Paulo nods gratefully and starts up the boat. As we head back to shore Jenny is silent and I look at her to see that her skin is pale underneath her tan, and her eyes wide with shock.
“Are you okay?”
She shakes herself as though to snap herself out of it.
“Yes, it just freaked me out for a moment there when I couldn’t get any air…I just panicked. Silly really.”
“It’s not silly at all,” I correct her. “It’s a perfectly normal human response, I would say.”
She looks at me gratefully.
“I think I’m going to go home now,” she says. “I just want to curl up on the couch, eat ice cream and watch crappy movies.”
She looks at me expectantly and I sense that she doesn’t want to be on her own, but doesn’t want to ask.
“Would you like me to come with you? Ice cream and crappy movies sounds just great to me.”
“Thank you,” she smiles, as though I’m doing her a favor. I can’t actually think of anything I would like to do more than spend time on the couch with her, but I don’t dare tell her that. After all I’ve made it clear that nothing can happen between us, so why did it feel so natural, out there in the ocean, to have her in my arms?
I tip Paulo handsomely as we come ashore, although the money is now pretty soaked from my impromptu swim. He waves at us as we walk towards the ice cream kiosk.
“So, here we are again,” Jenny murmurs as we line up to order. This is where we kissed yesterday, and she isn’t the only one thinking about it. I pretend I haven’t heard her, even though the look of disappointment on her face wrenches at me. I know what she wants from me, and I want to give it to her like nothing on earth.
I buy two cones for us to eat on the way back and also a huge tub of raspberry ripple cheesecake flavor. I’ll regret the sugar overload later, but right now I just don’t care. Besides, sugar is good for shock, and as much as she is trying to hide it, I can see that Jenny is trying to hide how shaken up she is by the incident on the boat.
We’re both quiet on the way back, but it isn’t a wholly uncomfortable silence. I love being with her, in a way that goes beyond simple lust. Having her around just feels natural, as though she was always meant to be by my side. I try not to think that way, knowing the inner turmoil it will provoke as I wrestle with my desire with her in the face of the fact that she is my friend’s daughter, but there is an undeniable growing intimacy between us, and her falling from the boat has just brought it all to the forefront.
Because when I saw her take that tumble my first instinct was to dive in, and while I would like to think I would do that for anyone in trouble, the instant thought that accompanied that feeling was, my woman is in trouble.
I don’t know how much longer I can keep denying the strength of my attraction towards her.
Back at the house I find spoons and bowls and dish out the dessert while Jenny sets up the den and chooses a movie.
“Do you like romantic comedy?” she shouts through the house.
“It’s up to you,” I tell her although I groan inwardly. Not only is rom com not my thing, but sitting next to her watching a romance like we’re boyfriend and girlfriend? I’m having to exercise every ounce of self control that I possess as it is.
I hear her laugh from the den.
“I’ll take that as a no, then. Teen scream?”
I groan, loud enough that she can hear me and I’m rewarded with another laugh, muffled this time.
“Dinosaur action movie?”
Kill me now.
“Okay, that will do,” I give in, concluding that it can only get worse. Jurassic whatever part it is.
I carry the utensils into the den. She looks up at me expectantly as I notice that there is only one place to sit…next to her, on a soft suede sofa with fluffy cushions. I sit down, trying to keep as much distance between me and her as I can, then I dish out dessert as she switches on the movie.
“I’m going to get fat with all this ice cream,” she grumbles and I answer without thinking.
“Nonsense, you have a beautiful body.”
Jenny looks startled, and then blushes, a pleased smile playing at her lips.
“You really think so?”
“I shouldn’t have said that,” I mumble, settling into the cushions. I’m glad when she doesn’t respond but sits back and fixes her eyes on the TV as the credits roll. She kicks off her sandals and pulls up her legs and I try not to look at her perfect tanned feet with shell pink shiny toenails. I want to put them in my lap and rub them, then lift one petite sole to my lips and nibble it. I shove a spoonful of ice cream into my mouth to stifle the urge.