Mike lifted up his texTee and smoothed out the front of his suit. Then he began watching the rest of Watchmen. Five minutes later, he looked up to see Bella and Delia standing beside him. He slammed the texTee back into his lap, perhaps a little too forcefully.
“Ladies,” he said, through clenched teeth.
Delia wore a yellow bikini, the bottom of which seemed to be designed to divide and accentuate her nether region. The top was a fairly traditional bra-cup design except that, like the bottoms, it was completely transparent, leaving her magnificent Daffodil-constructed breasts exposed. Bella wore something that looked like a black ribbon of lace stretched around her waist, with a strip of similar material that went through her legs. She wore no top at all, and after what seemed a long, long time, Mike appeared to realize that he was still looking at her small, pert breasts.
“Um, I was just trying to read your tattoo,” he said.
A small thin line of script ran from her sternum, curving first down and then over and back up as it followed the underside of her left breast.
“When you start to live outside yourself, it’s all dangerous,” he read. “I don’t think I know that quote.”
“It’s from The Garden of Eden, by Earnest Hemingway. Do you mind if we join you?”
Mike waved to the two lounges to his right. Bella sat down closest to him and Delia took the farther chair.
“I haven’t read that book,” said Mike. “I like Hemingway though.”
“I haven’t read it either,” said Bella. “I just liked the quote. It was on the library wall at school.”
Patience exchanged packets with Delia and compared their schedules.
“I was about to bring out a light lunch for Mike,” she said. “Would you like to join us?”
“You’re going to eat here by the pool?”
“All right then. Delia knows what I want. You two can coordinate.” Bella ran a hand through her short brown hair. “What were you watching, Mike?”
“Oh, something very literary and you know… weighty. Certainly not a superhero movie.”
“Superheroes? I’ve heard of them. Boys like them. I only know one: Batman. Were you watching Batman? It was Batman, wasn’t it?”
“I was watching Watchmen.”
“Is it like Batman?”
“As a matter of fact, it is a little. How about I loan it to you?” He punched in a ‘lend.’ “There.”
“Thanks, but I probably won’t watch it for a while. There are too many things to do here. Tomorrow, I’m taking dance lessons. Then the next day, Delia and I are taking the copter to Adelaide. We’re going to Palmerland and ride the world’s highest roller coaster. Do you want to come?”
“Not even a little bit,” said Mike.
“What was it you studied in school,” Patience asked Bella, knowing full well the answer.
“Education. I was planning on becoming a teacher.”
“Good God, don’t do that,” said Mike.
“Oh, I’m not going to. I’ve got a very nice job lined up with a textbook company. They sent headhunters to school and they convinced me. I’ve already signed the contract.”
“Good pay?” asked Mike.
“Four thirty-five? As in $435,000?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Well that was a good choice. You know that is about ten times what they paid me when I started teaching.”
“That was probably a long while ago though, right?” said Bella.
Mike stared at her.
“Our lunches are here,” announced Patience as a Daffodil crewmen set out their meals on a nearby table with four upright chairs.