“Come on, man. I’d like to get some sleep before that radio interview tomorrow.” I grew impatient waiting on Seyer. He took his time paying the bill and flirted with the brunette at the cash register. The pickup lines rolled off his tongue as if it was his first language.
“Every time we go somewhere, I swear. What are you going to do with that number anyway? You know you’ll probably never see that girl again.”
“Always next trip. You should try it sometime.”
Rain-soaked us outside, hitting us with big pellets as we ran for the shelter of Seyer’s Hummer. The storm demonstrated its strength, whipping precipitation at us with forceful winds and of course, Seyer’s remote-key chose that moment to malfunction.
“Quit playing man! Open the damn door!” It rarely rained in Jenithiyah, but when it did, it breezed through like a hurricane. I had to clutch the handle of the Hummer to stay upright.
“You think I’m not trying to? The damn piece a shit’s not working.”
“Just use the key!”
The fool still stood there hammering it against his palm as if it was going to make it magically work.
“Getting wet here, Seyer!”
“Son-of-a-bitch!” My friend dropped the blasted thing into a pit of water and had to submerge himself all the way to his forearm to retrieve it, spitting out every curse in his arsenal as he did. “Damn thing definitely won’t work now.” And he finally resorted to the old fashion method of unlocking his Hummer.
“Now that’s funny,” I teased him as I climbed inside.
“You want to walk, Hart?” Seyer brooded as he started that beast of a motor. “I am not in the mood for this.”
“I don’t see us going too far if this rain doesn’t let up.”
It reminded me of a Southern sleet, coming down with chunks of ice that bounced off the windshield. Fifteen minutes had barely gotten us a mile down the road and we were an hour and a half away from our destination.
“Damn it.” Seyer lit his third cigarette. The man smoked like a freight train when he was annoyed and the storm had obviously pissed him off. Seyer was the right now, this instant type of guy. He had no patience for slow paces, long lines, or any kind of waiting.
“So much for getting to Green Valley early.” I turned off the annoying GPS on the dash. Even she couldn’t make up her mind with the wind disrupting her signal.
“Shit!” Seyer cursed the rapidly swishing windshield wipers, that did nothing to ease the view, and the headlights that barely pierced the darkness.
That storm screwed up my plans of lazing around the next morning. Instead, I would have to travel half the morning, then hit the gym for a rigorous workout before heading to back to back radio interviews. Not to mention a quick practice session before show time because it would be a sin if my moves didn’t synchronize perfectly with my opponent’s.
I squinted and pointed at a flashing blur. “Look there! What does that sign say?”
“It’s a run-down motel,” Seyer growled. “There has to be something better.” Lightning illuminated the road shortly, revealing nothing but tall trees and road.
“The exit could be miles away. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like crawling along the highway in this oversized beast all night.”
And I didn’t feel like staring at that stream of water on the windshield that reminded me of the wall of tears that I mannishly held in.
“Fine,” Seyer relented, veering into the parking lot of a one-level motel. It had ten rooms … maybe … from what I could see. A far cry from our normal luxury destination, but it would have to do.
“Your treat,” Seyer spat as he hopped out of the oversized vehicle. “I paid for dinner.”
“Hey!” We turned toward the sound of a woman’s voice. Corrine Hunter, the head scriptwriter, hurried through the rain carrying a polka-dotted umbrella that was barely winning its battle against the wind.
“Are you stuck here too?”
The petite redhead walked a bit sideways to fight the storm while dragging a large suitcase behind her.
“Yeah, we couldn’t see a thing in this.”
“We?” I squinted to see behind her, shielding my eyes with my hand to prevent the water from running into them.
“What the hell is that?” Seyer stood beside me, hollering over the wind. He tilted his head toward the most outlandish woman I had ever laid my eyes on. She donned thick fur and juggled a rolling bag, two suitcases, and a huge purse.
“That’s Cady DeBosa, the owner’s daughter,” Corrine quickly introduced.
“She sure is … fashionable,” Seyer smirked, his eyes lighting up with mischief.
“Be nice,” Corrine demanded, tucking a curl of orange hair back into her ponytail.
“What? Look at her? If she sticks that nose in the air any higher, this rain is going to drown her.” Seyer seemed amused watching the woman struggle to catch up in her five-inch stilettos that sunk in the dirt parking lot with each step.
“Cady, this is Seyer and Ethan.” Corrine introduced us quickly, raising an eyebrow to warn Seyer.
“Don’t say it,” I mumbled, knowing Seyer had something lurking on the tip of his tongue. “Hi, Cady.”
“Let’s get inside this roach motel before we all look like that soaked rat she’s wearing.” I doubt it’s what he wanted to say.
“There are roaches in there? I’m not staying here.” Cady held her scarf to her mouth as if she would catch something.
“Suck it up, Princess. None of us want to stay here.” Geeze my friend could be an ass.
If the receptionist noticed our arrival, she did a very good job of ignoring us.
Seyer rang the bell on the counter smearing a sarcastic smirk across his face.
“Forty-five dollars. Cash only.” Without looking up, the girl at the check-in counter spoke, obviously resenting our interruption.
“I don’t have cash!” Cady became instantly hysterical and used an annoying helpless victim tone that caused Corrine to pinch the bridge of her nose.
“I got it.” Anything to stop her whining. She reminded me of a small frustrated child, unable to think for herself and dependent on the support of her mama and daddy. I felt sorry for Corrine and grateful that I didn’t have to bunk with the woman. “Two rooms please.”
“Check out is at ten.” The woman behind the counter was a bit busty with an obvious Italian background, not that anyone knew what Italian meant in Jenithiyah.
“Are you buying or what?” She tapped long, impatient talons on the counter while I inspected the contents of my wallet and she wreaked of cheap hairspray. I guess it took a ton to hold that big, teased look. I could have choked on the fumes, but that didn’t stop Seyer. Oh no. If they were female, he was all over them.
I counted out bills hoping he would spare me from embarrassment, but he tried his luck and the woman responded by pointing to a handmade sign, her eyes still on the television while she placed the money in the register.
No wake-up calls. No room service. No housekeeping and NO! I don’t come with the room!
She gave us metal keys with large wooden slabs attached. Seyer and I stared at the objects, then looked at each other, with mirrored twisted smirks and cocked eyebrows. I didn’t know whether to laugh or tremble. Motel keys didn’t normally come with tree trunks, but at least I wouldn’t have to worry about Seyer losing the damn thing this time.
“Friendly place,” Seyer muttered as the woman slammed the partition shut. “Run ahead and unlock. I’ll move the Hummer.”
I walked swiftly to the very last room and slipped the key in the lock.
“Hurry up, man,” Seyer complained. He had parked, unloaded the girl’s belongings, gathered our bags and I was still standing there fiddling with the lock.
“It’s a piece of crap. Damn, what is it with locks tonight?” The women had no trouble entering their room and it was downright comical that we’d had such bad luck with every key we touched that night and … this one … I half expected the door to fall over, leaving the rusty doorknob untouched. I dared to jiggle the key harder. Finally, it gave.
I instantly wished it hadn’t opened. I wanted to hold my breath and ban the musty stench from my nostrils and the room was freezing cold.
“Be careful. There might be a body hidden in the closet,”
“Well if there is, you’re dragging it out.”
“Please tell me there’s heat,” Seyer complained.
I blew into my hands. I swear it was warmer outside. Geeze, I think that girl gave us the key to an old meat locker.
I searched the wall. Ah-Ha! Something modern in that wreck of a building. I touched the screen on the wall and a loud roar killed the silence. “New control. Old system. Nice.”
“Look at that wallpaper!” Seyer exclaimed laughing at the lime green paper with the pink and blue swirls. Goldenrod bedspreads didn’t help. Nor did the twin nightstands with green-tinted imitation wood coverings. Someone had carved ’Dean Loves Abbie’ on the top of one.
“The owner must be a fan of the nineteen seventies,” I retorted.
“You know I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Of course. Seyer didn’t understand the styles and cultures of the past. He hated history and only cared about living in the moment. “I got dibs on the remote!”
Seyer jumped across the bed in an attempt to snatch it up before I could. Both of our hands landed on it at the same time, but it didn’t budge. What the hell? They bolted it down!
“That’s what you get.” I rubbed my arms. “Damn, it’s not getting warmer at all.”
“That’s why I’m getting into bed. It may be funky looking, but it has to be warmer than standing here in these wet clothes. I don’t even want to think about what’s hiding in this mattress.”
“Couldn’t be worse than what’s accumulated in the back of your Hummer.”
“Ha-ha. You’re a real clown tonight,” Seyer growled sarcastically as he stripped to his boxers and jumped into the bed. “Don’t take your heartbreak bullshit out on me.”
I followed my friend’s lead. It took a moment to get comfortable beneath the frayed threads. A rogue spring stabbed, and I beat away lumps. Finally, I settled using all four pillows to cushion my back against a wobbly headboard.
I sighed. There was still something missing. I had my laptop, my phone, the television was on and … I had the usual empty spot beside me in the double bed. Did it always have to be a double bed? Damn hotels.
I glanced at Seyer with his computer on his lap, headset looped around his ears, and phone in his hand. There was no use trying to converse with him. I opened my own computer. I figured I might as well join him because if I wasn’t on his screen, Seyer wouldn’t respond. He was obviously playing Torel, a virtual world with endless gaming possibilities and I thought about dusting off my dormant character until I heard Seyer’s deep, flirty jabber. It sounded like he had run into his favorite female avatar and his virtual room would be locked for hours.
I leaned over the bed and dug in my duffle bag for the leftover amenities from my last limo ride, hoping it would make the night a little more interesting. Maybe I could drown my sorrows in alcohol. Being sober sure hadn’t helped me hash out my feelings and darting site to site seemed a lot more fun after the third mini bottle.
I ended up on Chatter. Chuckling at some of the silly fan comments beneath my status. I watched the little bubble that contained what the website called C.R., short for Chatter Responses. They came so fast I could barely read them. Everything I posted on the site received the same amount of attention. I could have said, ‘Boo!’ and a thousand people would have commented.
C.R. to your Post:
The best night would be with you. Rain or shine. – EthanFan28
It’s my birthday. All I want is a reply from Ethan Hart! – Sara MWC
I’d love to go anywhere with you! – GlitterGirl22
Geeze, nobody got my question. The women all wanted me. They wanted to sleep with me. They wanted to date me. Kiss me. They wanted to be my one and only. Just because I was a face on the television screen.
I should have been flattered. Some of them were drop-dead gorgeous. I mean the right off the movie screen, straight from a fantasy amazing. Then there were some … that were just … well, I’ll be nice.
I could take my pick and I welcomed the support but I wasn’t looking for a fangirl. I needed someone real. A natural beauty. I wanted a woman who looked the same when she took her makeup off as she did with it on. If that was possible. I wanted to laugh with someone, talk with someone without it giving me a tremendous headache. You know, the heavy feeling you get in your eyes and shoulders when you’re trying too hard not to trip on your own tongue. When you’re debating every word just to make sure you say the right thing.
C.R. to your Post:
I would cuddle up under the blankets and watch a good movie. – Velvet Rose
A genuine smile crossed my lips. Someone actually got it. A woman about my age from Coeur De’ Lile, the biggest city on the island of Jenithiyah, the very place that had kicked off my career. Maybe desperation caused me to think of it as an omen … or boredom. Whatever it was, I had nothing to lose if I replied.
2Velvet Rose: That’s exactly what I’m doing.
Who was this woman that shared a tiny interest with me? Curiosity, or maybe the alcohol, fueled my clicks, making me feel like a stalker. I accepted her friend’s request and I went to her profile, read her bio, her interests then found my way to her photo album.
Velvet Rose was a pretty woman with long blonde waves. She appeared petite with curvy hips and stunning pouty lips. But, it was her eyes, that demanded most of my attention. Green? Blue? A combination. Yes. Bluish-green. Maybe it depended on the angle in which the light caught them. Okay, that was hot.
I browsed her posts hoping to view the window to her soul.
‘Sometimes I feel like I have to say goodbye too often.’
I lifted an eyebrow. It was somewhat sad. Did it have a significant meaning? I scrolled further, through simple, everyday life sort of stuff. A mix of cute, funny and some … slightly desolate. She seemed sweet. Kind.
A surge of warmth traveled through my skin. I felt an instant connection. I didn’t know her at all but sensed something almost angelic about her. I needed more. I had to have more … there was nothing too personal posted on her wall, so, I went back to her photos for another look. She looked smart in her profile picture. A close-up, wearing a pair of black-rimmed glasses and a white button-down shirt.
I clicked on the photo gallery and I stared at the beauty lounging on the beach. I lingered on the legs of a real woman, not too big, not crafted in the gym, and I blushed as my eyes fell on scantily covered breasts. My heart palpitated and I had to take a deep breath to head off an unscheduled erection.
“What the hell is wrong with me?” I ran a hand over my hair and down my face. Pictures never did anything for me before. A woman had to be standing right in front of me to do cause stimulation.
She replied again! I felt like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. Caught. Even though she resided thousands of miles away from my location, a surge of embarrassment rushed through me. It had definitely been a dirty deed on my part. If she knew the things I was thinking … but she couldn’t know. How could she?
2Ethan Hart: It’s amazing that we have something in common even though we live in very different worlds.
2Velvet Rose: Just because I’m on TV doesn’t make me different from everyone else.
2EthanHart: I don’t think all celebrities would agree with you.
2Velvet Rose: I know who I am and I know the fans are the reason Jenithiyah knows my name.
2Ethan Hart: I should be honest and confess. I’m not really a fan.
2Velvet Rose: LOL. Honesty. I like that. So whose fan are you?
2Ethan Hart: I am not a wrestling fan at all.
That brought a chuckle.
2Velvet Rose: What did you do? Stumble upon my profile by accident?
2Ethan Hart: My best friend is to blame. She thought it would be funny to reply using my account.
Heartbreak. With an open-mouthed smile, I grasped my chest. Mocking a bullet through the heart. I fell over, then jolted upright again. Maybe I shouldn’t have gulped down all those mini whiskey bottles.
2Velvet Rose: Ah, so your friend has a thing for me? Let me guess. Shy?
2Ethan Hart: Well, that’s something no one’s accused her of before. LOL. I made a comment to her about you once and it sort of blew up from there.
2Velvet Rose: A good comment I hope.
2Ethan Hart: Hey, if I’m stuck watching, it’s nice to have something hot to look at.
2Velvet Rose: I’m blushing.
“Are you really that bored, dude?” Seyer, laptop cast aside, watched me from his propped up position with that blasted phone in his palm.
“Apparently not as bored as the man reading my every post,” I sarcastically snapped with an edge of criticism.
“What the hell has crawled into your panties tonight, dude? You’re biting my freakin’ head off every time I open my mouth.” Seyer turned his back on me. “Screw you, man!”
I wasn’t in a joking mood. Not from Seyer. Not about this subject. I knew it wasn’t my friend’s fault I felt miserable, but the guy had no clue what it felt like to have his heart ripped right out his of chest, then watch it walk out with a woman and I’d be damned if I let him mock the bandaid I had found to numb my pain. Okay, I knew I was being a bit of an ass, but at that moment, I needed a quick cure and the rare Chatter Rose I’d found was just the medicine I needed.