What could he possibly have in mind? This situation seemed so hopeless, but once he said he had an idea, I had all the confidence in the world in him, and his idea, whatever it was. The two guys with the goggles dove into the pool. I softly said "Okay", my heart still beating madly like a drum. I freely submitted myself to whatever he had in mind, until, he suddenly put his hands on my waist, practically touching my butt in the process, and he pulled me right against him. A flood of bad thoughts crossed my mind in that moment in time as I said "No!" while strongly yanking his hands off me. Was he taking advantage of me in my moment of weakness? Was he taking the opportunity to cheat on his wife like so many other filipino husbands have been known to do? Or was he thinking of something far worse? I was scared, I had nothing to protect myself with if he indeed had the worst in mind for me. Those thoughts quickly faded away, however, when he smiled, and said...
..."Don't worry, I won't do anything to you. Just stick close to me, you'll see"
For a moment, I guess Jeanne thought I was going to take advantage of her, which I could understand. I had to allay her fears though, because my plan would probably not work if she were throwing punches at me while I was carrying it out. If she still resisted, I would reiterate to her that I was doing this for her sake. So, I slowly pulled her body close to mines, and told her...
..."Just hug me, and walk backwards"
Now I understood what he had in mind. By putting me nearly against him, I'd be mostly covered by him, and very inconspicuously to boot, though my behind would be ripe for viewing if anyone swam right behind me. Thankfully, the strangers were off to our side, at least for the moment. I walked backwards step-by-slow-step, and I couldn't help feeling a bit intoxicated by all this; I was nude in a pool with other people in it, I was being held by Ian, and those strangers would think I'm Ian's woman. Under the "influence", and feeling a bit turned on by all this, I then put my arms around his neck, and REALLY went up against Ian, as close as one could be. It felt so incredibly great, so be totally exposed to the cold water, and hugging Ian's warm body. I'll never forget it, or how he reacted...
First, this girl resists my plan for fear of being taken advantage of. Now, she really hugs me close like she wants to do something. What's with this girl?! Then, I realized how close we were to the strangers, and maybe she felt she needed to cover herself better. Well, I will say this though, I didn't realize what a great body Jeanne has until she put herself flat against me like she just did.
I turned her body ever so slightly, towards my shirt lying on the pool deck. We were almost there, when one of the men with the goggles yelled out something. I didn't make it out, but when I looked, one of the guys was within a few feet of where we were, and pointing at us. I then figured out what he must've been saying for her to point at us, or Jeanne, like that. He was either commenting on the strapless light brown swimsuit Jeanne had on, or...
..."That girl's naked!"
I heard the words I didn't want to hear. Ian then jumped out of the pool to grab his shirt, leaving me open to prove his point. Ian didn't take long to jump back in, placing himself in between their eyes and myself. He quickly put his shirt on me, which unfortunately wasn't nearly long enough to cover my fanny, with us both being relatively tall. He then said I should stay in the ladies room while he got clothes for me from the cottage. So, we both got out of the pool, which consequently exposed my bare bottom to the air for those people to see. I didn't care though, the only thing I was thinking about was getting to the ladies room as quickly as possible. I ran there, while Ian ran off in a different direction, towards the cottage, to get...
I found it hanging on a fence in the parking lot, on my way to the cottage. I knew it was hers, from the color, and from the size, with me suddenly somewhat intimately familiar with the body it belonged to. I grabbed the suit, and was about to take it off the fence and to the ladies room when I was greeted with Anna's voice saying "Hi Ian, what are you doing?" I turned to look at her, and saw that she was with a number of her excited cousins, running to the pool area. I said "Oh, Jeanne asked me to get her swimsuit, she left it to dry a bit over here". Anna gave a puzzled look, and said "Oh well, that's weird, but whatever". So, we walked back to the pool area.
"What do I do?"
Now, I was alone in the ladies room. Where would I stay? If I stayed covered in the toilet stalls, he might not see me or be able to give me my clothes. Stay close to the door? That would expose me to anyone who entered, or worse, a relative who would no doubt wonder why I was wearing Ian's shirt and nothing else. So, I walked to a position about halfway between the door and the stalls, and nervously waited for someone to come. I heard some footsteps outside, then the sound made its way into the restroom. I quickly turned around and stepped into a stall, but apparently not quickly enough as a voice screamed,
"Jeanne! Is that you?!?!"
I peeked out from the stall and saw Lynn standing there. "Yes, it's me". Lynn asked "What happened to you?", apparently noticing I was naked from the waist down. I was speechless: too long a story to tell, and I was caught very much off-guard. I just stood in silence, as Lynn ran out of the restroom. For a moment I just hoped Lynn wouldn't leak a word of it around, then suddenly, she peeked back in, looking at me, and then looking at something outside. Then she started crying, and ran away. Before I could even guess as to why she cried, Ian peeked in and said...
"Here's your suit"
Just before I got to hand Jeanne her most valued possession at the moment, I saw Lynn staring at me, then running away crying. I had a good guess as to what made her react like that. It was a good thing Anna headed off to the pool, otherwise she might've drawn the same conclusion. Still, I was worried of what Lynn might be telling everyone once she got back to the cottage. I wasn't in the mood to swim anymore with my worries, so I waited for Jeanne to get dressed and exit the restroom. Once she got out, I wasted no time in saying,
"You're going to tell them what happened, right?"
God, the embarrassment of even just mentioning the incident gave me goosebumps. But, Ian stuck his neck out for my sake, and the only thing I could do to repay him was return the favor. "I will, but let me find out who Lynn told about it first, if she told anyone at all". He nodded in agreement, and we walked back to the cottage together. I assumed that Lynn would've told mom about it first, and, by the look on her face when we got back, I was right as she grabbed my arm and dragged me into a room, saying...
"Come in here, you have some explaining to do!"
Since no one asked me about what just happened, it looked like Lynn only told her mom about what she saw, which made things seem simpler. Just one person for Jeanne to have to tell the story. My aunts-in-law handed me a plate of breakfast food, and I instantly started devouring the contents. Didn't realize how hungry I was! I just sat down and ate, and hoped everything was going alright with Jeanne and her mom...
"I don't believe you!"
I had told the entire story to mom, from meeting Amanda on the beach to meeting Lynn in the ladies room, and she didn't believe a word of it. She then said "If I went out right now, and asked Mia and Cheryl about it, would they tell me the same thing you said?" Uh-oh. They said they'd keep it secret. What could I say? "No". "Well then, just let me ask you two important questions, since you story seems unbelieveable". I nodded, and waited for her to say...
..."Did you do anything with Ian?"
I finished my breakfast off pretty quickly. I then realized that Jeanne and her mom hadn't come out yet, and I started to worry about what was going on in there. I decided, if neither of them would come out in five minutes or thereabouts, I'd discreetly walk by the door of the room, and see if I could pick up what was being said in there. After all, I was the only one present who had an idea of what was going on...
"No! I didn't do anything with Ian"
My mom's expression changed at that answer. My outright denial of any wrongdoing of an adult nature calmed her down a bit, so it seemed. But, she still went on to ask the second question: "Do you have any feelings for Ian?" My heart skipped a beat, as I found myself confronted with my most private, intimate feeling, and my concerned mom, begging to hear the truth from my mouth. I've told white lies before, sometimes lying about things way more serious that white ones. But, my heart, my soul, wouldn't let me lie about Ian. I loved him too much to do anything against him, even to lie about my feelings for him. So, with my knees shaking, and my heart pounding more frequently by the second, I opened up to my mom...
"Do you realize how hard it is to find someone to love here?" A slight nod from my mom. "Well, practically every guy I meet is a loser, a loser trying to change but not trying hard enough, or is trying his best to be a loser. I'd think that I deserve anyone even just a little better than that". No reaction this time. "Then, along comes my cousin's boyfriend, you know him, you can't find a better man than that around here, in almost every way. He just oozes with everything that's right, that's fair, that's kind, that's loving, that's strong". Mom nods more obviously this time. "And, in my situation, even though he practically doesn't know I exist, that I'm just one of Anna's cousins, part of the 'scenery', I was attracted to him in the worst way". Mom stares more intently. "So, from the moment I first laid eyes on him playing with my baby cousins, helping my brother with his homework, everything he does, the way he does it, and simply him being the wonderful person he is, I fell in love with him". Mom's expression turns into a frown, and she almost looks like she going to cry. "And, I'm not ashamed to admit that...
"I loved him, I really loved him, and I still love him"
Those were the only words I got to hear, and it might've been all I needed to hear. I wished I didn't hear it. I just stood there while a vast array of images flew inside my mind. The common denominator? All images were of Jeanne. I was trying to piece together what I'd just heard with every common experience we had. And, I had to say, once I heard those words, it all made sense. She was in love with me, of all people. And now, her mom knew that Jeanne was in love with me. I felt like I did something terribly wrong, though I didn't know exactly what. I had never done wrong to anyone in my entire life, and to finally do it to such nice people, my wife's relatives... I felt so guilty, of potentially tearing their family apart. I hit rock bottom.
For the rest of the day, even after we eventually got home, I was just silent in my thoughts, brooding over whatever I did, and generally not feeling good about things... I had shamed myself, my family name, and Jeanne's family as well. Suicide came to mind...
"How are you?"
After my confession to my mom, she was left basically speechless. She just told me to go on with whatever I wanted to do. Emotionally spent, I wasn't in the mood to do any more swimming. I saw Ian just sitting by himself, and asked him how he was doing. No answer from him. I wondered what was eating him, or what caused it. Lynn? I asked her if she told anyone else about me in the restroom, and she said she only told mom about it. Then, I realized, he must've heard me talking to mom. I felt the urge to go over to Ian, and comfort him, and tell him it's all my fault, he had committed no wrong... then I considered how my mom might get further upset by seeing me with him so soon after the confrontation. I felt so helpless the rest of that day; I could see him looking like he was in pain, yet I was bound by our "ethics" not to help him feel better... this was so wrong. Even with me feeling guilty of disappointing my mom, and causing pain to the one I loved, I never felt more determined than I did at that moment in time. For, I finally realized what I wanted in that situation, and, it probably wouldn't offend anyone either...
The morning after we got back from the beach, I asked Anna if she and Paula would mind spending the day with her parents. I think she knew something was bugging me, and she knew well enough that I didn't like to be bothered about it and I'd usually come around to tell her about it when I had it resolved. She said if they did, her parents would probably make them stay there until the next morning. I said no problem, for I just wanted some time alone for myself. And, I didn't want to cause them any more anguish than necessary with what I planned to do that day...
"What are you gonna be doing today?"
I answered my mom's query by saying I was going to see my girl friends in town. Another white lie. I was going to set things right with Ian, and with myself. I had to go to his place though, and I had to hope Anna wouldn't be too shocked at what I was planning to tell Ian. And, I had to be sure I'd have the guts to say what I wanted to say.
When I got to his place, I went up to the door, took a deep breath, and rung the doorbell. No response. I rung again, with the same non-response resulting. The door wasn't locked, so I yelled out,
"Door's not locked, so I assume you want me in!"
If I weren't feeling bad enough, the girl herself had to come here, today, of all days. Oh well, I couldn't stop her from coming in now, so I just had to roll with it... and hope she wouldn't figure out what I was doing. Guess not, because when she got to the dining room, she screamed out,
"Oh my god!"
I saw Ian sitting at the table. A bunch of liquor bottles, a glass, and a bunch of pictures on the table. And a pistol. I recognized the bottles, they were Ian and Anna's wedding gifts. The pictures looked to be mostly Ian's family pictures, with some pictures of my family and relatives, including me. The gun? A souvenir from a cousin of his, he mentioned it before, saying it'd probably never be fired. Then, I put the pieces together, and it became apparent:
"You're going to kill yourself?"
I heard her question, but didn't answer. She had me pegged though: I planned to drink myself crazy (I never drank liquor in my entire life until that day), and would end my misery, and that of everyone else. Then she asked something else, and the dialog started:
"Are you going to commit suicide because of me?"
"No, you idiot. I'm doing it because of what I did, which goes against every ideal of mine"
"Really? What did you do?"
"I caused you to fall in love with me, and I happen to be your cousin-in-law, and that just happens to be a bad thing. I happen to have a very high set of standards for myself, and causing this thing just breaks across my sense of morality. Not only that, it could very well break up your family"
"Oh really? How did you cause that?"
"I don't know! You're the one who fell in love with a relative, you tell me"
"You did NOTHING! I fell in love with you because of who you are, which is, the most wonderfully nice guy on this part of earth. Now, what did you do to cause that?"
"I don't know, I should've acted more like the horse's behind that most other guys are?"
"Listen to what you're saying. You think being a jerk to everyone you're nice to is morally right?"
"Then stop feeling so drowned in your guilt. I feel guilty too, but that won't stop me from trying to make things right. And, I don't think killing yourself solves any problems here"
"Well then, tell me what will?"
This was my moment of truth. I had to do something to save the life of the one I loved, who was planning to die because of me. I had to tell him what I intended to say.