New Horizons

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I stood back from the window, just watching.

Peter, if that was really his name, was sitting by the edge of the pool. The woman that he’d said was his sister was sitting on him, legs scissored around his trunk. They were both glistening in the sun, ebony skin vibrant. There didn’t appear to be much effort being expended, they were just seemed to be enjoying the moment, the closeness. So, the guy that I’d thought of as “my” holiday romance was fucking someone else while I’d gone to town. It was their place though and they’d been good enough to invite me to stay with them for a few days once my ‘proper’ holiday had ended, so I couldn’t really complain too much. Or could I?

I was on a post-divorce fling in the sun, where I’d told myself that I’d do whatever, fuck whatever, just to get the last few months out of my system. Peter had been in my room, in my bed, within an hour of us meeting in the local market, just two supposedly lonely adults out for a bit of fun. He’d been upfront about being here in a villa with his sister, which I’d thought was lovely at the time, but I hadn’t expected them to be making the beast with two backs by the pool as soon as they thought the coast was clear.

I’d been so pleased to have bagged a handsome, black man, on my trip; a much better catch than I would’ve hoped for or would’ve spread for if the truth be told. As I said, the name of the game was getting fucked to forget. Peter, though, was educated, fit, sex on legs and the cliché that most middle-aged white women in my position dreamed of. I’m not that bad, even if I say so myself: slim, well-proportioned, straight blonde hair that’s perhaps that little bit too long for a woman of forty-five. I still scrub up quite well and hope that I will for some time to come. I watched the two of them, picturing myself sitting astride that same slab of prime, dark meat only a matter of hours before, revelling in the contrast between my tanned, but still pale skin and his glorious darkness. Despite what I saw as his betrayal of what we could’ve had, there was something so erotic about seeing the sheen of their dark, oiled skin while the two of them were joined like that.

I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t got anywhere else to stay. I couldn’t stay here. Despite my shock, annoyance and disappointment, I kept watching them. He was mine for my holiday, not hers, whoever she was. Could it be his sister? No, that was so wrong. He’d lied to me. What was she to him? Wife? Girlfriend?

I’d sat and drank sangria with her, chatting and laughing. Talked about holiday romance, talked about the break-up with Brian, stuff I’d not even shared with friends back home. Intimate stuff. Now I was watching her fucking my holiday distraction. I’d have to book into a hotel. I wished I hadn’t re-booked my flight for next week. It had all seemed so perfect, until it wasn’t.

He shifted. He was trying to stand up. He couldn’t do it with her on him. She stood. I saw her perfect, hairless body. The boobs that had filled a bikini so well were free and unrestrained. Big, firm, perfect tits. She was a wonderful-looking woman. Early thirties maybe, but youthful and lithe, with a cap of tightly-curled, black hair. Here I was, well-preserved for my age, but I couldn’t compete with her. Taut, sleek, firm buttocks, flat stomach. And those tits. Did I mention them? I couldn’t be angry with him anymore, but I couldn’t stay. She looked towards the window. Could she see me lurking in the shadows? He positioned himself behind her, bent her over. She had nothing to lean on, nothing to brace herself against. She put her hands on her thighs for some stability and he entered her. She was looking straight at me. She smiled. Fuck!

I started to cry without really knowing why. The whole thing had been time-limited from the start. I’d come on holiday to have some fun and was due to go home after having that fun. Nothing had changed, so why was I standing there crying like a teenager? I went to my room to pack. I closed the door and stood against it, a barrier to whatever heartache was trying to get to me. I looked around, looked at the lovely furnishings, the bed where Peter had crept in besides me, having left the bed of that other woman first, no doubt. I hated him for that, but a part of me found something slightly arousing about him leaving that perfect specimen to come to me. I went and sat at the dresser to fix my face, but was startled by a knock at the door. I didn’t answer it.

‘Sophie?’

It was Tanya.

‘Just a minute’ I called out.

‘Can I come in?’

‘No. Yes’ I replied, flustered.

She came in. I was dabbing my eyes with a tissue. She looked at me. Was that pity I could see? I was pleased that she’d got a robe on, even if it was quite short. I don’t think I could’ve faced being taunted by that body just at that moment. She put a hand on my shoulder.

‘I think we owe you an apology’ she said softly.

‘I just need to leave’ I replied.

‘No, please. You don’t need to do that’ she said, squeezing my shoulder. ‘Can I sit down?’

She took a seat on the edge of my bed and demurely crossed her legs. The robe slid away to allow a perfect thigh to flaunt itself. We looked at each other.

‘Peter and I come here for some fun. I think you did too, but we didn’t mean to hurt you. We thought that you’d done this sort of thing before. That’s what Peter thought anyway. Just from the way you were straight down to business when he met you. It was only when you and I talked that I realised you were on the rebound.’

‘Are you his sister?’ was the only question that I wanted an answer to at that moment.

‘God, no’ she chuckled. ‘We just find that it makes things easier sometimes if we say that.’

‘Are you his wife?’

‘I’m anything that you want me to be’ she replied with a coy smile. She stood up and took a fresh tissue out of the box, stooping to dab my eyes as if I were a kid who’d fallen off their bike and needed a hug.

‘You didn’t answer my question’ I said.

‘Remember what you came here for. To forget, have some excitement and then go home with no regrets. Nothing’s changed. We can help you to forget, help you to have some fun. You knew before you got off the plane that whoever you took up with would have a wife or girlfriend somewhere, so why get upset?’

‘It was a shock. Seeing him. Seeing the two of you like that.’

‘He’s still out there if you want to go out’ she suggested.

‘I couldn’t.’

‘Why not?’

‘You’re here’ I replied. She stood back and raised her eyebrows at me.

‘Girl, don’t worry about me. If you want to do something, do it’ she encouraged.

‘It wouldn’t seem right’ I countered.

‘You’re a long way from home. Nobody knows you here. There isn’t a right or a wrong. Be impulsive. You can be English next week, this week, you’re whoever you want to be’ she said. She looked at me intently and then smiled. ‘That sounded really crap, didn’t it?’ she observed.

I nodded and she laughed. ‘You know what I mean. Just do whatever you want while you’re here’ she urged. She saw me glance at my suitcase, tucked away by the wardrobe.

‘You don’t need to do that. Stay here, we’ll forget about this and you just do what you came here to do.’

‘You want me to forget a lifetime’s inhibitions and reservation just like that?’

‘It didn’t take you long to do that with Peter.’

‘You’ve no idea how long it took to get me to that state of mind, how much Prosecco and shouting at myself went into taking down all the barriers.’

‘You’re here now, all you have to do is let it happen.’

‘I just had this idea that I could lose myself in a bubble with Peter or someone, be just us and forget about everything for a while’ I said, feeling better for having talked to her.

‘What’s stopping you?’

‘It’s hard to be a couple when there’s three of you’ I said, stating the obvious.

‘Good things come in threes’ she said.

I looked up at her.

‘You must think I’m stupid’ I said, dabbing at my eyes for what I hoped would be the last time.

‘Not at all. I’m really happy that Peter brought you home.’

‘You make me sound like a waif and stray’ I chuckled, tossing my tissue in the bin. I looked at myself in the mirror. ‘God, I look awful’ I said.

‘Come and find me when you’re ready. We’ll have drink and start over’ she said, the material of her gown swishing as she turned to leave.

I felt stupid. She was completely correct. What had I expected? Of course, any guy I took up with while I was away would have a wife or girlfriend. Was it so bad that Peter had his “whatever-she-was” with him, even if I couldn’t understand why he was looking anywhere else for his jollies when he had her on tap.

I tidied myself up and put my swimsuit on. I’d lie by the pool, drink some wine and forget all about being stupid.

The sun-loungers were empty. Peter must’ve gone in. Was he avoiding me? I got myself comfortable and had just closed my eyes when I heard the sound of flip-flops approaching.

‘Here we are, just what you need’ Tanya said.

I opened my eyes, shielding them from the sun with a hand. I looked past the proffered glass, the chilled wine causing condensation on its sides. I was looking at Tanya. Near-naked Tanya. Well, the bottom half, because that’s what filled my vision. Her bikini was hardly worth the name, it was so skimpy and showed me more mound than modesty. I didn’t know where to look. I’d made a conscious decision to buy swimsuits with higher-cut legs for this trip so that I’d show a bit more than I normally would, but Tanya’s bikini was something else altogether. I took the glass from her and she sat down on the edge of her lounger, which only served to bring her barely-restrained boobs into view. I wondered if there was a name for a bikini top that struggled to cover the nipples, let alone provide any support for the boobs themselves.

‘What do you say we go into town later and just have some girl-time?’ she suggested, making herself comfortable. I signalled my agreement. It might do me good to get away from Peter for a while.

I sun-bathed and sipped my wine, getting my head around the situation. By the time she was starting to make a move to go out, I was almost at peace with what was going on. The only thing that I couldn’t work out was the sleeping arrangements. Was Peter going to flit between the two of us? Was a threesome lurking in his wicked plans for me? Was that why he’d picked me up? I wasn’t necessarily against the idea, but I’d always thought along the lines of me and two guys, if it was ever going to happen. I gravitated towards those sort of little internet films whenever I felt lonely and needed a distraction, so the potential for it wasn’t unwelcome.

Once I’d finished my wine, I went in and got dressed in a simple sun-dress, thinking that I might have to buy another couple in town to last me the rest of my stay. After a few minutes, Tanya called a farewell out to Peter and she and I were on our way. We strolled around the streets for a while, looking in this shop and that, eventually stopping at a coffee shop for a rest. We sat outside to watch the world go by.

After a while, I realised that Tanya’s attention wasn’t always on me while we chatted. She appeared to be looking over my shoulder at something. I turned to see what it was. I realised that we’d been sitting outside a small row of shops, one of which was a hairdressing salon, which lay in the direction of her gaze. There was a poster in its window, which is what appeared to have drawn her attention.

‘What does it say?’ I asked, once more embarrassed by Tanya’s proficiency with the local language.

‘They want models for haircuts.’

‘Oh’ I replied, failing to match her interest.

‘Free haircut? Count me in. I’ll be back in a second’ she said, getting up. I took another sip of my coffee, mulling over everything that had brought me to this, for about the thousandth time. A wish for a complete break after a really shitty time in my personal life. I find a guy I want to be with, night and day, only to discover that he’s here with his woman. To him, I was just an opportunity while he was doing his shopping.

I heard Tanya coming back.

‘Well?’ I asked.

‘They’re not interested. My hair’s too short’ she reported. I couldn’t disagree, her hair was already as short as could be. It was probably the lure of something for free that interested her, rather than the haircut itself.

‘That’s a shame. No free haircut then?’

‘Oh no, they said they’ll do it.’

I looked at her, puzzled. I looked at her already cropped hair, reinforcing my earlier assessment.

‘They said that if I bring you in, I can have a free cut.’

‘They want me?’ I asked, surprised.

‘They don’t get many blondes. They like the idea of something different.’

‘Surely hair is hair?’ I observed.

‘They film the cuts. Having a blonde makes a change from all of these irritatingly attractive Mediterranean types that they normally get.’

‘They must get other tourists?’ I observed, skimming over the part about the haircuts being filmed.

‘Apparently not that many. Most of them don’t look past the beach and the bars. Getting their hair cut is the last thing on their mind.’

‘So what made them think of me?’ I asked suspiciously.

‘I may have suggested that they look out of the window while we were talking’ she confessed.

‘Thanks very much’ I replied sarcastically.

She took a drink of her coffee.

‘Not tempted?’ she asked, looking over the rim of her cup.

‘By what?’

‘A free haircut.’

‘Just so that you can have a free one yourself?’

‘Not really. I don’t want what they’re offering, but I just thought you might want to add an impulsive haircut to the list of things that you did on your holiday that you wouldn’t do at home?’

I wondered if that was a little dig at me for sleeping with Peter.

‘I hadn’t thought about it. Anyway, I thought that it was you that wanted a free haircut?’ I replied, a little puzzled by her sudden reticence.

‘They said that my only option was to shave my head. I’ve never really considered doing it’ she replied.

‘It’s so short already’ I observed.

‘My sister shaves hers, but I’ve just never felt like going all the way.’ She shrugged.

‘So what do they want to do to me?’ I asked cautiously.

‘I don’t think they mind as long as it’s not just a trim.’

‘You’ll probably tell them to shave me too’ I laughed.

‘If you want me to’ she replied straight-faced.

‘You really think I’d want to do that?’

‘Why not? Think of what a surprise it’ll be for Peter if we both come back bald!’

‘He picked up a long-haired blonde in the supermarket, not a woman with no hair. Don’t you think he’d just show me the door?’

She shrugged her shoulders.

‘You’re serious, aren’t you?’ I asked after a moment.

She nodded.

‘Who says that I’d want to shave my head, anyway?’

‘Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it’ she replied.

‘I think we’re going just going to go around in circles here. You want me to ask them to do something that I don’t want to do, and that they haven’t suggested, isn’t that it?’

‘I want you to do it for me’ she said, much more serious now.

I made a point of looking at her with my eyes as wide as they’d go. ‘Run that by me again’ I asked, shocked, surprised and a bit more shocked.

She leaned in towards me.

‘Peter brought you home as a present for me’ she said. ‘A little playmate.’

‘Did he now? Funny how he didn’t mention anything to me about that.’

‘He never does’

‘So that little performance by the pool was all part of the act, was it?’

‘That? That was just a bit of fun, but when we’re done here, you, me and a bottle of oil are going to spend some quality time together.’

‘There’s just a couple of things, well, three maybe, that might be issues there. You don’t really want to shave your head, I don’t want to shave my head and I’ve never so much as kissed another woman’ I replied conclusively.

‘Three points well-made. One reply: there’s a first time for everything’ she said, sitting back in her chair to signify the end of the discussion.

I needed to get the upper-hand again, without damaging the fact that I was a non-paying guest in her villa.

‘How about I think about it while you go in there and get your head shaved’ I challenged. That should shut her up, I thought.

She looked at me with quiet intent, before bending forward to pick up her cup, draining its contents. She put the cup down, her eyes fixed on mine all the way. There was a clatter when she didn’t quite get the cup on the saucer properly. Her expression didn’t change. We looked at each other. She signalled the waiter. There was an exchange. A finger pointed at me. She shook her head when he asked a question. He walked away.

She stood up. ‘I’ve ordered you a coffee to help you think’ she said and started walking. I half-turned to check that she really was headed back to the salon. I was distracted by the waiter bringing the coffee that I didn’t really want. I mumbled an international “thank you” sound and reached into my bag for the distraction of my phone. What was going on? It was one thing to screw a random guy on holiday (who hadn’t done that?), but what Tanya was suggesting was something completely different. No-one looked at you in the street and knew that you’d slept with someone, but they would look at you if you were a middle-aged woman with a shaved head.

I fiddled with my phone, wondering whether I should talk to Peter, see what he thought. I realised that I hadn’t even got his number. On a practical note, what would happen if I got lost, couldn’t find my way back to the villa? Even if I had his number, what would I say? What would I expect him to say? “Do what you like, you’re nothing to do with me” would be the most obvious reply. I closed my eyes to think better.

A hand on my shoulder brought me back from wherever it was in my head that I’d been.

Tanya sat down. ‘Didn’t you want that?’ she asked, nodding towards the still-full cup in front of me. I looked at her.

‘You actually did it’ I said bringing a hand to my mouth. Her head was completely hairless. It glistened in the sun from something that they’d put on it.

‘Wasn’t as bad as I thought’ she replied, running a hand across the nothingness. She smiled at me. ‘They’re waiting for you’ she said.

‘I can’t. I wouldn’t know what to say. I don’t speak…’ I was still talking when she cut me off.

‘I’ve told them. You don’t need to say anything. Just go in, sit where they tell you and they’ll do everything else’ she explained.

‘What have you said to them?’ I asked, a hint of anxiety in my voice.

She smiled her response.

‘But I don’t want to’ I objected, knowing exactly what that smile meant.

‘I know. That’s what’s making me wet’ she replied casually. Her hand went to her hairless scalp. Her tongue moistened her lips.

I must’ve deployed my “wtf” expression, because a broad smile broke across her face.

‘Just think of us stroking each other’s heads’ she said as if that was something that would tip the balance in her favour. ‘Imagine yourself bald, smooth, sexy.’

‘I don’t want to’ I repeated.

‘I want you to. Do it for me, please?’ she urged.

‘Really? Shave my head, just like that? What about when I come to my senses, what do I do then?’

‘Just enjoy it’ she said.

‘I couldn’t.’

‘Stand up, walk over there and just sit where she tells you’ she said. She covered my hand with hers. ‘Please?’

‘Do those eyes always get you what you want’ I asked, commenting on the most superb “puppy dog” expression that I could remember. She fluttered her eyelashes at me.

‘Always’ she replied.

I looked at her and pondered. Was I really going to do something that I didn’t want to do, just so that she and I could do something that held no attraction for me once we got back to the villa? I thought back to the relief that I’d felt when I got on the plane, the resolution that I’d felt that I was going to throw caution to the wind, leave my inhibitions at home. I hadn’t expected to be faced with anything like this though. I looked at her and stood up. Her hand ran slowly up my thigh, giving me a squeeze just before she reached the swell of my backside. Was that meant to be some sort of comfort gesture or a declaration of intent. I ignored it.

I headed resolutely for the salon, telling myself not to be so stupid, although I couldn’t actually believe that I was doing it. I was a forty-five year old woman who should know better, not some wide-eyed, impressionable kid. I opened the door, grateful for the sudden drop in temperature thanks to the air-con. I was surprised that it was much more swish and swanky inside than I would’ve expected and was still in this state of surprise when a voice greeted my from the shadows. I turned to acknowledge the welcome and was greeted by the warmest, most disarming smile that I’ve ever seen. I could feel my trepidation start to slip away. She was just what a business like this needed: slim, attractive, young, but not that young, and immaculately presented. Her jet black hair was cut into a sharp bob that didn’t quite touch her collar. I returned her smile, although I knew that mine lacked the confidence that hers exuded. Her outstretched right arm conveyed the message and I followed its instruction.

I sat down and took a deep breath. I saw her smile at me in the mirror and then pick up the gown that had been draped over the chair next to the one that she’d shown me. My eye was caught by the camera on a tripod off to the side. I really was being filmed. I wondered where else they might be hidden, before my musing was ended by the brush being drawn gently through my hair. I’d used to like it when my ex-husband brushed my hair, but such nonsense stopped long ago. That had usually ended with sex of some sort, but of a very vanilla nature compared with what was in prospect today. I closed my eyes briefly, but then decided that they should be open, in case a pleading glance might change what was in store. The brushing went on, maybe she was just trying to let me enjoy it one last time.

The brush was put down. Mirrored looks were exchanged. Scissors were positioned. I had the beginnings of a bob. She’d wavered between my shoulder and my ear when selecting a starting point, but had decided on a point closer to jaw-level. I had been looking at her precision-cut bob while she decided what to do with me and had barely switched my attention back to my own hair before the blades came together. Twelve inches or so of my precious hair slid unceremoniously down the cape, coming to rest in my lap. I’d thought about doing something like this on the last couple of visits to my own hairdresser, but had taken the easy way out and just opted for sticking with the status quo. After all, there was something so sexy about “doggy-style” hair-pulling that I hadn’t wanted to give up on, particularly with my newly-won single status so unexplored. The silent stylist worked backwards, leaving the curtain on the left of my head to enjoy its new-found lightness. I tried to assess the difference that those few inches of hair made, and decided that I did actually look better already, despite the erotic benefits of long hair. I really should’ve done it sooner.

The stylist worked rapidly, approaching the right-hand side of my face more quickly than I would have thought possible. She worked in silence, no background music, no chat for obvious reasons. If only all salon visits could be like this, I’d probably go more often. It amused me that even if we’d shared a language, this stylist wouldn’t have been able to ask if I was going anywhere nice for my holidays, because I was already there!

She paused. I was bobbed. I was pleasantly surprised. Could we stop there? Apparently not. She stood far enough away from me to be able to turn the chair to allow the unknown audience to see her handiwork without obstruction, but after a couple of slow revolutions, she was readying herself for the next stage. That was something I’d have to get my head around later on: what sort of person sits and watches films of people, women, getting their hair cut? Is it for educational purposes or is someone I’ll never meet going to be tugging away with me on their screen? Really?

I was facing the mirror again. Waiting. Watching. She picked up some electric clippers, peered at them, prepared them. She was going to use them on me. I forgot all about people in darkened rooms watching what was going on.

What would I look like? Tanya had made the transition effortlessly from her super-short hair to no hair. Obviously she looked different bald, but she’d lost less than an inch. She hadn’t woken up this morning and had long hair swirling about her in the shower like I had. How long would it be before washing my hair required effort again? The stylist’s hand eased the hair away from the right-hand side of my face and held it back. The clippers appeared in my peripheral vision and then they followed the path that her other hand had just taken. A sheet of hair tumbled from the side of my head. My stomach convulsed. This was really happening. I could see bristles where there had been luxurious hair. She wasn’t shaving me like she had Tanya. I was going to be bristly, not bald. I was relieved. I didn’t ever think that I would be able to say that I’d feel relief at losing most of my hair, but here I was. I relaxed and watched another hank tumble.

Just when I thought she was working round the side and back, she paused, looked at me in the mirror and then did the tandem-hand thing at my forehead. Good hand/bad hand. Good hand to ease the hair into position, bad hand to wield the machine that would sweep it away. I could see my hairline, or bristle line to be more accurate. The hair slid backwards out of view and I saw myself as a man for the first time. A man with very short hair, but with feminine features. Neither man nor woman really, not in my mind anyway. The stylist continued unabated, intent on perfection. I watched the bristle patch grow. She stooped to get a better angle at the back and sides, tanned boob-swell shamelessly revealed. That must be for the cameras, I thought. She stood upright again, rubbing my bristly crown vigorously. I could see tiny bits of severed hair leap for freedom. She looked at me in the mirror again.

‘Thank you. Gracias!’ I said, before wondering if I’d just ruined the film by breaking my silence.

She looked at me and smiled. She held the clippers out so that I could see and then made a big play of taking off the front part. Was she taunting me by showing me the last remnants of my hair caught in her machine? She turned it on again and changed position so that she was standing behind me once more. Then she showed me what the newly-configured clippers were capable of. My image-saving bristles slid away without protest, leaving a sun-defying white stripe across the top of my head. I was incapable of saying anything, even if there was a point. She was shaving me to the bone. How stupid had I been, thinking that I was going to get away with a buzzcut? She went over the same ground as before, this time laying waste to what little she’d left me with on the previous run. I was just grateful that my ears didn’t stick out.

So that was it, pretty much. I was mid-forties, manless and hairless. What hope for me now? The clippers went away, leaving me to look at myself. Not a man, not a woman, not a conventional one, anyway. I really didn’t see this on the horizon when I jetted away to make a fresh start. I wouldn’t even be interested enough or brave enough to sit and have my hair braided by one of those women on the beach in normal circumstances, although this holiday was turning out to be anything but normal.

The stylist was rubbing her hands together and then placed them against my scalp, moving them around. How could I be so stupid? Of course she was going to razor shave me. Why wouldn’t she? The perfect end to a perfect afternoon! She smeared, I tingled. Was she doing it like that deliberately? Tiny movement of her fingertips, barely touching me, but sending all sorts of messages to places that were more than receptive. How long did it take to cover someone’s head in shaving foam or whatever it was? She wiped her hands and the serious business began. How I would’ve loved to ask her what she thought while she was stripping another woman of her hair, her femininity? She was expressionless, gentle, purposeful. I’d expected scraping, but felt only caresses. I admired her skill, despite what she was doing to me and in a way was grateful to her for doing such a good job. After all, nobody had forced me to walk in here, I could’ve refused. Could’ve told Tanya that I just wasn’t going to do it and if she wanted to kick me out, that was fine. Yet here I was, curious and more than a little bit excited by the mute stylist’s touch.

The razor strokes continued, progressing around and over my scalp until there was no more to do. The stylist surprised me by covering my head with a hot towel, pressing it against me firmly before removing it. With it had gone all traces of the shaving foam. She got rid of the towel and then her hands were back, oily and firm, sliding across my scalp. I closed my eyes, enjoying the moment as much as I could. She massaged my bare scalp for far longer than could be necessary, oiling me up, lubing me up in ways that she may not have intended, although I wouldn’t bet that it was unintentional. The hands went away, she went to rinse them and I was left amongst the wreckage of my hair to stare at myself. I didn’t look like an alien, but I didn’t look like me. She returned, drying her hands on a fresh towel and stood to look at me.

‘I would’ve stopped at the bob, if you’d wanted’ she said in faultless English.

‘You speak English?’ I said, not believing what I was hearing.

‘I am English’ she said.

‘But Tanya said…’ I protested, realising that Tanya hadn’t actually told me that the woman didn’t speak English. I’d just assumed. How stupid was that?

‘She asked me not to speak. Said it was a game that the two of you were playing. You look beautiful, you make a lovely couple’ she said.

‘We’re not…’ I started to protest.

‘You should be’ she urged with a wink.

I stood up and smiled a “thank you” at her, despite what she’d done to me. ‘I’d better go and face the world’ I said.

‘Make sure you use really good sunscreen’ she advised as I gathered myself for departure.

I turned and walked out, all thoughts about the film that she’d made were a million miles from my head. I saw Tanya waiting at the door.

‘You bitch’ I said with more than a little seriousness.

‘What?’

‘You could’ve told me that she was English.’

‘And? Would you have changed your mind if I had?’

‘I hadn’t really made up my mind, so there was nothing to change.’

‘Let me look at you’ she said.

We faced each other. She took each of my hands in hers and looked deep into my eyes.

‘I want to fuck you’ she said quietly. I stared at her, looking at her bald head and then back into her eyes.

‘I want you to fuck me’ I whispered, wondering whether I could actually go through with it. What if I didn’t like it? What if I laughed?

We started to make our way back to the villa and to whatever new experience awaited me there. Anticipation kept us silent at first, but then Tanya spoke.

‘You know I said that my sister shaved her head?’

‘Yes.’

‘That’s why Peter likes me to have hair.’

‘Doesn’t he like the way your sister looks without hair?’ I asked innocently.

She looked across at me briefly, before returning her attention to the road.

‘He doesn’t want to be reminded of her.’

‘You’ve lost me’ I replied, feeling foolish.

‘He’s married to my sister. He doesn’t want her looking back at him when he’s with me’ she explained.

‘I was silent for a moment.

‘I’m sorry’ I said.

‘What for?’

‘That you lost your sister.’

Tanya laughed.

‘I haven’t lost her. She’s back home. She thinks Peter’s on a business trip, the way she always does when he’s with me.’

‘Oh, I see’ really feeling foolish now.

‘How long have you two…?’

‘Before he married Shirley. He couldn’t make his mind up, so he just kept us both on’ she chuckled.

‘So what’s he going to say when he sees you like that?’

‘He won’t come near me. Or you for that matter’ she replied.

‘So why did you…?’

‘Let’s just say that I wanted you all to myself’ she replied with a triumphal grin.

‘So will he kick me out?’

‘Not at all. He’ll go and find himself someone else.’

‘Just like that?’

‘He’s good at finding people, as you must’ve realised.’

‘I didn’t exactly put up much of a fight’ I replied.

The conversation ended and I looked out of the window for the rest of the journey. I wasn’t looking forward to going back to the villa anymore and the nascent curiosity at what Tanya and I might get up to had died away.

I don’t want to dwell on the unpleasantness that followed. It was brief, it was angry, it was over. Peter took the car and went off somewhere. I went to my room, showered and took no real notice of my lack of hair. The novelty didn’t have a chance. I wrapped a robe around myself, opened the patio doors and sat on a chair to reflect on the day’s events. I’d woken up with hair and a temporary lover. A few hours later I had no hair and no lover. My mid-life crisis had become just a crisis. I didn’t really want to be here anymore.

A few minutes later, there was a knock on my door. Peter, come back to apologise? Peter, come back to throw me out? Tanya, with the same options?

‘Can I come in?’ Tanya called out.

‘Of course’ I called across the empty room from the patio.

‘I just wanted to make sure you were okay’ she said, walking towards me.

‘Fine’ I replied, turning to look at the bottle of wine and two glasses that she was holding.

‘Have you heard from Peter?’ I asked, coming back into the room to meet her halfway.

‘He’ll be okay. He’ll find someone to console him, don’t you worry about that.’

‘What about the two of you?’

‘We’ll be fine. Storm in a tea cup, that’s all’ she said. ‘Anyway, do the honours with that and I’ll be back in a sec’ she said. I watched her go, her silky robe swishing as she went.

I opened the wine and poured a couple of glasses, wishing that I’d at least put a swimsuit on when I got out of the shower. I wasn’t overly comfortable in just my robe, even if it was a bit more substantial than Tanya’s. I sat back down in my garden chair and looked out at the neatly-tended plants.

It was a couple of minutes before she was back, firm hands on my shoulders announcing her presence. I felt the lightest kiss on my bare scalp, the first real chance that I’d had to sense the change from our trip to town.

‘Forget Peter’ she breathed in my ear.

‘He’s been so good to me, I hate to think that I’ve thrown it in his face.’

‘I told you, don’t worry about him. He’s probably already back in the saddle. I wanted you for myself and I knew that this would do it’ she said, apparently pleased with herself. It took a moment to work out that the sensation that I was registering was the tip of her tongue making patterns on my bald head. That was something that I’d never felt before.

‘You did this for me, so I want to do something for you’ she whispered, her hands making a move.

I’m not sure why I expected something different from a woman, but I did. Instead, she was making a bee-line for my boobs under my robe. she went gently at first, then more firmly, kneading, tweaking, pinching my nipples. It hurt, it was just what I needed. I closed my eyes and eased my head back, savouring the sensation of her gentle tongue on my head and her firm, insistent hands on my tits. She was still behind me, leaving me in no position to return the favour.

She began easing my robe off my shoulders. I hadn’t really got my head around this, all thoughts of what we’d said outside the salon having become a casualty of the argument when Peter saw us both. My robe slipped down to my waist, exposing my top-half to her.

‘Stand up’ she whispered.

I stood up. My robe fell to the floor. She was behind me, hands still cupping my boobs. All I could think of was my 45 year-old body and her own thirty-something perfection. For the first time in my life, I was glad that I’d never had kids, kids that would’ve wreaked havoc on my boobs. I was confused. She was drawing me into her, but something didn’t feel right. I reached round behind me.

‘All for you’ she breathed as I made contact.

She let me turn round. Our eyes met. I looked down at those gravity-defying tits, their large nipples full of promise. My gaze travelled further down, halting suddenly at the sight of straps and a large black cock. I looked up at her, her smile showing her pleasure at my reaction.

‘We don’t need Peter’ she said, leaning in to kiss me.

I didn’t know what to do, how to respond and it clearly showed.

‘Just let it happen’ she said, before making contact again. She eased me back on the bed, letting me sit down slowly.

‘Show me’ she said, one hand gamely trying to squeeze her left boob, while the other gripped the plastic cock at her belly. I was transported back many years. Shy, uncertain, trembling with anticipation. I lay back on my elbows and opened my legs to her gaze. She didn’t need any further invitation. She knelt at the foot of the bed and watched my reaction as her head approached the narrowing gap at the top of my thighs.

I stroked her bald scalp while she lapped at me, put her tongue inside me, nipped my folds with her teeth. It was glorious. I wanted it to go on for ever, but knew that it would end. I knew what she wanted to do, and in a way was curious to know what it would be like. I found out soon enough. She looked deep into my eyes, stroked my baldness and then positioned the tip of the thing. She slid it in slowly, staring at me all the while, cupping my head with both hands now. I gasped as our bellies met, waited for the thrust that didn’t come.

‘As soon as I saw you, I wanted you all to myself’ she said. ‘I didn’t want him to have you.’

‘You could’ve asked’ I gasped, reacting to the small flick of her hips.

‘That wouldn’t have been any fun’ she said, drawing out of me. There was only one thing that could happen next. She rammed home. The sensation at that moment was worth the loss of my hair alone.

‘I knew what I was going to do right from the start. I saw that sign last week’ she explained, emphasising her point with another thrust.

‘You planned it?’ I gasped, not really caring anymore.

‘Wicked, eh. I really didn’t think that you’d do it. So conventional, so house-wifey, so blonde’ she said, leaning back to squeeze my boobs hard enough to make the flesh ooze between her fingers.

I closed my eyes to take in what she was saying, while taking in what she was offering. I was being fucked by a she-man. I was bald, a woman-man too. It was wild, I wasn’t making sense, even to myself. I decided just to lie back and hope that she didn’t break me. I reached up and got to grips with her tits. Her nipples were so big and so hard, the tits themselves so firm, no sign of them being anything other than original. What I’d give for a pair of those, even if I wasn’t ashamed under normal circumstances by what Nature had given me. I threw my head back as she became more enthusiastic. I had to hand it to her, she fucked better than most of the men I’d been with, not that I’d been with that many. Even though I’d come away with the intention of getting laid, Peter was only the second guy that I’d actually done the deed with on the trip. The first had been such a disappointment that I’d wasted three days of valuable screwing time just going to cultural sites and lying by the pool. Peter had been the last throw of the dice for this trip and look how it had worked out.

Tanya was off me now. I looked along the length of my body to watch her free herself from whatever the harness thing was called. She eased the black cock free and put it in her mouth. As much of it as would fit anyway. That was the prelude to her sliding it back inside me by hand. It was a wonderful, scary sensation, feeling it go so deep. She was kneeling on the bed now, working her way forward on her knees. One knee lifted up. I knew what was about to happen and fought my reflex to turn away. It wasn’t right, I shouldn’t be doing it, I didn’t want to do it. I watched the pink fleshy threat to my whole belief system approach my face and forced out my tongue to welcome it. I had to, I told myself. Told myself that I wanted to. I tasted her. I did actually want to. I surprised myself with my appetite for the unknown, comparing my pleasant surprise with the way that I’d let a waiter convince me to try octopus on my first day here. Something that had held no attraction for me previously had been a welcome surprise then too. I devoured what was in front of me, pleased that it was served with its own sauce.

We continued in various configurations until we could do it no more. I was spent. I was exhilerated. We held each other in the shower, soaping our bodies, wasting shampoo on our bald heads, slid slippery fingers into exhausted places. I could go home happy, even if I still had another few days to go.

‘What about Peter?’ I asked again as we were towelling each other dry

‘Don’t take it the wrong way, but he’ll have forgotten you by now’ she replied.

‘It’ll be so awkward when he comes back though.’

‘No it won’t. I’ll text him and tell him to use our friend’s villa until you’ve gone. We keep an eye on it for them when we’re here and that way everybody’s happy.’

‘Won’t he mind?’

‘Not at all. He won’t have to see me for a few days, so that’ll be a bonus for him and I’ll have you all to myself. Sound good?’ she asked, kissing me before I could answer.

If I hadn’t already been exhausted from what we’d just done, Tanya’s moisturising routine would’ve made me want to go all over again. I stood in awe as she moisturised her whole body, watching me watching her while she paid particular attention to her boobs. She squeezed out some more, closing her eyes while she spread the liquid over her scalp. She opened her eyes again to pick up the bottle, but rather than squirt some into the palm of her hand, she jetted it across my chest.

‘I bet Peter did that to you, didn’t he?’ she laughed.

‘He most certainly did, but it was on tap, not bottled’ I replied laughing, spreading it around and working it in. The next dollop went into her hand and then onto my scalp, where her touch was just wonderful. Maybe there was more for me in this sort of thing rather than the predictability of men, I thought. Originally, I’d just wanted a basic fuck out of this holiday, but there was so much more excitement in prospect, exploring the unknown with Tanya. The strap-on thing probably wasn’t something that I’d want all the time, but it was certainly something to cross off my bucket list that I hadn’t even known was on there. I liked the tender stuff, the stroking and licking, whatever it was she was doing to my ear-lobe just then.

Her hand joined mine on my boob, helpfully adding something new to the familiar.

‘I need to get my breath back first’ I told her.

Her hand found its way down to my midriff, my belly, my mound.

‘You’re terrible’ I told her, slapping her hand away.

I disentangled myself from her, wondering what to put on, but she put a stop to that line of thinking very quickly.

‘I just want to look at you’ she said when I reached for my robe. ‘All girls together’ she added.

‘I’m not sure that I have the self-confidence to be faced with those tits of yours every time I look up’ I replied candidly.

‘Too bad, because I just want to look at you and diddle myself’ she replied with a laugh.

I looked at myself in the mirror, naked and bald. In a way, I was starting to understand what she meant. I slid my cupped hand between Tanya’s legs and smiled. ‘Let me do that for you’ I offered.

I didn’t ever want to go home and even if I did, I resolved never to be blonde again. That was, if I ever decided to have hair again.

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