Chicago Hotel AdventurebyLothario the Great©
“Dude, can you sleep in Sylvia’s room?”
At first Wes wasn’t sure he had heard Roger correctly. What was he asking for? Roger responded to the confused look on Wes’s face.
“Come on, man, we talked about this last week. Sylvia is sharing her hotel room with Faith, so that means you need to sleep on Sylvia’s floor so Faith and I can share a room.”
Wes remembered some vague conversation with Roger about the upcoming All-State Artistic Tournament, about how Roger was going to put it to Faith a thousand times when they all got to Chicago. He recalled wondering in an off-hand way how Roger expected to have all this sex if he was sharing a room with Wes. The plan seemed clear now, but Wes certainly hadn’t anticipated ending up in Sylvia’s room. Holy shit, Sylvia Anderson. Holy, holy shit.
“Roger, what are you asking me to do?” Wes asked shakily.
Big dumb Roger stared at Wes as though the suggestion were the most obvious thing in the world. “Dude, you’re going to sleep in Sylvia’s room this week while Faith stays with me.”
So that was his idea. Holy shit. All Wes could focus on was Sylvia in her lingerie (Wes’s imagination could not be contained in moments like these), which made it hard for him to protest to the best of his abilities. But he had to try.
“Roger, Jesus, we’re gonna get busted.”
“Don’t be such a pussy. Don’t you want to get some action with Sylvia?”
“Riiiiiight, Sylvia Anderson and I are going to get it on. Drop your crack pipe and think for a minute. All it takes is one time for Mrs. Schruder to catch us in the wrong room.”
Roger put his arm around Wes. “Man, you have got to loosen up. Haven’t you ever risked getting caught so you could have sex with a cute girl?”
The answer was no, but did that mean he wouldn’t if given the chance? He said, “But I’m not having sex. You are.”
“Right, and I know what I’m talking about. Listen, dude, it all comes down to whether or not you’re going to keep me and Faith Simmons from having a beautiful sexual experience for the next four nights. You’re not going to do that, are you, Wes?”
More protestations came to mind, but Wes wasn’t one to whine. Besides, he liked the idea of Roger and Faith having some fun. If he wasn’t having fun, someone should. Then another thought came to mind.
“Has anyone talked to Sylvia about this?”
“Faith is right now. Sylvia’s a pushover.”
This was true. She may be the most beautiful girl in the entire college, but Sylvia was also quite soft-spoken, especially around her hard-living not-quite-bosom buddy Faith. Sylvia had made it into Faith’s gaggle of girlfriends because she was model-quality gorgeous and because they all sang in the Music department, but she was more of a reluctant tag-along. Wes liked to imagine her reading a nice book in her dorm room on weekend nights, much like he did, but he really had no idea. She was a magnificent, untouchable mystery.
As the bus pulled up in front of the hotel, Wes was staring out the window pondering how very wrong everything could go. The students exploded out of their seats in a cacophony at the exact moment the bus stopped, reaching for their bags, crushing each other in the aisle, hurling insults. Roger shouted, “Thanks buddy! I owe you one!” as he barreled toward the front.
Before Wes could stand, Sylvia Anderson sat in Roger’s vacated seat. She smelled fucking fantastic, like sweat and strawberries and the clean scent of perfumed soap. Her vinyl shorts showed an amazing amount of thigh, and her tight navy blue t-shirt pulled tight as she sat at an angle in the bus seat. Her dark hair fell around her shoulders in a multitude of cute natural curls with a healthy bounce. Wesley remembered one day the previous year when he spent an entire class period wanting to reach out and run his fingers through her hair. Now she sat beside him. Before he could recover from boyish nervousness, she spoke.
“Do you have any idea what Faith and Roger are trying to get us into?” She said it very softly so no one could hear, although the bus was loud and rowdy. This was the third or fourth sentence Sylvia had spoken to Wes in the history of the universe. It wasn’t that she avoided him, but rather that they had no reason to interact. Different crowds, different instruments in the department – he piano, she the cello – different social rules. Nothing to lament, just fate keeping them apart until this moment, until this week. She looked as nervous as he felt.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with us,” he replied.
There wasn’t much more to say. Wes half-expected the girl to warn him not to “try anything,” but she did not. Maybe she knew him well enough after two years in the Music department to not see him as much of a threat, which he certainly wasn’t. Maybe she didn’t want to offend him before sharing a room with him for the next four nights. Maybe she was waiting until later to say it.
“What time are you coming to the room?” she asked.
“I dunno,” he answered. “Whenever Faith comes to see Roger, I suppose. It will be after midnight. Or whenever Roger gets horny.”
Sylvia laughed at that, but not hard. Still nervous.
She stood and left. Outside on the sidewalk, hundreds of students from three different college departments – Drama, English and Music (Vocal and Instrumental) – were yelling and throwing things. One of the English professors in charge stood on a suitcase and screamed for quiet. She said something about what to do and when and how, blah blah blah, then everyone went to their department heads for room keys. More blah blah blah from the department heads, and then up to the room to take a nap and sleep off the plane ride.
Yeah right. Floors thirty thru thirty-three quickly degenerated into collegiate unruliness. Guys tossed footballs, girls sat on the floor and played cards, some bottles of beer were smuggled past the gestapo professors. The biggest disturbance was the running – boys running down the halls, girls squealing and they ran away from boys, boys tackling each other and crashing. THOOM THOOM THOOM. The poor 29th floor must have been distraught. Many of the students descended on the streets of Chicago, even though they only had about half-an-hour to roam before the curfew went into effect. They all knew that no reprimand would include being excluded from the competition the following morning. These ivy leaguers were superstars in their own nerdy right, the best performers in their fields, and they knew it.
Wes stayed in his room and watched cable television. Two fellow pianists invited him to join them, but as much as he enjoyed their company, they were just so damn homosexual. They always talked about things that had nothing to do with him.
“Dude!” Roger shouted as he crashed into the room. The time was 9:30. “Time to switch rooms.”
Wes felt a pang of panic. “It’s too early, Rog.”
“The professors are staying seven blocks away in a different hotel. No hall monitors tonight, my friend.”
“No chaperones? With four hundred kids alone in a hotel? Do they have any idea what will happen?”
“Apparently not, Wes, but you sure as hell do.” Roger picked up the phone and called his escort. “Hey babe, come on up.” He turned to Wes. “You hungry? We’re ordering a pizza.”
Wes was still full from the McDonald’s in the lay-over airport. “Is Sylvia coming up?”
“Probably not, dude. Faith says she doesn’t eat pizza. Leave your room key for Faith, huh?”
That would explain the sculptured ass. “I guess I’ll leave you two to your fun.” He tried not to sound bitter, but it came out morose. What he was actually feeling was scared out of his fucking mind. What if he came off like a big nerd? Too late now. Leaving his suitcase in the room, he grabbed his backpack and headed for the elevator, still wearing the blue jeans and black t-shirt he’d worn on the plane. As the elevator opened, out popped Faith, a petite blonde with expensive-looking but not-very-attractive streaks in her short, straight hair. She looked like an MTV dancer, right down to the vacant stare.
Faith threw her arms around Wes and said, “Thanks so much! We owe you.” She slipped a room key into his hand and ran off.
Wes stepped into the elevator, dwelling too heavily on his resentment toward Faith. Why did she have to hug him? She’d never said a single word to him before, and addressing him affectionately just highlighted how far outside her radar he was. Popular kids always took liberties with the “little people,” like showering them with praise for one incident instead of treating them decently over a long period of time. But the alternative was worse – what did Faith “owe” him? How do you repay someone for helping you to hook up for sex with a roommate? He shuttered to think.
The door opened, and he found himself two floors below where the hotel registry said his room should be. Wes walked to Sylvia’s door, stuck the key card in his pocket and knocked on the door. Moments later, the door opened. Wes had intended to stay as non-nerd-like as possible, but he had not expected Sylvia’s hair to be wet. Her makeup-free face glowed cleanly. She was naturally gorgeous, and he wanted to die.
“Come in,” she said with a half-hearted smile. She wasn’t upset with Wes, apparently, but she wasn’t excited either. This was just damn weird.
“You took a shower?” Wes asked, making small-talk.
“Yeah,” was all Sylvia said in response. Dumb question, an obvious question. He put his backpack on the second bed. He remembered Roger explaining that he’d sleep on the floor, but this room had two beds just like Roger’s did. There would be no “You look uncomfortable, share the bed with me” scenarios this night. Thank goodness.
She stood in front of the mirror, drying her hair with her towel, trying to stay busy rather than start an awkward discussion. She wore the same purple vinyl shorts from the bus that showed off her long, breathtaking legs, along with a white t-shirt that showed her bra strap, perhaps a subtle message to Wes that no one would be sleeping braless. Sylvia was barefoot, and Wes stared at her ankles. When he realized he was staring, he looked away, but away UP, at the girl’s ass.
A new approach was needed. He turned to his backpack, keeping busy as Sylvia had demonstrated. It was working. After a few minutes, they were navigating around each other like a married couple, putting toothbrushes in the bathroom, setting items on the end table. Sylvia laid out her performance clothes in the closet. After half-an-hour, they sat in chairs, silent. The room was very large, with two queen-size beds, a writing desk, two loveseats (now occupied) with a coffee table, the armoire that contained the television, other small tables around the beds.
“Do you mind if I open the drapes?” Wes asked. He did think of the room as Sylvia’s.
Sylvia corrected this notion. “It’s your room, too,” she said. “Open what you want.”
He stood and opened the heavy curtains hiding an entire wall of glass. Outside lay the city of Chicago, an architectural masterpiece that sprawled forward like an ocean of concrete, with no horizon in sight. The sky was clear, and all the lights of the city created a Christmas-like glow around every structure.
“Oh wow,” Wes said.
That caused Sylvia to turn in her chair, and the view made her gasp. She approached the other end of the window. “It’s beautiful!” she cried.
“Now that’s a city,” Wes uttered.
“Mmm-hmm,” Sylvia agreed. They surveyed the landscape in silence for a long minute or two. Wes had grown up in Montana where rolling plains were abundant and skyscrapers were few. He’d traveled to many places around the country and internationally, but every new city made a profound impression on him, especially the wonderful views from tall buildings. Many of the Chicago structures towered above them even from this high place.
Wes asked Sylvia without turning away from the window, “Where did you grow up?”
“New Mexico,” she said. “Lots of mountains.”
“Me too – I’m from Montana. Worked on a farm a lot as a kid.”
Wes looked at Sylvia, and she was looking at him. He realized his heart had been pounding as he watched the city, and now it was thumping very hard.
She continued, “Farm work must be hard on a pianist’s hands.”
“I made due.”
“Yes you did,” Sylvia said. “I’ve heard you play. You’re the best in the department.”
Praise from Sylvia Anderson. Wes felt a lump in his throat. His teachers agreed he was the finest concert pianist of the current class, but the other students were not as effusive with their praise. Nothing like a little friendly competition to make following your life’s passion into a lonely, coveted pursuit.
“Thanks,” Wes said meekly. He felt a big grin creep across his face; he was powerless to stop it.
“You want to order a pizza?” Sylvia asked.
“Roger told me you didn’t like pizza.”
“How the heck would Roger know that?”
“Faith told him.”
“Oh.” Sylvia walked to her bed and sat on the edge. “She keeps inviting me to go out with her airhead friends. She was very nice to me our freshman year, and I just seem to be stuck in her orbit. The only way I can get some time to myself is to tell her I don’t like some of the same foods she does.”
“I guess that’s good for your figure,” Wes opined.
Sylvia blushed. It was as unexpected as it was beautiful. She was so much more shy than Wes had imagined. Still, she smiled pleasantly, pleased with the compliment. Wes, trying to give Sylvia time to recover from her embarrassment, opened a drawer and found the phonebook. They discuss their options, made a call and placed an order. When Wes hung up the phone, they were sitting on the same bed, awkwardly silent yet again.
“Wanna watch some TV?” Sylvia asked with a shrug.
Sylvia grabbed the remote from the bed and turned the boob tube on. She laid down on her stomach, and that wonderful bottom was the only thing Wes could see. He knew he hadn’t been invited to share the bed, nor would he ask to, so he pulled one of the chairs to the foot of the bed and sat down.
“Here,” Sylvia said, handing Wes the remote. “Find us a good movie.”
Wes flipped the channels until he found HBO, where “Pulp Fiction” was playing.
“Ooooh, good movie,” Sylvia said. Wes was impressed with her taste. Then she said, “Too violent. Let’s watch something, I dunno, softer. Can you find a good romance?”
Wes enjoyed the occasional chick flick, or any kind of genre as long as the film didn’t suck. A few more flicks of the remote and Wes found “Eyes Wide Shut,” the last offering from Stanley Kubrick.
“Oh my god, I know what this is,” Sylvia said.
“You’ve seen it?”
“Yeah, with Faith and her friends. They’re all perverts. They just loved it.”
Sylvia shook her head. “There’s some great acting, but the story doesn’t really make sense.”
“Well, I actually thought it was a deep and moving story with a strong theme. But I had to watch it twice to get it… at the risk of sounding like a pervert.”
Sylvia said quickly, “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean you were a pervert.”
“I know, I know,” Wes reassured her just as quickly. “I wasn’t really trying to convince you to watch it again. I’m sure there’s something else—”
“No, it’s good. I’ll take your word for it. Beside, when else will I have an excuse to watch this again? I’d never rent it, and I don’t have cable.”
“You don’t have cable? What do you do with your free time at home?” Wes asked as Tom Cruise drove his car. The two students looked at the TV as they talked, not really watching the movie.
“Oh man, I read all the time. I’m a real bookworm. I’m always in the middle of three or four books at a time.”
“What are you reading now?” Wes asked.
Sylvia mentioned one book Wes had never heard of, one that he’d read and enjoyed, and one that was his favorite of all time. They had an excited discussion for a few minutes about the decisions the characters made, slight ways in which they would have improved the ending, their favorite lines. This led to a long sampling of selections from their lists of favorites – books, movies, music artists, songs and albums, favorite foods, favorite places to vacation, favorite hangouts around New England. They found very few items that one or the other detested, and a multitude of favorites they had in common. After just a few minutes, they were making plans to swap books and videos and CDs when they returned to school.
When the pizza guy knocked on the hotel room door, Wes had almost forgotten about the pizza they ordered. Even though they only talked for half-an-hour, it seemed like they’d packed a lot into the conversation. They spent another half-hour eating, alternating between watching the movie and talking excitedly with their mouths full. Both of them stopped talking when the scene on the TV showed the two lead actors naked in front of the mirror, swaying to a Chris Issak song and caressing each other.
“Too bad they got divorced,” Sylvia said to break the silence. “Tom Cruise is an idiot. I think Nicole Kidman is one of the most beautiful women on earth.”
“I agree,” Wes replied around a mouthful of pepperoni. “But Penelope Cruz is cute, too.”
Sylvia turned to Wes with a mock look of surprise. “You’d trade Nicole Kidman for Penelope Cruz?”
Wes shrugged. “I guess I’m just more into brunettes. Redheads are nice, but I’m really attracted to dark hair. Latinos, Italians, Greeks. Can I ask what nationality you are?” Wes didn’t even realize the connection he’d made. They were simply two friends talking about “stuff.”
“Half-Mexican, half-Greek. But I’ve never met any of my family from either place. How about you?”
“My mom’s white, but my dad’s full-blood Italian.”
“You’re lucky your hair’s nice and thick. I think it’s really good-looking. I like dark hair, too.”
“I like your hair, too,” Wes replied. Sylvia’s dark hair had a reddish sheen to it and that stunning natural curl. “It matches your brown eyes.”
Sylvia rolled said eyes. “I hate my eyes. They’re the color of a shoe.”
“Not at all,” Wes quickly replied. “They’re very pretty. I think dark eyes are pretty.”
Sylvia flashed her pearly whites and looked away a bit. “I wanted to say that I like your eyes, too. I wish I had bright blue eyes like that.”
Wes hadn’t had much experience with women, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew what was going on between himself and this creature of unearthly beauty, but for some reason he didn’t feel nervous at all. Even if nothing physical ever happened between them, even if they never went on an actual date, at least he had a new friend that he could talk openly with about anything, even discussions about their physical appearance. He couldn’t deny that he was still strongly attracted to her, but the one area he didn’t know much about was how to tell if she was also attracted, and so he was content to keep the conversation simple.
One line of questioning nagged at him, though. They’d been talking for two hours, watching the longest movie of all time and getting along famously. So he went for it.
“Sylvia, can I ask you something a little personal?”
“Oh oh,” she answered with mock apprehension. “Get it over with, I guess.”
“It’s nothing like that. I was just wondering if you think of yourself as shy.”
Sylvia was obviously embarrassed by the question, but Wes had anticipated that and asked anyway. She said, “I dunno. I’m not really afraid of anything, if that’s what you mean.”
“No no, not at all. I just meant… Well, my first impression of you was that you were… soft-spoken. You don’t seem like a really flamboyant person. But you’re very good-looking, and you wear nice clothes, and I thought it was sort of odd that you would take so much care in your appearance but not really get aggressive moving up the social ladder. You seem to keep to yourself. But I don’t really know you that well, so all I’m basing it on it a first impression. I hope I’m not out of line.”