|Tropical Heat - Romantic Adventure in The Land Of Smiles|
Books set in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and other Thailand cities.
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Math had spent that same Saturday morning telling her brother Anan about her trip to Phitsanulok, and Sawat’s decision not to press charges. She spent the afternoon watching TV and thinking how surprised and happy Mike would be when she told him everything that had happened. At four thirty she showered, changed clothes, and put on new make-up. She wanted to smell clean and look beautiful when he saw her. By five o’clock, she was on her way to Pattaya.
At her request, Anan had left his motorcycle for her to use. She would never admit it, but his motorcycle was a little big for her. It was too heavy and her feet barely reached the ground. But it was better than catching taxis everywhere, and it gave her a feeling of freedom and independence.
Sukhumvit Road was busy with afternoon traffic. Math took no chances and yielded the right-of-way to everything larger than her motorcycle. She arrived at the condo at five thirty-five.
The boy who had been working at the desk in the morning was gone and had been replaced by the girl who worked evenings. Her name was Jahl. Jahl had seen her with Mike many times. She had always gone out of her way to be polite and friendly with Jahl.
“Sawasdee ka, good evening,” Math said, in her most polite tone. “Is Khun Mike in his room?”
The girl checked for Mike’s key. It was there. “He must not be home from work yet,” Jahl said, holding up the key.
“Oh, good,” Math said. “I just returned from Phitsanulok and want to surprise him. I'll take the key just long enough to unlock the door, and then I'll bring it right back. When Mike comes home, he won't know I'm here. When he walks in, I'll be waiting for him. He'll be surprised.”
The girl handed over the key without question. Math went upstairs, unlocked the room, and then returned the key to the front desk.
Back in the condo, she slipped into a short sexy nightgown. She combed her hair and double-checked her make-up. Mike would be home at any minute. Her excitement rose at the thought. She noticed his computer beside the desk. She hadn’t noticed it earlier, but thought nothing of it. He didn’t always take it to work with him anyway.
By six thirty her initial excitement had worn off and she had turned on the TV. She flipped through the channels but couldn’t get interested in any of the shows. Finally, she left it on MTV. She sat on the edge of the bed, staring stupidly at the music videos without really seeing or hearing them. Mike must have had to work late, she thought.
By seven thirty she began to feel stupid sitting around it the short nightgown. She dressed in her street clothes and put her nightgown back into the drawer. Maybe Mike had stopped for a beer with his friends.
By eight thirty she was hungry and irritated. She had wanted to surprise Mike, but she was the one being surprised.
At eight forty-five she turned off the air, the TV, and the lights. She left the condo. Jahl smiled as she walked past the front desk. She didn’t return the receptionist’s smile.
Math knew Mike used to like hanging around with that witch Lek at Toy’s bar. Maybe he had started going there again after she had gone home to Phitsanulok. The thought made her blood boil. There was only one way to know for sure. She would go and look.
Outside, she couldn't get the motorcycle started. After five minutes of trying, her leg hurt and she was sweating.
The security guard, who had been watching her efforts, finally came over and offered his help. As if to add insult to injury, he had the motorcycle running on his second kick. She blushed with embarrassment and thanked the man for his help. He only nodded and smiled. Math put on her helmet and drove toward Soi 2. It was eight fifty-five.
Mike walked into the condo parking area at nine o’clock. The guard, who didn’t speak any English, waved for Mike to stop. The man pointed at the parked motorcycles and made riding motions and girlie shapes with his hands.
What in the hell was he trying to say? Mike wondered. He decided the guy was wondering if he was going to ride a motorcycle and pick up women tonight. Mike laughed and shook his head. “Mai, pom maow mak mak. No, I'm drunk,” he said to the guard.
They looked at each other for a long moment. Mike in bewilderment, and the guard in frustration. Finally Mike shrugged his shoulders and walked into the lobby. The night girl wasn't there, but the manager was. “Jahl bai nai, krup, where is Jahl?” he asked politely.
The manager smiled at Mike’s heavily accented, badly spoken Thai. “I have relieved her so she can eat dinner,” she answered in near perfect English and handed Mike his key.
“Okay, see you later,” he said and went to his room.
He didn’t have much time. Randy would be at the Music Lover’s Bar before long. He rushed through his shower and put on fresh clothes. He left the room without noticing the female clothes in the closet or Math’s suitcase resting on top.
In the parking lot, the guard again went through his hand motions. Mike smiled and made walking motions with his fingers. The guard shook his head and smiled back. At the Music Lover Bar he was given his usual warm welcome. He was a good customer, one who never caused problems and always paid his bill. Wan, the bar’s mama-san, sat across from him and asked him many questions about his new girl.
He answered most of them before telling Wan that Math had gone back to Phitsanulok and probably wouldn’t return. On hearing that, Wan introduced him to a new girl at the bar and suggested he take her home. He only smiled and shook his head. Wan knew he never took girls from the bar.
Ten o’clock came but Randy hadn't arrived. Mike ordered another beer. At ten fifteen Randy was still absent, so he ordered one more. Where in bloody hell is Randy? he grumbled to himself. Maybe Randy had received a call from his home or from the office. Not likely on a Saturday night but certainly possible.
By ten thirty Mike had finished his third beer and had ordered the fourth. His soberness from the shower had faded and the numbing cloud of alcohol had returned. At ten forty-five Randy arrived and he didn’t look happy.
“Who pissed you off?” Mike asked as Randy took a seat.
Randy didn’t answer. Instead he ordered a beer for both of them. After the beers arrived and Randy had had a healthy swallow, he turned to Mike, “When did your friend Math go to Phitsanulok?”
In spite of the hot night, Mike felt a cold chill start at the base of his neck and work its way down both arms and up across the top of his head. “Two or three days ago. Why do you ask?”
“No reason, really,” Randy answered, nonchalant. “Just curious.”
“Bullshit,” Mike blurted. “First you show up forty-five minutes late, second you start your conversation with a question on something you don’t even care about, and then you act like it means nothing. God damn you, Randy. What the fuck is going on? What in the hell are you getting at?”
Randy didn't reply. He sipped on his beer and looked like he was in deep thought. Finally he turned to Mike and sighed. “It didn’t take me long to shower and change clothes. I had some time to kill so I decided to walk here and save the baht-bus fare. By the time I reached Soi 2, the beers drank at the TQ had kicked in and I had to piss like a racehorse. I went to the two-baht john on the south side of the bars on Soi 2. You know the one I mean?”
“Well,” Randy continued, “After I finished in the john, I had to walk through the bars to get back to Second Road. That’s where I saw her.” Randy hesitated.
“Saw who?” he asked.
“Well, you know,” Randy stammered.
“You mean you saw Math?”
“I’m not sure, but I think it was her. If it wasn’t, it was her twin sister.”
“What did you say to her? What did she say?”
Randy paused before answering, “I didn’t say anything. I didn’t stop. She was with another man, a farang.”
Mike felt as if his heart had been ripped from his chest and thrown on the bar in front of him. “Are you sure it was her? I know you have met her, but maybe it wasn’t her. You know how many of these people look alike to us.”
Randy sighed and slumped in his seat. “I don’t know 100% for sure, but it really looked like her. I might be wrong, and god knows I hope I am. I can tell by the way you have been acting lately that you like her very much. If you weren’t my friend, I would just laugh and forget the whole thing, but I can’t. I wouldn’t want you to hide anything like this from me. I don’t want you to believe something that isn't true. We’ve both seen these girls set guys up just to get money from them. I'm not saying that's what’s going on or anything. I don’t know what to think. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it wasn’t her.” For a moment Randy was silent, then he muttered, “I almost didn’t come to meet you. I wasn’t sure what to do. Now I wish I’d never said anything.”
Mike picked up his beer, finished it in one long swallow and then ordered another. He sat there drinking, thinking, and moping. He had fleeting images of Math sitting with another man and it made his scrotum tighten in reflex. His anger built each time the thought entered his head. He chugged the beer. “Thanks for telling me what you saw,” he said, setting the empty bottle on the bar. “Don’t worry about telling me because it’s not important. She doesn’t mean anything to me. She can do whatever she wants. I'm not her father or her husband or her boyfriend.”
Randy knew Mike was lying. His voice and his face betrayed his words.
Mike asked for his bill to be totaled and stood up from the barstool. He wobbled slightly.
“Where are you heading?” Randy asked. “You’re still going to Soi 8 with me, aren’t you?”
“Maybe, maybe not,” he answered. “Right now I’m going to Soi 2.” Without waiting for his bill, he threw 500 baht on the bar and walked away.
Randy reached for his wallet, threw another 500 baht on the bar, and hurried to catch up. “Hey Mike. I still have that ten baht piece. What say we take a baht-bus to Soi 2?”
Soi 2 was only three blocks away, but tonight it seemed like a very long three blocks. Mike agreed and they flagged down the next baht-bus that passed by.
When they arrived, Mike asked, “Which bar? I want to see her, but I don’t want her to see me. Know what I mean?”
Randy nodded. “It’s down here.” He led the way.
On Randy’s cue they stopped. Randy pointed and Mike looked. The girl’s back was toward them and he couldn’t get a good view, but from this angle it surely looked like Math.
“I can’t see her face,” Mike whispered, his words slurred.
“Just wait a minute,” Randy said. “Maybe she'll turn around.”
The girl was sitting beside a foreigner, a farang - a very big farang. She appeared to be talking to the man and a girl behind the bar. Sometimes Mike could hear them laugh, but he couldn’t hear their conversation. Three times the farang put his arm around the girl and she didn’t pull away. After what seemed like an eternity, she turned and looked in the direction of the Toy Bar. Mike got a perfect look. It was Math. For a moment he thought he was going to either hyperventilate or burst into rage. “I’ve seen enough. I’m leaving now.”
“Where are you going?” Randy asked. “Let’s go to Soi 8 and forget about that whore-bitch.”
Mike gave Randy a look that could kill. “She’s not a whore and she’s not a bitch. She is a cunt. I don’t know where I’m going, but right now it’s anywhere but here.”
Randy’s face flushed. “Do you want me to say anything to her? I will, if you want.”
“Tell her to go fuck herself,” Mike said, then turned and walked away.
Randy watched his friend leave and debated what to do next. He was already in trouble with his new girlfriend because he was late. On the other hand, another couple of minutes wouldn’t make much difference. He walked toward the bar where Math sat with the big farang.