Ted glanced at his watch. I’ve forgotten how it feels traveling with a woman, he thought to himself. A black Mercedes pulled over close to his car. Lucia got out. The driver took the luggage out of the car and handed it to her.
“Thanks.” The driver nodded and sat back in the car and drove off. Lucia looked around. Ted signaled his driver to go help Lucia with her luggage.
“Let me help you with your bag, ma’am. I’m with Mr. Bourbon.” “Oh, thank you.” Her gaze met his and she walked to him. “You’re ten minutes late,” Ted said coldly.
“Our flight will take off for another fifteen minutes, Ted.”
“We agreed to meet…”
“Yeah I know. Can we go in?” “Sure.”
Throughout the check in points, Ted watched Lucia like a hawk. “Why are you watching my every move?” Lucia asked.
“What, I’m not,” Ted lied.
“Oh yeah? You’re watching me as if I’m going to get lost the next minute.”
“Well, considering the fact that you didn’t even want to come in the first place…”
“Oh come on, I’m here, am I not? Besides, I know my way around the airport, thank you.”
When they got settled in the plane and it took off, Lucia took a magazine from her handbag and began to flip through. Ted put on ear pieces and closed his eyes. About an hour later, they arrived at their destination.
They were driven to a five-star hotel and given rooms opposite each other.
“Thank you,” Lucia said sweetly as she took her luggage from the attendant and gave him a tip. He thanked her and left. She inserted her key card into the door slot and it opened. She turned to see Ted opening his door.
“Would you like to have dinner together after you’ve freshened up?” Lucia asked.
“No thanks; I’ll just order room service. Goodnight,” he said and closed the door. Lucia stood frozen at the spot with a dropped jaw.
“Oh okay, if that’s how you want to play it, I’m all in,” she said and entered the room.
“Jerk!” she muttered when the door closed behind her.
Later when she was warmly wrapped in her night-robe, enjoying a bowl of ice cream on her comfortable queen-size bed, she heard a knock on the door. A spoonful of ice cream paused right at her lips.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me,” Ted answered.
“Okay, what do you want?” “Um…just checking up on you. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, my dad didn’t ask you to check up on me, did he?”
“No, he didn’t.” He chuckled. There was silence for some seconds.
“Are you going to open the door or are we going to continue this conversation shouting across this door?” Ted asked.
“I’m fine with the distance,” Lucia said with a shrug, licking her spoon clean.
“Come on Lucia, open up.” Lucia moaned in reluctance as she got out of her little comfort zone. She opened the door halfway and leaned on it.
“What is it, Ted?”
“I’m sorry for blowing you off earlier.”
“May I come in?”
“I’m in my night-robe.”
“So? It is not like you’re naked.” “You’ve ten seconds to tell me what you want before I slam this door in your face.”
“I wish we could talk about tomorrow’s meeting…”
“You want to talk business during non-official hours? Sorry, I’m not up for it.”
“It’s Monique, Ted.”
“What?” “Lucia was the sweet nurse who took care of you in the hospital, she’s gone. I am Monique, the daughter and heiress of Mr. Fitzgerald Baker and his enterprises; we are two different people. So don’t call me Lucia. I’m not her anymore.” “But…”
“And your ten seconds are up. Goodnight.”
“Wait…” The slam of the door stuck the rest of the words in his mouth. He sighed and entered his room.
Lucia stood in front of the mirror, putting on her earrings when Ted knocked on her door the next day.
“Are you ready?”
“Almost; I’m coming.” She opened the door and turned back inside. Ted paused at the door when he saw her unzipped dress. She turned to look at him.
“What is it?”
“Nothing…thought you were dressed.”
“I am; just give me five minutes.” “You mean fifteen minutes.” “Don’t start, Ted.” She put on the second earring and reached behind her to zip up the dress. “Leave that to me,” he said softly as he took her hands away and zipped her up. A slight moan escaped her throat.
“Nah, I’m good. Soon, I’m not going to fit in this dress, though.” “Looks good on you.” She stared at him in the mirror.
“What, is it wrong to give a lady her due compliments?” She took a necklace from its case and tried it around her neck. He took over and put it on her.
“It’s perfect.” His hands rested on her hips. They stared at each other in the mirror. Lucia felt his fingers slowing digging into the dress. She held her breath. Ted’s phone rang. He took his hands from her body and took the phone from his pocket to answer it.
“Hello.” He listened.
“We’ll be right there.” He canceled the call.
“He’s here.” Lucia put on her shoes.
“Do I look okay or am I a little overdressed?”
“As I said before, perfect.” Lucia smiled. She took her purse and they left the room.
“Nice meeting you two. You two do look good together. You’ll make a great team,” Mr. Scott complimented.
“Thanks, Mr. Scott.”
“This is my private card. You can call me anytime,” He said, handing it to Ted.
“Thank you,” He said, glancing at it.
“I’ll take my leave now. I’m sure you two have other things planned for a day beautiful as this,” He said, winking at Lucia. “We sure do.” The two gentlemen stood and shook hands. Mr. Scott shook Lucia’s hands. Lucia got up.
“I’ll go ahead and start packing up,” she told Ted.
“We’re leaving, right?” “Yeah…but not now.”
“You said we’d leave right after the meeting.”
“Yeah, but at least let’s have lunch first.”
“We just did.”
“I mean…it wouldn’t hurt if we hang around for a few hours, would it?”
“Hang around doing what?”
“Just wait for me, I’m coming.” He went after Mr. Scott who had taken the lead. Lucia shook her head and went up to her room.
There was a knock. Lucia opened the door and Ted entered. “You’ve packed up already?”
“It was just for a night, Ted.” “Why do you want to return home so soon? Do you have something to do back there?”
“Like…getting myself a luxurious manicure and pedicure and body treatment.”
“They offer all those services here,” Ted said.
“Yeah, but I prefer to have it at home. Why do you want to stay?” “To stay away from all the drama back there, even if it is just for another day.”
“Sorry for you but I’m leaving,” Lucia said, taking her suitcase from the bed.
“Because unlike you, I didn’t plan to stay another night. But I’ll stay for just one reason.”
“What is that?”
“If you ask me to.”
“Do you want me to?” He chuckled and gave his hair a light scratch.
“Okay, see you back at home.” He stopped her by the arm. “Please.” She let go of the bag. “Was that so hard?” They both chuckled and he hugged her.
“I missed you so much. Thought I’d never see you again.”
“Who are you referring to?” He let go of her and looked into her eyes.
“I am talking to you. You may be Monique Baker for all I care but you’ll always be Lucia Baker to me. The thing is, I like both of you.”
“You’re pathetic, you know that?” “Yeah I know; I hear that’s what happens when you fall in love,” Ted said. They hugged again.