Nadine knew that staying at Sandals Negril was not the most realistic reintroduction to her island homeland, but she had left Jamaica twenty years before and her childhood memories had seemed magical the more she had indulged them. So, she had not hesitated when the opportunity to return to the island had come up. She got into the coach at the Donald Sangster International, and leaned back, smiling, preparing to enjoy the ride to the resort; the start of her homecoming.
She noticed a young man boarding the bus a short time after she did. He was tall, athletic-looking and had unruly brown hair, a contrast to her nearly shaven head. He smiled vaguely at her as he passed by, casual acknowledgement that they were going to the same destination. She closed her eyes to screen out the world, to de-stress, and to think about how it was that she came to be here in Jamaica after so long.
"Am I disturbing you, Miss?"
The voice was soft, but melodious. It was something more than suitable for a career in radio; and Nadine's eyes sprang open. She smiled. It was the young man whom she had noticed earlier.
"I'm sorry to have disturbed you, but someone in the back of the bus has begun Happy Hour early."
He jerked his head toward a large, beefy man who was clearly already the worse for drink. He shook his head disapprovingly and grimaced.
"No, you haven't really disturbed me. I was just thinking about something."
"Ahhh. A thinker! I like you already! I hope you won't mind if I sit here next to you. Beyond telling you that I'm Andy, short for Andrew, I promise not to say too much to distract you."
"I'm not as antisocial as all that! We're on holiday aren't we?"
"Wow! Holiday? I thought that I was on vacation. Have you ever been here on the island before?"
The man's cheeky grin took the sting out of his joke at her expense, and Nadine found herself chuckling. One couldn't be a top-notch marketing consultant without developing a thickish skin and Nadine was at the top of her game. Indeed, it was why she had made the trip to Jamaica in the first place.
"Actually, yes, I was here a very long time ago. I am Jamaican, but I left here as a child. This is my first visit back."
"Your first visit back since childhood; and you're doing the tourist traps?"
"I won the trip in a competition at my office. I'm going to see if I can get away to see if I can find my relatives."
"If you don't mind my saying so, you don't sound too sure about doing that. I've been here many, many, many times. In fact, I live here now. Jamaica's worth seeing. The people are great! You shouldn't miss out on the opportunity to reconnect with your roots."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Nothing! Nothing! The choices you make in life are none of my business; but I hope that we run into each other at the hotel. I'd enjoy showing you around. I may not have been born here like you, but this is my home now, and I'm proud of it. I like showing it off."
True to his word, Andy didn't say very much else during the trip and Nadine was left in peace to enjoy the scenery of the Jamaican countryside: lush, multi-hued green foliage even during the Summer was juxtaposed against gaily-coloured buildings, each heralding its owner's personality. This was all set against a seemingly endless backdrop of sparkle on the azure waters of the Caribbean. Nadine found herself becoming more and more excited with each passing minute, her nose pressed firmly against the window of the coach.
Although Andy left her alone to enjoy the ride for the most part, it was obvious that he was watching her since he was able to point out a couple interesting landmarks and relate the occasional anecdote about some occurrence in Jamaica's history that happened wherever they happened to be passing. He did not overwhelm her with information, but rather kept it interesting enough that she wanted to know more. She thought that he would make a great tour guide for the hotel; and she wondered for the first time, who he really was. Nadine was very impressed and so when he reminded her that he hoped to see her during her week on the island she agreed that she would like to meet with him and perhaps buy him a drink, as payment for his kindness.
They agreed to meet on her verandah for breakfast the next morning and Andy arrived armed with a small basket of fruit and flowers that he had ordered from room service. He was at his most charming, telling funny stories about his life and even singing a song for her and Nadine laughed as she had never done before. Andy extended an invitation for her to join him for some kayaking in the Caribbean, and wanting to reward him some more, for being so sweet during breakfast, Nadine agreed. Again, she enjoyed herself thoroughly and couldn't believe that she was the person who had planned to lounge around in bed and, perhaps, take a couple of the organised tours during her trip. She had felt guilty about not committing to seeing her relatives while on the island, but decided that she was on her first real summer holiday since joining he workforce and that it was best to keep the experience as light as possible.
They spent the entire morning together and Andy seemed to be genuinely disappointed by her refusal to join him either on an excursion to the Kool Runnings Water Park or for some sailing and water skiing that afternoon, but Nadine had had to chide herself for wanting to break out skipping on several occasions during the day. She decided to slow down and get some of the rest that she told herself that she needed. This all-consuming excitement was foreign to her and scared her a little.
Andy seemed to take the hint and didn't bother her during the morning of her second day at the resort; and Nadine found that she missed him! She wasn't coy, therefore, when he called her room and invited her to join him for lunch. They met at Dino's and then he rented a car so that they spent the afternoon hiking together in the hills surrounding Negril. It was a pleasant reminder about what rural life in Jamaica was really like and Nadine found herself thinking about her family home in Alexandria. Drinks, dancing, chatting and watching the high-divers and the sunset at Rick's Café made the evening perfect. On day three they rented rackets for a quick game of squash that Andy won easily since Nadine had never played before. He grinned at her toothily as he had always done, but it was the first time that Nadine saw the hunger in his eyes when he looked at her. It took her breath away.
"You're a very brave girl, Nads! I like that! I would have expected you to run screaming when the game got underway; but you actually got better toward the end there," he said as he turned away from her quickly. It wasn't quickly enough though to hide the fact that he had become slightly aroused and Nadine felt oddly flattered. "Tell me what else you haven't done before. I want to make this a holiday that you'll never forget."
She was sure that she'd never forget that day since it was her first snorkeling lesson on a beach at the south end of the resort as well. It was no surprise to her that Andy was an accomplished scuba diver. He remained behind with her and the other beginners, and earned himself many friends because of his loud applause and congratulatory cheers when any of the newbies did something right.
"Your husband is such a darling!" one woman gushed to Nadine. "You are such a lucky girl! Are you on your honeymoon?"
To her surprise, Nadine found that she didn't want to correct the woman's erroneous assumptions about her relationship with Andy. The lady was right, she felt very lucky to have him around; especially when he won the guest talent show that evening with his rendition of 'Ain't No Sunshine' and did another Bill Withers song, 'Lovely Day' and Al Green's 'Love and Happiness' for his encore presentations; a white boy with serious soul.
"Who are you, Andy? And why have you booked into an All-Inclusive resort if you always do your own thing while here?" she asked sometime during their fourth day together. It was happy hour and Andy had taken them to sample the drinks in the Paradise Beach bar. They had eschewed the dolphin encounter and the climb up Dunn's River and driven up to Greenmile to spend a great morning discussing Jamaican music and the deeper things of life with the Rasta musicians there. They had wend their way back to the hotel slowly and had planned to do a little riding until it was time for dinner.
"I'm learning from the best," he said simply. "I bought my own little hotel; my FIRST hotel, about five years ago. I'm going to own a chain someday. I want to see how the best in the business do it and the studies that I've read all suggest that the very best All-Inclusives in the world are found right here in Jamaica. The concept was invented here you know," he grinned proudly.
"I studied hotel and tourism management in college, but I think that learning what the guests feel like in places like this will give me a better perspective on the product. My place is nice, but we're not Sandals or SuperClubs! Not yet, anyway. You know what I mean?"
Nadine did know what he meant. It was the first time that she had seen him look so serious. She believed him when he said that he would own his own chain of hotels someday.
"Beach volleyball and the assorted water sports are nice," Andy declared. "But I want to provide something beyond a summer lovin' experience for my guests."
"You want them to connect with the place?"
Andy looked at her strangely; whistfully.
"I guess," he said softly.
His beautiful voice caressed the words and Nadine forgot that she was going to offer the argument that All-Inclusives prevented people from seeing the real country around them. She thought that he would have genuine talent in an eco-tourism venture, but, as he had said before, the choices that he made were none of her business.
"Then I'm sorry to be distracting you from your research," she murmured.
"Not at all! I've enjoyed this more than I thought possible. I've done this before; both here and in a couple of the other islands, but you weren't there," he smiled as he said this so Nadine wasn't sure if he was flirting or trying to be funny.
"What do you have planned for tomorrow?" she asked.
"It's your turn to choose."
"I don't think so. I'd planned to spend my mornings lounging by the pool and my evenings lounging by the beach. I thought that an occasional visit to the spa and a trip to Margaritaville would break that up. Somehow I don't see you doing any of those things."
"And you'd be right about that!"
"Why don't we see what you've learned in snorkelling class and then we can rent a couple of jet skis or you can take a real plunge and come driving with me."
Even though she had just met him, Nadine found the thought of having him all to herself very appealing.
The annual Denbeigh Agricultural Show was not where Nadine expected to find herself when she woke up that morning! Still, she was fascinated by the kaleidoscope of Jamaican cultural that she saw. She had heard her parents speak of the event, and found it unbelievable that she was there in the flesh.
She would have been happy to spend the day there sampling the food and the music, chatting with people and watching the show-jumping, but Andy rushed her through a tour of the venue and told her that he had much more planned for her for her to see. She was curious, but as enchanted about the long drive along the mountain roads as she had been on their way along the coast to the hotel four days earlier.
"Where are we going?"
"Alexandria," he said quietly.
"What?" Nadine's eyes opened wide.
"We're not going to barge in on your family, we're just going to see the old churches and then make our way back along the coast so that we can swing by Falmouth. I thought that you should see more of the real Jamaica while here; since God alone knows when you'll be back."
Nadine broke down weeping at the sight of the gravestones of her grandparents. These symbols of her roots in the place were too much for her, and she doubted, not for the first time, where she really belonged. She was great at her job and winning the trip to the island had been a testament to that.
Andy stepped back, apparently to allow her privacy, but she didn't want it, and she ended up clinging to him; her face in his chest, his in her hair.
The drive back and dinner at Kimonos that night were sombre. Andy tried to keep her entertained, but she felt a sense of loss that she couldn't explain.
"I'm sorry that I spoiled your holiday, Nadine. I guess I didn't think things through before taking you there."
"You're leaving aren't you?" she asked suddenly.
"I beg your pardon"
"You're leaving tomorrow, aren't you?"
"Yes, it's back to the real world for me, I'm afraid," he smiled, sadly. "It was really nice meeting you though."
"I want to come stay at your hotel with you; if that is possible."
She couldn't read the expression on his face, and for the first time, she wondered if he had lied to her about owning his own hotel.
"What's the matter?" she asked suspiciously.
"Apart from the fact that I'm amazed that you'd leave the delights of Sandals behind, I have a zero tolerance policy about staff fraternizing with guests, sexually," he hesitated over the word before continuing breathlessly. "And so it couldn't be the same as it has been here."
"We haven't had sex here, Andy, and I'm only talking about three days."
"What's the matter? Are you really a gigolo who preys on innocent women who come to the islands on holiday? No, don't tell me, you're married!"
"What? No! You've misunderstood me! It's just that I really do have sex on my mind where you're concerned, but I didn't want to put myself in a situation where I'd act on it before you were ready," he said sheepishly.
"You're trying to be a gentleman for a change?"
"Something like that."
"Are you for real? Men don't behave like that!"
"That's something of a generalisation, of course. I just wanted things to be memorable for you in a good way. Not the stereotypical girl-goes-on-holiday-in-Jamaica-and-gets-screwed-by-a-native fare."
"Well, you're not really a native are you; and you being the white half of this couple takes it out of the realm of that fantasy already," Nadine laughed.
Nadine could not believe her eyes when Andy turned into the discrete gates of a palatial building along the coast road in Portland and acknowledged the wave of the sentry.
"Home Sweet Home," he whispered, shyly as he turned off the ignition.
"It's beautiful!" Nadine exclaimed. "This must have cost you millions to buy!"
"Not really, it went into receivership so I got it for pennies on the dollar."
"Thanks! I am very proud of it. I've put everything that I have into this venture, so I need it to work. So have you decided how it's going to be? Are you staying with me, or as a guest in the hotel?"
Nadine chose to be his guest and so he led her to a set of cottages discretely off to the side of the main building.
"This would be your room," he said, indicating a small room that was obviously a spare.
Next to the one that she had just left in Negril this was very plain but Nadine could not have been happier.
"Come here," Andy swept her into a tight hug and kissed her gently. "I am really glad you came. I wanted to show you my place, but didn't want to freak you out by being too pushy. I can't even tell you how I felt when you asked to come with me."
He let her go abruptly and stepped away to open the windows for her.
"You can unpack and then let us get something to eat," he said brusquely.
He showed her around the property after a light lunch in one of his three restaurants but was forced to leave her to her own devices shortly after that when one of his staff members called him away.
"Please, explore; make yourself at home."
He returned to her about five hours later, too tired for very much else but crawling into bed. Nadine could see that he was trying to put a good face on for her though and so she sent him to his shower and ordered something from one of the restaurants. Expecting delivery in half an hour she decided to join him in his shower, scrub his back for him so to speak.
"What are you doing, Nads," Andy groaned when she stepped into the shower behind him and spooned up, fondling his rapidly hardening cock. "You're leaving in three days! You really want to start something now?"
"It depends on what we want to start. I..."
Her words were stifled by the hard press of Andy's mouth on hers when he turned suddenly and seized her. She could feel his cock between their bodies. It left no doubt about what he wanted. He was very hard and ready for her.
"Are you sure?" he asked harshly.
He spun her around and pressed her roughly into the wall of the shower when she nodded her head. The water cascading down on them from the shower head felt good; almost wild as he held her firmly and pushed into her from behind.
'Oh fuck!" he groaned as he see-sawed violently in and out of her.
There was nothing romantic about their first coupling. It was obvious that he had wanted to do this for some time and now that he had the opportunity he couldn't control his lust.
"I am so sorry," he whispered when he came down a little from his climax. "I'm not usually such an animal, but I've had this little ache almost since the moment I met you."
He kissed her back and neck gently and washed her off like a prized possession. He dried her in a warm, fluffy towel and then, lifting her, took her to his room to his bed.
The knock on the door startled them both.
"Oh God, I'm sorry, I ordered food!" Nadine exclaimed.
Andy's eyes opened wide and the giggled as he hurriedly pulled on a pair of trousers and a polo shirt. He closed the doors of both bedrooms and then went to get their meals. The waiter was inclined to chat, telling him about what had happened on the property during the ten days that he had been away, and Andy didn't rush him.
"I'm sorry about that, but this is my livelihood," he said when he released Nadine from her hiding place. "I encourage the staff to tell me things. I want them to show initiative when things come up, but I still want to know what's happening around me."
"That's fine," Nadine said graciously. "I'm serious about my work too when I'm home."
Oddly enough, they spent the rest of the evening talking about their work. They had not done so before, for all the time that they had spent chatting with each other. Nadine wouldn't have thought it possible while enjoying her first holiday so much that she could be so nostalgic about the office.
"Couldn't you talk to your boss about opening a branch of your company here? Or maybe you could just start something on your own? I'd hire you and I'm sure that a bunch of other people would too!"
"I'll think about it. I promise."
She couldn't really remember when the conversation segued into speculation about her moving back to Jamaica permanently. The idea scared but intrigued her. She couldn't believe that she had invested so much in making herself professionally and financially secure and that one carefree week in Jamaica could make her want to undo all that. She hadn't even smoked anything!
Nadine giggled suddenly.
"Nothing really; I was just thinking about the fact that you haven't even offered me a spliff."
"Wow! Another stereotype about the island! We don't all smoke marijuana."
"You keep saying we; aren't you from New York?"
"Yes, but this is my home now. I'm on permanent holiday here. Don't get me wrong, we work hard, but somehow it doesn't feel like work since we're conscious of building a brand, just like the people over at Sandals."