Luce parked the moped in front of a resort called Ubud Green. She led me through a maze of pathways to different villas. We entered through a door, walked through a hallway and lounge to a patio and swimming pool where several other people chatted on a Bali lounge.
The patio overlooked the rice paddies. It was silent out there but for the night time insects and amphibians. The unspoiled and hard workers would wake soon. But in the villa it was filled with talking, the clack of wine bottles, and the doomed voice of Amy Winehouse. Crime writer Joey shared the villa next door with a few other writers, so he kindly went to get me some surf shorts to wear.
We stripped to our swim wear and were in the pool in minutes. Luce and I broke from the others. She swam to the edge of the patio, and I swam casually in her direction. I was her satellite now. Joey sat on the pool stairs and talked with the others, and though he settled on a frizzy haired blonde beauty to talk to during the 3am blues; still he frowned as he watched us both.
Luce and I talked. There is much to it when you love the sound the words come from, the lips the sounds escape. She told me why she left modelling, and why she liked photography so much. She was reluctant at first, but she spoke faster and her hands would jump animatedly from the surface of the water, often splashing me in the eyes.
“They used my image to represent other products,” she said, sometime during the early hours, when we were the only two left on the patio. “Sure, I felt beautiful when I saw the finished photos. But I suppose I always wanted to record other images to represent how I felt. Guess after a lot of crap that happened, I gave up the fashion. Put on too much weight anyway.”
I wanted to tell her she wasn’t fat, that she was beautiful, amazing, gorgeous. I am glad I didn’t get the chance to reveal my infatuation. She ducked under the water. Resurfaced and spat the water in my face. “Argh!” I groaned dramatically and wrestled her back under the water. She slid away like an eel, poked me in the ribs and swam to the other side for another Bintang.
We sat on the pool stair, she comfortably between my legs, as we watched the sky lighten over the rice paddies. The palms that marked a ravine in the distance began to colour from dark blues to orange and greens. The air warmed. Once we left the pool we would sweat.
“What about you, Chris?” Luce asked as she stroked my tanned, hairy thigh. “We’ve talked about me all night. I’m so sorry.”
Only now did I start thinking of the degree I had left behind. The assignments that were due. I knew I would have to turn on my phone and answer the many messages from concerned family members. I felt tense now, and perhaps she felt that. She spun around and kissed me.
“Do you write much poetry?” she asked. I knew then she believed I was entirely different to what I was. She thought I was a wandering bohemian writing love poetry and down to earth travel fiction as a way to make a living.
“I never wrote poetry before,” I said, “I never performed. I never wrote any stories. I’m not that creative.”
“Everyone is creative,” Luce said. “You just need inspiration. You need a muse.” She grinned. “Write about tonight, where we were, what we did, what we’re going to do.”
It was now hot above the surface of the water. She slowly got out and held my hand. “I’m tired,” she yawned, and took me into the villa, kept on walking till she opened a glass sliding door into her bedroom. The king sized bed was made; ready; prepared on both sides. Her body was still damp as she lay next to me on the bed.
An air-conditioner hummed somewhere above us. I kissed her, and she kissed me harder. Her facial expression seemed angry in the room’s vague lighting, even when she closed her eyes.