Sometimes loving a little interaction isn’t enough to keep it in a book. But you may notice I pick through the bones of things I omit for things to leave in, albeit in a different spot.
When I thought about this scene, the only real reason I could think of to leave it in was – Audrey licks Isabelle’s palm in a stupid childish way which made me laugh when I imagined it. And alas, that’s not quite enough reason to remain.
Oh, and in case you’d forgotten Schwartz (who never actually appears on page) he’s the other pilot, and in early drafts there were always two pilots on duty. That got culled because it made it too damned hard to have innuendo and a certain scene in the plane…
And the usual caveat – being a deleted bit this isn’t really edited.
For some God-unknown reason, Mark decided he just had to come to Orlando with me—something about sunshine and…blah blah meh. All I heard was My presence means you have to police your Audrey-ogling. Joy. My meeting with a new client that I’d thought would run until after dinner drinks was cut short by the client’s family emergency. Audrey and Schwartz were out to dinner and having an unofficial meeting to revise procedures and other plane things. Mark was doing Mark things and not answering his phone. Hello, free evening. Alone.
Instead of waiting by myself in the room until Audrey was done doing safe-pilot stuff, I stripped out of my skirt suit, slipped into a bikini and wandered down to lollygag by the indoor pool under the UV lamps. Nobody paid any attention when I rolled onto my stomach and untied my bikini top to smooth out my tan. The warmth and gin the waiter kept bringing lulled me, though I was prevented from falling asleep by thoughts of Audrey.
Dear Father, it’s been three days since my last assisted orgasm and about three minutes since I last thought about her tongue inside me.
A little after 8 p.m., my cell sounded with a text. I reached for my phone, almost knocking my drink over. Bad Isabelle. Thou shalt not waste gin.
Audrey Graham: Where are you?
Isabelle Rhodes: Pool. Come find me.
Ten minutes later, the scent of her perfume hit me. I turned only my head, careful to keep my bare breasts pressed against the lounge. I was rewarded with the delicious sight of Audrey in a bikini. Tanned, toned, hair loose and her stance confident. Oh, help. I forgot myself and lifted my head up further to enhance my view, almost exposing myself to the small crowd around the pool who all suddenly seemed very interested in her arrival. Or maybe the potential of an appearance of my bare breasts.
My stomach curled with that wonderful smug feeling of knowing the person who other people were admiring was with me. It was disgustingly shallow because I knew that she was far more than just the sum total of her physical attributes. But her physical attributes were fucking amazing and all mine. Wait, no, she wasn’t mine.
“I’ve never seen you in swimwear before,” I said dumbly.
Audrey tossed her towel on the lounge beside me. “No, you haven’t.”
“It’s surprisingly hot, considering how it covers things I’d rather see uncovered.” I looked at all those covered things, mentally stripping the scant fabric away.
“There’s plenty of time for that later,” she said conversationally.
Yes, please. “Do me back up?”
Fingers slipped over skin as she tied my bikini top so I could roll over. I flung my arm up to shield my eyes against the bright indoor lights. “Did you get the key card I left at the front desk?”
Her eyes roamed unapologetically over my body and her smile was pure innocence. “I did. Not exactly sure why I’d need a key to your suite?”
I forced a casual shrug. “In case you get night terrors.”
“You’re very thoughtful.”
“I aim to please.”
“You’re flushed,” she observed.
“Must be the lights,” I countered.
“Mmm, must be. How was your meeting?”
“Good, dinner was cut short. Yours?”
“Productive.” She looked away, biting her lower lip. “That water looks really good. You going to come in?”
I shook my head. “I actually don’t really like swimming. I’ll watch.”
“I’m sure you will.” Audrey slid into the pool and dived under the surface. When she came back up again she was two-thirds the way across the length. She settled into a freestyle rhythm, moving as effortlessly through water as she did out of it. Long limbs, strong and graceful. I stared as she swam laps, and I thought very naughty things.
Unconsciously, my hand came to rest on my stomach and made its way up towards my breasts. Some part of my brain mercifully realized that I should perhaps not play with my own breasts in public, and my hand fell back to my side. Audrey chose that exact moment to climb out of the pool. She strolled towards me, wringing water out of her hair. You could have plucked her up and dropped her in the middle of a modeling shoot and nobody would bat an eye. Fucking stunning. Every cell in my body agreed.
Audrey collected her towel from the lounge beside mine with a slow, teasing bend over and when she turned back to me her smile was brilliant and her voice rougher than usual. “Is there a problem?” She toweled herself, each movement that of a woman who knew how sensational she looked and owned it with confidence.
“Yes.” The tension from my restraint was almost comical. I cleared my throat. “Are you done?”
“Nowhere near it,” she assured me.
“You’re such a tease.”
“You love it,” Audrey shot back at me.
“Yes, I do. Can we go now?”
“I suppose so,” she said, the model of indifference. But her eyes betrayed her want.
I scrambled off the couch and grabbed my things with the speed of a kid who’d just been told they were going out for their favorite food. When we were safely enclosed in the elevator, I was tugged towards her and kissed like she hadn’t seen me in months. Hands snuck beneath my wrap, threatening to slip under my bikini bottoms. The elevator chimed. Damn it.
Audrey released me, and slid backward through the open doors. “I’m going to fetch my bag and take a shower. I’ll be up in fifteen minutes.”
I nodded and managed to catch my breath enough to beg, “Don’t be too long.”
Audrey was inside my room and sans most of her clothing in thirteen minutes. I really do enjoy punctual people. Foreplay was short and rough, both of us desperate for one another. “I missed you,” I murmured, tugging her panties off and settling myself between her thighs. Fingers were tangled in my hair as I bent my head to dive in when someone knocked on the door. Who the fuck? I lifted myself up.
Audrey’s hand tightened in my hair. “God, no. Don’t stop.”
Mark’s slurred voice came from the other side of the door. “Belle? You in there?”
Audrey groaned in frustration, and I launched up and clapped my hand over her mouth. If he heard her, it could be catastrophic. She licked my palm—childish—and I withdrew my hand immediately. She snorted a laugh.
“Shit,” I whispered.
“Belle?” More pounding on the door.
“Yeah, I’m coming.” Close to but not quite. “Hang on.” I stared at Audrey. “Hide somewhere,” I urged her.
Shoulders shaking with now thankfully silent laughter, she rolled off the bed and lay flat beside it, hidden from view. I jumped off the bed and rushed to the door, wiping my mouth and grabbing a towel on my way past the bathroom. I wrapped myself up, taking a quick glance around. I set her suitcase in the bathroom out of view, and then surveyed the rest of the room.
There were clothes strewn around like someone had been performing a vigorous bachelorette party striptease. I gathered up her pants and distinctive uniform shirt and tossed them into the bathroom. A quick moment to make sure I was fully covered, a glance through the peephole to confirm it wasn’t a Mark Impersonator, and I unlocked the door. “Hey. Didn’t expect to see you ‘til the morning.”
Mark rested a hand high on the door frame. “Heyyyy. Yeah. What’s going on?”
“What do you mean?”
“Heard something weird.”
“Oh, that. I was just…doing some Pilates.”
“At nine at night?”
“Gotta keep this bod in shape, you know. Gotta keep myself on those lists. Just taking a workout where I can get it.” I cleared my throat. “What was it that you wanted?”
“You all right?” He leaned to the side, peering through the small gap I was holding open and I could smell the scotch seeping from his pores. Seemed like I should be asking him that question. He must have been drinking since lunch. Christ.
I moved sideways to block his view. “Yeah, fine. But I’m kind of wearing a towel here, Mark.”
“Thought you were working out…” Drunk eyebrow furrow, cogs not working.
“I was, just finished and about to jump in the shower.”
“Hmm. You wan’ come get a drink? I gotta talk to you about something.”
I tightened my grip on the towel, smiling like a patient parent. “Smells like you’ve already started.”
Mark shrugged, giving me a wonky drunken smile. “Just a bit.”
“I’ll pass, but thanks. I was going to go to sleep after my shower, else I would. I’m wrecked. Can we talk tomorrow?” I hoped he was drunk enough that he wouldn’t question why I was sleeping so early.
He nodded absently, eyes half-closed. “Sure.”
“Mhmm. I’ll see you then. Go drink some water.”
“‘Kay.” He straightened up, hand still on the door frame. I peeled his fingers off the wood, shoved him gently, gave him a little wave and closed the door on him. My skin buzzed with adrenaline from almost being caught. I turned around and leaned against the door for a moment, gathering my wits.
Audrey popped up from beside the bed, laughing hysterically. “I feel like we’re teenagers, sneaking around.”
I pushed off the door and peeled off the towel. “I don’t remember sneaking around as a teenager being anywhere near this stressful.”
“Stressful? Oh, honey, I’d hate for you to be stressed. Maybe I can help…” She climbed back up and settled on her back, left knee bent with her foot flat on the bed. Just the right pose to show me what I’d left behind when I’d had to answer the door.