I first met Virginie in the hallway, at the door to ... my... Spanish apartment. I was standing there, surrounded by luggage, fumbling for my keys in the fatigue induced stupor of a just completed trans-Atlantic flight when she walked up.
"Allow!" she said in the typical liquid form of accented English as spoken by a native French speaker. Ooo must be Chriss's papa. I am Virginie! I am upstairs, I am zee woman who has bought Peter and Chriss's apartment!"
I smiled rather stupidly back at her as she continued her rapid verbal onslaught. I must confess, the remainder of the conversation was an incoherent blur, but I remember her as a bright ray of light lancing in the gloom, a slim upright form with a mass of auburn hair. And I remember the conversation continuing on and on, a chattering monologue that I ummed and ahhed to as my mind searched vaguely for something missing.
"Oh! But I am keeping you!" and gesturing to the surrounding cases continued, saying, "You are just arrived and here I am chatting away! Well, it has been a pleasure meeting you! Look for me around. But I let you go to your apartment now. Au revoir!" And with that she turned towards the stairs and briskly walked off.
In the ensuing emptiness, I turned, finally recovering my keys and entered the apartment. I always have loved that apartment! The bright, spartan space had, still has, a clean, crisp feeling to it that would normally energize me. But on that day, there was something missing that my in-fogged brain could not find.
As always when the conscious mind is preoccupied, the more primitive animal self, moves practically onward. And so, in a moment or hours later, I was unpacked and sitting on the garden terrace as I pushed the nearly empty plate of my dinner deeper on to the table and watched the bright Spanish day fade to dusk, still ruminating on what was missing.
Unmeasured time later, in the dark of my bedroom, I finally remembered what was missing, Katherine. Yes, of course it was Katherine, my wife, Katherine... and I cried.
I woke late the next morning unrested from a fitful night of tossing and turning, having only fallen deeply asleep with the dawn. So, it was close to noon by the time I was alert enough to call my daughter, Chriss.
"I was wondering when you would wake from the dead."
I smiled into the receiver of my iPhone and replied, "yeah! I never manage to easily transition from American to Spanish time!"
"It's good for you to get some rest, Sam. It has been a stressful time for all of us, recently, but most especially for you! You have every right to be exhausted. I am glad you could sleep in. I know normally you are up with the dawn!"
"Yeah, well, I don't sleep so well after a long flight. Your mother never seemed to be affected by jet lag! But me, I always struggle with the transition."
I faintly heard a small cry and after a pause, "Yeah, she was sort of Super Woman wasn't she."
"That she was!"
Then silence ... and I imagined Chriss staring off in the distance as we both ruminated on the past.
After an unmeasured time, I picked up the conversation again, "So, are you and Peter busy today?"
"Would you believe it! We are having a little mini rush this week at the Big House, 12 guests! We haven't had 12 guests for months! I am at the stove, finishing the last breakfast. I can't believe the Brits! We are having a resurgence of "The Virus", lockdown in Spain imminent and they have to have one last party. Like it's the end of the world and we're all going to die anyway!"
"Well, you and Peter be careful! I don't like you being exposed to so many people!"
"Don't worry, Sam! We always have our masks on and my hands are practically cracking from all the washing. Unfortunately, we are in the hospitality business. We have made next to nothing this year with COVID. So, we have to work when we can! ... Hey, hold on for a second..."
Then I heard faintly, "Peter, the two full English are on the counter there. Don't forget the orange juice. I'm on the phone with Sam. I'll be done in a moment!"
Then louder, "Hey Sam, I've got to get going!"
"Oh, sure Chriss, It sounds like you are really busy!"
"Yeah, busy for now, but I am sure a return to boredom soon! Hey, any chance you could pick up Hilary from school today?"
"Sure! I always have time for my granddaughter! She and you are the reason I'm here. When do I pick her up?"
"School lets out at 3:30. Make sure you take your mask! They are really strict at school and you have to wait in line in your car. The teachers will escort the kids to each vehicle."
"Great! I'll get her then! How about I make dinner tonight. Taco salad?"
"Oh Sam! That would be great! We've been doing a lot of takeout recently!"
"Okay, I'll let you go! See you later this afternoon!"
"Thanks, see you soon!"
Sometime later, phone still in hand, I found myself staring off in space ... again ... and thought, "Come on, Sam, get your act together! You need to finish cleaning up the place and then get over to Mercadona (the local grocery store) to get stuff for dinner before you pick up Hilary."
So, after a stuttering start, life began again.
I had a wonderful time with Hillary, playing and the swimming at the pool of their urbanization. Then it was good to spend some time with Chriss and Peter over dinner and a glass of Rioja. The following days, I did some painting, my usual 40-minute swim in the sea and spent as much time as possible with my stepdaughter and her family.
The days were full enough, but the nights were unrestful, whether from jet lag or from the empty spot in the bed beside me, I was never quite sure.
So, two days later, I decided to ride up to Istán on my bike. The 14-kilometer uphill trek over the winding road to the small pueblo, Istán, always both taxed and refreshed me! The views that day were spectacular in the bright sunshine and on my way down the mountain I stopped and watched a family of wild pigs rooting by the roadside.
So, I was fully alert and high on endorphins that second time I met Virginie.
I was in the back of our apartment building, locking up my bike to the racks there, when Virginie walked out the back door.
"Oh! Allo Sam! How are you?"
"Great! I replied as I finished securing my bicycle, "I had a wonderful ride up to Istán"
"Oh! Mon Dieu! Istan, she is quite far, No?"
"Yes, I guess it's pretty far there."
She interrupted, "And up-hill almost all the way!"
"Yes, mostly up hill, but a great ride with beautiful views."
"Yes, I see, you have a professional bike, a serious bike for real riding. Me I have only a bike for riding to the shops." And she pointed to a well-built hybrid bike with a basket on front.
I replied, "Well, that a pretty good bike. You could probably ride up the Istán road a pretty good distance on it."
"Oh, you think so!"
"Yeh sure! You could probably make it a couple of kilometers without too much trouble. The ride is a steady up-hill climb, but not too steep, except for a few places. ..."
I continued on for several minutes more in a very animated fashion. Biking is a passion of mine and the Istán road is one of the best places to ride in the region. Also, I was high from the exertions and feeling good for the first time in months.
So Virginie waited patiently listening to me rant all the time smiling at me.
After a few minutes, I realized I was the only one talking and wound down my 'speech' as quickly as I could, ending with, "Sorry Virginie, I got a little carried away there."
She smiled indulgently saying, "You are passionate. That, she is good! Me, I like when people are passionate. No?"
"Yes, yes! It is good to be passionate."
She turned, retrieving her bike from the rack. "Sorry, but now I must be going."
"Oh sure, I didn't mean to keep you," and turned to follow her through the foyer to the front entrance. I stopped at my door and said, "Have a nice day!"
"Mercie, thank you Sam. I see you sometime. Au revois!"
Smiling, I replied, "Au revois!" As she headed toward the gate of our apartment grounds.
It turned out that the bright Spanish sunshine, daily exercise and pleasant afternoons playing with my granddaughter were very therapeutic and I was finally beginning to regain some equilibrium. The nights and the empty bed continued to plague me. But I was sleeping better and starting to find a routine to my life. A life with a big Katherine-sized hole in it, but a life nonetheless instead of the zombie-like existence I had been shambling through before. I was doing some writing and painting again.
So, it was in that improving frame of mind that I met Virginie for the third time. I was returning from a trip to my daughter's place and had a pleasant afternoon playing with Hilary and a relaxing dinner with Chriss and Peter. Since my front doorway was in the ground floor lobby, it is common for me to meet people coming and going from the apartment complex. So, as I wandered through the front gate and headed to my doorway, I ran into Virginie on her way to the pool. She was in one of those see through, macramayed pullovers used by women to "cover up" when wearing a bathing suit.
I noted again how slim Virginie was as I came up saying, "Hi Virginie, off for a swim?"
"Oui! It is time for my 40 laps!"
"Wow. That's a lot of laps! How do you keep track?
"Oh! I am very precise!" and she gave me a wicked smile. "I must swim my kilometer a day! No?"
"Very good. That's a long distance, but I would lose track of the count. I prefer to swim in the sea. That way I don't have to do all those turns."
"Oui! Swimming in the sea is much more pleasant. I tried that once and swam out feeling very strong but Oh! When I am coming back! I feel I am drowning! I am thinking I will die out there, so I don't swim in the sea for exercise again."
"Virginie! Virginie! You don't swim straight out to see! You should swim parallel to the shoreline. That way when you get tired, it is a short way in."
"Oh, you are right! How stupid of me! Now I know. So maybe in the future, I try to swim in the sea again," And she smiled at me. Thank you, Sam!"
"It's my pleasure. I certainly wouldn't want you to drown! It is much too nice to say hello to you."
"Thank you, Sam! Me, I enjoy talking with you also."
"So, do you swim every day?"
"Oui, most days I swim. Usually at the end of the day. Sometimes, I begin to swim and when I am finished, mon Dieu! It is dark!"
"Well, be careful. ... Say on another note, Did you tell me that you are a banker?"
"Oui, I work for a large bank in Luxembourg. Nearly all of Luxembourg is a bank! A very small country with very advantageous taxes for banks. So! All of Luxembourg, she is a bank!"
"Great, well, I wanted your advice. You see, all of my investments are in the US and they pay out in dollars. Some are international investments, but they always pay in dollars. I spend a lot of time in Spain with my daughter and her family and so I would like to have a source of euros, rather than exchanging dollars for euros. They rape you with the exchange rates!"
"Oui, oui! Yes, the banks they always take their ... how you say ... 'cut'."
"Yes, exactly. So, I would prefer to have some investments making dollars."
"Yes, I understand, unfortunately I do not know how to help you. You see, my bank is a bank to banks, not to individuals. So, I am a specialist in this type of banking. I do not know of advisers for individuals. Have you tried taking with your Spanish bank?"
"Oh yes, but it is a no go. I can get some simple investments, but he more complicated advising seems to be restricted to citizens or permanent residents."
"Oh Sam, I am so sorry! Yes banking, the regulations, they can be quite complicated."
"Well thanks anyway. It has been a pleasure talking with you, but I don't want to keep you from your swim."
"Yes, It's been a pleasure, enjoy your evening." And she turned away from me heading for the nearby pool.
I stood there and watched her walk the short distance to the pool. I realized she was really quite attractive and found myself ogling the sway her hips as she wandered to the pool edge and then remove her cover-up. As she turned to the pool edge, she saw me watching her, waved and then dove into the pool to begin her exercise. She swam the breaststroke back and forth over the 25-meter distance of our pool. I was a little disturbed at how attracted I was to her, with Katherine dead only a few months and so I turned into the building and my apartment in a somewhat unsettled state.
Despite the concerns of my superego, my animal self, my id, was constantly on the lookout for Virginie and urged me to seek her out whenever possible. So, it was in that frame of mind that I arrived home one evening to find Virginie swimming in the pool. I had just ridden my bike back from Chriss's house, an about a 10-kilometer jaunt and so I was hot and sweaty in the warm Spanish dusk. My id convinced me that it would be a great idea to cool off with a swim in the pool and so I hurried into the apartment and quickly changed into my swimming suit.
Soon enough, I was in the pool swimming laps alongside of Virginie. When she saw me, she stopped briefly at pool side and said, "Allow Sam! How are you? It is a wonderful evening for swimming, No?"
"Yes, very refreshing. I just returned from Chriss's house and was quite sweaty from the ride. When I saw you swimming, I thought, 'that looks pleasant' and decided to join you."
"I am glad you did Sam. It is nice to have company. However, if you don't mind, I will finish my laps, only 10 to go!"
"Oh! Sure! Don't let me keep you. I think I will swim a few laps also, ... to get the kinks out," and with that we began swimming again.
As I swam, I was intensely aware of her form each pass up and down the length of the pool. The smooth columns of her legs, the stream of her dark hair gliding in the water, the swell of her breasts, tightly encased in the slick embrace of her suit. I found my animal-self straining in the darkening light for a glimpse of her pussy at the crotch of her suit during each frog kick. The mechanics of swimming propelled my body backwards and forwards through the liquid medium, but my mind remained still, tightly focused on her beautiful form as it shared the space with me.
We swam for some time, time enough for physical exhaustion to set in and time enough for the last light of the day to disappear. Finally, breathing hard, one hand grasping the pool side, I openly stared at her face. She was less than an arm length away, staring back, her breasts forcefully rising and falling with each breath.
"A good swim, no?" She gasped, smiling.
I nodded, "yes", smiling back.
We silently regarded one another as our breathing quieted, smiling in the glistening darkness. Then, the spell broken, she turned, and kicked for the nearby ladder.
Pushing off, I followed her and was treated to one last view of her curvaceous ass and smooth thighs as she rose out of the pool.
We toweled off, side by side, on the grass by the pool, smiling in the darkness, both drunk on a heady mix of endorphins and pheromones. With a last rub if the towel I turned toward her and found her less than a step away, smiling up at my face. We were pulled, as if by a magnetic force into a tight embrace. The moist pillows of her lips were followed by the intoxicating glide of her tongue into my mouth. I thrust back, feeling the tingling of arousal in my pelvis and the rise of my cock.
Her mouth was moist and slippery slick with each probe of my tongue. I pawed at breasts pinching the points of her nipples through the fabric of her suit and grabbed at her ass. Her hand pulled at my cock as she thrust her tongue deep in my mouth. We were a writhing mass of hands and asses and cock and tits and tongues. Then separated, gasping.
She grabbed my hand, drawing me behind her, through the outer hall and up the stair, then along the landing to her door. A jangle of keys and we were inside, a writhing mass, again. More pawing and grasping and pinching and grabbing. I had the straps of her swimsuit down and began to lick and nip and suckle at the brown crinkles of her nipples... She gasped! Her hand snaked into my shorts, jerking my cock up and down. I gasped! She pulled at my suit until it was a puddle on the floor. Hers followed soon after. She was jerking, jerking. I reached between her thighs feeling her moist heat and roughly brushed across her pussy. Gasp!
She pulled me toward the alcove where her bed was hidden and then pulled me on top of her, legs spread. I rose, and in the moonlight saw faint glistening of her secretions at the dark gash of her pussy, then roughly thrust until my cock was deeply imbedded and my testicles slapped against her ass. Her body arched backward in a rictus of joy.
I slap, slap, slapped into her roughly forcing my cock in and out. Her hands clawed at my ass drawing me into her with each thrust.
My mind, drunk on the pussy juice tickling my balls, was conscious of only one thing: her. the rough, slick, warm grasp of her pussy on my cock as it glided in and out of her, the glistening sweat beading on the swell of her breasts and the ragged, moaning gasps of her cries of joy.
Slap, gasp, slap, gasp, she arched, her mouth a silent "O", her pussy rhythmically pulsing. One, two, three, a final slap and I arched in subconscious mimicry. Fountaining semen, I collapse on top of her.
We lay tightly embraced.
Then I felt her shaking beneath me and looking into her face saw the sparkle of tears. The floodgates burst and I felt tears streaking down my face as I shook in sorrow above her. We embraced the more tightly as my cock deflated and flopped out of her.
I rolled to the side to stop crushing her, but we remained tightly embraced, sobbing to each other in the darkness.
After a time, the shaking stopped and a gentle quiet ensued. Then a rustle of sheets and a soft repositioning of spoons and then darkness.
I woke with the sunlight streaming through the three large windows surrounding the bed and her face gently studying mine.
She smiled, "Awake?"
I sleepily responded, "almost".
The sun made a beautiful corona of light surrounding her mussed, red-brown hair and for a moment I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The air was clear and bright and the only object visible was her face, glowing and radiant and soft.
My mind was in that neither region between sleep and wakefulness and danced about, first bemused by the mix of colors, blue, orange-yellow, pale brown and green that all together made her eyes hazel ... then by the dancing particles in the rays of sunshine ... then by the way the light turned individual strands of her hair golden ... by the rose glow of her cheeks .. the rise and fall of the sheet covering her breasts ... the faint chirping of birds from the open doorway to the terrace ...
And then, with the flick of a switch, the world came into focus and I realized I wasn't in my bed and this wasn't Katherine.
The faint hint of a frown, "What's the matter?"
Confused, I replied, "Oh Virginie ... Virginie, I am not sure I should be here."
"Because ... because ... because, my wife, my wife Katherine ...
The frown deepened.
"Because my wife Katherine ...," then faintly, "... just died." And the tears just poured out.
She reached out, cradling me in her arms, my head resting on the soft pillows of her breasts as my body shook with grief.
After a time, the suffocating pain in my chest began to unknot and I realized that she was gently stroking my back ... and it felt good to be held again.
I lay there, safe and warm in her embrace, my mind turned back to the neither world, conscious only of the soft strokes of her hand ... the faint beating of her heart ... the softness of her skin on my cheek ...