Technical Difficulties Episode 04byLucyH©
Terry and Ryan did their best to make themselves the center of attention as usual; they jumped on one of the beds and had a pillow fight, pretending to be girls.
The burnt smell emanating from the kitchenette was a result of Trisha's failed attempt at chocolate chip marijuana cookies. She hacked at the lumps of charcoal with a spatula. "We could still eat them. The middles aren't black," she told her skeptical friends.
"Might as well have just smoked it. Now the room is going to reek like pot anyway," whined a girl with claw-like acrylic nails. "At least there's some left. Who's got a light?"
Lonnie dashed inside from the balcony that overlooked the hotel swimming pool and barely made it into the bathroom before he started tossing his cookies. Luckily, the burnt cookies largely masked the sour smell of tossed cookies.
Melissa drained the last drops from her fourth cup of extremely spiked tropical punch. She shook her head and smiled.
The moment seemed right. Taking advantage of multiple distractions, Zach towed Melissa into the walk-in closed without anyone looking their way. She went with him cheerfully.
He closed the door and braced his back against it. Melissa stuck her empty cup on top of the water heater and kissed Zach with a lot of tongue. He responded with enthusiasm. She leaned into him heavily, then drew back and patted his jacket pocket with a frown. "What's all lumpy?"
Now or never. Drawing on the courage supplied to him by vodka, he pulled out the toy handcuffs. The tissues he'd wrapped around them to keep them from clinking fluttered to the floor. "These."
She lowered her gaze and bonked her head against his shoulder, but he caught a glimpse of a grin as she did it. "Good grief, Zach, have you been carrying those around all night?" She sounded amused, at least, and possibly pleased, but he couldn't tell for sure.
"Yeah. Um..." He tilted his head, trying to see her face. No luck. "Would you handcuff me to the clothes bar?"
Melissa was silent for a long time. Zach started to wonder if she even heard him. Just when he was about to ask again, she sighed, all traces of good humor gone. "No."
It felt like she'd stabbed him in the gut with a giant fork. "Please? You can do anything you want with me."
"I said no." She lifted her head and stepped away from him.
The fork twisted, tugging all his internal organs out of alignment. "Or I'll do anything you want," he added with a forced smile.
Melissa snatched her cup off the water heater. "What I want is to have fun at the party, not play dominatrix in the coat closet."
Zach kept his back against the door. As long as she was still in the closet, there might still be a chance to talk her into it. "You like oral sex. What if you cuff my hands behind my back, and I'll lick you as long as you want?"
"No. I don't want to put those on you and every time you ask is a huge turnoff, okay? I'm not even in the mood to kiss anymore." She reached for the door handle.
He covered it with his hand. "You could hit me instead."
Melissa raised her voice a little. "What is this, Green Eggs and Ham? No. And no to everything else you're about to say." She tugged his arm, trying to get his hand away from the doorknob.
"Ok, Green Eggs and Ham. Can we skip to the part where you try it and find out you like it? Wouldn't that be at least a little fun, having total power over someone?"
"Holding the door shut is really immature. Let me out." Melissa dropped the plastic cup and used both hands to wrestle with Zach for control of the doorknob. She kicked him in the shin, but not enough to hurt.
The handcuffs swung from his fingers and clattered against the door as they struggled. The rational part of his brain knew he should drop the subject and let her go, but the giant fork of desperation overruled it. "I'm just asking one little thing. Not even asking you for anything sexual that we haven't already done. I've done lots of nice things for you, haven't I?"
The volume of Melissa's voice climbed. "What, so everything nice you've done for me was to get me to ... do things with you in the closet? Stupid me, I thought you were being nice because you liked me." She hit her forehead with her palm.
"It's not like that. I love you. But this one little thing is really important to me, and I don't see why you're making such a big deal about it. Why can't we just do things you like with me wearing handcuffs? Please, Melissa."
"Are you deaf? I said no. No. N. O." She drew the letters in the air with her finger. "Stop acting like an overgrown three year old and let me out of this freaking closet now."
Zach inched over and blocked the doorknob with his body. "Shhh. You're being really loud. Please? At least try it for five minutes."
"I'm loud because you're not listening to me." She poked him in the arm. "Why don't you try eating Trisha's cookies for five minutes to find out if you like them?"
"Oh come on. Nobody likes burnt cookies. I'll let you out if you can give me one good reason why you won't do it."
"Here's a reason. I don't want to play your stupid game with that dorky toy. Congratulations. You've ruined prom night. Want to try for more?" She reached into his pants pocket and pulled out his cell phone before I processed what she was doing. "I'm calling the police if you don't get out of my way. It's not legal to trap somebody in a closet. You want an adult criminal record?"
He tried to catch her arm, but she staggered away, steadied herself with a shoulder against the wall, and flipped the phone open. When it dawned on Zach that she might be serious about calling the police, he took two steps forward and reached for the phone. She thrust it at him, yanked the handcuffs out of his grasp, and flung the door open. Everyone at the party stood clustered around the closet door in the hall, and a lot of them snickered.
Melissa pushed past Ryan and Trisha, and strode to the back of the room. Zach froze for a moment with everyone staring at him, then chased after Melissa as she pulled the balcony door open. To his surprise, she didn't try to stop him from coming out on the balcony. He got there just in time to see her fling his handcuffs over the railing. They splashed into the hotel pool a story below. A couple of late night swimmers looked up. He stared at them as Melissa stormed back inside.
One of the women in the pool ducked under the water and came up a moment later holding the handcuffs. They had a little laugh about it and she deposited the cuffs on the edge of the pool, then looked back up and waved.
"Yeah, absolutely hilarious," Zach said under his breath.
Inside, Melissa shrieked, followed by a crash.
He charged back inside to find Melissa face down in a puddle of orange liquid that was soaking into the dark gray carpet. A split second later, he registered the tipped-over table, the upside down punch bowl on the floor, and the scattered plastic cups.
"Ow ow ow. Stupid shoes," Melissa said through clenched teeth.
Zach moved automatically to help her up, but she stopped him short with her glare.
"Don't touch me." Her voice was cold enough to chill a penguin to the bone.
Ryan complained about the punch being gone while Trisha gave Melissa a hand up and helped her limp to a chair. The girl with fake nails burst into a fit of stoned giggles. Terry smirked at Zach. Some guys debated whether the hotel was going to charge extra money for cleaning. Genevieve whipped out a digital camera and snapped pictures of the incident, while Lei shook her shoulder and protested that taking photos of somebody who just got hurt wasn't nice. Lonnie flopped on a bed, pulled a pillow over his head, and yelled at everyone to shut up. Words devolved into white noise and meaningless syllables. There wasn't enough air in the room. Zach fled.
He was too upset and too drunk to drive, so instead of going home, he took the elevator to the top floor of the hotel, where he found the exercise room still open, but empty.
Zach sat on an exercise bike and watched the news on T.V., hoping to numb his brain.
The door opened, and Ryan's reflection appeared in the window.
Zach looked over his shoulder. "Hey."
Ryan dangled the handcuffs from his finger and offered them to Zach. "I got these back for you."