Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 3, Chapter 13, Part 2: Thailand

Beach Road. Pattaya, Thailand. 1983. Photo Credit: Will Pennington

I replayed my encounter with Sasi as I crossed Beach Road and walked along the promenade. The crowds of locals and tourists, the traffic, the whistles of traffic police, and the bicycle bells gave the city a vibrant hum. The sun beat down without mercy, but a breeze blew in from the sea, refreshing the area between the water and business side of the street. Palm trees shielded me from the burning rays of the sun. I slowed down to take in the scenery.

What else about Sasi reminds me of Susanna?

The shoreline curved in a long arc to the southwest. Multi-colored cabanas dotted the beach while swimmers dotted the water, their heads bobbing up and down on the swell. The scent of coconut oil floated on the breeze. Further out, the blue sky met the darker blue of the sea in a distinct line across the horizon. Jet skis and powerboats crisscrossed the calm water, some towing parasails that cast shadows like moving targets across the sea. The beautiful day reminded me of Sandy Beach in Hawaii, lacking only a sky crowded with all manner of colorful kites floating on the trades. Loud cheering and laughter from a tiki bar on the beach drew my curiosity, and I walked over to see what was going on.

The thatch-roofed, open-walled bar held a kick-boxing ring. Two young Thai men sparred with fists and flying kicks. Neither looked serious about inflicting pain on the other. I had turned to leave when I noticed the bartender smiling at me. She raised her eyebrows as I took a seat at the bar.

“May I have a Tiger beer, please?”

“Okay. You want glass?” Her speech was rapid and clipped.

“No, thanks.”

She leaned over and reached into the cooler. Her loose, white blouse fell open, revealing firm, round breasts. A twinge of arousal passed through me. I blushed and looked away when she grinned. She placed the bottle of beer on the bar and flipped the cap off with a twist of her wrist. Her dark, deep-set eyes turned down at the outside, giving her a sultry look.

“You American Sailor?”

“Yes. How did you know?”

“Only American Sailor turn bashful when looking.”

I turned the bottle in my hands, my face still blushing. “Yeah, sorry about that. You’re pretty, though.”

“Look.” She pointed toward the sea. Two U.S. Navy destroyers floated at anchor two miles offshore. “You from ship?”

“No. U-Tapao.”

Her eyebrows rose as fast as her demeanor leaped from business to pleasure. Shipboard Sailors weren’t around long enough to take care of girlfriends. Shore-based Sailors, on the other hand, were known to settle on one girl during their long stays in Pattaya. “You got girlfriend? How long you here?” Her excited, sharp-pitched voice grated in my ears.

“Shhh. Let me hear you speak softly.”


“Speak soft, like this.”

Puzzled, she looked around the bar. “What you say?”

“Much better.” I smiled and whispered back. “What is your name?”

“My name Amporn.”

“I’m Tom.”

“Okay, Tom.” She pronounced it Dom. “Why we whisper now, Tom?” Amporn leaned closer, her eyes narrowing in anticipation of some revelation. “You got secret for me?”

“No. No secrets for you. I just wanted to hear you speak softly. You have a lovely voice.”

Her brow furrowed and she looked sideways at me. “What you say?”

“I said you are pretty, and you have a pretty voice. Do you understand?”

“I got pretty voice? Okay.”

“And you are pretty.”

“Okay,” she said, staring at me and waiting for my next move.

Her stare disconcerted me. I didn’t know what to do next. I knew what she wanted, and it wasn’t my order for another beer. I had an incredible urge to ask her out but couldn’t form the words. I wanted her to say something. Her fixed gaze held a mix of contemplation and scrutiny, like a woman wondering if you’re going to ask her to dance or stand there undressing her all night. I could almost read her mind. Neither of us spoke. I made several false starts but couldn’t muster the courage to speak. The silence lengthened, well past the time when she should have left to tend other customers. I burned with impatience to speak, but something held me back. Aida? Susanna? Her steady gaze burned into my eyes, and I shifted on the bar stool.

We were engaged in a timeless dance, performed countless times in bars, across tables, while passing in the street. It had a name: Lust to me, Fortune to her. Where the dance would take us, I didn’t know, but I was committed. One would have to lead the other. One had to break the spell.

Her lips parted. Saliva stretched between them. I wanted to push my tongue into her mouth.

“You got girlfriend in Pattaya?”

I blinked. She was leading. She spun me across the bar. My pulse raced. Bolero beat in my chest. I longed to hold this beautiful, eager, slender, willing woman, rub her body, press my belly to hers, wrap my lips around her tongue. Her beauty, my lust, her passion tugged at me. Longing stretched between us, an almost tangible band of sexual tension. My heart melted, and my eyes threatened to spill over with tears of need and joy for the tango we danced.

I wavered as first Aida, then Susanna, flashed through my mind. They appeared as wardens, frowning, forbidding, punishing, waving motherly fingers in my face. No one had hold of my heart, though, not at this moment. Not character, that judgmental jury that warned me actions had consequences. It had guilted my burning conscience with many a sleepless night. Not love, that focused a man’s heart and eyes on the heart and eyes of the one he loved. Character might falter, but forgiveness never forgets. Man-up or unman, resist or give, breathe or die. Yes, die a little more with each flake of honor, each flake of trust, each flake of commitment chipped from the marble statue of Virtue.

No woman but this enchantress, this dark angel, this treasure of tempting seduction could imprison my weak heart at this moment. I was falling, falling for her, onto her, into her, under her spell. I tugged at the medallion as the dreaded weight of the sainted Susannas burdened my shoulders. The heat of their presence and the glow of their purity were uncomfortable against my neck. When I spoke, the words spilled from my lips a thousand times faster than the reproaches of Aida and Susanna could fill my head.

“No. I don’t have a girlfriend in Pattaya. I don’t have a girlfriend anywhere.”

End of Book 3, Chapter 13, Part 2
Chapter 14, Part 1 will be available on November 10th
Previous Chapters may be found

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