After five generations the fundamentalist blood of Joshua Campbell was now flowing very thin, at least when it came to Wethby Campbell. A smell of marijuana permeated Wethby’s kitchen and in fact the whole apartment, which was big but not well-kept. The kitchen was strewn with dirty dishes. Posters of the most degenerate punk bands covered every wall. Opened textbooks were here and there. Wethby himself, age twenty-five with long hair and a scrawny beard, a graduate student in English Literature, sat at his kitchen table and took a drag on his cigarette as if it were a joint. Around him the four girls sat on various chairs and cushions. Tami had taken one of the last available seats, a chair right in front of him, and was in a constant state of embarrassment because he could not take his eyes off of her.
Tami was not sure how to sit in front of this guy. That he was so closely and unashamedly regarding her nakedness made her even more self-conscious than usual. What was she to do with her legs? With her hands? She decided finally to cross her legs in a lady-like fashion and cross her arms over her breasts. This seemed like a normal posture while affording maximum coverage.
In response to a request from Jen, who couldn’t stand cigarette smoke, Wethby opened the top and bottom sashes of the old window next to him. In a few moments the air in the kitchen was clearer and colder. Then he turned and sat back down and resumed his scrutiny of the nude girl. “You really are gorgeous,” he said.
“Don’t we know it,” Jen said with a smile.
“Brave, too,” said Marisol. “She just walked all the way from campus like that. She fell on the snow once and got snow on her, uh, you know her pubic hair. That was so weird. I never saw snow on pubic hair before!”
“In your wide experience,” Jen teased.
Marisol reached over and gave Jen a mock slap on the arm.
“If this is really your religion,” Wethby said, answering Rebecca’s earlier question but speaking to Tami, “then Jensen can’t stop you from visiting any more than if you were Jewish. Still . . . if I were you I wouldn’t go rubbing your snowy pubic hair in his face.”
The girls winced at this bizarre image, Tami especially.
“Be tactful.” Wethby turned to Rebecca. “Landlords can make things very uncomfortable.”
“What do you mean?” Marisol said. Remember, these were girls who had never lived on their own before.
“Well, Jensen might not like the sight of a naked girl hanging around his place, so he might ‘forget’ to fix the plumbing or heating for about two or ninety-seven weeks.”
Rebecca thought for a second. “I don’t like placing limits on Tami.”
Tami just had to say something; after all, it was her they were talking about. “Look, I don’t want to make trouble for you and Marisol. I won’t barge in. Invite me when you think the coast is clear.”
Rebecca stared out the window. “This is a bummer.”
Wethby returned to his intense scrutiny of the naked girl seated in front of him. He seemed to be trying to use X-ray vision to stare through her arms to look at her nipples, or through her thighs to look at her pussy.
“Tell me, what’s your major?” he suddenly asked.
“Um . . . math.”
“Oh . . .” Wethby seemed both surprised and skeptical. “I thought it might be philosophy or divinity or something . . . So this really is your religion? Being naked all the time?”
Tami cleared her throat. “Yes.”
“So I hear from people in the Administration.”
Tami suddenly felt a chill of anxiety. She remembered what the Dean said at their last meeting: “I will enlist others to help with the monitoring.” Has he enlisted Wethby? She knew Wethby was a descendant of the college’s founders and wondered if he had some pipeline in to the Administration. Judging from his last comment, it seemed like he did.
“It’s a little drafty in here now,” Wethby said, motioning to the open window. “Aren’t you cold?”
As she did a moment ago in the apartment across the street, Tami actually felt a little warm, though she could feel drafts coming in from the window. “No.”
“You know, in this part of the state it can go down to twenty or thirty below on a winter night. What if there was a fire drill in your dorm at 3 a.m. and you had to stand outside for a long time? What would you do then?”
Tami hadn’t thought about that. Her mind worked quickly. What kind of answer would pass muster with the Dean? “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”
Wethby said, “Excuse me,” and returned in a moment with what looked like a flannel shirt. “Suppose I told you to put this on,” he said, putting it on Tami’s lap. “What would you say?”
Tami suddenly couldn’t breathe. She was overcome with the soft, warm feeling of the flannel on her bare thighs and with the intense desire to slip the shirt on. But she kept her arms folded tightly across her chest. Realizing the Dean might be at work here, she steeled herself and looked up at Wethby with an even expression. But every ounce of Tami’s being rebelled against the words she had to say and she almost couldn’t get them out. But finally she said, “I’d say take it away.”
Wethby continued looking at her.
Tami finally grabbed the shirt in a bunch and firmly put it on the table. She looked at Wethby again and decided she didn’t like this guy.
Wethby reached into the pocket of his shirt and took out what looked like black shoelaces. He stretched them out in both hands and the girls could see that it was actually an incredibly tiny thong bikini bottom. It was nothing but a small triangle, meant to cover an almost totally shaved pussy, with some string to go up into the butt crack and tie around the waist. “How about this?”
Tami dearly wished she could be allowed even this tiny scrap of clothing. She wanted to grab it and put it on. She had been totally naked for months and everything was relative. She knew that if she were allowed to wear this scrap she could walk around anywhere and feel fully clothed, even though it was so tiny that it probably wouldn’t even be allowed on the beach unless it was a nude beach. But she summoned her strength and continued to be firm. “Same thing,” she said icily.
“Wethby, stop being evil,” Marisol said, peeved. “Tami is a true believing nudist and you’re just wasting everyone’s time.”
“Oh yes,” Jen said. “Every day she proves that she’s sincere.” She looked at Tami with a lascivious gleam in her eye and Tami knew that Jen was thinking of that episode a couple of hours ago in the dining hall. She prayed that Jen wouldn’t mention it in front of Wethby.
Wethby looked at Tami with a quizzical expression. Then, with a smug smile, he held up both ends of one of the strings of the bikini so that it hung between his hands. “So, math major . . . what’s the equation of this curve?”
Tami looked again with longing at the skimpy strings but then snapped into focus. She was on her own turf now. “That’s a catenary. It’s simply the shape of the graph of the hyperbolic cosine of ‘x’,” she said, as Wethby’s smile faded. “The hyperbolic cosine is in turn the ‘x’ value of the unit hyperbola, which is ‘x’ squared minus ‘y’ squared equals --”
“O.K., O.K., you’re smart,” he said with an exasperated smile, stuffing the bikini bottom back into his shirt pocket.
He looked at Tami’s face for a moment. Then he said to Jen, “You may not believe this, but you know Henry Ross?”
Jen suppressed a giggle. But at the mention of the dreaded name Tami’s apprehension suddenly deepened.
Wethby said, “A bureaucrat, but basically a good guy.”
Tami bit her lip, still wondering if Jen would mention the dining hall stunt. Jen had considered it to be a joke on Mr. Ross. Now that it seemed like Wethby and Ross were friendly, Jen would think that mentioning it would piss Wethby off. But Jen probably wouldn’t hesitate to do that. Seconds ticked by . . .
“Well, Ross told me to keep an eye on you,” Wethby said, turning to Tami. “To make sure you’re for real.”
Except for Tami, whose suspicions were now confirmed, the girls were stunned into silence. Finally Marisol said, “You mean that guy wanted you to be a peeping Tom on Tami?”
Wethby took a long drag on his cigarette and blew the smoke out the window. “My dear, the idea of being a peeping Tom on Tami Smithers makes no sense at all.”
After a moment the girls got what he meant and laughed. All except Tami. Tami was watching Wethby carefully.
He turned to Tami and said, “Still . . .”
Tami’s face flushed with shame at what the realization of what she had to do. She had her legs crossed and her arms over her breasts. Henry Ross was watching and right now it looked like she was trying to cover herself. It was time to prove herself again.
Tami looked at the empty chair next to her. She wrapped one arm around it and let the other arm hang to her side so that her breasts were totally exposed. She then extended her leg and placed one bare foot on the other chair and splayed the other out at an angle so that her pussy too was totally exposed. A draft came down from the window and by feeling it inside her she could tell that her pussy lips were slightly open.
Actually, she was now in a more relaxed position than she had been with her legs crossed. From this relaxed, splayed-out pose, she looked up at Wethby with a subtle look of defiance. She successfully concealed her feelings of shame.
For the first time Wethby seemed ill at ease. He stared openmouthed at Tami’s pussy. Tami burned with shame at his stare, but also knew that she was winning a kind of victory over this pompous, spoiled burnout.
The other girls noticed Wethby’s reaction. Marisol decided to really rub it in. “This is life with Tami, Wethby.”
Jen was feeling vicious too. “Haven’t had any of that in a while?”
Wethby looked up and then out the window. He took another drag on his cigarette, slouched in his chair, and laughed nervously. “I’m not sure I can deal with this ‘religion’,” he said.
Rebecca saw her chance. “Tami has true faith. True faith can be intimidating because it shows strength.”
Wethby gave her an exasperated look. “The ‘Praise the Lord’ corner has been heard from.”
Tami had been observing this conversation, remaining in her splayed out, exposed position, feeling little drafts going in and out of her opened pussy. She realized suddenly that Wethby had been crushed and the girls were supporting her. She was now in control.
She looked at the battered alarm clock on the table. “It’s almost two o’clock and I’ve got a dinner to cook.” She got up and stood straight and tall, addressing the other girls but purposefully conscious of the fact that her pussy was at Wethby’s eye level and about two feet from his face. “Let’s go.”
The winter air hit Tami with a shock of exhilaration as the four girls emerged out onto the sunny street. She was surrounded by her admiring fans. Each of them was in a sense speaking in tongues. “Tami, you were great . . . you really put that sinverguenza in his place,” said Marisol.
“He tempted you like Satan in the desert and you resisted,” Rebecca said, making a Biblical reference which nobody got.
“My hero . . . I will lick your pussy anytime, anywhere,” Jen said. The other two girls made good-natured gagging sounds and said, “Oh, Jen!”
They scampered along in this happy mood, glad to be not carrying anything, as they went down the street and turned back onto the ratty highway. That was when Rebecca said, “I’ve got to stop at Top Food to get the things for dinner. Tami, help me pick out what you want.”
Smiling with the other girls, Tami secretly was horrified. How could she say no? But she shuddered, partly at the cold, but also at the thought of going into a supermarket stark naked, walking among housewives, stockboys . . .