"Hmm, well," said Angela and I could see she was contemplating the question what next? It had certainly been a busy day, and we'd been quite late getting to supper, so I could easily imagine just going back up to our room and reading a bit before falling asleep, even if this was our vacation. And I knew Angela enjoyed such evenings too even if she did tend to push herself out more than I did.
At least we were no longer feeling so hungry. "I wonder where the men gather around here?" Angela mused. Well, that was Angela for you. And the truth is, when we envisioned this trip, we did indeed give some thought to the guys we might meet. But I suppose the difference between Angela and me was that she is inclined to follow through and put herself out there while left to myself, I'm likely to take the easy route and end up meeting no one. Perhaps she's been good for me.
"Where do you get the energy?" I said.
She grinned. "You're not pooping out on me, are you?"
"We got up at six this morning," I pointed out.
"Your idea, as I recall, and I pointed out the disadvantages. So what is it next, back to the ol' hotel room?"
I said nothing and that was enough for her to get the picture.
"There'll be other nights," said Angela, "gotta make sure you're not still a virgin when we get home." Now that was outright slander, but I knew she merely referred to the fact that my experiences tended to be infrequent. "We'll write off the sex for our first night." I usually just ignore her more outrageous comments like that one. "Of course," she added with a sly look, "with just the two of us a thousand miles from anyone, this would be our perfect chance if we wanted to see what it would be like..."
"It?" I asked.
She looked at me and grinned. "Don't say you never wondered. Every woman does." I began to think I knew what she was talking about but couldn't believe it of her! She grinned even more if anything. "I'm not suggesting something, but--you will admit you've wondered, right?"
Had I wondered what it would be like with another woman? I'm sure I must have but I'd certainly never dwelled on the idea. I well knew what appealed to me and that was a relationship with a man. "Besides," Angela said, "I know a sure way to put a friendship in danger is to experiment with a little sex. Would both friends manage to keep it just sex? Or would they start feeling something? Or just one of them? And then what about when they wanted to move on? If it was more than sex to even one of them, carrying on the friendship afterward would be difficult."
I admit I was getting uncomfortable with the way she went on about the subject even if I privately agreed with her objections. I felt I had to show her I understood but somehow agreeing seemed like it would also be admitting something that simply wasn't true, that without such specific objections I'd be open to the idea. Sometimes Angela is just a bit hard for me to deal with. "I know what you mean," I finally said.
"Of course you do," said Angela, and though I watched for any hint that she was reading something into this, I sensed nothing. But I well knew there were occasions when it was hard to read Angela. "But, you know..."
When she paused, I stared at her, no clue what she might say, but somehow very uncomfortable. "Purely theoretically, of course, I figured out a solution." I stared. She grinned at me again. "I said theoretically, " she said, apparently amused at my reaction.
For moments, we said nothing. The thought crossed my mind that it would be an excellent time to change the subject, but as all too often, my mind came up short and I sat there paralyzed. "One way to make sure it's just sex and nothing else is if you had three instead of two. Then no one would mistake it for..."
We sat there again, the pause far too pregnant. I even briefly wondered whether I regretted the whole trip. And it's funny, but my mind hadn't even come to the issue of how such a thing might be done, merely the fact that Angela was saying these things, obviously with that in her mind.
"Excuse me," Angela said. It was our waitress she spoke to, who had come to take away our plates. When the waitress paused, Angela said, "come up to our room when you get off. We'll have a couple of drinks."
I sat there in shock. The waitress stared at Angela a second, then recovered. "I'm afraid I have to get home, but thanks." She looked as if the issue was closed, and I could see she meant to finish clearing and leave as soon as she could.
"Just a drink," said Angela, "certainly you can use a minute to relax after working here. To show our appreciation."
I needed to say something to prevent this from going any further, but the idea of making some sort of scene was beyond me. "No, but thanks," said the waitress, with deliberate patience.
"We could use the company. And would love it if you could give us the inside scoop on this town, right Leah?" She glanced at me! She was pulling me into this. "Well, our room number will be on the check," said Angela, "at least think about it."
The waitress hesitated a second, then said "Sure," and I could tell she was just glad for an easy way out of the conversation.
"It'll be fun," said Angela, "just a little different talking to someone besides the same people you see every day." But the waitress left without saying more.
"Angela!" I said, but then didn't know where to begin.
She just smiled. "It's no big deal," she said. "A drink, and maybe find out about this town, maybe the neat places tourists overlook." She made it sound so innocent, but I knew Angela had a way of explaining away her wilder schemes. But on the other hand, it was very difficult to imagine the Angela I'd known so long actually doing what she'd just been suggesting and it was very like her to merely flirt a touch with something outrageous without going through with it. I withheld further comment and the only other thing that happened in the restaurant was that Angela kept smiling when the waitress was back and Angela told her we'd enjoyed ourselves immensely. "Come if you can," was the last thing she said to the waitress.
By then, Angela and I had fallen into one of our typical patterns: she embarks on outrageous conversations with other people while I stand there embarrassed, begging her to stop when I have the chance. We looked a little more around the hotel, checking out what sort of crowd was in the club, but soon headed for our room and it wasn't long before I was reading and Angela had the TV on.
And it wasn't too much later when there was a knock on our door.
"Come in," said Angela as she opened the door, sounding delighted. I wouldn't have credited it, but it was indeed our waitress whom Angela quickly determined was named Kirsten. "You've made our day," said Angela, a touch too enthusiastically. And she pulled out a bottle of wine we'd acquired earlier during the day as well as our bathroom cups. "Tell us, where are you from?"
And we soon knew that she went to college in Boston, was working through the summer, and we'd shared with her just a little about life in the midwest in corporate America. "Have you got a boyfriend?" Angela asked.
"Well," said Kirsten, hesitating a touch, "not really."
"Now that needs an explanation," said Angela though it was one of those times that I could see that it would be kinder to let the subject drop. Turns out Kirsten had broken up with a guy right after the end of the semester. "Well, it's obvious that you could have another guy at the snap of your finger," said Angela. Kirsten actually blushed. "You're a sexy little thing," added Angela.
Kirsten blushed scarlet. Possibly I had too, at such a comment after Angela's earlier performance, but I was so amazed at what I was watching I don't recall. And as I watched, Angela scooted closer to Kirsten. "Are guys always coming on to you?" said Angela.
Kirsten looked out of her depth. "No," she finally said.
"But they do, sometimes," said Angela. And as she said it, she lifted her hand and rearranged Kirsten's hair on her shoulder. "How could they not?"
After just a little more hesitation, Kirsten said, "Listen, I have to go."
But she didn't. After a moment more touching her hair, Angela said, "No you don't."
Kirsten suddenly stood. Once out of Angela's reach, she stopped and said, "I really have to go, I'm sorry."
Angela patted the bed where Kirsten had been sitting and backed up slightly. "We're just getting started," she said, smiling brightly. "We need you tell us about this town." After a pause, she said, "we're just going to talk, OK?"
Kirsten stood there, looking indecisive. "What do you need to know?" she asked without moving an inch.
"Well," said Angela. "What to see, where we might go that's better than these tourist places."
"I really haven't been here very long," said Kirsten.
"Just relax," said Angela. "You've had a hard day." She picked up the wine. "Come on, just one more drink. OK?"
After another excruciating five seconds, Kirsten said, "Look, I thought..."
She didn't finish. Angela stood, still with the bottle. She picked up Kirsten's cup and poured. Kirsten stared at her. "Just a drink," said Angela, handing her the cup.
"Please..." said Kirsten, but again she didn't finish the thought.
"Relax, it's OK," said Angela. Then she drew Kirsten's hand, leading her back to where she'd been sitting. "You've had a hard day," repeated Angela. "Just relax a bit," she said as she sat again. "Tell us about Jim."
Jim had been her boyfriend. She looked nervous as she gave us a little rundown of Jim's interests and points, good and bad. As she spoke, Angela again moved close to her. Kirsten still looked nervous though talking seemed to calm her a bit. Angela then put her hand on Kirsten's back. "Well he was an idiot to lose a stunner like you," commented Angela.
Kirsten said nothing, and this time didn't move. Angela moved her hand slightly in a little caress. "You are a beauty and he doesn't deserve you in the least," said Angela. "An absolute beauty."
I knew Kirsten would get up and leave again, but she just sat there and I wondered if she were as paralyzed as I sometimes feel when I'm out of my depth. Angela slowly raised her hand and caressed her head. Then she slowly leaned over and softly kissed Kirsten's cheek. Then, still with no sudden movements, she began to unbutton Kirsten's blouse.