Meaningful, Meaningless Sex

tagFirst TimeMeaningful, Meaningless Sex

"So, who's it gonna be – Mike or Dave?" Ellie wanted to know.
I peered closer at my reflection in the mirror, pretending to perfect my lipstick. They were the only two guys who'd showed any interest. Nice enough, but I hadn't felt any chemistry.
Ellie, on the other hand, had been spoiled for choice. As soon as we'd taken our places down by the pool, the good-looking guys had flocked to her. I'd hoped they'd flock to me too – that we'd play the field as a double act – but I was simply eclipsed. Ellie turned every head – a tall, willowy blonde with big breasts and a bubbly confident laugh. They scarcely noticed the flat-chested brunette next to her.
"And what about you?" I asked, ignoring her question. "You're going with Jordan?"
She nodded, unembarrassed, supremely confident. "Yeah, he's totally my type."
Jordan certainly was Ellie's type – she had a thing for hyper-muscled jocks – and he was certainly one of those. She'd lost her virginity to the school rugby captain and then, after he'd moved on to his next conquest, had sought her revenge by sleeping with the rest of the squad. (Not that Josh Stevenson had cared, or even noticed.)
"So, come on Lucy – Mike or Dave? Who's it gonna be?" Ellie looked at me pointedly.
I pushed nervously at my hair, trying to inject some life into the mousy-brown strands, hoping I could think of a way to change the subject. But Ellie wasn't gonna let it go.
"I… I… I… dunno," I stammered, feeling my face flush a little. "I mean.. I'm just not feeling it with either of them."
Ellie rolled her eyes.
"Oh, come on!" she sighed despairingly. "Don't tell me you're chickening out. Just get yourself drunk, get into bed with one of them – it'll be over before you know it. Then you won't be the only virgin at university!"
"But I just don't want a one-night stand," I wailed. "I want something meaningful – even if we are only here for a week."
"But that's the whole point of a holiday romance," she growled in exasperation. "It's meaningless – meaningless sex! You won't even remember the guy's name once you're back home."
"But I don't want that," I complained. "I've still gotta like the guy – I want, I want…" I struggled for the words, "…meaningful, meaningless sex."
Even I knew how ridiculous that sounded. Ellie gave a snort of derision and headed out the door. I followed behind as we clattered our way down the stairs in our heels. The boys would be ready – we'd have kept them waiting.
In truth, Ellie's attitude was understandable. Despite the closeness of our friendship, we'd had very different degrees of success with the opposite sex. Ellie had had two steady boyfriends in the past two years and had played the rest of the field pretty comprehensively; I'd simply watched on – part-horrified, part-jealous. That was something I bitterly regretted now – all the cool guys had lost interest and the nice boys were well settled – it was only the creeps that remained.
We reached the lobby. There were about a dozen guys waiting – all British, mostly university students on vacation, although I suspected a few were older than they claimed. All were wearing white shirts, their hair spiked with gel. The room reeked with the smell of cheap aftershave, which barely covered the heavy stench of testosterone. The sharks were assembled, ready for the hunt.
Dave made a beeline for me, getting in early to stake his claim – sending the signal to Mike and anyone else who might try their luck with me. He danced around me as we walked to the first bar, trying rather too hard to keep my attention – it was all a bit suffocating. The smell of desperation is so off-putting.
I knew the Strip would be big – bigger than anything I'd seen before. But, even so, the intensity still overwhelmed me. That combination of alcohol, summer heat and being a thousand miles from home, brought out the very worst in everyone. It was louder, brighter, bassier than anything I'd imagined – and not in a good way.
I made the mistake of accepting a drink from Dave at the first place we got to. That was foolish – for the rest of the night he acted as if we were engaged – fawning over me, holding his hand around my waist, trying desperately to kiss me, becoming ever more animated as I tried to show my disinterest. I'd seen Ellie accept drinks from 'no-hopers' only to dismiss them with a casual flick of the hand and a look of distain – how I wished I could pull off the same trick.
Dave remained in orbit around me all evening. We did dance, but I had to push his hands away a couple of times, when they got too low or too high. We sat on the side lines, watching through the melee of bodies as Ellie and Jordan shoved their tongues down each other's throats. Mike had quickly found someone else – I felt a mild sense of regret – maybe I could have imagined getting into bed with him by the end of the week. But judging by the way he and his squeeze were grinding together, I knew he wasn't the guy for me.
Dave and I left with Ellie and Jordan around two in the morning, as the partying was hitting its stride. It was inevitable that she'd invite Jordan back – she hoped that would push me into going with Dave, but I was exhausted, and my feet were killing me. Sex was the last thing on my mind – any interest in 'my guy' was long gone. I let him kiss my cheek as we said goodnight and watched him die inside when I failed to return the favour. I felt cruel and exploitative – but I wasn't going to rush into anything – and certainly not his bed.

I slept fitfully – the lumpy couch made sure of that. I'd let Ellie and Jordan have the twin bedroom – and from the shrieks and groans that penetrated the paper-thin walls of our self-catering apartment, they'd made full use of their 'privacy'. No sooner had they left off, than other couples around us started up. Everyone was doing it – except me.
By half seven, the sun was streaming through the sliding glass doors that led out to our balcony. There'd be no chance of getting more shut eye. I was going to have to amuse myself until Ellie surfaced – maybe that wouldn't be till lunchtime.
I dragged myself over to the kitchenette, filled a glass with water and carried it out to the balcony. Beneath me, the pool area was deserted – bar a solitary maintenance guy poking around in one of drains. I toyed with the idea of going down for an early sunbathe, but decided on balance I'd feel a little exposed without my schoolfriend for backup.
Restlessly, I wandered back into the sitting room, trying to work out what to with my morning. I spied my sketch pad, half-buried in my suitcase. Yes, that was it – I'd take a walk up on top of the cliffs and do some drawing. I'd planned to do some anyway, to reassure my parents that I wasn't going to spend all my time getting drunk and getting laid. But now, I had a couple of hours to produce something half-decent. With any luck, an hour's walk would tire me out and I'd come back and sleep some more.
I found a set of steep, uneven steps that took me up the hill behind the hotel towards the headland. As I climbed, I felt myself relax. Perhaps that was my problem – I'd been on edge since I got on the plane. The pressure I'd placed on myself to lose my virginity was destroying my sense of fun. Not that I was regretting coming to Spain – the cosy rented cottage in Cornwall with Mum and Dad had never appealed. This was my first holiday without my parents and I was determined to make the most of it.
Dad hadn't wanted me to go on vacation with Ellie – we'd argued about it several times. He'd wanted us to have a last family holiday together, so he could keep his watchful eye on me for a few months longer, before I went off to university. But I'd insisted, put my foot down. It was my money – I'd earned it – and I was going to decide how to spend it.
The one part of the plan I'd given quarter on, was the choice of hotel. Dad had made sure that we were as far away from the Strip, with its bars and clubs, as possible. We had a self-catering apartment with a twin bedroom in a complex with its own pool and private beach. It was expensive, but everything we needed was on site – no need to venture into the horrors of the town.
Perhaps I shouldn't blame my parents. I was the youngest of four and the only girl – it was natural they'd be a little more protective of me. Growing up, I'd always had the earliest bedtime, the earliest curfew of any of my friends. And I'd always played the baby of the family. When my schoolmates were getting their first boyfriends, I'd stayed aloof, wanting to take my time choosing, wanting to make my suitors work for my hand. That was something I deeply regretted now – I'd missed the boat back home.
My virgin status had gnawed at me, for at least the past year. I was torn between the high moral values instilled in my upbringing and the rawest urges of my teenage body. That's why we'd agreed – Ellie and I – we were going away to get the deed done, away from watchful eyes and sharpened noses. This was where I'd cast off the shackles of childhood with my first kiss and more.
Up on the clifftop I walked for maybe twenty minutes, until the resort town had disappeared from view behind me. Open fields stretched out – a few goats and sheep were grazing on the sunburnt gorse. To my right there was a steep drop to the sea.
I settled down against a rock, looking out over the bay beneath me. There was not a soul to be seen. I spotted a small island, maybe half a mile away – that would be as good as any subject. I took a few photos with my phone, messaged them to my parents, then pulled out my pad and began to draw.
A little while later I was weighing up whether I should go back, or if I should find a new place to sit and sketch some more. I'd been enjoying the quiet solitude of the morning, compared to the heaving shark pit the previous night. I'd made a couple of rough drawings, one of which was turning into something a little more 'finished'. The hotel would be properly waking up now – if I didn't get back to the room soon, I'd risk bumping into Dave on the stairs.
I turned to pack my pencils away in my rucksack. Standing a few metres behind me, ears pricked, watching me intensely, was a dog. I hadn't heard him approach – how long had he been there?
I hesitated. I'd heard all sorts of horror stories about rabies in feral animals, but he seemed friendly enough and well cared for. I wanted to reach out and stroke him, but I didn't want to take the risk.
The dog came towards me slowly. He was a beautiful colour – a light fawn. I didn't recognise the breed; his colouring was a little darker than a golden retriever, but he had those same intelligent eyes as a border collie. I stayed still as he sniffed at me, hoping I wouldn't provoke a bite.
Suddenly, there was a shout behind him. He scampered away and I looked up. A young lad with dark curly hair was walking towards me, carrying a bag of animal feed on his shoulder. He called out a volley of incomprehensible Spanish – doubtless telling me off for trespassing. My blank expression told him I didn't understand.
"English?" he asked as he got closer to me.
"Si," I nodded. I only knew about ten words in total – ignorant Brit abroad.
He swung the sack down from his shoulder and drew breath, about to speak again, when he noticed the sketch pad on my lap.
"You draw?" he asked. He was obviously Spanish, but his accent wasn't too thick.
"Er, yeah," I replied, a little hesitantly.
"Can I see?" he asked.
He was behind me now, looking over my shoulder.
I tilted the sketch pad for him.
"It's very good," he said quietly.
I started to get up.
"It's OK," he said. "You can stay."
"No, it's alright," I replied. "I need to get back to the hotel."
I turned to face him, getting my first proper look at him.
My heart skipped a beat.
He was handsome – gorgeous in fact – tall, but not too tall, with curly, jet black hair that just reached in front of his dark eyes. His shoulders were broad and his bare arms were strong and muscular. He the very epitome of a young, sexy Spanish lad.
I felt myself beginning to blush. I reckoned he was about the same age as me – maybe eighteen or nineteen. Fuck he was soooo good looking!
The dog, who'd been by his side came forwards, sniffing at my leg. I crouched down and stroked him.
"He's very friendly," I observed.
"Yes," the lad said slowly. "With people he does not know, he is sometimes," he hesitated, trying to find the right word, "circumspect."
"He's a beautiful colour," I observed.
The lad nodded but said nothing.
"What's his name?" I asked.
"Paco," he replied.
"That's a nice name," I smiled.
I stood and pointed to my chest.
"Lucy," I said.
"My name is Nicolás," he replied. "Nicolás," he said again, in case I hadn't heard him properly.
There was an awkward pause as the two of us looked at each other. My heart was beating a little bit faster.
"I ought to go," I said shyly. "I need to get back to the hotel."
"You can come to draw when you want," Nicolás said quickly, extending his hand as if to dissuade me from leaving.
I'd been so mesmerised by his eyes, I'd scarcely notice his voice – a wonderful deep bass that sent shivers running through me.
I smiled. I fully intended to return.
I said goodbye, reached down and slung the rucksack over my shoulder. I picked up my sketch pad and began to walk back in the direction of the resort.
As I reached the top of the first set of steps, I turned and looked back for a few seconds. Nicolás, surrounded by jostling sheep, was pouring the contents of the sack into a metal feeder. He'd taken off his shirt and I could see the muscles of his chest gleaming in the sunshine. I watched him, feeling the heat in my core beginning to rise. Was this the guy I'd been looking for?
I hesitated – part of me wanted to go back, to talk to him some more. But I couldn't – he'd think me a right idiot if he did. I wouldn't know what to say – I'd just stand there dumb-struck as he looked at me expectantly. I watched as he called Paco to him and the two of them started to walk towards the other side of the field. Was I imagining it – did he really glance back at me before he disappeared?
Giddy with excitement and lost in my fantasies, I started to descend – moving a little too quickly over the uneven steps. Half-way down, I missed my footing and fell, twisting my leg and toppling backwards, sliding down the loose gravel. There was a painful bump as I reached the bottom.
I cried out in pain.
I brushed the grit from my hands – my palms were a little grazed, but it was my foot that was hurting the most. I tried to stand. My ankle was killing me – I couldn't put any weight on it.
I sank down again onto the slope beside the bottom step, cursing my carelessness. How was I going to make it back to the hotel? I'd have to call Ellie to come rescue me. The rest of my holiday was ruined now – no walking, no clubbing – maybe not even the pool. I'd have to sit it out, while Ellie had all the fun – watching from the side lines again.
I took some deep breaths, hoping to out-think the pain, hoping I'd be OK to walk if I waited a few minutes. I sank my head into my hands in despair.
Suddenly, above and behind me, I heard the sound of running paws and the jangling of a collar – it was Paco, coming down the steps – coming to rescue me! My heart leapt.
He stood in front of me, cocking his head a little. Was I alright?
"Nicolás – fetch Nicolás" I groaned.
He gave three short barks, then disappeared like a shot.
I didn't really expect him to come back, much less to be able to summon his master. But a minute later, I heard a young man's voice, calling from the top of the slope.
"Lucy! You are OK?"
He'd remembered my name!
"I fell," I shouted back. "I've hurt my foot."
He hurried down the steps, faithful dog by his side and crouched down in front of me.
"Let me see," he said calmly. That voice – so soft, so caring.
I lifted my leg out towards him. He untied my laces and removed my shoe, then gently held my heel as he probed my ankle with his fingers. His touch was cool and reassuring.
"You have sprained it," he said.
I looked at him in amazement. How did a simple Spanish farm boy, know a word like 'sprain'? Who was this Nicolás?
"I will carry you to my house," he continued, oblivious to my surprise "and I will put the ice and a bandage on it. Then I will drive you to your hotel."
"T-t-thank you," I managed to stutter, caught completely off-guard by his confidence and generosity.
Before I knew it, he'd lifted me onto his back and was carrying me up the steps, past the cliff top where I'd been sketching. Paco walked steadily at his side, keeping his eyes on the way ahead.
A few minutes later, we were descending the slope at the other end of the field, turning towards a small farmhouse. It was a picture-postcard view – a modest two-storey building, built in an 'L' shape, with walls painted yellow and a tiled terracotta roof. We were approaching from the rear of the property, where a covered half-courtyard looked out over a small cove.
Nicolás pushed open the gate and carried me up the path between the ranks of olive trees that guarded a small garden. We reached the back door and he lowered me slowly to the ground. He turned around.
"Can you sit there?" he asked, with a reassuring smile. "I will bring the ice."
I nodded and hobbled a few steps to a sun lounger. My ankle wasn't throbbing quite so much, but putting my full weight on it definitely was painful. I lowered myself gingerly and swung my leg around so that my injured foot was supported. Nicolás unlocked the back door to the house and went inside. I could see a kitchen with a tiled floor through the open doorway.
There was the sound of slurping beside me. I looked down – Paco was drinking rapidly from a bowl of water. His thirst quenched, he walked slowly towards me and I reached forwards to stroke his head.
"Thank you, Paco," I whispered.
"He likes you," said a voice from the doorway. It was Nicolás, returning with towel, a roll of bandages and a bag of ice. "It is strange," he continued, "usually he is circumspect with people he does not know."
I smiled. His English was good, but strangely formal, as if he'd learnt it from a 1950s textbook. He placed the ice on my ankle and covered it with the towel.
"I will leave it for ten minutes," he explained. "It will help to reduce the swelling."
And with that he disappeared again. Paco lay down on the floor watching me, ready to spring to my aid, should I need it. I settled against the back of the sun lounger and looked down towards the sea. The pain was lessening already – the ice was definitely helping.
The cove was small, maybe a dozen metres across at most, with a narrow beach that ran along the shoreline. To the right, the golden sand gave way to the rocks that rose up to become the cliffs where I'd sat earlier. To the left there was a short wooden jetty to which a red motorboat was tied.
I looked up, Nicolás was returning with a glass of water for me.
"This is such a beautiful place," I said quietly, "you're so lucky to live here."
He smiled and set the glass down beside me, then handed me a packet of ibuprofen.
"Are you feeling better?" he asked.
I nodded. "Yes, thank you," I replied meekly.
"I am going to remove the ice and put a bandage around your ankle," he continued.
I offered my foot and Nicolás proceeded to bind it tightly with the bandage, with deft, confident movements.
'Where had he learnt to do that?' I wondered.
"I am going to feed the other sheep," he said calmly once he was finished. "Paco will stay here. If you need me, he will find me. When I return, I will drive you to your hotel."

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