. The freckles that could be seen under the dust seemed to sparkle like jewels. It was obvious to Evan that she was enjoying herself. He found himself addicted to her smile and longed for her return when someone else brought him a plant.
Eventually the final trucks left for the day. Many hands had not made the work light but the sun was still a way off setting as the last of the saplings were placed in the ground. Evan stretched out his muscles as he made his way over to the distribution bay to finish up. He placed his spade into one of the dirty containers along with his gloves.
"You look deep in thought there mate," said the supervisor as he came up to his side.
"Yeah I was just thinking that I don't really mind all this dirt," replied Evan whimsically. "When you're finished you know you really did something."
"You will fit in great with the rest of us here kid," laughed the man as he slapped Evan on the shoulder. "Get yourself cleaned up and grab something to eat and drink at the kitchens."
With a contented sigh Evan turned to walk back towards the kitchens. He was thirsty. Tired but relaxed as he brushed the dust from his jeans. He looked around for Abbey and found her standing in a group of older men. 'Must be her dad' he thought to himself and decided to take a shower before dinner.
He made his way to the car to grab a change of clothes before hitting the portable showers. The water was only luke warm but it felt great on his aching muscles. Taking a bar of soap from his toiletries bag he began to soap up his body. Evan had quite broad shoulders but the slim body associated with someone more studious. He put some shampoo through his shaggy blonde hair and briefly considered shaving the stubble that had sprung up along his chin before jumping out. He kicked his soiled work clothes into a bag and changed into a pair of clean jeans and a shirt.
The sun was beginning to set as Evan walked out into the rapidly cooling night air. He made his way to the marquis covered tables but couldn't see Abbey around. Taking a seat Evan quickly settled in to wait. He knew a few people from his team that day and joined in the discussion going on. Was bio diesel the solution? He didn't know but he had a feeling he was going to learn a lot while he waited.
Just when it looked like bio diesel might be the answer Evan's mind was distracted. He saw Abbey walking towards him from the shower block but it took him a moment to recognise her. Gone were the baggy denim overalls that had hid her figure. He saw her slender curves on display through tight black jeans and a white singlet that clearly indicated the lack of a bra. The cap that had covered her hair was also missing and her long brown hair had been brushed out to reveal her face between the soft curls.
"You're gorgeous," Evan said as he rose to meet her.
"I'm glad you like." She giggled in response. "I didn't actually bring anything too nice but I wanted to show you I'm not always covered in dirt."
"Well you were cute even then,"
"Come on handsome," she replied pulling him towards the food lines. "I'm starving."
Moving along the line they helped themselves to healthy portions of most of the buffet. Then Evan carried both their plates as they found seats at a small table that overlooked the new dam. The filling water was creating shallow waves. The yellows and reds of the setting sun were reflected in the surface. A few birds had even come in to see the new bush land.
The conversation was smooth and moved from work and study onto past loves. Evan explained that he had gone with several girls in high school but so far at uni had been focusing on study. Abbey in turn shared that she hadn't dated many guys which surprised Evan. He thought a girl like her would have had guys lined up around the corner. She didn't have an answer for why she seemed so invisible in public.
"I think we should reserve this seat next time," said Evan as he realised there weren't many people left. That most of the crowd had already packed up to go home.
"This is kind of romantic sitting here imagining what it will be one day," Abbey said.
When Evan turned back to her, she was looking deep into his eyes. The icy blue of her irises seemed to glow in the moonlight. Her face was full of portent and meaning. Evan leaned forward to kiss her. She met him half way. Her lips were soft and moist. They breathed together, sharing their mouths hungrily.
"Do you need a lift home?" Evan asked as they caught their breath. He didn't know what he felt but neither of them wanted it to end yet.
"Dad is leaving soon," she replied looking over her shoulder at the older men still talking. "But it's such a nice night it seems sad to head back to the city yet."
"Would you like to go for a walk and check out the work we have done," offered Evan. "I would be happy to take you home later."
"Ok, great," Abbey smiled after a moment's hesitation and ran back to the table.
While he waited Evan quickly cleared away the rubbish from their meals. He placed the glass bottles into the recycling bin and was about to come back when he noticed the drinks container. It still contained a bottle of champagne and he picked it up as he went to wait for Abbey.
He saw a smile cross her lips as Abbey walked up and took his hand.
"Have something to celebrate, huh? She asked.
"Not sure yet, hopefully the beginning of something special," Evan replied as he popped the cork and passed Abbey the bottle.
"I can drink to that Evan," Abbey said taking a swig of the sweet, sparkling liquid.
Hand in hand they walked through the rows of sapling trees and bushes. Evan tried to sound intelligent as they shared their champagne. He told stories about fauna and flora even managing to bring up an aboriginal dream time story. Abbey listened and shared herself. She was as knowledgeable as he was and they bounced off each other as they walked. There game of naming strains of trees continued. They had so much in common and they were fast becoming infatuated with each other.
Evan was begging to struggle just to form words. His mind was focused on the way her lips moved when she talked or the way her eyes captured the fading light. It took him a moment to realise he could see the tall stringy bark tree they had planted together that morning just ahead of them. It had actually turned out to be the largest tree he saw the whole day.
"One last question, you will not get this one," promised Evan his body language relaxed from the alcohol. "What tree is that?" He asked pointing to the stringy bark.
"Easy," replied Abbey, taking his hands in hers and stopping on the spot. "That's our tree."
"Wow..." he began to say as he turned towards Abbey but she cut him off.
Her lips mashed against his quickly cutting off his words. He kissed her back and the urgent passion grew. Her hands circled his waist to pull him to her. Evan could feel her soft breasts press against his chest. One of his hands slid down her side to her hip. The other flowed through her hair to the nape of her neck releasing the scent of coconut and citrus.
The intensity of their kiss and the feel of the small girls frame against him began to take their toll on Evan. He turned his body so that his growing manhood didn't press into her.