“Come play with us, Mascot!” Trey yells from the pool four floors below. I shake my head at him, keeping my eyes focused intently on Callen even though he’s not paying any attention to me. It’s guilt that keeps him from looking up. He has a conscience. He knows he’s being a dick. He could fix all of this easily. They both could, and they should be able to realize the need to do just that without Zaina and me intervening, but since they’ve been drunk since the second we stepped foot into the resort, they don’t have a fucking clue.
“Zany?” I call back into her room from the balcony.
“Did you put sunscreen on?” she asks me. “I have extra.” Before I can answer, she’s smearing it into my arms.
“You’re worse than Livvy,” I tease her, “with the mothering, I mean.”
“Someone needs to watch out for you guys. We need to stop by the pool so I can put more on Trey.”
“Let him burn,” I tell her angrily.
“I’m mad at him, too, but he’s so fair-skinned, Max. He shouldn’t be out in the sun all day like he is, and I don’t want him to get cancer just because he’s been a jerk all week.”
“He won’t get cancer from one week in the sun.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Are we ready to go? I’m hungry.”
“I know this trip hasn’t been what either of us expected, but I’m glad you’re here with me.”
“There’s no one I’d rather suffer through this with,” I tell her. I take her hand in mine and grab my wallet and sunglasses on the way out the door.
Downstairs, I sit with my legs dangling in the main pool of the luxury hotel while Zaina applies lotion to Trey’s back. He tries to flirt with her, but she’s not interested in his drunken advances, and turns her head each time he attempts to kiss her.
“Where are you guys off to?” Callen asks.
“We waited for you guys at lunch, but you never fucking came up, so yeah. It’s early, but we haven’t eaten since breakfast.”
“Oh, well, we just ate some tapas at the swim-up bar.”
“Could have told us.”
“Didn’t know you were waiting.”
“You should have assumed we’d want to have meals with you. Spend time with you. We’ve only been talking about this trip for a year.”
“You’re in a mood,” he says flippantly.
“Fuck you, Callen,” I mutter just as a waiter delivers him another cocktail. Before he can get to it, I pick it up and drink it all, giving him one less serving of alcohol to add to his well-oiled system. I need a little liquid courage anyway, but after hearing my brothers talk about the horrors of their childhood ruined by my mother’s alcoholism, I’m overly cautious of every drink I take. It just makes me that much angrier that Trey and Callen are acting this way.
“Oooooo,” the rest of their friends say collectively, overhearing our fight. I know them all from parties I’ve been to with Callen, and from the days when I used to play soccer with them in the city league, but I still wouldn’t consider them my friends. While Callen, Trey and Zaina could look beyond my meager financial situation, most of these guys didn’t even try. It was getting better, though. My brothers were working on fixing up my mom’s place. My college would be taken care of, even though I didn’t get scholarships like Jon and Will did. Mom and I never went without things we needed anymore. Since Jon had paid for my private school and all the activities that went with it, all of my mother’s paychecks went to groceries and bills. She’s seemed much less burdened over the past two years. I suspected my brothers had convinced her to take a little more cash from them, too, even though she’d been too proud to do anything like that most of my life.
“I think Max and Zaina’s cycles have synced up,” Jabin, one of their baseball teammates, says. Callen has the nerve to laugh. Or he doesn’t have the decency to not laugh. When I stand up, I kick water in Jabin’s face, not at all sad that Callen is standing next to him. The splash is big enough to douse them both.
“Grow up, motherfucker.” I’m fresh out of patience, and look over to confront Trey next, who’s still trying to sweet-talk his girlfriend. “You gonna let him talk about Zaina like that?”
“I didn’t hear anything that was going on, man.”
I stare at him, searching for the truth. Who am I kidding? Trey doesn’t lie. Fortunately, I don’t think Zaina heard anything, either. I don’t think she would have said or done anything if she had, though. She’s not typically the confrontational type unless something really gets under her skin.
“Let’s go, Zany.”
“Okay.” I put my arm across her shoulders and lead her to the spot on the beach where they were setting up a cozy dining experience for two. When we’d called to make reservations, they’d told me that they required forty-eight hours’ notice. When they saw I was calling from Callen McNare’s room, they immediately put in the request. I suppose the same would have happened had we called from Trey Holland’s room.
It pays to travel with them, even if they are being monumental assholes on this trip.
The attendant smiles as we approach. “Mr. Scott, Miss Mishra, good evening. We hope you’re enjoying your stay at the Ritz Carlton St. Thomas.”
“We are, thank you,” Zaina interrupts as she stomps on my foot with her sandal.
“Very well. Please, follow me to your cabana.”
As soon as we sit down, a waiter is there to take our drink orders and tell us about the food they’ll be serving us tonight. While the hostess knew who we were, the wait staff assumes we’re a couple and keeps referring to us as Mr. and Mrs. Scott. Always polite, Zaina plays along throughout our dinner, especially enjoying the romantic cheesecake dessert outlined with raspberry syrup in the shape of a heart.
“Marrying you would still be marrying into the same family, almost,” she says as we both sip on cappuccinos at the end of our meal. “Livvy would still be my sister-in-law. Jon would be my brother-in-law.”
“It would be an entirely different experience. You’d get no action with me, honey.”
“You forget. I’ve gotten no action from Trey, either,” she says.
“I didn’t forget… but you will.”
“I don’t know why you’re so certain. It was supposed to happen on this trip. It’s Thursday, Max. I’m still a virgin. He’s still a virgin.”
“He hasn’t even tried anything?”
“Oh, he’s tried… every night when he comes to bed…”
“I don’t want to lose my virginity to my drunk boyfriend, Max! I want him to remember it. I want it to be special. Is that so wrong?”
“No, Zany. No, it’s not at all. I just want to kick his ass for doing this to you!”
“He doesn’t need his ass kicked. He just needs a good come-to-Jesus warning. Which is why we’re here.”
“Yep. You ready?”
“I am,” she says, nodding at my phone. I pick it up and launch the camera app. The sun setting behind me, it lights her face perfectly. Trey would be a fool to mess this up–and Trey is not a fool.
“Okay. You look beautiful. You’re on.”
“Thanks,” she says as she looks at me, her brown skin nearly masking the blush in her cheeks–but not quite.
“Hi, Trey. Remember me? Zai? Your girlfriend of two-and-a-half years? Yeah, well I haven’t seen a whole lot of you this trip. I mean, I have. I’ve probably seen more of you than you’ve seen of me. I watch you sleep off that drunken stupor every night in bed… you know, after you try to make advances on me?
“Do you even remember doing that? Do you remember being shut down every night this week? Four nights so far. For four nights, I’ve had to say no to you, when you know better than anyone that I’ve wanted this for… for more than a year. I’ve been ready. You wanted to wait until we graduated from high school. Then you wanted to make sure it was special.
“Well? We’ve graduated. And now, we’re here on this beautiful island in our own incredible room at the freaking Ritz-Carlton. It doesn’t get much more special than that. And here I am, on day five of our seven-day trip, still a virgin.
“I don’t understand, Tria. I don’t understand what you’re doing with Callen and all the other guys. Why are you spending your days getting drunk with them when you could be spending them with me–let’s face it–getting laid? I’m a sure thing, Trey. I brought really sexy lingerie. I’ve been on the pill for six months. I even read about some things that drive men crazy. Things I want to try with you.”
I cringe at that, not wanting to think about Trey in a sexual capacity whatsoever. He’s as close to me as my actual brothers, and I’m perfectly fine with them keeping their hetero sex-lives to themselves. But this is for Zaina, so I suck it up.
“We are eighteen years old. Adults by everyone’s definition. My parents let me come on this trip with you. They even know I’m staying in a room with you. I want to sleep with you. I want you to…”
She stops herself and glances up at me, mouthing an apology.
“I want you to make love to me, Tria. This is your wake-up call. You’re going to be worthless again tonight, but Friday… that’s our day. It has to be. Consider this an ultimatum. Consider this your last chance. Because I’ve been waiting and waiting, and now you have me wondering… was this worth waiting for at all?”
Zaina looks up once more and subtly nods. I shut off the recording. “That was great.”
“Good. You think it will work?”
“If it doesn’t, then he wasn’t worth waiting for.”
“Deo, that’s not what I want to hear.”
“Zany, it will work. I know Trey.”
“Okay. Your turn.” She takes my phone and aims it at me, making sure the light is shining on my face. “With the sun setting in the background, this looks so romantic. Say sweet things,” she encourages me.
“I’m not sure I have sweet things in me at this point.”
“Just try. Ready?” I nod, and she hits the button.
“What the fuck, Callen?”
“No, no, no,” Zaina says, stopping the recording.
“Start it back up!”
“Max, you need to be convincing. You need to attract him to you. Not push him away.”
I roll my eyes and take off my shirt, knowing sex is one way to lure him in. Zaina smiles, reaching across the table to mess with my hair.
“You look hot.”
“You’d fuck me?”
“If I was a gay man, I’d… do that so… hard and… long… and…”
“You need to work on your dirty talk.”
“You have no game.”
“I know, Max!” she says, laughing.
“All right.” She starts the recording again.
I lick my bottom lip quickly, thinking of what to say. It’s another move that gets Callen going. I look directly into the camera and take a deep breath, speaking his name as I exhale.
“I’m frustrated as hell with you right now. When we talked about going on this vacation, I’ll admit it: I expected sex in the shower. Sex in the ocean. Sex on the beach. Blow jobs on the patio. Hand jobs in the hot tub. Maybe a fuck or two in the bed if we got bored and ran out of ideas. I kind of thought it would be all-sex-all-the-time.
“I never thought I’d be making a video, begging you to fuck me on this trip. I’ve gotten one blow job out of this so far, and I’m not entirely sure you weren’t hoping for Corona Light to come out of my cock at the time. You were asking for a lime when you were done.
“Should I be worried or suspicious of one of these other guys? Do you like one of them? Because I don’t feel like you’re even here with me. I feel like you’re here with everyone but me right now. Maybe if I watched you closely with them I’d figure it out, but after everything you’ve been through with me over the past two years, I just don’t think it was for nothing.
“I know I mean something to you. And in case you have any doubt, I love you, Callen. I’ve loved you for years, and I still want to be with you. I’m looking forward to college next year, and being in California with you. It’ll be like we’re starting a whole new chapter of our lives together. I know we’ll live an hour apart, but weekends at your place will be amazing, and you can come see me anytime during the week. It’s gonna be great.
“But this week has me doubting and questioning things. I’m honestly starting to wonder if you have a drinking problem or something. I know the last time I brought it up, we had a huge fight, and I don’t want to fight about it now. It’s the last thing I want to do. We can talk about it when we get home, and I’ll be there for you, no matter what.
“Right now, I just want your undivided attention. Just an afternoon, an evening and a night where it’s just me and you. Friday. Can you give me that? I’ll let everything else go–I won’t hold any grudges. I can show you some really great spots Zany and I have discovered this week. We can go snorkeling–you were dying to do that, and I know the best place to go. I found a restaurant with oysters that I actually thought were good, which means you’ll probably cum with one swallow. God, I’m hard just thinking about it.”
And I am. I have to adjust myself in my chair. I’d be embarrassed, but it’s Zaina, and she’s been around me on more than one occasion when I’ve been aroused with nowhere to put it. She likes to pretend it’s not there; even when I make mention of it, she changes the subject.
“Fuck, Callen, please. Give me tomorrow. I need you. That’s what it all comes down to. I fucking need you. Please.”
I nod my head once, signaling that I’m finished.
“Was that okay?” I ask her.
“It was perfect, Deo.”
“Let’s go upload these and send them the links… then we’ll go to that club and dance our asses off until it closes.”