Jessie tested Nathan’s love commitment in the Polar Bear Swim and the ski trip to the mountains. He had one more challenge to determine if he would dedicate his love fully to his trustworthy partner. He waited for the ideal weather conditions to tempt Nathan for one last adventure.
The night arrived in early March, when the sun warmed San Francisco to seventy degrees during the day. The brilliance of a fading full moon and the glittering stars lit up the sky, free of clouds or fog. The wind was calm on this balmy night.
Jessie called Nathan. "Bring a towel and a warm jacket in a backpack. We're going on a hike. I'll pick you up in fifteen minutes."
When Jessie parked the car in the lot north of the Sutro Baths ruins and Cliff House, Nathan glared suspiciously at him. “Are we going to Land’s End?” He was aware of the wanton sex performed day and night by gay men in the dense growth of bushes and trees.
“Yes.” Jessie neglected to relate his ultimate destination. “If you are tempted by anyone along the way, feel free to explore.” He lied.
They walked a level path initially without much shrubbery other than cypress trees, until the trail became narrow, descending steeply and dividing into different densely vegetated trails, some which were dead ends in shaded grottoes. Jessie sent Nathan ahead down one of these, until they entered a scene of three men, fondling each other’s cocks with their pants down to the ground.
One man reached out to Nathan, who jumped back into Jessie. “Let’s go down a different trail,” he whispered.
As they traversed slowly down crooked unstable ground, both encountered sexually hungry men who groped, urging them to forestall their journey. When Nathan refused, Jessie hesitated for a moment, entertaining them with comments like, “You have a big dick” or “You have a nice ass”. But then he backed away and led Nathan further down towards the beach.
“Why do you flirt like that? You act like you’d rather have sex with them than me.” Nathan stomped down angrily onto the sand of Land’s End Beach.
During warm days, gay men sunbathed naked on this small strip of beach. There was a damp chill in the air from the ocean spray. “Let’s put on our jackets,” Nathan suggested.
“Not just yet.” Jessie stalled. “We still have a short way to go.”
Finally when Jessie determined ground zero for the night, he stopped and took off his backpack. “You can put on your coat now.” Jessie pulled a sleeping bag out of his own backpack along with his jacket. Spreading the bag, he revealed his final test. "We're staying here for the night, after we go naked in the ocean."
“Why didn’t you tell me to bring a sleeping bag?” Nathan asked. “You told me just to bring a towel.”
“Don’t worry. I brought a towel too. First we have to go back up the trial and gather some firewood.”
Nathan shook his head, following Jessie back up the trail a short distance. They brought back dry, twigs, small branches and finally several larger pieces of broken branches. Jason built a fire.
“Now, take off your clothes. We’re going into the water. The ocean is calm tonight, but don’t go out very far.” Jessie pleaded his caution.
Naked they ran from the sandy cove to the oncoming rushing waves, knee deep. Jessie wrapped his arms around Nathan, submerging them both to their necks in the white, salty foam. When they both stood up, shivering, Jessie grabbed Nathan’s waist, turning him around to view the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, shining with bright lights, and the Marin Headlands. “This night is for you.” Jessie proclaimed his love. Turning his lover’s head, he kissed him. They momentarily stood watching the view before them, while ignoring their wet shivering bodies.
They ran back to their camp, dried off with towels, zipped their coats, and slipped tightly into the sleeping bag. They tangled their legs for body heat. As they huddled behind the fire, Nathan asked, “So you took me through the trail of Land’s End just to test my love and ultimately here to see the bridge.”
“Of course. I had to tempt you with all those hot men inviting you into their orgies. Perhaps we'll try something like that in coming years. You passed my requirements with flaming colors. Don’t you feel my hard dick against you?” Jessie's eyes sparkled like the glitter of plankton in the wet sand.
“You must feel mine too, but I feel more than that.” Nathan kissed him hard, while his hands forced them on the ground.
Shedding their jackets, they cuddled in the bag, wrapped tightly together. On the beach, set on the southwest side of the Golden Gate Bridge, a fire blazed. Jessie's final challenge boiled to completion in love’s cauldron inside that sleeping bag.
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