Maria was still lying on the couch in her white satin robe when Katie came downstairs.
“Where’s Joel?” Katie asked.
Her mother gave her a strange look, almost as if she were jealous.
“Is that what you’re wearing?” She asked.
Her tone was hateful and irritated.
“Yes.” Katie said.
She felt her confidence start to decline from her mother’s disapproval of her sundress.
“You don’t leave much to the imagination do you?” Maria said with a chuckle.
Katie frowned at her mother. Her dress was not revealing. It was short, but not as short as the ones her mother wore, and the bust line was flattering, elegant even.
“I think she looks nice.” Joel said.
Katie was relieved to see him enter the room. He smiled at her kindly, and then gave her a wink.
She watched as he leaned over her mother to give her a kiss. Maria turned her head so he could only kiss her cheek.
“I just got my lips done.” She said.
“Oh yeah, I forgot. They shoved some of that fat in your ass into your lips, so now I can truly kiss your ass.” He said.
His tone was playful, but Katie could sense his irritation with her mother.
Maria grabbed her pill bottle, shot Joel an angry look, and then popped two Vicodin.
“Are you ready?” Joel asked.
Katie nodded. She was ready; ready to get away from her mother, and to spend some time alone with Joel.
Thomas was outside waiting on them, but Joel told him he planned to drive. Katie was relieved to not have a chaperone, and riding beside Joel in his sports car felt not only exciting, but intimate.
The ride into the city was short, and Joel didn’t seem to have much to say. Katie was still feeling a tension between them, as if they were strangers all of a sudden.
She noticed he avoided taking his eyes away from hers throughout dinner. She wanted him to see her, to look at her like he did earlier; like a woman.
The greasy burgers were delicious. She hadn’t had a good American cheeseburger for over a year, and she knew she was less than ladylike as she shoved it into her mouth.
“Slow down.” Joel said.
He was laughing, and for the first time she had arrived home, he seemed relaxed around her.
“It’s just so good.” She said.
She had mustard dripping down her chin and a mouthful as she spoke.
Joel leaned in, wiped the mustard from her face with his napkin, and then lingered for what felt like an eternity.
Katie’s heart pounded inside of her chest, she stared into his eyes and waiting for him to kiss her.
“Well, you ready to head home?” He asked.
“Sure.” She said.
She was disappointed, but she knew she was being silly thinking he would kiss her. He was married to her mother.
The drive home was awkward. He never mentioned walking in on her naked, and throughout the entire night he avoided looking at anything but her eyes. She had picked the sundress out especially for him, hoping that he would enjoy her beauty and she could see that look in his eye again, but it seemed to be gone.
Back at the house, Maria had gone to bed, and the house was quiet. It was too early to go to bed, and she hoped that Joel would want to stay up with her and catch up.
“So, what do you want to do now?” Katie asked.
“I really should go check on Maria.” He said.
He seemed so distant, so different. Katie couldn’t understand the change. He used to love hanging out with her, but now, it was like he couldn’t wait to get away from her.
Katie told him she understood, even though she didn’t. She went upstairs, unpacked her belongings, and could hear Joel and her mother arguing in the next room. She listened in the doorway, making out Joel saying something about a man named Randy, and then she was pretty sure she heard her mother say her name. She quickly shut the door, not wanting to intrude on their private conversation any further.
To her, it just sounded like trouble in paradise. Joel had overstayed his welcome, and her mother was probably ready to read him in for a younger model… as usual.
As Katie unpacked, she found her bikini. It was a warm night, and the pool looked very inviting. She decided to slip it on, and sneak downstairs to the pool for a swim.
The conversation seemed to be over in her mother’s bedroom, so she headed downstairs.
Outside, the night air felt cool on her skin, making the water in the pool feel like bath water.
As she submerged her body into the water, she thought she noticed a shadow in the French patio doors.
After a few minutes, Joel came outside. He sat down in a lounge chair by the pool, and popped open a beer can.
“Beautiful night for a swim.” He said.
“Yes, get in with me…” Katie urged.
“I’m good, but thank you.” He said.
She watched as he sipped on his beer. His eyes lingered on the water, but not on Katie, who swam the length of the pool back and forth.
When she finished five laps, she emerged from the ladder in front of Joel.
Her hair was slicked back by the water, her nipples pushing through the thin material of her bikini top, and her hips barely hanging on to the string bottoms she wore.
She watched as his eyes moved down her body, slowly taking in every inch of her as he sipped on his beer.
When he looked back to her eyes, there was that look she was craving. Excitement spread through her veins like wildfire.
“Good night.” He said.
He quickly got up from his chair, chugged his beer and headed into the house.
Katie was left feeling aroused, anguished, and disappointed yet again. She wasn’t sure what she wanted, or even expected of Joel, but it was more than