Two women, one blond and one brunette, perfectly shaped for male adoration, sat in a bar overlooking the Mediterranean, on a night full of stars. They sipped their drinks and watched the lights of the boats as they bobbed by. The summer evening was astoundingly hot which large fans battled with minimal success, and the women wore tube tops with their shorts and sandals to diffuse the heat. Their tanned bodies testified to long hours in the sun, although the blond's tan lines showed her exposure was more demure than her friend's. Both wore their hair up: the brunette wore a head band that kept her bedraggled mop away from her face and leaping up like a rare bush; the blond's was in a more demure bun that lacked complete commitment to order. A bottle of Maccabee beer sat in front of the brunette while a bottle of Coke rested on the table before the blonde. Their hands were rough, having dug in dirt for several weeks for remnants of lost civilizations.
The small bar was half full: a large group of young men and women around 18-20 were having a raucous gathering, a single man with dark features was at the end of the bar sipping from a cup, and two middle aged couples sat around a table far away from them near the kitchen. The bartender was a huge, well muscled man, who kept himself busy between drink orders, cleaning up used glasses, slicing fruit and making sure the coffeemaker kept up with the sole teetotaler, a weathered, strong man whose hair was flecked with grey of indeterminate age while keeping an eye on everything. The young people shouted and sang along with the music coming from the jukebox in the corner. Their tastes were pretty normal for young 20 somethings: pulsing music in Hebrew and Arabic that told of young love and the quest for happiness. Uninhibited, they danced and flirted with one another. The older quartet were absorbed in their own conversation, oblivious to the action around them.
"Buffy, do you think we made the right choice tonight?" the short, perfectly proportioned brunette asked her friend.
"Sure, Mandy," her friend replied, "You can probably find any kind of fun you want here." Buffy sipped her Coke and watched the young people for a moment. "Maybe one of these strapping young men will make your dreams come true tonight."
"Oh, I hope so but I don't know. It's been months since a boy paid me much attention. Anyway, I'm not the only one who needs some fun, and that tall, strong boy's been giving you the eye all night. You're way prettier than I am with your blue eyes, blond hair and massive tits."
"Shut up, I'm old enough to be your mother. Almost."
"You don't look it. My mom is a couple years older than you and she's got a crow's feet convention around her eyes and mouth, and a wrinkled neck. Your skin is perfect, smooth and no zits or wrinkles in sight."
"I've just got good genes. Anyway, I'm not interested in being a boy toy tonight, been there done that. If you want to get molested, be my guest, just be careful. "
A tall, young man with dark curly hair and lean muscles parted from the group and made his way over to Buffy and Mandy. He wore a University of Minnesota T-shirt, shorts, and sandals; his legs and arms were hairy, and his brown eyes glinted with good humor and lust as he approached them. A noticeable bulge was forming below his waist. He spoke to them in Hebrew first, but seeing they didn't understand, switched to English: "Good evening, ladies. May I offer you something to drink?"
"Are you old enough to purchase alcohol?" Buffy asked with a sweet smile on her face.
"Honey, I'm a soldier in an elite combat unit, I'm 19 years old, and I'm one year over the limit here. Not like back home in the States, where I'd have to wait until I'm 21."
"You don't sound Israeli. Are you American?" Mandy asked, her eyes rapt.
"Yeah, my name is Bernie Schoenstein, and I'm from Duluth, Minnesota, graduated High School last year. All State quarterback with scholarship offers, but I wanted to come here and do my national service since I'm going to live here. My Dad's in the shipping business: we have container ships on the Great Lakes and we run some cargo ships here out of Haifa up to Turkey and Greece and down through the Suez Canal to points East and South."
"Wow, that sounds wonderful. I've always loved the sea, and dreamed of being on a tramp steamer on the way to an exotic port of call. Do'ya want to be a ship's captain someday?"
"No, I want to run the corporation from an office. I don't want to work any harder than I have to when I get out of the Army. Never been on a ship; I'm afraid of water."
Buffy snorted and put her drink down. "A perfect preparation: 'I polished up that handle so carefully/that now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navy'."
Bernie's face fell and he looked dazed. "What are you talking about, the Village People?"
Buffy shook her head violently and tried not to laugh out loud in the young man's face. Mandy shook her head: "I don't think so. Buffy throws out these lines and doesn't explain where they come from. Anyway, this is my archeology professor, Dr. Brenda. . ."
"Let's just say, Buffy, Mandy. We're a couple of Ivory Tower types, here working on a dig near Caesaria Maritima and taking the weekend off in civilization. Been here for a couple of weeks and go back to school the end of September."
"Buffy, you don't look like any professor I've ever met. You could be homecoming queen, or a supermodel in Sports Illustrated. If I'd been in your class, I would sure as hell woulda paid attention."
Buffy looked down and hid a smirk by taking a sip of her Coke. "I'm flattered, Bernie."
"My name is Amanda Branson, and I'm from Pilot Grove, Illinois," Mandy blurted out, smiling eagerly. "I'm here with. . .Buffy . . . I'm an archeology major, but I left my hat and whip at the hotel room." She giggled nervously at her joke and tugged at the top of her tube top, pulling it up.
"It's nice to meet you, Amanda," he said pleasantly, turning to look at her. "You're a very attractive girl as well. Are you a professor too?"
"Call me Mandy. No, I'm not a professor, I'm a student, and I'd sure like to earn some extra credit with you."
Bernie smiled and gestured broadly with his hands. "You've read my mind. I'd like to break away from my platoon for a while, and it's a lovely night for a bottle of wine down by the beach. Perhaps the sea breezes will give us some refreshment from the heat, and we can look at the soft mountains in the moonlight. Interested?"
Buffy looked him up and down, quickly and said: "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"
"We left our guns back at the base, Buffy. But if you're interested, I have a weapon with a double digit caliber I'd like to show you." His eyebrows raise while a proud smirk curled his lips. "It seems the twins would appreciate some freedom as well."
Mandy's eyes lit up while Buffy's did a circuit of her field of vision. "It's nice of you to offer, Bernie, but. . ." Buffy began
". . .we'd love to join you," Mandy finished to Buffy's astonished glare. "Give us a couple of minutes to freshen up." She took the older woman's hand and led her toward the Ladies Room. "We'll meet you out front."
"Done," he said and turned to go over to toward the door.
Mandy almost dragged Buffy over toward the rest room, but Buffy managed to pull her short before they entered. "This isn't the States, Mandy. This john's a one holer, so we can't go in together or they'll think we're Lesbians." Buffy glared at Mandy's face and whispered with an energy short of screaming. "What the hell are you thinking about? A big dumb jock makes a pass at you, and you're ready to whip off your top for sex on the beach? You don't know where he's been."
"He's cute and he's got a big dick. A High School quarterback, and rich. Probably got enough staying power for both of us, and he's a jock so he can probably really pump it. What more could a girl want?"
"A dream come true for a poor little science major who spent her high school proms going out with computer nerds. Maybe he'll whisk you away to his magic mansion in friggin' Duluth where you can live happily ever after."
"Shut up. You could let your hair down once in a while, ya know, and I think you could use a good fucking, too. God knows with those 38DD tits you outta be beating guys off with a stick."
"Well, I'm not beating guys off, with a stick or anything else. I spent enough sweaty nights wrestling in back seats when I was in high school, thank you, and I'm not interested. If you want to let this Kosher Cockmeister ravish you, go right ahead. They've got socialized medicine here if he gives you VD or knocks you up."
"Shut up, Buffy, you're such a prude, and you're so gross." Mandy rolled her eyes and stamped her feet in frustration.
"Well, be careful. You're a cute girl with a body that's nothing to be ashamed of, and a creep like that can break your heart into a thousand pieces."
"All right, all right, all right, Dr. White. It's just sex, just a quick fuck, it's not a lifetime. I know what to do."
Buffy gave Mandy a shy smile, and touched her hair maternally. "I'll stay here and wait till you get back."
"What if we're gone all night?"
"You wish. If they kick me out of here, I'll go back to the hotel. You can find me there."
Mandy stood up, pulled her shoulders back and stuck her tits out. Her breasts were only slightly smaller than Buffy's, her chest glistened with moisture, and her tube top showed circles of sweat under her mounds. "See ya later."
"Bye. Go get 'em slugger." Buffy watched as Mandy crossed the room, drawing appreciative looks from the older men and leers from the male members of Bernie's squad before following Bernie out the door.
After they left, the patrons returned to their previous activities. Buffy took her drink to the far end of the bar and people watched. A couple of young men caught her eye and smiled in invitation, but she looked away with disinterest. The coffeedrinker at the other end of the bar gave her hard stare for a while, but she stared back until he blinked and looked away. A TV monitor was showing a nature documentary, and the bartender continued to putter around with glasses and other small chores.
The quartet of older folks drifted out the door, followed closely by the coffeedrinker. The kids wandered out as well, laughing and teasing one another, leaving her alone in the bar with the bartender. "How soon do you close?" she asked.
He smiled at her and shook his head. "You don't speak English," she said and he nodded. "Of rather, you only know the names of the drinks in English. Maybe a little more. Fine. I'm sure you'll let me know when it's closing time. That's all right. I need some time alone. It's been a rough week."
It had been a rough and frustrating week. The digs had not gone well, and earlier that day the team realized they had missed documenting some artifacts, which threw the whole operation into chaos. The students had been staying up late to party, and Buffy felt she was a summer camp counselor keeping them from turning the expedition into a continuing drunken orgy instead of a scientific expedition. "I never played around like that when I was in Grad school," she murmured under her breath, "Some of these kids have never grown up."
Buffy came from a middle class family in Columbia, Missouri, the only child of two university professors, whose brains belied a body that developed into a fully ripened Venus in her mid teens. She entered one beauty contest on a lark in college, winning easily, but she usually made it a point to dress to conceal her figure and seldom wore much makeup. Her academic career was stellar: she completed her undergraduate in three years, earned a Rhodes scholarship and finished her studies in Germany, coming home with a Doctorate at the age of 24. By 30, she was a tenured professor of Archaeology with an international reputation and several books in print, and for 12 years her life was busy with teaching, research, excavation and writing.
There were a couple of flings when she was in college, and an affair with her German mentor that lasted 18 months, but she was secure in her solitude. One of her colleagues said once that after 7 years you get your virginity back, and Buffy had even let the vibrator in her beside table back home get its virginity back.
She watched the documentary, and pictures of migrating Manta Rays came up. Like a checkerboard of blue and dark green, they formed an orderly procession like processions of monks she'd seen, or marching bands on the rare occasions she went to a parade or football game. Her gaze grew fixed on the picture, blocking out the other sounds in the bar, and her mind began to release the thoughts and worries that had built up over the past few days.
The fan made her nipples perk up through her top, and she glanced to see if the bartender noticed, but he'd turned away to work at the sink. The dampness under her arms that soaked the fabric below them, and the sweat that made a damp line down the back of her shorts caught her attention, making her flinch with embarrassment and shake her head at the heat. She sipped her Coke and looked back at the screen: the Mantas were still there. "Israeli TV is stuck," she murmured. Taking a napkin, she mopped her soggy brow and chest, shaking her head and the damp corridors staining her tube top, and moving the cold glass on her hot skin to find relief.
The Mantas started changing color, growing lighter and lighter until they were white. The background blue took on a velvet feeling, and the checkerboard began to spin slow, elegant circles while maintaining their elegant pattern. She took a deep breath and held it, a strange sensation flooding down over her like being under a waterfall.
Buffy blinked and she was back in the bar. The clanking of pots came to her through the kitchen door: the bartender must be puttering around there. Sipping her drink again, she pondered ordering a bottle of water when he returned.
The monitor still had the Mantas, and as she watched, the water started to move and the colors change again, the Mantas turning light red against a dark background. The sounds of the bar faded again, and a distant music reached her ears, relaxing her, and the colors changed to orange and azure. They shifted again to the original, hypnotizing her, which the faint distant music grew closer and closer without growing much louder. Part of her mind raced ahead to figure out why her senses were being overwhelmed, standing aloof from the rest of her, wondering if heat stroke or some other medical condition was sending her into a coma, while she was being firmly drawn into gentle sea of calmness she couldn't describe.
She broke away from the monitor to find the bartender standing next to her, leaning over the bar, his face about a foot away from hers. His eyes was large and dark, lights flickering within that mirrored the processions of her hallucination. A dark, thick moustache lurked above his full lips, while perfect brown skin, clean shaven, seemed to have a rich yet soft texture that was not unpleasant to regard at close distance. His face was perfectly proportioned, like a Buddha on a Tibetan mandala, or an icon from an Orthodox church.
His eyes captivated her; she could not break away or blink. The flecks of light swirled in the depths of his eyes, faster and faster, and it seemed her consciousness grew closer until it broke through beyond.
Images flittering. . .sunrise on Mount Carmel, figures in uniforms carrying guns. . .raiders on camelback, swathed in robes, guns cocked to ambush a train. . .Tuscan hills under the stars. . . soldiers in grey, marching in the rain; soldiers in red trousers stumbling through the snow. . .an orthodox liturgy, clouds of incense swirling. . .a young woman in mediaeval dress, riding in a carriage, laughing. . .smoke rising over an interminable forest. . .the taste of wine
Back in the bar, she drew close to him and kissed him hard full on the lips. The taste was faint of oranges, his lips soft and yielding. His hand caressed the side of her head, holding her close; her hand stroked his left biceps. The moment seemed to last for hours: she didn't want it to end. Her eyes were frozen shut and trembling. Heat radiated from her body, and the fumes of her own musk reached her nostrils. Part of her consciousness stood back aghast as the sudden return of her libido, at her lack of control in kissing a stranger full on the lips with no preliminaries, but she could not stop herself.
More images: night in the desert, a quarter moon hanging in the sky. . .flowing waters of the Golan. . .high mountains, Himalayan came to her mind although she'd never seen them. . . waves breaking on the beach from the Eastern Ocean. . .laughter, oriental eyes and skin. . . the swirling checkerboard, the ethereal music. . .ice in the north, seen from a kayak. . .urgent, wild sex, sweat until several layers, burning in the thighs. . .a man walking on water, seen from a boat at night. . .a caravan moving through the wadis. . . defiant soldiers standing in a Judean cave. . . the Nile flowing while the Pyramids were under construction. . . the swirling, circling checkerboard, the ethereal music. . . jungle passage, brushing aside branches, brushing away huge spiders. . .sunset in a deep valley
Her lips finally parted from his, and wordlessly he lead her back behind the bar to a small, sparse bedroom with a double bed. Gently, he removed her clothes until she stood naked in candlelight, then disrobed to reveal a taught, muscular body. Flying to his arms, she kissed him again, wrapping him in her arms, grinding her pelvis into his, feeling his sweat mix with hers as she pressed every inch of her sweaty body against his as possible. His arms moved over her back, moving freely from her buttocks up her spine to her head and back down again. He lifted her and moved them onto the bed; she laid back, opening her arms and legs to welcome him, gasping as he made magic with his mouth and hands on her breasts. Eagerly, she reached between his legs to find him hard for her, and she stroked him in encouragement.
The dark haired face dropped three feet and he buried himself between her legs, his agile and experienced tongue finding her sensitive folds immediately. She gasped as his tongue explored: it seemed to be a foot long as it teased and tormented her. Shuddering, she worried she might reach her orgasm too soon and drive him away, but she could not bear the thought of him stopping. Writhing, she put her hands on her ears, trying to keep his head where it was and encouraging him to keep working his serpentine magic on her.
The swirling checkerboard again, the ethereal music, a long time spent in bliss. . . a jungle passage, pushing branches aside. . . A tree in India; a group seated to listen to a young/old man teach. . .waters of the Ganges, waters of the Euphrates. . .gardens everywhere. . .unfamiliar constellations, spinning around nothing at the Pole. . .grunting in a cave, quick, hard, animal-like copulation. . .watching herds startled in the grasslands. . .swirling, circling checkerboard, the ethereal music. . .men poking at the soil, herding animals. . . a gentle, masculine face, ancient and wise, strangely curved like a man from an elder race, speaking a language that hovered just out of understanding. . .crowds of people, dressed in skins, lying in ambush. . . people fighting an ugly people who were shorter and squatter. . .daybreak in a cave. . .a naked woman, dirty, hair bedraggled, pregnant tending a fire. . .the ancient teacher again. . .walking with a toddler, unsteady on her feet
He was above her and inside her, filling her and thrusting. She thrust back into him, quicker and quicker until he slowed down and made her match his pace. Reaching up, she lightly bit his ear, and he tweaked her nipple. Her attempt to roll them both over so she could ride him was denied: he pinned her down and overwhelmed her until she relented and followed his lead, mounting the ladder of heaven higher and higher until the room spun and she felt her orgasm building.