In Search of the Final Freedom: Chapter 21

In Search of the Final Freedom:

An Erotic Socio-Political Novel

BOOK TWO: Sexual Freedom, a Revolutionary Ideal

Chapter Twenty-One

Making It Real

Though the nude photos and subsequent notoriety were a boon to the two younger Campbell's, Bonnie and Cooper saw the dangers and had called their lawyer that very first day. Though the attorney told them he could see them the day after Bonnie received the call from the school, he asked for a few days to do some research. It took until Friday until he was ready to give them some directions other than to not talk to the police or social services if they showed up.

On Friday, three days after the call from the principal, Bonnie called to confirm that Trish knew that Misty would be dropping Lamar off at her place after school. That done, she and Cooper headed to Atlanta. It was 1:00 by the time they arrived. As they walked across the large parking lot to the professional building on the southern suburbs, Bonnie quipped “This is why I wear as little as possible in the summer. Too bad we can't dress like we did in Miami.” It was true, the Georgia summer had finally arrived. The weather man predicted mid 80’s today and even hotter tomorrow. Bonne felt like she was going to melt, the cool spring made the first of summer feel even hotter and damper than normal. Cooper’ shirt stuck to his body and Bonnie’s hair simply would not stay in place.

Cooper just chuckled and imagined the stir she'd cause in Atlanta if she had on booty shorts and a see-through top.

Cooper and Bonnie entered the air-conditioned low rise office building. Only then did she allow herself to think on why she was here. Suddenly she was nearly shaking with jittery nerves. They were led back to a large, but not ornate office. The lawyer, Dean Toombs leaned back in his chair.

“Well, well, you certainly have kept my office busy this week.” The heavy-set attorney said with a deep Georgia draw. “I guess it’s good for the staff to do work on something totally different for a change. I guess in L.A. this kind of thing might be more common, but here it’s quite a novelty.”

Bonnie was a bit impatient and jumped in before his words were fully out “What have you found out?”

“The long and short of it is you don’t have anything to worry about.”

Cooper looked at his wife “I told you Martin and Mike both told me this is not a problem.” He referred to Martin LeMarco and their good friend from church Mike Marshal, who was the leading criminal attorney in Hancock County.

Mr. Toombs went on “Unless, that is, your local solicitor or someone in Social Services gets itchy for some publicity. Then they could cause you quite a headache.”

Both Bonnie and Cooper felt their feet pulled out from under them. They instantly leaned forward to catch the next words.

Ever so slowly the attorney went on “But I found out Sheriff White punted this one to the FBI. I have a contact that was able to determine that the FBI has no plans to pursue the matter. Still if the solicitor wants to pursue this he might be able to grandstand about it; but because you had no part in publishing the web site and you were acting lawfully in going nude on the beach you are in the clear. At least according to the laws in Miami Beach…so at least to the law the photos are not illegal. The nude beach photographs fall into the kind of nudity in a national geographic magazine...just barely.” To Bonnie he said “Yes, there are photos of you having sex but Misty is not in any of them, so your claim she was not a part will hold.”

Bonnie thought to herself that she was thankful that the guy’s who sold the pics had made a point not to sell any with her fucking while Misty and the other guy gave each other hand jobs. Misty was clear that the third guy had clearly taken pics of her holding her guy’s dick while he rubbed her clit, but none of those were part of the website.

Mr. Toombs went on “In theory the Miami Beach Police could pursue that on public indecency grounds, but the chances of that are about zero. So, all that is to say that you have no real legal exposure, only bad PR. And since it seems that you and Cooper have an understanding about all this; it’s all good.”

“And Social Services?” Bonnie asked with baited breath.

“Same thing. It is possible the director might get an itch to do some grandstanding, but no more... at the very worst just some inconvenience to you. I thought you might be nervous about that issue so I used a back channel to find out if they are interested. What my source tells me is given their overwork with real cases, they don’t want to touch it. I think it is highly unlikely they will want to get involved in this, even if someone calls them to report this as abuse, they won’t bite. Not for a prominent white family like yours. You don’t need to worry about even a visit.”

This confirmed what Cooper had thought. “So do you have any suggestions for us based on all I told you?”

The lawyer put his hands behind his head “Well, Georgia is strange. On one hand, it has a liberal age of consent law. Sixteen-year-olds can have sex with anyone they choose unless that person is a care giver or teacher or such. That law was changed after a pair of black seventeen-year-olds were sent to ten years in prison and labeled as sex offenders for life after getting a blow job from a girl weeks from her sixteenth birthday. On top of that fornication, unmarried people having sex, is still a misdemeanor that can be prosecuted if someone really wants to. But, it would just be harassment since Supreme Court rulings on privacy would in the end invalidate such laws, but they can still be used to publicly humiliate people. In your case, as a well-connected community leader you have nothing to fear, if you were poor and black you might.”

“The biggest liability” he continued “with families with popular teenagers is booze. You can’t tolerate any booze….or pot, or anything else illegal for minors or adults, brought by anyone to your house. Make sure your kids know that. Combining any of those things with sexual activity under your roof would cause you problems.”

Cooper nodded his head. “I don’t think that’s an issue.”

The lecture continued “I would not hang out with Misty or Lamar’s friends if they are not fully clothed. Mostly I am talking about your swimming pool. The teenagers need to be wearing swim suits until they are eighteen. It’s not illegal for you and the teens to go nude, but their parents could, in theory, go the civil suit route. So, I’d avoid it. To complicate matters, that is not the case if their parents are present or give consent for them to go nude since that falls under the exception for recreational family nudism. Under that rule, there is no age restriction. Again, the laws are so inconsistent.”

”No problem. Bonnie and I have already made house rules about drinking and drugs at our house.” Cooper agreed.

The lawyer concluded with “As odd as it seems, because the beach photos were taken legally in a public nude or topless beach, they are easily defended as would any photos of nudism in your home or at your pool no matter the ages. To me it makes no sense that in Georgia (and about one third of all states) sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds can have sex with almost anyone they want, but to photograph them having sex, or even photographing them naked in a setting that is not “nudism” is kiddy porn. And that is a serious felony. So, even though the practical difference is slight, the legal implications are huge.”

Cooper and Bonnie left more relaxed, now they only needed to concern themselves about the social fallout. After all she and Cooper were leaders in the church and routinely hosted youth activities at their home in addition to the weekly ladies fellowship group (aka the tanning group).

The next morning, Saturday, Cooper was opening his email, and saw a message from Rev. McBride. With trepidation he opened the message.

“Cooper, I just read your piece in the Social Chronicle. I know I’d read the earlier versions, but still I was impressed. How would you like to present at the Synod meeting next month? They have had a few speakers cancel and need some help. This would certainly liven things up and you will be surprised to find you will have a few supporters (and more than a few critics). If you’re interested, I need to know by tomorrow.”

Cooper immediately called Rev. McBride. After thanking him for the kind words and agreeing to do the presentation he asked if he'd received any calls about the photos that had appeared on-line. Rev. McBride said that he had been told about them by his kids and had seen the photos, but had not heard any complaints. To be clear Cooper asked “Have you seen the whole set on-line rather than just what has been passed around at school?” He said he had not.

With trepidation Cooper said, “I think you might want to see a few that are not yet in local circulation so you don’t get blindsided when they do. Would you like me to send you a sampling of what will cause the most controversy?”

His pastor (and friend) said that would be a good idea. Cooper had told him that he and Bonnie now have an open marriage months ago, but for him to see photos of her having sex might be too much. But Cooper knew the safest route was to send them. He was sure those sex photos would come out eventually.

After he hung up. Cooper called from the study “Bonnie, we do have some good news. The Social Chronicle went out today. Dr. McBride thinks it should get a good response in at least a few circles, even if a lot of people will hate it. I asked if he'd gotten feedback about the photographs. He said he had heard about them from his kids and seen the ones circulating at their school.”

“Any comment about my pictures?” Bonnie asked.

"No, just that he'd seen them. That was all."

"OK, I guess." She said as she was dialing her cell to call Trish. Before this week she had seen Cooper’s writing these academic essays on sexual openness as nothing more than a hobby. But since the call from the school, she now saw them as very important. She had even read the piece he’d written for for the first time. It was way to wordy and formal for her tastes but she liked his conclusion

“The fact that the 6th century tools for oppression of human thought still shape the 21st century world should be of concern for all. Shame and self-loathing for behavior that is nearly universal is an idea whose time passed a millennium ago. Yet it survives today. Just as it served the small numbers of leaders in the medieval Church to control the large and diverse populace of Europe, small groups on both the left and right continue to use sexual shame to leverage their small numbers to control nearly all of the large and diverse populace of America.”

“Hey Trish” Bonnie said when her friend answered the phone. She hadn’t talked to her since Wednesday night. Bonnie told her what their attorney had said about the photos not being porn in the legal sense. “So Byron and his friends shouldn’t have to worry about this going beyond their suspension. Not that I am saying that is small potatoes.”

Trish, her voice less withdrawn. “No, for a boy who has never even gotten detention, three days of in-school-suspension has been a big deal. But I’m glad to hear this should be the end of it.”

Bonnie felt very bad for Trish. “I’m so sorry we caused this problem for you.”

“Bonnie, you didn’t cause the problem; I don’t even blame Mark for showing Byron the pictures. Byron should have known better than to be part of selling them at school. He got what he deserves. It’s just Byron’s dad is making my life hell over this.”

“Why don’t you come on over, I know Byron and Lamar won’t be home from that band competition till late and Misty went to Atlanta shopping with her friends. It’s hot out, we can relax by the pool.

“I would but Sherrie Connors is on her way over.”

“Invite her to come too.”

After a pause Trish said “OK, we’ll be there in about forty-five minutes.”

Bonnie hung up and went into the study, “Cooper, can you make me a composite of all the best pictures that the LeMarco’s have given us along with the best of the photos we took in Miami." She then added "And any nude or topless photos you took of me last summer at our pool that you like.”

Looking back from his computer, “Sure, but why?”

“Trish and Sherry Connors are on their way over and, well, I’m buying into what you have been saying. If we are going to do this, we have to be clear to our close friends about just who we are and what we do. I think it’s time we come out of the closet. If we are going to live by what you’re writing, we can’t hide who we are from our best friends.” Then thinking for a minute, “Do this, cut it down to the best hundred from Miami, another hundred from the cruise, maybe ten from the pool and perhaps a couple of video clips. It just took too long for Misty to show just the Miami photos to her friends. Why don’t you leave out the pictures of the guy on guy stuff, that might be a little too honest for right now. And make it with two different directories one for each set, I don’t want to throw too much at them at once.”

Cooper agreed, and by the time her friends arrived she was already out by the pool, using her laptop to look over the photos. She was wearing one of the new bikini's that she and Misty had bought on-line. Though they both agreed that they would both as often as not wear nothing this summer, they bought a number of new bikinis. But they did not really buy them for themselves. They bought them in a variety of sizes to be loaners for girls or women who wanted to try something racier at their pool. However, Bonnie had bought one with black and grey fabric and with crisscrossing straps for herself. It was one of those that would be called a Brazilin in Miami, but would be called a thong here in Georgia. She thought she looked great in it.

At quarter after eleven when Bonnie went out, the thermometer by the pool read 91°F. When she heard Trish's car pull up, after some thought, she put back on the bikini’s push-up top and cover-up. She rose to greet her guest as Cooper escorted them out. Though Trish had been a regular at the Campbell’s pool from the very first, Sherry had never been to their home before. Bonnie could tell the new, older, woman was taken a bit off guard by Bonnie’s cheek exposing swimwear. The three women settled into chaise lounges and relaxed. After she had poured them both a glass of white wine and judged they had made enough small talk Bonnie asked “How’s Byron doing? Lamar told me he was able to go to the band competition despite his suspension.”

Trish answered “Yes, I’m so glad. And he seems to be in a good mood. It seems that this whole chain of events has suddenly made him popular. For only the second time all year a group of guys came to our apartment just to hang out with Byron. You might not know it but Misty is now a superstar at school. Byron's connection to your family and because he was the first person to positively identify you and Misty in the photos helped his social status. But to be fair, all the guys at our house were other brass players. So I guess his social mobility hasn't been that dramatic. Still he's happy.”

Bonnie had to laugh because she'd heard all about the lack of respect the band members felt. She then swiveled around to look at Sherry. Trish saw her face and said “I told her about all this stuff. I hope that’s OK?”

Bonnie laughed “That’s fine, I really am trying to be open with all this. Trish, you know I’ve been making a lot of changes over the last year, but even you don’t know how many. So Mrs. Connors what do you think of me now that I'm outed as a Jezebel?”

Sherry was a woman in her late sixties from somewhere out west who had been married twice before. Two years ago, she had married Herb Connors and moved to Sparta. Bonnie remembered shortly after joining their church, she had told a group of ladies that her first husband died of cancer after twenty years of marriage and her second marriage had lasted less than a year. She had an exceptionally nice figure for her age and was quite the flashy dresser. Trish had stopped by her place so she could get a swimsuit. Even with a swimsuit and wrap skirt, she wore plenty of jewelry. Her maillot showed quite lot of, evidently silicon enhanced, cleavage That outfit worn to a church event would be enough to get tongues wagging. According to Trish, she had made vague references to her wild years on several occasions. But not even the gossip mill had any idea what that might mean. Though she would always be an outsider in their community, she was well liked, at least by the younger women. The church women’s ‘old guard’ saw her as trying to suppliant Herb’s deceased wife, who had been a pil