Kathy and Martin Robinson stepped onto the bridge connecting the cruise terminal with the cruise ship Tropical Vacation. They joined a line of other passengers checking in with the smiling crewmembers holding tablet computers. Steel drum music played in the background.
Kathy gave Martin's arm a hug, and looked at her ring. A bride again at forty-five! The ceremony eighteen hours before had been a quiet affair, with just a few friends, children, and grandchildren. The reception had been more of a family dinner than a party. All this had suited Kathy and Martin quite well: they weren't a couple of kids making a leap into the unknown. They had known each other for almost twenty years, and their love was grounded in friendship and respect more than lust.
"Welcome to the Tropical Vacation, the newest ship in the SandandSea Cruise Line! May I have your names, please?" The young woman in the blindingly white uniform greeted them with a smile and a stylus poised above her computer.
"Martin and Katherine Robinson, from Portland, Oregon."
"Well, welcome to Miami, though we will be leaving in a little over an hour." She wrote and touched things on her screen. "I hope you had a pleasant flight."
Kathy replied, "Well, I slept right through it. Martin was a little airsick."
"I'm sorry to hear that. The Tropical Vacation is stabilized to prevent motion sickness, but if you have any problem just drop by the infirmary or ask your steward for some medication." She handed them two keycards and some pamphlets. "You're in cabin P-4390. Go through this passageway to the elevators, down to deck four, and forward. And thank you for taking your tropical vacation on the Tropical Vacation!"
As they walked to the elevators Martin asked Kathy, "So, do you suppose she gets tired of that joke? "...taking your tropical vacation on the Tropical Vacation?""
"I don't know, but if I had to repeat something like "tropical vacation" ten or fifteen times, let alone hundreds of times, it would drive me crazy!"
They made their way to their cabin, a nice room with a balcony. As they unpacked, Kathy entertained Martin with comparisons to her berthing on the submarine tender Hunley when she was in the Navy. Martin responded with equally funny comparisons from his time at sea with the Marines. They changed into cooler, more casual clothes and went topside to watch the ship get underway.
"Well, that was entertaining. Underways are more fun when all you have to do is watch," said Kathy after they returned to their cabin. The ship was already well out to sea, headed south. "We have a couple hours until dinner. What would you like to do?"
Martin gave her a gentle kiss and said, "I know what I'd like to do, but what I think I'd better do is take a nap. You got some sleep last night; I didn't."
Kathy kissed him back. "OK. You take a nap. I'm going to sit in the sun and read." She looked out on the balcony, but it was in shadow. "I'll go topside to the "Adults Only" pool."
By the time Kathy had changed into shorts, a sleeveless top, and sandals, Martin was already stripped and in bed, asleep. Kathy collected her book, sunglasses, and sun hat, and went to the pool on the highest deck.
There were only a few people around the pool, so Kathy had her choice of lounge chairs, each with the Tropical Vacation's logo of "TV" on the backs. Kathy sat down and started reading.
Kathy looked up. A man, about twenty-years-old, stood there smiling down at her. He was blond in a sun bleached way, and wore shorts, polo shirt, and topsiders without socks. His shirt had "Tropical Vacation" on the pocket, written in script, and he wore a belt with tubes and bottles in loops and pouches. "My name is Joshua. Would you like some sun-block or tanning lotion?"
"That's nice of you to offer, but do you think I need it?"
"Well, the sun is hotter than you think, and I'd guess you are from up north." He dropped to one knee and held his arm next to hers. His deep tan set off her paleness. "We wouldn't want your tropical vacation to be ruined by a tropical sunburn."
Kathy eyed him suspiciously. "Are you guy's paid piece-work for the number of times you say, "tropical vacation," or do you work on a quota?"
Josh looked embarrassed, and might have blushed under his tan. "They want us to say it whenever we can. I think they think people might forget what ship they're on, otherwise."
"Well, you've said it enough. And I should probably have some block. What would you recommend?"
Josh broke into a wicked grin and whipped out a bottle with a flourish. In a really bad French accent he said, "Madam, for you I would recommend ze CoCoa Butter 45, an amusing little imported spread with a smooth, satiny finish and just a hint of chocolate." He whipped out another. "Or perhaps Madam would prefer a domestic, something in a Coppertone, say perhaps a Waterbaby 30, with the oh-so-cute leetle girl on ze label."
Kathy laughed. "Very good. Let's go with ze CoCoa Butter. I probably need all the protection I can get." She held out her hand, and Josh squeezed some lotion onto her fingertips.
She applied the smooth, fragrant butter to her face and neck, then held out her hand for more. As Josh squeezed some more out he casually said, "If you would like, I can help you with the hard to reach places."
Kathy froze, then slowly looked up at him. He gave her a rather weary smile.
"I am not putting the moves on you. As Sun-block Caddy, I am allowed to touch passengers within the guidelines in the Corporate Tanning Policy Handbook, for the purpose of applying lotion and only with their prior expressed approval. Be glad you weren't here two years ago, when you'd have had to sign a waiver. It is entirely up to you, but one way or the other you really need to get the back of your shoulders done. And I can do your feet and calves better than you can." He waited.
Kathy thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. "Thank you, that would be nice." She kicked off her sandals.
Josh squirted some lotion on his hands, then started smoothing it over Kathy's left foot. "A lot of people don't think about sunburning their feet, but it can ruin the whole vacation. It's hard to do much of anything if you can't wear shoes." He put some more on his hands and smoothed it up her calf, covering it smoothly in just a couple of strokes. "Burnt feet are the main reason SandandSea has Sun-block Caddies on ships like the Tropical Vacation." He stopped and looked at her. "I am not allowed to go up past the knee. You have to do that yourself. Make sure you get behind your knee, because boy, does that hurt if it burns."
Kathy watched as he got up and moved around to the other side and started on her right foot. While the lotion was pleasantly cool, and Josh's touch was firm, there wasn't anything sensual about it. Josh displayed the efficiency, and the emotional involvement, that he might have if he were waxing a car.
"This can't be all that great of a job, greasing up old ladies."
"You're not old. Seventy-five, now that's old. I use twice as much lotion, because it gets lost in the wrinkles. If you'll sit sideways, I'll do your back."
She swung her legs off the side of the lounge chair and lifted her hair so he could get her neck.
"And they're not the worst. The worst is big, fat, sweaty men with hairy backs." Kathy could feel Josh shudder through his hands on her shoulders. "It's almost enough to make a guy give up being gay."
Josh stood up and supplied lotion and advice to get Kathy completely covered, refused her offer of a tip as against company policy, and moved on in search of bodies yet un-slathered. Kathy returned to her reading.
After a while the warmth of the sun and strain of the trip teamed up, and Kathy felt drowsy. She lay her book on her stomach and closed her eyes.
"Shhh! Be quiet! You will wake her!" The voice was female, with some type of accent; the answering chuckle was male.
Kathy opened one eye very slowly. Her head was turned to one side, so that she was looking at the lounge next to her. A young woman was laying on it, looking up at a young man who was so close that all Kathy could see was the back of his thighs.
Those thighs, on the other hand, were worth seeing. Tight and muscular and bronze and glistening and Goodness! Kathy felt a warmth that had nothing to do with the sun. She let her head roll slightly, so she could scan upward. The thighs disappeared into a red speedo swimsuit so tight that Kathy could tell he had a mole on his left butt cheek. She wondered about what else the suit revealed. If he turned around, would she be able to tell if he was circumcised? Maybe not, but she would be able to tell his leanings without asking about his politics.
The woman on the lounge stretched out fully, and Kathy looked her over. She had black hair and skin that was a gorgeous golden-brown. It might become wrinkled leather when she reached fifty, but boy, did it look good on her now. Her eyes were behind sunglasses that did not look like they came from K-Mart. Her yellow bikini more accentuated and ornamented than concealed. The phrase, "Don't hate me because I am beautiful," popped into Kathy's mind, and she tried to follow it.
The woman pointed at the woven bag on the deck near her feet. "Roberto, my darling, I will burn. Please, the oil." The accent sounded Italian, the register contralto, the tone slightly pouty. Not hating her was going to be a challenge. "You will do me, then I will do you, no? Yes?"
Roberto went to the bag and bent down to look inside. Kathy would have gasped, but she had stopped breathing. He was magnificent! His black hair was curly, and glistened with highlights. His face would have made Michelangelo weep with joy. His shoulders were broad, his proportions perfect, his chest hair dark and just the right thickness. His abs were tight, without being rock-like. Again, Goodness!
Roberto produced a bottle of a golden oil and smiled at the goddess-in-training lying before him. "For you, Angelica, of course. Where would you like me to start?"
She let the lounge down so it was flat, then rolled with the grace of an otter. "I think my backside needs attention, no? Yes?"
"I would be happy to give your backside attention." He poured a line of oil up the back of each leg, from the ankle to the edge of her suit. Apparently Roberto was not going to follow the Tropical Vacation Corporate Tanning Policy Handbook. He set the bottle down so he could use both hands. He worked the oil in to her skin with strokes and squeezes that were more like massage than the ones Josh had used on Kathy earlier. Angelica made little pleased noises as Roberto rubbed her feet, then ankles, then calves.
When he finished with her calves he bent her legs up at the knees and sat down, straddling the lounge. He let her legs rest on his thighs as he applied additional oil to his hands. The position didn't look dignified or comfortable, but boy, did it look suggestive.
Roberto was being extremely thorough in his attention to Angelica's backside, now. He ran his hands up and down her thighs repeatedly, first both hands on one thigh, then one hand on each. He put even more oil on his hands and ran his fingers up under the edge of her suit, from the center out to her hips and back, over and over. Kathy tried to keep her breathing regular and sleep-like, but it was getting hard. And that made breathing difficult.
Roberto untangled himself from Angelica's legs, and knelt beside her, on the side farthest from Kathy. He poured the golden liquid onto Angelica so that it ran down and pooled in the hollow of her lower back. From there he spread it out, paying particular attention to running his fingers under the top edge of her swimsuit bottom.
When he continued his way up her back, he reached the strap holding her top on. He undid the catch, and moved that and the shoulder straps aside, so he could continue his very, very thorough job of protecting his lady from the ravages of the sun. He continued upward, up the neck and into the edge of her hair.
Without re-fastening her top, Angelica flipped over. She smiled as Roberto rubbed oil on her forehead, ears, and cheeks. He let a single drop from his fingertip come to rest on the tip of her nose. She made several silly faces trying to get it to move before he relented and smoothed it away.
He poured oil in the hollow of her throat, and then into her naval, before rubbing it in. It was easy for his fingers to get under her top, as it wasn't fastened, and so they went further, from the top and the bottom. He continued down her abdomen, and as he played his fingers under the top of Angelica's suit bottom, Kathy though she would faint. She had problems keeping her eyes focused as he finished applying oil to the front and sides, inside as well as out, of Angelica's thighs.
"Ah, so now it is my turn, to do you as you have done me." Angelica smiled up at him. "And you have done me so very, very well." She sat up, turning so Roberto could fasten her strap. As she did her gaze rested on Kathy. A little smile played at the corners of her mouth, as if she knew that the middle-aged tourist was not as asleep as she appeared.
Angelica took Roberto's hands and lead him around the lounge to stand next to her. She kissed him deeply, then picked up the oil and pour it across his chest, so that it ran down. She turned away and leaned back into him, seeming to dance as she used her shoulders to smear the oil over his torso. She started cooing, "Oh, Roberto, if we did not have to wear these suits I would dip myself in oil and be the brush to paint it on your body. I would slide on your skin like so, but it would not be my back that I would use." She spun and used her spread hands to push a wave of oil up his abdomen, over his chest, and onto his shoulders. She locked her fingers behind his neck and smiled up at him. "Or at least, I would use a different part of my back."
Kathy had seen enough. She sat up abruptly and fumbled to get her feet into her sandals. Then, muttering something that might have been a comment, might have been an apology, she fled past a shocked Joshua and out of the pool area. She heard Roberto's voice calling her, but she didn't slow down.
Martin lay on his back, his breathing slowly returning to normal. "Reveille, reveille, up-up all hands," he murmured, as he gently ran a fingertip down Kathy's naked back. She squirmed a bit, but didn't raise her head from his chest, or stop playing with his chest hairs. "That was the best wake-up call I have ever received. I'll have to take lots of naps, just so you can interrupt them."
Kathy looked about the room, which was in total disarray. She made a mental note to clean the suntan lotion imprint of her shoulders off the sliding glass door before the maid came in to make up the room. She felt a twinge of guilt at her behavior, so she quietly told Martin about what she had seen that inspired this late afternoon ravishing.
"Coo-coo-cachoo, Mrs. Robinson," Martin said, as he demonstrated his approval of her actions. "An artist such as yourself takes inspiration where she finds it." They practiced some more art.
Awhile later, "So you won't be upset if I sometimes call you "Roberto"?
"Honey, if you wake me up like that, you can call me "Angelica." He paused. "You won't mind if I occasionally call you "Seven of Nine?"
She smiled. "Resistance is futile. Prepare to be assimilated." And assimilate him she did.
Dessert had just been served when a waiter set up a stand next to the table, and placed on it an ice bucket containing a bottle of champagne. Roberto looked surprised.
"I do not believe we ordered champagne," he said as he looked at the label. A very expensive bottle.
"The champagne is a gift. They also sent this card." The waiter handed it to him.
Roberto read it, then handed it to Angelica. They looked at each other, and shrugged. Angelica asked, ""Thanks for a wonderful afternoon"? And who are "M" and "K"?