A summer afternoon, lazily fantasising halfway through “The Love Boat”.
So much skin on display, so much skin. Everywhere you looked there were bodies of varying size & age & stretch & exposure & James had spent 2 days of his first ever cruise trying not to stare at examples he found particularly pleasing from beneath his sunglasses. The paperback he’d brought with him served as good cover for his voyeurism but a combination of creeping guilt & visible arousal had sent him scurrying to the countless bars & the cooling effects of air conditioning.
“Jesus I thought only old retired couples & rich widows went on cruises” he thought to himself as he sipped at a beer & mopped his brow. He’d never thought of himself as a cruise person & had lengthily resisted the insistence of Wilson in Accounts that “he’d love it, it’s not like you imagine, it’s exactly what you need” until an afternoon of weakness had let him email over details about one “he must go on” & then he knew he was on the hook.
Gradually his innate pessimism about the whole affair had been chipped away & he’d started to look forward to the idea of two weeks of sunlight & warm breezes & hours of nothing but reading & relaxing. The alien nature of the cruise had begun to thrill him as if it was some kind of spontaneous walk through a mysterious neighbourhood. This is not something you normally do, this is a break from your rigorously observed routine & it feels exciting.
But the bodies, the skin, the shapes & textures & curves, the hands that slowly rub lotion into soft flesh & the women who bathe in sunlight, bikini tops unclasped & draped across smooth round breasts glowing pale surrounded by suntan, how their chests stir & heave with breath & movement, the drops of water sliding down into their cleavage as they sip at sweating cocktails…he didn’t anticipate this.
The quiet bar & the cold beer were bringing his old self back to him & with the lowered pulse rate & the sweat-free brow came the same reserve, the same slump, the same numbness to everything around him. A creeping retreat back to the bubble he should’ve left on dry land. Enough loneliness had passed for James to take comfort in the life that had formed around him & apathy had ensured he’d never tried to change it.
Watching the procession of women in bikinis he considered scandalous had caused his brain to cough up an unwanted reminder of the last time he’d been with anyone & two beers in it was all he could think about. Julie from the Admin dept at work, beautiful Julie who’d flirted with him at lunch for a month before having to outright ask him whether he’d like to go see a movie, grab something to eat etc etc.
It’d been a nice evening & they’d shared the cursory details expected of a first date but James had been overwhelmingly nervous from the outset. He’d told himself that it was ordinary first date jitters & that he was out of practise but deep down he knew that it was because he’d felt the first stirrings of a lust he’d long spent smothering. Julie was a gorgeous woman: kind, caring, funny, warm. Also, as James wouldn’t admit to himself, she had a fabulous body & the outfit she wore made that abundantly clear. The skinny jeans she wore hugged her full thick ass & clung to her curvaceous hips but James couldn’t help focusing on her low-cut blouse which showed a large amount of her big soft breasts.
He still hated himself for, in his eyes, spending the entire night staring at her cleavage. This was the behaviour of a Neanderthal & James had always considered himself above it but here he was stealing glimpses at the (beautiful round perfect big) breasts of his date & Julie didn’t deserve this. He’d almost apologised for it but then Julie had invited him back to hers for a nightcap & before his decency had a chance to decline he’d said yes & there they were in her small & tidy apartment making out on the couch.