There’s just enough of a breeze to shift the curtains. I look down at the patchwork pattern of tile roofs and beyond, the glimmer of the sea, red-bronze in the setting sun. I mix a gin-tonic from the minibar. Cut a slice of lime for the drink and another to suck for the tart sweetness. The heat of the day rises with the rush of traffic heading home. The breeze brings a promise of cool and shadow from the mountains to the west. Cool where I am still damp from the shower, like a playful hand tugging at the thin cotton gown, I close my eyes listening to the stir of the curtains, the rustle of papers on the table, then further to the traffic below surging as the light changes, then further still to the gulls above the harbor. The knock on the door calls me back.
I hear the clink of ice as he sets his drink down. Footsteps across the room, the click of the door opening. I am framed in the doorway. His eyes narrow trying to unwrap me from the shadows in the hallway. Seeing only the cloaking of my shawl, a dark figure, one hand on the door frame, the other on a hip.
“Is that you?” he asks.
I tap my nails on the door jamb. Once, and then, because he hesitates, once more.
He steps back and I follow, step for step.
He stops at the fridge, gestures at his glass. “A drink?” he asks.
I walk past him to the window. Stand for a moment in the red light of sunset. Then let the shawl fall away.
She doesn’t answer. Just stands for a moment before the balcony door, then lets the shawl falls silently, careless as dropped shadow, around her feet.
Lit from behind, she glows in the last of the daylight. Hair like a short halo, her shoulders and waist etched in dusky rose, the single strand of gold around her neck like a chain of fire. Black bra and lacy, hi-cut panties.
I gesture to the glasses and ice, the bag of limes.
“There is only one rule,” she says at last.
“Just one?” I smile.
She takes a step toward me.
And then another.
“Just one.” I say, walking towards him.
Like dancers, we move step for step.
Me forward, him back.
The back of his knees are against the edge of the bed.
His cotton robe is loose and I can see his erection already lifting, caught against the fabric, seeking a way out.
One step more.
His breath quickens. The pulse in his neck beats strongly.