Jossy didn't notice the glint of light as she sat down for her first coffee of the day. It came from the rich villas perched high on the cliffs the other side of the bay. The glint was the only movement beneath the blistering sun, other than the occasional turning of a bronzed body down on the beach below.
Jossy made herself comfortable at the table on the decking outside her hotel room. She needed to make some sort of decision today, a decision she'd put off for far too long. Her room was at the far end of the hotel complex, giving her the privacy that she needed to finally make that decision. The reception staff had tried to put her in one of the rooms by the children's pool, but she had soon convinced them otherwise. It had been simple to Jossy. This room was the one she wanted and so this was the one she would have.
The silence of the Mediterranean resort shimmered around her as she sipped the coffee. No noise, no interruptions, waiter service to the room. There really was nothing to stop her deciding now whether or not to allow a solid gold band to join the diamond on her left hand. Not that the diamond was on her hand now, it was tucked away in a draw back in the coolness of her room — she didn't want anything to unduly influence her decision, not even that ring's crisp beauty.
The glint of light came again as she drained the cup and reached for the bottle of Grenache she had ordered with the coffee. One advantage of getting up so late in the day was that no one ever questioned your breakfasting habits.
She sighed and plonked a few pieces of hotel paper and a pen on the table. She would never tell her mother this, but she drew, as instructed, a solid black line down the middle of the page and then two headings: Pros, Cons. For someone of Jossy's decision-making attitude, it was like putting SatNav on a gondola.
A month ago, her mother had taken one look at the cleanliness of Jossy's flat and immediately arranged for her daughter to come to this hotel, where she would not have so many readily available distractions. Jossy had insisted that her mother not worry about it: as with every other crisis, a solution would present itself (or himself) somewhere along the line. Her mother had told her to grow up and forced the reservation documents into her hands.
Jossy took another mouthful of wine and tried to concentrate on the paper, but the glint of light flashed again and this time, she noticed it. She paused, there it was again, like the flash of a sniper scope in a war movie. That's great she thought, I just get a chance to sit down and do this thing and there's another interruption.
She placed the half empty wine bottle on the paper to stop it blowing away and went back into the room for her binoculars, a holiday hang-up she'd inherited from her father. It might be someone in trouble, using a broken bit of mirror or something. She ignored the fact that that the glint was from a six figure villa, not a desert island.
When the glint came again she was able to focus in on it immediately. A man stood on the veranda with a pair of binoculars trained straight at her. The man's mouth swore silently as the figure realised that she was looking straight at him. Jossy expected a rapid exit, but instead, after a few moments hesitation, the figure put the binoculars down and seemed to be searching for something. She kept watching him: his body was worth the time and after all, she was simply returning the favour. The man picked up a white piece of board and seemed to be writing on it. When he'd finished, he turned it over for her to see, there was a single word.
Then he wrote on the back and flipped the board over.
Made you look though.
Jossy smiled, then grabbed a piece of paper and pen from the table and scribbled furiously on it.
What the hell you think you're looking at? She hoped that the words were big enough for him to read.
He crossed out the word sorry and wrote underneath. Bird watching
Jossy grabbed another piece of paper. There are no birds here.
I know, that's why watching you instead.
How long you been watching?
Jossy waited as the man took a piece of cardboard from the floor and wrote on it. Blue Knickers.
Before she could stop herself, Jossy pulled away the waistband of her shorts and was relieved to see blue fabric nestling around her hips: he'd only been watching her for half an hour or so. By the time she caught herself, he had written something else.
I can't believe you had to check.
Pervert came her reply.
He didn't respond immediately, instead Jossy saw him scrabbling around on the floor again. He evidently didn't find what he was looking for, because then he then disappeared inside the villa. Reappearing a short time later, he pulled his T-shirt over his head to reveal Run out of paper across his stomach.
Jossy felt her empty stomach give a light skip. What you going to do if I keep you talking? She replied.
Above the previous message, he wrote. Hoping you run out of paper to.
She reached for another piece of paper. I've plenty, then her stomach tightened as she slowly turned over the sheet to reveal but I'm game if you are.
Taking a breath, Jossy lifted her T-shirt and wrote across her belly is that a challenge? Jossy quickly lifted the binoculars back up to see him pulling off his jeans and writing up one leg I have more body-space than you.
Really?she wrote above the previous message.
Unless you're not shy came the response, written across his chest.
Jossy smiled, enjoying the game. She carefully rolled the elastic on her shorts down three times and wrote across the very base of her stomach We'll see who's shy shall we?
Over on the other side of the bay, the man rolled down his boxers and wrote okay.
Jossy rolled her shorts down as far as she dared and wrote. You gonna lead of follow?
Then came the reply. You win, written on the inside of his arm. Then on the other arm, something that made Jossy gasp. A phone number.
Jossy stood there watching those two tanned arms outstretched, wondering what to do. Then as she put the binoculars down she saw that piece of paper patiently waiting for her on the table, a single black line unsullied by any decision, weighed down with the bottle. She glugged another glass of the Grenache and then reached for the phone.
On the third ring it was answered.
'You live in a very posh house.' Jossy said, using her flirtiest purr.
'Thank you, ' said a foreign accent on the other end, a local Italian by the sound of it. 'I renovate it myself.'
Jossy put the binoculars to her eyes again and the man by the villa waved, phone to his ear.
'She's for sale, if you're interested'
With all its white stucco and tall chimneys, it looked too much like a wedding cake for her liking, but she did not want to be rude. 'Why would anyone want to sell such a beautiful house?'
'Maybe I can make something more beautiful somewhere else. Why do you not come over and see for yourself?'
'I couldn't possibly do that, I'm terribly busy.' She flirted.
'You do not look terribly busy.'
'We'll see. Gotta go now, ciao, ' she said, ringing off.
Before she placed the binoculars down on the table she glimpsed that he did not put down his. She disappeared indoors with a smile, closing the door behind her. Flirting was so much fun.
She slipped off her top, launching it onto the bed in an arching trajectory across the light flooding in through the picture window that had betrayed her earlier. She remembered now that she had changed into her underwear in the bathroom and only then come out into the main room, so she knew that at least he hadn't seen her naked, not yet.
She sent her shorts on a similar trajectory and then her underwear followed. It felt good to have a man hanging on her every move again, despite the man being all the way over on the other side of the bay. She resisted the urge to peep and see if he was still looking. Of course he was still looking
Ducking down Jossy retrieved her swimming costume from the chest of drawers and squeezed into the tight fabric. It was black and she knew she looked good in it. She reappeared into the main room with a bottle of sun cream and squeezed the smooth liquid into her palm, rubbing it slowly between her hands before applying it to her face and neck. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the intermittent glint of his binoculars, like a subconscious SOS.
She rubbed the remains of the cream into her arms before putting one leg up on the bed and squeezing more cream into her hands, rubbing them together again, slower this time. She could imagine him, all the way over there watching her; anticipating where her hands would go next; wishing they were his hands. She felt desirable and enjoyed the reawakening of that feeling.
Jossy started at the ankle and worked her way up to the knee before starting on the other leg. As she bent over, she was aware of the elastic edges of her costume shifting to reveal more flesh. She squeezed out more cream before rubbing her hands up her thighs, enjoying the slow firm pressure of her palms on the inside of her legs. Now it was her turn to imagine what it would be like to have his hands doing this. Not far above her fingers, a muscle gave a flutter at the thought.
On impulse, she ran a finger inside the fabric of her costume, brushing her pubic hair and making her shiver. She was glad he was all the way over on the other side of the bay. The anticipation was exquisite, something that she would have shattered without a moment's hesitation if he had been here in the room.
She stood, her finger still beneath the fabric and made a show of adjusting her costume. Her engagement ring remained firmly in the draw, safe, and forgotten.