The alarm clock read 3 AM on one of those unseasonably hot nights in early May.
Sarah laid awake in her bed counting the dots on the drop down ceiling of her dorm room, having resigned herself to a sleepless night over an hour ago. The heat was partially to blame for her insomnia; it made it too uncomfortable to fall asleep easily. Also to blame, she was having a tough time resting her mind - even now she was internally wrestling with herself, second guessing the decision that she'd made today, wondering if she'd really thought it through, wishing she could take it back. She knew the biggest problem though was the fact that she was laying there stark naked without so much as a blanket to cover herself, as the slowly turn mini-fan reminded her each time it blew a breeze over her bare skin. It was the one thing she could do absolutely nothing about though - she was a nudist now, she had no choice but to remain naked all the time now.
Becoming a nudist was as much a shock to Sarah as to anyone else. It was certainly nothing she'd planned on. In fact, she'd never even considered the idea before a week ago.
Sarah had always been the girl with everything. She'd been blessed with a beautiful body and the brains to match it. In high school she had been both the class valedictorian and the prom queen. She had a perfect figure, long strawberry-blonde hair, perfect teeth that had never needed braces, perky C cup breasts, and had scored 1540 on her SAT's. Early in high school she had set her eyes on law school and managed to get herself accepted into a prestigious university with relative ease (for her, anyway).
But like many of her classmates, she found the pre-law program to be considerably more competitive than the small New Jersey suburban high school she'd come from. To be sure, she rose to meet the challenge and was in the top 10% of her class at the end of the first semester, but she was no longer by far and away the brightest, most popular, or even most beautiful person in her classes. She certainly felt under more pressure these days, and wasn't nearly as self-confident as she once was. Perhaps that's why she'd taken such an extreme step.
The previous Monday, the prestigious Matthews & Grant law firm announced some last minute openings for summer internships. Four of them, to be precise. Because the openings were announced with such short notice and most students would have made summer plans already, the offer went out to the whole student body, even freshmen. It was the chance of a lifetime; it could easily be a career maker for any student who was hired, giving them a jump on law school and their future career. Sarah immediately applied, knowing that she needed to get this. Unfortunately for Sarah, hundreds of other students had the same thought and applied as well.
She was elated a few days later when she'd gotten a call back requesting an interview. She quickly agreed, but was disheartened to learn she wasn't the only one. They'd selected ten candidates for interviews, but would still only be hiring four. This sent Sarah into a panic - she was ecstatic to be selected for an interview, but the odds were stacked against her. She asked around and quickly learned who the other candidates were: she was one of only three freshmen selected for an interview, and of the three she knew she didn't particularly stand out against the other two.
She spent the next day desperately trying to think of any kind of edge she could use to get this job. Her academics, her activities, and her references were all stellar... but she knew everyone else's would be too. She needed a way to stand out, something that would set her apart and earn her one of the coveted spots.
Despite considerable thought, she hadn't come up with anything by the time she called her mother that night and told her about the opportunity.
"What was the name of it again?" her mom asked, after hearing Sarah's excited description.
"Matthews & Grant," Sarah answered.
"Hmmm... you know, I think Zach's daughter works there... you remember Kierra right? She went to college near there, Zach was telling me she got a job as a file clerk at a law firm... I think it may have been that one."
"Really?" Sarah exclaimed. Kierra had been a senior when Sarah was a freshman in high school. To put it mildly, the two girls had never gotten along. At the time Kierra was at the top of the social ladder and Sarah was at the bottom, which made her the target of a great many taunts and humiliations at the hands of Kierra that year. She was actually sort of glad to hear Kierra was only a clerk, she really didn't like the girl. Kierra was in many ways like Sarah - bright, talented, beautiful - but was always slightly more of a partier than a studier. In any case though, that was a long time ago. And it meant Sarah knew someone at the firm who might be able to provide her the edge she was looking for.
She thanked her mom and took down Kierra's number, dialing it almost before she'd hung up the phone. "Hello?" a girl answered on the other side.
"Hi... Kierra? This is Sarah, Sarah Mariano... from high school?"
"Oh, Nubbly! Yeah, I remember you," Kierra replied.
Sarah cringed at hearing that old nickname. It was earned September of her freshman year, at a pool party. She dove into the water at one point only to have the clasp to her bikini top break and fall off. She hadn't noticed right away, and managed to flash a good portion of the schools in crowd before realizing she'd lost it. She managed to fish it out of the pool and recover some modesty quickly; but not before someone else notced the very hard, very pink nipples that stuck out nearly half an inch from her still developing chest and called them "nubbly". She didn't like the description and didn't even know what that meant, but the name stuck all that year, largely thanks to Kierra. It sort of faded after Kierra graduated and Sarah started to climb the social ladder, but hearing the name still stung after all these years.
"Yeah well, I just heard from my mom you work at Matthews & Grant now?" Sarah asked. She felt rude immediately asking a favor, but she really didn't have anything else to talk with her about.
"Well... I have an interview there. For a summer internship. I was just wondering, you know, if you have any tips? Know what would impress them?"
"Not really," Kierra said. Sarah could hear in her voice that she was annoyed. An image flashed through Sarah's head of Kierra telling one of the attorneys not to hire her, and she suddenly wondered if this had been a bad idea.
In a panic to salvage something of the conversation, Sarah started to plead. "Please? Anything at all would be helpful. The competition is really intense, and I need this. Plus, you know, I thought it'd be cool to work with you, and hang out again." Of course, they never really hung out to begin with and she knew it. But Sarah was letting her desperation show.
"Nah, there's no way," Kierra said.
"What? Please," Sarah asked.
"You're not a nudist are you?" Kierra asked.
"What? No, you know that. When was I ever a nudist?" Sarah asked, her turn to be annoyed at the stupid question.
"I figured, you're too uptight," Kierra replied. "It's just I did overhear HR talking about how they needed more of em. You know, workplace diversity and all that, so they can't be accused of being discriminatory? Like, three left in the last two months. They might prefer to hire another one over someone who wasn't, that's all I'm sayin'"
"You're kidding," Sarah said.
"All I got, Nubbly," Kierra answered.
Sarah hung up the phone, thinking that the conversation had been a total waste of time. But almost immediately after dismissing it, her thoughts returned to the idea of becoming a nudist, as it would for the next day and the following one. Every time she shrugged the idea off as being ridiculous, it managed to creep back. She was old enough to register for any lifestyle she wanted to now, and if Kierra was right, it give her the edge she needed. None of the candidates were nudists, she knew for a fact. But she wasn't a nudist either. Giving up her clothes, walking around naked? That just wasn't her. And it would be a silly thing to do for an internship. But it was a really competitive internship, one that could have a huge impact on her future...
She tried to come up with other ideas during the weekend, desperately looking for any other kind of edge she could use in the interview. And as she did, winning this job became more and more important to her. By Monday she'd become fully obsessed: she needed to get this job, no matter what. The more she thought about it though the less confident she felt about her prospects though; she was sure they'd overlook her for one of the other students. The interview became all she could think about. It was scheduled for Thursday, and she felt more anxious by the minute as Monday wore on. Classes were winding down in preparation for finals the following week; she had a 9 AM one and then was free for the rest of the day. She tried studying at the library around lunchtime but found concentrating almost impossible. Instead she began picturing the embarrassing life of a nudist: living naked in the dorm, shopping naked, going to work naked... at one of the best law firms in the city. Didn't that make it worth it though? Just the thought of being publicly naked was making her blush, but her desire to get this internship was overwhelming all her other emotions.
Finally she looked up the website for the Federal Bureau of Lifestyles on the one of the library computers. She was familiar with it already, having taken an elective course covering Lifestyle law her first semester. When the Federal Marriage Amendment had missed becoming constitutional law by a mere three states, the country's liberals became mobilized to take action. Newly empowered after the Republican party nearly imploded, they pushed for legal protections for practitioners of all minority lifestyles. The result was a new federal agency, the Bureau of Lifestyles, which defined and legally protected the lifestyle choices of the country. Nudism was one of the first 50 created, but it's since swelled to over 600. For the first time, people preferring to live alternative lifestyles had the protection of law to live as they wished: nudists, pagans, swingers, religious fundamentalists, BDSMers, the LBGT community were all guaranteed the liberty to live their lifestyle openly. However, since the government also offered a number of incentives to register, such as tax benefits and protection under anti-discrimination laws, there were immediately individuals who gamed the system. There had been a long and bitter fight over what to do about it, but ultimately a compromise was made: People living alternative lifestyles would not just have the freedom to live the lifestyle they chose, they'd be required to, and were legally bound to act within the guidelines of the lifestyle if they registered.
Sarah realized that if she registered today she could have the registration card delivered by Wednesday, in time for her interview. She could show up as a bona fide nudist, and hopefully her lifestyle would factor into their decision making. She hated to use that rather than her merits to get the internship; but by that point she'd really convinced herself anything that helped her get this job was a good thing, even taking advantage of a system meant to help people who lived differently. Almost without thinking, she printed out the proper forms and filled them out, dropping them in the mail on her way back to the dorm. There was no going back now.
The two days passed for her in a whirl, between class, studying for finals, and worrying about the interview. She'd hadn't really given any more thought to living as a nudist when her registration card came in the mail on Wednesday. It was only then the reality settled on her, and she began asking herself what she'd done.
She didn't have much time to ponder it, it turned out. She stood there holding it in her hand for no more than five minutes when a knock came at the door. "Sarah?"
Sarah placed the card on her desk and opened the door, a little surprised to see the Beverly, the RA, standing there. "Hi Bev, what can I do for you?"
"Well Sarah, I just got a notification from the Dean of Student Affairs that you've registered as a nudist?" Beverly asked quizzically, obviously with some doubts about the truth of that.
"Yeah... I just thought I needed a change, something new in my life. The lifestyle seemed like it's for me," Sarah answered, not wanting to admit the real reason she did it. She was actually surprised that Beverly had found out already, and wondered why it warranted a visit from her.
"Oh, okay," Beverly said, still with mild disbelief in her voice. "Well, in that case, I have to give you this."
Sarah took a pamphlet that Beverly handed her, titled Campus Policies Regarding Alternative Lifestyles. "Oh, well thank you," Sarah said, placing it on her desk with the registration card after briefly glancing at its contents.
Beverly spoke with just a hint of nervousness in her voice now. "I have to let you know that myself and the Dean's office are available if you have any problems adjusting or need further accommodations to allow for your new lifestyle. And..."
Sarah looked at the RA, who seemed stuck on a thought. "Well, thank you again, Bev, that's good to know..." she said, wondering if that was all.
"And," Beverly continued, finally. "As you're a nudist now, I have to confiscate your clothes."
Sarah stood frozen and shocked. She hadn't been ready for that. It was one thing to imagine doing it, but the reality of giving up her clothes was something else entirely. Getting naked here, now, evoked a dreadful feeling that she hadn't even imagined. Until then, she'd been so obsessed with getting this internship that everything else had taken a back seat in her mind - but at that moment her interview seemed like a long way off, and giving up her clothes was something she had to do in the here and now, and felt very, very scary.
"Maybe we should start with what you're wearing," Beverly said quietly, after Sarah hadn't moved for several long moments.
"Ah, yeah," Sarah said. Her head was spinning. Was she really doing this? She knew she had to - she'd signed up for it, and was now obliged to follow the nudist guidelines under threat of criminal penalty.
Her fingers trembled as they reached below the hem of her tank top and lifted it over her head, exposing her Victoria's Secret bra. She struggled with the bra clasp next, finally feeling it come apart after fumbling for several seconds. She let the bra slip off, exposing her round C Cup breasts to Beverly, each tipped off by small pink nipples. Her instinct was to cover up, but she knew she shouldn't - otherwise she'd call into question why she'd registered in this lifestyle. Beverly looked on curiously, examining Sarah's body with her eyes as more of it became exposed. Sarah swallowed her pride and managed to undo the zipper to her denim skirt next, letting it fall to her ankles and leaving her clad only in thong panties and sandals. With her eyes closed and Beverly eying her, Sarah forced herself to finish the job, slipping her thumbs around the waistband of the panties and pulling them down, kicking them into the small pile that had formed with the rest of the clothes she'd been wearing - the last clothes she'd ever wear. She was glad she'd always kept herself groomed down there... her only pubic hair was a bikini "landing strip", which was now on display for anyone to see.
Sarah stood there embarrassed and naked before Beverly for well over a full minute before either of them moved or spoke again. Finally, Beverly spoke. "Wow Sarah... you look hot. This was a good move for you."
Sarah felt herself blush with embarrassment. "Thanks..."
"Are all the clothes in the closet yours?" Bev asked.
"Yes," Sarah said meekly. She felt so different, naked in front of a fully dressed person. It was hard to feel confident at all - her self consciousness dominated all.
Together, the two girls collected the contents of the closet. Gone was the suit Sarah would have worn for the interview, as well as all her casual clothes, clubbing outfits, styles and fashions. All that was left were the few pairs of shoes that fell within the nudist guidelines - open toed heels and sandals, mostly. Sarah couldn't get over what it was like to bag up her own clothes, completely naked, exposed before her fully dressed RA. Up until now, Sarah had always been modest when it came to her body - she knew her body was an asset, something she controlled and could use to her advantage. She'd only let a select few boys have access to it up until now, a privilege they'd all been made to work hard to earn. But now it was out there for everyone to see, constantly. Her normal confidence abandoned her.
"We can either trash these, or donate them. Your choice," Beverly said, once everything was collected in laundry bags. Even the sheets and blankets were pulled from the bed, and any towel large enough to wrap around her was gone. She was left with nothing that could conceivably cover her.
"Um, may as well donate them, I guess," Sarah said, starting to feel a little overwhelmed.
"Alright. I'll take them down for you," Beverly said, picking up one bag and dragging two others. "See you around Sarah. Good luck."
See her around indeed.
That was earlier this afternoon. Sarah had fortuitously wound up with a single thanks to a roommate who drank a little too much at the beginning of the second semester, and was happy for that right now, as she spent the entire afternoon and evening alone in the privacy of her room, unsure of how she'd face the world now. She was afraid to leave her little sanctuary, even opting to skip dinner.
Life was going to be a lot different without clothes... she was afraid of what she'd gotten into, embarrassed about being exposed to the world, and nervous about the interview which was still looming over her tomorrow. Eventually she tried to sleep, but found the insomnia impossible to overcome.
Which is how she got to where she was now, laying in bed, thinking about what she'd done and how she'd have to deal with it, without so much as a sheet to cover her naked body.
The alarm clock read 3 AM on one of those unseasonably hot nights in early May.