Shades of light were reflected on the ocean waves, blurring my thoughts to land on somewhere else, far away from where I was standing. Disheveled strands of my fair hair were floating through the warm breeze while my hazel eyes melted into the deep blue digging up for answers to my jubbled ideas, when Lisa’s voice took me back to reality.
I turned back to look at her and desert was set on the table. Marvin brought three medium bowls of chocolate mousse accompanied with three coffee spoons then took a seat across me.
And as I just introduced a small piece of desert into my mouth, his ocean eyes met mine, making me realize that my cheeks blushed a little at the way his eyes were looking so lost at my lips, back to my eyes then back again to my lips, so I turned my hazel eyes quickly away from his to look at Lisa, who seemed not to notice at all what was going on between her father and I.
Instead, she was so busy savoring the chocolate mousse.
I smiled warmly at her and realized how much I appreciated that moment spent with Marvin and Lisa in Esperanza.
Nonetheless, I couldn’t forget what he told me yesterday at the party when he thought that something might be going on between Mr. Johnson and I, and nor did I appreciate the way he lectured me in front of Lisa even though he was damn right about all of it.
All his words were stuck into my head. How could he think that I would have cheated on him with his own friend who got to be my father?
" So how’s the training going so far, girls?”
His husky voice came as a bell warning me that I had to respond, to stop pretending that he wasn’t looking at me, to pretend nothing was going on between the two of us, and at last, to look back at him, at those irresistible blue eyes that I couldn’t get my eyes off of them.
I looked back at him, clearing out my throat before opening up my mouth to say.
“We are enjoying ourselves as we’ve been learning a lot of things. Isn’t it Lisa?”
I told him as my eyes quickly switched to Lisa’s searching for support.
“Oh yeah! Definitely Dad! I like how challenging the job is.
I know we’re still trainees in Mr. Johnson’s company, but I already like the load of work we’ve had. As I told you, I’m really enjoying how the work goes on through the weeks and I wish we could stay like this forever.”
" I know, Lisa. But you have to finish college first to be able to work full time and until then you will be able to be together, working in the same company, you and Amy.”
He smiled at both of us warmly, convinced that this is what his daughter meant. Actually, he got it wrong.
" Oh you get me wrong, Dad. I wish we could work together again, but...”
She stopped, didn’t say a word and looked confused at me, not knowing whether she should be explaining herself or not.
I nodded, looking back to her, giving her the permission to speak about my future plans.
Because, actually, I didn’t care much about how he would react. After all, this relationship wouldn’t last forever, would it?
And even if it was about to last for some time, would I be able to put on hold my plans for this man?
" I don’t get it. What do you mean by I wish we could work together again?”
He said puzzled, then turned to look at me and asked again “Aren’t you planning to work in Santa Barbara at your ... I mean at Philip’s company after graduation?”
Much concern, oh yeah, much concern in his masculine voice. And I didn’t like how this sounds.
I raised slightly my hand, interrupting Lisa to explain further.
" No, I am not planning to come back to Santa Barbara, I mean to work. I have other plans.”
My hazel eyes didn’t leave his the whole time I was telling him about it.
" May I ask you Amy, what are your plans after graduation? ”
I could see through his eyes, a certain kind of astonishment that he was trying to hide, and now this seriousness in his tone made me realize that even though I was important to him, he was going to lose me one day as much as I am going to lose him.
When will that happen?
I don’t really know. I don’t hold any truth about it.
But the fact is Marvin and I come from different worlds, too distinct worlds that collided together bringing out magic into a little time that we’ve been sharing so far and would soon end and this whole love story we’ve built was going to collapse...one day.
Sad it may seem, but it was the truth. A truth that neither of us accepted nor would accept no matter what happened to us.
And now, as he was still waiting for me to explain myself, I own him that. I own him an explanation.
" Since I was a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of settling down in NYC, getting a good job there, living there for a few time, getting a bigger network, and thinking about maybe moving to other places around the US or Canada or somewhere else. It was and still is my dream and I hope that after I graduate I can make this dream come true.”
The whole time I was telling him about this, I didn’t realize that I was clasping and unclasping my hands out of nervousness.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know if he had noticed it, but Lisa noticed it and frowned her eyebrows at me, searching for a clear explanation to the way I was doing it.
I mean why would I look so nervous to speak about my future plans to her father?
He wasn’t a college advisor nor a potential employer as far as I know, so why all this stressful behavior?
But I didn’t care about how Lisa thought of me at that moment.
I only cared about how Marvin was looking at me with admiration and surprise.
How he enjoyed listening to me speaking about how I see myself in a few years from now. How I already planned my future years, exploring other horizons, having dreams and ambitions.
I liked how he was amazed at me. I smiled shly at him, unclasped my hands and put them as to dive through my half naked legs, on my hot skin.
" Well, Amy! I like how much you are enthusiastic about your future and I hope you will fulfill all your dreams, starting from going to NYC after graduation, as I am sure you’ll like the city very much.”
" Have you ever been to NYC before, Mr. Richardson? ”
I asked him and I needed to know. I was quite curious.
" Yes, a few times. For work only. The city is just magical. Overcrowded and stressful though. You? ” He smiled at me.
" One time only when I was nine.”
“You’ve never mentioned that to me Amy?”
Lisa’s voice intruded our space. Our lovely conversation.
" I ... I’m sorry, it didn’t cross my mind. So now that we’re speaking about NYC. Yes, I’ve been there before with my grandparents and my mom. We went there on winter holidays to visit my grandma’s sister and gather for Christmas.”
" Now I get it. You fell in love with the magic of Christmas in NYC and decided to live there once you get older. Am I right? ”
Marvin asked, teasing me with a smile lifted upon his face.
" You don’t say! ” I giggled as did Lisa when her cellphone started to go off.
It was Eric calling her.
" I had to take this call, sorry to leave you. And Dad, I’ll be cleaning the table later, okay?”
Lisa stood up, took her phone and started to move away when I interrupted both of them.
" I will clean the table Lisa. Don’t worry about that.” I winked at her.
" You’re the best, Amy. And I hope you know that. Thank you”
She winked back at me, leaving us as she walked away to the other part of the boat.
“Before you protest, I will help you clean the table.”
Marvin proposed, not expecting me to say no. So I didn’t say anything, instead I nodded, letting him understand that we can make this together.
He grabbed the empty plates and the bowls while I finished cleaning the table.
I, then, went inside the cabin to find Marvin not yet there. He must be somewhere else, but I chased the thought up and headed directly towards the small kitchen, opened the tap to start washing the dishes. I raised my face to look outside and watch the sea for a few seconds when I felt his hot breath behind the corners of my ear, making me have goosebumps all over my arms.
And this familiar scent, that of vanilla, came out of nowhere invading my space as Marvin got closer to me.
Vanilla. Marvin's scent.
I slightly turned towards where he was standing to let him know that we cannot get much closer because we were not alone, when his arms just grabbed gently my waist making me scoot over a bit to the right.
" Let me help you, Amy” He kept looking at me warmly when I simply nodded.
As he scraped any leftover food from the plates into the trash, he then handed me the plates and I used a sponge to wash the dishes underwater before rinsing off the soap from them and handed them back to Marvin, so he could put them to dry on the rack.
As we kept repeating this process until everything was set up, we remained silent. I didn’t have anything to say to him and neither did he.
I was struggling to get myself focused on washing the dishes because, all of a sudden, the air in this closed space became a little hotter than it was before Marvin came in, which made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I had to cope with it though. And more importantly, I had to remain calm and don’t let any emotions
Like I could do it! Hell no.
I had to admit that I missed him. He was just standing next to me and I couldn’t even kiss him nor touch him.
We haven’t had sex for two days now and I started to miss his touches, hugs and kisses, but I was still hurt about all the things he said to me yesterday evening.
I guess he missed me, too, based on how he peeked at me.
He surely didn’t appreciate the way I was giving him the cold shoulder almost all day long, that’s why he was quiet, except for the little conversation earlier with Lisa. He didn’t give me much choice. I had to respond to his question.
I was torn: I didn’t know what to do. On the one hand, I wanted to hug him and kiss him and tell him how much I missed him.
On the other hand, I was still furious with him and didn’t want to talk to him. I didn’t know what to do. I was thinking of which step to take next, to break this silence, when our fingers slightly touched under the tap.
I stiffened, as I kept thinking that Lisa might come any minute in the kitchen.
I tried to get my hand away from his when he didn’t let me. He held my hand into his in a gentle manner for a few seconds before he turned to me, kept looking at me willing to know what was going on in my head.
He didn’t say anything and neither did I.
His long, authoritative fingers laced into mine, started to caress gently my slender milky fingers,
making me disconnect thoroughly for a short moment, not realizing what was happening to both of us.
I missed the way he touched my body and I am still surprised at how all parts of it react to his touches, as if they were stupidly hypnotized, under his control.
All of a sudden, something in my head reminded me that today we were not alone in Esperanza.
We couldn’t allow any mistake to happen, any disaster to take place. And for that not to happen, we had to be cautious.
I moved my hand away from his when he didn’t let me do such a thing, I tried another time, and he finally surrendered.
“I miss you, Amy”
He let the words escape finally and came into the shape of a whisper to my ears.
I turned to look at him, smiled at him warmly
" I miss you, Marvin”
I finally confessed to him.
No more silence. My heart is aching. I need to tell him that I miss him. I need him to know that, because it is important for me. For him. For us.
He kept looking tenderly at my hazel eyes and I felt that he started to get closer, as leaning toward me and about to kiss me.
I wish he kissed me. I wish I could feel his lips onto mine again. I wish we could kiss.
But it was too risky. Too risky to get closer. Too risky for this game to continue. We had to stop right now, right here, in order not to get caught.
We couldn’t kiss even though Lisa was outside.
The longer we stayed in the kitchen, the more I realized how the atmosphere started to get thicker and hotter in here and I had to do something about it.
" Let’s swim! ”
The words suddenly came out of my mouth, not realizing how loud I said it.
I meant it though.
The weather was really hot that day and it is time for swimming before coming back to the harbor.
Marvin smiled and shook his head as to remind himself, I guess, that his daughter was here with us on Esperanza today.
That he had to control himself.
" Definitely! Let’s call Lisa over ”
The tone of his voice so enthusiastic about my idea.
As we got out of the cabin, Lisa was already walking towards us.
" Sorry I couldn’t help you clean up the table ”
" Don’t worry about it Lisa. Your father did.”
I smiled at her before turning to Marvin and thanked him again.
" Thank you again Dad. You’re the best. So, what can we do now?”
" What about getting into the water? ” I said all excited.
" Yeaaah! Let’s do it, but before we get to swim let’s take a selfie together, all of us. Come closer, Dad. We have to make this day memorable. Let the fun begin! ”
She took her cellphone from her pocket and raised her right hand in the air to take a selfie of the three of us: Marvin standing on my left, Lisa, on my right, and Me in the middle.
" Say cheese! ” Lisa instructed excitedly before she took the selfie.
We took other pictures, mostly of Lisa and I only, before we changed into our swimsuits and plunged into the deep blue water, and spent about half an hour swimming there and enjoying ourselves so much.
We spent a nice time all together that day. We had to come back to the harbor late afternoon, before heading back home.
Once we got home, Lisa insisted that I go out with her, Eric and a few friends of his in the evening and I couldn’t decline her invitation.
I was kinda of obliged to. She didn’t leave me much choice to refuse, while Marvin had to go to the office after we came back from the harbor. He had some work to do, this is what he told us.
I enjoyed myself a lot that night. We went clubbing and I danced all night long trying to forget about the mess, Marvin and I were stuck in. I liked to spend some time with my friend Lisa despite everything.
That night, I felt somehow sad because only a few days were left before Lisa and I come back to Berkley. I had to come back to Haas School of Business where I was studying.
This year I was going to be a sophomore student. My mother recommended that I and Lisa could live with one of her aunts, who was living not so far from where we were studying, instead of living again in the dorms.
Lisa and I were against the idea because we wanted to be free. I wasn’t willing to leave the campus and neither was Lisa. I wanted to live there as I did last year with her because it was so much fun and we can do ”whatever” we wanted.
I thought that this year I would get a part-time job as a barista in the cafeteria or a salesperson in a store. I wanted to earn my own money in order to be more responsible. I know perfectly that I always have to prioritize studies over work, but I wanted to get a student job.
Anyway ... For now all I wanted is to enjoy these few days left in Santa Barbara with Marvin because there are still only a few days, before Mrs. Richardson comes back and then everything would be different, I guess.
It will, surely, be different.
Sometimes, I let myself think about what was going to happen afterwards, I mean after Mrs. Richardson comes back from her trip.
How would things be going on with Marvin? Would we still be meeting each other? Would he still want me in his life?
I didn’t have any visibility when it comes to the future. I didn’t know how things are going to be in a few weeks.
What I knew and was deeply sure of was that I was in love with him. I was in love with a man that could never be mine.
I was in love with my friend’s father. I was in love with a man that I was forbidden to love, in the first place.
It is too late to change things now. My heart was already beating for him and only him.
And I had to accept it. In spite of everything going on, I had to accept the fact that I fell in love with a married man, to whom I had never intended to fall in love with, and now all this, all we have been sharing for the few weeks spent together will be over soon.
Would it be really over?
I kept thinking and thinking ... and never stopped thinking about it.