It's been a while since I've written a short story. Please comment freely.
Another business trip. They seem endless and have taken their toll on our marriage. Lost time and lost money. Sometimes I say he’s Don Quixote, tilting at windmills. He’s a dreamer. I remind myself often that what I love most about him, is what also drives me crazy.
I’m teary as he unloads his luggage, turns and takes my hands. Instead of another promise, he takes my face in his hands and brushes my tears away with his thumbs as he hushs me with a lingering kiss. Still dazed by the kiss, he easily slaps on handcuffs and turns me to slip on a blindfold.
Arm around my waist, I’m escorted what is probably a short distance, but seems interminable as I inch along, testing the ground beneath my high heels. I’m speechless. Struck dumb is what they call it. It’s true, I think; you can be struck dumb.
I feel him fumbling with the cuffs and just as suddenly, my hands are freed. “Step up,” he directs, “two steps.” He tone is firm. Officious. He brooks no argument and places my hands on a cold metal, narrow opening. Sniffing , I detect a chemical odor. Airplane fuel?
A second, unfamiliar male voice says, “Here’s your seat. Turn slightly and sit, please.” He places my hands on leather and I make out the shape and dimensions. Gentle hands, I figure my man’s, guide my ass into place.
“I’m going to attach your seat belt. Just sit still, sweetheart.”
It clicks in place and a door slaps shut. I jump. In seconds, there is the sound of a door opening on my right side and the ‘whoosh’ of air escaping leather. His cologne, Givenchy Gentihomme, follows him as he closes the door and snaps in.
“All set, Captain.”
He takes my hand and squeezes it like an excited child. Warm lips touch my cheek.
“You’re going to love this, babe, but for now I have to keep you blindfolded. I’m going put a headset on. Here goes.”
He pushes my hair behind my ears and eases on cushioned earpieces. “There’s a microphone. So we can talk. Can you hear me?”
I find my voice. “Yes, I hear you. Are you crazy? Where are we going? What about work and the kids?” My mind races.
“Don’t worry about a thing. Trust me. I promised you things would get better and this is just the first step in a lot of better,” his canned, tinny voice reassured.
Helicopter rotors whine and thwack in preparation for lift-off. A helicopter for fuck sake. We can’t afford this shit. Can we? I feel the earth give way and a slight forward thrust. I clutch his warm hand and he squeezes back a few times. I feel safe and my apprehension shifts to anticipation.
“In about 15 minutes, I’ll remove the blinders. Is that all right? Can you handle it?” He asks.
“So far, so good. I’ll let you know if I start to panic.” I smile. He squeezes my hand again.
The pilot gives coordinates to ground control and talks ‘pilot talk’ from time to time. I sit quietly and let my other senses go in to overdrive. I try to control a rising nausea as time ticks by slowly. Fifteen minutes, my ass. I’m about to say “enough” when Doug speaks.
“Okay, Janie. It’s time.” His happiness is palpable.
Unmasked, I blink and focus on his grinning face. He hands me a chilled flute of champagne and my labia quicken to his just-you-wait-for-it eyes. I'm thrumming. I look out the bubble window surrounding and below us. The visual feast makes my eyes water and my breath quicken. Lake country looms ahead in autumn splendor. The earth’s on fire and so am I. My body is electric. I think I might wet myself. “Wet myself more,” I correct myself. I haven’t been this turned on for a long time. I push the mike away and crush his mouth against mine. The kiss softens as it deepens. I want to take him then and there, but realize that it’s damn near impossible. He knows what’s in store for him though. I see his pupils dilate and his face soften with love as he goes to that secret place in his mind.
We fly in companionable silence and awe for another half hour and then I see it. I recognize this place. We set down on a postage-size level spot next to the cottage. I see the real estate sign with its sold banner striking out the opposition. Lost to bank 7 years ago. This sacred place harbors all our firsts and whispers tales of love and loss. He’s kept his promise. It’s ours again.