Levi awoke with sunlight beaming through his window and the shower steaming up his attached bathroom. That alone was disorienting and a reminder he was home in Cambridge, Massachusetts after six weeks in the jungle.
What started as an archaeology exploration had shifted into an adventure that changed many lives, none more than the woman who had flown home with Levi and was enjoying a luxury unlike anything she’d known growing up.
Tiani had been introduced to modern facilities when they’d travelled to Guatemala City and was particularly fond of hot showers.
Levi pushed the sheets and blankets off and decided to join her. He’d never done anything so brazen. Although they’d been married over a month, most of their intimacy had happened late at night and in the dark.
Tiani was still somewhat shy with her body. Neither of them ever walked around their bedroom without clothes nor had they ever taken the time to really look at each other in broad daylight. There was something incredibly vulnerable about standing before someone else with nothing to hide every imperfection. Levi couldn’t find anything imperfect about Tiani’s body.
“Can I join you?” he asked in Yucatec, giving her the choice whether or not to invite him beyond the shower curtain that protected her privacy.
“Umm…” After a few seconds of hesitation, Tiani pulled the shower curtain to the side just far enough for him to step in next to her.
He tried very hard not to allow his eyes to wander even though that is exactly what he wanted to do. He locked her gaze and whispered, “Good morning.” Her returning smile helped him to relax.
“You have no lemongrass oil for my hair.”
That was the last thing Levi expected Tiani to say. He glanced at the synthetic shampoo and body wash sitting next to a bar of generic deodorant soap he’d picked up at the grocery store and realized she had a valid complaint. “We can try to find a natural health store here in town. We need to go grocery shopping anyway.”
“I don’t know what that means.” Her brow creased.
“Like a trading post, kind of like the ones near Tikal. We have stores here where we can buy food that we can’t grow ourselves.” This was a very strange conversation to have standing naked in the shower.
“Why can’t you grow food?” Tiani didn’t seem at all affected or bashful standing there with him. Maybe he’d been incorrect about her shyness.
“Because we live in a city. We hire farmers to grow food and bring the food to us here in the city. We trade money for food the same way you trade fruits and vegetables you grow for cloth to make your clothes.” It occurred to Levi that they should probably shop for clothes for Tiani so she could feel comfortable while here in the States. “We can also go to a store and buy you some new clothes.”
“Why do I need new clothes?” Her hands rested on his chest and Levi was momentarily tongue-tied trying to come up with an answer while his heartrate increased. She often placed her hands on his chest, and he wondered if there was something symbolic to the gesture. The first time she ever touched him was the day she placed her hands on his chest to demand he translate conversations better. He certainly wasn’t going to complain. But he did need to answer her question.
“The days and nights here become very cold and the dresses you wear in the jungle will not protect you enough.” Hopefully that was a reasonable explanation. He wished Becky were here to help them shop. Maybe his mom could come to visit. She was only a half hour away and would probably love the chance to spend the day pampering her new daughter-in-law. He would call her when they got out of the shower.
Considering they would soon run out of hot water, Levi squeezed shampoo from the bottle and quickly lathered his hair, then shifted her body to the side so that he could easily rinse. Before he had the chance to duck his head under the water, Tiani reached up to touch the lathered shampoo and brought her fingers to her nose, which she wrinkled in disgust. He didn’t suggest they put any shampoo in her hair. They would find something natural with lemongrass oil or a similar essential oil. Yeah, he was really going to need his mom’s help today.
After rinsing the shampoo, Levi grabbed his bar of deodorant soap and was reminded again how exposed he was. He shouldn’t feel self-conscious in front of his own wife, but he’d never taken a shower with another person. Maybe when he was a little boy and their mom had plopped Nicholas and him in the bath together, but not as an adult and definitely not with a woman.
Tiani seemed fascinated by the bar of soap also, taking it from Levi’s hands and giggling when it slipped and thumped to the floor of the shower. She crouched down to pick up the bar and it slipped through her fingers two more times before she captured it triumphantly with both hands. Trying to stand without the use of her hands, she looked up and Levi realized she was eye level with body parts he wouldn’t show on the beach. Awkward.
Levi crouched down beside her and helped her to her feet, never offering any acknowledgement how close she’d been to parts he wasn’t comfortable washing in front of her. Maybe this shower wasn’t the best idea.
Until Tiani took the soap and rubbed it across his chest the same way he’d rubbed the soap down his arms. Okay, this could get fun.
Not wasting the opportunity, Levi reached for the poof sponge he had hanging from the showerhead and squirted some bodywash on, creating a sudsy, playful assortment of scented bubbles. He took the bar of soap and placed it back in the soap dish then gently turned Tiani around to scrub the poof across her back.
A little whimper came from somewhere inside his wife and Levi knew he was on the right track toward steering the conversation away from shopping excursions and essential oils to more interesting activities.
When he finished with her back and arms and neck, the next logical body parts were those that were more intimate. With barely a hesitation he continued, and she rested her back against his chest, eyes closed in blissful innocence and abandon.
He loved this woman for her spunk and fire and feistiness, as well as her inner beauty. At the time he married her, he never dreamed her body would be this incredible. Everything about her triggered physical reactions in his body that seemed insatiable. Thankfully Tiani seemed to react the same way to his body and they connected like a two-piece jigsaw puzzle that was only whole when pieced together.
After scrubbing each other and rinsing each other and scrubbing and rinsing some more, the water started losing heat and Levi turned off the shower and reached for a large, fluffy towel. He wrapped his wife in softness before carrying her to their bed. Shopping could wait a few hours. Maybe a few days.