The hotel room is wrecked with empty bottles. It smells like sweat and cigarettes, and on the TV the college kids bump and grind through spring break. All night these flickering reality shows have been getting it on in the background. It’s April, muggy, and down the road the gates to Disney World’s various theme parks are closed. My parents and my brother are asleep in another hotel, and my heart whacks so fiercely in my chest I’m afraid I’m going to damage it. M is asleep in the other bed—she has been for a while—and beside me, with her hand cupping my crotch, H asks me if I have a condom.
I don’t. I’ve never used one before. I’ve only lied and said I have. I lied earlier tonight, for example, when H asked me if I liked sex.
She’s annoyed now and pulls away from me under the sheet. I’m a little relieved. Suddenly I don’t want to go through with what I’ve been angling for all night. I thought I knew what I wanted when I lied to my parents and told them a guy from my class was here with his family—not the senior girls here on spring break. I thought I knew what I wanted when I found myself sitting in the hot tub with H and M and I’d followed the beads of water dripping down H’s leg as she leapt out of the bubbles to grab another round of beers. And I still thought I knew what I wanted when I found myself in the hotel room with H and M and the muted TV providing the only light, and whispering with H until M fell asleep, and when I pulled the bed sheet over us and we took off our shirts and kissed and we found each other with hesitant fingers on cheeks and chins and chests and then down between our legs.
But now H is bored and my fear increases. She gets out of bed and goes to the bathroom. M snores slightly and it is the noise emerging from my father down the road, the same noise my brother makes in the bed I’m supposed to be sharing with him right now. It is long past my appointed curfew, and I am expected to be up early, to beat the crowds to the roller coasters. Nobody in my family likes roller coasters except me, and my mother’s arranged the entire plan for tomorrow around me. “This is your trip, too,” she said, and her words flip and skitter through my belly. I know she is sitting in the armchair by the desk, listening to the TV and watching the door for me.
The sink in H and M’s room is in an alcove beside the bathroom and when H steps out to wash her hands she’s wearing a purple satin negligee I’m sure I’ve seen in a magazine or commercial. “Think you can pull out in time?” she asks over her shoulder. I don’t respond right away. She turns, slides one hand up the doorframe, sticks her hip out, and I realize she is discovering how her body feels when she forces it into those curves.
“That wouldn’t protect us from everything,” I say.
She drops the pose. “How many guys do you think I’ve been with? I’m not some skank.”
“But it only takes one, huh?” she says, and it’s the way she pouts—with her little pug nose crinkled and her lips curled into the tiniest frown I’ve ever seen—that moves me.
“What about her?”
“What about her? Fuck you.”
“No, no, I didn’t mean—just—did she bring any?”
We both look at M. H’s pout disappears. She moves quickly and sifts through M’s purse with a furtive hunger. She stands and spins away from the mess on the floor, smiling. She holds the foil in the air.
“Ribbed for her pleasure,” she says as she walks towards me.
I smile. When she reaches me, I slide my hand down her back to her hip and say, “Soft as satin.”
She giggles and leads me back into the alcove and hops onto the counter beside the sink. We are kissing again, her rib cage fits perfectly in my hands, and soon she is tugging down my bathing suit and pushing it past my knees with her foot.
“God,” I say, stepping out of it.
“First time, here?”
A new shyness creeps into her smile as she peels open the foil and takes out the condom. She’s not gentle as she rolls it onto me and checks the tip, but what do I know. When she looks back up, she’s biting her lip, and I see the same fear in her eyes that I know she sees in mine. “Me, too,” she says. We grip each other tightly and begin.