From The Ghost Writer
Murph told himself repeatedly he wasn’t going into the hot tub with them, but he wasn’t sure he wasn’t. He tried several times to get back into his work. That wasn’t happening, not with Keekah and Keelah romping around in the water naked.
The brown of their Haitian bodies glistened in the wet of the water. They both were mostly brown though parts of them were darker than their skin. He could easily see these. Knowing he was watching, they played with each other, copping feels and laughing joyously. They even hugged and kissed, really kissed. At one point they both sat facing Murph on the ledge of the pool making sure he could see all of them.
Keekah and Keelah were more heavyset than Rose. Rose, as Murph now knew firsthand, was cherubic, Rubenesque. And she was Rose, or pinkish with flesh-colored highlights. Carla was smaller and trim, more angular than curvy. She had darker tones to her colors than Rose, and she had a tight, almost kid-like butt. All the butts Murph had suddenly seen, quite unexpectedly and very much by surprise, were appealing, enticing, inviting.
Nothing is so simple, he reminded himself, his eyes riveted to the women parading before him. What happens to Carla and me now? He asked himself this. What about Rose? Am I supposed to…? And then how do we go back to work as if nothing happened? Where does it all go from here?
Sixty-four thousand dollar question, he thought. But then he remembered skinny dipping with Hank and Paula and Pam and others when he was in college. They all went back to their lives without their being naked together affecting anything.
Annabelle though, she was a different story since there had always been some sort of attraction between them, an itch they both knew had to be scratched. Sometimes, Murph thought, those things happened. Sometimes it was a free shot and you just had to go for it. That was Annabelle. She had flirted, teased, even provoked Murph. When it seemed as if her provocations were going unanswered, she made sure Murph saw her mostly naked and pretended she didn’t know he was watching her as she paraded through Jack’s house that way.
Jack, their mutual friend, was off to Florida for Christmas break. They were both staying at his place. To complete her full court press, she made sure they were plenty high and told Murph she was going for a shower.
“Be awfully nice if you did my back for me,” she said.
“I can do that,” Murph said.
They washed each other’s backs for three straight days, Murph remembered. He only went out once. He went by Doc’s house for drugs: acid, black beauties, Quaaludes and weed. Annabelle met him at the door wearing only high heels and a hat with a black veil. Some years later a song came out about a woman leaving her hat on.
I’m not going in that hot tub, Murph told himself. I’m not going near those two or the other two. I’m keeping my dignity and my sanity and I’m keeping to myself. He shifted in his chair, found himself a comfortable position and tried to go back into his narrative. Impossible, he thought. He closed his eyes and demanded of himself that he concentrate. What he saw in the bright-dot darkness nearly drove him to tears.