That's What Friends Are For
Chapter 13
by kie

When Katie and I got to the park, Tyler, Kevin and Jim were already covered to the ears in mud. Steve and Ed were only slightly cleaner, and Andy looked as if the idea of wallowing about in mud ranked right up there on his list of things to do along with beating a wasp nest with a stick. Nat and Jill were plotting how to get him when Katie and I approached.

"Don't plan it," I said once I figured out what they were doing. "Just run up and tackle him."

"Well be my guest," Jill said, grinning broadly. "I'd like to see this."

I shrugged, then stood about ten feet behind Andy. I took a deep breath, called his name, and charged. He turned around, saw me and grinned. I thought I was going to end up tackling him about waist high, but at the last second, he stepped to the side. I ran past, tried to put on the brakes, and ended up landing flat on my ass in the middle of a large mud puddle. Andy walked over to me and laughed.

"Why do you think those five look like they do?" he asked me, offering his hand to help me up. "They tried repeatedly, but I'm not going down."

I took his hand, made sure I had a good tight grip, and said "Yes, you are," as I pulled him down. His feet flew out from under him and he landed on top of me, laughing. I heard Jim yell 'Get him!' and before I knew it, I was piled under most of my friends.

"I need air," I called, and people slowly started getting off of me. Andy held out his hand again, and even though I debated pulling him back down, I didn't. Once we were all vertical again, Kevin walked over to Katie and put his arm around her shoulder. I was thinking that maybe we wouldn't have to help her seduce him after all when an evil grin spread across his face. I knew immediately what was going to happen. Katie was the only one not covered in mud, and we just couldn't have that. Kevin was being shifty about it. While Steve would have just tackled me to the ground, Kevin was going about it in a completely different fashion. He had a huge handful of mud hidden behind his back, and he was lulled Katie into a false sense of security before letting go over her head.

"Son of a bitch!" she cried, laughing and rubbing the runny mud from her eyes. "Oh, you are so dead!" She started chasing him around the field, and the rest of us sat back and watched. She managed to get him down to the ground, rubbing his face in the mud. He rolled and pinned her below him, turning to face her. She grabbed a handful of mud and flung it at him. He retaliated. After a moment, she whispered something in his ear. He nodded and stood, helping her up. They each took to fists full of mud, and threw it at us. Before long, the ten of us were in the midst of a vicious mud slinging contest. People driving past would honk or yell, probably convinced that we were nuts. We probably were, standing in the rain, throwing mud like it was snow. But I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

After a while, we all collapsed in the mud and caught our breaths. The sun was coming out, and the mud that was covering us was starting to dry and crack.

"We aren't going to get a game in, are we?" Jim asked.

"I forgot the ball," Tyler said.

"Dork," Jill chided her husband. "Can't have a Mudbowl without the proper equipment, can we, dear?"

Tyler flipped his wife the finger.

"Now that's the kind of loving relationship I want," Ed said, laying his head on Nat's stomach. She absently ran her fingers through is short hair, smiling to herself. It was clear to see how much in love they were, and we all wondered when Ed was going to ask her to marry him.

We all laid where we were, exhausted, warm, content to be among friends, but soon Andy announced he had to go and get ready for a meeting of some sort of group he was trying to join. It was a group that sent people all over the world to do good deeds for those in need. Sort of like the Peace Corp, really. Once Andy and Jim left, we all started leaving. Katie offered Kevin a ride home, so I hopped in with Steve and we headed back to his place.

"You look lovely," he said, grinning.

"So do you," I replied, trying hard not to scratch where the mud was dry and itchy. "We're going to have to hose of before we go inside to shower."

"Did I notice a lot of heavy flirting going on between Katie and Kevin?"

"Yup." I told him about Katie's conversation with me earlier. "I wish I had a chance to talk to the other girls, but."

"I think you should just let it go on its own. Kevin can handle himself."

"Kevin wouldn't make the first move if his life depended on it."

"Which it doesn't. And did you think that his not making the first move is his way of making the first move?"

I thought about that for a moment, then shook my head. "What?" I asked

"Let's put it this way. Kevin had a dick. He knows how to use it."

That, I had to admit, was the truth. I just didn't say it out loud.

We pulled into Steve's yard and headed to the back of the house, where he had his hose. Thankfully, it was turning into another hot day, so the cold water felt good. I rinsed Steve off first, then he turned the hose on me. I wasn't completely clean when he stopped spraying me.

"Have I told you how much I love you yet today?" He dropped the hose and walked over to me, wrapping his arms about me tightly.

"Told me? No. Showed me? Oh, yes.." I kissed his chin, ignoring the muddy water dripping down from his hair. I knew I wasn't any better anyway. "Wanna finish hosing me down so we can go in and bathe?"

"You just want to get your hands on my hot body," he said as he turned. I reached out and goosed him. "You know it, sexy."

We finished hosing off and went inside, stripping out of our wet, muddy clothes and dumping them directly into the washer. Then we ran quickly through his house to the bathroom, were I filled the tub with warm water and slid in. Steve sat down in front of me, between my legs. And I started washing his shoulders and chest.

"I could grow to like this," he said as he closed his eyes and leaned his head back against my shoulder.

"So could I," I murmured in his ear. We had a long, leisurely soak, then got out and toweled off. Realizing we had forgotten to grab some clothes, Steve dashed to his bedroom, returning a moment later with shirts and boxers for the both of us. Once we were dressed, we went into the living room and laid down on the couch, Steve wrapping his arms around me as I surfed the channels. I squealed when I saw that my favorite movie of all time 'The Public Enemy' with James Cagney was just starting. I dropped the remote and snuggled into Steve's warm body and sighed contently.

"What?" Steve asked as he planted a soft kiss on the back of my neck.

"I was just thinking that this has to be one of the best Sundays ever."


I turned to face him, placing my left hand on the side of his face, and gazing deep into his eyes. "Because," I whispered, "it's the first of many we'll spend together." I closed my eyes and kissed him softly. He kissed back, his lips softly skimming over mine, then pulled away.

"I promise you, they'll only get better."