We’re here and I’m dying to get up inside her. All day I’ve felt like, here or there; on a boat, beneath a coat; like Dr. Seuss—in the hall, against a wall; on the stairs, across a chair.
So I pull Emma toward the high deck, where we sleep. I’ll show her the house later; our bags can wait in the truck.
The place is immaculate, white muslin and legal cedar. I pay Pedro to maintain the house, including eco-friendly snake and scorpion removal. A local lady, Estella, cleans every other week, whether I’m here or not.
“Wait. Scott, I’m hungry. Aren’t you?”
She takes mango, pineapple, and banana already sliced and waiting for us from the refrigerator. I grab Pedro’s special mix of papaya, yogurt, honey, and coconut milk. With a little coaxing, Emma agrees to sit on my lap while we eat. The fruit tastes incredible, so incredible it demands attention—savor it or choke.
She stretches, and saying she wants a shower, wanders off to the tiled bathroom. Of course I follow her and she slides the glass door open a little, water streaming over her from top to bottom. “You want to come in?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
We wash each other and I cover her mouth as she bends back her neck, about to meet the spray head on. I bend down to kiss her and she rises up, her legs around my hips. Soon then, she’s pulling the hair on top of my head, her breasts in my face. Oh the Places You’ll Go.
On the deck, the bed is very white and large, topped by a gauzy mosquito net, and before long: more sex, slower and gentler without the rush of water. We nap and wake to the view of the sea and the sound of the tide. The sun hangs on the horizon and this unearthly peace deepens with the dusk.
Some more wine? No, thank you, she says. She’s never known such contentment.
Sometime in the night, I wake up. I nudge Emma and she says, “Oh hi,” which isn’t what I expect to hear. For all my secret pledges to play fair, I realize, Emma is someone I must possess. She’s so casual that I seriously need to make her live and breathe for me. Like I said, I can’t resist competition, even if that makes me kind of mean.
Ocean breezes stream through the open-air sleeping deck. I kiss her a long time, elaborately, between her legs, and she moans and murmurs, “Oh, that’s so good.” She’ll pay me back in the morning.
Pay me back—that’s how she feels. Love’s another transaction, which is my problem, too, or close to it. I fall back asleep, wondering where she’s from, other than Chicago, other than another friend of Charlie’s.
In the morning, even before the howler monkeys start up, Emma’s screaming. She skitters to the edge of the bed and jumps out. Not as blasé as when we were in the puddle-jumper, she’s yelling my name, her voice full of panic.
“What?” Despite her alarm, I can barely open my eyes. She points to a boa constrictor, maybe six feet long, curled around the bedpost.
“Okay,” I tell her, indicating she shouldn’t lean so far over the deck. “I can take care of this. Just watch me.”
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