Author: Regala Electra
Word Count: 7,060
Spoilers: S2, All Hell Breaks Loose
Warnings: Sexual Content, Language
Summary: Say you got a year to live. She always wanted to slip into another life entirely and when she sees him, she thinks for one night it can be more than another unfulfilled dream.
Author’s Notes: The fic known as my "summer loving/sex on a boat/ORAL sex on a boat" story. Thanks to vinylroad and ignited for doing some much needed audiencing of this story. Additional thanks for a beta a la Stef.
Say you got a year to live.
It’s a lie but it’s one that does her in.
Hook, line, and sinker, she grips the bench (plank, nothing more keeping her from getting knocked back in the waves). Feels foolish, the life preserver she's wearing is bulky but she'd insisted on it and managed to cajole him into wearing one himself. Somehow, feels that she's won a bigger victory there.
"Victoria," he shouts over the racket, loud motor after all, the sound of the water tearing open as they cut a wide swath, bubbling white foam over the dark, dark blue, "you got a great mechanic."
Assumptions, she'd told him to call her Vic, strike off her silly name, she should have been given a gender-neutral name, parents should have thought harder, maybe even picked a family name. Anything but Victoria.
She thinks of her sister Charlotte and how everyone's always called her Charlie. Yes, it’s jealously stirring deep inside (except where it’s envy, a persistent English teacher’s voice chirping in her head, the correct word is envy). Charlie’s the one with the pretty blonde hair and summer blue eyes, always golden-skinned, even in the dead of winter, where Vic trudges along swallow-skinned until the spring comes and her skin gets a little life, burns until she turns a gentle bronze, hint of sun-burnt red.
It’s always been Charlie, since before her sister came squalling out of Mom, a real tempest in a ten pound teaspoon (they were both big babies, everyone saying, they’ll be basketball players, but Vic stopped still at five foot seven and Charlie never managed past five foot four).
So there’s Charlie, pretty heartbreaker, cloud of drama clinging to her every which way, and then there’s the big sister, oh, Victoria, she's a nice girl and that's all that's said about her, ever.
She’s always wanted to be more than that.
“Thanks. But, um, I work on my boats by myself,” she tells him, wiping a lock of hair that's whipped into her mouth, tucking it behind her ear, trying to do it and look cute at the same time, probably failing, but she isn't going to let that stop her from talking.
Never did figure that filter from brain-to-mouth.
His tongue flicks out at that, lame pickup line probably in the works, but he decides to say, "Yeah? You felt the call of the engine or somethin'?"
“Yes," she laughs, because it's silly to think of it like that, but that's how she's felt, ever since she was first allowed (supervised) into the heart-guts of her grandparents' boat, screwdriver in hand, a mission to make it work. "I've been working on boats ever since I was no bigger that this,” brushes Dean's knee, it sticks out awkwardly, legs a little too long to be comfortable with the low seating.
She likes that: how he looks a little silly sitting in the captain seat she'd installed to the bench by the wheel, how he's tall and slightly bandy-legged, how he has an interesting cock-strut. That he'd even managed to stride down the rickety metal stairway to the peeling grey dock when she'd taken him to her home-on-the-water.
“I’m Victoria, Vic please,” she says to him, when they make introductions. That is, if she could manage a straight sentence before puttering off into an endless ramble. Habit, hard to break, her ability to wander off into the inane. Remembers her father chiding her once, get to the point.
“I'm Dean,” he says, like he’s handing her his whole life story on a plate only she’s too clumsy to catch it. And maybe that’s it, maybe it’s all she needs, a name to the face, build the who-what-where-why-how out of four letters, one syllable. Dean.
Still, it slips out of her grasp, falls over the pier, maybe it hits a seagull on the way to hitting the rippled surface of the water. Good. They’re pesky birds, too domesticated and too used to people.
Dean reminds her of seagulls, for a brief instant, way he holds his body, ready to take off at a moment's notice, same kind of hunger vaguely drawn across the lines in his face (shape of bones under skin, he doesn’t have wrinkles, still a bit too young for that and the lines appear only when he squints, it is a sunny day after all). She can tell that he’d never say no to food (or beer, he is a guy after all), that he has an appetite in all meanings of the word.
He’s parked in the boater’s parking lot, probably doesn’t care that his car’s grill nearly touches the hand-painted sign, warning that these precious spots overlooking the blue-brown-oil-slick bay are reserved for residents only. He, like his car, is made to break the rules. A beautiful car that gleams black and Vic has a weakness for the color (lack of color), the onyx gleam that could blind her (forgot her sunglasses back on the boat, always forgetting such things).
Yes, all she needs to know is that his name is Dean and he doesn’t mind signs when he parks, and, maybe most important is...that tall drink of water (tall scarecrow man, friendly green giant, thousand nicknames for the taller one, who seems to be eager to fade out of her memory, but even with her shoddy scattered thoughts, she notices him) standing beside him.
This handsome man by his side (another intro: my brother, Sam), is tall, too tall, like the grass-somethings that grew wild in a cornfield she once walked through as a child.
(They cut it down, cut it down because they needed another supermarket/department store/parking lot. Before the commercialism extravaganza, she used to wander across its barren fields, they called it the cornfield because nothing else fit, tall grasses bleached yellow-beige stretching to the open sky. The stories of polluted dumping came later. She remembers how no sane kid wandered in the cornfield after dusk, the story of a lost boy in the field was always whispered: how he never came home after dark.)
And she, sun-burnt, she has to respond to this Dean, turn this into a moment, tired of all the passing dreams, the ones she’s walked past because she’s too nervous about giving in, life’s too complicated. Takes the chance because she wants to have something more.
Here she is: arms aching from lifting the heavy crabbing cages of the Johannssons, sweet old couple, but in their eighties now, need all the help they can get in this changing world, impenetrable accents from the old world have only thickened over time. They’re champion crabbers who always share the softshell crabs when in season, Vic's own weakness, and she's happy to help them (tells them how it's a good excuse for exercise. After all, she’s no longer a part-time lifeguard, let her certification expire).
Oh, yes, she should say something to the incredibly handsome man who's smiling at her like he's got a thousand secrets but he's angling to show off whatever she wants to see, so she'd says, "Yes. I'm Victoria . Vic, um, Vic, please. That's what they call me."
Lie, no one calls her that. Always Victoria, but Vic, that's how she signs her name, elaborate dribbled loop at the end of the c, a half-hearted attempt of pretense at the toria that follows after, flourish doubling back, over the i (before she adds the little dot, dot your i’s and cross your t’s, her prim first grade teacher used to say), back all the way to the overlarge V, looming over its dwarfed sister-letters.
That’s her name—a splatter of ink, ink went flying when she filled out her driver’s license, always has to explain that one when flashing it at authorities, meekly explain, my pen exploded.
It’s an ink blot test too, the only boyfriend who last more than a summertime kind of fling was the only one who didn’t laugh, instead he ghosted his closed-cap ballpoint pen over the splatter, tracing the phantom Vic. She’d always wanted to amass all kind of identities, be more, that’s the thing of it.
Take the plunge in the mucky mess and live a complicated life. No, she’d never risk that.
He finagles a ride in her boat, convinces her with a smile, not a wink, though he’s capable of pulling that off without being cheesy (or maybe the cheesy is part of his charm, so earnest, one of the few people in the world can do that: make the superficiality works for him, easy open-faced lie).
His brother takes the car, drives off with Dean’s jacket in the passenger seat, leading her to ask him who wears leather in the middle of summer?
Humid New York weather, the cicadas will be coming soon, and their thunderous noise, eternal mating until September, warm Indian Summer that doesn’t quite fade until mid-October nowadays. Now in a time of Not-Jacket Weather, he wears far too many layers: undershirt long-sleeves flannel and then a jacket, worse it’s heavy leather well-aged and well-loved.
He has to have a streak of madness in him and she finds that, more than anything, gives her leave of her natural worry, allows her to invite a stranger to her home without wondering if she too has lost her mind.
Besides she really can’t argue against his jacket when he peels it off, two shirt layers clinging tight across his shoulders. It’s a distraction, that jacket.
Dean asks funny questions about one of her neighbors (they’re neighbors even if you’re living on a dock? he asks, amusement in his voice as he follows her down the metal stairway, noisy slapping of his boots on metal, her flip-flops a gentle smack).
She shrugs, then, raising a bare shoulder (it’ll peel tomorrow, she knows it, should have reapplied sunscreen after high noon), saying how she’d heard him taking off a bit too early in the morning, when it was still dark-dark, didn’t know why he’d do that. She’s a light sleeper and unfortunately tracks outdoor noises, storing them until she’s ready to mull over their secrets while indulging in a bowl of Shredded Wheat.
(Sugar and strawberries in her cereal, like she’s always eaten it, her grandmother handing it to her in plastic bowls, the color of tomatoes, of lemons, warped bowls that have been in the world longer than Vic.)
They’d gotten to the end of the dock, standing in front of her investment, her baby, her inheritance, an old Chris Craft thirty-four footer, never let her down since her mother carried her over the threshold, into the arms of her grandmother, golden-caramel gleaming as her grandfather turned the engine alive, her first trip offshore.
“My grandmother’s name,” Vic says, catches his smile and can’t help beaming herself. Someone else who gets the unintended Little Shop of Horrors namesake, almost as good as one of her former neighbors, who had an elaborate Mr. Peanut beside the ship’s name. Free advertising for Planters. “This is the second boat my grandpa named after her.”
“Got any killer plants?”
“No. I’m the one who kills plants.” She’d been born with the anti-green thumb, two of them, even manages to upend and ruin faux flowers.
“Good,” he says, mock-seriously. “They’re a menace to society.”
Dean slows down, seeing the grass seemingly rising out of the water, low dune there, can't get the whaler stuck. She isn't looking to lower oars and push out, hoping there's no rocks in the sand that'll do a number to the underside, it's in need of repair, been meaning to take care of it at the end of the boating season, when it's time to dry-dock her life until the spring blossoms warm sun and cold winds.
It's dim light, sure, near evening-dark, that curious light of eight o'clock in summertime, at least one more hour before things get really dark. Still, he bypasses the secret dunes, the shallows. Heads for a buoy, the faded beacon in the distance, smoothly averting the choppy path laid out by a reckless motorboat, a weekender no doubt, someone who falls apart when the motor so much as seizes.
Dean though, he'd figure out a way to fix things. God help her, the thought of him solving the puzzle of wires, that little dash of magic she’s always secretly ascribed to the process of making things work, oh yes, a warm tingle starts pricking its way down and down until it pools warm in her belly.
She has to shift, rub legs together, quick squeeze, beads of salt water, sweat and ocean spray, make her thighs a bit more slick that she expects. Her hips, always a little too wide, a little too noticeable, give it away. There's a sidelong look he gives her, sexy, sexy look and he knows it, lips curving into the promise of a smile.
"Good eyes," she tells him because she is terrible at small talk. “I would’ve smacked right into that dune.”
He's slowing to a crawl, not fair to say that they’re even going one knot as he looks her over. Damn him for looking so perfect even with the bulky lifejacket on, horrible orange though it may be, it almost flatters him, skin tanned from just being outdoors, faint freckles fading because of the sundown light.
She'd had poor vision once. LASIK surgery changed that about four years ago, but even now she feels that everything she's seeing has gone blurry around the edges, faint thrum of drunkenness. It’ like she's had a couple of rum and cokes, though she hasn't stocked anything in the tiny fridge in her galley beyond bottled water and pineapple juice. Healthy eating, she swore to herself. This summer it’s all about veggies and fruits and whole grains, the kind of stuff she secretly likes even though she finds it too hippie to chow down on a pile of greens in the presence of her steak-loving family, believers of eating it bloody and blue, not letting the meat spend a reasonable amount of time barbeque or stovetop.
What they’d think now of her venturing off with a stranger, well, they’d chalk it up to one of her flights of fancy, like the time she’d said she was going to hitchhike to Niagara Falls all by her lonesome, chuckling at how she was twelve. She never went, had the courage leaked out of her, cutting comments made her grow up awkward and unsure.
Took her years to realize she only feels that way on solid ground, here on the water, it’s a different story.
No anchor on the whaler, so they drift by the grace of the currents to the canals. She points out old fishing holes, literally, deep hidden places where the fluke like to gather. She hasn't found any big enough lately. Explains to him that they'd upped the size requirements to a ridiculous amount, she'd had to throw back a hearty fish near fifteen inches long, would've made a great dinner.
It was the last decent fluke she’d managed to catch. Nothing’s been snagging on her line plus she’s been getting her hook caught on the bottom of the surface and when she raises it up, she’s missing bait, the hook cleared off, pristine and shining in the light.
Dean seems to take an interest in that, so she continues on, happy not to be teased about her love of fishing.
"I like to fry them, doesn't matter to me that it makes everything smell like fish," taps the edge of her nose, "Firecracker accident. Everything else healed and thank god I didn't lose my hearing. That happens to most. I just can't smell anymore."
He leans in then, too close, to her neck, nose so close she could tilt forward and his lips would touch her skin, those beautiful lips, but all he does is take in a little whiff, barely makes a noise. Says, "But you wear perfume."
And she blushes, knowing it spreads across her cheeks, masked by the sunburn, but it's hot, and she agrees, "Yeah. You like?"
Her sister picked it out, after Vic had to pester her for a near week. Charlie tends to forget she’d been the one who let that little firecracker loose.
"Hmm," open mouth-kissed to her neck and she's gone, blotto, sucks in a breath. "I'll need to investigate. You don't mind?"
He asks that while he's unbuckling her life preserver and she feels awkward and hot and bothered but the only answer she has is, "Yes."
Stopping midwork and his lips open sweetly under hers. Breaks away. "That question need a no. You get that?"
"Yes. No. Fuck—"
"Yeah. Good point." Punctuation in a kiss that almost knocks her backward (or it's a wave or something, she's fallen before, learned how to have more than sea legs, call it sea equilibrium).
Sister of a storm, shaped into steadiness, still, so still, and it's this one, all bright and dark wrapped up, bastard who drives a whaler the same way he drives his '67 Chevy: like he's been doing it his whole life, he's the one that's making her gawky, unsure, wanting more.
He laughs into her hair (sun-streaked brown-blonde-something, mother called it "highlights" and she always confused it with the magazine as a child, no logical thought there), says, "Fucking near water. Like making love in a canoe."
He ruins the joke, she's heard it before, criticism of her coffee (then got called out for using Folger's Crystals and worst of all, decaf), but she can only break away, almost clacking teeth with him, his tongue, god, he really has a nice tongue and she wouldn't mind it elsewhere. Has to say to him, "It's a whaler. Completely different from a canoe."
He's agreeable, he's a guy, he's about to get laid, so his compliance is understandable. Vic can't think what will the neighbors think? because it's dim now, dim enough to get away with something she hasn’t even dared to dream.
He’s spoken its base name: fucking. The location: near water.
She revises it in her head: on water.
They're under one of the overpasses now, a little bridge to somewhere else, drifted here on purpose. Vic wishes she had an anchor, could stay here, well, till the pre-dawn fishermen started coming to their not-so-secret fishing holes.
Preservers stripped off, distant memory of a grandfather and stern words, never supposed to be without it on, you never know. She pushes them underneath the bench with her foot, can't lose them, somehow important (more than this?).
Skims her skin like his fingers are dancing over the surface of the water, seeking to make ripples that’ll echo underneath.
She’s balanced on the bow’s bench seat, barely sitting on the edge of it, has to hold the metal bars of the bow rail to steady herself as he pushes her legs apart.
“No, don’t be shy,” he murmurs, runs gentle circles smooth over the tops of her thighs.
Shy, what’s shy? He’s bent down over her there and anyone could see them, oh god, shy must mean something else, can’t believe he wants to, like she’s doing something for him.
The waves are only undulating gently, good thing, almost giggles at the thought of him getting knocked off balance then worries, doesn’t think it’s possible, can’t be and then his fingers make their way, inch-by-inch to the center of her, pressing carefully. Dean’s testing her and all Vic can do is bite her lip, swallow down the noises she can’t believe she wants to let loose.
“Are, are you sure?” Whispers it when she sees him breathing deep, the smell of her, can’t understand why he’d want to, too much of him is this puzzle and she’s never been good at figuring them out, despite buying too many, leaving them unfinished, stacked up in her closet when she was younger.
“That’s funny,” he says and she doesn’t get to ask what’s funny because his tongue’s on her and she can’t help it, bad thing, to be this noisy, echoes off the water. Can barely make it out, maybe hears it more against her skin, when he explains, “You thinking that I haven’t been waiting to do this to ya.”
“You knew you wanted to eat me out?” Her eyes widen, mouth falls open, shocked at her own brazenness. Wants to yank her panties back up, or jump overboard, swim to the closest shore and head off, can’t believe she actually said that.
“Say you got a year to live,” he says, strong hands keeping her from flopping off the boat, against her better wishes. “All kinds of stuff I want to do.”
Doesn’t want to believe him, he isn’t dead-serious about it, if anything, there’s a bright look in his eyes, if she dared it, she’d reach down, touch him, his dick’s probably hard, but she can’t risk that. Already half-naked in public, exposed to world, to the sea and the sky, cannot picture really doing it.
Fucking on water.
“I don’t want to get caught.” Admits it, shame burning her hot, doesn’t help that she’s wet too and that he’s noticing, two fingers rubbing just outside of her, waiting for her to give him the word.
“What’s the fun in that?”
Pauses. Never considered that, the fun, always too wrapped up, living her life in her head and nowhere else.
“What?” Deep breath, no time but the right time and that’s now. “What do you want me to say?”
“Whatever you want.” Kisses the inside of her thigh and it’s all she can do not to thrust up into his face. “Or if you have anything you’d like done to ya, I’d be happy to help.”
God. If he laughs at her, she’ll fall apart. If he doesn’t, she’ll fall apart, only it’ll be good. “Lick me?”
“Oh yeah. And then some.”
Shoves her fist in her mouth, leaves fierce bitemarks, and it barely muffles half the noises she makes. Still, when he helps her back to the middle of the whaler, pulling her soaked panties up, wraps an arm around her, she feels out of place, an impostor in someone else’s story.
Only lasts for a few moments, kisses the taste of her in his mouth, gasping when he says, “Damn, I think we need to go back to your place.”
Stupid drunk-giggle, never wanted to admit that she has one, but she does. “This is my place. My backyard. I’ll drive you back to the house.”
Tries to stand up and nearly pitches over, he steadies her, laughs when she tells him how cute his legs are.
“S’okay, I can do the driving.”
"Out of the cradle, endlessly rocking," she recites, giddy. Sprayed with water and still wet between her legs, she's squeezing her legs shut once more. Holds the board of the bench so tight that if she hadn't sanded and oiled the wood down herself she'd probably be getting splinters right about now.
"What?" Even over the roar of the motor, he must've caught some of that, probably sounds like madman's words to him and well, he's not wrong.
"It's a poem."
Then, they stare at each other, mere split second and she laughs, suddenly without help in sight, no way to stop, breaking contact with the hungry look in his eyes. Feels stupid, quoting Walt Whitman, horrible reminder that she's always going to be a local, not a townie. Her life is too seasonal to be quite that, but she can't even be artsy without cribbing from a Long Island poet.
Vic lets him tie up the boat, impressed by his easy handing of the rope.
“You weren’t a Boy Scout, right?”
“Uh, no.” He stands on the dock, easily adjusting to the change, rubs the back of his neck. “Not a fan of shorts. Or kerchiefs.”
As he helps her out of the boat, she tells him how she used to believe that there was a monster in the bay, but, she jokes, pollution must’ve killed the sea beast. Only things in the water now are the barnacles and eels.
She says, laughing, that once a sea robin fish fell into her grandfather’s fishing boat when she was ten, ugly, hateful thing, inedible to add insult to injury, and she’d freaked out, shrieked to high heaven but after that little display, she’d never been freaked out by undersea critters.
She unzips the canvas covering to her boat and climbs aboard, Dean following after, boots thumping loud on the deck.
“And fried eel is delicious.”
“Anything fried is awesome,” he agrees and he’d probably be agog at the sprout salad she’d planned for dinner, the fat-free Jello waiting next to the freezer section of her mini-fridge. Girl-food and she knows it, but there's a reason why she's still able to fit into her lifeguard swimsuit even though she purchased it nearly four years ago, sexless thing that it is, tank that barely shows off her collarbone, covers her hips enough (too much), doesn't ever ride up her ass, her sister calls it a nun's bathing suit.
Because she’s a fool and doesn’t know what to do next, fidgeting, she blurts out, “Um, are you hungry? Or thirsty?”
She warns him to duck his head, says it the way her grandmother used to say and tries not to be bothered by that.
He's more interested in inspecting her ancient salt-and-pepper shakers, ugly identical faces of a wizened old seafarer: a hook nose and jutting chin-beard, only difference is that one's dressed in fisherman yellow slicker and the other's in captain's navy blues.
Vic offers him a beer, surprised when she finds more than one, almost odd to be handing him Samuel Adams Oktoberfest beer in the middle of summer.
He's still taking in her home, noticing the Cutty Sark on the dividing sill between the pullout bunk beds and the galley, a model that she's repaired herself. He chuckles at the little clear-green alien wedged onto the deck, legs stuck over a little barrel so he can't move. Dean flicks his green eyes over to her, watches her through the sails, and for a moment, she pretends to be a giant, lording over Lilliputians or something, and not a little green alien that she got ages ago from an ex, maybe, at an arcade, one of those cheap five tickets for a prize gifts that happens when you're stupid and in love and everything means something.
"That's pretty cool," Dean says, runs a finger along the plaque proclaiming it to be a limited replica.
"Thanks," she says, handing him the beer, realizing at the last moment that she forget to pop off the cap but he does it with little fanfare. Pops it off in his hand, takes her a moment to realize that he uses the ring on his finger to bear the weight of yanking the bottle cap off.
The bedroom at the bow, without anything to separate it from the rest of the living quarters, is distracting enough, thinking how they're going to fit there, it's just barely six foot across on an angle and he could be a bit bigger than that, she's terrible with heights. There's only taller than her, same height, and shorter than her.
"Endlessly rocking," Dean quotes back to her, lets loose a deep laugh when he nearly whacks himself in the mouth with the bottle as a hard wave hits against the boat.
It's a damn good thing that Vic's a natural at packing up and bolting things down. The only thing that tips over is her driftwood napkin holder, overwhelmed with glued-on seashells.
"Ooh, someone's asking for trouble," Vic says, kneeling on the bench and peering out of the window. She can only make out the lights in the distance, the houses alongside the other side of the bay.
"Looks like," Dean says but when she turns around, he isn't looking outside. Broaching a new subject, hesitating, he asks, "So, when you were a kid, were you ever freaked out by what's in the water?"
"I didn't see Jaws until I was about eighteen," Vic offers. "It's, um, well I didn't know that you were supposed to be that freaked out about sharks. But I always had an over-active imagination, so one thing leads to another, you start dreaming about Swamp Thing lurking in the water. But I still had no problem seeing my grandpa gut eels."
Oh God, that's the wrong thing to say, chides herself the moment it slips out only Dean doesn't seem to be grossed out by it, her inability to be coy, to not be a freak, here she is, bragging about being a kid and liking to see eels gutted.
She can't ever say out loud how beautiful a skinned eel looks, when it's been properly cleared away and naked, the firm flesh glistens like an iridescent rainbow, pretty coiled remains of a nasty critter. Once she tried to tell her sister that and only got an ewwww in response. People are wired to think like Charlie, she knows it, has accepted it, but she still can't help running off her mouth.
"Eels, huh? So long as you don't smoke 'em, they're pretty good. Shark's nasty though."
“Isn’t it?” Stupid to say it, leaves a weird silence, he’s turning his head this way and that, pokes at the painted lampshade, tilting it off-center.
“Pudding,” she cuts in.
“Would you like some?”
The air conditioner starts at the ground and works its way up. When she walks up and down the aisle of her living space, she always wonders why her feet get so cold, forgetting the chilly air’s bearing down right on her feet.
Vic wiggles her toes and wonders if his own feet are cold, he hasn’t complained yet. In fact, all he says is that he’d love some pudding and when she goes to get up, sliding off the settee, she feels like someone else entirely. Casts a glance back at her bed and thinks he’s going to be pushing her back there soon, he’s waiting her out, just like she does when she’s got her line in the water, all the time in the world, even though that isn’t true.
She has nothing planned out. Not even with the big life plan that everyone asks her about. If she did, she’d tell people that she wants to life in sin with a cop or maybe a firefighter, probably have an Irish or Italian surname. You could swing a dead cat and knock over scores of guys with that kind of job and background in the neighborhoods she knows best. She doesn’t get that saying about the dead cat so of course that saying always sticks in her head.
And, she’d tell to the person who’s so interested in making sure she’s got a script to follow, that she’s never winging it, she’d never get married because there’s never been a dream about children, and she never got stupid love, so she’ll be with the guy who doesn’t take his job as a calling, because he’ll be biding his time until early retirement, the word pension on the tip of his tongue. It’ll be an unremarkable life, but she’ll love it anyway.
If she had a bitter lump in her throat while she’s saying that, she’ll lie some more until they leave her be, let her live out her own goddamn life.
But this guy—man—Dean, he’s made to be extraordinary. And that’s something, which after tasting just a little of it, that frightens her. Too rich for her blood but she wants, yes, she wants to take the risk.
But first, the small talk. Let him sweat it out a little more before she jumps him.
She only has tapioca pudding left, Jell-O pudding cups, and they eat them on the covered deck. They sit in navy blue director chairs, the canvas sagging thanks to countless dock parties, she’d always set up a table with four chairs in front of her boat, deck of playing cards and a bottle of rum waiting for additional players who were thoughtful enough to bring the Coke.
Vic pointedly tries not to look at his mouth when he licks the last of the pudding off of his spoon. Noisily, which distinctly reminds her of other noises he’d made when he’d gone down on her.
Her throat constricts and she has to pucker her lips, forces a dry swallow. Says excuse me and gulps a half bottle of a small Fiji water.
Then she shucks off shorts, takes her panties off, zipping her shorts back on. Let him discover that all on his own.
While she’s down below, putting the water away, Vic thinks she hears whispering, two voices murmuring low, but when she peeks her head up, pushing the little door open all the way, there’s only Dean there. Still seating, lazy bowlegged sprawl of his legs and well, she can’t help it. Her gaze flicks to his crotch and she’s so busted.
But his grin takes her breath away, when she manages to look back up. Elbows resting, steeples his fingers, raise of his eyebrow. Broad-shouldered and cocky and dammit, she’s lost her nerve, frozen on the spot, halfway up the stairs.
“You comin’ up here to sit on my lap or do I hafta chase you?”
God. She wouldn’t mind either option but she parrots back the last one, sealing her fate. “Chase?”
It’s a short chase and hey, it’s never been the pursuit part that’s worth it, it’s the catching.
Have to be careful, not a lot of space, first starts off with reckless almost teenager-style kissing, the kind of making out that she’ll never grow out of, clothes slowly getting stripped away. By the time he’s pushing her onto the bed, careful to make sure she doesn’t hit the back of her head, she’s naked and he’s still got his jeans on.
The belt, that’s the first thing to go, she finally does it, wedges a hand between them, feels him through denim, gasps in his mouth, “Oh.”
They’re stuck in fixed angles, not a lot of moving, almost like screwing around in the backseat of a very big car. Thinks: everybody out of the pool, grew up with that saying, thinks it even when she’s the only one getting out of her car.
That thought gets sucked away when his mouth fastens to her nipple, twists the other one, gentle pressure, not enough to hurt.
Can’t believe it, feels like she could come all over again. Murmurs, “Please, Dean.”
“Nah, don’t be polite.” His hand’s on her again, the short curls, dipping lower. “Tell me.”
“I want—” Oh, how clichéd this is, but there’s something to be said for simplicity so she just rolls with it, thrusting up against his hand, “I want you to fuck me, Dean.”
“Good, we’re on the same page,” he says, whispering it in her ear, knows it gets her shuddering. “God, you took off your panties just for me, didn’t you? Admit it.”
“Wanted,” wanted all this, “you to find it.”
“I don’t miss much,” he says and it’s probably true in a lot of ways, except where it isn’t.
“Christ,” Vic moans, helps push his jeans down his legs with her feet, gets it down his knees, he manages to get them off all the way, has no idea how, good thing is that she can feel his dick, so hard for her. She has to touch, surprised at the way his eyes flutter closed, long eyelashes that take her breath away.
Drunk all over again on him, this time runs her hands all over, connects the dots of his freckles across his shoulder, jokingly licks the tip of his nose after he bites her bottom lip, groaning in her mouth.
Gets a surprised laugh out of him and she brings him even closer, not that hard, can’t move around that much, wraps her legs around his hips, shimmying her hips, wants him inside now.
When he finally slips inside, breathes her name out, the whole of it, Victoria, and finally she feels really like a Victoria, but the second she pushes against him, hard, and he blurts out, “Fuck, Vic,” then she remembers herself.
That doesn’t mean that he goes stupid, no, he doesn’t pump into her, slows down, his hands splay her thighs wider, opens her up and then, oh, he almost pulls out all the way, she’s prepared to whine, beg him not to and then he thrusts back in and she nearly comes from that.
Beads of sweat are rolling off of them and that weird necklace of his gets in the way, she has to push it off to the side, keeps a hand on his neck, other on his ass, amazing ass, she wants to say, tell him, maybe see him flash another smile.
She’ll be sore tomorrow but it’ll be worth it, he’s got her spread so wide, touching her clit with one finger, and yes, she’s almost there, has to say, because it’s almost there, “Please just a little more. Harder.”
“Mmm, fuck, okay, yeah,” every breath comes like a comma between the words, grunts through almost-clenched teeth, eyes slitted nearly shut, Vic can still make out the green of them.
“Dean,” she cries out, rippling around his dick, bucking hard when she comes.
He comes inside her during her let-down from orgasm, that sluggish descent back towards reality, his mouth sucking on her neck, no words needed.
They stay there a long while, he eventually slips out, but he’s still on top of her and when he tries to lessen the brunt of his weight, she stills him, says, “No, no, you’re not hurting me.”
Can feel his pulse’s still wild despite the blissed-out look on his face.
“I’m happy,” she tells him when, much later, he’s searching for his boxer-briefs in the near-dark, morning still lazy, the sun’s climbing across the sky slow. She could peek out of the curtains and tell what kind of day it’s going to be, whether it’s a good idea to refuel her whaler and do a spot of fishing, but she’s got plenty of food for the time being.
“Yeah?” Flash of the cockiness, he’s going to tell her something like, yeah, I bet you are but he shakes it away, instead kisses her, strange how thoughtful it is, he’s seeking something himself, only she never quite figured out what it was, repeating in her head is this: say you got a year to live. How he’d look almost embarrassed that he’d said it, knowing how it should be taken, but she knows better. A lie doesn’t leave a person exposed. Gasps into his mouth and for that, he thanks her.
He leaves her in those waking hours, a final kiss that she isn’t able to draw out. It sends her off in that warm embrace of early morning sleep, seeps lethargy deep in her bones.
Still, she dreams, strange dreams, half-shadowed almost.
After she’s brushed her teeth and feebly washed the wreckage of last night’s makeup off her face, feeling stupidly exposed like a few choice touches of makeup can act as war paint, ready her for anything, she rifles through the low cabinet, not enough Shredded Wheat for a decent bowl—how does that always happen to her? —she almost says huzzah when she realizes she’s got enough for a big bowl of Granola Nuts.
Because she is the only person under the age of 50 that actually looks forward to eating Granola Nuts. Though in her case, it’s because she finds it delicious.
Chewing on her first bite, she winces when she realizes her bra’s hanging from the lamp. And then, flashbulb moment, she remembers waking up from the dead of night, hearing something awful, a roar, but only watery, that’s the only way to explain it. A watery howl of something monstrous.
Shudders, remembers her theories when she was a kid, always intently researching about the Loch Ness monster, thinking that there was something in the bay, only she was never scared, not really. Just curious.
And now, her curiosity’s gotten the better of her, because she’s trying to remember why she thinks she woke up in the darkness to a dripping scuba-clad man beckoning Dean up top, his face hidden in shadows and distorted. Man, that’s a weird dream.
She should ask Charlie about it. Her sister’s always been good at deciphering the most arcane information.
Leaves a voicemail message for Charlie, omits that she had someone sleeping over, Vic never discusses those details, “I dreamt of like Scuba Steve wandering around on my boat and arguing with some...um, with a guy. Really weird. Call me back? ‘Bye.”
The visuals always come first, even with the garbled noise. Could have sworn in her dream she heard Dean say Sam, what are you doing here? But that’s just crazy. Or too weird for her to think about.
It’s too late to go fishing this morning and she starts up a checklist in her head. First things first, after she washes out her bowl, she’s going to put on her swimsuit and her ratty old shorts. Sunscreen after she puts on some makeup, the waterproof mascara’s getting old, she has to buy once she leaves Wantagh Bay Park. Needs to pick up some bait for later in the afternoon, when the tide’s just right. After she brings the bait back home, she’s going to do some laps at the pool, work out her sore muscles.
And after? She’s going to ride her whaler out, far as it can go with the gas half-gone, and then she’s going to jump in the ocean.
She has years to live after all and maybe it’s time to start living a little more dangerously.
When she picks up her keys from the table, she notices that her salt and pepper shakers have vanished. Well, they would look pretty bitchin’ on a dashboard of a ’67 Chevy Impala.