The light played off the matte pearl white paint on my S65 AMG Coupe as we came speeding down the I-195 Causeway towards South Beach. Taylor and I were late getting ready for the Diplo set at LIV with our friends. Tony and Dani were already in a suite on the 8th floor getting drunk waiting for us to arrive. We had just arrived back in Miami from a short vacation in the midwest. I went to visit Taylor’s hometown Chillicothe, Ohio and of course to meet her parents.
It’s been well over a year since I woke up to her half-naked on my couch. I would call it more of a strong friendship than a relationship. We haven’t even spoke about her moving in with me, yet a large number of nights are spent together somewhere. Her parents were more understanding than I expected for midwestern parents who found out their daughter they sent off to college has been running around with a 25-year-old hotshot entrepreneur. She still living in her off-campus apartment made things easier honestly, I couldn’t see us talking to each other after some of the things that have occurred throughout the year.
Never mind that now, we finally inched our way into the valet line at the hotel. The coked-out party hoppers and wannabe rave babies from all over South Florida were filing in early this evening. My white gold Daytona displayed 7:34 as I handed the valet the key fob, and we entered the lobby. After shuffling through the gathered crowds in the lobby we finally grabbed an elevator and headed up, Taylor grabbed my hand and blurted through her smile:
“I’m still surprised you went home with me. I didn’t think you would be so excited to run around in a small town after being here so long.”
“I didn’t grow up here, you know.”
“You still grew up in a much bigger town than Chillicothe.”
“I’ll agree with that. It still wasn't anything compared to Miami.”
We stepped off the elevator and ran to room 618 and banged on the door. Tony slowly opened the door, obviously staggering as he greeted me with a tight, drunken hug. I didn’t realize that Tony picked out an entire multi-room suite to use for one night, I guess he was looking much farther ahead than I was. It wasn’t even dark yet and a line of Corona bottles measurable in feet sat on tables around the room. The first thing I can think of is to ask for my liquor:
“Where’s my Hennessy?”
I grabbed my favorite means of inebriation: a 750ml bottle of Hennessy V.S. sitting in a pail of ice. On a night like this one I never used a glass, my drinks came straight from the bottle. My friends all stared in awe as I put the bottle to my lips and tipped my head back. After ten seconds of repeated gulping I finally brought my head back level and started breathing again with a large gasp. The door was going to open for the show in about an hour and I wanted to be cross eyed by the time I sat down in our VIP booth.
This is a good time to tell you why we were in a hotel room even though I live 15 minutes away. Tony actually lived in Homestead which means his choices of transportation to and from Miami Beach were limited to drunk driving. So usually after he finished his construction jobs on Friday afternoon he grabbed a hotel room in Miami and stays until he has to work on Monday. Most of Friday evening and all of Saturday he spent in a state of near blackout drunk, with him spending Sunday trying his best to snap back to reality.
Inebriated me on the other hand went out to the balcony to grab some beautiful South Florida sea air. I looked out at the beautiful resort-style courtyard and pool downstairs. The pool was full to the brim with supple, young, and talentless women. The low-level drug dealers flowed around them flaunting short-term wealth and palming their asses. I drew in a deep breath as I slipped into a higher level of inebriation. As I took a more relaxed position on the balcony in a chair I felt a set of hands come over my shoulders and rest on my chest.
“Well hello, Taylor.”
I looked up and realized that the hands belonged to Dani; also known as the girl whose innocence Tony was destroying at that time. She pulled her arms back from my shoulders and took a seat next to me. We settled into a hard gaze deep into our opposing eyes as the sun began to set on the horizon. I finally opened my mouth to break the oddly romantic silence:
“I’m not sure what the fuck we’re doing right now, but I ain’t letting it happen.”
“I’m just trying to enjoy the silence.”
“Do it without looking me in my eyes.”
She pulled herself out of her chair and brought her face to mine, and angrily muttered:
“Don’t be childish. I can’t keep doing this to my best friend. I’m not the guy who fucks everything with no regard for people’s feelings. You know damn well you won’t break up with Tony-”
“What about Taylor? You gonna break up with her? Or are you gonna keep her out of your apartment because you’re scared one day she’ll find me there?”
“Fuck off, you started all of this. I’ve tried to stay away from you for the good of my relationship, but I can’t fucking go anywhere without you popping up.”
Just as her face began to turn red, Tony staggered onto the balcony. He stared blankly for a minute, mumbled incoherently and walked back into the room. We both sat back down and settled into an intense staring match. Our silence was blanketed in the soft noise of Miami nightlife. I finally broke the intensity of the dilemma when I muttered:
“You just want to go to my place? Tony is gonna be blacked-out in the floor in the next 15 minutes and I know Taylor didn’t even want to go to the show.”
“And what do you plan on us doing when we get there?”
“Don’t ask questions like that.”
“You mean questions like how are you going to get rid of your girlfriend?”
“She never planned on staying with me tonight anyway, she has homework to do.”
“Wait, were you planning this shit the whole time?”
“Again, don’t ask me questions like that.”
Taylor finally made her way out to the balcony to find me. Dani and I both put on nervous front in an attempt to mask our conversation. I don’t know if it was me just being drunk, but I could feel the bottom half of my face settle into a mischievous smirk. She just quickly notified us of her impending departure and asked if we needed help scooping Tony off the floor. I walked her back through the door into the room and gave her a kiss.
“I hate you couldn’t go to the show tonight.”
“It’s alright, I’d rather not fail this class right now. Plus, I wouldn’t want to get in the way of your fun.”
“What did that mean?”
“Nothing, I’ll see you later.”
Taylor made her way out of the door quietly to the Uber awaiting her downstairs. I had the horrid feeling I upset her but before I could settle into reflection Dani walked in. We put Tony on the loveseat and waited for car service back to my condo. We sat together on the couch and reminisced about the first time we spent time together out in the Keys. We quietly left the room as Tony slumbered and hopped in the waiting Escalade outside.
As we cruised away from the beach on the I-195 Causeway Dani grabbed my hand and gently rested her head on my shoulder. She started telling me about a dream she had where Tony found out about our infidelities. I was in good spirits still so I asked her to elaborate:
“So what did he do when he found out?”
“He didn’t care honestly. You know, I think he’s been fucking other girls anyway. I’m starting to feel like he’s gonna get drunk one night and break up with me.”
“What are you gonna do then?”
“I don’t know. I mean me and him aren’t tied together financially or anything. I’d keep going along like normal I guess.”
“I rather not imagine that happening.”
It was silent as we pulled up on my condo building. We strolled passed the doorman hand in hand on our way to the elevator. My mind drifted to how Taylor left earlier at the hotel. The sorrow on her face was still with me even as I held Dani’s hand. I peered around inside the condo before laying my blazer over the back of the couch. I led Dani down the hallway to the bedroom, and pulled her shirt over her head and threw her to the bed.
As she lay there, I climbed over her and gingerly pressed my lips to hers. Just as went to kiss her again I heard footsteps approach from the hallway. I look up to see Taylor looking directly at my face. I sat in silence and stared with Dani shaking next to me. Taylor stood with her face fixed in an unwavering scowl and finally uttered these words:
“This is what you've been doing?”
“How did you get in my house?”
“Look, I get that we never titled our relationship but even you know this isn't right.”
“It all just happened.”
“I can see why, her breasts are gorgeous.”
Finally Dani broke her silence:
“Look, this my fault. Honestly. I pushed myself on him and wouldn't let it stop after he gave in.”
Taylor looked at me and asked:
“Do you love her?”
“No. I just couldn't let Tony keep doing what he does and not make her feel at ease. It got out of control but I really never saw this happening.”
Dani squirmed further down the bed as we all just stared around the room. There was really nothing more to be said. It was the eventual end of all the fun that had occurred and I wouldn't be too bright if I believed it would last forever. I motioned for Dani to leave the room. She turned as she went through the door frame, her eyes were cold and sorrowful.
Taylor sat next to me and laid her head on my shoulder. She began to sob and asked:
“Why would you do this?”
“Because I'm a bad person.”
“That's not true.”
“Look, this all started because I was worried about her and was too stupid to stop it from happening.”
“Why did I have to find out like this?”
“Because I didn't want to hurt anyone.”
“I'm not even sure if I'm really hurt by learning all this. I just can't believe you'd lie this long.”
“I did it for you. Tomorrow we will get together and have a meal. I'll tell you everything that happened. Okay?”
I kissed her forehead and gave her a soft goodnight. I walked behind her down the hallway, making sure not to acknowledge Dani as we passed. She didn't look back after walking out the door. I shut the door gently and turned around to a crying Dani. She wouldn’t lift her gaze from the floor as I walked towards her. I kissed her cheek and muttered in her ear:
“Go home. Get some rest. You’ll feel better about this in the morning.”
“Neither of us have anything to be sorry about. We tried to fill our holes with eachother- wait, that came out completely wrong.”
We both chuckled and turned towards the windows and looked out at the dark water. She wrapped her arms around me and said:
“I’m not ready to leave you.”