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just because by Sid Powell

The constant drone of the airplane engines seemed magnified by the earplugs that formed an airtight barrier prohibiting Monica from hearing the pilot’s updates about their final destination.   She could only assume they had been flying for over five hours at this point and the temptation to rip the blindfold from her eyes was maddening.  In an effort to resist the lure, Monica had been drinking dirty Martini’s back to back and stuffing herself with olives.  As she concentrated on wiggling her toes in her soft first class socks, she made a point to stay fully engaged in the moment.  What she imagined lay in her wait was so scintillating she could barely take the thoughts that were dancing around in her head.  And to think, a virtual stranger, the handsome man sitting next to her had made it all possible.  She let out a long sigh realizing that this was the final item on her dream date list.  Soon it would all be over, a wave of sadness threatened to wash over her just as she felt his hand grab hers gently and then easily slip his fingers in between all of hers.  She couldn’t believe she had only known him for one week and already he had satisfied so many of her deepest desires.  To top it off he hadn’t wanted anything in return.  Sure he had told her it would be a one way street in the beginning but the grown woman in her had screamed that it wasn’t possible.  But it had been.  There had been absolutely no sex, only hand holding and kissing that she had initiated when she became overwhelmed with gratitude.  What was happening to Monica two weeks before her 39th birthday seemed too fucking good to be true, but she didn’t care.     The plane was preparing to land.

*********************************ONE WEEK AGO***************************************

Monica hustled through the private dining area trying to get to her last customer for the night.  He appeared to be a business man but she figured he was probably a married guy trolling for some poor unsuspecting woman to lie to and then embark on a mission to get her into his bed.  She reached him as he was pulling out his wallet.  Unfortunately the carpet beneath her feet betrayed her and sent her sprawling in his direction throwing the liquid out of his scotch glass directly into his chest.  He didn’t flinch.  Monica began apologizing profusely but was hushed by his calm demeanor and reassuring tone.  

“These things happen”, the mysterious man said.  “I guess now’s as good a time as any to make each other’s acquaintance Monica.  He’d been calling her by her name all night.  She’d thought it was attentive but odd.  Most guests didn’t even notice she was wearing a name tag.

“I’m Geoffrey.”

The weight of shame precluded Monica from lifting her hand to shake his.  Geoffrey reached out the extra distance until he was able to grab her delicate hand and shake it softly.  

“You’re really upset aren’t you?” he asked.  “It’s adorable, you’re like a five year old disappointed in herself. “  

Another waitress that had witnessed the debacle sped by handing Monica a roll of paper towels.  Monica immediately started cleaning up the area and then handed some paper towels to Geoffrey who at this point was busy disrobing.  

Monica tried to ignore the wet shirt that stuck to his well defined chest and abs but she couldn’t help but stare hoping he hadn’t notice what she had noticed.  

“I’ll pay for the dry cleaning, don’t worry,” she told him.  

“Do I look worried?” he asked.

The question sent chills up and down Monica’s spine.  There was something about the way he had said it.  As though he didn’t have a care or worry in the world.  She wished she could say the same.  

He sat back down unconcerned with the wetness covering his upper body.  He removed his dress shirt and was now down to a once crisp now slightly soggy white undershirt.  

“I was gonna take a dip in the pool after this last drink anyhow, I look at this as a head start.  Maybe you could join me?” he asked.  

Monica caught her manager’s eye from across the room and knew it was time to move on from the guest.  

“I um, I can’t.  Busy night.” She said.

“Have dessert with me,” he begged with an air of stiff confidence.  

How was he pulling this off?  Begging confidently she thought.

“When?” she asked.

“When you get off,” he replied.

“Where?”

“Just call me when you’re off and I’ll meet you back down here.  I’m in room 780.  He left cash to pay for the tab and her tip and walked away dripping wet.”

Monica watched until she heard her manager clear his throat several yards away shaking her back to her stale reality.  She went on with the rest of her night unable to get Geoffrey out of her mind.  What was she going to do when her shift ended at 11pm?  Would she call him?  How could she, she didn’t even know the man.  He was uber handsome and so charismatic it made her dizzy but this wasn’t the movies.  He could be a serial killer or worse; he could be married.  She decided that she wouldn’t make a decision for another fifteen minutes when the clock would strike 11 releasing her back to her own life and free will.  

“Good night everyone,” Monica broadcasted to anyone within earshot.  

Instead of heading toward the employee parking lot, Monica found herself walking toward a bank of red hotel phones and having a seat next to one of them.  Without thinking she yanked it off of the receiver and dialed 780 then hung up.  

What was she thinking she quizzed herself?  At 39 years old this was the craziest thing she had considered doing.  A sad but definite truth.  She dialed again.  He answered.  Something in her gut told her this would be a seminal moment for her.   

“I’m so happy you called, I’ll be right down.”

Monica looked around the lobby as the nerves began to kick in like a stampeding army of black stallions.  It felt good to be this nervous, she admitted to herself.  As Geoffrey turned the corner she was glad she had made the call.  His smile was so warm, his walk was slow and easy, as though he could never be in a hurry or allow himself to be pressed for anything; definitely not time.   

“Are you ready?” he asked her.  

“I have to wear this,” she said.  

“You look beautiful, let’s go.  I do have one request though, tonight, let your hair down.” Geoffrey politely demanded.  

Monica reached up and released her hair from the tight ‘work’ bun that had been part of her waitressing uniform for the past 6 years.  

Geoffrey laughed lightly.  “I didn’t mean literally, but I’m glad you did let it down.  You’re striking.”

Monica laughed at herself.  Oh I get it you meant that you want me to relax.  I’m an idiot.  

“You’re perfect.” Geoffrey said.

When they reached the curb outside of the hotel a car was waiting.  Geoffrey opened Monica’s door and she slid inside.  He walked around and got in next to her.  

“Any dessert place nearby will do,” he instructed the driver.  

They were off.  

“Are you married?” Monica asked.

“Yes,” Geoffrey said solemnly.

Stop the car.  Uh uh, nope.  Not my kind of party, stop the car, let me out.  

The driver looked in the rear view mirror for the final word from Geoffrey.  

“Whoa, relax, to my work.  I’m married to my work darling.  I see I have to choose my words carefully with you.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Monica said largely embarrassed.  “I just don’t…

Geoffrey interrupted as they pulled up to the dessert bar.  

“Don’t apologize, I get it.  It can’t be easy to be an attractive woman in this jungle these days,” he said.  “But I’m not a wolf Monica, I promise.”  

“Who said I was single?” Monica asked.

Geoffrey smiled a knowing smile, came around to her side of the car, grabbed her hand and helped her out.  

It ended up being one of the finest nights Monica had experienced with a man in all her life.  Who would have thought that so much chemistry could flow between two individuals across a small bistro table in the midst of cheesecake and coffee?  But it had.  There was no denying it.  

When Monica got home that night her roommate was asleep and she was glad.  For some reason she hadn’t wanted to share details about her secret night. She knew that it would be met with criticism and concern and she wanted to enjoy it if only for a moment.  All to herself.  And she did.  She showered and then climbed into bed and texted back and forth with Geoffrey into the wee hours of the morning.  

The next day Monica worked the morning shift for a co-worker and Geoffrey was there in the same spot where she had met him just like he told her he would be.  He also told her that when she got off they would start to knock things off of the list she had given him.  He had insisted she make a list of things she’d always wanted but had never received from past husbands, boyfriends, men in general.  She had fought him on it for the length of time it had taken for them both to finish dessert and coffee but finally she had given in.  She found herself giving in a lot with Geoffrey.

This time instead of calling him to come down when she got off work, she had brought another outfit and snuck up to his room to change.  When he opened the door the smile that spread across his face was so wide that it lit up the hallway.  

“I just love to see you,” he told her.  

She walked into the presidential suite and decided she needed to know more about who this Geoffrey was.  

While in the bathroom changing her clothes she fired off questions the way that only an inquisitive woman could.

“So what exactly do you do? What are you here for?” she yelled through the closed and locked bathroom door.

“I own a software company.  Well I used to.  I started it and then sold it for a ton of money years later and now I just relax.”

From the bathroom the questions were a bit muffled so Geoffrey was glad when Monica appeared.  

“You look great in real clothes, “ He told her.  

“Thanks, that monkey suit doesn’t do me any justice I guess.” She said flopping down on the bed.  It swallowed her in its fabulousness but she quickly jumped up off of it. She remembered her grandmother telling her that sitting on a man’s bed was a sign that you wanted to get in between the sheets with him.  

“What’s wrong?” he asked.  

“Oh nothing, um, we can go now, I’m ready.”

“No more questions?” Geoffrey teased Monica.

“Not till we get in the car, “ she retorted.


The car ride was long and provided the perfect opportunity to drill Geoffrey some more.  They were headed to an outlet mall for a shopping spree, one of the things at the top of Monica’s list enjoying glass after glass of champagne along the way.

“So you’re not married, you swear?” She plead.  

“I swear I’m not married,” he said.  

“And you never have been?” she asked.

“I was married once; my wife passed away, liver Cancer, ten years ago.”

“I’m so sorry,” Monica said.  The champagne made her more emotional than she normally would have been even to hear such sad news as he had to deliver.

“I’m ok, we had a great life together,” he stared into Monica’s eyes.  

“So, is that the going scheme these days?  A man tells you he’s single to get you interested and then when you’re head over heels in love you find out he’s otherwise spoken for?” Geoffrey asked.  

“Not even, they just lie about it the whole time until you get a phone call from their wife or worse, until she shows up at your job.”

“Sad,”he said.  “That’s so unfair.”

The car slowed and Geoffrey and Monica got out.  

“Well, where to first?” Geoffrey prompted Monica for direction.  

“I hope this doesn’t sound tacky but you’ve gotta bear with me, this is my first time being taken on a shopping spree.  I don’t know how to ask you this but…um…

“There’s no spending limit.  I’m confident that you’ll tire out before I run out of money.”

Monica nearly jumped three feet into the air.  She grabbed Geoffrey’s hand and dragged him down to the first store, one of her favorites.  

And the afternoon went just that way.  Geoffrey carried bags until Monica literally couldn’t’ bear to walk into another store.    

When the car arrived and they were stuffing all of the bags in the trunk, Geoffrey watched her intently.  As he opened the car door for her, she kissed him on the cheek.

“You’re happy.”   

“I’m grateful too.” Monica said.

The car ride home consisted mostly of Monica asking more questions about Geoffrey and his past but also his future.  He seemed to want to keep that part close to his chest, his plans for his future.  

The next several days flew by in a whirlwind of treats and adoration of Monica by the beautiful stranger she knew only as Geoffrey.  It was time spent that she could only compare to scenes from some of her favorite movies.   Geoffrey took her out for ballroom dancing lessons and then to an actual ballroom dance.  They went to see all of the Broadway shows on her list which also required flights and hotel stays to get them from Houston where they’d met to New York City; Geoffrey made it all happen so effortlessly.  He’d also bought her the very first pair of real diamond earrings she had ever owned.  And now today, today would be their grand finale.         

The constant drone of the airplane engines seemed magnified by the earplugs that formed an airtight barrier prohibiting Monica from hearing the pilot’s updates about their final destination.   She could only assume they had been flying for over five hours at this point and the temptation to rip the blindfold from her eyes was maddening.  In an effort to resist the lure, Monica had been drinking dirty Martini’s back to back and stuffing herself with olives.  As she concentrated on wiggling her toes in her soft first class socks, she made a point to stay fully engaged in the moment.  What she imagined lay in her wait was so scintillating she could barely take the thoughts that were dancing around in her head.  And to think, a virtual stranger, the handsome man sitting next to her had made it all possible.  She let out a long sigh realizing that this was the final item on her list.  Soon it would all be over she thought as a wave of sadness threatened to wash over.  But just in time, she felt his hand grab hers gently and then he easily slipped his fingers in between all of hers.  She couldn’t believe she had only known him for one week and already he had satisfied so many of her deepest desires.  To top it off he hadn’t wanted anything in return.  Sure he had told her it would be a one way street in the beginning but the grown woman in her had screamed that it wasn’t possible.  But it had been.  There had been absolutely no sex, only hand holding and cheek kisses she had initiated when she became overwhelmed with gratitude.  What was happening to Monica seemed too good to be true, but she didn’t care.     The plane was preparing to land and she had no idea where.  Monica couldn’t believe her dreams had come true.

                                                                              

                                                                              THE END

**Geoffrey was in his early 50’s, recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but still in the very early stages of it.  He longed to make a woman happy the way he had his wife all the years they had been together.  On that particular day when Monica spilled the drink, he had chosen her for no other reason than he felt she deserved it , just because**


 

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