Out of Office

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The damp heat oozed around my body, wrapping itself around me like an oven’s embrace. That clunky fan seemed to whirr in the distance somewhere across the hostel dormitory, but the old relic had evidently lost its fight against nature. I was only one-quarter conscious, but I could tell that the tropical sun had come up and begun baking the city into yet another fiery day. Not one breath of air brushed my skin.

My navy blue dress clung to me as I lay there, face down on the bottom bunk. My hands were tucked beneath the cheap, worn pillow that was mine for the week. I’d crept into my assigned bed late the night before. I’d been too lazy, too tipsy and far too careless to change into something more comfortable. Like something a little less tight on the waist.

I was tossing and turning my way through that untamed land between sleep and wakefulness. Immersed in a dreamy denial that daylight was now flooding through the windows. But still, some distant part of me was aware that my hem had slid up. Right now I had my right knee bent and my left leg stretched out straight. Like some spider-superhero scaling a wall, only horizontal. The heat had made me do it.

Of course I shouldn’t have gone to bed in a dress like that. It wasn’t slutty, but it wasn’t exactly knee-length either. That thing is not designed for lying down in public, my sleepy brain protested. But I could hardly hear its voice. Not through that soupy semi-consciousness.

The way I was positioned, the bottom of the fabric wasn’t far south of where my butt turned to thigh. I could feel the material stretching taut there, especially on the right side. Where I’d pulled up my knee. That was the side of the bed that opened out to the room.

Usually I strung up my beloved green and orange sarong — the one I’d bought over in Madras — at the end of the bed for a modicum of privacy. You never knew who might be coming or going in a backpacker place. But had I remembered to hang it last night? It would have been a dark fumble. I wouldn’t have wanted to wake the others. Even after a few beers, dormitory etiquette was usually second nature to me. I had a feeling I might have overlooked my makeshift curtain on this occasion.

Whatever. My head swirled. We were eight degrees north of the equator. Thirty degrees Celsius. This climate was relentless, but still it felt like it was very early. Too early to start reconstructing my evening. My exhausted body insisted it was the middle of the night, even as the brightness of a new day probed at my eyelids. I wasn’t anywhere near ready to face it. I was still a sleepy, fuzzy-brained mush.

I groaned and turned my head to face the wall, splaying my fingers wide apart under the pillow. The mattress was thin and lumpy. I turned on my side for a few minutes. Hotter. Sweatier. My thighs stuck together. My upper arms and my torso and my breasts broiled against each other.

Too much tacky skin on tacky skin: I couldn’t hold the position. I rolled back onto my stomach once more, spread my limbs out again. The Spiderman pose once more. That faint voice inside me whispered something about my modesty, but I brushed its nudges away like a sleeping dog tossing its head at a fly. Lying this way was the only thing that worked right now.

Sleep. Comfort. Cool. Air between my limbs. Nothing else mattered.

I drifted through the hazy syrup of hot morning slumber once more. That hemline was still tight on my thighs.
I dozed dreamily on. Five minutes, ten minutes, an hour? Then came the draft.

A cool and gentle breeze from somewhere behind me. Refreshing as a forest brook, it gurgled up from beyond my bare toes, gliding over my faraway heels and my comatose calf muscles. It came and went, regular as the breath of a sleeping child. Had someone moved the fan?

I felt my legs open wider, urging the light kiss of air deep inside my sticky garment.

Deeper than...oh, my...I could really feel that. Like a touch, present and immediate, almost as if...oh shit! I’d clearly found time to remove my underwear before collapsing into a coma last night. I hadn’t gone out sans panties, I was sure of that. Yet here I was, bare where I really shouldn’t have been.

I was definitely a little more awake now.

But fuck that felt good!

I splayed my left knee a little more. Was that a soft sigh I just let out?

Where was my shame? Had this city and this country and this climate taken it prisoner? Shouldn’t I do something? Roll over at the very least? Oh, but that delicate breeze…

It was getting more intense. Or at least more vivid to me. Each and every waft was touching me intimately now. The first few had gotten no further than my knees. The next wave had only run out of steam halfway along the soft, hungry flesh of my inner thighs. Now the tiny gusts were hitting my pussy.

Each one still took its sweet, slow time to get there. It coursed a slow passage along my legs, like a lover’s gentle hands. Then it unfurled through the taut navy archway my dress had drawn. And finally it fell square onto my inflamed vagina, landing like the kiss of a feather.

I was instantly wet. I could feel the elemental clash of air and liquid meeting. Down there at my center, it was simultaneously cool and warm. I shuddered in my torpor, and my fingers clawed at the clammy sheet.

A soft whimper escaped my lungs. I didn’t know how this was happening, but it was okay if I was half-asleep, right? What happens in the tropics, stays in the tropics. Right? I hooked my right ankle over the edge of the bed. My legs couldn’t go much further apart than they were now.

And then I froze awake.

A new touch. Not just air, this time. The lightest of tugs at my hem. A finger — or a thumb, maybe? — sliding beneath its strained fabric. What the…?

I tensed as I realized that the breeze up my skirt hadn’t come from the window or a fan. It had been human breath. The pursed, invasive exhalations of someone w

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Written by James Grey
Cargado December 28, 2021
Notes In this prologue to the Out of Office novel, heroine Laura gets hot and horny in a hostel bed...
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