“You really shouldn’t have done that, silly boy. That was naughty, naughty.”

I looked sharply up into Denise’s eyes, not quite sure what she meant, but half suspecting that I did know. Was all of the setup I’d gone through—the application process and then the training and all of the hard work in preparing for this voyage going to be knocked into a cocked hat, just like that? I was shocked at what she said, because the rest of her was following an entirely different tack. Her tits were nearly spilling out on the cocktail table right under my nose, and my gaze had been lowered, looking down, past that cavernous divide in the cleft of her breasts, through the glass of the table top, and to where she had hold of my cock through the material of my trousers. She’d been working on it for several minutes, and I had no doubt what was on her mind.

I looked quickly around the small Rear Lounge at the stern of the M.S. Discovery to see who might be watching, but there were few here, it being very late on December 27th, and most of the Rhine River cruise passengers being worn out from several days of festivities and already having retreated to their cabins. The Christmas tree was positioned between our table and the piano, where smoky tunes were being quietly played by a blowsy blonde who had done better than usual in drinks for tips that evening.

The first two nights out on the cruise I had taken the singer, Ingrid, back to her cabin in the crew area on the Odyssey deck after her last set and banged a high A out of her. But she was getting drunker and drunker as the cruise spun out, and fucking her after her evening set became like punching one of those plastic blow-up dolls. She thanked me, but if she felt the cock inside her, I doubt that she remembered the next morning. If what I heard was true, she’d had all of the cocks of the crew members who weren’t gay inside her already on the cruise. Besides, it was time that I got down to business. Ingrid was still good for a nooner, though. I came naturally to this. If I didn’t empty my ball sack every eight hours, I got jumpy.

“I don’t understand,” I said. “You didn’t want that last Mai Tai?”

“I think you know what I mean, Dieter, darling,” she said. Then she laughed her earthy, husky laugh, got a good grip on my cock, and squeezed and gave it a couple of strong pulls. I was getting very hard. This had never been a problem with me, but Denise knew what she was doing, and she did it expertly.

I gave her a quizzical look and slipped my hand under the table and covered hers, not in a motion to make her stop, but to lay my hand gently on hers and let her know I liked what she was doing and would like her to concentrate all of her attention on that. The edges of her gigantic square-cut diamond ring scratched the palm of my hand, but I tried to ignore the pain. I half knew what she was on about and I wanted to distract her. I gave her my best “little puppy lost” look with my eyes, came in close to her mouth with mine, and we moved into a dueling-tongues kiss.

I didn’t like the taste of the tobacco in her mouth—not because I didn’t find it enticing but because I did. I’d given up the habit some years back, but one never gives up the craving for it.

She nipped my lip as we were coming out of the kiss, and I leaned back from her and my hand came up from under table and went to my mouth.

“Ow,” I exclaimed and looked at her with reproach. I leaned away from her in initial shock. The blonde at the piano had finished a song, and I clearly heard as well as felt and sensed the unzipping of my fly. And then I felt Denise’s fingers snake under the waistband of my bikini briefs and take full possession of me.

“The earrings. I suppose you thought I wouldn’t know just because they were buried under all those other baubles. You really shouldn’t have helped yourself.”

“I . . . I don’t know what you mean.” I was breathing hard—not from what she said but from the slow-pumping action and squeezing of her hand gripping my cock. She had her index finger pressed at my piss slit, trying to press inside it.

But of course I knew precisely what she meant. I helped myself because that’s what I was here for. A great effort to land this job as assistant tour director for Rhine River boat cruises and then months of training—not to mention all of the effort to tone my body and groom for the older ladies—all for what I knew would be just one shot at divesting rich bitches of some of their jewelry.

“I should be annoyed. But I’ve decided not to be. They were paste, you know,” she twittered and then she threw her head back and laughed a Bette Davis laugh. “At least if you were half as good at that as you are at fucking, you should have known they were paste.”

No I didn’t know. It was dark when I took them, and I hadn’t taken the time to check since then. I could kick myself. “You won’t—?”

“No, I won’t tell anyone, lover. Not as long as I have you by these.”

And, indeed, she had me by “those.” She’d moved her hand from my cock to my balls, which she grasped hard and squeezed.

My eyes watered and I wanted to reach for the same high F the blowsy blond was hitting on her rendition of a Broadway tune.

Inside Denise’s cabin door and not even flicking on the lights because I wanted to assert control, I turned her back to the wall next to the door, and I jerked down on the straps of her dress. Her tits plopped out, and I feasted on her coin-sized nipples as my hands hiked up her skirt, and I helped her step out of her panties. Her hands made quick work of unbuckling my belt, unzipping me again, pushing my trousers to the floor, and forcing the waistband of my briefs under my balls.

She hooked the backs of her knees on my hips and guided me to her slit with her hands.

“Wait,” I muttered. “My jacket pocket. Condoms.”

“If we must,” she said, with a guttural laugh. She found the packets in my jacket pocket and expertly crowned me, as we pressed against each other on the wall, each lost in ragged breathing. I had been fully prepared by her otherwise in the cocktail lounge.

I was angry—at myself more than anything—and felt trapped and cruel. So, as soon as she’d rolled the condom on, I thrust up inside her, hard and deep. She arched her back and cried out a primeval cry that ended in a lusty laugh.

Don’t laugh at me, bitch, I was screaming in my head. I pulled most of the way out and plunged hard up into her again.

“Oh, yes, oh god yes,” She cried out, and her hands, now wrapped around the back of my neck, clawed into the tender flesh there.

Thrust, thrust, thrust. She was loving it. And I no longer minded either. She was clawing at my shirt, tearing at the buttons, digging into my pecs. I took possession of her mouth with mine and she was chewing on my lip. I thrust harder and deeper. Her body was shuddering and then mine was as well.

Later, she was lying on her back on the bed, smirking, as she watched me stand above her and dab as my bloody lip with a tissue.

“I want you to stay the night.”

“I don’t stay the night,” I answered. “You know that already. I told you that the first time.”

“You will tonight. Remember what I have you by.”

“I work during the day. I have to be fully alert. It isn’t easy guiding you people around, you know. It’s like herding cats around.”

“Yes, I can imagine. Fat cats. Cats you’d like to rob. I want you to stay all night. And I want you to fuck me nonstop. Do it well, and I’ll tip you accordingly.”

When I left her cabin four hours later, I felt more than the condom packets in my jacket pocket. I wanted to laugh when I’d dipped my hand into the pocket and came up with a pair of diamond earrings. Something told me that these weren’t paste.

I wasn’t anything close to fully alert the next day—and Denise Bessinger didn’t join us for the walking tour of Wertheim. At dinner that evening, she was walking somewhat bowlegged, but she was purring. And that night, too, I slept inside her, her legs wrapped around my waist, claiming full possession of what she claimed had been the best cock that had ever been inside her.

* * * *

The first time I had seen Denise Bessinger and started to zero in on her as a target was Christmas Eve morning. The boat had docked the previous night on the banks of the tenth-century well-preserved Bavarian city of Bamberg.

The primary duties of the assistant tour director was to hone in on the special needs of passengers—especially the ones in the suites—and to help them.

An elderly gentleman and his far younger wife were booked in the 405 suite on the Navigator deck. I’d been told to pay special attention to them, as the man was the owner of a chain of gourmet restaurants along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and there had been quite a wrangle and pulling of strings to get him on this cruise. He was said to be very ill, having already suffered several heart attacks, but he insisted to be on this cruise and had paid the necessary money to make it happen.

Still, I was surprised when I was told that my services would be needed in Bamberg to assist the elderly gentleman from 405, George Hazelton, who wanted to tour Bamberg. When I was summoned down to the dock, he was already there, in a motorized wheel chair. He was saying good-bye to his wife, a slim, auburn-hair woman, possibly in her late thirties, who seemed quite reluctant to leave him. But as I walked down the gangway, she did so and walked over and got on the regular tour bus taking passengers from the boat on their own city tour.

As I approached, the man looked up at me, and smiled—through a grimace—and extended his hand. “You must be Dieter, assigned to help this old bag of bones around the town.”

“Yes, I am Dieter, Mr. Hazelton. But are you sure? Bamberg has some hills and the streets are cobblestone.”

“Yes, I’m sure. I’ve waited for years to do this. We’ll meet up with the tour for lunch—but then I wish for you to stay on with me a bit after that, if you will.”

“Yes, sir, I certainly will. I’m completely at your disposal.”

“If only . . . but that’s certainly gratifying to hear.”

I thought that was rather a strange thing to say, and I looked down into his face, but he wasn’t looking up. He was in some private moment of pain. Other than the grimace, he was a handsome man. The gray hair became him—possibly more so than whatever color it had been before had done. He had strong, craggy features, and was unusually well-muscled and tanned for a man confined to a wheel chair and well along in years.

“Shall I pick out some sites to see—none too strenuous to get to—or do you have a destination in mind?”

“I have a map here. I would like to go to Edelstrasse, here on the city map, but we can take a route that will put us through the Altstadt and near the market, if you can find the way. I wouldn’t mind to reminisce a bit.”

“Yes, sir.”

Cobblestones were the rule in the Altstadt—the old city—but my mind worked out a route that would put us near some historical areas but give occasional relief from the uneven paving to minimize the jolting. Still, the old man seemed worn out and a bit too shaken up by the time he rolled onto Edelstrasse.

“Any place in particular?”

“There, over there. I recognize the building. Please, across the street from there. Stop right here, if you will.”

We stopped across the narrow street from an old building that was perhaps twenty feet in width. Although it was a row house, it seemed to lean into the building next to it. The ground floor was all brick and windows and housed a bakery. The upper two stories were in timbered Tudor style.

We remained there—me standing and him in his wheel chair, his wheezing slowly coming under control for several long minutes without speaking. It had begun to snow, but only lightly. I was about to suggest that we go on, toward the restaurant on Steinertgasse, near the market place, when, at last, he spoke.

“It was up there, second floor, the window on the right, where I lost my virginity.”

“Really?” I asked, not knowing what else to say, a bit nonplussed at the statement that seemed completely noncongruous to the setting and to this old man.

“Yes, it was 1956. I was in the American army. The Army of Occupation the locals called it. I was barely nineteen.”

“And this is why you made the effort to come here?” I asked.

He proceeded on as if he hadn’t heard me. And perhaps he hadn’t; he seemed completely withdrawn into himself, possessed by his own memories.

“He was a beautiful young man—almost as beautiful as you are. Oh, don’t look so surprised. I’m not going to rape you. But it’s important that you understand me—that you get a full picture.”

I was shocked, of course—more by the surprise of it than the revelation it provided. Of course I wouldn’t have anything to fear from him. He could hardly handle the motorized chair, let alone seduce me.

“The full picture?”

“All in good time. Later. And, yes, this is why I had to make this trip. At my time of life, almost nothing is as important as memories. I had to come on this river cruise not just because it stopped in Bamberg, but also because it cruises that castle-crowned gorge down through the Lorelei. That’s what Hans did for me—after he had taken my virginity up in that room. His family owned a fish shop, which was then there, on the ground floor. They supplied our base, and that’s where I met him. He had strong hands and was powerfully built and had a special smile. He beckoned to me and I went with him. I was on a three-day pass, and after he possessed me up there in that room, he took me down through the gorge on his family boat. We made love the entire journey, with him whispering to me the lore of the castles as we passed. I had to take that journey one more time.”

“I understand,” I said. And I did. I was a romantic that way, and it didn’t really matter that much to me whether that sort of ultimate experience is found with a woman or a man—at least for anyone else.

“I was shipped home to the States the next week. I never saw Hans again.” He paused for a few minutes and then sighed and continued in a stronger, more in-the-present voice. “Now, I think we must go to the restaurant, or we will miss the tour group.” He said this almost briskly, as if, once here, he was closing the book on this memory for the last time—and with no regrets.

We sat separately from the rest of the tour group in the restaurant because, as a restaurateur himself, Hazelton wanted to sample everything. He’d heard of the Hofbrau restaurant on Karolinenstrasse before and, indeed, had influenced the cruise tour’s choice for lunch in Bamberg. I could tell he wasn’t that impressed with the food, though, and marked in my mind that he would only accept the best if he came on to land to eat again during this tour.

There were four of us at the table. The two woman, although both startling beautiful, were a study in contrast. Hazelton’s wife, introduced to me as Claire, was a woman young and lithe of body, but with a sadness in her face that spoke of long suffering and age. This did not detract from her beauty, which was a naturally achieved one, but rather seemed to enhance it. She was quiet throughout the meal—and closely attentive to the needs of her husband—but when she spoke, it was with conviction and knowledge, spoken in a clear-toned voice. I found myself willing for her to contribute to a conversation. I hung on every word she spoke.

The other woman there was Denise Bessinger, because she was in the suite cabin next to the Hazelton’s on the M.S. Discovery, was, in contrast, an exuberant, earthly zaftig presence that couldn’t be denied. Everything she said was said with gusto and with lusty humor. I couldn’t really imagine the Hazeltons with such a woman, but we all seemed to get along fine at the lunch. Denise was what I would call Rubenesque rather than the usual inference of “zaftig,” which is fat. She was one of the truly well- and provocative-proportioned women I’d met. She was raven haired and alabaster skinned and looked to be in her forties thanks to highly professional carving and cosmetic work, but more likely was a good ten years older than that. She was wearing a low-cut purple velvet dress despite the winter weather and was dripping with jewels.

With my ulterior motives for being on the cruise well in mind, my eyes followed her wide-gesturing, highly manicured hands, my attention caught by the size and glitter of the diamond and ruby rings on her right hand.

The diamond on her hand made me ask at one point, “Is there a Mr. Bessinger?”

To this, she answered with a raucous snort, “There certainly is. But he’s married to his department stores. This right here, this Rhine cruise, is his Christmas present to me—and mine to myself. This is how I show my loving wife side. I go on cruising trips during holidays, and he and his secretary make whoopee without fear of me while I’m gone. And that’s all we need to hear about Mr. Bessinger.”

She made sure I understood what she meant by that. She had an unshod foot pushing up under the hem of my trousers and a hand on my thigh.

When we were arising from the table and Hazelton was quizzing me about whether a tip was appropriate, she broke in with a “Of course, any good service is worth a good tip.” As she said it, I felt the touch on my coat jacket pocket. In the men’s room immediately thereafter, I found a restaurant napkin with “Cabin 407″ written on it and five twenty-dollar bills, U.S. currency, tucked inside. I also found two condom packets I hadn’t put there. They weren’t the magnums I used, though. She would be surprised, I hoped pleasantly.

I stood at the restaurant door, beside George Hazelton in his motorized wheel chair, as the boat passengers followed the tour director off for more exploration of Bamberg. Claire Hazelton was looking back, in obvious concern, at her husband, but he waved her off with a smile that must have cost him great effort. I could tell that his reserves were being sorely tested.

“We’ll be fine. Young Dieter here is taking good care of me.” And then, when the group was out of earshot, he said. “Poor Claire. I don’t think she’s been away from my side for this long since we were married.”

“I’ll help you back to the boat,” I said.

“No, not yet. Not quite yet, please. There’s a Bierhaus over there, across the street. I fancy a genuine German beer before we go back.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m quite sure. There’s the full picture to provide. I don’t want to rest before that. This has been on my mind for a very long time.”

I was uneasy as we settled in for the beer, worried more than half where this was going, considering what he had told me earlier that morning—and calculating in my mind how much I would ask for the service. Not wanting to do it, but knowing that everything had its price, and that I was on the cruise to make a one-time killing—whatever it took.

“What do you think of my wife?” Hazelton asked when our beers were half spent.

“She seems to be a very fine woman,” I answered. But I didn’t want to leave it like that. “She’s very attentive to you and she’s very well spoken. Everything she said was succinct and it had meaning. But her eyes are sad.”

“Yes, all of that. She’s the most wonderful wife a man could have. I would have died five years ago—probably should have died then—if it wasn’t for her care and determination to keep me going. As I said out on the street, she is never far from my side. It’s always my needs that are met—even before she starts thinking of her own. Can you imagine how I met her?”

“No.” He obviously expected me to ask him how, but he didn’t really require the request. He was set on telling me.

“She was a waitress in my New York restaurant. I ate there every morning I was in New York. And she was always there, providing the best of service. And it wasn’t because I owned the restaurant. I did everything I could for that not to be known by the staff there. I ate there to check on how they treated customers. Claire was always the one with the winning smile and the succinct, but, as you have heard yourself, the perfect words to say for the occasion.”

“She sounds like a wonderful person.”

“She is. But one day she was preoccupied and on the verge of tears. I asked her why, and she told me that she wanted to get married but she just couldn’t afford it.”

“She was marrying someone else?”

“Yes, certainly. I wasn’t interested in marrying her. I was completely otherwise oriented. That didn’t stop when I left Germany. But I couldn’t stand to see her sad. I still can’t stand to see her sad. It breaks my hurt to see her the way she is now—and all because of me. Because she won’t let me go. Because she won’t grab at life. But, I was telling a story. So, I left her a tip that day. It wasn’t cash. It was a check—for enough to pay for her wedding. I couldn’t see her sad. She tried to refuse it, to give it back, but I told her all I wanted from her was a smile. That seeing her smile every morning was worth more than the check I gave her. And that’s what she gave me—a smile.”

“It sounds like happy ever after,” I said. “But I don’t see how you get from there to here.”

“It wasn’t a happy marriage. He beat her. Once again I could tell something was wrong when she was serving me those breakfasts. So, I paid the man off and arranged for a divorce lawyer for her who cost far more than she thought it did.”

“And she was grateful to you and married you?”

“Not quite that easy. I made sure she didn’t know who her benefactor was. I wasn’t toying with her. I had grown to depend on that breakfast with the pleasant talk with her on the events of the day. She got me straight for my day. There isn’t a vindictive bone in her body. When I went to breakfast mad about something that was happening in the world, in just a few moments as she was pouring my coffee, she set my attitude right. I knew already then that my day was set right by her—that I depended on her.”

“Yes, but—”

“I had my first heart attack right there in the restaurant, at her table. She took complete and immediate charge—she even stayed with me in the ambulance and then in the hospital. She hasn’t left my side since. And then, then I married her.”

“But you are—”

“I didn’t keep that a secret from her. And she didn’t know who I was, what I was worth, until after we were married. I think she was just too tired with life then and felt defeated by the bad marriage she’d had. I think she herself just wanted someone to take care of and who she was comfortable with. It took some convincing, but she finally consented.”

“And so, it’s been how many years?”

“Ten. And when I got her to agree to us going on this cruise—she was afraid it would kill me, and I told her that that didn’t matter as much as going on this cruise—I told her that this year, this year, I would give her the best Christmas present I could provide.”

I said nothing. I had no idea what to say.

“I want you to make love to my wife,” he then said in a quiet voice. “I’ll pay you a thousand dollars U.S. But I want you to give her the fuck of her life—to show her everything that sex can give her, to make her live in that regard again. She says it doesn’t matter, but I know it does. I want you to fuck that sad expression from her face. I doubt she’s been fucked the whole time we’ve been married. I certainly didn’t do it, and as I’ve noted before I don’t know when she would have found the time or opportunity away from me to do it with anyone else. I wouldn’t have begrudged her if she did, though.”

“I don’t know . . . why me? Why—?”

“I think I’m a good judge of character. I’ve watched you these last few days on the cruise. I’ve seen you sizing up the women on the cruise—and I saw how you reacted to Denise’s obvious advances at lunch. I don’t think I’m wrong, am I?”

There was a pregnant pause, during which all I could think of was that thousand dollars.

“You half thought I was going to ask you to fuck me just now, didn’t you?—that that was why I’d asked you to have this drink with me, apart from my wife?” he asked in a low voice. “Would you have fucked me or given or received suck for a thousand dollars?”

Again, I was silent. I couldn’t lie, even to myself.

“I thought so,” he said. “Do you find my wife attractive?”

“Yes, of course. But would she . . . will she . . .?”

“I haven’t talked to her about it yet, but I think I can convince her—when she knows how much I want to give this present to her. And once you’ve done it, I’m sure she will come alive again. I don’t have long to live—I know that and so does she. I want her to live again after I’m gone. A new year is upon us. I wanted that to be the beginning of a new life for her.”

“Here’s the money. Please do count it. I want you to hold it. I’ll let you know when and where. But it will be soon. It will have to be soon. Here, take it.” His hand was extended, the money almost overflowing his shaky grip. I reached out and took the money.

“All I ask is that you be loving toward her—that you show her that it doesn’t have to be like her husband did with her. I want this to be a beginning of the rest of her life. That’s the best present I can think of giving her.”

“But if she won’t . . . it if doesn’t happen.”

“As long as you are willing and come when and if called and treat her right if called, the money is yours.”

Denise Bessinger and I fucked for the first time, in her cabin, later that night, on Christmas Eve night. To put it more correctly, though, Denise fucked me. The woman was voracious. And she was an expert. I couldn’t help but wonder what her husband’s secretary had that made Denise second best.

She insisted on putting on a strip show for me—and then me for her. Then she directed me to sit on the edge of her bed and lay back and she leaned over me between my legs, one hand grasping my engorging cock as she kissed and tongued her way down my body. Her pendulous breasts teased my torso and thighs as she worked her way down to a kneeling position between my thighs. And when she swallowed me almost down to the root, I moaned deeply, not even realizing that I had that sort of reaction to the pleasure of cock play inside me.

When she had me a size that made her moan with expectation too, she rolled a condom on me and commanded me to rise up on the bed. Then she came over me, straddling my hips and slowly lowered herself onto my cock, with both of us holding our breath. When she began to pump herself on me, I groaned and reached for the handles swaying above my face. She lowered her chest over me enough for me to reach her nipples with my mouth, and after that I was fully satisfied until she’d drained me dry.

I had hoped that we’d doze when we were finished with that fucking—and that she’d sleep more soundly than I did, but Denise wasn’t finished with me. She made me stand by the bed with her sitting on the edge, and she went back to working my cock up with her talented mouth.

Then—and I’d rarely done this before and certainly not at the request of the woman—she stood and leaned over the bed between my thighs and asked me for ass play. Her cunt was slack and well used, but her ass channel was tight. She writhed under me as I grabbed her hips with my hands and worked my cock inside her, and she grunted and groaned trying to accommodate me. I asked her more than once if I should stop, but she commanded me to keep at it, and I must admit that it was much the more melting fuck position for me that night. Denise claimed to have liked it best too.

We continued on the bed, stretched against each other for a couple of hours before she’d had enough and drifted off to sleep.

That’s when I got up and pulled my clothes on and started stealthily rummaging around her open jewelry case for a greater tip for the evening than the hundred dollars she’d slipped to me in the Bamberg restaurant.

* * * *

I must have just been a notch on Denise Bessinger’s belt, because our animalistic fucking on the night of the 27th was our last. On the next afternoon, I saw her putting the moves on the cruise ship’s captain, a strapping Norwegian in his late thirties who the blonde pianist, with the confidence of one who knew, had whispered to me had the only cock and fucking expertise on board to rival mine.

I didn’t begrudge Denise her fun. She paid well for it, and I really didn’t want to be tied down to her. I had work to do, and I’d already gotten from her as much as she would give, I was sure. I did rather wonder, though, what she could attain beyond the captain if she was moving her way up the ladder. There were still five days left on the cruise. I’d already found out that she’d almost put the steward of her room in the hospital cabin before she’d moved on to me.

I made maximum use of the next three days, locating and seducing two lonely and very willing rich widows and relieving them of gems that I hoped they wouldn’t miss until they got home to Illinois and Wisconsin, respectively. I had enough—even beyond Denise’s diamond earrings and Hazelton’s thousand dollars now for the operation to be worthwhile. Whether or not I got Claire Hazelton fucked, I’d be leaving the boat in Koblenz. I already had another lonely and rich widow in a village outside of Koblenz prepared to take me in and take care of me until any heat of my gem-collection escapade had blown over.

George Hazelton’s plan started to take shape on the day of New Year’s Eve. Our boat was parked during the previous night in the shadow of the rambling ruins of the historic Heidelberg castle. That morning I received word that George Hazelton wanted to go on another motorized wheelchair tour of the town.

And this time when I came down the gangplank to accompany him, Claire Hazelton wasn’t getting on the tour bus. She was standing beside his chair.

“I thought Claire might go with us today,” Hazelton said when I walked up to them. “I think the two of you should get to know each other better.”

We had not much more than an hour before we were all to congregate at the Hackteufel restaurant for lunch. Hazelton was interested in crossing the river on the old bridge below the castle and then slowly moving back, stopping midstream to take a long, lingering look at the castle ruin. We had been walking for over a half hour and Claire was more outgoing than she had been in the restaurant in Bamberg, where I guess she’d been somewhat intimidated by the forwardness of Denise. The conversation was comfortable. I moved in close beside her on the other side from Hazelton’s wheelchair, and she didn’t shy away from me.

“My first American soldier was up there in the forested area beyond the castle grounds,” Hazelton said in a whisper as we gazed up at the castle.

He was speaking in low tones, and I initially hoped that Claire hadn’t heard him. But of course she had. She was so attentive to his every need and utterance that of course she had heard. She hadn’t flinched, either.

So, I thought, Hazelton hadn’t lied about her knowing about him. I moved my hand to her waist and I felt her lean into me. I couldn’t tell if it was a natural response or if she’d done it on purpose.

“He was a beautiful young man,” Hazelton said. “It was the day before we shipped out. Dark as night. Muscular and with such stamina. I don’t remember ever having been touched so deeply.”

I moved my hand down to cup Claire’s buttocks, and she shuddered but she didn’t move away.

The luncheon ritual was a repeat of that in Bamberg, except that Denise Bessinger wasn’t there. I hadn’t seen her in the tour bus. My surmise was that she was in the captain’s cabin giving the strapping Norwegian a workout.

The conversation was comfortable—and far less bombastic and perhaps more intellectual and culture centered than it probably would have been with Denise there. The food wasn’t up to Hazelton’s expectations and, just as in Bamberg, Hazelton asked Claire to continue on with the regular tour and asked me to take him next door to a place called Vetters for a pils before taking him back to the boat.

“I’ve told her,” he said almost immediately after we’d settled in and received our steins.

“I rather gathered you had. And she wants it?”

“She says she will do it—but only because I got agitated when she began to fight me about it. I have no doubt, though, that when she has a man like you between her legs, she will see life differently. I, of course, haven’t a shred of jealousy about this. I’m still convinced it’s the best present I can give to her. I am counting on you giving her what she needs.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Denise holds little back. Even Claire has heard about what you have to give. And we both have ears. Denise’s bed is just on the other side of the cabin wall from ours, you know. I am amazed that you can keep at it all night.”

I blushed and looked down.

“You know you are very much like my Jim—the man I was with the longest. I think that’s why I focused my hopes on him. It’s not true, of course, about the black soldier on the castle grounds. He wasn’t the biggest or the most satisfying. That was Jim. I can’t help but thinking that under other circumstances, at another time, it would have been you.”

I took a long drink of my pils, not knowing what to say.

“Pity.” It was a whisper and then after a few moments of silence, “I can’t resist asking. If I’d offered the thousand dollars to service me, would you have?”


“Thank you for that.”

After the captain’s New Years dinner that evening and as the party that followed in the Panorama Lounge was winding down, a steward came to me and asked me if I’d join the Hazeltons in the Rear Lounge. I found them sitting at the same table that I’d sat with Denise on the four nights earlier. Hazelton was in a wheelchair, and he looked all done in, even though he’d left the captain’s dinner early and hadn’t appeared at the festivities in the Panorama Lounge.

“Thank you,” George whispered to the steward who escorted me into the lounge. “Please come back in fifteen minutes and take me to my room.”

I knew then what he had in mind. Claire wasn’t going to be taking him back to their room.

I looked over at her. She was lovely, dressed in a shimmering gold-sequined- covered sheath dress that swept down to the floor, had a plunging neckline and back, and a side slit almost up to her hip. I had never seen her look so sensual.

She was looking down at her hands, though, not at either Hazelton or me, and I felt rather than saw that she was slightly quaking.

Like a virgin to her wedding night was the thought that entered my mind. And that thought didn’t seem to be off the mark.

“So,” I murmured.

“Quite,” Hazelton said. “I am quite tired. Would you be so kind, Dieter, as to entertain Claire for the rest of the evening.”

“Entertain?” I asked, wanting to be positive about what was expected.

“Yes, as agreed, please.”

“That might be a problem,” I said.

“Claire has the key to Denise Bessinger’s cabin,” Hazelton said, brushing away any possibility of misunderstanding. “I believe Denise will be visiting the captain’s cabin tonight.”

“So I’ve gathered,” I said.

We three sat there through ten minutes of silence, none of us looking at the other, all of us deep in our own thoughts. I almost laughed when the thought hit me that this was more like a funeral than a wedding, but I managed to suppress the urge.

The steward came back, and Hazelton somewhat sadly bid us both good night and was wheeled off.

“So,” I said again, nonsensically.

“We should wait for a few minutes. Then I must go and see that he’s put to bed properly. But I’ll be back. It’s . . . it’s what he wants.”

“But is it what you want?”

“It’s what George wants. That’s enough . . . for now.”

I watched her rise and move toward the corridor. My eyes went to the mounds of her buttocks. Desire rose inside me. In that instant, I wanted to put my hands on those mounds and spread them, part them with the head of my cock, and to plunge inside her. I wanted to hear her moan . . . moan for me. There was no question that I was ready for her. The lust for her was powerful even with the recognition that she had left me to see to the needs of her husband—that always he would come first with her. I had a feeling that would never change. She was the ultimate loving wife.

When she returned, she didn’t sit. She stood there looking thin and sensual in the shimmering gold sheath, the key card to Denise’s cabin in her hand.

“I’m sorry, I hope you understand. But we must tell George that he got his wish, but I just can’t do it. He’s my husband. I don’t have the capability for more. I . . . I just—”

“I understand,” I said. “I won’t force you. And of course we can tell him it happened.” I tried to hide my disappointment. I truly wanted to fuck this woman. But she had to want it too. I didn’t want it the other way. And the business side of me was screaming that the money was mine either way. It just didn’t matter. I had just met these people. I didn’t need to complicate my life with their situation, their issues. I tried to pull the hard side blanket of my thinking over everything. But the truth was that I did care. And I did want to fuck this woman.

“You’ll have to walk me to the door, and we’ll have to speak in the corridor—in case he’s still awake and listening for us.”

“I understand.” I didn’t seem capable of saying much of anything else. But saying that prevented me from humiliating myself and telling Claire what I really wanted.

We chatted in the hallway. I tried my best not to sound strained, and I walked awkwardly because Claire had given me a raging hard. When she opened the door, I took hold of her arms and turned her to me, and my lips went to hers. She initially was stiff with surprise, but she yielded to me, hungrily opening to me. Showing me that in other circumstances she would want what I wanted. And then she slipped away from me and the door shut in my face.

I went into the Panorama Lounge and scanned the room. The party was winding down, but there were still quite a few people swirling about, many of them frantically on a last-minute cruise.

There was a silver-haired but still quite well put together woman at the bar in a red dress who I had cultivated on and off but hadn’t gotten around to yet. She had said something about this being a celebration cruise for divorce from a Texan who hadn’t been bright enough to demand a prenup. She was the oldest of those I’d had my eye on, but she wasn’t the worst looking, and her body still looked like I’d manage to keep it up for her.

“It’s New Year’s Eve,” I said with a big smile as a walked up to the bar, “Surely you’re not all by your lonesome, Avis.”

“Why lookee here,” she said, her eyes opening large. “My, my, you certainly look the superman hunk in that tuxedo, Dieter.”

“Any interest in seeing me without it?” I said, with a wink.

She cried and thanked me over and over again, as I gave her the deep, gentle fuck I had thought I’d be giving Claire. Avis scored a New Year’s Eve memory for the books, and I scored a glittering amethyst bracelet—but not the New Year’s Eve memory I would have preferred.

* * * *

The next day, New Year’s day, was the highlight day of the cruise. For two hours, the boat would be slowly cruising the Rhine River gorge between Rüdesheim and Koblenz, with its necklace of castles on the heights on either side and the culmination at the historic Lorelei rocks of legend, where the sirens of old lured sailors to their deaths with their sensual invitations.

The temperature was brisk—cold enough that nearly all of the passengers went to the Panorama Lounge and lined the windows to enjoy the spectacle.

George Hazelton, however, insisted on going up atop the boat to the open Solaris Deck to enjoy an unencumbered view. I was called in to help. I gathered up all of the blankets I could find and Claire and I took George up to the top in his wheel chair and then wheeled him out to amidships, where he could look in any direction he desired. He insisted in being in one of the lounge chairs as Claire and I were, so we put him in one between us and covered him with blankets. Claire and I were bundled up too.

September 2018
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