Tony woke up with a sore back and a headache. He was on day three of his solo adventure and there had been two consecutive days of excessive drinking and not enough sleep. His body was in desperate need of a break. It was midmorning in Trinidad and the noises from the busy street floated in through the open window. The ancient spring mattress groaned in protest as he rolled out of it. He crossed the rough wooden floor to the window, rubbing his hands over his face. Pushing the thin curtains aside he squinted into the morning sun. The street below was full of people milling about. A warm breeze moved through the palm trees and brought in the scent of grilled meat from a street vendor, causing his stomach to growl. Looking out over the tropical city reminded him why he’d chosen to stay in a cheap hostel. He was here for an adventure. Life on a TV show had grown stale. He was tired of always being told where to go and when to be there. He was a gypsy at heart and yearned for the unknown. He didn’t know what the day would bring, but he knew it would be his decision and there would be no time constraints.
Grabbing his towel and toiletry bag, he set out down the empty hallway. Tony ran his fingers through the beaded curtain to the communal bathroom. Being busy drinking and roaming the island had kept him from showering the last two days and he craved one. It had been empty the last few times he’d been in there, but this time he heard a shower running and someone humming softly. He passed the two bathroom stalls and turned the corner to find the showers. A blonde woman was in one of the two shower stalls. She was hidden from her neck to her knees behind the wooden shower door. He watched her for a moment as she hummed to herself with her eyes closed, running her fingers through her hair under the faucet.
I’m being a total creep right now, Tony thought to himself. He forced himself to look away from the woman and walked to the shower stall. The door hinge made a horrible creaking sound as he got in. The water was freezing as he fumbled with the knob, trying to get some warm water. “That one sucks,” the woman said, looking at him from around the shower head. ”Uh, yeah, it really does,” Tony said, still messing with the knob. “Does it get hot at all?”
“Not really,” The woman answered. “You can use this one.”
Tony turned his shower off and wrapped his towel around his waist. “Thanks.”
He stepped out and went to brush his teeth at the sink.
“It’s going to run out of hot water if you don’t get in,” the woman called from the shower.
Tony turned around with his toothbrush hanging out of his mouth.
“You want me to get in with you?” he asked, pointing his toothbrush at the girl.
“I don’t bite, “ she said with a wink. Tony shrugged his shoulders and walked to her stall. He began to remove his towel to get in. “Whoa there buddy! What are you doing?” the girl said, laughing. She opened the shower door, revealing her swimsuit. “Oh,” Tony said, wrapping his towel up.
The girl giggled. “I wasn’t inviting you in here for a quickie.”
Tony walked to his bag and pulled on his boxers. “I’m really sorry, “ he said blushing.
“No worries,” the woman said with a smile. “You can still come in.”
Tony cautiously opened the door and stepped in. “Thank you, again I’m really sorry about that.”
“You should really reconsider getting naked in these things,” the woman said as she rinsed her hair. Tony tried to look anywhere else besides her body while rinsing his own.
“You never know what could be in here,” she said as she squirted some body wash on her loofa.
“I’m Samantha, by the way.”
“Anthony,” he said, awkwardly holding out his hand.
“I know, “Samantha said with a grin. “I've seen your show.” She shook his hand and went back to scrubbing her body. “What are you doing in a hostel, I thought you stayed in super exclusive hotels?” She handed Tony her loofa and squirted more body wash on it. He chuckled to himself at the ridiculousness of the situation as he began to lather himself up. “No one knows where I am,” He said. Samantha raised her eyebrow at him. “Well, my daughter does. Everyone else just knows I took a vacation,” he moved under the running water to rinse the soap off. “I'd like to keep it that way.”
“Right, and staying at a fancy shmancy hotel would give you away,” Samantha said as she ran her hand down Tony’s back to get the soap off. “Right,” he said, a little surprised that she was touching him. “Plus it doesn’t make you feel like you sold out if you stay at a shitty hostel,” She said dryly. “You done?” Tony nodded and she turned the water off as they both stepped out of the shower. “I didn’t sell out,” said Tony while toweling off. He was trying hard to hide how much her statement had punched him in the gut. “Sure,” Samantha said while putting toothpaste on her toothbrush. The bathroom was quiet while Tony stewed over her words. The only noise was the sound of her electric toothbrush. “How have I sold out?” Tony finally said looking at her with his hands on his hips. She looked at him and then spit into the sink. “Oh come on, “ Said samantha while she rinsed her toothbrush. “You stay in hotels that cost more than what the locals in your show make in a year. Don’t get me wrong, I love your show, but don’t act like you’re some roaming soul. You stay in cushy accommodation and eat at five star restaurants.” Samantha was now standing right in front of Tony. He couldn’t help but think she was beautiful, but she was also pissing him off. “I have worked really hard for everything I have,” Tony spit back. “It’s not like I frosted my tips and have a show on the food network.”
“Okay, but when’s the last time you backpacked through a jungle? Or really got to know how the locals live?” Samantha countered. “What do you think I’m doing on this trip?” Tony said throwing his hands up. How can this random gorgeous woman be so infuriating? “Good, so you can come with us today,” She said walking past Tony with a smile. “Meet me in the common area in ten minutes.”
Tony made his way back to his room in a haze of confusion. “What the fuck just happened?” He whispered to himself. He found some clothes in his backpack that smelled clean and began to dress. He had decided to not meet Samantha downstairs. She was too much and he needed to just relax today. He always liked his life to be drama free and that girl had drama written all over her. He sat on the creaky spring mattress and looked at his watch. She would be down there in five minutes. Tonys mind flashed back to her body under the running water. He thought of the passion in her eyes as she told him he was a sell out. He jumped up from the bed and headed down towards the common room. He didn’t have any plans today, and he wanted to prove to this woman that he was not a fucking sell out.
When Tony reached the common room he found Samantha sitting on the window sill surrounded by a group of travelers. What the hell am I doing here? Tony asked himself as he stood awkwardly by the door. Samantha was talking enthusiastically with two men and another woman who couldn't be more than 30. “Anthony! You made it!” Samantha called from her perch. She hopped down and crossed the small room. “I was beginning to think you stood me up, “ She said looking up at him. Tony found himself smiling at her. She seemed to be full of charisma, even though she already proved she could get under his skin. “My reservation at the Ritz was cancelled. Apparently they don’t serve sell outs,” Tony answered her with a smirk. Samantha laughed and took his hand leading him over to the group by the window. “Guys, this is Anthony, he’ll be joining us today.” The group said their hellos and made introductions. “Alright, let’s go!” Samantha said grabbing her backpack. “What exactly are we doing?” Tony asked in a low voice so the others wouldn’t hear. “Whatever we want,” was her reply as she grabbed his hand once again and led him out onto the street.
Tony and his new travel companions stepped out into the noon day sun. Samantha pulled him through the crowd as they made their way towards whatever destination she had in her head. There were people everywhere. Tanned natives, tourists, and street vendors all buzzing about. All seemingly on their own adventures. Tony wondered again where they were headed. “Are you looking for something specific?” He pulled slightly on the hand Samantha was holding to free himself. She let go and turned to face him while she continued to walk backwards. “Yes, actually,” she said and then turned back to face the road ahead of them. Tony stopped in the middle of the street. He wanted to know where these people were leading him. Samantha turned,noticing he was no longer behind her. She began to walk back to him, “what’s wrong?” she asked a little confused. “I need you to tell me where we are going,” Tony said in his very best authoritative voice. “Why?” Samantha countered with the smile that Tony already had a love hate relationship with. “What? What do you mean why?” Tony let his frustration bubble to the surface. “I need to know where I am going. I don’t know you or these people. You could be leading me to my death for all I know.” Samantha took a few steps closer to him and put her hands on his shoulders. “I’m taking you on an adventure,” she said looking him in the eyes, “and I promise I am not leading you to your death.” Tony forgot for a moment that they were standing in the middle of a busy street. Looking at her he realised he was doing the very thing he hated. He was being caged by his own need for structure. “Fuck it, “ He said with a smile. “That’s what I like to hear!” Samantha said clapping her hands together. The two jogged ahead to meet up with the rest of the group.