I sighed as I finally walked past the gate of my apartment complex. It was an unusually hot day even for a city like Mumbai where the summers were cruel. The heat, the humidity, the fatigue was complemented by a heavy bag of groceries that I carried in my hands and also a big handbag that was over my shoulder.
Drops of sweat were accumulating on my forehead as I awkwardly made my way to my building. As I was walking, I noticed a cab standing below my building. It was a cab from one of those cab hiring companies that had sprung up in the country in the last few years.
The trunk of the cab was open and I saw a couple of bags inside the trunk and I also noticed the driver sitting in the cab. He turned his head to look at me as I walked past him, not failing to realise his lecherous stare.
“Asshole,” I thought as I glared at the cab driver and kept walking.
I went over to the elevator and noticed that the 'out of order' board was hanging on the elevator door. Since my house was on the third floor, I never really needed the elevator anyways. I had kept myself active enough to easily climb the stairs. But with all the groceries in my hand, my dehydrated body didn't have the energy to climb up the flight of stairs which looked like a huge challenge.
I cursed under my breath and started dragging myself to my third-floor apartment via the stairs. I slowly and awkwardly laboured my way over to my apartment and kept the bag of groceries on the stairs. I started looking for the keys to my house inside my bag when I heard footsteps coming down the stairs.
I glanced up to see a tall, lean man walking down towards me. Looking at his white complexion and blonde hair, I realized that he wasn't from around here; that he was a foreigner.
He stopped a couple of feet away on the staircase. He was tall and the couple of feet added by the steps made him look taller. I kept looking up at him, expecting him to say something. But he looked down at his feet and I followed his gaze to realise that my bag of groceries was in the way.
We both looked at each other and all I could do was smile awkwardly and move the bag to the side. He smiled at me, tipped his baseball cap and started walking down the stairs again. I immediately picked up the bag of groceries and realised that he was staring at me as he walked down the stairs. His stare wasn't as obvious and lecherous as the cabbie but nonetheless, it was like a man checking out a woman. Being a woman, I had become used to being stared at and at times gawked at and didn't make much of it and walked inside my apartment.
I freshened up, had a couple of glasses of water and got down to cooking myself a meal. I was busy in the kitchen when I heard the doorbell. I wondered who it might be at the door in the middle of the afternoon. I walked over and opened the door to see my neighbour and friend Deanne.
"Hi Rhea,” Deanne said as she walked into my house.
"Hi Deanne," I replied and closed the door behind me. Deanne and I had known each other ever since I moved to this place five years ago; she had moved here a year before I did. She and I were in our early thirties and we hit it off immediately and had been good friends ever since.
"We have a new neighbour amongst us," Deanne said as she walked behind me into the kitchen.
"I know," I replied.
"He's not from around here, you know?" she said as stood in the kitchen and I walked over to the kitchen counter to cook.
"I know," I replied.
"How do you know?" she asked with a sense of bewilderment, in her typical high-pitched voice. Deanne, being the gossipmonger of the neighbourhood, took offence to the fact that I knew the hottest piece of gossip before she could tell me.
"I saw him. He walked right past me some time back," I told her, trying to pacify her dented ego.
"Oh... Do you know his name?" she asked.
"No, I don't," I replied. As soon as I said that I saw her face glow with delight. She finally could tell me something I didn't know.
"His name is Jacques. He is from France. His company posted him here at their office in BKC and he came to India a couple of days ago. He was living at the Marriott for the last couple of days. Mr Gurnam leased out his house to the company Jacques works in and they have given him that place to live," Deanne said that in one breath.
I smiled in amusement at how excited she sounded telling me about a stranger from overseas who had moved in not more than an hour ago.
"How do you know all that? Are you a spy or something... like James Bond?" I asked her, wondering how she could gather all that information so quickly.
“No! I talked to him sometime back," she replied with a laugh.
"Oh... You were welcoming him to the neighbourhood, huh?" I said and winked at her.
"No no... just a courtesy visit; you know that I am a good neighbour," she replied, poorly justifying her walking up to a stranger and asking him a whole lot about himself.
"Hmmm... righttt,” I said and laughed and Deanne joined the laughter.
"What are you making for lunch?" she asked as she walked over to the counter and peeped inside one of the pots.
"Nothing special... just the usual," I replied.
"Your usual is also special for me. I love your cooking. I am not in the mood to cook today. I am going to eat here," she declared.
"Hehe... alright," I replied and we both got busy cooking.
Another round of grocery shopping had come up a few days after. It had been days since Deanne had dropped by for lunch and we had talked about our new neighbour. This time, I avoided going to the shop in the afternoon and opted for an evening excursion.
I walked over to the shop and heard some commotion. The shopkeeper was talking loudly to a man whose back was towards me.
"No... I no Englisss... No... Vhaat you whaant?" I heard Rathichand, our neighbourhood grocer speaking rather loudly.
I could hear the man speaking what was clearly not English. I walked closer to inquire when Rathichand saw me and turned to talk to me.
"Are madam... dekho na ye firang kya bol raha hai... kuch samajh nahi aa raha," (Madam... look at this foreigner... I have no clue what he is saying), Rathichand said, sounding clearly agitated.
The man turned to me as soon as he heard Rathichand talk to me and I got a clear look at his face. It was the Frenchman from my building, Jacques. Amused at the cultural clash between the men, I smiled and walked over to them. Jacques gave me an awkward smile as I stood next to him.
"What do you want?" I asked Jacques in English which I thought he understood but I was clearly wrong. He looked lost, perhaps trying to figure out what I was asking him. I asked him again, this time tilting my hand in the typical Indian way when asking a question.
"Oeufs... Je veux des oeufs," he said.
"Huh... what?" I asked. I knew he was speaking French but at the moment I was as clueless as Rathichand.
Jacques thought for a moment and then tucked his hands under his armpits and started flapping hands like that of a chicken. He even went to the extent of clucking like a chicken and then made a circle with his index finger and thumb. I giggled when I realized what he wanted.
"Bhaiyya... I can hardly string basic sentences together. I just try to make up for my lack of talent by sticking my nose in a thesaurus every now and then give him a dozen eggs," I told Rathichand who looked relieved and nodded his head in amusement when I solved the puzzle for him.
Rathichand came back with a dozen eggs and Jacques seemed elated to finally get what he wanted.
"Merci," Jacques looked at me, gently nodded with a smile. Now I was no expert in the French language but I knew a few words.
"You're welcome," I replied. Jacques picked up a loaf of bread, paid Rathichand the money and walked out of the store. I got busy shopping for my supplies and after a good fifteen minutes walked out of the store with a big bag of groceries.
As I stepped out of the store, I saw Jacques standing there, smiling at me. He had been waiting there all this while. I smiled back at him and he started walking with me. I didn't mind that. Perhaps he was showing courtesy to a woman who had helped him in this strange foreign land.
We kept walking slowly, not saying a word. I had the huge bag of groceries in my hand and was walking as awkwardly as the last time. He noticed that and promptly took the bag from my hands into his. I couldn't say much and I didn't want to either because it was a relief to have that bag off me.
"I... Jacques," he said as he extended his arms for a handshake.
“I am Rhea," I said, extending my hand and meeting his. The first thing I noticed was his hand was too large for mine. It enveloped my hand during the handshake. The next thing I noticed was how effortlessly he was holding the heavy grocery bag in his arm and walking with me.
"Nice... to... meet... you," he said and smiled.
"Nice to meet you too," I replied and we kept walking.
As we walked, the other thing I realized was Jacques was tall, really tall. I stand at 5 feet 7 inches, making me tall for an Indian woman but Jacques towered at least half a foot over me making him a 6-foot-plus man. His lean frame accentuated his height but he wasn't skinny, not by any standard. I realized that when I saw his chiselled forearm and biceps as he carried the grocery bag.
He had blonde hair, not unusual for a European and he was white, not fair, but white. Even the fairest Indian was dark compared to him. His blonde hair and white complexion were complemented with light blue eyes which seemed as if he was wearing lenses but I was sure they were natural.
We walked over to our building and got into the elevator all the while making awkward small talk; him in his broken English and I trying to reply. In the closed, cramped elevator, I realized that he was wearing really nice cologne which just added to his personality.
We walked over to the door of my house, I opened it and welcomed him inside. He walked in and kept the bag on the dining table and was about to leave when I asked him to stay. He smiled awkwardly and stood in his place.
"Would you like to have some coffee?" I asked him as I signalled him to sit on the couch and make himself comfortable.
"Café?" he asked.
"Yess... café," I replied.
"Yeah... yess... Merci," he replied with a boyish smile to which I smiled too and went into the kitchen to make some coffee. I returned a little later to see Jacques sitting in his place, still as awkwardly as he was before.
I placed the cups of coffee on a table and the snacks as well. I handed him a cup of coffee and sat on the couch in front of him and handed him a small dish of typical Indian snacks. He wondered what it was before I told him to eat it.
Jacques was pleasantly delighted to taste an Indian snack, perhaps his first time having one. The snacks weren't very spicy even for his pallet and he nodded happily as he munched on some more.
"What is this?" he asked in his thickly accented English.
"Chiwada," I replied.
"Huh?" he replied. The word I uttered must have been like a tongue twister to him.
"Chee-wa-daa," I replied before giggling.
"Oh... Chee-wa-daa is nice," he replied before laughing out loud.
He promptly took out a small pocket-sized book from his jeans and started reading from it. I wondered what he was doing.
"What... do you... do Rhea?" he asked.
"I am a school teacher," I replied to a confused-looking Jacques.
He buried his head in the book before he raised it again before saying, "Professeur?"
"Yess... Professor," I replied, for the first time understanding what he was saying without having him act out for me.
"What do you do?" I asked him in response.
"Ingénieur," he replied in a very French-sounding version of engineering which I understood. Perhaps it would not be so difficult talking to him after all.
So for the rest of the time, I and Jacques indulged in such short conversations and introduced ourselves. It wasn't long before the coffee was finished and the snacks had been munched on and it was time for him to leave. He got up and walked over to the door. He walked out as I stood there and said goodbye.
"Au revoir," he said as he gently waved his hand.
"Bye Jacques," I replied before closing the door and moving on.
Life had been pretty relaxed since the schools were closed for the summer vacations. I would spend my day doing chores at a leisurely pace rather than the hectic pace that I would do when I was working.
I had a good two months to go before the schools started and with my husband away on high seas till the end of the year, I had ample time at hand for myself. So, with that in mind, I would go for a morning jog every morning in and around my apartment complex. A few ladies from the complex would join me for a brisk walk but I preferred jogging rather than walking. Also, I wanted to focus more on the exercise rather than gossiping with the old ladies.
It was just another morning when I had woken up early for a jog around my complex. I wore my regular T-shirt with a pair of yoga pants. I wore the yoga pants not to show off my butt, which frankly was worth showing off but I wore them because they were comfortable and provided me with enough flexibility to run around.
I had gotten used to the other women gawking at me for wearing what they thought were revealing clothes and an unbecoming of a married woman in her thirties but fucks them, who cares, I thought.
The other ladies were done with a couple of rounds of the park before they decided to call it a day whereas I had finished five and decided to go for another five before getting back home. Soon, the park was empty and I was the only person on the jogging track.
As I was jogging, I heard footsteps behind me. I could hear and feel them getting close rather quickly. I didn't bother to look back at who it was but I was aware of that person's presence and I thought it must be just one of the neighbours and continued jogging.
"Hello Rhea," I heard Jacques' distinct voice next to me. He was jogging right beside me and was flashing me his usual boyish smile. Startled at first, I smiled back at him when I realized it was him and we continued jogging.
"Today Sunday is a holiday," he said.
"Oh... I know. Great," I replied.
"You jog every day?" I asked him and realized he didn't understand what I had said when I saw a puzzled expression every day.
"This... you do every day?" I asked, gesturing at him, hoping he'd understand.
"Yeah... yes. Wake early but today Sunday. So late," he replied. He must be an early riser because I hadn't seen him on the track at all during these days.
We slowly walked back to our building after we were done jogging. The summer sun hadn't been kind even in the morning and I was sweating. My wet T-shirt stuck to my body, clearly outlining the curves of my well-maintained figure. I had noticed him stealing glances at me when we were jogging but now that we were facing each other, he looked at me more openly.
"You... teacher, eh?" He asked as he sipped Gatorade from his sipper before offering me a drink as well. I was tired and thirsty and with a delicious drink in front of me that I just grabbed it and started drinking.
"Yeah," I replied after I gulped down a large sip.
"What you teach?" he asked.
"I teach English literature to school children," I replied.
"Hmmm, tres bien. You teach me how to speak English?" he asked.
"Me? Uhh. I don't know. I don't take private tuitions," I replied hesitantly.
I barely knew the man and I had no experience in teaching English to foreigners. Due to the colonial past, Indians were fairly acquainted with English even if they hadn't received formal education so teaching them, especially young children was not that difficult. But teaching a man who had no connection to English. I just wasn't sure. Besides, I didn't expect such a request.
"Please, without English... uhh... Très difficile, to live here," he replied, understanding my hesitation and persuading me to teach him.
"Let me think," I said but he continued his persuasion.
I hadn't taught a foreigner before but Jacques wasn't completely alien to English, he could speak to survive, so I didn't have to start from scratch. I thought for a moment more and then decided to go for it. It would be a new experience I thought.
"Ok Jacques. I will teach you," I replied to which he smiled sweetly. His dimpled cheeks, his smile showing the sparkling white teeth and his blue eyes made him look very cute and gave a glimpse of the child in him but at the same time, his sweat-soaked shirt and his chiselled arms gave a glimpse of his manliness.
"We start after lunch today?" he asked.
"Ummm, okay," I replied. I had nothing else to do on a boring afternoon so I thought I would rather spend time doing what I do best, teach.
It was late in the afternoon when I had finished all my chores when Jacques came to my door. He was wearing a loose white T-shirt and a pair of black shorts. His blonde hair was still wet from the shower or perhaps the sweat from the unbearable summer heat. He had a day-old stubble which complimented his well-formed jawline.
"Come inside. Please sit down," I signalled him to sit on the dining table in the living room.
He sat at the dining table and I served him a cold drink and some snacks. He had brought some books along; they were mostly books for foreigners who wanted to learn conversational English, self-help books. He also had brought an English-to-French dictionary which would help a lot.
I knew Jacques didn't want to learn the grammar and all the technicality of the language but rather wanted to learn how to speak everyday English. So I had to change my approach and focus on helping him learn the words, the pronunciation and some basic grammar to get the sentences right.
We were sitting just a couple of feet away from each other and I could smell the cologne he was wearing. The pleasant smell emanating from his body was a distraction. As my husband would be on the seas for months at a time, I would be sex-starved at home and my starving body's heightened sense caught the aroma.
He was speaking after me the sentences I taught him. He would smile cutely when he fumbled with the words or their pronunciations. He would refer to the dictionary if he didn't know the meaning and he grasped quite a lot for just one session.
"Are you married?" he asked as I placed a cup of tea in front of him and joined him on the dining table.
"Yes, I am. You see this chain on my neck, this is called a Mangalsutra. In India, this is a sign of being married," I explained, giving him a titbit on Indian culture. "He is in the merchant navy, uhh, ship," I tried to explain to him about my husband's profession. He opened the dictionary and flipped some pages before stopping at one. After a moment, he raised his head and smiled at me, indicating that he understood what I said.
"He is in ship for months then, yes?" he asked.
"On the ship, not in the ship and yes, he is away for months," I replied at the same time being a teacher.
"Don't you get bored?" he asked with a frown on his face.
"Well, I am used to it. What can I do? It's his job," I replied and sighed. My husband earned handsomely from his job but was away for long durations. I had been on his ship twice before but the high seas bored me completely.
It wasn't a cruise ship where there is so much to do. It was an oil tanker with a crew of twenty-five to thirty men who worked long hours. The only entertainment onboard was a stack of DVDs which I watched over and over during the long, mentally exhausting trip. I never stepped on his ship again, preferring to wait for him to come back on land.
"Are you married?" I asked him.
"No... but have a girlfriend," he replied before flipping his smartphone. He turned the screen towards me to show me his girlfriend. I saw a picture of a cute blonde in her mid-twenties, wearing a nice white turtle neck sweater. Standing next to the girl was Jacques and from the manner the photo was clicked, it was evident that it was a 'selfie'.
"You must be missing her?" I asked him.
"Yes, very much," he replied with a tinge of sadness or perhaps loneliness appearing in his eyes.
"She is very beautiful," I said trying to cheer him up.
He looked at me, smiled and nodded and said, "You are also very beautiful." I smiled and blushed which surprised me a little. It wasn't that I had been called beautiful the first time. I was surprised that I was blushing like a virgin teenage girl in front of a man over such a simple compliment.
"Thank you," I replied as I brushed aside my thoughts.
"I don't have friends here. Will you be my friend?" he asked and extended his hand at me.
"Yes, Jacques. We are friends," I replied and shook his hand. We smiled at each other and continued talking for a while before he left.
"Hi Rhea, I am sorry. I am late," Jacques said as he walked over to me. I was standing near the jogging track of my colony waiting for him to join me for the morning jog.
It had been three weeks since I started teaching Jacques and we had become good friends. Apart from teaching him conversational English, we talked about a lot of things which not only ended in making us good friends but also improved his command of the English Language.
Apart from English, another common thing about us was our love to be fit. I had seen Jacques just once on the jogging track but he told me that he woke up earlier than others to jog since it was calm and peaceful at that hour and that was the only time of the day he could tolerate since it was cooler in the mornings. He invited me to join him for his early morning jogs and I agreed and it had been a few days since we started jogging together.
"It's Okay, Jacques. I just came here a couple of minutes ago," I replied as he stood near me. We walked over to the lawn in the middle of the jogging track to do some stretching exercises before we started running.
We were standing a couple of feet away, facing each other. We both started with rotating our arms and our wrists. To warm up my legs for the jog, I bent down to touch my toes and counted to five before standing back up. Till now Jacques was following me with the exercise but when I stood up I saw him staring at me.
I looked at him but didn't say anything. His behaviour was a little strange as if he had stumbled upon something, something mesmerising; it was only moments later I realized what he had seen.
I bent down again to touch my toes and this time I looked up at him to see what he was looking at. I saw him staring at my chest, rather than at me. My round-necked T-shirt gave way when I bent down, revealing my cleavage. From that angle, he could clearly see my cleavage and the black bra which held them in place. Still looking up at him, I cleared my throat, trying to get his attention.
"Mr Jacques, come back to earth," I said as I stood up.
He was thrown out of his trance when he heard me and stumbled to say something. I was amused at his loss of words and giggled at the awkward moment he was facing. Was it his poor English or his loss of words and face that stopped him from coming up with an explanation but I didn't bother. It wasn't the first time someone had stared at my chest.
Depending on what kind of a person was looking at me, he would either notice my face or my breasts when he saw me and Jacques was no different. Other times, I would stare angrily if I saw someone staring at me and my breasts like that but I didn't take offence at Jacques. I don't know what stopped me from getting upset.
After we were done with stretches, we plugged the headphones into our ears and started the music before we began jogging. We didn't talk much during the jog, rather saving our energy for chats before and after.
I was done with my fourth round of the track, focusing only on the music in my ears and the track ahead as I usually did. For a fleeting second, I looked next to me and I saw Jacques jogging just a couple of paces behind me with his attention not on the track ahead but my butt. I looked at him for a few seconds before he saw me looking at him. This time, he didn't try forging an explanation but rather smiled cheekily.
Again I didn't get offended by his open staring at me and any upsetting feeling was shot down by his boyish smile and his dimpled chin. I smiled at him coyly to which he smiled even more, his smile showing a sense of relief and jubilation.
I looked forward and continued jogging but at the back of my mind, the first thought that came was that with that coy smile, I had just given him an invitation to check me out. A part of me got busy wondering about my reaction or the lack of it, another part of me felt a little offended but another part of me was enjoying the attention that a man was showering on me.
Confused and deep in thought, I didn't realise when I completed my usual ten rounds of the track. While I was pondering upon the situation, Jacques had stepped up and had run beside me. Perhaps he knew that it wasn't wise of him to take too much liberty of the situation and he ended it.
We got into the elevator starting our usual small talks but the moment the doors of the elevator closed, both of us kept quiet, as if on cue. In the confines of a metal box, we were standing just a foot away from each other. Our eyes met as we faced each other. I smiled awkwardly and he smiled back with the same sense of awkwardness.
I saw his eyes, slowly gazing down my body from my eyes, slowly down to my chest, my stomach and then to my feet. My heaving chest, my sweat-soaked hair must have been some sight to devour.
He was standing there in his white sleeveless T-shirt, drops of tears pooled on his forehead and a couple of them were trickling down. A thin layer of sweat covered his fair white skin, adding sheen and a glow to it. Dark green veins popped out of his arm as he squeezed the bottle of water he was holding. His black shorts gave way to hairless but very muscular thighs and large calf muscles with very visible size and cuts.
The elevator door opened when it stopped at my floor and it brought us back. I said nothing and got off the elevator and walked straight inside my house. Once inside, I plunked myself on the couch, not believing what had just happened.
I recalled the entire time and with each flashing memory, I was in utter disbelief at my actions. I had let a man other than my husband check me out. I didn't say anything to stop when he stared at my cleavage and later when he openly glued his gaze to my butt. What was even more disturbing was that I liked it and silently gave my approval and the stare game in the elevator made things worse.
I decided to shake everything off my mind and get busy with my chores; perhaps they would distract me from the happenings of the morning. I walked into my room to change out of my sweat-drenched clothes and head into the shower. I stood in front of the mirror and watched myself. The first thought that came to my mind was this was how I looked to him.
Unknowingly, I bent down enough for my round-necked shirt to part away enough and I saw the view Jacques enjoyed at the jogging track. I had been stupid enough not to wear a sports bra and co-incidentally Jacques saw me in that state on the day when I hadn't worn one.
I stood up and turned around slowly. My taut round butt protruded out of my body; the yoga pants clearly accentuated its curvature and also the underbutt curves beautifully. No wonder he was staring at it lecherously.
I walked into the shower before undressing and getting under the sprinkle of the cool water falling from the shower. I closed my eyes and recalled the morning, again and again, each time the memory flashed slowly at those precise moments when he was checking me out.
Jacques in one of our conversations had told me that he was twenty-eight years old and I was thirty-four, a good six years older than him. Why was a handsome young European man interested in an ordinary Indian woman? With those thoughts and the recurring memories, I finished the bath and walked out of the bathroom with a towel tied around my torso.
I walked up to the dressing table and stood combing my hair. The thought was still lingering in my mind as I brushed my hair. I kept the comb on the dressing table before gently untying the towel and letting it fall to the floor. I saw my naked self in the mirror and that gave me the answer.
Standing at five feet seven inches, I am a tall woman by Indian standards. My black coloured hair flowed down to the middle of my back. I have an oval face with black doe eyes and a sharp, straight nose and full pink lips; a small jawline and chin gave me the most feminine and graceful look.
I possessed a pair of generous C-cup breasts which had a very beautiful drop-like shape. Chocolate pink areola crowned my breasts and nipples. a shape darker which would puff up like a tiny raisin when stimulated by the cold weather or by my arousal. My long slender arms with delicate wrists gave way to perfectly manicured hands.
Years of regular workouts gave me a strong but lean abdomen with just an ounce of baby fat which made it look cute rather than fat. My curvaceous hips led down to a perky butt. As I turned to my side, I saw its beautiful curvature, protruding out of my body. I turned around and looked back into the mirror looked with pride at the under curves of my butt. My 34-inch trousers would perfectly accentuate my butt. A pair of succulent thighs and slender shins paired with beautiful pedicured feet completed my lower body.
Add to all this, I was fair; fair not by any western standard but by the Indian standards made me a fair maiden. I followed a balanced diet and a carefully planned routine which gave my skin a healthy glow and a soft touch. Regular exercise had kept had given me good posture and my assets to add to it me a hottie. As I admired my body in the mirror, another thought came to my mind; of course, Jacques was checking me out, any man would, after all, I am a stunner.
I gently touched my pussy and felt a damp spot and it alarmed me. I was aroused by thoughts of Jacques