Yes, the same restaurant, three nights in a row and this time Ned gets tired right away, says he's going to bed. I can tell that he wants me to start something sexual, but the problem with doing something so boring so many times in a row is that eventually it gets harder and harder to do it again. He keeps telling me I don't have to do anything I don't want to, but I know I'll have to do it sometime soon anyway. Seeing him so often just makes me annoyed, like how do I get away? I knew this would happen. I told him this would happen. He didn't believe me.
Tonight's the night for the big gay club, Liquid, Sunday nights just like in Boston. I go over around 2 am and the music’s pretty good but the crowd is frightening, wall-to-wall muscleboys, mostly in their 30s or older. I'm not even dressed up, but I feel like an alien. I try to dance, but it just feels fake. Some guy rolling on X comes up to me and says you look different. No kidding. I'm not attracted to him, but we start to make out. Then he says he's going to the bathroom, will I wait for him, sure. But then he doesn't come back, so I go to the bathroom, which is huge, a whole row of stalls. The handicapped stall is shaking, so I look inside and sure enough it's some guy getting fucked, pounded really but when I see his face it doesn't look like pleasure just like he's not even sure why he’s there, and I realize I'm not even sure why I'm here either, so then I walk back to the hotel, in bed before 4 so maybe I will actually be able to get up at noon like Ned wants to, so we can check out and drive to Saint Petersburg.
Oh, my – St. Petersburg, what are we doing in St. Petersburg? The place where we're staying looks like a big pink castle, but then it turns out our room is in a different building, and that building just looks like your average tacky motel. Ned says he chose this building because it's closer to the beach, and he is right, that is the beach, right out there. The water is quieter here than in Miami, and the sand is so soft. You can even find the kind of shells that I've only seen before in stores.
This was supposed to be a spa, but it turns out that really it's just a resort with spa services. The first day I get a massage, and that's relaxing enough. Then the next day I decide to try a seaweed wrap. I have this idea that you sit in a tub and they wrap you in seaweed, which sounds wonderful, but it turns out that you lie on a hard table and they scrub your body with some annoying orangey apricot oatmeal stuff that happens to contain a little bit of seaweed, and then they wrap you in sheets of mylar, and turn on a heat lamp. I'm probably getting cancer already.
New Year's Eve and we’re going to a gay bar known as The Resort. It’s a converted Holiday Inn on the side of the freeway. Inside, there's a courtyard with a tiki bar, a leather bar, an antique store, even a lawyer's office. There’s a little store selling postcards and a bunch of other crap, including a big road sign that says Manatee Crossing. For some reason it's $39.99, and Ned doesn't want to buy it for me. I say I just want a souvenir of our trip, and he says okay, but I feel like I'm arguing with my father.
The main bar is like every terrible gay club in the world, why are there so many? Disco ball, TV screens, dance floor, stage, mirrors, awful tacky people wearing too much cologne and guzzling cocktails and trying to look distant and someone wants to know if I'm wearing a wig, that must be a wig, that is a wig, right? Half the crowd is wearing Ned's wig, and we toast to the new year with the fake champagne they're handing out. Ned doesn't want to buy a bottle of real champagne, because he doesn't want to drink too much, since he’s driving back to our room at the pink castle — or, next to the pink castle, anyway. At least we’re not staying here. We toast to the new year and he kisses me on the lips; I try not to pull away too fast.
The next day’s our last day at the beach with all these horrible straight Europeans, what are all these Europeans doing in Florida? It's not even the Europeans that were in South Beach, partying in designer clothes — these are the Europeans that are more American than Americans, walking around in straw hats and khakis, holding their kids close when Ned and I walk by. And the restaurant — oh, the restaurant — did I tell you about the restaurant? Iceberg lettuce salads. That's all you need to know.
We go for a walk on the beach after dark and I actually feel calm, the way the waves are so soft here and the sky spreads out in the distance. Until Ned says: I feel like every time I touch you, you cringe. And I can't think of anything to say. We just keep walking, and eventually I say something about how pretty the stars are, that I really do love the beach, that it was nice to get away, thank you.
And then I'm thinking shit, what the fuck am I going to do, shit, it's over. This is my financial stability; how am I going to support JoAnne? I told him that it would fall apart if we went on a trip together. But why did I agree to go?
We get back to our room, and Ned asks if I want a drink. He takes out the mini liquor bottles, and pours me one. And then another. We’re not saying much, just staring outside at the water and he reaches over for my leg. I move closer. I kiss him on the lips. I lick his lips while I look him in the eyes. He moans. I start to unbutton his shirt, move down to lick his nipples, biting just so slightly on the tip of one and then the other. I pull off his pants, his boxers, start kissing the rash on his inner thighs, licking his balls, taking his dick into my mouth.
The whole time I'm thinking: I hate you. I hate you I hate you I hate you. If I think about it enough, there’s even a beat in my head, the bass shaking the floor. And I'm hard, yes I'm hard, finally, I move Ned's hand over to my balls and he squeezes like this is his toy, he's testing it out and I'm thinking I hate you. I hate you. And then I say let me get a condom. And the expression on his face is like a little boy dreaming big.
When I get back in the living room, I kiss Ned like I'm carried away by passion yes passion. Then I lean on the sofa and I push Ned’s face to my crotch. He still doesn't know how to suck cock, but he likes it when I take charge. Now he's on his knees in front of me, and I wonder what one of those Europeans would see if they looked up from the beach right now. I stand up and smack Ned's mouth with my dick, back and forth and he’s moaning yes, Tyler, yes and then I put the condom on. He says do you want to go in the bedroom?
No, I say, let's do it here, on your hands and knees, and he turns around on the carpet, facing the balcony so I can see something beyond this room. The condom is on, and I'm still hard. Ned's on his hands and knees, and I'm thinking I hate you I hate you I hate you as I slide my dick in his ass, as I slide my dick in and out really slowly at first, yeah, I'm saying, I'm going to take my time, do you want me to take my time? And he's moaning yes, Tyler, yes. I’m pushing all the way in and upwards and then out and then slowly going faster and yeah, now I've got him on his stomach, my hands pushing down with all my weight but I need a better angle so I pull his ass up and start slamming it, I could come right now but then I slow down again, yeah, this is good, oh yeah, I can't believe how good this feels right now, yeah, yeah, oh yeah, damn, oh yeah, oh, and when I come I’m practically screaming I mean I’m not even pretending now it’s real and I can hardly believe it and Ned’s still moaning even though I've pulled out and for a moment I think shit, now I’ve really messed this up, but then I look at his eyes.