Lies, Sacrifices, and Alibis

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Chapter 18

When we landed in California, we were the first ones off the plane. That was another benefit for first class tickets: first ones on and first ones off.

I knew California was hot, but I wasn’t expecting the blast of hot air, as soon as I exited the plane. Once we hit the end of the steps, my jersey came off, revealing the tank top underneath. “Damn! It’s hot!”

“…an’ let the strippin’ commence.”

“Ha-ha.” I looked around. She was right about one thing. We had barely stepped off the airplane and I could already tell how magnificent this place was. There were palm trees located here and there and exquisite bushes. I couldn’t tell if they were native to California or shipped in, but I didn’t care either. “It’s beautiful here!”

“I told ya it’d be perfect an’ the best thing is ya don’t have to worry about runnin’ into your…” she wiggled her brows. “…baby daddy at home.”

“True, as long as he’s not on vacation too.”

“Oh yeah. That’s easy, just make sure he’s not.”

“How do I do that without tellin’ him all about me?”

“You’re on a mission, so just make shit up. Tell him whatever he wants to hear.”

Lying to Mike was hard enough, but he totally deserved it. However, she was pushing me into lying to someone else. Now, I know this whole trip was nothing but a farce. It wasn’t so much of a vacation as it was a mission to get pregnant. However, that didn’t mean that I had to lie to everyone I came into contact with, but it was looking like I had to do just that.

I frowned. “Isn’t that lyin’ to the poor guy?”

“Hello? What do ya think you’re gonna be doin’, Alicia?”

Ah. Yes. She had a point. “Right. I booked us two separate rooms, with adjoinin’ doors, under our middle names. This way, if Mike tries to call, he won’t know which room I’m in.”

“Ya might have to lie because he’s gonna wanna know.”

It seemed as if the lies were never going to stop. How was I going to keep up with them all?

If you’ve been to one airport, you’ve been to them all. They all have the same people. Some are flying in, some are flying out, some are making out, while others are waving and blowing kisses; it’s all the same.

When we finally made it through checkout, we grabbed the rental car and tried getting out of the parking lot. That brought up a whole new level of idiocy. People parking where they weren’t supposed to and pedestrians walking across the street, stopping traffic, ignoring all the signs.

When Tania and I were trying to decide which hotel to stay in, we went through a list of them. Looking at each pamphlet, trying to determine if it had everything we needed. I wasn’t worried about the cost. Mike caused this, he could pay for it.

The hotel we decided on boasted about making people’s dreams come true. I sure hoped that was the case. Otherwise, I might have to sue for false advertisement. Then again, I hoped it was like Vegas; what happened in California, stayed in California. Minus the baby. I wanted to take something away with me that wasn’t in the brochures.

“Look at all the gorgeous men! My God! I’ve died an’ gone to heaven,” she exclaimed, turning around in her seat, gawking at a man who was walking on the sidewalk. Never mind the attractive woman at his side.

I couldn’t help but laugh. She was hilarious. “You’re like this boy-crazy, Catholic girl, out on break who never gets to see men!”

“They don’t have gorgeous babes like this where we live!” She looked at me, winking. “I think we should move to California.”

I laughed. “Oh yeah. I can see Mike on that one.”

“Okay, so ya might have to leave ’im behind.” She shrugged. “Would that be such an awful thing?”

I turned, staring at her, wide-eyed. “Yes!” Shaking my head, rolling my eyes, I turned back to the driving before me. I turned on the radio. That meant I had to listen to her singing, or at least that was what she called it, instead of talking. Oddly enough, she knew every damn song that played. It took close to an hour, thanks to traffic, but we finally pulled into the hotel parking lot.

The brochures didn’t do it justice. It was huge, built really close to the ocean, almost on a cliff, and very beautiful. The way the brown building highlighted the bright lavender sky, it was like a work of art. When I saw the brochure, I fell in love just on appearances, but that was nothing compared to the real thing.

We were booked into The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. It was a secluded retreat, set on a bluff, overlooking the ocean. It boasted about having three restaurants, a spa, two golf courses, daily exercise groups, fitness center, water aerobics, family board games and videos, six lighted tennis/racquetball courts and ball machines, indoor heated swimming pool and whirlpool, and an oceanfront lawn with fire pits. If that wasn’t enough, there was also: a private lounge with a personal concierge staff, executive business center, signature and sundry shop, beauty salon, jogging/bike paths, babysitting services, valet parking, auto rental services, and transportation services.

I didn’t need all of that, but it was good to know it was there in case someone did. I only needed to find one thing: my baby’s daddy. For ten days, it was almost a thousand dollars per room. It had better live up to its name. I didn’t totally lie to Mike about the name of the hotel, I just omitted a few facts; like the actual name. It wasn’t the same as lying, not really.

Pulling up to the front of the main lobby, we hopped out. They had valet parking, which was almost fifty dollars a night. However, regular parking was still thirty bucks a night. I decided, I wanted Mike to suffer for making me do this, so we waited for the man to come and get the car. While we waited, the door attendant unloaded the trunk, pushing the cart off to the side until we were ready to go into the lobby. I tipped him with a twenty because he was quick. He didn’t let us lift one thing.

Once the valet gave me the ticket, I handed him the keys, and a twenty, and we headed inside. In these big, fancy hotels, it was unheard of to give less than a twenty for a tip. The better you tip, the better your service is going to be. Now, the big corporations will argue that’s not the case, but human nature is more about preserving oneself. If they know that you’re a big tipper, they will go out of their way to make sure you’re happy and keep their tips coming.

Tania checked her watch, motioning for me to hurry. “Let’s hurry an’ get checked in. We wanna get a good spot on the beach before all the hotties start showin’ up.”

“I didn’t realize they moved in shifts.”

“Well sure. Everyone wants to get the hot waves an’ there’s a time for everythin’.”

“I’m sure there’s plenty of time for that. You act as if we’re on a schedule. Relax. We’re gonna be here for ten days. That’s enough time to see all the men ya want.” I winked at her, turning to the hotel. “Hopefully, one that I’m lookin’ forward to meetin’ too.”

Once we entered through the doors, I gasped. Looking around, I thought there couldn’t be a finer hotel for what I planned. The lobby was exquisite! An attendant immediately greeted us with glasses of wine and an assortment for us to try.

When you go to fancy wine tasting places, such as this, they have spittoons for people to spit in. Now, I’m not sure about you, but that seems like a huge waste of money. I might get a little tipsy, but I’m not spitting it out unless it tastes like shit. You’re only supposed to take a sip of it to taste, not a whole glass, so the effects are minimal at best.

After all, how are you going to understand the effects that particular wine has on you if you don’t experience the full flavor? Did it go down smoothly? Did it burn a hole in your gut? Spitting it out, you can’t answer those questions. Swallowing it, you can. Besides, I wanted a head start on what I was about to do. A few drinks in me might ease the nervousness felt.

From what the woman at the front desk told me – though I already read it in the brochures – there was wine tasting every day from noon until ten o’clock at night in the main lobby for a small fee. They liked to get their guests drunk. That filled me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. I could get used to this place. My liver might not like it, but I definitely would. Not one to drink a lot, this just might knock me on my ass!

Once we got to the rooms, I don’t know who was more shocked, Tania or me. The suites were oceanfront, which meant our back door led straight out to a balcony with a fire pit and chairs for six people. The beautiful oceanic scene took my breath away. I never knew clouds could be so many different pretty colors.

The living room area had a pull-out sleeper sofa, coffee table, end tables, and a full entertainment center with a thirty-seven-inch flat screen TV with remote, surround sound speakers, cable, and pay per view movies available. They mounted the TV on the wall above the gas-fueled fireplace. Even though it cost extra – ten dollars a day for the high-speed Internet – I didn’t feel it was necessary. I wasn’t there to get on the computer. The deep, plush, blue drapes hung in front of the sliding glass door, which led straight out to the balcony. However, since we were on the first floor, it was the quickest route to the ocean. I think I was the closest suite to the path on the cliff, leading down to the beach.

The dining area was a table with enough settings for eight people. It was eloquently set as if the hotel expected me to order room service and just have a seat and eat. It was tempting. There were candles on the table, but they were the battery-operated ones. I imagined that lessened the chances in some drunken idiot knocking it over and starting a fire. I didn’t anticipate using the table much. I came to vacation, not cook.

I could only guess that they needed it in case someone wanted to cook in the kitchenette that could fit in a small coat closet. A microwave, tiny refrigerator, and a sink were all it was, but it was enough.

In the bedroom was a king-sized bed, dresser, two nightstands, and a large window that showed the same oceanic view. It was better than the pamphlets promised. The walk-in closet was almost as big as one of my smallest guest rooms which was a good thing; we each brought three bags.

Walking into the bathroom, I just stopped and stared. Everything in it looked to be marble. The tub was big enough for two people, much less just one, and it had a rainfall showerhead with plenty of clean towels and washrags.

Yes, we picked the perfect place.

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