“Really?” I looked at mom in surprise as she held the swimsuit up from the store rack. “But it’s a two piece.”
I had to keep my reply short, I didn’t want my voice to give away my excitement at the idea. I knew that there was no way dad would ever let me wear anything like it. Sophie wasn’t even allowed to wear one until last year.
I thought maybe this was some kind of trick. Or a joke. Mom wouldn’t be that cruel would she?
“A bikini.” Mom corrected me. “And why not?”
I blinked, still in disbelief. Still trying to figure out if mom was serious.
“But Sophie-” I started to say, but mom’s free hand moved quickly, dismissing the thought.
“Never mind what Sophie does or says.” Mom’s voice was suddenly serious, in a distracted, annoyed sort of way.
Sophie, being the older sister, took all the rights and privileges of being the older sister. The spotlight had to be on her. She had to be the first to do anything. She had to have the last word. She had to win all the arguments.
Mom’s annoyed dismiss made me think that maybe mom was as tired of Sophie’s dramatics as I was.
Suddenly the reason for this spur of the moment shopping trip seemed to make sense. Now I saw why mom waited to suggest it until Sophie was busy and otherwise preoccupied.
“Well?” A smile returned to mom’s face as she gestured back to the swimsuit dangling from her hand.
I took it from her slowly, reverently. The yellow and white striped top didn’t seem overly risky. There was plenty of coverage, it would almost be like wearing a shirt. And the blue bottom, with its matching yellow polka dots, it was almost like a pair of shorts. Well, panties anyway.
My fingers traced the blue anchor embroidered into the top before glancing up at mom. “Ok!”
“Does dad know about that?” Sophie’s voice dripped with annoyed venom.
“Mom said it was okay.” I shrugged, doing my best to ignore her. “Mom bought it for me on Tuesday.”
I could feel Sophie’s eyes on me without even looking at her. I could picture her face scrunching up in rage as she tried to figure out what to say in reply.
“You’re fat. You can’t wear that outside.” Her words stung, harsh than I expected, but I kept my face frozen. Not to let her see any reaction. ‘You’ll look disgusting.”
“No I won’t. And I’m not. And I’m going to wear it anyway.” I turned and looked at her with a smug self assured expression. “And it’s only the backyard anyway. Dad won’t care.”
Sophie’s rage seemed to only intensify. Her eyes wide as she stared and struggled for a response. Instead she whirled around, screaming out, “Mom!” and stormed from our bedroom.
I couldn’t help but smile for my fleeting victory. They were rare and I was sure that Sophie would get her revenge somehow.
The smile fading as I turned back to my reflection in the mirror. My hands rubbing my belly.
Sophie wasn’t lying. It was still bigger than it should probably be. Bigger than girls on the television. My hands moving to my hips and the small rolls of skin that peeked out over the edge of the bikini bottom.
“Renee?” Grandpa’s voice called out across the backyard as I surfaced from underneath the clear pool water. “Could you come here a second?”
I turned easily in place, toes just barely touching the pebbly floor of the pool, pushing off it and propelling me towards his voice. The chlorine water still fogging my eyes as it stung. “Sure grandpa!”
A couple of more blinks and my eyes focused on him crouching down at the edge of the pool.
“What’s wrong Grandpa?” I asked, my fingers gripping the rough pool edge. I stretched my toes, but couldn’t feel the bottom any more at this deep end.
“Nothing’s wrong, angel.” Grandpa’s smile beamed in reply, “I just wanted to get a better look at you. Your mom told me about your new bathing suit.”
I grinned in reply, knowing that Sophie would be steaming up even more. If she was around to hear it anyway. Mom had banished her to her room for the morning, so that she could “learn how to treat her relatives properly.”
“Here, let me help you up.” Grandpa said as his fingers gripped my wrists lightly, pulling me up and out of the water as he stood. For a moment he let me dangle over the edge, playfully, like he was going to toss me back into the water.
“Stand right there, I’ll grab a towel.” He turned around almost as quickly as my feet reached the tile. His arms wrapping a big white and purple towel around me.
Without a pause, his hands started to rub the towel against my body. My back first, down my sides and legs, then around and up the inside of my legs.
Despite what my dad thinks, I know what Grandpa was doing. Where he wanted to go. I saw the way his eyes were looking. The little hint of embarrassment on his face as his hands reached just above my knees.
I was a little surprised when his eyes glanced up at me, my first instinct to smile, which he took as permission to keep going. His eyes not looking away as his hands continued their upward journey.
His hands seemed to pause as he reached the middle of my thighs. A last minute reconsideration? A fleeting doubt? I was enjoying the attention too much for him to change his mind now.
I wiggled my legs slightly, so that my feet moved apart. My legs parting, inviting him to go further. Suddenly gone were any doubt his hands might have had.
All at once one of his hands was firmly between my legs. Just the towel and my bikini bottom between his fingers and my skin.
“Are you okay, angel?” I must have gasped because his voice had a slight edge of concern. Panic maybe.
“Yes, Grandpa.” I somehow managed to say.
“Does that feel good?” His concern gone, no hint of panic. Instead there was a slightly amused twinge to his voice.
I nodded slowly. I couldn’t think of any words to describe how I was feeling, how he was making me feel. I had touched myself “down there” before, many times before. But this was the first time anyone else had done it. It felt different. Better.
Then, just like that, his hands were gone. I realized my eyes were closed, and opened them questioningly. Grandpa was still there, kneeling in front of me. It hadn’t been a daydream or my imagination.
“Now let me see that suit of yours.” He said, his hands resting on his own knees.
“Mom and I bought it on Tuesday.” I said as I opened the towel in front of him. I felt like Dracula in the old black and white movie, opening up my cape. “Do you like it?”
Grandpa didn’t reply for a moment, “I don’t like it. I love it. You look incredible in it. You’re like a little movie star.”
It felt silly, but I couldn’t keep myself from giggling at his compliment. My cheeks felt like they were burning as I blushed.
Then his hands touched my belly, making my skin tingle. They didn’t rub, they didn’t even move. They just sat there, palms against my skin.