Most of my first night that vacation was spent with Mariana and Jo, as we searched the hotel grounds for Jeena. I couldn’t even get through the first night with more drama because Jeena went missing without a trace. So we looked for her.
None of us had a flashlight because nobody brings a flashlight to the Dominican Republic right? But there we were past midnight looking for Jeena, and using the light from the screens of our cellphones in the dark. She’d been gone hours. I didn’t know if we were overreacting but I was worried. The resort was big but it wasn’t that big.
* * *
Meanwhile, at the same time in a different time zone, Davy and the dockers were at Brussels International Airport ready to board their flights. Ludo had hugged and kissed his wife Lotte at the gate. She outweighed him by threefold, and nearly crushed him with her goodbye hugs. Wally had the best-looking girl of the three, and as a goodbye he’d shoved his tongue as deep as he could into his girlfriend Ana’s mouth, for one last time. Wally intended on tonguing girls in Puerto Plata too, and he’d already told the other guys of his cheating intentions. Apparently that didn’t stop him from getting all up into Ana’s mouth as a prequel.
Davy said his goodbye to his girlfriend Cindy, while Ana and Lotte took photos of them the entire time. Cindy’s concern over this “guys trip” was branded all over her face that early morning in Brussels. She and Ana and Lotte all worried that their men would drink too much and party too hard without them.
When the trip was originally planned, Wally and Davy had been in-between girlfriends and very single. By the time Puerto Plata rolled around, they were both roughly 5 months into a relationship. This trip would be make-or-break for everyone, from the start.
* * *
By the time the Belgians were flying closer towards the Dominican Republic, we girls had searched everywhere for Jeena, and had circled back to the resort’s main auditorium. I was worried and ready to report Jeena missing. Jo laughed and assured us that Jeena was probably hooking up with someone in some dark corner somewhere on the grounds. She said her sister was a slut, and then calmly lit up a cigarette like no big deal. Mariana laughed, snorting a little bit, and I lit a cigarette up too. I needed to keep my mouth busy and not talking to either Jo or Mariana. It was infuriating.
But Jo was right after all and we found Jeena having sex after all, behind the stage of the auditorium right on the nasty floor. Jeena barely knew the guy banging away at her, and worse, it turned out he worked for the hotel judging from his uniform. There was a no-fucking-the-guests policy for employees of RIU, but apparently not everybody followed policy.
Jeena pretty much looked like she was in love with the dude after one-and-a-half fucks. She was already planning all the babies she’d have with him. Cute little Italian-Dominican baby names had danced in her head, and her eyes had glazed over. Jo dragged Jeena off to their room, and Mariana and I had turned into our beds in our room. It was late, and I knocked out right away.
So that next morning when I awoke, I was tired but still hopeful that my vacation could be be salvaged. Breakfast was civil although Mariana scowled through most of it. She was never happy.
Jeena had strained her neck the entire meal trying to catch a glimpse of her new Dominican love hanging around somewhere. Jo’s eyes looked even more bugged-out that morning, probably from the lack of sleep. But she spoke on maximum volume and brashly, before she ever had her first cup of coffee. I just wanted get by the pool and tan, with ear plugs in.
I did. I lubed myself up with sunscreen and lay topless. I intended to block everything and everyone out. I was in vacation mode. But this mode lasted all but 5 minutes because the resort’s animation team arrived. The start to the day’s activities and entertainment had begun. “Morning Watercise” was announced to start, which was basically 30 minutes of dancing the Macarena in the pool over and over again.
I ignored it all. I was not planning to move at all from my lounge chair. All I wanted to do was sleep, eat and tan. Jo and Jeena and Mariana had all jumped into the water to participate. I was psyched to finally have some alone time, and I was doing a good job of ignoring all the aerobics music and shouting until Jeena appeared by my side. She begged me to hide her.
* * *
Apparently the guy Jeena had sex with the night before, was there at the pool. He was not only at the pool but turned out to be a part of the animation team, and he was instructing Morning Watercise. His name was Mr. Banana, which she didn’t know the night before, and he was but one tropical fruit on the animation team. Other members of the animation team were named Mr. Papaya, Ms. Guava, Mr. Mango, and the like. Jeena had slept with Mr. Banana.
I loved it!
But it turns out that Mr. Banana was one ugly mofo by the light of day. Hence, Jeena’s jumping out of the pool and pleading with me to help her. She regretted having fucked Mr. Banana. She wanted to hide from him the whole week, and she wanted me to help her. Great.
So most of my morning was spent by Jeena’s side and part of me was enjoying it. She’d brought all the drama upon herself. Mr. Banana tried to get Jeena’s attention repeatedly, and was confused as to why he was being ignored. It couldn’t be his kinky puffy hair or the gigantic outdated braces on his teeth because Jeena didn’t seem to mind the night before, he’d rationalized. Mr. Banana eventually left the poolside, to eat lunch and take his break.
Jeena began to drink. She and Jo drank together, and turned into mean drunks to everyone but each other. It turned out the secret to their getting along, was alcohol. When drunk, which they turned out to be most of that day, they had a bad habit of shouting out things like “Show us your dick!” to passing men. Mariana found it hilarious. I didn’t, and neither did Mr. Banana upon his return.
Once I witnessed Jo and Jeena doing this a handful of times, I got up and gathered my belongings. I told the girls I had a headache and that I was going to take a nap.
“That’s so boring,” Mariana said to me.
I ignored her. I was actually in shock at how rude she was. I wondered how long I could keep up avoiding these girls in between meals. I walked away, towards my room, which I shared with Mariana. I was embarrassed. Not only didn’t I want hotel guests to think this is what Americans were like, I also didn’t want them thinking I was anything like Jo or Jeena or Mariana.
I was halfway between the pool and my room when I first encountered them, the Belgians. I didn’t know the four guys were from Belgium, but their rolling luggage and pale skin gave them away that they were newbies at the resort. They were white. Actually Wally was brown from his addiction to tanning beds, but Davy and Koen and Ludo were pretty white. They could have been green for all I cared. I was just happy to see some eye candy of the European kind. I couldn’t even help myself. I let out a welcome.
“Well, welcome!” exactly, is what I said.
Wally had done a double then triple-take, and Ludo grinned at me from ear to ear. They’d both removed their sunglasses and replied with a thank you. Their accent was swoon-worthy. Koen had barely looked at me and never turned his head, while Davy did and offered me the faintest smile. I remember he had peered at me over his Ray-Bans as he walked on by, but he never took them off.
I’d gone to my room as planned, and I took my nap. It was long and delicious and I woke up hungry and in time for dinner. Mariana had returned to our room by then, and was walking around wrapped up like a mummy in towels after taking a shower. She was insanely prudish about showing me her body. Sharing a room with Mariana felt like summer camp in junior high school.
I joined Mariana and the two sisters for dinner that evening, and this time I was the one straining my neck to see if the four boys were at the same restaurant in our resort. I didn’t see them anywhere, and I mentioned it to the girls over dessert. They knew exactly whom I was talking about, and Jo told me that they’d met the same boys by the pool earlier that day, after I’d left for my nap.