The Sky’s the Limit
“Yeah. A half pound of the Swiss and the same of the honey ham, please. Medium slice is fine.”
I didn’t know anything about the young man behind the counter except that he worked part time and played guitar for a local heavy metal band. He’d told me after noticing the ubiquitous headphones clapped over my ears. He must have been half my age. Fortunately, I didn’t have a son to make that vulgar comparison and enjoyed an uncomplicated attraction to the kid. Amazed at our similar taste in music, he once jotted a note spelling out the title of a Norwegian black metal band he recommended. I’d been flattered, the band was good, and his pleasure at my later admission brightened my entire week.
“You can’t beat ham and cheese. Right, Karen?” Addressing my astonishment, he added, “That is your name.”
“Are you clairvoyant?”
“No, not psychic,” he refuted, laughing, “I cheated. I asked the checkout people. You’re here every Sunday, Karen. Someone was bound to remember from your credit card.”
Trying not to panic, I spoke from a gentler era, retorting, “Then you have me at a disadvantage, sir.”
“I’m sorry. My name’s Skyler,” the young man offered, catching on to my archaic inference impressively fast. “My friends call me Sky.”
“Nice to meet you, Sky. I like the name.”
“Thanks. I used to think it made me sound like a girl. Now I think it’s kind of cool. Different. You know? Like you.”
Never one to blush, I swallowed hard. Nobody would ever mistake him for a girl. Honest, friendly amusement twinkled in his dark chocolate eyes, the brow over the right showing the glint of silver. Piercings never tuned me on until I noted his. Eyebrow adornment and earrings made me wonder what metal might exist under the butcher’s apron and conservative, collared shirt.
Skyler didn’t move to fill my order and I became embarrassed by his scrutiny. My short skirt, probably too young for me, drew his eyes to my legs. I relied on their shapeliness to take notice from the few extra pounds about my waist.
“Your meat,” I stammered, trying to get him moving.
He didn’t snicker, much to his credit. If anything, he looked at me more intently.
I felt like a carefree girl instead of a middle aged, nine-to-five drone with a flailing marriage and a ranch-style house in the suburbs. Those periods of refreshment lingered after a chat with him, snippets of conversation in the time he took to run a deli slicer.
My mouth dried to a desert watching the muscles of his back through a layer of fabric. I imagined him swimming to get that body. Would he wear those ugly, huge shorts so popular at the local lake? I hoped not.
To my surprise, I found out a few days later. Thinking about Sky every day, fibbing when my husband inquired as to what was on my mind, I decided to call in sick and go for a swim. That intimate caress of water and the fantastic feeling of virtual flight through the current sent me out of the house early. I expected few people on the manmade beach, just the way I liked it. Later, swimming laps would be a battle against speed boat wake and splashing kids.
My theory turned out to be half right. The flocking hordes didn’t consist of humans, but scores of Canada geese. I headed the other direction and saw a sole sunbather stretching on a blanket as I topped a rise. I dropped my tote and choked noisily on my sour candy.
Skyler. He was naked.
I recognized him by the Asian dragon on his forearm, and stared as tapered fingers dragged a towel from his eyes. Probably hoping this interloper had not noticed his state of undress, he draped the fabric over his midsection and sat up.
Spiky black hair dripped water on a neck turned crimson with apparent mortification. Sensing my stare, he turned his head. A flash of annoyance faded instantly as those lips wrapped around a toothy smile.
I grabbed the nylon tote dumped at my feet and turned, fishing out my phone to answer an imaginary call.
“Hello.” Desperately heading for the parking lot, I spoke as if to my laid-back employer. “What does it take to get a day off?” Sighing, I resigned, “Sure, I can be there in a half hour. I just need to go home and change my clothes, Jack.”
“Karen,” Sky spoke in my ear. “Your phone didn’t ring.”
“I had it on vibrate,” I fibbed, continuing to walk.
A damp hand closed over my upper arm. Shocked, I spun around. A green and gold serpent, the mythical Ouroboros, circled a navel centered by an emerald stud. One hand held the towel, drooping off his left hip where a mate to the blue dragon emerged, shimmering in the sun. Its scales of orange and red must have been a bitch to keep so bright. How often must they require touchups? He chuckled and I realized that my eyes failed to reach his face.
“I make you nervous.”
“No,” I lied. “Nice tattoos.”
“Thanks. You know, I don’t think you should ignore this serendipity. Come swim with me. I won’t bite – promise.”
Shit. I didn’t want to take off my outer beachwear and contrast myself with his youthfully slim perfection. I also didn’t want to leave. My wedding ring sat in a box at the house for the last several months, the honest excuse being that I didn’t want the germs that accumulate under the jewelry.
“I’m married, Sky.”
“Meaning you can’t swim with another man?”
“You know what I mean.”
“I have grapes,” he coaxed in a singsong voice. “Come on. They’re in your cart every time I see you. Have you had breakfast?”
I couldn’t believe this conversation. Shaking my head to indicate I'd not eaten, I let him take my hand. This had to be an elaborate joke.
“I should go.”
“No. You should relax. I’m not going to lie. I’ve often wondered what it would be like with an older woman. Then I met you. And now we’re here. It’s fate.”
“Tell me you haven’t thought about me the same way. Besides, my parents cheat on one another all the time and it saved their marriage.”
The one thing my husband stipulated when we started dating had been that any straying meant the end of us. Granted, that us no longer existed. I sometimes wondered why we bothered to stay together, chalking it up to laziness.
“Why are you doing this? You must have a string of girlfriends.”
“More boyfriends, actually. I’m bi.”
“Shit,” I swore involuntarily, feeling wobbly with an onslaught of arousal.
Letting go my hand, he stepped back with a brief grimace. Sky thought his lifestyle sickened me.
“You stay. I’ll go. Enjoy your swim.”
“No. It’s not what you think. Picturing you with another guy just gave me fantasy material for the rest of my life.”
“Seriously? I’m used to the other reaction, but I decided you should know up front. I get tested regularly and I’m clean.”
“This is a dream. Isn’t it?”
Encouraged by his chuckle, I let myself be led to where Skyler’s little cooler sat on the sand. Smart man, he owned a sturdy one with a snap closure. These geese were incorrigible thieves.
He sat with the towel covering him and patted the blanket. I sat, shells about the cowl neckline of my poncho-style swimsuit cover clicking while I settled on one hip, legs curled to the side.
“That’s a really cool robe. Where did you get it?”
“I don’t know anymore. It’s probably older than you.”
“Don’t talk like that. I’ll bet I’m older than you think.”
Snorting, he shook his head. Gelled peaks didn’t move on his head. Sky opened the cooler and drew out a tub of fruit. A neatly matched set held carrots and celery, perhaps some sort of dip.
“Sorry. I feel bad, now. I’m twenty-one. Not so long ago I got mistaken for seventeen.”
I didn’t mention that my garment was, indeed, older. Sky smiled and I no longer cared. Seventeen seemed an absurdly low guess, at least; I could smell his aftershave and knew that a hint of beard developed under that porcelain skin before his shift at the grocery store ended.
“So, are you going to college?”
“No,” he sternly announced, surprising me. “We are not having that kind of conversation. No boring talk about what my major is and what my plans are for the future. I have a better question.”
“Will you let me feed you grapes mouth to mouth?”
He didn’t let me finish. The juicy globes were delicious, made more so by his tongue pushing them between my lips. A thousand questions raced through my mind. Accusations might be the better word, in fact, yet I couldn’t stop my hands from drifting to his shoulders, slightly greasy with sunscreen.
When the grapes ran out, he frowned like a little boy. I didn’t mind. It gave me a chance to catch my breath and study Sky’s face.
“Are you real?”
“Yeah! I just like living life instead of wishing I’d seen the ocean or kissed a certain boy. Or girl,” he added, tilting his head.
“I guess you don’t mind a woman on the heavier side,” I judged, looking down my torso as he clucked disapproval. “What kind of boys do you like?”
“Ooh, now, that’s a good question. The idea really turns you on. Huh? Kissing you revved my engine, lady, no matter how hard you want to be on yourself. See?”
Lifting his towel, I saw a decidedly curved, narrow penis pointing toward his belly. No metal there, just stiff flesh. I dropped my hand from his shoulder and stroked his velvet skin tentatively. Sky’s night-dark eyes closed and opened as I released him. My bravado shocked me.
“Karen, can we go somewhere more private?” Licking his lips, he confessed, “I’ve been busted for indecent exposure here and don’t need to get into more trouble.”
Knowing agreement opened a door I could never properly close, I contended, “We can’t go to my house. My husband works from home. Where would you suggest? Do you live with your folks?”
Making a face as he nodded, he again reminded me of a little kid. He could have almost passed for seventeen with that wrinkled nose and pouty grimace.
“You probably think it’s pathetic.”
“Not if you’re happy. You want adventure, and working a fulltime job to pay the mortgage puts a definite damper on that.”
Sky leaned close, lips trapping mine sans fruit. He tasted sweeter than grapes and I hummed acclaim.
“It’s the pineapple juice,” he explained intuitively.
“My last boyfriend taught me the trick of drinking a full glass of pineapple juice every day. It gets into your system and sweetens everything.”
“Everything,” my throat clicked upon echoing his remark.
“Everything,” Sky repeated, smiling lasciviously.
I feared for a moment I might swallow my tongue. Fighting the urge to lower him to the ground and find out right then and there how tasty Sky’s juice might be, I remembered a lodge in the last town on the way here. We’d best use condoms, anyway, and there just so happened to be a drug store next to the motel.
Huskily, I asked, “Where’s your car?”
“I don’t have one. I hitchhiked.”
“Sky! That’s not safe.”
“Yeah,” Skyler agreed casually. “Blow jobs have gotten me out of a few jams.”
Shaking my head, I cursed again. He just hooted, letting me in on the joke by pointing to an old motorcycle.
We were almost to my car by this time, the bike hidden by a dumpster. Inside a wide, leather saddlebag he exchanged the cooler for clothing and shoes. Sky tugged on a second skin of faded denim.
He stopped to pick a cigarette butt off the bottom of his bare soul, scuffed sneakers dangling from a hooked finger by ratty shoelaces. I vowed to get him into a shower before bed. Even as that wisdom came to mind I marveled at my nonchalant acceptance without stopping for any heavy soul searching.
Sky parked next to my car after following me to the town’s sole inn. Waving, he walked next door, having already offered to pick up some drugstore items. I went inside to secure a room. Not anticipating an argument with the hotel desk clerk, the morning hour never occurred to me as an obstacle. My patience proved much shorter than my funds.
“We’re tired from a long drive,” I storied. “Just bill me for last night and tonight. Will that do?”
She blinked at me, taken off guard by my generous solution. Then she nodded, stuttering, and I realized her speech impairment took the form of Skyler’s approach. He’d donned a ragged shirt advertising a brand of guitar amplifiers and the battered shoes without socks. A curiously hefty pharmacy bag dangled from his wrist. Sky looked like sex on a stick, scruffy apparel especially intriguing with the rock star hair.
“You don’t have the room yet, Karen? I’m dying for a bath. I bought bubble soap, too,” he announced, producing the item.
I eyed the bottle approvingly. This would be much better than a shower. Clacking my credit card on the counter, I rolled my eyes to indicate that I’d explain the delay later.
“That will be eighty - four dollars.”
In a stage whisper, Skyler asked, “For one night?”
“Don’t worry,” I advised. “I’ve got it covered.”
Somehow, we never got around to explanations. Sky insinuated himself in my arms the moment elevator doors closed. Tongue in my mouth, he ground slim hips against me so my knees quaked.
Sky’s hand found my waist and I denied my temptation to move his touch to somewhere less out-of-shape. He seemed to sense this, nonetheless.
Pulling back his head, he warned, “I won’t let some silly self-consciousness of yours ruin this. I’m going to love your body, in all the ways that matter.”
Then he cradled the back of my head from the hard wall and kissed me like no man before. Just the prior evening, my judgmental spouse announced that he couldn’t imagine having sex again until I lost weight. Skyler obviously didn’t share the opinion.
It took me three tries to manage the key card and open the door. Sky bumping into my backside distracted me, hair pulled aside so his lips could tickle sensitive nerves in my neck. He worked my fabric belt out of the knot and wrapped the cotton strip around his wrist evocatively.
In room 308, Sky’s shirt hit the floor while his shoe rolled to a stop in the closet against its mate. He unsnapped the bubble soap bottle and tossed the cotton belt on the bed. Pants unbuttoned, the tip of his erection showed naked above what I considered a very dangerous zipper.
“I’ll start a bath. Then I’m going to undress you, Karen. Why don’t you see if you can tune in a decent station?”
A part of me urged escape, to dart out the door. He didn’t give me the opportunity, spiky crown catching my wary eyes as he peered around the doorway.
“It’s awfully quiet in here. Why didn’t you turn on the radio?”
“Just a little stunned, I guess. I can do better than the radio.”
Letting my beach bag slide to the carpet, I bent down for the waterproof docking station for my music player. I quickly found the ideal playlist featuring suggestive lyrics and erotic drum beats.
“Cool toy. Now, come here.”
Slipping off my sandals, I walked to him dutifully. With the mostly open jeans showcasing his vitally alive form, I couldn’t resist.
Sky wasted no time in lifting off my white outer garment and tossing it over a luggage rack. A knuckle slipped under the shoulder strap of my one-piece suit. His other hand went to my side.
“You’re so warm,” Sky praised.
“Not really. That’s one reason for the bath.”
“But your skin feels almost hot.”
“I run high, Karen. In truth, I should have worn a jacket on the bike. I’m practically frozen to the bone. Well, the internal ones,” he joked breathily, my cautious grip holding him and opening his zipper the rest of the way.
Without warning, Sky’s right index finger twisted the elastic nylon and shifted my shoulder strap over far enough to expose the uppermost swell of breast. Left hand fingertips brushed the skin and I tossed my head back. I breathed deep his compliments between almost suffocating kisses.
He swayed me in an intimate dance backward to the bathroom. Along the way, he somehow peeled off my swimsuit and his jeans before we stepped into the tub. His hands washed me and himself with languid caresses. Bubbles and heat and Skyler proved to be a dizzying combination. He helped me stand for a quick rinse under the shower spray.
Somehow, his hair stayed the same while mine wilted in the steam. I made a foggy mental note to ask what brand styling products he used, forgetting immediately as he ran his fingers over my scalp and a few hoarse words praised the softness of my locks.
I squeaked when he lifted me. In five steps, Sky arrived at the bed and dropped me on the comforter.
“I want you. Now. Enough foreplay.”
Incisors sparkling in the gloom, his teeth tore open a foil packet. The latex rolled over his length one moment and then his body fitted overtop mine on the mattress. Feeling the lubrication of the rubber, I took his hand to show how readily my own moisture accumulated. He groaned and slid his fingers between my legs repeatedly, torturous as cunnilingus without penetration.
“Please, don’t make me wait. I want to feel you inside me, Sky.”
“Guide me in.”
Unable to keep my eyes open, I let my hands explore as we moved together. His ink looked so alive in the morning sunshine that I expected the pictures to have a texture. Almost startled that they felt as silky smooth as the rest of his skin, I found Sky’s words even more shocking.
“Let’s go to the balcony. I want the world to see how beautiful you are.”
“Maybe. I also want to stop briefly so I can make this last. You don’t have anywhere you need to be. Do you?”
“Yes, Sky. Right here. I needed this so badly,” I slurred drunkenly.
“Need-ed? Karen, honey, we’ve barely started.”
“Oh, good. No exhibitionism, though. Okay? You seeing me is about all I can handle at this point.”
“I wish you’d stop talking like that. It’s probably wise to give it a skip, though. Eh? This is a major intersection. Let’s go to the bathroom.”
“Yeah. There’s a really big mirror in there and a countertop where I can take you standing up.”
Only ever imagining sex on any surface other than a bed with my unadventurous spouse, I readily agreed. Sky treated me like a precious possession, sitting me down on towels arranged for my comfort.
The narrow room allowed me to leverage the balls of my feet up high, legs relaxed. I liked the way he watched us joining together. That probably triggered my orgasm as much as the sensation of his body meeting mine and pulling back slowly, maintaining the barest entry until his rhythm started into me again.
Only countless minutes and several used condoms later did we talk in more than grunts and moans. I needed to get home. He had a private guitar lesson.
“It pays my car insurance and gets me out of the house. What I make at the store is being saved for that boring future I don’t want to talk about.”
“Then we don’t have to. But sign me up for weekly lessons.”
“Yes. We’ll arrange to meet somewhere. I might even bring a guitar,” I teased.
“I’d like that.”
My husband wouldn’t. I needed to make a momentous confession when I got home. Rather than fearful, a future without that scowling critic suddenly opened endless possibilities to my imagination.