A Room with a View
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As the plane banked in, the land below looked rich and green, dotted with developments and striped with roads. It reminded Connor of his time in Hawaii visiting the islands that were separated from Oahu’s overdevelopment. As the vista grew closer, however, the roofs of the houses bloomed into focus and he could see the developed cityscape of Havana in the distance. Many of the houses were just corrugated metal or patched, and windows were missing glass or the glass was marred by tape in an X the size of the frame. The neglect was obvious even from a distance.
When the plane landed, the passengers broke into applause and he joined them bemusedly. He waited as the passengers slowly disembarked, and he and his co-workers worked their way down the narrow aisle to the portable steps and down onto the tarmac. They walked to the waiting bus with the rest of the crowd and as they did, the heat seeped into them. There was no air conditioning on the bus and the short ride to the terminal was sweltering.
Emma was next to him and chattering inanely, indifferent to whether anyone was actually listening, but Stephen, sitting across the aisle made an occasional murmur of reply, so perhaps he was. Jammed next to a thin, older, Cuban woman who was weighted down with a large purse and multiple plastic bags, Lauren was in the seat in front of Connor. This was her first trip to Cuba and she sat quietly, staring out the window in fascination. Connor was staring in fascination too, but his interest didn’t have anything to do with anything outside the bus.
As soon as Lauren had walked into the conference room the first morning of their 3-day preparation for this trip, he’d been struck by her beauty. She had long legs and a waist that tapered from rounded hips and then swooped upward to shoulders made wide by athletic activity. She exuded a quiet confidence and when she spoke, it was with an emotional intensity that was magnetic. He was normally self-possessed, even roguish in talking to women, but something about this one left him a little stunned when she turned her full attention on him.
She had a mischief about her when she smiled and he always had the impression that she somehow knew some litany of secrets or insights about him and what he was thinking. Now they were going to be spending the next 5 weeks working and staying in the same hotel, forced to share time and space. That thought, and the thought that there was little to do in the evenings and weekends besides lounge at the hotel pool or at the beach sipping iced rum drinks, presumably with her in a bikini, brought him more excitement than he’d like to admit.
Looking forward at her, he could see sweat beading on the back of her neck and painting down wisps of her hair where it had pulled free from where she had tied it up. Idly he wondered what her reaction would be if he leaned forward and blew lightly there to send a chill through her. He was brought out of his study and his attention turned outside by a nudge from Emma asking for translation of one of the signs they were slowly rolling by.
“Commander in Chief, Your Ideas are Invincible,” he answered. He was the only one among them that had been to the island before, but Stephen and Lauren at least had varying ability in Spanish. Emma was going to be a trial. Connor privately maintained that she was on the trip and employed with the firm based more on her ability to please certain partners than for any actual ability.
The fences and buildings seemed oddly cobbled together but functional, topped with razor wire and sided with mismatched colors and materials. The entrance to the terminal was made up of planks and the walls had cut outs to hold window style air conditioners that were whirring futilely against the thick, damp, stifling heat.
He and the others were pulled from the line almost immediately and moved past the people returning to visit relatives or from vacation. A uniformed woman took his passport and stared coldly from the photo to his face before telling him in English to look into a camera. He did, and then returned her stare impassively. Finally, she nodded him through the door to an open area where baggage arrived intermittently via a sluggish conveyor belt. There was no sign of organization as the passengers milled about and workers tossed the bags into their midst. When the four of them finally had all their luggage over an hour later, they approached a second checkpoint.
The special business visas in each of their passports kept them from even more scrutiny, but it didn’t make the line in front of them move more quickly. Waiting was a religion in Cuba. When they finally made it outside again, it became clear that if the terminal with its overworked fans and window air conditioners had been stifling, the sun-bleached sidewalk and dirt outside the exit was a steaming furnace. He had expected the heat, but he could see that it was withering most of the others. Lauren, however, though sweating, was doing well, smiling even, as she looked around in excitement.
“No worse than Thailand, right?” he asked her, matching her grin, and she gave a quick Kütahya Escort nod.
“The heat and the humidity are about the same, but the scenery is…” she answered, nodding toward one of the many communist slogan billboards that lined the road leading to the terminal.
“Bienvenidos,” he laughed. “Come one, we’ll have to change some money for the taxi and the hotel deposit.”
They walked down the cracked and intermittent sidewalk to another building that adjoined the terminal and inside to a bored looking woman in a booth flanked by two armed guards. After waiting for a few moments before the woman could be bothered to acknowledge them, they exchanged American dollars at a rate and fee that bordered on open extortion and then made their way back outside to find a man in a yellow and black checked tie and short sleeved, button down shirt waiting for them.
“Taxi to the Hotel Nacional, Sir?”
“How did…?” Emma began, but Connor cut her off.
“Yes, thank you. Do you have a van that will fit all of us and our luggage, or will we need to use one of your colleagues too?”
The driver smiled widely and gestured at a ten-year-old mini-van at the front of a long, eclectic line of cars whose only commonality was a metal sign propped on each dash proclaiming each of them to be a taxi. Without further word, the driver took bags from Emma and Lauren and another driver moved to help the rest of them. Emma looked at Connor in alarm, but he nodded and gave a stay calm gesture. They piled into the van, and Connor took the front seat, ignored the broken springs and the cracked leather and pulled the seatbelt into place.
They bumped and jarred their way out from the airport and accelerated onto a 4 lane highway that was almost bereft of other autos, past more billboards, these ones focused more on the evils of the blockade and George Bush than on the success of the Revolution and the glory of its leaders. Once they were on the major road, the driver turned to Connor.
“Where are you from?”
“The U.S.” There was no point in lying. The chances were, especially given his ability to speak English, that the man knew already anyway and had been sent conveniently to meet them. Any obfuscation would only appear suspicious, and would make their business in Cuba more difficult.
“I have cousins in the U.S.!” the driver responded enthusiastically.
“Hialeah?” asked with a chuckle.
“Yes!” the driver responded, and then began to rattle off questions. “What brings you? Is this your first trip to Cuba? We don’t get many Americans. Is the blockade lifting?”
“We’re just here on business. I don’t know much about politics,” Connor answered, and then deflected further conversation for the rest of the ride.
They pulled into the curved driveway to the front of the Nacional, and the check in process went quickly. Connor waited until they were all checked in and walking to the elevator before he stopped and spoke to the clerk again, switching to Spanish.”
“I forgot, Madam, it’s very important that I get the room next to one of my colleagues. We’ll be working very closely together on an account so we’ll need to be able to move back and forth between our rooms without disturbing other guests.”
“I am sorry, Sir, but your room has already been…” she began, but Connor placed his hand on the desk and leaned in, pitched his voice lower.
“Surely I don’t need to speak to someone else about this. I would hate it if when speaking to another manager I mentioned the money you asked me for that I had already given you to make this small thing happen.”
She looked around with a straight face, but alarm showed in her eyes.
“Sir, I did not ask, and you did not give…” she said, almost in a whisper.
“Of course not, but such things are possible, and nothing else needs to be said about it does it?” He said, smiling as though they were old friends and lifting his palm to show the 100 CUC note he had hidden under it. “You should tell them that I was very difficult and that you had to give me what I asked for to avoid a scene, and no one will know that I misplaced this money. And could I get an extra key card for operating the air conditioning, please?”
The woman smiled at him. It didn’t reach her eyes, but she took his room card and re-programmed it after consulting her computer. When she slid the card back to him, the 100 CUCs disappeared neatly.
He rode up the elevator, all brass and antique elegance and made his way to his room. He put the extra key in the slot that activated the outlets and the air conditioning and then made his way around the room noting potential and obvious monitoring points and devices as he put his clothes, toiletries, and luggage away in a systematic way that would allow him to know when they’d been disturbed.
He was about to close the closet door when he noticed light coming from the back of the closet at the floor level, and he realized that there might be another reason that the front desk clerk hadn’t wanted to put him in this room. It took him several minutes before he found the pinhole Kütahya Escort Bayan and several more of before he noticed that one of the hangars looked differently than the rest. He pulled it free from the rack and inserted it into the pinhole, and the back panel of the closet slid silently to the side. He opened the pocket door the rest of the way and tried to make his sight pierce the darkness behind the door.
After a few moments of staring and listening, he went to his carry on and pulled out the small mag light he always kept in there and shined it into the space. The space was about eighteen inches deep and stretched up as high as the ceiling of the room. He looked to the right and it stopped at the edge of his closet, but to the left, it looked like it ran the length of his room.
Nerves jangling, he decided he couldn’t close the panel without knowing what else was inside. Before he could change his mind, he ducked forward and crawled in, and then stood up. He slid the panel shut behind him, and the space filled with a dim glow of light. He edged sideways and could see that the light was coming from what looked like 2 large windows. They were several feet apart and between them was some sort of frame and a gear whose purpose he was unsure of until he realized that it must make 2 small panels swing into place to hide the space when the rooms’ adjoining door was opened.
Through the window in front of him, he could see most of a room nearly identical to his. One of Lauren’s suitcases was open on the bed, but she wasn’t in sight. He continued on and found the other looked into a bathroom. His breath caught as he stopped in front of it and Lauren was staring at him from inches away.
He stood frozen, breath held, waiting for her to scream or jerk away from him, and then realized slowly that he was looking at her through her bathroom mirror. She was nude and arranging her toiletries, and he could faintly hear her humming to herself. She was still sweating, the air conditioning not yet having cooled her from the oven outside, and her skin gleamed in the light from the bathroom ceiling and above the mirror. Her body was even more incredible than he had imagined and visualized. Her breasts were almost impossibly large for her frame and sat high on her chest, but hung under their own weight, making it obvious that they were untouched by surgery.
He couldn’t decide if she’d been a dancer or a swimmer and then decided her legs and shoulders said that she had been both. He watched her as she moved around the small room and turned on her shower, adjusting the flow of the water and the temperature with minute turns to the handles. Her ass was, if it was possible, even more perfect than her breasts, and he was mesmerized. Her back was leanly muscled, and just above her waist were two perfect dimples.
She stepped into the shower, and he became conscious that he was brutally hard. The semi-opaque glass of the shower stall hid the details of her, but her dim movements as she washed and conditioned her hair and scrubbed the travel off of her long form was somehow even more erotic than when he’d been able to see her in entirety. He thoughtlessly undid the buttons of his fly and stumbled slightly into the wall behind him. Her head jerked upward at the noise and he froze again, but after a moment of listening, she went back to soaping herself. His cock was pulsing and he began to lightly stroke himself as he watched her and then she reached upward to adjust the showerhead and lean backward against the shower wall. The stream was directed at her groin and she lifted one leg to plant against the wall opposite.
At the realization that she was masturbating at the same time, he could hear a roaring in his ears and his mouth went dry. His stroking became more frantic, and thinking numbly that he didn’t want to leave evidence in the walkway that he’d been there, he stopped to pull free from his shirt and then began to stroke himself more urgently. He longed to be able to hear her. Her head was thrown back and her mouth was open, and she was shuddering. He felt his orgasm building from deep in his groin, from his legs and his stomach, and the muscles in his forearm began to spasm, making his stroking both faster and more irregular. He bit his lip hard when he came and rope after rope of semen shot into the shirt that he clutched onto his groin. He was shuddering and breathing hard, and when his eyes opened again he saw that she was finished, hands planted flat on the shower wall and water running over her head again. His thoughts and heart were racing, and he was full of the thrill and wrongness of the voyeurism. When she shut off the shower, he moved to leave the walkway and slid the panel back into place and rushed to get into his own shower, eager to regain his composure before the group met for drinks and dinner in an hour as planned.
Lauren stepped into her room, giddy with excitement. She’d heard Connor requesting the adjoining room as she walked to the elevator. None of the others understood Spanish well enough to have gotten much from the quick, quiet exchange, Escort Kütahya but she felt a little smug that hers was better than Connor realized. She knew he was interested in her, and had seen him flirting effortlessly with other women at different firm cocktail parties and happy hours, but for some reason he had not yet made any firm efforts toward her. She was hoping that the room change and 5 weeks in a tropical paradise, where language and custom would isolate them to some degree would change that. She’d packed a variety of bikinis and a ridiculous amount of sunscreen, and had every intention of needing it reapplied regularly.
Almost immediately after she got the air conditioning and the lamps working with her room key, the bellhop arrived with her luggage. Once he was gone, she stripped gratefully out of her sweat sodden clothing and moved to the bathroom to begin unpacking her shower items so that she could rinse off. The firm’s security officer and the State Department consultant had warned them that they could expect to be under, if not constant, then certainly thorough surveillance, but she had never been particularly modest, and had decided as soon as she’d been told she was going on the trip that she would simply act as though no one were watching and not worry about it. In fact, she found herself a little excited at the idea that someone might be watching her when she didn’t know it.
As she arranged her things, she hummed to herself; a song by Matt Costa that Connor had had her listen to on one of his earphones on the plane ride down. Once her things were out and the water was adjusted, she climbed gratefully into the cascade of the water. She went through the ritual of a shower and began to find herself fantasizing that there was actually someone watching her right that minute, and then that it was Connor, in the next room, somehow watching her without her knowledge. As she let the thought bounce around in her head and the water run over her, she felt a deeper warmth than the water deep in her groin. Suddenly she thought she heard a thump from the direction of the bathroom mirror and glanced in that direction with a start.
She giggled at herself, at her imagination giving her what she was fantasizing about, and then decided to say, “fuck it,” and reached upward to adjust the showerhead so that it would pour and pulse against her groin and then she leaned back against the shower wall, pulling one leg up to open herself to the spray. She began circling two fingers around her clit as the water vibrated against her and she closed her eyes, imagining that Connor was watching her and masturbating himself. It didn’t take long, immersed in the fantasy and the water for her to come, and she stepped out of the shower in a fantastic mood and looking forward to her first meal and mojito in Havana, and to flirting subtly and outrageously with Connor Lawrence for 5 weeks.
They met on the veranda, sat in a circle and listened to the ocean in the distance as a waiter in a Guayabera shirt brought them rum drinks. At times it seemed like everyone was talking at once, talking about the ordeal of getting through the airport, how different Cuba was from how they’d expected, and how much the same, but Connor couldn’t concentrate. He translated here and there as needed and answered when he was spoken to directly, but he couldn’t stop thinking about Lauren in the shower. He found himself watching her mouth as she was speaking, staring at her lips and imagining them moving as she whispered against his neck or his ear and what they would look like as they parted to take his cock into her mouth. He tore his eyes away from her mouth and focused downward instead.
She was sitting diagonally across from him wearing a light summer dress that came to just an inch or so above her knee, but as she drank and shifted in the chair, crossing and uncrossing her legs, it had ridden up maddeningly. She uncrossed them again and sat for a long moment with her feet spread wide, but her knees close together, and then, as he watched, her knees began to spread slowly apart. Just at the moment he was sure he could see white cloth between her legs, they crossed abruptly once more. He ran his cold glass across his forehead and then signaled for another drink grinning wildly and when he turned back, Lauren was smiling at him. He gave a quick nod, and took a hasty drink. When he looked again, she was once more engaged in conversation with the others, and he had no idea if the view he had been given had been inadvertent or deliberate.
Connor gave himself a mental shake and rejoined the conversation and shortly they decided that it was time to get dinner. The four of them walked to the outdoor Spanish restaurant on the grounds of the Nacional and Connor was distracted from his thoughts about Lauren as he translated for the waitress, explained dishes and finally ordered for everyone. They were all a little giddy and drunk on rum and travel exhaustion by the time the appetizers and wine arrived. and Connor began to act more himself. He was naturally an extrovert and an outrageous natural flirt and got the waitress to take pictures of the group, and then to be in a few pictures herself. As they were lingering over the remains of the meal, a quartet of musicians with guitars and a bass violin appeared at the table and asked for requests, so Lauren asked them to play their favorite song.
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