In Search of the Final Freedom: Chapter 6

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

In Search of the Final Freedom:

An Erotic Socio-Political Novel

Book One: Unlikely Revolutionaries

Chapter 6

Familial Evolution

The Campbell home was neither old nor new, by local standards. Like so many rural Southern homes it was a large but firmly middle class affair with a clapboard core and numerous additions made since its 1940’s beginnings. Situated on a none-to-busy county road, it had just recently begun to seem out of place. With the trend of family farms being broken up into mini-estates the community was changing. In the miles of countryside around the Campbell homestead were now a dozen or more large expensive homes. Joshua Rose, owned a thousand acres on both sides of Route 77, part of which came right up to the Campbell property line. When he passed away, his children, who had long ago moved to the city, subdivided the property during the building boom of the 2000’s.

There were several new homes under construction on Route 77’s six mile length when the Campbell’s moved back to Sparta from Atlanta fourteen years ago. Though no longer isolated, the Campbell property was not small, a full thirty-five acres including the woods and a creek, with the home being in the north-east corner. The 80’s vintage swimming pool, rather than being directly behind the home as might be the case in a city suburb, was built to the left of the house running just a few yards from where the Rice farm had been. When Cooper had inherited the house from his father, he repaired the swimming pool and had added one section of privacy fence running fifty feet from the side of the house to the property line running parallel to the highway. If they were going to have a swimming pool, he and Bonnie reasoned, it would be their adult playground since their new born son and two year old daughter would hardly be having pool parties for quite some time. And if it were an adult play area, then privacy would be required.

When construction began for a new home less than a hundred feet from the property line, to Cooper it appeared inappropriately close given the rural nature of the area. As an architect and civic leader he tried to stop the construction, but to no avail. It was for this reason Cooper had added an additional section to the privacy fence, perpendicular to the road, that ran along the property line for two-hundred fifty feet until it reached the woods. To the west and south, where the woods and then creek lay, the original rusty barbed wire fence remained.

Cooper's father had built the swimming pool when he and his brother were in junior high school. He had many great memories from that pool growing up and was happy his own kids would be able to enjoy it too. Predating the advent of vinyl liners, the pool took a good deal of annual maintenance, but Cooper did not mind. He could not recall why his father had put the pool beside the house rather than behind it, but he was sure there was a good reason at the time. The upside of the pool's location was a large concrete patio with several built in garden boxes each with a mature, but well-trimmed pecan tree. This made for a large and elegant space for entertaining on summer evenings. Bonnie and Cooper’s church friends had long appreciated evening socials at the Campbell’s.

After the family returned from Miami, at the Wednesday St. Thomas Methodist ladies social group, Bonnie's friends asked about the beach trip. She told all about Miami and there was a lot to tell even if she omitted the encounter in the Penthouse, the nude beach and the nude photo session that last morning. As part of her verbal report she told them about going shopping with Misty and buying no fewer than five bathing suits for each of them. When several of the women asked to see what she had bought, she told them they were in the wash. Of course they were in the washing machine; Bonnie had put them in there just before they arrived. She didn’t turn it on because once they left, she would have to take out the two expensive designer suits because they were hand wash only. She figured she'd show them eventually, but not just yet.

When several more asked about photos from their beach trip, it forced her into making a decision. She knew she had created two lives the first time she and Jill had become sexual. Prior to that, the whole idea of hiding her private life from her church friends had never even occurred to her. One thing on which she had always prided herself had been her proclamation that “I am an open book. Ask me and I’ll tell you.” That attitude came from her upbringing in the Appalachian Mountains where there was little social pretense. That attitude stood in stark contrast to the carefully crafted public image maintained by society women in the Deep South; and, due to her marriage into the Campbell family, she was part of Sparta’s “society”. The truth was that she very much enjoyed shocking those nice southern ladies with her behavior on occasions. However, she would have to be careful with this. She did not want this to be a bridge too far and loose her credibility with this group of influential church women.

The Wednesday social group was not created as what it became. For years the Wednesday meetings were more like a regular church ladies group. They rotated homes and it was more or less a Bible study time. Perhaps because as time went on more and more of the weekly group were members of the Sunday School class Cooper taught for young couples the group's format began to change. Bonnie thought it was because of this she had been drafted to be the regular discussion leader about three years before. It was under her leadership that the meetings became something different. Rather than sit and teach, she morphed the program into a topical format where she would put out topics relevant to women and/or the Christian life for discussion. Things such as marriage, church, society, children and even sex were the groups focus. So while it appeared to be a social time, to Bonnie, it was a stealthy way of guiding the women to what she called "the relevant Christian life."

While the group met at Bonnie's every week in summer, the rest of the year the women retained the older tradition of rotating hosting duties. It was normal for the hostess to show off new decor and such, but Bonnie also used that to push boundaries. A number of times she'd shocked the women with art she'd bought for their bedroom. One of the most notable of her acquisitions had been three years ago when she’d spent fifteen-hundred dollars on a pair of marble sculpture reproductions. They were works by Auguste Rodin of couples making love. The sculptures were certainly not pornographic, but, in Sparta Georgia, one could get arrested for showing them in public.

When she and Cooper had celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary, she couldn’t wait to see their reaction to her newest piece of art, the gift from Cooper. The painting was a modern original impressionist oil painting of a nude lying on a divan. It was nothing short of high art. What made it shocking to the ladies was that it was Bonnie who was depicted in a full frontal nude pose. The women were utterly beyond words when they saw the painting on her bedroom wall. When she told them that the artist had worked from more than a dozen nude photos Cooper had taken of her over the years, the women were positively scandalized. She didn’t know why, she tried to explain that the alternative would have been for her to go to the artist’s studio every day for a week to pose nude live. Two women declared they could never let their husband’s take a nude photo of them let alone show it to anyone. The rest admitted that since the advent of digital cameras their husbands had taken nude photos of them. However, they made it clear that they would never let anyone see them. Only Brandy Connelly and Ashley Ericson-Webber, admitted that they liked posing for naked photos for their husbands. More important for Bonnie’s efforts to bring the women’s group into the 21st century, both said the photos had been shown to a number of their friends with both the husband’s and wife’s full consent. To get the heat off of the two women, Bonnie said that was true for her and Cooper as well; though in truth she was not aware that he'd ever shown her nudes off to anyone but the painter.

This all had happened over the prior few years, now however, Bonnie was no longer the open book she had once been. Now she had a whole other life that she hid from even her closest friends, all of whom were in this group. Of course Bonnie was not the first to violate her vow of monogamy. Over the years there had been a few women who had confided in their group they had committed adultery. Such confessions were of course made in conjunction with sobs of remorse and pleas for help from the group. This did not include the divorced women who simply did not talk openly about their sex life, even when they moved in with a man. Those were more or less don't ask don't tell cases. Bonnie’s situation was different than both groups. Her only regret was that Jill and Vic had moved and she couldn’t have sex with them again. But the deepest secret was that her husband knew and supported her choice.

In the past eighteen months she had floated the notion that sex outside of marriage was not patently “un-Christian” a couple of times. Even though she offered this in a pure theoretical sense based on her and Cooper’s research and reasoning, it was flatly rejected the first time. She tried again about nine months later with a different angle but only made a little progress. The last time she’d brought it up in their discussion she’d been more effective. It had been just before the prior Valentine’s Day. It happened that the holiday was on a Wednesday and they had been at the home of Marcy Marshall. At Bonnie’s direction, Jill had provoked the women into talking about their sex lives in far more detail than they ever had before. Not that anything said was more than mildly racy, it was still unusual for the women to admit they had active sex lives at all. As planned, Jill referenced a love affair she’d had before she’d met her husband. This admission allowed Bonnie to push the envelope and ask “How many of us were virgins when we got married?” The women all sat and looked at each other. Not one of the nine women present that day could say they had. That seemed to surprise everyone. She followed up with “OK, who was a virgin before you met your husband?” Only one hand went up. That was even more revealing. Bonnie again followed up “So none of us met the standard that we teach our kids is normal, and only one comes close. I won’t ask how many of us, deep in our heart, still have beautiful memories of sex with a prior love. I know I do. Let me ask, until right now how many of you thought most of us had never had sex with someone besides our husbands.” Every one of them admitted that they assumed most of the others had been virgins when they met their husbands, if not on their wedding day. That led into a discussion that revealed a great deal of guilt regarding premarital sex. Several followed Bonnie’s confession about holding on to the beautiful memory of sex with another man. Bonnie followed up by citing a recent study of evangelical women that suggested their group was not unusual.

That gave her a way to explicitly float the idea that a woman can be both a good Christian and have sex outside her marriage. She asked directly “Is our vagina so powerful as to cut us off from God if we put the wrong thing in it?” The bluntness of the question was just what was needed to move their thought process. And since they were already thinking about sex before marriage, the group came to a consensus about sex outside of marriage that was significantly different than what it would have been the day before. Closing the discussion part of their meeting, Bonnie had articulated the final idea for the day: “So we are agreed, that God is not as insistent that sex must always be inside of marriage as is traditionally presented.” Her proclamation was tepid; Bonnie knew that. She had considered pressing for something that affirmed the validity of sex outside of marriage, but she decided she'd made enough progress for one day.

Therefore, after the Miami trip, when she was asked about the beach photos she was faced with a choice, either reduce the disconnect between her public life and private life or ingrain it further. She saw an opportunity to open up at least part of her secret life in a way palatable to her group. This was a good time to do so since Jill and Vic were gone and it could be years before another opportunity like that one presented itself. Showing the photos would invite scrutiny regarding her choice to go topless in public, but likely there would be even more questions about her parenting in that she allowed her sixteen year old to go topless as well. Such scrutiny could, if addressed well, lead to reconsideration about at least one part of sexual morality.

They had taken a lot of photos on the trip. She had gotten Cooper the new Cannon digital SLR for Christmas. She’d spent a good deal of money on what was described as a semi-pro camera in part because Misty had decided that she absolutely was sure her career choice was that of becoming a professional photographer. So, to give their daughter a good tool to learn photography, she bought Cooper a good camera even though their iPhones took simply wonderful photos for everyday use. This of course is parental logic at its best. However, the most use it had gotten from Christmas till 4th of July was by Lamar who used it as an excellent video recorder to record things he posted on YouTube almost every week. This was not its sole use however, Cooper had played on and off with it for months and Misty had used it since beginning her summer course in Photography at nearby Georgia College and State University (GCSU). In addition Bonnie had asked Lamar to show her how to use the camera for video recording so that she could make her movie of her, Jill and Vic. She had stated to him that she wanted to film some of their youth meetings at church. With Misty's revelation that both kids had watched her sex movie, the lie had come back to bite her.

Despite the whirlwind nature of their trip, the family had taken a huge number of pictures. Cooper had taken hundreds of photos, Misty had taken hundreds of photos and Lamar had taken both photos and video. Her solution to the request to see their Miami pictures was not quite to divide the baby but was to tell her friends that there were just too many photos and they were on several memory cards. She told them she had yet to make up a manageable set of photos to show. All of that was true. But what was also true is that the delay till the next week would give her time to make up a set to show them that would, while not hiding the fact that both she and Misty went topless, diminish the impact of this revelation.

Over the next week, she worked on selecting and editing photos every day. First she culled the photos, getting rid of images with exposure or focus problems. Additionally almost every photo had a nearly identical image, or two, or four; so she only kept the best. However, even after that she had three-hundred terrific photographs. Cooper said he would have them made into a printed photo book; but that would take several weeks to get back from Kodak. From that set, she selected only those that told the story she wanted to tell to the women. To go in the first part of the set she would show to the ladies, she selected images that told of shopping and family time, white beaches and the amazing condominium tower. Importantly none of them showed anything that would seem racy. The majority of the photos she would show were sat at the beaches and pool areas where they spent almost the whole time. Because she had planned for a photo set to show the grandparents, Bonnie had made sure Cooper shot photos when she and Misty were wearing both their cover-ups and tops. A good many times both those things came off right after the photos were made. She had an unexpected problem in making even a small “grandparent friendly” set of photos. It seemed that all three of the family photographers had somehow managed to get topless women in the background in at least half of the family pool pictures. Sure Cooper had told their son not to deliberately shoot photos of women’s boobs without permission, but to Bonnie it appeared that even he made an effort to get them in the background. By the simple expedient of cropping, Bonnie cut out those extraneous topless women in all the grandparent friendly set and a good many of the set she would show her church group. She also made a point to choose images that deemphasize (but not hide) the fact they wore bikini’s that showed off their rears the whole trip. Only the last twenty photos that she planned to show her Wednesday group would reveal that both Bonnie and Misty never wore more than those tiny Brazilian bikini bottoms at the pool or beach. To further soften the impact, nearly all of those photos candid’s shot at oblique angles or as part of a busy picture. She did not include any of the many photos of her and/or Misty posing topless for the camera. On Tuesday evening she got the family to sit down in the living room and watch her photo show on the TV so as to get input on what to say about the images. They all knew it would be a big step to show even those photos to the church women.

The next day it was a full group in her living room. So, no sooner than the first woman arrived than they asked to see her photos. She let them know they were on a jump drive, they had ordered a photo book, but it would not be in for several weeks. That would give her several weeks to prepare to show the larger complete set.

Despite her hours and hours of work to make her and Misty’s attire a very small part of the photo set, her church friends were flabbergasted. Even for her more progressive friends, it took all Bonnie’s considerable pool of good will to get a fair hearing and begin to work on shifting the other women’s negative view of what she had done. It helped her case a great deal that the women who were shocked that she and Misty had gone topless in Miami had been sunning bare breasted all summer every week at her house.

Not surprisingly, it was all that her friends wanted to talk about for the rest of the summer. To be honest she didn’t blame them, even if she and Misty had only gone to the beach together in just a thong for ten minutes during the whole trip, it would still have been just as revolutionary. Her sales pitch was good and they liked and respected Bonnie. By the end of the first day the consensus was they didn’t know what to think about Bonnie’s choices, but not one condemned her. By the next Wednesday, she found that after thinking about it over the week, most had decided they admired Bonnie’s confidence in herself and in her daughter. When the book of uncensored photos arrived it did not cause any more stir since the women had all had weeks to process the new information. In the photo book the percentage that showed partial nudity rose from about 20% of the first set to 80% of this larger collection (including the photos from the snorkeling trip when their bikinis were fully see through which Lamar took pains to document). These images even included nude photos that Misty had taken of her mother that last morning in front of the hotel. After a discussion with Misty, she also included three nudes that she'd taken of her daughter that morning.

Due to the groundwork Bonnie had already laid, when the book arrived on their coffee table it didn’t shock or offend the ladies of the women’s group. Rather, most of the women praised her for her courage to take fully nude photos right in front of the condominium building. Bonnie tried to explain that even from the pool area it would be impossible to tell that she was nude and not just wearing one of the little thongs; they didn’t understand. Importantly, due to the failure to get the contact information, there were no photos from the nude beach. With no photos, it was easy for Bonnie conveniently leave that part out of her story.

Bonnie’s friends weren’t the only ones who were interested in the Campbell’s Miami Beach trip. Misty too had her own group of friends from church and school that came over to their pool that summer. While Misty’s photo class met Monday and Wednesday, a rotating group of girls from the youth group and/or school were at the Campbell’s pool every Tuesday and Thursday. Unlike her mother, Misty didn’t even try to tone down the story of their trip to her friends. She only omitted the story of the Cuban man and mom’s “near sex” with the guy from Texas A&M because her mother insisted. She did however tell and retell her own “near sex” experience. After some negotiation with her mom, which included a promise from the girls not to tell anyone at youth group what they had seen; she was allowed to show her friends the photo book when it arrived. Additionally she showed them the video clips Lamar had taken which Bonnie had thought were too dull to show her friends.

If the photos initially left Bonnie’s group aghast, they left Misty’s friends agog. To top it all off, they were insane with jealousy over the change in her relationship with her mom.

“You really told your mom you have been getting off since you were in 7th grade?!”

“No you didn’t tell your mom you made that guy cum in the swimming pool!”

On the very first week back Misty and her best friend Kelli began to wear Misty’s "Miami" bikinis at the Campbell's pool. Misty had told her mom that the other girls wanted to wear them too, but they were afraid to do so in front of an adult. So Bonnie agreed to be scarce for a few weeks while the girls experimented with the things that she and Misty had brought home from Miami. There were plenty of those little bikinis to go around given the fact that rarely were there more than three or four of Misty’s friends at the house on any given day.

By the next week when Bonnie looked out the kitchen window, she saw Caitlin & Rebecca had also adopted the ‘European’ swim dress in the absence of Mrs. Campbell. More surprising, Misty and Kelly had shed their tops as well. Misty assured the others that her mom wouldn’t object to them going topless even if she came out, but the other girls were reluctant to be that bold.

Initially they just wore Misty’s (or Bonnie’s) Miami swimsuits, but that had given way quickly to a series of small packages from Amazon addressed to Misty, but actually bought by the other girls. None of them had the nerve to have thong bikinis mailed to their own homes, though Bonnie let Misty know that the mother of one of her crew was tanning topless with the other women on Wednesdays.

The girls started calling themselves The Euro Club because Misty said they were adopting the European approach she'd seen at the Miami Beach high-rise condominium. By the end of July, all the girls had tried the topless thing at least once. Caitlin and Rebecca had joined Kelli and Misty in doing it almost all the time. All this was much to the delight of a peeping Lamar.

Bonnie was particularly pleased to see Caitlin Richards once again a regular part of the crew. Caitlin had been like Misty’s second sister for years. When the kids were in elementary school the girl had practically lived at the Campbell’s for several summers. However, she had abruptly disappeared from Misty’s life a year and a half ago. Part of it was that she had been staying with her dad in Milledgeville more often, especially on weekends. But mostly it was because, Caitlin’s mother, Gina, had come under the influence of a new man who didn’t approve of Bonnie’s role in her life. He outright forbid her to see or even talk with Bonnie or Cooper. Bonnie suspected that was because Bonnie had been very supportive of Gina’s work choices. Or perhaps Gina's long standing crush on Cooper was more obvious than Bonnie thought. Certainly there was no way Gina's new boyfriend could be aware that Bonnie had decided that Gina should be their first extra-marital playmate. But whatever the man's reason, the effect was to not only take away her best friend, but since he forbid Caitlin from visiting the Campbell's, Misty had been deprived of seeing her oldest and closest friend as well.

Bonnie had always liked Gina. Yes she was in sex work, but as far as she knew nobody in town but her knew that. She’d done OK for herself as a single mom and Bonnie refused to treat her, or Caitlin, like se