We rode the elevator to the sixteenth floor in relative silence. Up until this point our chatter had been unstoppable, but the moment he asked me up, something had shifted. The elevator dinged and I followed him down the hall to his room. He opened the door to one of the nicest hotel rooms I had ever experienced, making my “luxury” suite look like a destitute hovel. The living area furniture was modern, and the bathroom huge. The shower was completely open.
I wandered past the bed and out onto the balcony, my eyes met with a wall of light. Las Vegas had always struck me as a shiny jewel nestled amongst a pile of garbage, and the visible horizon past the cheaply made suburban track homes of barren desert affirmed the assertion. Justin appeared next to me holding two Pabst Blue Ribbon cans of beer. We cracked them opened, giving each other an awkward cheers. Both of our gazes settled downward onto the hotel’s club, where we had a perfect bird’s eye view.
“I really hope that music stops before I go to bed,” he said staring downward. It was true; the sound was so loud that we could have had our own club up in that small enclave.
“Doubtful old man,” I sighed taking a sip of beer. I turned to face him.
“I’m not old,” he said feigning offense.
“Well, you’re certainly older than me,” I chided. He shot me stern look, which only made my eyes sink deeper into deviation. It must have worked because he laughed and shook his head as he lowered himself into the outdoor chair.
I stayed standing, facing him with one hand still on the railing. I kicked my high heels off to the side and slowly worked my overheated arches into the cool cement. With my beer still in hand, I began to practice the basic five ballet positions, moving into more complex exercises. “I used to do ballet, you know,” I said as my gaze followed the sweating beer can gracefully moving from one position to another.
“I see that,” he said, his eyes focused on my movement. I slowly lifted my leg exceptionally higher than the average person, as I peeked out of my peripheral just in time to notice his nostrils flare and his knuckles whiten in the desired effect. I let my leg fall to the floor as I shuffled barefoot over towards him. I stood over him seated in the chair with my hands supporting myself on the chair’s arms, straddling him for just a moment. I walked back inside and lazily flopped on the bed.
It didn’t take him very long to follow me like a lost puppy. He threw his large frame onto the mattress, causing me to popcorn slightly.
“Watch it! The beer will spill,” I playfully scolded.
“Don’t worry, there’s plenty more,” he assuaged as he fiddled with the remote control, his eyes glued to the television.
“You know what I meant,” I said as I lightly pushed his shoulder. As he looked up at me, I instantly knew exactly what he had looked like as a small boy, and I softened. Sometimes with very special people, you can look into their eyes and know exactly who they were as a kid because they never lost their childlike wonder.
The youthful spirit I saw in his eyes pounced on top of me, and before I knew it, I was pinned. Youthful play wrestling is foreplay for adults, and I never tire of it. My eyes widened in mischief as he caught his breath over me. I felt him slightly loosen his grip on my left arm, which I took as an opportunity to poke my fingers into his ribs. He recoiled with laughter and fell backward. I seized my chance as I threw one leg over his waist and sat on top of his belly, which undulated in waves as he laughed. I fell forward as my hands found his wrists, pushing them into the down feather pillows. My face hovered above his, our breath meshing in the space between our mouths. Without warning, he flipped me on my back and held me down in a very compromising position.
“Did you really think you were stronger than me?” he teased. I grunted a response with clenched teeth as I struggled to free my limbs. When I had exhausted myself, my body went limp and my face relaxed. We stared at each other in elongated moments, the air between us thick with sex. I knew he was going to kiss me from the moment he asked me for a post dinner drink. It was only a matter of time before he pressed his lips against mine, and wiggled his tongue into my welcoming mouth.
He kissed me with intent, and the weight of his warm body on top of mine felt comforting. His large hands cupped my face as he pulled away and stared at me, too intensely for someone I had just met.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like you before,” he said suddenly serious.
“Oh, sure you have. Girls are a dime a dozen,” I smiled and let my head roll to the side. He bent down to gently kiss my neck.
“No, I really haven’t,” he said into my hair with a noticeable detection of wistful regret. He might have been sorry that our paths had not crossed sooner. Or maybe he really wished we had never met all, so he could live in blissful ignorance that I could have ever been an option. I’ll never know because I haven’t seen him since that night.
He pushed himself off me and rolled into a comfortable sleeping position. It was very late; I hadn’t really realized. “Just sleep here tonight. It will be nice to sleep with someone,” he said with his eyes still closed and his hands wandering my legs.
I looked down at him with a half-smile reserved for small children who say something silly, and unknowingly poignant. I felt something hard press into my thigh, and I looked down to see his hand gripping my leg. That ring had been taunting me all night. Its existence had never been fully disclosed, but its presence hung in the air like smoke.
It was the reason I knew that the night would never bring more than innocent kisses, flirtations, and deep conversations you can only have with a stranger. It was the reason I had to leave his hotel room at three in the morning. It was the reason our intimacy was strangled by caution tape.
“No, I really shouldn’t stay,” I said as I got up to collect my things. Once I had pulled myself together I bent over the bed to kiss his cheek goodnight, and really goodbye. I’d never felt so sorry for anyone in my life.
As I stepped out into the warm desert night waiting for a cab, I felt nothing. It wasn’t a bad nothing, or an empty nothing. This nothing was something; I just hadn’t felt it in quite some time.