I have to confess that the woman unnerved me.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't the type of guy to get all freaked out around the opposite sex. I got along well with girls at school and dated and tried to scurry around the bases like any other guy in the throes of hormonal upheaval, but this was a woman. An older woman.
I realize that older is a relative term, so please don't get the idea that she was some prune- eating harpy with a walker. Had that been the case, I would have been aghast rather than unnerved. To me, anyone out of high school was older, and the fact that this one had left high school while I was still spitting up on my mother's shoulder made her older still.
I usually didn't notice older women. They operated on a different plane from mine and as a result scarcely registered to me in any significant way. I might look upon an older woman and appreciate her seasoned beauty and worldliness in an abstract way. I might at times envy her husband and hope that I might similarly luck out in the far distant future. So when this woman brought herself to my attention in the way she did, it disconcerted me.
The realization that something weird was going on with her came gradually. I was working as a lifeguard at the local outdoor pool. Lifeguards are trained to be observant, and what I observed was the beginnings of a pattern. My eyes would roam the pool and eventually stray to the water at the base of the chair and there she'd be, wading and occasionally smiling up at me. Not that a woman at the base of my chair was unusual nor was the smile in itself unwelcome, but the fact that this behavior repeated itself day after day struck me as a little curious. I preferred to think that it was a fear of drowning that explained her proximity to me, but it eventually dawned on me that the coquettish undertone of her smile might suggest something other than fear.
The pool manager led a little girl to my tots class.
"Steve, this is Carrie McGrath. She'll be joining your class."
"I kind of have my hands full with the kids I already have," I said.
The manager gave me a curious smile. "Mrs McGrath requested you specifically."
I looked past the manager and spied the now-familiar form of my aquatic stalker. She gave me a little wave.
Thus began daily lessons with the little girl who made the older woman a mother to boot.
I would tow little Carrie around the pool. Blow bubbles, I'd instruct her, and she would dutifully blow bubbles the way kids do, their lips barely under the waterline.
Moreso than any of the other parents I'd dealt with, Mrs McGrath seemed inordinately interested in her daughter's bubble blowing prowess and would frequently stop me with compliments on my way with children, on how well they responded to me, on how gentle I was with them.
The other parents couldn't have cared less how gentle I was, being happy to be rid of the buggers for half an hour.
On this day, Mrs McGrath watched us from a poolside bench, alternately scanning a magazine and observing our progress.
With the lesson over, she bent over to pull her squealing daughter from the pool, giving me a lingering eyeful of cleavage in the process. For a split second I could imagine burying my face in there.
"Thanks, Steve," she said, shaking me from my reverie.
"Thank you." It was all I could think to say.
It was one of those hot days in the early summer that bore the promise of heat waves to come. My skin soaked up the warmth. On a day like this, there was no better job and no better place to be.
Out of the corner of my eye I spied Mrs McGrath entering the crowded pool. From behind the mirrored sunglasses that were in vogue back then, I observed her approach while keeping my face studiously averted.
She waded to the front of my chair. "Hi, Steve." she said.
"Hi, Mrs McGrath."
"Beautiful day," she said.
She leaned back against the side of the pool and stretched her arms out on either side of her.
My perch gave me a good look down the front of her bathing suit. From the safety of my chair, I wasn't above sneaking a peek. She wore a polka dot bikini, the kind I thought only existed in song. I tried not to be too obvious in my ogling -- her breasts being justifiably part of my scan of the pool -- but she caught me looking more than once. I was positively fascinated by the slight buoyancy of her breasts and the way the water would pool and eddy between them. She would occasionally grin up at me. It was a grin at once friendly and, I thought, a little knowing and predatory.
She would later remind me of an anglerfish, dangling a delectable, tantalizing lure before me while I swam tentative circles around her, oblivious to the mouth that would happily gobble me up.
Her age notwithstanding, there was no denying Mrs McGrath's charms. She was a little taller than average and had a trim body. In fact, there were few women at the pool who could wear a bikini to such advantage. She wore her black hair in a ponytail that she draped over her shoulder, more often than not tickling the top of the breast that I tried hard to avoid staring at. Full hips flared nicely out from a narrow waist, tapering into shapely legs.
Another lifeguard relieved me and I swung down off the chair to find myself facing the dripping Mrs McGrath, wringing water from her hair. She flashed her teeth at me and I noticed a dimple on her cheek. I was a sucker for dimples.
"I'll walk with you," she said.
"I love your tan," she said, falling into step beside me.
This was in the days when a tan was a good thing, rather than a harbinger of melanoma.
"Occupational hazard," I said, congratulating myself on the suave response.
"You must love this job. Sitting in the sun all day with lots of beautiful girls to look at."
We walked and her hand brushed mine for a fleeting instant. "It has its moments," I said, growing uncomfortable.
"The young ones must be a welcome antidote to old hags like me."
She was far from being an old hag knew it. "What are you talking about? You're really pretty," I blurted, rising to the anglerfish lure like the most gullible guppy in the ocean.
"It's sweet of you to say so. You wouldn't know it from the way you look at me."
"Are you kidding? It's all I can do not to look at you."
We'd reached the staff room and I stopped.
"Really?" she asked sweetly, with a guileless smile that weakened the knees and caused a stirring in other parts. She leaned against the wall and crossed her arms, pressing her breasts together, accentuating the cleft between them.
I nodded, clearly out of my element and not trusting myself to speak. Look at her eyes, I told myself. I noticed that they were hazel and flecked with gold and nearly as intoxicating as the geography that lay south.
"Well in that case, you've just made my day!"
I smiled that I was happy having done so.
She leaned close to me, touching her bosom to my bare arm. It felt as though it was positively pancaked against me, though it probably wasn't. I asked myself how she could not notice. Maybe she did notice and didn't care. Maybe she was doing it on purpose. That was suddenly an alarming possibility.
Her spearmint breath blew hot in my ear. "Would you like to do more than look?"
I didn't think that I'd heard right. "Uh."
She looked suddenly abashed and backed away. "Think about it. By the way, you can call me Sharon."
Then she was gone.
The notion that a grown woman might be interested in me, and that her interest was completely devoid of innocent intent, was utterly unfathomable to me. I thought it more likely that someone was setting me up for a practical joke and that Peter Funt might jump out at me and tell me that I was on Candid Camera.
Things like this just didn't happen to me.
In the days that followed, I'd almost reconfigured the memory so that I now doubted that Sharon had ever approached me. In fact, of late, she scarcely ever occupied the space beneath my chair. I found, to my chagrin and confusion, that I missed her presence.
One day she approached me and asked whether I would mow her lawn. She seemed to have forgotten all about her proposition. I breathed a sigh of relief. There was nothing indecent or suggestive about her request, just a normal transaction between an older woman and a kid.
Her ex-husband, she explained, had lost all interest in the house she had wrested from him in the divorce, so she was on her own as far as maintenance was concerned. And that damned lawnmower was a beast to start.
I agreed, little knowing that an anglerfish had just deposited its lure firmly in my mouth.
She answered the door clad only in a long t-shirt. I could see that she wore nothing underneath by the way her nipples poked the fabric and how her every movement caused her breasts to sway and jiggle. The t-shirt bore the crest of Loyola College. I wondered what the Jesuits would think. The t-shirt barely made it to the tops of her thighs. Of course, I'd seen more of her at the pool, but somehow the sight of her that day made my mouth go dry.
"Hi Steve." She stepped back from the door and seemed to register my surprise and surmise its cause. "Forgive me, but I just got out of the shower," she said, fingering her damp hair. "I guess I lost track of time."
She prattled on about how her daughter was with the father, of how she enjoyed the peace and quiet and a little time alone on the weekends.
I followed mutely behind as she led me through the house to show me the shed where the lawnmower was stored. I found myself mesmerized by the play of her barely covered butt as she padded barefoot to the back door.
I fumbled with the lawn mower for a while, cursing it, the sight of Sharon leaning against the back door making me distracted and clumsy. I whispered a prayer of thanks when it finally sputtered to life and gave Sharon a small wave.
It proved to be brutally hot. As I wheeled the roaring mower around the yard, I wondered at Sharon's apparent wantonness. Did she always traipse around the house that way? Surely she could have gotten changed before my arrival. By the time I'd finished the front and back yards, sweat dripped off my nose and my shirt stuck to my back. I put the mower back in the shed and returned to the house.
"Can you do me?"
I stopped, surprised, thinking that I'd heard a question directed elsewhere. But no, the question was directed to me. Sharon lay on a lounger on a wooden deck bordered by tall cedars. The trees effectively screened the small area from the neighbors. On a small table, a glass of beer sweated in the heat.
She smiled innocently. "I'm not as flexible as I once was."
It was then that I noticed the bottle of tanning oil in her hand. I could feel myself flushing. "Sure," I said.
Her bikini had less to it than the one she wore at the pool. Whatever it didn't leave to the imagination I could easily fill in. With an easy motion she reached behind her back and untied the string of her top. I suddenly doubted her claim of inflexibility. She held the top to her chest and lay down.
It was a reasonable request, I thought. People were always slathering each other with oil at the pool. Perhaps I was just reading the subtext into it.
I knelt by her lounger and squirted the gooey liquid into my hands and rubbed them together.
I massaged the oil into her back. She purred contentedly as I worked from her shoulders to her lower back. She glistened and I confess that it wasn't my love of coconut aroma that caused me to massage her long after her skin had absorbed the oil. She was warm and responsive and I found myself thrilling at the feel of her warm skin beneath my hands. I worked my hands tentatively up her sides, fingertips brushing the bulges of her near-naked breasts where they flattened against the recliner. Nervously, I returned to her back and traced the lines of muscles that lay on either side of her spine.
"You have strong hands."
"Uh huh. Can you do the backs of my legs too?"
"Okay," I said.
I worked up from the ankles, over the tight swell of her calves and on to the backs of her legs. The flats of my hands rose to the edges of her bikini bottoms, thumbs hooked around the insides of her thighs.
This can't be happening, I thought as she purred her satisfaction.
I finally had to finish. Any more would have been indecent.
"You can grab us a couple of beers if you want. Or lemonade if you don't drink."
I couldn't stand for fear of revealing the erection that tented my shorts. "Just a second," I stammered, knowing that all the seconds in the world wouldn't be enough.
She smiled and lowered her head to her forearms. "Whenever you're ready."
She'd closed her eyes and I risked a quick dash to the kitchen. I returned with the bottles. As she reached for hers, she rose just enough to expose a breast and its pink tip.
"Thanks," she said, returning to her previous position.
I sat in the deck chair next to her and drank half of the bottle in one go to hide my agitation.
"Would you like to touch me?" she asked quietly.
My befuddlement must have been obvious.
"Come closer," she whispered.
She grabbed my wrist and placed my hand palm up on her lounger. She lowered her breast onto it. My hand was trapped. After a moment of paralysis I kneaded her softness experimentally.
A smile played on her lips. "That's nice."
A little while later, she turned to her side to give me more room. "Play with the nipple," she whispered.
I did as she asked, alternating between pinching, strumming, and rolling it between my thumb and forefinger. It grew hard and puckered.
I must have gotten carried away because she winced and said, "Gently."
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed her hand working down her side. With a quick movement she untied her bikini bottoms. She spread her legs slightly and slid her hand between the thin fabric and her buttocks. She lifted the fabric away and flipped it between her legs, exposing the twin mounds of her ass and a vee of untanned skin.
My mouth was suddenly dry and my heart tripped in my chest. This was going places I wasn't prepared for. I hastily removed my hand from her breast.
"I have to go," I said.
"Do you have a date?" She pouted prettily.
"That's a shame," she said. "Will you come again next week? For the lawn?"
"Yes," I stammered, relieved to have been let off the hook. "Of course."
On my way home, it dawned on me what I had done. I'd bailed on what could have been the single most exciting moment of my life. What a suck, I berated myself. What a sad excuse of a pussy. All the way home I cursed myself for my cowardice, and as the distance grew between myself and Sharon, I vowed that the next time would be different.
I didn't see her at the pool for the next several days. During that time, my failure grew to epic proportions. I was the king of the eunuchs. I'd let a golden opportunity slip through my fingers. What young guy didn't dream of an older woman to show him the ropes? It was the stuff of masturbatory fantasy. If I'd confessed my actions to my friends, they would have pummeled me for my cravenness and stupidity.
I breathed a sigh of relief when Sharon finally reappeared. She avoided the water when I sat in the chair, retreating to the deck whenever I took up my station. And on the deck, she chatted with a friend. As the day wore on, I realized that I would likely not get her alone.
As I ended my shift, I saw Sharon and her friend packing up their bags. I hurried to the deck and stood by her chair. My heart in my throat, I asked, "Do you need me to mow your lawn this week?"
Her brow furrowed. "I thought I might, but now I don't know," she said. Her disappointment in me was palpable.
I took a deep breath. "I promise to do a better job this time."
Her eyes searched mine. At last, she nodded. "Okay."
I had taken the step. There was no going back now.
I finished mowing the lawn and replaced the lawn mower in the shed. Sharon lay on her lounger, reading a book. Without looking up, she said, "Your money's on the counter."
I stood irresolutely at the foot of her chair. "I'm sorry I left last week."
She lowered her book. "You do know how to bruise an ego, but I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable. It's partly my fault."
"You surprised me," I said, grateful for the opportunity to shift the blame.
She studied me for a moment and I fidgeted under her scrutiny. "Would you be surprised now?"
"If you could go back, would you react differently?"
I had imagined nothing but a different reaction for the past week. "Yes."
She placed the book on the table beside her, apparently having come to a decision. She leaned forward and grasped her ankles. "Untie my top."
I hastily complied and pulled on the string at the nape of her neck and the one in the middle of her back. The bows unwound and released, dangling down her back. She lay back, the top held in place by little more than the fullness of her breasts.
"Now the bottoms."
My tongue worked in my mouth, trying to regenerate some of the saliva that had fled. I repeated the process on both hips.
"There's lotion on the table," she said.
I mutely grasped the bottle and flipped the top.
"This might work better if you removed the top."
I took a deep, steadying breath. After my shame of the last week, I wasn't about to flee this time. Besides, she looked tantalizing, tanned and lean and shapely. The perfect lure.
I placed a finger between her breasts and lifted the impossibly thin fabric clear. I noted with surprise that her breasts were tanned as well, indicating that they frequently saw the sun. Her small nipples sat atop each mound, puckered and tight. I'd heard of breasts described as proud. These, I noted, were of that ilk.
"And the bottoms."
She raised her hips and I slid the bottoms free. Unlike her breasts, her pubic area revealed a tan line, a narrow triangle of pale skin that framed a delta of downy pubic hair. She drew one leg up and leaned toward me. She placed a cool, small hand on my cheek. "There, that wasn't so hard, was it?"
It might not have been, but something else was.
I started at her shoulders and then moved to her arms, applying a sheen of fragrant coconut oil on her skin. I took a deep breath and moved on to her breasts. I ran my hands between them and then around the sides, returning to the top and then navigating their slope over and past her nipples. Her breasts glistened in the sunlight as the aroma of coconut enveloped us. I fondled her breasts, feeling their giving softness beneath my oil-slick fingers.
I'd never had the opportunity to explore a girl, let alone a woman, with such leisure and I took advantage of it. Her breasts felt wonderful beneath my slippery hands. Soft and full and yielding.
I reapplied oil to my hands and reluctantly left her breasts to anoint her sides and the soft well of her abdomen. The oil glistened on the fine hairs. At the lightness of my touch, she squirmed and giggled, a curiously girlish sound that did wonders to calm me.
I felt more comfortable now, so I sat at the foot of her lounger and perched one of her legs on my shoulder and then the other as I slathered tanning oil over their length, and finished by running my hand from her ankle up her inseam to just shy of where her legs ended.
With her legs done, I once again returned to her side and perched myself on the edge of her lounger.
"I think I forgot a part," I mumbled, still not fully believing what was happening.
I placed my hands on the soft flesh above the pelvic bone and traced the tan line to the middle until my fingers met at the hair that crowned her pussy. My experimentation with girls had given me a broad idea of the female anatomy and where all of the important bits were. Tentatively, I ran my fingers through the hair, up and over the pubic mound, and down to the soft folds of her pussy. My heart hammered in my chest. She lifted her legs and spread them slightly. Her labia cradled my finger and I slowly pressed until it disappeared within her moist hole.