So here I sit, staring at a woman who is wearing the skimpiest bikini I have ever seen. It's red, I think. It's kind of hard to tell for sure because there's not much material to judge from. It's more like two pasties and a thong than a decent bathing suit.
Everyone's eyes are on her, well all two of them. People, not eyes. I mean, the people each have two eyes, so that would mean there are four eyes on her, except there are six because mine are also…
I'm starting over. The woman, her obscenely small red bikini, all still totally of the valid. What I left out is that she's currently standing in a swimming pool, tossing kids into the air like she's having a great time. Based on the way she's laughing and splashing around, I guess she is.
The two people who are staring at her, besides me, are the parents of the kids. Their names are Kevin and Cindy Dawson., and it's the last day of their fabulous, all-expense paid vacation. They are busy telling me what a great time they had in spite of everything. When they say "everything", they're referring to Kevin's broken leg and the circumstances that led to that brokenness.
Cindy, who is definitely the most in love and devoted wife that I've ever seen, is lounging right next to Kevin on those chairs…what are they called? Oh yeah right, lounge chairs. Duh. Anyway, she's been waiting on him constantly and seems just thrilled to do it. It's sweet how much she loves him.
We've become very friendly with them these last few days, and I guess it's only natural that we help entertain their kids…Yeah, I don't get it either, but that's how it's gone. The kids are happy with it, but then most normal seven and nine year olds are happy, especially when they're being flung all around a pool by a woman wearing the tiniest scrap of material ever to call itself a bathing suit.
I know I should try to relax, maybe just have another sip of my Diet Coke which is so long gone. Okay, fine. I'll have some of her Coke then. It's all warm now, and the can is downright hot, but I am going to drink it anyway because I am now relaxing. Behold my relaxedness. I am all about the…
Suddenly Kevin lunges at me, and I just manage to stop myself from punching him right in the face. At best I thought he was going for her Coke, and at worst? Well just about anything could be the worst. It turns out he was only leaning in closer to say something in confidence, and I guess his cast kind of overbalanced him.
"You guys have been so good to us. I don't know how we can ever repay you."
He keeps talking, but I don't hear a thing he's saying. As I look at him, all I can think is how easy it would be to knock him unconscious with the half empty can in my hand. I want to do it, but instead I just smile my smile, the really sweet one.
It's a smile that those who know me best, know is completely insincere and way more than a little dangerous. I've seen the fiercest demons take a step back when they've caught a glimpse of it, but Kevin? He just smiles back and pats my arm:
"The kids wish we could stay with you forever."
I feel a snarl trying to escape, but I fight it down.
"…They're great kids."
And those three words are all it takes. Cindy is off and running now, beaming with pride and love as she lists off all of the kids' accomplishments and talents…again. I keep the smile right there, plastered to my face, but as I stare at them I wonder what it would sound like if I clunked their heads together. Not hard enough to kill them, just enough to make them quiet and not here.
"…and we're so lucky to have them."
"You sure are."
So, so very lucky, and I want to scream at her to take them back. But then, just before I reveal myself as the world's biggest bitch, a loud commotion erupts in the pool. Terrell and Gladys, oh excuse me: TKO and The Gladinator have just dunked their nickname giver, and dunked her hard.
They're giddy, laughing and high fiving, but then she's not coming up like she's supposed to. More time passes, and now the kids and their parents are beginning to panic just a little bit. As the clock keeps right on ticking off the seconds, Kevin sits up with a worried look on his face:
"Hey uh…is she alright?"
I casually drain the rest of her Coke.
"Don't worry, she can hold her breath forever."
"Yeah but it's been almost forever and…"
Just then as if on cue, she rockets up through the water, grabbing onto their suits as she leaps up. They scream in delight as she tosses them high into the air, and then she stands there laughing as they come crashing back down into the pool. She watches closely as they swim their way back to the surface, her amusement easy to see.
They are nothing but giggles, and it's clearly nothing but fun. Oh yeah, it's the funnest of fun. A big ride on the carousel that is called "Fun". Yep, clearly major fun is being had by all. Yea, behold the fun.
Cindy finally, and I do mean "finally", takes some pity on me even though she has no clue that I need it.
"Okay kids, time to get out."
They swim close to their new best friend, clinging to her as tightly as they can. They think she can protect them, but I know that no one, no matter how tough and strong they are, can ever overrule a mother when she's serious about the time. And I know a mother is never more serious about the time than when she wants her kids to get out of the pool.
"Excuse me, what did I just say?"
"C'mon Mom, just one more minute!" "Yeah, can't we just play a little bit more?"
Cindy's standing up now, and although she never even raises her voice, her next words have them scrambling to get out:
"I gave you ten extra minutes, now get your behinds out of that pool."
They're out in seconds, even though it's plain to see they feel they're being treated unfairly.
"Thank you. Now go let your dad get you dried off."
Kevin has already swung himself around to the edge of his chair, and he's holding a big beach towel at the ready. The kids never say a word as they trudge over to him, their depression and despair plain to see.
He manages to lift their gloom a little with some silly jokes, but as for his drying skills? Well, he's definitely an enthusiastic drier, I'll give him that. He finishes with a big flourish, but the kids are still all wet somehow. He doesn't seem to notice:
"There you go! See if Mama needs any help, okay?"
They head over to Cindy, and she gives them the most precise directions I have ever heard. It's so smart of her because she's left them no way out. They can't pretend, like they do with Kevin, that they don't know what to do. She just told them clearly and concisely.
While they go about their chores, Kevin is grunting and groaning as he struggles to get to his feet…or foot, in this case. It's not an easy thing to do because the chair he's sitting on has no arms, and his crutches have somehow slid just out of his reach. I hop right up to help because anything I can do to get them moving faster, well let's just say I'm there for them.
I pull him upright and hand him his crutches.
"Thanks. I sure could get used to having me a strong woman around."
He's obviously being funny, but then this look goes across his face. Almost before I can really register what it is that I'm seeing, I hear what the problem is:
"Boy, you got all the woman you can handle right here."
She's kidding too, for the most part, but he knows he should smooth it over anyway. He clumps over to her and kind of falls into her arms, nuzzling his face into her neck:
"That's absolutely right, baby. This boy won't ever need more."
They laugh then, and now they're kissing. The kids and I groan, except mine has to remain silent. Sure it's all very sweet, of course it is. They've been married for almost twelve years, and they're still all over each other. It's wonderful, it's inspiring, and dear God in heaven, could it just be someplace else?
I look over at her and although she's smiling as she watches them, I can see she's also a little sad. I guess "wistful" would be the right word. Her arms are folded and resting on the pool deck as she stands in water a little bit above her waist, and I guess that means she's decided to say goodbye from right there. The kids keep glancing at her, but her mind is clearly somewhere else for the moment.
Seeing no help coming from her, they evidently figure out they have to take matters into their own hands:
"Can't we stay just one more day?" "Yeah, one more day would be perfect!"
The lovebirds have finally managed to break apart, but uh-oh. Cindy looks all dazed and happy, not something any mother should be. Not at a time like this anyway. She needs to be tough here, I need her to be tough here, but she's completely off her game. Way, way, way off her game. So far off, it's like she's not even playing the game.
"…What babies? Uh…no we can't afford…"
"But you could keep our allowance!" "Forever! We'll never ask for another thing!"
"…I don't know…"
Now Kevin chips in:
"Aw, you guys are having a great time, aren't you?"
"The best." "Daddy, can we stay until tomorrow? Please?!"
Oh my God! Cindy's just staring off into space with the goofiest smile on her face, and meanwhile her precious little monsters are busy wrapping their father right around their fiendish little fingers.
"Well, I don't know. Maybe we…"
"I promise I'll eat my broccoli without arguing!" "And I'll keep my closet clean all the time!"
"Hmm…What do you think honey? We don't have to be back at work `til Monday."
"We could just put it on our card and…"
He's actually considering it! He's trying to stay another day! I start to panic…How can I break his other leg and make it look like an accident?!
"What do you say baby? Wanna stay another day?"
As I start to make my move, Cindy finally, and I mean "finally" more than I ever have before, comes to her senses:
"Our card? Are you crazy?! It took us four years to pay that bitch off! Now you want to…No way, the vacation's over. Now everybody get moving!"
Thank you God! My legs feel all shaky as the relief shoots through me. How close a call was that?
"No, your mom's right. We need to get back home, you kids say your goodbyes."
The kids know it's a lost cause now, and they take it pretty well. They run to her first of course because she's everybody's favorite by a mile. They warmed up to her on sight, she just has a way with kids. Maybe they sense something in her, maybe she sends out some kind of vibe that's on their frequency. Whatever it is, I've seen it time and time again, and it's pretty darn cute.
That look of sadness is gone now, and she's nothing but smiles as she says goodbye. Then here they come, hugging me and getting me all wet despite Kevin's bang-up job of drying them off. Now that they're truly leaving, I remember that I actually do like them. They're sweet kids, smart, polite, and all kinds of fun.
I tell them goodbye and check that they have our address. They do of course, she made sure of that last night. I'm not positive who's most excited with the plan to be e-mail buddies, but the smart money's on her.
While the kids are explaining to me that they are going to write to us every single day for the rest of their lives, Kevin and Cindy are thanking her for limiting the damage to just one broken leg. She tries to blow them off and deflect all of the praise onto me, but they refuse to let her. She just laughs, and I'm probably the only one who knows she's embarrassed when they call her a hero.
She's so uncomfortable, and I'm not sure how I know that. Nothing's changed, her smile is still there, her body still looks all relaxed, but something is different. I can't pinpoint it, but I know she wishes she could drown herself in the pool. Then they thank her for being so good to the kids, and that compliment she takes with a huge and happy smile. She's okay again as she says how much she enjoyed being with them.
Now it's my turn with the grown-ups. They pull me into a hug, and Cindy tears up as she thanks me. Then Kevin starts crying a little because Cindy is, and I tell them I'm just glad we were there, that nothing worse happened.
I'm the epitome of the modest hero… "Just doing my job folks, no need to thank me, little lady…" but as they pull me closer, I get a little teary too. It's such a sweet moment, how can I not? I mean, I am made of human parts.
They thank me for being so nice to the kids and them, and as they carry on singing my praises, I find myself wondering if I would have saved them had I known how it was all going to turn out. I mean, they have totally screwed up my plans for four long days now, and I do not have any happy feelings about that.
...Okay yes, I would have saved them anyway, of course I would have. But come on, I am just a young woman and I don't think I should keep being tested like this. One day, I just might fail.
So now it's a last minute flurry of activity, followed by a big dramatic re-goodbye from the kids several minutes later, and then it finally happens. They…are…gone.
Gone as in gone. So gone they are "gone gone". Gone for good. Gone away. Going, going, gone.
It's just us now, me and her all alone at last. The dearly departed are dearly departed, and I can barely stop myself from shouting out something totally ridiculous like, "Yeehaw!"
I don't though because I'm definitely not a "yeehaw" kind of girl, and when you think about it, who really is? Plus I'm trying to present a certain image here, and screaming out "yeehaw", although way big with the image presentation, well it's not the one I'm going for. I think I can safely say it never will be either.
I want to be taken seriously, and who shouts out "yeehaw" and expects to be taken seriously? You couldn't be in a job interview and just suddenly holler out……Why do I do this?
My point is they're gone, and the pool is now ours and ours alone. It's just for our room and the room next door, and that room is, and will continue to remain, blessedly empty. That means we have a pool with a view, and the complete and utter privacy in which to enjoy it. That is a very appealing, flat-out tantalizing thought, and I plan to make it a very appealing, flat-out tantalizing reality.
We are in an incredibly beautiful and romantic place, and we've got six more days and nights to enjoy it...alone. Trust me when I say we are going to enjoy it or I'm going to kill us both in the attempt. When you consider I don't die very easily, and for that matter neither does she, well you can see just how determined I am.
To start with, there will be no more pool sharing. There will be no more next door neighbors with their adorable kids. There will be no more next door neighbors with their ugly kids. There will be no more next door neighbors with their nonexistent kids. There will be no more next door neighbors of any kind whatsoever because I have seen to that.
I thought Giles was going to have an aneurysm when I called him, but I was not taking "no" for an answer. I majorly guilt tripped him into reserving the adjoining room for absolutely no one. It was a huge waste of money, plus he had to pay for the accommodations of the people he kicked out, but I didn't and don't care. The way I look at it, after all my years of service, it's the least The Council's money can do for me.
I sit back down and recline on my chair, slipping my sunglasses on so I can watch her without getting caught. She dives under, then comes up slinging her head back. Her hands stroke through her hair until it's slicked back tight against her head, her bikini top shifting this way and that.
I watch her arm muscles flex and ripple as she casually and oh so gracefully, hoists herself from the pool. My eyes follow along on all the random paths the water is trailing down her body, and I just want to…My, it sure is hot out here today.
She just stands there looking out at the incredible view, and as the sun beats down on her, I know I've never seen anything quite so beautiful in my entire life. She's unaware that I'm seeing only her when she says:
"Man, sure is something to see."
"It sure is."
She shakes her head like she can't believe what she's looking at, then walks over and grabs her drink from the table. Her smile begins to fade as she finds her can empty, then disappears altogether when she discovers mine's dry as well.
"What the hell?"
"What happened to the drinks?"
"Aren't they there?"
"Christ B, not like you were even doing anything. Just been lazing around on your ass."
"True, but my lazing was done with all my might."
"Shit, can ya be a bigger pig?"
She saves me from having to answer by heading into our room, and I watch her every step of the way. It's like I'm mesmerized by her, her looks, her voice, the way she moves, the way she puts certain words together, pretty much by the way she breathes in and out. I keep staring at the doorway, just waiting for her to reappear.
I feel her before I see her, then she emerges back into the sunlight holding two ice cold cans. She pops the tab on the Diet Coke and hands it to me with a smile. It's such a simple thing, but it just makes me melt.
There's a slight breeze as she leaps over me and lands fully sprawled out on her chair. She throws her head back and downs her Coke in one long go, and I begin counting in my head. Just as I reach four:
"Damn, shoulda brought two."
She throws her hands high above her head, extends her legs, and yeah I know that's called "stretching", but add in the incredible purring noise she makes as she's doing it, well I'm sorry. There just isn't any word in any language that can do it justice. And now here come the dimples:
"Hey, any chance you could maybe…"
I wordlessly hand over my drink and watch as her smile takes over her whole face.
She swallows nearly half the can, then makes a disgusted face at me:
"Jesus Christ, how can you drink this crap?!"
"I like it."
"Ya can't. Tastes like somebody pissed in a can."
"And just how many cans of piss have you drunk in your life?"
"Just this one…Fuck!"
She polishes it off, then makes a noise like she's going to vomit.
"Good thing I got Slayer healing."
"If you keep insulting my favorite drink, you're going to need it."
She looks at me with her patented smirk:
"I can take your lazy ass any time I want."
Yes you can, and I am way more than willing. Take away.
We sit there in what seems to be a comfortable silence, but on my end I'm practically jumping out of my skin as I begin imagining all the ways she could take my ass. There are so many ways, and I only make it to # 6 before it becomes clear that she wants to talk.
She lets out a huge sigh, and then all is silent again as she waits for me.
"Nothing…Just gonna miss'em, is all."
Oh great, now I'm a liar because I am going to miss them like I would miss head lice. Or body lice. Is there any real difference? Does one kind live just in your hair while the other one gets to roam all over your body, but then has to stop at your hair? God, how gross is that?
They are so disgusting, and I can definitely say that I don't want any in my hair. Of course it's not like I'd be fine with having any on my body either. And do they get in all of your hair? Even your…Oh crap, she's talking.
"…and it was neat having little kids around."
"Sure are a great family. They really love each other."
"And how cool is it that they won that contest? Nobody ever wins that shit, ya know?"
She looks at me:
"Hey, you okay?"
"Fine, just a little tired."
"Yeah, noticed the tossing and turning. You worried about something?"
"'Cause it's all good, right? Just get to hang `til G-man and Red pick-up the trail again."
"Nice of the bad guys to run like pussies. We can use some R and R."
"Sure you're okay?"
And so worked up about you, I can barely think straight…and yes, I absolutely mean it like that.
"Maybe you need your own bed. Want me to see if I can grab another room?"
"No! I mean, Giles would never go for that."
"Yeah, guy acts like it's his dough. Guess it kinda is, but still. He's so fucking tight all the fucking time, like he's gotta hang onto every stinking nickel and dime."
She's acting all mad, but she loves Giles now and always harasses him about something. Whenever he gets going about the "importance of maintaining a sound fiscal policy", she calls him a "freakin' cheap ass" right to his face, and he just lets her get away with it. I've even seen him smile about it when he thinks no one's looking.
"Can bet your ass was Red who made us these bitchin' reservations. Giles woulda just checked us into some dumpy `Motel 5 and a half'. She musta tricked him or something `cause no way would he approve such a swanky joint."
She sighs and leans her head back against the chair's cushioned headrest.
"Best place I've ever stayed in. It's fucking awesome."
"It is beautiful."
"So the bed sharing's not a problem then?"
"Not for me. Is it for you?"
"You gotta be kiddin' me. I've never slept so good."
She seems to tense for a second:
"…Uh yeah, must be the ocean air or something."
"Well good then, it's settled. There will be no changing of things. We'll stay the status quo. I'm status, you're quo."
"Cool. Hey, wanna patrol tonight? Nothing like a good slay to help ya work off some of that tension."
Oh I know exactly how I want to work off some of my tension. In fact, I have a million great ideas on how to work off my tension. # 6 involves…
"…always works for me, what about you?"
I don't have a clue what we're talking about, so I go with my standard emergency fall back:
She laughs and smacks me on the arm:
"Yeah, right! Fucking crack me up, B."