What does one do when left stranded at an airport?
|“Yes!” she furiously yelled into the phone, her eyes glaring. “He just abandoned me at the airport. Let me sleep right through the boarding call! Can you believe that shit?”
“That weasel! Her sister hissed. “Why would he even think of doing something like that?”
Jill took a deep breath.
“Listen, I didn’t think we were ever going to end up in this situation, but here goes. We were headed to South Carolina for couples counseling. We have not been getting along for quite a while. We didn’t want anyone to be concerned, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. “
“Oh my God Jill…you should have, I’m your sister”
“and now here I am, no flight, no car, I’m stranded. What the hell am I going to do?”
“Let me see if I can help, I can look into getting your ticket refunded and…” her voice trailed off.
“No, No... I’ll handle it. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, and I don’t want to bother you with it, I just freaked out. I mean my husband just took off. “
“I’m so sorry Jill.” her sister whispered.
“I’ll be fine, I love you. Talk soon, okay?”
And with that, she hung up the call. Standing in the middle of the terminal, looking bewildered and lost.
“Shit! That asshole.”
She sat back down at the terminal for a while and pondered all the things that had gone wrong in their marriage. She was thinking more about his part of it than anything because she was so damn pissed right now. He had a drinking problem before she married him, that should have been a red flag. He had an affair with one of her co-workers he had met at a work party. But they got through those mishaps with counseling. Or so she thought. Maybe the counseling really didn’t help and he was just hanging on to avoid divorce. She was a workaholic, sometimes staying at work until midnight. Isn’t that what CEOs do though? How else does the company get run correctly? A micromanager at her finest.
Startled by a tap on her shoulder she whipped around to find herself face to face with a man. He had a chiseled jawline, salt and pepper hair, and eyes as blue as the ocean. She wiped her face and apologized for her appearance.
“Can I help you?” she mumbled.
Reaching out he said “I’m Dave” I hate to be nosy but I overheard your dilemma. Anything I can do?”
She looked down while he sat and she explained what happened.
“Wait, you were headed to the marriage retreat in South Carolina? At the Marriott Hilton Head?”
She shook her head in agreement, taping at her tears.
“I’m the one running that retreat! I think you should still go” he said emphatically. “This could be a real positive breakthrough for you.”
She smiled and looked at him. Those eyes so sincere, and honest.
“Oh, I don’t know, what’s the point now? I have already missed my plane, and “she stopped in mid-sentence looking down picking at her damp tissue.
“Listen, I am on the next flight over there. Let’s see if you can get your ticket switched to this flight. Honestly, this could be your turning point. I promise I will make it worth your while.”
“Hell” she laughed, “Why the hell not?”.
The plans were set and they were off to sunny South Carolina within an hour. They managed to coerce two people to switch seats and chatted during the flight. They were at perfect ease talking and even had a few things in common. He talked about “his story” and how his wife walked out and left him years ago. There was no notice, and he hadn’t seen her since.
“This is why I started Marriage Markers. I went through what you are going through. It’s not just about making marriages work; it’s about finding boundaries and if it’s right at all”. He was smiling. “Besides you’re beautiful, and I don’t like to see beautiful women cry” he spoke with enthusiasm as if telling her he knew it was going to be okay.
He gazed at her with adoring eyes. Eyes that had not seen this beauty in quite some time. She had hair of sun-kissed gold and eyes that looked like emeralds. Her eyes were soft and gentle. He was mesmerized.
Arriving at the Marriott she approached the counter skeptical that he was staying in the hotel, and the look on her face must have been obvious because the gentleman behind the counter brought it to her attention.
“Are you looking for someone Miss?”
She approached the counter and paused, taking a deep breath.
“I’m looking to see if Wayne Stenson has checked in?”
She was biting the corner of her lip. Dave was checking into his room but right beside her for support. A few clicks and the gentleman behind the desk cleared his throat.
“Mrs. Stenson, I presume?”
“Yes,” she said with realizing she was rolling her eyes. Her body language and shift of her feet were showing her uneasiness. She was afraid of what he was going to tell her…and what the hell she was going to do…if he was there.
“Mrs. Stenson, it appears that your husband canceled the room this morning. I’m so sorry. “he said with an honest expression of concern.
“Did he re-book another room by chance? Here, at the hotel?”
With a few clicks, she had the answer she expected.
“I’m sorry. He did not re-book another room in this hotel. Would you like to book a room now? “There is an event here this weekend, and there are only a few rooms left. Now would be the time. “
“Well, I am actually here for the event and ---”
“Could you give us just a moment? Dave said to the gentleman behind the counter with a grin, and one finger in the air indicating he needed just a few seconds.
“Listen, Jill… I could allow you to stay in my room. I booked an adjoining room in case of emergencies or crisis moments. It’s not a problem and it’s on me. “
“Dave, I couldn’t, I mean someone could really need that room … “
“Well I think this is a pretty critical situation, and I would like to help any way I can. Please, it would make me so happy when I can help people out in critical times. “
” She tapped a foot and pursed her lip. Her eyes were darting back and forth looking at the ground in quick but desperate measures.
She glanced up at Dave and returned his smile.
“Dave I would be honored to take you up on your offer. Thank you so much.”
Dave glanced at the gentleman behind the counter, who was smiling from ear to ear.
“I have her covered. She will stay in my adjoining room.”
“Very well Mr. Sewell, enjoy your stay. Room service will be along shortly. “
They reached around each other and embraced. The embrace was something out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. The kind of hug where you have just fallen in love… but scared to death at the same time.
“Dave, why are you being so kind to me? You really don’t know me. I could be a psycho killer.” she laughed.
“Nice try, already thought of that and decided against it,” he said grinning. “I’ve been in your place Jill, and I just want to help is that a crime?”
She looked at him, into the eyes of ocean blue serenity. He was masculine and sexy.
“Dave, I feel like I have known you all my life. You have been so open, and easy to talk to. Almost like we were put here together on purpose.”
“It turns out that I feel the same way. They say when occurrences like this happen not to question it, just roll along.”
The bellman loaded their luggage on the gold-rimmed luggage cart, and they headed up to the room.
Except, it wasn’t just any room. It was the executive suite overlooking the ocean. She was in awe. She almost danced to the balcony and felt the ocean breeze on her face, watching the moonlight dance across the ocean. She closed her eyes and listened to the sound of the waves crashing on the pristine white beaches below. It was truly the happiest and most relaxed she had been
for years. Dave settled with the bellman and brought here a glass of cabernet.
“This is stunning Dave” she looked at him with a new found peace within her.
Over glasses of red wine they laughed and told stories of younger days. Even had a minute of silent adoration. They unpacked their bags and decided to take a walk to the beach. The conference didn’t start until tomorrow and so the night was free. And she needed the peace and happiness that engulfed her.
There was a winding boardwalk path littered with ponds and lilies throughout. Large coy fish and bridges with swings for enjoying the scenery. Fountains and soft lights were scattered throughout the ponds and the path led all the way to the beach. It was relaxing and peaceful. They stood on the landing at the top of the steps before walking down to the beach.
Dave’s hands were gentle as he reached for her.
She turned to him looking into his eyes. He gently pulled her chin to him and kissed her. A sweet, soft, kiss. Jill’s knees went weak.
She smiled leaving her eyes closed for a few more seconds.
They walked down by the water and splashed in fun. And then Jill stopped.
“I’ll be damned,” she said her lips pursed.
“What, what is it, Jill?”
She was pointing a long red-painted fingernail in the direction of two people.
“You see that couple over there? The one holding hands and kissing? Well, that’s my husband!”
Dave looked closer and took a step back.
“I’ll be damned.” he almost choked.
“I know, right?”
“Nooo, that’s not what I’m talking about”
He was a slight shade paler than before.
He looked again and looked at Jill. He relaxed and managed a grin.
She spun around staring at him half laughing half surprised.
“Dave, what is it?”
He looked at her and just smiled.
“He’s kissing my wife.” he chuckled.