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Homer Winant wheeled himself into the Recreation Center atrium, the big, high-roofed arena that held all the center’s equipment, the weight machines, the gymnastics area, the pool, and the volleyball court, with an oval track running around everything. He liked to come here every once in a while, as he did now on this cloudy late winter evening, to see if everything was in order, the equipment in shape, the heat on.

He wheeled with his hands, hating those mechanized wheelchairs, and wore his trademark “Grafton Transmissions” baseball cap. But he was still in his suit, being a college bigwig now. He was the Assistant Dean for Administration, in charge of the physical plant, the dorms, the meal plans. As he put it, “I keep the lights on around here.” Actually he was just the “Acting” Assistant Dean; he did not have the advanced degree for a permanent appointment, despite having been encouraged to get one. Sitting in classes always bored him. And his job was not in jeopardy. When old Hicks finally retired, they were forced to admit that Homer Winant, who had been doing most of Hicks’s job anyway, was the logical replacement. He knew the campus inside out. And he knew where the bodies were buried.

Tonight the rec center was a sweaty cacophony, the thumping of sneakered feet along the track, the grunts coming from the weight machines and the clanking of metal, the soft patter of chalked hands and feet from the gymnasts on the parallel bars and on the mats. Homer wheeled up toward the most arresting feature of the rec center, set up on a raised platform overlooking everything else: a double treadmill of the kind once used for water power, with bars added overhead for the hands to push up on. The little sign called it the “full body flexer”, but to the students at Campbell-Frank, it was known as “the Beast”.

Tonight there was a small cluster of students hanging out in front of the treadmill, Georgene, Myra, Spica, Melissa, Sessu, Jeane and Tom. All dressed in the sweats, socks and sneakers required here. Homer wheeled up to them.

“What’s up?”

It was apparent that they were having a conversation which ceased when Homer approached.

“Not much, Homer,” Tom said with easy familiarity. “How are you?”

Homer glanced back at the weight machines. “I might try some dumbbell work later on,” he said. “You, why don’t you use this? It’s a fine machine, if I do say so myself.” Which was true. Originally trod by Tami Smithers for that electricity generation project three years ago, the treadmill was designed by him to also provide a full-body workout.

He still congratulated himself on getting Hicks to agree to move it to the rec center. Better than have it gather dust in the Dixon Mill to look like evidence against him after the Tami Smithers situation blew up. He had also noticed that Ms. Smithers, at the time a sophomore, was developing a bit of a tummy and was freaking out about it. It got installed, and after some hesitation she became the most frequent user. And, along with everyone else, he noticed that the naked girl’s tummy quickly slimmed back down, for which she could only have been grateful. Again, a stroke of genius on his part.

He now appeared to have her trust. He was aware, through his extensive grapevine, that her husband considered him a “clever creep”. But the husband was graduated and off campus. Someday Tami Smithers would be too.

“It’s pretty hard work to get this thing moving,” Jeane said.

“There’s a dial, you can set it for as wimpy as you want,” Homer said, waving to the controls he had installed.

“It’s still hard,” Myra said. “That’s why we call it the Beast.”

“Weenies. And don’t call it that, you’ll hurt its feelings,” he said, looking up to it as if pacifying a huge, well, Beast. “I’ll see you, I’ve got to do real man things like sit in front of a TV and drink beer,” Homer said. As usual, he amused his audience. In fact he wheeled toward the rec center office, to shoot the breeze with the attendant.

Tom, a tall, skinny kid with wild hair and an attempt at a beard, leaned against the treadmill and looked up at the bars. Jeane looked at him and said, “Well, my manly man?”

It was not that the treadmill was hard to turn, at least not on the lightest setting. Few admitted it, but most students were just too bashful for it. It was the setup of the thing, two treadmills three feet apart, with bars over each for the hands to push on. It stretched you into an “X” and pushed your chest and crotch forward. And it was on a platform to boot, easily seen from any point in the atrium. Even through sweats and underclothes, it exposed a guy’s -- or girl’s -- endowments, or lack thereof, to the whole world.

Tom, being dared by his girlfriend, smirked and climbed up. He planted one sneakered foot on each treadmill and put his hands on the bars. Jeane looked up at his crotch. “Oh baby,” she said.

What guy could not proceed, given such encouragement? He pushed down with his left foot and pushed up with his right hand. It took a loud grunt but he got it to move. The double treadmill slowly turned as Tom looked forward into the far distance, obviously too shy to look down at his friends as they stared intently. He felt like he was shoving his package out into everyone’s face. But now he looked down at Jeane with a little smile.

There was a general turning of heads around them and the friends knew what that meant. Nobody slid in here faster than Tami, who needed no ID to get in and had no need to go to the locker room to change. She was easy to see once you turned to the weight machine area. Clanking away on the shoulder press, the total bareness of skin easy to pick out in the sea of sweatshirts and sneakers and shorts.

Myra and Sessu ambled over first. They said hi, idly watching Tami’s breasts vibrate as their naked friend, on her back, hefted 120 pounds with only a moderate amount of effort, her plum-colored pubic hair almost in their faces between the legs that splayed apart at the end of the bench, her bare feet flat on the floor. Tami said a quick hi but then started focusing on her exertions and Myra and Sessu, perhaps shamed into exercising, found things to do on the other machines. Those nearby who glanced over saw Tami’s face start to get red, her breathing get louder, as she continued her reps. Like any dedicated exerciser, once she got into the reps she was in her own world.

Seesu tried to read as much as he could into the little smile Tami had sent in his direction. He was afraid he was still a little on the outs with her, a rare situation here on campus. Only Lorinda and some of her immature friends were not on Tami’s good side, who had gotten such a kick out of the teasing and abuse they had put the naked girl through. But lately even they had been a little subdued. Lorinda herself, now a senior like Tami, had even gotten into student government a little and even found herself in meetings with her. But according to her roommate, Jeane’s friend Celine, she was still “a nasty bitch” to live with.

Sessu’s concern had arisen from a recent incident. He hung out with the TL’s and it was no secret that he wanted to be one, but as a male his desires had to be sublimated. So he hit upon a solution. He had spent some weeks hearing the TL’s talk about a Tami-thon -- a long session with all of them licking and sucking every part of Tami’s body -- and that had given him an idea. An architecture major, he had privileges at the metal shop and he spent several late nights staring at all that tubing, then once the idea was in his head he roughed out the drawings and got to work.

Not that the Tami-thon would ever happen. Georgene had hinted at something like it during one of Tami’s pass-bys at the Student Union and Tami had seemed turned off. Not that the proposal was ever spelled out directly. The Queen’s permission was never directly asked for. They were too afraid the answer would be “no” and they wanted to hold onto the fantasy.

So it was a bold stroke, perhaps do-able only by someone who could never participate, when Sessu asked Tami to come with him to the metal lab because he had something to show her. The TL’s went with him as he escorted her to the art building and down the hallway scented with acetylene and burnt wood. She must have thought he had made a sculpture of her, based on the many drawings he did of her when she sat chatting at the Union.

She was puzzled as he introduced her to the jumble of tubing on the floor. Then, taking off his jacket, he eagerly got to work, fitting this tube into that, banging some struts into place with the ballpeen hammer, climbing on top of the lower rungs to put the upper crossbars in place, then the final touch of screwing the cushioned wood seats onto the four threaded uprights.

The structure was a bit taller than he was and, after shoving it to and fro to show how sturdy it was, he hopped onto it, his arms and legs stretched out into an X, his legs slightly forward as he bent at the hips, his boots resting on cross-bars. Now Myra and Rosaria took off their coats and got into the raised seats a little to the sides so that their faces were on each side of his chest. Jeane got into the seat behind so that she was staring right at his butt. Georgene got into the plushest seat, so that she was eye level with his crotch. Not that she looked at it, or the considerable hardness that had developed there. She turned her head and, like the rest, looked back at Tami, who stood with her hands at her side, one foot sideways on the dusty floor, silent.

“Forgive me for taking your throne temporarily, my Queen,” Sessu said in his Japanese accent. “But I hope you approve of what I made for you. Think of it as the seating arrangement for your court.”

Its purpose was perfectly obvious. With Tami perched as Sessu currently was, Myra and Rosaria could comfortably suck her nipples for as long as they wanted. Georgene, or whoever sat there, could sit before Tami’s crotch and suck and lick. And Jeane could sit forward, arms resting on Tami’s thighs, and noodle around in the rear chamber of the palace.

Tami stood stock still. Then her eyes got wet and she looked upset. Then she blinked a few times and said, “Uh . . . Thanks . . . Sessue . . . that’s . . . interesting. Gotta go.” And she turned and walked quickly out, and from hearing the receding slapping of her feet they could tell she almost ran out of the building.

They were stunned. What to make of that? They were in a funk for two days, until finally the TL’s couldn’t resist their horniness any longer and went back to licking Tami, for which she seemed grateful. As for Sessu he was depressed all week. He thought about apologizing to Tami, but felt like she wouldn’t wanted to be reminded. As for why she had reacted that way to his invention, they really had no clue.

That was a month ago. Since then he had gotten good signals from Tami as if all were forgiven, like smiling when he kissed her knee in the Union last week. And now this little “hi”.

Tami finished her 50 on the shoulder press, then went to the bench press, the pectoral fly, with her hard nipples sticking out halfway across the atrium, and now was on the hip adductor.

Who could not watch? Sitting upright as the weights clanked up and down behind her, her legs went way, way, way apart, as far as the machine allowed, almost a ballet dancer’s split. Guys came by and looked down, then said hi as they passed. Tami sometimes acknowledged them, sometimes not, being too focused. By now a thin sheen of sweat covered her, as if someone had atomized water over every inch of her body.

Tom and Jeane sauntered by. Tom was sweating too from his five minutes of agony on the Beast. He looked down into Tami’s crotch before waving at her.

It was a good long look, maybe five seconds. In the well-lit gym he could see inside the lower lips that were well pen as the weights pulled Tami’s legs apart, the redness of the cave within. Every guy on campus was familiar with the sight of the interior of Tami’s pussy. Mentally they compared it with that of their own girlfriends, if they had one. Jeane, like most Campbell-Frank women, had come to accept “the long look”; it was practically a reflex for the average male. Tom told Jeane that he fantasized, not about Tami, but about her being naked like Tami was, and Jeane believed him.

Tami tolerated the looks too with an easy humor. Just so long as the guy was polite and it didn’t go on to extended gawking.

Forty minutes later activity in the atrium was muted as Tami was into the last stages of her workout on the Beast. As she always did, she had put it on the heaviest setting. Arms and legs apart, heaving out sweat in waves that filled the whole room with the scent of her exertion, hands pushing up, her toes curling over the blades as her bare feet pushed down . . . those gathered around felt privileged to see such a perfect specimen of the female form as they examined her from every angle, some looking up at the straining breasts, others down at her concave tummy, or at the muscles of her thighs and calves, the strong feet, others looking from behind at her bare shoulders and tight butt, sweat running down her back between her cheeks, then emerging in rivulets down her legs. Spica, standing right in front, made no secret of smacking her lips.

The timer went off and Tami relaxed. The great apparatus slowly creaked to a halt. Homer wheeled up. “Hi Homer,” Tami said, catching her breath, looking down at him past her widely spread lower lips, her soaked pubic hair.

“You’re looking good, Tami,” he said with a smile, then he wheeled off.

And now the great moment, at least great for the TL’s. They were chatting at the base of the Beast, and Myra looked up and said in a stage whisper, “Tami, I could just lick you all over right now.”

Tami smiled. “That . . . would be nice. I have to get going though.” The flexing toes, curled over the blades, indicated her horniness.

“Too bad,” Myra said.

“I’d like to lick you too,” Jeane said.

“Me too,” Spica said.

From her perch, looking down, the sweating naked Queen said, “Then why don’t we get together sometime?”

The mouths of the TL’s dropped open.

As Tami dismounted, jumping down with a soft thud, she said, “My place sometime. Rod will be there.”

Now that was a letdown. Having this man around would disrupt all that female energy. Not that this could be expressed to Tami. For one thing, she was always too down-to-earth to believe that “female energy” stuff. And he was her husband, of course.

By the time they had meandered to the exit with her, though, they had reconciled themselves to it. Having Rod around at the Tami-thon would not be so bad. They didn’t know him well but he seemed to be a nice guy. Maybe he could help out with the refreshments.

Their ruminations were interrupted by the clap of thunder.

“Shit!!!” Spica said, looking out at the icy rainshower. “I left my umbrella in the dorm.”

“Me too,” Jeane said. They had their things in the locker room but it was just coats and boots, no umbrellas.

Tami seemed to look at them in sympathy. Then she said, “Well, gute nacht,” and opened the door and sprinted out into the cold rain, her feet slapping the slush to both sides. They saw her sleek, wet body pass under the lights and disappear into the darkness.

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