“I couldn’t get time off work. Can we postpone for a month?” Emma Kirk sat on a bench in the garden at the business park that housed her office talking to her husband on phone. She had been dreading this call because this was the third time she was asking him to reschedule their family holiday.
“Come on Emma, can’t you ever put your foot down?” Stanley Peterson said sounding exasperated. “I cannot change my dates anymore because I have meetings scheduled that are pivotal to my business. I guess Luke and I will go without you.”
“You could be more flexible you are not employed….”
“I run my own business Emma, but not on your employer’s schedule. I still don’t get why you are bent on staying employed if you can’t even get a few days off for your family.”
“This is not about that Stan.” Emma said.
“Well Luke and I will be gone for two weeks according to our plan; nothing changes and maybe when we get back you can go again with him if he will accept. I will see you at home.” Stan said and hung up.
Emma sighed and looked at the Salad she had ordered for lunch. She suddenly did not feel hungry. There was no way Luke would accept to go on holiday with her. Her fifteen-year-old son was growing into his father. He was already into the business, spent all his free time playing golf with his dad unlike other teenagers. He was also identical to his father in his looks the only difference was that his skin was darker and his hair curly because Emma was of African origin while Stan was Caucasian. Between her son and husband Emma felt a little left out but she loved the bond and love between them.
She was pulled out of her musings by a cheery voice of Anne Winters. “Hey Anne,” she said standing up. Anne was a hugger.
“I was hoping to catch you before you went back to work!” she said as she pulled away from the hug.
“Why yes Emma! I need Caribbean culinary expertise and you my beautiful soul-sister makes the best Caribbean food I have ever tasted.”
Emma burst out laughing at that. Anne was her best friend. They met six years ago when Emma’s company moved into the business park, but you would think they had grown up together. Anne’s elder brother owned the business park and other businesses in the park. Anne was the general manager for the whole facility.
“Are you hosting a party, or will it be just you and me stuffing our faces?”
“You know how I keep talking about my elder brother, “Anne said excitedly “He is in town with his wife and daughter and I will be hosting them for lunch over the weekend and you are invited as my best friend and cook-mate. Stan and Luke should come too.”
“Of course, I will come. But I will check about Stan and Luke they might have already set up some golfing appointment.”
“Saturday, it’s a date! “Anne chirped. “So, are you going to eat the salad?”
“Spoke to Stan and the appetite flew off.”
“I will eat it.” Anne said taking the salad. “What happened with Stan?”
“My boss asked me to reschedule my leave because of some delays in an acquisition we are working on. So, I asked him to postpone the family holiday and he said they would go without me.”
“Oh, sorry about that” Anne said looking at her friend.
Both women were thirty-five years old though they looked much younger than their age, but Anne was never married and never had long term relationships. She said no matter what age; she would only get married when she meets her soulmate.
“I know you already feel like they are in their own bubble but on the upside you have a man that loves and cares for his child and I am sure they care for you too.”
“I brought this on myself, Stan said he doesn’t get why I still work.”
“Yes! You woman with a rich husband, why are you employed?” Anne said laughing “let someone who needs the job have it.”
“But you forget that I am the right woman for the job and for my own sanity and independence I need the job!” Emma retorted standing up. “Got to get back to work, see you.”
“Love you! See you Saturday.” Anne shouted after swallowing her mouthful of salad.
“Don’t tell me I just missed my future brother in law.” Ace Winters said as he walked to the bench his sister was sitting at with two sandwiches and two bottles of water. “I went to get us lunch, where did you get the salad?”
“I took Emma’s she was having mood swings with her food and I was starving, I will still eat my sandwich.”
“Poor girl, I wonder how she puts up with you. Instead of comforting her you take her food.”
“I too wonder how she puts up with me, but she is amazing, my soul sister and she is so beautiful inside and out, you will see when you meet her, oh she loves books like you.” Emma said.
Ace looked at his sister, she was so animated and happy as she discussed Emma, just like she did every time they talked about her. Anne was a fiery spirit; she spoke her mind and could be very abrasive at times. She was not one to hold on to relationships but for six years now this Emma woman was in her life and she was just as excited about her as she was the first time she told him about her. He couldn’t wait to meet her. With businesses around the Globe he always missed her whenever he came by. Then a thought crossed his mind.
“Anne are you a lesbian?”
“Hell no! I am totally into men. But if it is not that one meant for me and my soul, I will not waste time. Wait! You think I am in love with Emma?” then she burst out laughing “If I was into women I would not hesitate, but I am not into women.”
“It is just how you speak about her. However, I am happy you have a great friend. So, when do I meet her?” Ace said laughing
“You remember when you came, and I was unwell, and my freezer was stocked with Caribbean food and you loved it? Well, she will be cooking on Saturday.”
“I am looking forward to that.”
“Ace Winters! There you are, I have been looking all over for you. Why did you leave your phone in the office?”
Both Ace and Anne turned to look at the beautiful brunette sauntering to them. Leana, Ace’s wife was a strikingly beautiful woman. What she had not been given naturally she got it cosmetically, so she looked perfect. She always said she needed it to match up to her husband who was naturally endowed like a Greek god and seemed to have stopped aging.
“Hi Leana,” Anne said.
“Hey Anne. Your brother here had me worried!” she said, and Anne rolled her eyes. But Leana was already trying to sit on Ace’s lap. “Honey, I booked us a vacation next month. You need a break!”
“That is nice, but you should have asked me first, I committed to speak at the Economic summit and the IT expo next month.” Ace said. “can we reschedule it?”
“Are you sure all those people you have employed cannot handle it?”
“They will be doing their part and I have to do mine.”
Leana turned to her phone and scrunched her face. “I can’t change the dates Ace. It is an exclusive retreat center and it is fully booked for a while. Can we start out then you can join us later? Rhea also has to go for that thing with her friends in the Alps.”
“I did not agree to the Alps trip Leana.” Ace said.
“Let the girl have fun. What do you want her to do? Spend hours in the office with stuffy people in dull colored suits?” Leana said as she eased of Ace’s lap and sat on the bench.
“I will head back to the office.” Anne said and started walking off.
“See you.” Ace called out to her and she waved without turning back.
“Rhea is going for the trip Ace, I have already paid for it and shopped for it. Me and her will go for the holiday, if you can, then join us, I will keep your booking.” Leana said looking at her phone.
“It wouldn’t harm her to spend part of her summer break working, I would like her to get familiar with the business and develop a sense of responsibility.” Ace said.
“Come on Ace you have more money than we could spend in our lifetime, Rhea doesn’t have to work a day in her life. I have never worked, I turned out just fine. Look at your sister, if that is what ….”
Ace cut her short. “Leave Anne out of this.”
“Just saying, the clock is ticking. I know you guys have great genes and all, but age will catch up.” she said standing up. “Be home by seven, we have dinner reservations” she said and walked off.
Leana was the first girl Ace crushed on and he married her. He still remembers his parents asking him to be patient, to be sure first.. Back then he was sure she was the one but over time he realized they lived worlds apart. she lived life of the golden lane. He on the other end loved simplicity. So, he let her live as she liked, their nineteen-year-old daughter had followed in her mother’s footsteps. Ace had the money to sustain their lifestyle, but he would have been happier if his daughter did not have plastic surgery at sixteen, had a summer job, dated men her age group among many other things but Rhea was strictly a mommy’s girl. He loved his family; he was so grateful that Leana loved and raised their child. That was the one thing in her life Leana did not delegate if anything she hoarded Rhea. It was hard even for Ace to get time with that child and then she refused to have a second child because she wanted to focus on Rhea. Ace then learned firsthand that indeed too much of something was poisonous, even a mother’s love. At times though he felt like he was just a provider and nothing else in that house.
He sighed started walking back to the office. At least he still had Anne and Anne had a soul sister. He smiled at the thought.