The first time I thought that world had ended. I graduated with honours, ready for my engineering career. My feet were firmly planted but I needed one last moment, a celebration of sorts, which proceeded into a fanatic blur of clubs and drinks.
I woke up next to him, my head swirling, and stomach creaking its complaints. He smiled down, sipping on a weak hotel coffee.
‘I’m so glad I met you,’ he said, rubbing his thumb across my cheek. ‘I can’t wait to travel with you.’
‘Where are we going?’ I groaned.
‘What?’ I bolted upright. Nausea rocketed across my gut. ‘I can’t go to Fiji. My first day is tomorrow.’
‘But we have the tickets already,’ he explained. ‘We booked last night. Don’t you remember?’
‘Of course I don’t remember. I don’t even know who you are or where we are.’
‘My apologies, of course.’ He repositioned himself to face me. His smile sent a thrill to my groin. The smoothness of his skin glowed with a unique perfection. ‘I’m Adam. We are in my hotel room in the city.’
‘Hi Adam,’ I took his hand. I instantly wanted the warmth of his fingers to touch me all over, to press against my skin and intimately expose me. Words suddenly escaped me. In a glint of recognition he stepped in to take control.
‘I’m travel a lot for work. I was just here on a conference and am so happy you decided to join me on the trip to Fiji. It’s the first time I’ve had a real vacation in years.’ My lips quivered, failing to mutter out anything beyond a short sigh. ‘We’ll have drinks on the beach, dance by the moonlight.’
I was sold. The beautiful specimen captured me in his grasp and lured me on a one way ticket to Fiji.
‘I can’t believe I did it again,’ I whisper to myself. The cold of the room around me eases its chilled fingers deep into my ribs. ‘I swear I am never drinking again.’
I tap against the cabin’s window. The water outside of the cruise liner glimmers endless against the gentle waves. The man next to me on the bed snores in continuous grumbles, irritating through my being until a headache had formed at the front of my skull. I glare down at the exposed man lying next to me. His skin crinkles into deep folds on his face despite the relaxation brought on by sleep. The glamour in his eyes is covered by layers of flesh. Just like Adam, grey eases its way from the roots of his otherwise brown hair. The mask he baited me with has dissolved like a desert mirage into nothing more than a man seeking my body on demand. My scheduled life has faded as quickly as the men’s second skin, leaving me broke with regret over my impulse purchases.
‘Why’d I give up the job to pay for this trip?’ I cringe knowing I won’t be able to make my way through the graduate entry jobs. ‘Bloody cheap one way tickets.’