‘Really??!!! You did???!! Woooww, Maddy! At last! I’m so happy for you!’ Then she stops, a serious expression dawning on her face.
’You are happy, aren’t you?’ I nod with the biggest grin I can muster, and she relaxes.
It’s so good to have Cindy back.
‘So, how was Colombo?’
‘The usual. Hot, dusty, busy, chaotic, noisy. But the deal went well. I need you to look over the legal part for me, Mad, when you can.’
We are sitting on the deck of the restaurant, looking over the immense sea. The day is glorious, only a few clouds chase each other around the sky. Seagulls are playing diving games in the distance and tourists are engaged in the usual activities: sunbathing, sand-castle-building, reading, throwing balls at each other, chatting, frolicking, ogling.
‘So, what are the plans with lover-boy?’ Cindy smirks lifting her chin in the direction of Kiri, who is walking toward the kitchen, empty plates piled high in his arms.
‘No plans, really. Not sure what plans I can make.’ I purse my lips and look down.
I have been trying to avoid thinking about the future. I love this young man, all I really want is to be with him, but I have not figured out how- yet.
Cindy is studying my face intently. ‘You need to have a plan, Mad. I’ve told you before.’
’I’ll think of something. For now, though, I just want to enjoy the next few days. Have you heard from Greg?’
I change the subject. I will mention my idea to her later, I’m not sure I’m ready right now.
‘Yes, he’ll pick us up at the airport. His new offices will open next week, and he’s settling into his flat. So, all’s good on that front.’ A satisfied smile creeps up on her lips as she leans against the back of the chair and looks out at the beach.
Greg has decided he could branch out and open new offices in the South. His two kids will look after the business in Glasgow and, not surprisingly, he is setting up in Oxford. He found some great premises. The rent is affordable, and the location is perfect. Lots of students there, needing printing and binding. So, he has made his move to be near Cindy. How romantic is that?! I’m super happy for her!
‘So, are we going to sprawl in the sun today? I need a bit of colour to show I’ve actually been away. You have a nice glow on you already, Mad. It really suits you.’
This’s what I have been dreading. The bruise on my arm is quite pronounced, but I have explained it away saying I tripped on the patio and bashed against the side of the door. She looked a bit miffed but did not say much. My face is fine, but how can I explain the nail marks on my stomach? I don’t have a one-piece costume, and I don’t want her to know.
‘I’ve caught enough sun in the last few days. I can just crush out in the shade and read my book if that’s okay with you.’ I’m lucky she doesn’t have any reason to suspect anything untoward has happened to me.
We spend hours lulling on the beach, Cindy on the sunbed in full sunshine and me, keeping my dress on, laying in the hammock, in the shade. I’m grateful I didn’t have to lie about the marks on my stomach, although I still feel I have deceived her. Does not saying anything count as lying? But she would not understand if I told her the truth, and she certainly would not accept what happened. I will explain things to her at a better time.
Cindy is napping most of the time. My efforts to read go to waste. My mind is constantly replaying what happened last night, and my body wants more. I get a sharp tightening sensation and a warmth in between my tights every time I think about it. I steal glances at Kiri, and I pang for him to hold me and guide me onto him. My fantasy runs wild; I never thought I was capable of any thought remotely erotic. I blush and bury my head in the book, grateful for the cover it affords me. All I can think of is tonight.