Lola at the Tremont House

Let’s delve deep into Tremont House nostalgia circa 1988. Introducing my Tremont House print collection (you will find these prints hanging in the newly remodeled rooms of the actual hotel), and also, here’s a little teaser – a snippet of my upcoming novel, Lola Is Never Drinking Again, in which the protagonist wakes up at the Tremont House and finds she’s made a surprising new acquaintance.

Galveston 1988

And this is how Lola, incorrigible lush, international adventuress, jobless and nearly destitute, ends up waking up on the pristine white sheets of the Tremont House hotel. The stripes in the wallpaper do an angry dance for her squinting eyes, and her head is pounding, but it only takes a few minutes to realize where she is, and briefly, despite the trainwreck that is her life, excitement sizzles through her fickle heart like static on a TV screen. She’s always wanted to stay at the Tremont House. The scent of the clean hotel sheets cuts through her nausea. The drapes are open letting in violent sunlight, but the tall ceilings balance that somehow, creating a soothing effect. How did Lola end up in the lap of luxury? And who with? There is another body in the bed with her, she can feel it. Bile rises in her throat. She squints her eyes shut, then opens them again, fighting the relentless dance of the stripes on the wallpaper, the sting of sunlight, and the guilt that floats all around her in this beautiful room. Not guilt for coming here in the company of a man, not guilt over yet another one-night stand, but guilt for not remembering the previous night, for once again drinking away her senses and plunging herself full force into uncertainty and the risks inherent in total oblivion. If she doesn’t remember coming here or the man she’s with, how can she know she insisted on protection? She forces herself to look at her bedfellow, but he’s completely covered with the decadent white duvet, and the bulk of his body seems less substantial than she would have expected. Has she come here with a woman instead?

A slender tan leg sticks out from under the duvet. A leg that looks too thin to be a man’s but, despite the nails being painted an opalescent pink, and the shin being waxed to perfection, is definitely not the leg of a woman. It looks like the leg of a boy, a boy caught somewhere in the limbo of adolescence. This cannot be. Lola is many things, but a sexual predator she is not. A pedophile she has never been. Even very young men that are clearly past the age of consent, men old enough to vote and serve in the army, those young men don’t attract her, have barely held appeal to her even in her own youth. Lola is wanton for sure. She’s a true libertine. But she likes men, grown men, not boys. So why is she here with someone young enough to be her son?

Unless of course, the encounter was not sexual in nature. Could this be a new friend? Could this actually be Jaime, her own guardian ghost? Resolutely, before she can change her mind, Lola pulls back the covers. But the boy who squints up at her, rubbing sleep from his eyes, is not Jaime. It’s Guapo.

“Girl! Let me sleep! What’s gotten into you?”

“Guapo?” she asks.

“It’s what they call me.” He sits up in bed smiling at her. It’s one of the most fetching smiles she’s ever seen. All dimples, and so much batting of eyelashes she blushes. He’s wearing a white hotel robe. Lola is still in her clothes from the night before. Jean miniskirt, halter top, strapless bra digging into her back, panties digging into her ass. She smiles back at the boy. No, no, these clothes have not come off, and there’s little chance she would have, even drunk out of her mind, had any desire to touch a teenager. She now remembers a few things, a dance floor filled with glowing penis-shaped decoys, herself laughing uncontrollably, spilling a drink.

“What happened last night?” she asks. “Why are we here?”

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