Lein came into his house just as the phone started to ring. He picked it up right before the answering machine kicked on. “Hello,” he said.
“Lein, it’s Debi. If Perion knew I called you, she’d kill me. She told me about what happened between you guys, but that’s not why I called. We’re all about to take a small side trip to Vegas. I do hope you’re getting what I’m telling you here.”
His heart hammered in his chest. “Clearly.”
“She doesn’t want to do it, not really, but she won’t listen to us. She never has listened to us, but I think she’ll listen to you. You are the only person who can stop her right now.”
“I don’t think she wants to be stopped, at least by me.”
In the background, Lein heard Perion faintly call out, “Get off the phone, we have to catch the plane in a few minutes!”
“She does, believe me, okay? If you show her you really want her, really care about her, she won’t do it. We’re going on a chartered plane at LAX straight to Vegas. It’s happening at a place called True Hearts. If you leave right now, you can get there in time to stop her.” Debi hung up the phone in his ear.
Lein stood paralyzed, not knowing what to do. The woman he had made mad love to was about to marry a man she shouldn’t. She doesn’t want me, he thought, I should back off and let her go. He realistically knew he couldn’t, he had never wanted anyone as much as he wanted her.
Lein made a hectic mad dash to the airport. He’d cursed Los Angeles traffic all the way. He could not let Perion get on that plane, could not let her marry Blaine. He knew if he successfully stopped Perion’s marriage to Blaine, his own life would change immediately. It was a very big step and decision for him. He didn’t honestly know if he was ready for such a change to occur in his life, but he knew if she married Blaine, her life would be over. He couldn’t see Perion giving herself to Blaine for the rest of her life. It wasn’t right. But he felt in his heart that it would be more than right for her to be with him.
Once at the airport, he ran to a chartering reservation’s desk, breaking in line. The billion people in line protested, bitched, cursed, and threatened Lein’s life. He ignored them. They could wait.
“Sir,” the clerk said, “there are others in line ahead of you,” she told him.
He sighed. “I don’t give a fuck who’s in front of me, please, I need to ask a simple question then I’ll get out of your way. Has a plane chartered by either Perion Thorn or Blaine Marion departed for Nevada?”
The clerk tapped some keys on a computer that sat in front of her. “A charter designated for Las Vegas left about fifteen minutes ago, and I do believe the name was Marion.”
Lein drew an inward groan, but he wasn’t about to give up. “Is there anything available for Las Vegas right now?”
Once again, she tapped more keys at her terminal. “No sir, nothing. Not until tonight.”
That was no good. “Nothing? Are you sure?”
The clerk looked at him almost meanly. Her look said: well, why don’t you come back here and see for yourself...I know my job, okay? “I’m sure, sir. If you really need to get to Nevada, you might try the helicopter chartering service on the ground floor.”
Lein didn’t waste any time. He ran downstairs to the other chartering desk. There was no line of people to hamper his mission at hand. “I need to go to Vegas today, right now,” he told the clerk breathlessly.
The clerk, like the other, began to tap yet more keys on a computer keyboard. “Okay, you’re lucky. We just had a cancellation. You can expect take off in about twenty minutes.”
“I need to take off now,” he told him.
Predictably, the clerk tapped more computer keys. Lein wanted to reach over, rip the keyboard out of his hands, and throw the damned thing out of the window. He didn’t, he waited patiently, although his heart hammered crazily from the adrenaline rushing through him. He was so jived up; he could’ve possibly flown to Nevada by flapping his arms alone.
“There is a chopper ready for take off now, but it’s flying some bigwigs to Colorado. I think they’re refueling in Las Vegas. The only thing is, you’ll have to pay extra for emergency take off.”
“I don’t care. I’ll pay whatever it costs.”
“Will that be cash or charge?”
Lein sighed in relief. “Charge.”