I woke up the following morning not to lazy cuddles from my loving boyfriend, but to a freaking dog licking my face. It must have nosed its way into the tent overnight somehow. I shrieked and wiped the slobber off of my face. God only knows what that thing had been sticking its nose in! Em dutifully chased the beast away and securely zipped the tent back up behind it. This trip was so comically awful that I wasn’t sure if I ought to laugh or cry. As far as I was concerned, we couldn’t possibly be leaving soon enough. I didn’t even bother to say goodbye to the neighboring campers as we packed up. Good riddance.
We ended up leaving earlier than Em had originally planned, so we stopped off for lunch. I hadn’t showered and I was definitely a disgusting mess, but at this point I didn’t care anymore. We had some time to kill, since apparently we weren’t expected at wherever it was we were headed until later in the afternoon.
“Well. Now we know camping is not for you,” Em said over his coffee. “At least you can say that you tried it! I think, if you keep an open mind, you’re still going to have a fun vacation from here on out.”
“I’ll be fine as long as we’re not going to be completely isolated from civilization again.” I itched one of my mosquito bites. There were many.
“Trust me,” he grinned, “You’ll be in the lap of luxury for the rest of the week.”
“Why do you keep saying that?” I eyed him suspiciously. That was the second time he’d used that specific phrasing. It definitely wasn’t a coincidence.
An hour later we pulled into a parking lot beneath a neon sign that read ‘LAP of LUXURY Couples Resort.’
I gaped. “You’re kidding me, Em.”
“I thought it would be fun.”
“My parents went to a place like this for their honeymoon. I might have been conceived here.”
“Some people might find that romantic.”
“I find it gross,” I whined. But on the bright side, I supposed that it couldn’t possibly be any worse than camping had been. The sign did specify that they had Wi-Fi, and that had to count for something. I’d at least give it a shot, since we came all the way here. I followed Em into the main building, where we were greeted by a concierge at the front desk.
“Welcome! You must be Mr. and Mrs. Pelletier.”
I stood in stunned silence as Em checked us in. He’d told them we were married? Why would he do that? He accepted the keys to our room—honest to God keys, not key cards. It was fitting, considering this building appeared to be far older than I was. The décor hadn’t been updated in decades. We went back outside to find our suite, which was in a private cabin.
“Enjoy your stay!” The concierge waved us off with a smile, “I hope you like champagne!” Em was snickering and I felt like there was yet another joke I was failing to understand.
When we got to the room, I understood. There just beyond the entryway was a towering glass tub shaped like a glass of champagne. It was so absurd that I immediately broke down laughing.
“I hope you know I’m not going in that thing.” It looked like a death trap. There were no safety railings. The tub was precariously perched about 7 feet in the air. No thanks.
“That’s fine. I’ll use it alone. You can just enjoy the view.” He pointed to a sofa at the foot of the monstrous tub and winked.
I snorted and carried my bags into the bedroom. It looked like something torn from a cheesy old porno set. The large bed was round, because of course it was. The ceiling and headboard was completely mirrored. A fire was roaring even though it was June. Not far from the bed was, inexplicably, another tub. This one was a heart-shaped whirlpool bath. At least it was firmly planted on the ground. How many tubs were in this suite? I haven’t even found the damn bathroom yet!
A spiral staircase led up to the bathroom, which had access to the champagne monstrosity. It also had a large glass shower and a mini-fridge. The opposite wall had french doors that opened up to a balcony. It had a lovely view overlooking a lake.
When I thought I’d explored everything I returned to the bedroom to find Em posing on the bed. He looked freaking ridiculous as he waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
I dissolved into laughter as I approached him. “Jesus, you’re too much.”
“What do you think of the place? Swanky, right?” He wrapped me in his arms and drew me close.
“It’s…not what I was expecting. But it’s almost charming, in a hilarious sort of way. It seems surprisingly clean. I’m glad I don’t have a black light or anything, though. Can you imagine?”
“I don’t want to imagine that,” he said as he made a face as if he’d smelled something sour. “Way to kill the mood!”
“There wasn’t a mood to begin with, we’re both disgusting with forest crud.” We needed to make use of one of the various bathing options this silly cabin offered. We should probably check each other for ticks, while we were at it—the epitome of sexy vacation fun. Em didn’t seem to be in a rush to do anything as he lazily nuzzled into me. But something in the room I hadn’t noticed before caught my eye. “What’s that?” I wiggled an arm free to point at a stairway leading down.
“Oh, that’s the best part. Come on,” he hopped out of bed and urged me to my feet.
The spiral stairs wound down to a door. It had a window, but it was too fogged up to see through. When I opened it, we were hit with a wall of humidity and the strong smell of chlorine. In the center of the room was a private indoor pool shaped like a heart.
“Check this out,” he said as he flipped a dimmer switch and the ceiling lit up with artificial stars.
“The water’s probably all funky. Imagine how many people have been getting freaky in there over the years.”
“You don’t want to make love in our pool?”
“Absolutely not. How often do you think they drain this thing? That’s nasty.”
He shrugged and nodded as he considered my point, “Fair enough.”
We showered and set out to explore the resort. There were tons of activities available including miniature golf, basketball, and tennis. In the end, we settled on riding pedal boats in the lake. It was pretty peaceful as we paddled through the shallows. When we were feeling bolder we decided to see how fast we could get the boat to go. Our top speed wasn’t very impressive, but it did kick up some waves.
When we got back to our room, an invitation to dinner was waiting for us. The resort staff assigned each couple’s dinner seating to encourage mingling. Today we’d be at table nine with the Mallory family. We still had a few hours to kill, so we chilled by the community pool while we waited. I even risked going in for a swim, since I figured that the public nature surely meant more sanitary water.
In the dining room that evening, dinner was served buffet style. It brought back memories of my high school cafeteria. A waiter came around to offer us all drinks. Mrs. Mallory turned out to be much older than her young husband. “We met online,” she explained. “I came to this resort with my first husband on our honeymoon, God rest his soul. I thought it’d be fitting to start my new marriage off on the same note.”
“We met online, too,” Emile added without skipping a beat. “Isn’t that right, Kitten?”
I blinked back at him blankly for a moment. We hadn’t met online. When I caught the mischievous glint in his eye, I realized he was lying for kicks. We’d probably never see these people again, so messing with them might be fun.
“Of course, darling,” I sang back.
He sighed and swirled his wine in its glass, “I count my lucky stars every day that we ended up in the same fetish chatroom all those years ago.”
Mr. Mallory had been taking a sip of water, and he couldn't stop himself from choking on it as Em spoke. Mrs. Malloy just looked completely aghast. The rest of the dinner was spent in awkward silence, but Em and I laughed about it back in our room.
The next evening we were sat with the Jones family. I didn’t bother to contain my smile when they inevitably asked me how we’d met.
“Oh, we’d seen each other a few times at our Anonymous Recovery meetings. I didn’t know his name, what with the nature of things. I wasn’t brave enough to ask him out.”
Em tilted my chin up so he could gaze adoringly into my eyes. “I knew God had a plan for us when we landed at the same rehab facility. What are the odds, you know? If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is.”
I beamed back at him and clasped our hands together dramatically, “I can’t believe we’re already celebrating five years sober together. Your love is more addictive than meth ever was!”
The third night, Em told the Smiths that we’d met in college, when he’d slacked off during registration. All of the good courses for his major that semester were filled, and we’d met in an art class he’d taken to fill a general education elective. We hit it off when I took him under my wing and taught him how to paint. It was the tamest story so far, and I found it lacking.
The fourth evening was my personal favorite. We were seated with an older couple, the Millers, who were here celebrating a big anniversary. When they mentioned that they’d been high school sweethearts, I knew just what to do.
“We met in high school, too,” I said with an innocent smile.
“What a coincidence,” Mrs. Miller declared.
“He couldn’t keep his hands off me.”
“Oh, I remember those days fondly,” she chuckled.
Her eyes bulged when I continued, “He was my math teacher.”
Em sheepishly stirred at his soup and replied, “We got married as soon as she turned eighteen.”
Our final dinner was with the Gonzalez-Ries family. They were a younger couple of newlyweds. I was interested to see if Em could top my story from the evening before. The Millers had actually excused themselves from the table at the earliest possible opportunity, so the bar was set pretty high.
“I was running late to work one morning, stuck behind a bus in traffic,” he groaned. “I was cursing myself, until I saw Elle waiting at one of the bus stops. I knew right away we were meant to be together.”
He wrapped an arm around my shoulders, so I placed a hand on his chest affectionately. I bashfully peeped, “Oh, you.”
“I saw her get off a few stops later, and I watched her go into the diner where she worked. On my lunch break, I stopped in to see if she was still there. The rest is history, I guess. I came back almost every day just to see her.” He pecked a gentle kiss to my forehead. This story was actually incredibly sweet, and I was wondering if this was really how he’d met me. But then he added, “Once I’d convinced her to drop the restraining order, I knew she was really something special.”
I’d been having a great time at the resort. I had a spa day. I learned how to play pool. I even ended up winning one of the little archery competitions—suck it, Mr. Mallory. When the time came for us to head home the next morning, I was actually kind of sad to leave. Em must have noticed, because we stopped by the gift shop to grab something to commemorate our stay. We ended up picking out a set of matching gym shorts that said ‘Lap of Luxury’ on the thigh and ‘LUXURIOUS BOOTY’ on the ass. We wore them home and laughed about it the whole drive. He told me to work on getting my passport, so that he could take me to see Chenonceau next summer.