'I can't get out,' she
breathed in my ear. 'I've just discovered that this bathing suit
is transparent when it gets wet.'
The air between us smouldered. Her fringe was hanging in her eyes in that alluring way she had, that way that made her seem like she was so fragile and innocent that she needed to hide herself away from prying, lustful eyes, while at the same time her full, luscious lips were parting, inviting you in with a promise of indescribably sensual, sexual pleasures...
I really hated Iuliia when she pulled shit like that.
'Why did you have to go and buy a white, transparent swimsuit, then?' i blurted, exasperated. Already there was a group of boys eyeing her off.
She blushed. All over. Her milky skin turning a delicate, nipple pink...
'Why couldn't you just get something like this,' i pointed, my own swimsuit a sensible opaque navy blue, complete with a little anchor over my heart, and with not an flirteenth of an inch of sideboob visible.
But there was no reasoning with her. She was like an addict, an alcoholic of tease. I had to be there when she went shopping, to manage her purchases, to lessen her impact upon the opposite sex. Otherwise, i'd end up out with her somewhere and there'd be Hell to pay, with me signing the cheque. But she'd snuck off alone with her Mum to buy this latest come-hither one-piece. And her Mum had happily bought it for her, probably without even seeing it on; she had absolutely no idea that her precious little girl was without doubt the biggest and most successful prick-ache in the district.
That all-over blush was the deal-sealer; what mere male can resist something like that? One of the group of boys eyeing her off was now talking to his mates in that way boys have after Iuliia's done her thing; a way i'd seen so many times when i'd been out with her that i could pretty much imagine exactly what he was saying, could anticipate what strategies he was putting into place...
There were three of them, these boys. One had a head like a seal, the one who'd clearly called dibs on Iuliia a mop of unruly blond curls, and the one that would be fronting me before too long was sporting a scruff of dun hair combed over his head into a helmet shape that he might have been trying to copy from Justin Bieber.
I hated Justin Bieber.
Curlymop was playing it cool, reclining against the edge of the pool, his elbows resting on the wall, his hands nonchalantly dangling in the water. Seal was on the left, snickering and leaning in to offer up sexual serving suggestions, as if Curlymop needed any ideas or encouragement. Bieber was on the right, looking in our direction, his eyes flicking from Iuliia to me and back again, like the two of us were playing a particularly interesting game of tennis.
'Now look what you've done,' i said. 'I should just leave you to this, you know, Iuliia. Let you clean up your own mess.'
She looked through her fringe at me, and i knew there was no way i could leave her. Even though she fully deserved it.
Seal's canine face finally stopped snickering, and the three of them broke from the wall, wading and/or swimming in our direction. They glided past, Curlymop's tanned, muscled arms stroking the water like a lover.
'Girls,' he acknowledged, glancing at us indifferently as his little flotilla paraded by, pennants flying. Then, resuming his true Mr Cool identity, he went back to being totally above needing to work on attracting or even acknowledging our attention. Seal was showing too many teeth and an unhealthy amount of unhealthy gum, and Bieber was looking at me intently with a stock standard copulatory stare, his eyes only sneaking peeks at my more attractive companion, trying not to give the game away.
Not that i was unattractive, mind you. I was certainly well liked among those who knew me, who knew my personality. It's not like i had a wart on my nose, or a claret wine birthmark splashed across my cleavage, or red hair. Oh, no. I have no shortage of attractive attributes. Boys have said as much, in just that way: "Of course you're... pretty, Hannah-maree... it's just that..."
It's just that.
Stand any girl - no matter how attractive - next to Iuliia and, well...
It's just that.
The boys beached themselves in the shoals of the shallow end, and Seal and Bieber continued their observations of us while Curlymop feigned disinterest. As he had to.
'Maybe we should just go now,' i pleaded. Iuliia looked down again at her swimsuit.
'You know i can't get out. Everyone'll see everything...'
'So what's the plan? Stay here until nightfall? Until the pool water evaporates? How about i get you your towel? Oh, that's right, you don't believe in towels, cos they spoil the lines of your body. I could just loan you mine...'
It was too late for just loaning towels. Bieber was on his way over.
"Don't you dare leave me,' i hissed at her. She looked at me like this had never happened before.
'Hey,' Bieber said, drawing alongside us like a pirate ship. 'Hot today, huh?'
I smiled. Iuliia hid behind her fringe.
Maybe if i didn't say anything...
'Nice bathers,' he said to me, pointing with his chin. 'Blue's my favourite colour. What's yours?'
And so the mindless banter begins.
'I quite like blue, too,' i said, my aim being to prattle as inanely and - hopefully - as unattractively as possible. 'That's why i bought these; they're blue. Well, navy blue, technically. A dark blue, navy is...'
'Aren't they dark just because they're wet?' he said, reaching across and taking hold of the strap at a point alarmingly near to one of my most feminine of bulges, lifting it slightly off my skin, as if that would help to gauge the darkening effect the water was having.
And so the bartering begins.
He ran his fingers down the inside edge of the suit, gauging.
The backs of his fingers brushed my skin where the tanlines were. The private, off-limits to passers-by skin that i sensibly and chastely kept hidden...
Despite myself, my breathing deepened and the sound of pumping blood filled my ears.
Would you like to read more? Scroll to the top of the page and click on chapter 2...
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