Jill Scott “All I”
 Sade “Make Some Room”
 Xavier “Purely Sexual”
No hot water. This was beginning to become a habit and not one that Isabelle took particularly kindly to. It was the third time this month that the boiler had gone down at her local dance class and, with a meeting thirty minutes from now and with a rather important client, it couldn’t have been less convenient. Ordinarily she would simply suck it up but today had already been an obstacle strewn affair that she had long since grown weary of navigating. There were two options available right now and the first was hardly even worth entertaining as it involved standing under a jet of ice for the three minutes it took to lather herself from head to toe and scrub away her hour-long exertion. The second option seemed far more appealing but would require a level of commitment and courage that she hadn’t planned on demonstrating today. The session had been typically invigorating and had left all her muscles feeling awakened, but the ache of disappointment seemed to be compromising that and this meant crisis measures would need to be taken. Should she turn up for her lunch appointment at Delphino’s knotted and tense, then the whole merger could fall through, and everything she’d worked towards would have been for nothing. Crisis talks were short, to the point, and the final decision was unanimous.
There’s only so much a girl can take when other factors in her life are already trying her patience and Isabelle had been teetering on the point of saying “fuck it!” for some time now. Something always seemed to hold her back, common sense most likely, and this had gotten her out of numerous scrapes before now. However, when she thought about the prospect of what she was about to entertain doing, her prudence turned a swift 180 and threw her a bone. It made sense to vacate the women’s locker room as there was no freaking hot water goddamnit and no amount of screaming at the desk skivvy until red in the face was going to change that cold, harsh reality. Moreover, it made sense to locate the nearest available working steam jet and step right under it, regardless of whether or not it was deemed acceptable. She had been coming to Hard Bodies for over three years now and had the floor plan well and truly down to pat. Mere yards from the female locker room was its male equivalent and common sense made no bones about the relevancy of its location. This was a unisex establishment and, judging by the funk of testosterone that hung in the lobby air, men needed showers too.
The crazy thing was that Isabelle was not what you would consider an exhibitionist. Indeed, her naked body was her closest guarded secret and she was more than compelled to keep it that way, under regular circumstances at least. Her long-term boyfriend knew the map of her skin as well as he did his own and they had been comfortable stripped bare in each other’s presence since the very start of their courtship. Both had body confidence issues, thus the leap of faith they took together was monumental and left both parties refreshed by acceptance. Him aside, no other man had seen her naked since her last relationship folded in on itself and she was more than comfortable with this meager statistic. It was one thing stepping out of her panties for the man she loved dearly, but entirely another doing so for what she was guessing entailed forty or so sexually frustrated and temporarily galvanized middle-aged alphas, all of whom were likely to have already showered while she had been busy procrastinating. If there was one thing that wasn’t in question for Isabelle, it was her decisiveness in a quandary, and the resolution was made clear for her by her before the clock struck another of the twenty-seven remaining minute markers until crunch time.
Puffing out her chest, she exhaled a breath of the kind of single-minded purpose required to boldly go where no shy forty-five-year-old woman would ordinarily dream of going, and marched towards her first soft goal defiantly. Adrenaline had kicked in right on cue and this would ensure her delivery to the primary checkpoint, and endorse any further affirmative action. As she arrived at the doorway and ventured inside, her assumption was proved right, as there wasn’t a single butt-naked buck to be discerned from wall-to-wall. That said, the shower block was heaving at capacity, and the first face she noticed was that of a man who had just finished the same rigorous class as her. Moreover, he had been positioned directly in her slipstream as she gyrated her hips, and she’d caught him glancing over sheepishly as she performed both her opening and closing stretches. Another of the patrons was her landlord of twenty-four years and she passed him in the halls every day without fail. Both men were clothed and looked pretty much set to head off back to their cars but her unforeseen arrival was likely to result in them dragging their heels.
At this point, had adrenaline not been surging so decisively, she would have flashed an apologetic smile, turned around, and made great haste in distancing herself from the danger zone before she did something she would later regret. However, the fact that every single last man had her firmly locked in their crosshairs excited Isabelle and encouraged her to make her next move while mass attention was undivided.
“The hot water is down in the women’s showers. I’m going to have to use yours if there’s no objections”
Of course there would be no objections. Had she entered five minutes previous, then perhaps the more bashful bath babies would have raised a timid protest but they weren’t the ones about to be placed beneath the spotlight in just a few moments time. Instead there was a collective nod of heads and this was all she needed to push on and get this show on the road. The next thing that caught her eye was the one shower cubicle boasting a lockable door and proposing privacy from the one hundred odd roving sentinels currently scanning her personal space impatiently. She considered locking herself down and even veered toward it, much to the communal dismay of her anxious audience. However, this wasn’t an opportunity to fritter, for once in her life she wished to feel the blood truly pumping, do something bold, step out of herself, as opposed to stepping within as was customary. This would take the courage of a proud lioness and there felt no time like the present to let out an almighty roar.
While she was feeling buoyant and primed for provocation, this still needed to be a gradual process. With her back turned to every last pair of eyes leering her way, she slid nervously out of her sneakers and reached down to roll her socks from the ends of her unpainted toes. This, in itself, made her feel decidedly naked and she used this thrill to inform her next intrepid action. This was where she began to fall into a character that she had no idea even existed until right in this very moment. After first glancing the tops of her leggings, she then proceeded to slide her T-shirt up to her shoulders and over her head in one assured motion. It wasn’t as though these men hadn’t seen bra straps and a pair of bare shoulders before. Nothing to see here. This logic served her well as she returned southward and tugged her bottoms down to her ankles, before stepping out of them and folding them into a neat mess which she placed just out of her immediate reach. If there was one thing she was damned sure of, then that was that all eyes were firmly fixated on her. However, this was no different from what they would see in lingerie magazines and this rationale kept her from buckling under the intense pressure she could now feel mounting.
One deep breath and it was time to dispel any lingering doubts as to whether or not she had the minerals to stand naked before a mixed group of strangers and familiar stragglers. Her rump was already pretty much exposed on account of her G-string and a little imagination could paint the full picture required to get these cocks stirring. Such was no longer necessitated as she relinquished her panty string from the crack of her butt and let gravity do the rest. They dropped first to her knees and one quick wiggle had them plummeting to her feet, leaving her now almost at full exposure, albeit only from rear quarters. Wasting not a solitary moment more of this fresh momentum, she reached behind her back and released the catch on her bra, before dragging the straps down both shoulders, vacating the cups, and tossing it onto the stockpile. Isabelle was now as naked as the day she was born and already knew that not a solitary one of her addresses was quite ready to call time on this particular exhibition.
None of them had access to frontal vantage and this had her feeling insanely empowered, as though every last one of them was in the palm of her hand. Turning back was no longer under consideration although turning around was very much on the cards and demanded just one more leap of faith. Her bikini line wasn’t shaved so much as pruned enough for her flower to be visible through the light fluff of her pubic hair and one swift movement would leave nothing whatsoever more to her addressee’s imaginations. She’d already come farther than she would ever have dreamed previously and wasn’t likely to have another opportunity quite so gift-wrapped to feel utterly empowered. So Isabelle took one final deep breath, span around on the spot, and strolled nonchalantly and deliberately into the shower to commence her wash down. There were excitable whispers all around her as she began to lather her bare flesh thoroughly and without a solitary reservation.
By this point, she had almost forgotten about her spectators, and even bent down to pick up the soap bar she fumbled, offering a fleeting glimpse of her tight little asshole and undercarriage just to ensure that no stone was left unturned. Fuck it, she had done it now, would be required to pass Mr. Devereux every day in the halls knowing full well what’s going on in that dirty little mind of his, and the next time she bent over in dance class, a certain someone would now be able to join every last dot through enduring memory alone. However, she was clean as a whistle, felt a sense of authority that would serve her well for her appointment, and had recalled precisely how to live out loud. Moreover, the amount of male frequenters at Hard Bodies doubled almost overnight as a result of her exhibition and she now receives a 10% discount on her annual membership. Evidently, they weren’t in a rush to get that boiler serviced.
Artwork by Emilie Flory