Z is for Zoebysenwood©
After Toni's death my life didn't fall apart or anything dramatic like that. I just carried on; locked away deep inside me perhaps were the hurt and the sadness. Annie and Patrick Sanders were good friends and, as they lived a mere two miles away, they kept a bit of an eye on me, I know. They insisted I went round for dinner a couple of times a month.
Toni had only been twenty-nine when she died. The cancer had been very aggressive. I was twenty-eight. Someone said I was young enough to start again. It seemed cruel then but now I can see that she was right. But you don't just go out and get another love. I had no idea how to start just as I hadn't planned to find Toni in the first place. We met by accident at a party at Neil and Sarah's when Toni got rather drunk and I took her home.
Now I usually stayed at Annie and Pat's on the Saturdays when I went round for a meal. I sleep in what they now call 'Jonathan's room' in their big detached property. [I'm Jonathan, by the way]. Their daughter, who was seventeen when Toni died, didn't eat with us – mostly she was out with her own friends. I sometimes heard her come in quite late. I sometimes heard the arguments too when she came in later than had been agreed.
If I did see Zoë it was on the Sunday morning over the 'elastic breakfast' that the four of us ate disjointedly whenever whoever came downstairs. Sometimes, not often, I had breakfast with Zoë. I would casually browse the papers whilst she regaled me with her mischief, smiling ruefully when she told me how mad her mum was with her at the moment.
'I'm not working hard enough at school, she says. I'm going to be grounded until after the exams, I expect.' She grinned nonetheless.
We got on well together although I didn't really see that much of her.
Two summers ago Pat and Annie asked me to go on holiday with them. To Spain. Zoë, who was nineteen by then, would be coming along too, probably for the last time, they said. They expected that family holidays would soon be a thing of the past as Zoë would probably want to go off on holiday with people her own age in future.
We had three rooms in a small private hotel, which we had booked on the internet. I had made all the travel arrangements and we were to stay at a small resort on the north-west coast of Spain, not particularly far from the French border. It was called Armintza.
We intended to share the driving. It took us one day from Canterbury, through the Channel tunnel and most of the way across France to our first stop, a small motel south of Bordeaux. We were pretty tired and all turned in early – at least the three drivers did. I don't know what Zoë got up to.
It was she, however, who knocked on my door in the morning. I was awake, so I called: 'Entrez!' thinking it was someone from the motel. Zoë came in with that mischievous grin on her face.
'Mum was going to wake you but I thought I would.'
I was slow to answer as I was taking in Zoë's appearance. I had never seen her in shorts before: black very short shorts and a yellow vest. She was barefoot and her dark brown hair flowed free, just off her shoulders. I couldn't take my eyes or my mind off her legs.
'Jonathan?' she asked.
'Sorry, Zoë. You surprised me.'
She pirouetted before me. 'You like?' she giggled.
'Yes, I like but…but tell your mum and dad I'll see them in a minute.'
I was somewhat embarrassed. I started to get dressed.
I got used to seeing Zoë pretty scantily clad, as were we all really once we hit the beach in Armintza. Beach is a bit of a misnomer by the way. The best you get are rocky little coves but they are quite private and secluded.
The town itself is a busy little harbour and fishing port with good seafood restaurants and a few tourist shops. One afternoon Zoë and her mum came back from doing some shopping. Zoë had bought a new bikini, which she proceeded to try on for us that evening in the hotel. Pat said it was too brief and she wasn't to wear it and what was she thinking of buying something like that?
Annie intervened and said she had been with her in the shop and had okayed it.
'I'm surprised at you, then!' he fumed. Zoë disappeared, upset.
'Look Pat, lots of young women wear bikinis like that. She wants to get brown all over…and there's usually only the four of us around in the cove anyway. Good heavens, Pat, she's not your baby any more, she's nineteen now, remember?'
'What do you think, Jonathan?' Pat asked me.
'Well, first of all, don't drag me into it,' I began.
'Yes, that's not fair, Pat,' Annie insisted.
'And secondly, I'm a man,' I said.
'He means he likes it a lot, idiot,' said Annie.
Pat was silenced and Zoë would keep the costume.
Next morning Zoë plumped herself down to breakfast across from me. Her parents still hadn't come down. They were probably deciding what to say to Zoë to put things right.
'I bought it because of you,' she said directly.
Our eyes met and I knew immediately that something almost uncontrollable was taking over between us. As if we were suddenly linked by fate or sexual tension or at least something we did not actually choose. Rather we responded to its attractive power. Something had caused a switch to be thrown, if you like, for both of us.
'I thought you'd like to see me in it,' she added.
'You looked wonderful,' I told her, truthfully. 'But it is dangerously sexy, you know.'
'You like?' she said, quietly. It was becoming her tag phrase.
I nodded. I felt her leg brush mine and I moved mine away.
Zoë frowned, puzzled, I suppose.
'Look, Zoë, I'm too old for you,' I told her, maybe rather bluntly. I sensed her body stiffen, her manner cool.
Later that day Annie caught me on my own. Zoë must be very close to her mum, even though they fight at times, and had obviously spoken to her about what I had said this morning over breakfast.
'Zoë just wants you to like her, Jonathan,' she said gently.
'I know,' I began, 'and I do, very much, but here I am invited on holiday by her parents and I'm eleven years older than she is.'
'Pat and I wouldn't mind if there was a little romance between the two of you,' she said.
'Even Pat?' I asked.
Annie smiled. 'Mmm.'
'Sorry,' I said, 'one day maybe; I've never thought of her in that way.'
That was a bit of a lie, as I had thought of her that way I the last couple of days, since she first appeared in my room in those very sexy shorts. I went on:
'I do want us to be really good friends. She's become very beautiful without me noticing her change during the last two years. But she hit me like a sledgehammer when she walked into my room the other morning - in those shorts,' I added.
'She said you seemed lost for words!' Annie laughed.
'I was. It's a long time since anyone made me feel like she began to make me feel then,' I now admitted, hesitantly.
'She wanted to produce an effect something like that, I know.'
'Well, it made me a little uneasy about my feelings, Annie.'
Annie pressed my hand. We left it at that. Annie presumably reported back to Zoë, so that later that evening as we walked back from the restaurant I found myself with Zoë. She told me she wanted us to be friends too. She said she understood me. I wasn't really sure she did but things were fine again between us. Zoë continued to wear revealing clothes and minimal bikinis and I continued to enjoy watching her and to enjoy both her company and that of her parents. We all got on really well together.
On the last afternoon of the holiday Zoë and I went down to the cove on our own. Annie and Pat said it was too hot.
'I suppose going topless would be against your rules, too?' she asked.
I nodded, but smiled across to her.
'Some rules were just made to be broken, then,' she said, unfastening her bikini top and throwing it across to me. She was sitting up, virtually but not quite naked, leaning against a rock. She had medium sized, erotically pendant, nice young girl's firm breasts – I had been aware of that throughout the last two weeks. Now I could see her dark brown nipples and areoles for the first time. And I knew she had wanted me to see her.
Zoë turned her head slightly to look at me. Again I felt that intimate human contact as our eyes met, something for just the two of us. Something especially magical that you can't anticipate but when it happens it locks you in and tells you. It's a bit like 'Land ahoy!' when you've crossed the oceans in a mist or crawled, thirsty, across the Saharan dunes. Not that you'd say 'Land ahoy!' then but you know what I mean. You've found your own personal oasis and you know you are going to stop around.
Something I hadn't felt for a long time.
'You like?' she asked and smiled. More serious, more like the young woman she had become and who had undergone a metamorphosis to which I had been blinded.
'You know I do. You are very beautiful, Zoë.'
We said no more. I threw her her bikini top and we prepared to leave the cove for the last time. I held out a hand to pull her to her feet.
It was the only physical contact we had that holiday apart from when our legs had touched under the table.
Work called and we all settled back into our normal routines. Zoë had a long summer break and wouldn't resume her studies until early October.
Her next birthday came. I bought her a nice dress ring – not too expensive, but very nice, I thought. She had a party with her friends. I dropped in but didn't stay long even though she asked me to. I felt like I didn't quite belong.
But it seemed that I did see more of her now. She tended to stay out on Saturday evening whilst we ate but would drop in at about half nine and sit with us and talk. And she seemed to time her breakfast with me as if she were deliberately monitoring me.
One Sunday morning the following spring she asked:
'What are you doing today, Jonathan?'
'Trying to sort the garden. It's become a wilderness. Slash and burn, I expect.'
'Right,' she said.
'What are you doing?' I asked her.
'Not sure,' she replied as if she was going to say more but never did.
I drove home and went out into the garden. It was a beautiful unusually warm May morning so I just wore shorts and stout boots to protect my feet. The garden had been neglected. It was a decent size and offered some privacy with its large established shrubs, but grass and weeds were reclaiming the garden and because Toni had liked the garden I knew she wouldn't want it to be like this.
I buckled down and started to use a scythe I had just bought specifically to get the grass down before I could get a mower on to it. Sweat was pouring off me.
I heard what sounded like a bicycle bell but I paid it no attention. I heard it again and it sounded as if it was coming from near the house, so I put the scythe down and walked back up the garden. I opened the side gate and walked to the driveway at the front of the house. Zoë was leaning an elderly bicycle against the house wall. She was wearing those black shorts and the yellow vest, exactly the same as she had done that morning in France. Her brown legs seemed eight miles long.
'I've come to help,' she announced.
'Terrific,' I said. 'Can you get us both a cold drink?'
'The orange is…'
Zoë had never been to my house before, funnily enough. 'I'll find it, don't worry.'
She soon appeared with a tray of drinks. Then we got back to work. I was still scything the long grass down the far end; Zoë was raking it up into piles to bag up and take to the municipal refuse centre later. We were both hot; I looked at Zoë whose yellow vest was dark in places and whose nipples were clearly showing through the material as it clung, damp, to her skin. I could tell quite easily she wasn't wearing a bra; I also suspected from her tight shorts that there was nothing under them either.
We had probably been working together for about three-quarters of an hour.
'Break!' I said. We sat down on a garden bench that badly needed a coat of preservative. I was looking at her. She smiled.
'You like?' she asked.
'Very much.' I smiled at her, allowing my eyes to alight on hers. 'Still,' I added.
'Jonathan, I don't know if you remember one morning during the holiday at breakfast when I …'
'…brushed your leg against mine. Of course I remember. I wanted to respond to you desperately but…'
'You had rules. I was hurt'
'I'm sorry; I didn't want to upset you but there is that age gap, Zoë. Your parents had invited me on holiday and I thought it wouldn't be right to start screwing their daughter. Not quite the way to repay them. Right?'
Zoë laughed. 'All right, then. And are there rules now?'
'Oh, yes,' I said. 'Now you have to do what you think is good, proper and what is emotionally right for you, Zoë. That's the only rule. Follow your spirit. I won't interfere.'
'Remember that special eye contact we had – something happened then between us,' Zoë responded. 'When you look at me like that I feel we are staring into each other's soul and I could do anything you asked of me.' She paused. 'Do you want me?' she asked, simply.
'Yes. And I want to do things for you, Zoë, special things.'
I felt that the eleven years that stood between us were melting away.
'I trust you, Jonathan,' she replied. It seemed an unexpected comment but I returned it:
'I trust you, Zoë, completely.'
We sat in silence until Zoë got up. 'I think we need another drink, celebratory perhaps.' She smiled. She took the tray and the empty glasses back up the garden.
I carried on scything the grass – I had nearly finished this first stage of reclaiming the lawn. When Zoë returned with the drinks I stopped and sat down on the garden seat again with my juice. Zoë flopped down into a big pile of grass she had raked together.
I looked down at her. The seat and the pile of grass were in a corner of the garden, not overlooked by the nearby properties. Zoë grinned at me, a sort of naughty grin I suppose. Her hands moved to the hem of her yellow vest and she pulled it over her head. She leaned back in the grass.
'Ticklish?' I asked.
'Yes, it is a bit.'
'This reminds me of that last day,' I said.
'That was nearly the idea,' she said.
Our eyes met and once more I felt I was looking into two deep pools where I was seeking to see a future, which, I was sure, I wanted to happen to me, to both of us.
And as we met spiritually in the intimacy of our gaze Zoë removed her shorts, smoothly and quickly as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I sensed apprehension in her eyes now, an apprehension I was anxious to dispel.
My eyes ran down her body – over those tight young breasts, beautifully shaped mounds with their dark solid little cupolas on top - down over her flat, tanned stomach, dipping into the 'inner' of her navel and on through the thicket of her bushy mons. Her legs were pressed together, nervously, I assumed, fearing brusque rejection once more.
I smiled gently: 'I like, Zoë,' I said and I'm sure she remembered the phrasing. I paused. 'You are incredibly beautiful.'
I got down off the seat and sat down, cross-legged on the ground at her side, perhaps two feet away as I leaned against one end of the seat.
'Jonathan?' Zoë began.
'Will you take yours off, please?' then she laughed, quite loudly.
'What?' I asked.
'I was imagining you naked with your boots on,' she said, still laughing.
'No, then,' I replied.
'I'd better take them off first, then,' Zoë countered, moving on to her hands and knees.
She had no idea how enthralled I was to watch her naked body move around me as she untied the laces of my boots and pulled the first one, together with the accompanying woollen sock, from my foot. I enjoyed watching her move uninhibitedly, showing her back bent over me, then her bottom as she turned away slightly and then I saw her breasts as they hung when she bent low to struggle with a knot when laces had failed to release. I saw her nudity in such a natural context that its beauty overcame its eroticism and I was stunned.
When she had at last removed both boots she paused and looked at me before starting on my shorts. Once again that magnetism of our mutual attraction engaged sharply like a vice.
'I want you,' I said simply, but, I hope, not like some commanding officer but more akin to the entreaties of a devotee. Our eyes locked in the pools of our unforgiving desire.
'Good,' she replied. She began to unfasten my shorts, her fingers clearly trembling as she unbuttoned the waistband. When she had succeeded and had her fingers ready to lower the zipper she paused and looked at me.
'Well done,' I said, reaching out to touch her hand.
'I want you too,' she said. 'I want the dream, Jon. If you don't want the dream after what you know about me… after what you've seen, then I can ride away, Jon – on my bike. But if you want it all, then I am and will be here.'
'I want our dream, Zoë.'
'Then teach me, please. That's what I've wanted for…. for too long. I want you to show me, Jon…'
'You want me to make love to you here?' I asked.
'Yes, yes. Mum said it won't really be love and it won't be perfect at first; you can show me how to enjoy and how to please. But I've been sure a very long time that you are the one I want.'
It sounded simple as she resumed the removal of my shorts. I helped by lifting myself slightly and she tugged them down and away. We both stared at each other. Zoë parted her legs somewhat and then bent one leg at the knee spreading her cunt clearly before me.
My erect cock stood out, angled to my chest, hard and prominent. It felt unbearably hard to me as if it was anxious to fulfil its purpose. I hadn't been naked with a woman for a very long time, and certainly never one as inexperienced as Zoë.
'Touch me,' I said. Her hand reached forward and wrapped itself around my cock.
I shuffled slightly closer and ran a finger up the inside of her long, brown left leg and then placed a hand on her tummy, my fingers pushing gently down into her pubic hair.
'I want to please you, Jon,' Zoë whispered. We kissed.
I moved over her as she pressed herself back in the pile of grass. The smell of the grass and the heat of the sun added to the sexual languor of our mood. Zoë stretched her arms back over her head and sighed as I lowered myself to her, my cock just touching the entry to her cunt. I looked at her, questioning.
'I want you,' she said simply.
'And I've wanted you since the moment I first saw you in those shorts,' I said. 'I've always wanted to fuck a girl with eight mile long legs!' I smiled and pushed my cock upwards into her.
'They're not that long,' she began, but changed to: 'oh, god, Jon…'
I pushed myself fully inside her and then withdrew a little pushing forward again, at first gently but with a slowly increasing rhythm. Zoë wrapped her long arms around me and pulled me fully down on to me so we kissed passionately, biting each other in between the kisses and moaning in delirious pleasure. She was unbelievably wet but there was little response from that part of her body as if she didn't know…
'Fuck me a little too, Zoë,' I murmured in her ear. I thrust hard, a little roughly perhaps and waited.
Hesitantly I felt her thrust back, her hips and pelvis moving so she was able to force my cock deeper inside her.