“Ride me like ya loved me”
~ From Nora B, by Ken Bruen
SARAH WAS NUDE WHEN I first saw her, but she didn’t see me because she was heading away up the beach. Tall, maybe as tall as me. Red hair, now wet and plastered against fair creamy skin with the faintest touch of color. Not a single tan line to break the curve of her bottom as it issued Nature’s invitation with each step she took.
I came to my senses in time to move into the water before she saw me staring. This particular beach is secluded enough that no one cares whether you wear a swimsuit or not, but not so far away from the hotel a woman swimming alone would worry about a guy also alone and also nude. A guy like me at this very moment, in fact.
From the water I watched her until she rounded the little point that separates this beach from the hotel. Now it was safe for me to float in the baby waves and let the air, like the lightest and softest of blankets, touch my bare skin out of the water as the visible indication of my interest began to diminish.
Doug and I were here on our annual beach trip. He was off fishing. Me, I like to eat them but couldn’t care less about catching them. I was here to swim. This Caribbean wonderland has everything you could want, starting with perfect weather to enjoy the white beaches that go on forever and ending with water so blue you can’t wait to dive in. Plus friendly locals, good food, especially fish, and a casual live-and-let-live attitude.
The next day she was in the water when I arrived. She saw me at the same time. I waved my “See, I’m not a creep” wave, and splashed into the water. I kept my distance. A few minutes later she moved toward the beach to towel off and dress. She caught my eye and I think she smiled just before she turned to head back to the hotel.
That afternoon, late, I saw her in the hotel lobby on her way to the front doors. Light sundress, sandals. She practically glowed, her red hair now in curls flowing down to her shoulder blades. A definite smile with her wave this time, but she kept going.
I suppose seeing each other in the lobby was kind of a confidence-building measure, because the next morning when we met on the beach, she walked right up to me. Look her in the eyes, you fool, I told myself. Her curls framed a strong, very lightly freckled face. A natural redhead. More curvy than slender, maybe, her curves exactly where you’d like to see them. I was right about how tall she was.
“Hi, I’m Sarah.”
“Matt. Nice to meet you.”
We shook hands.
This morning we weren’t so far apart as before. We finished about the same time, too, I made sure of it. We spent a couple of minutes chatting as we toweled off after our swim. Just ask her, that voice told me as she was about to turn away, all she can say is ‘No.’
“Sarah, would you like to have coffee back at the hotel?”
A pause. Odd look for just a second. A little shrug. Bit of a smile, not much.
“Sure. In an hour or so?”
“See you on the veranda.”
We were seated on the veranda where the hotel served breakfast, bougainvillea showing off as it flowed down outside the railing. A pot of scalding strong black coffee and a basket with the most perfect croissants you’ve ever seen in front of us. Sarah was adding cream to her coffee when she spoke.
“I’m here on my honeymoon.”
I fiddled with my own coffee for a second. Grabbed a croissant. This island is a favorite honeymoon destination and I’m used to seeing just-married couples here. They have a very distinct vibe about them when things are going well. The guys are smug. The women look, to put it politely, satisfied.
Sarah didn’t have that look. Plus, here she is with me, a stranger, having coffee at mid-morning instead of upstairs in bed with her new husband. My second thought was, I confess, hope. No, not hope I could get into her pants, even if the thought had crossed my mind. No, it was that maybe, just maybe, if the stars aligned right, I might get to know her better. I was pretty sure she was someone I wanted to learn more about. Someone who, and I know this sounds silly, might bring things out of me I only half-realized were there. She was more than a one-night stand, I knew that already.
How could I know all this after a couple of swims and a cup of coffee? Absolutely no idea, but I did. No, that’s not exactly true. I knew because a woman who swims at dawn, especially nude, is a treasure. That’s the key, and you can take that key to the bank.
I didn’t know how she felt about her husband, although it was starting to look like things weren’t going very well for them. But I’ll be honest here. I didn’t owe her husband a thing, and if he was stupid enough to neglect his bride he deserved what he got.
“Your husband isn’t a swimmer, I guess?”
Sarah seemed to be very interested in her coffee cup again.
“Not really. Bill would rather be on the water than in it.”
“That’s it. He’s out every morning early. I’m a swimmer, and I don’t mind getting up when he does. That’s why I’m down at the beach early.”
She looked a little uncomfortable, but only for a second. She straightened her shoulders and looked me in the eye.
“I’m a California girl. I grew up on the beach, and Mom and Dad taught us as early as I can remember the only way to swim is nude. Well, when you can get away with it, anyway.”
“So that’s why you see me, all of me, every morning. No one seems to care here, and there’s never anyone around, at least there wasn’t until you showed up, so I go for it.”
My turn to laugh.
“Couldn’t agree with you more, Sarah. Where do you folks live?”
“Santa Barbara. Bill started his law practice there a couple of years ago, and I work at a small publishing house. Bill and I were at UCLA together. Actually, we knew each other in high school, believe it or not. What about you?”
“I’m in the Bay Area.”
“Not yet, but I haven’t lost hope.”
A few minutes later the croissants were gone, our coffee cups empty. I wanted to stay and talk but I figured I’d better not press my luck.
“I’ve got to go. See you at the beach tomorrow, Sarah?”
For a moment she looked unhappy. She wanted to talk some more? Couldn’t be sure. Then she smiled.
The next day we swam together. Sarah took long easy strokes, torso rotating slightly with each one, strong kick, breasts moving just enough to keep my interest. We did a few laps across the bay and stopped to rest, the water a little more than waist-deep. Sun barely up, a slanting morning light. Sarah pushed her goggles up on her forehead.
“It’s so quiet, Matt.”
“Anticipation, that’s what it feels like.”
She looked at me.
“And exactly what are you anticipating?”
“Whatever the day will bring, Sarah.”
Another funny little smile.
Back on the veranda, more coffee plus a cheese omelet for me this time. Her curls in all their glory spilling over her knit shirt.
“What’s on your schedule today, Matt?”
“Sailing. You know the boat rental place up the beach? I’m going to head over to that little island you can see from here. How about you?”
“Not much. Bill’s out until noon, at least. Maybe even mid-afternoon. Tonight he wants to go to the casino again, so that’s where we’ll be.”
She hid it, but I thought I heard a little sigh.
“Just hang out, I guess.”
“Sarah, I don’t mean to be too forward, but I’d love company. Are you a sailor?”
“Unlike Bill, I’m a lot better in the water than on it, but I don’t think I’ll sink us.”
“You’re on. Get your hat and sunscreen, and I’ll meet you at the rental place.”
She was smiling now.
At the island we tied up at the little pier, and set out with a couple of water bottles and some fruit. There didn’t seem to be anyone else around today. Found a shady spot around the other side of the island for our stuff.
I couldn’t look away as Sarah pulled her shirt over her head. She filled her bra perfectly.
“I’m going in the water, the usual way. OK with you?”
I’m not a complete idiot.
Stripped off my t-shirt and shorts as she stepped out of her panties. Sarah turned and ran into the surf. I followed, which was probably a good thing since I was watching her rear end again and it was obvious I liked what I saw.
There wasn’t really any place to swim to, so we mostly paddled around a bit. Then back out to lie in the shade. I helped her with sunscreen. She did the same for me.
“Sarah, you said you and Bill knew each other in high school?”
“Yeah, even before. We competed against each other since seventh grade. I won in the end, I guess you could say. I was valedictorian, Bill was salutatorian.”
.... There is more of this story ...