Before There Was You

That Weekend in Miami

Filed under: Human Behaviour,The Meeting — Heather Hand @ 1:20 pm

Zoe needed to get away.  “I’m going to sell this house.  When I get back, I’ll put it on the market.  Five wasted years,” she thought bitterly, while throwing her things in her suitcase. I’m selling this house and moving to the city. No more long comutes just because he wanted to live in a small town. She’d find a new kennel for George, her Lhasa Apso.

Zoe had taken an extra day off from her job as Business Development Manager for a large Toronto advertising agency, so she could leave early Friday and return Sunday night.  George was at the kennels.  The plane will leave Friday at 9AM, Toronto time.  She’ll be on it and, if only for a few days, try to forget this last week.

She deplaned in Miami, took a cab to the Fountainebleau, checked in, unpacked, slipped into a pair of shorts and halter-top, poured a gin and tonic from the mini-bar, took a seat on her balcony and lit a cigarette.  Her room overlooked the beach and she sat and looked out at the happy people cavorting.  Couples, children, families – looking happy to be together.  What was it he said?  He didn’t want to be married anymore.  He felt confined.  He needed his space.  He wanted to be free.  Bullshit.  Her friend, Carol, told her she had seen him having dinner with a young, dark-haired woman.  That’s when she realized he left her for another.  Bastard. Liar.  She sat and drank and cried for hours until she finally crawled into bed and fell asleep.
She woke at 6AM, according to the clock radio.  Her head ached, her stomach churned, her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth.  She stumbled to the bathroom to pee and brush her teeth.  Looking in the mirror and seeing her face with yesterday’s make-up smeared all over, she groaned.  “Oh God, I can’t do this anymore.” She began to sob again.  She took two aspirins, showered and hoped the cool water running over her body would make the headache and the heartache go away.

After donning a robe, she called room service for a pot of strong coffee, juice, bacon, home fries, eggs and toast.  She hadn’t eaten dinner the night before and she was ravenous.  With her head still wrapped in a towel, there was a knock at the door.  Room service.  “Ah, thank you” she said as he set the dinette table.  He left and she sat down and poured her first cup of coffee.  She ate greedily.  After she finished, she poured another cup, moved to the balcony, lit a cigarette, and planned her day.

She dried her long, curly red hair, applied sun block and makeup and put on a black bathing suit with a plunging vee, cut high at the thigh, and a long gauzy cream beach cover-up, gold sandals and multi-colored bangles.  Plopping on a large straw sun hat, sunglasses and grabbing her gold beach bag, Zoe felt ready to start a new day with a new attitude.  She found a lounge under a beach umbrella and settled in.  Looking out at the vast Atlantic Ocean before her, her problems seemed minuscule by comparison.  She pulled a book out of her bag and marveled how warm the air felt even this early in the morning.  There was just a smattering of people on the beach.

Halfway into her book, she stopped to take a look around.  The beach was crowded.  She’d been so rapt in her story; she didn’t see or hear anything.  Her watch said it was nearly noon.  Deciding she wanted some lunch, she gathered her things and proceeded towards the hotel.  They had a wonderful outdoor café that served the best lobster salad, so she’d been told by her travel agent.

While sitting at a table for one and enjoying her salad, she spotted a man also sitting by himself.  He was looking back at her.  He smiled.  She smiled back, more to be polite than anything. She returned to her food.  The waiter came by and asked if there would be anything else.  “Yes”, Zoe replied, “I’d like a margarita, please.”

The waiter disappeared and returned with her margarita.  “From the gentleman by the door” he said, turning his head in that direction.  Zoe was surprised and for a moment didn’t know whether to accept or to send it back.  She sneaked another look at her admirer.  He looked to be 40-ish, even featured, straight, dark brown, full head of hair, wearing a navy pin-striped suit, which she found odd given their environment.  She mouthed, “Thank You” and smiled.

About a minute later and looking out the side of her eye, she saw him walk casually to her table.  “It seems a shame, a beautiful young woman like you sitting alone at lunch.  May I join you?”

Zoe hesitated but only for a moment.  “Why not?” she thought to herself.  “Of course, please have a seat,” she said out loud.

“My name is Frank.  Frank Boico”, as he held out his hand.

Zoe took it and, while their hands met, she looked into his eyes.  They were a dark brown – almost black and piercing.  His hand was soft and warm.

“Zoe Solkalski”, she said with a little half smile.  He sat down.

“What are you doing here dressed in suit and tie, Frank Boico?  Are you here on business?”

“Yes, a medical convention.”

“So, you’re a doctor.”

“Yes”

The waiter arrived with his lobster salad.

“I see you’re having the same as me.”

“Yes.  I understand it’s one of their specialties”

“Is your wife here too?”

“I’m not married,” he smiled. “What about you?  What brings a beautiful young woman to the Fountainebleau all by herself?”

“How do you know I am by myself?”

“I saw you on the beach this morning.  I see you now.  No wedding band.  Am I wrong?  Are you not here by yourself?”

“No, you’re not wrong.  It’s a long story.”

“Whoever he is, he’s an idiot.”

Eager to change the subject she asked, “Where are you from?”

“Chicago.  You?”

“Guelph.”

“Gulf?  What Gulf?

“Not Gulf – Guelph.  It’s in Ontario Canada.  About an hour West of Toronto”

“Ah.  Canadian.”

“Guilty.”

“One of my interns is Canadian.  He tells me he moved to Chicago so he could make more money.  Apparently, he can’t in Canada due to socialized medicine.”

“Oh, let’s not go there.  Our socialized medicine is the Holy Grail.  It’s the one thing that is not up for discussion.  If your Canadian intern’s interest is merely lining his pockets, good riddance.”

“Oooh, I see you feel strongly about that.”

“Not just me.  All Canadians.”

“I’m sorry if I’ve offended you.  It was not my intention”

“You didn’t offend me.  I’m testy these days.”  Suddenly, she was no longer hungry.  “Waiter.” She signaled for the waiter.  “The check please.”

“No, no.  This is my treat.  Please.”

“Very well.  Thank you.  It was a very nice lunch.  Enjoy your conference.” She got up to leave.

He got up too.  “May I see you later?  The meeting should finish about 6 PM.  After that is dinner but I can make my excuses.  Perhaps we can have dinner together,” he said softly, looking at her with his dark eyes that seemed to penetrate her very soul.  It left her unnerved.

“Perhaps”, she whispered.

“What is your room number?  I’ll call you when the meeting breaks off”

“510. What’s yours?”

He looked at his card “1620”

“Later then.  Maybe”

“Later.”

When he hadn’t called by 6:10, she got dressed, and went to the dimly lit lounge to listen to music.  She settled in a booth and ordered a margarita, sat back and wondered where her life was going.  The pianist sang “Nobody does it better”.  “Well, somebody did,” she thought.

She finished her drink, paid and left.  That was about all the sentimental crap she could listen to for one night without crying.  Deciding she was hungry, she went to the main dining room and waited to be seated.  She asked for a booth at the far end of the room and got it.  Just as she sat down, she heard her name.  She turned.  It was Frank.

“Where were you?  I called and no answer.  I left a message.”  He was looking so handsome in his navy business suit.

“I am not accustomed to being stood up” she retorted.

“I didn’t stand you up.  I said I’d call around 6:00.  The meeting didn’t break up until 6:15.  I called you right away.

“I thought there was a dinner you had to attend,” Emotions were confusing Zoe.  She was angry.  She was happy.  She was relieved.

“I’d rather have dinner with you.  I took a gamble that you might be down here. May I sit down?”

“Sure,” she answered with a smile.

When the waiter came, he ordered a bottle of Chardonnay.  Conversation came easily.  They talked about their work – Frank about the hospital, Zoe about her life in Advertising.

After dinner, they walked on the beach in the moonlight.  She took off her shoes.  The cool sand felt good.

She laughed to herself a little.  “Is this a cliché or what?” “Moonlit walks on the beach.  Corny.”  Aloud she said, “What a lovely evening.”

He asked her to his room.  As much as she wanted to, she just wasn’t ready for this.  A long distance relationship or a one-nighter.  Either way, it just felt wrong.  She hesitated for a second or two, then, “I can’t.  I’m sorry.”  In a panic, she turned to get away.

He grabbed her wrist and whispered, “It’s OK.  No rush, but we’re adults.  We have no expectations.”

“Easy for you to say.  I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.  I didn’t mean to make you feel pressured.  It’s just that the conference ended tonight.  I will be leaving tomorrow morning.  I had hoped………” his voice trailed off.

Her heart dropped a little at his leaving.  “Damn.  Why did I have to meet him on his last day?” she thought to herself.  “It wasn’t meant to be” she said out loud.  “Look.  It was a lovely evening but I’m getting tired.  What say you we say our good-byes now?”

He looked disappointed.  His eyes darkened.  She looked away, unable to meet his penetrating gaze.  She pulled away,  turned and half ran to the hotel, into the elevator and the safety of her room.

After showering, she popped a sleeping pill, fell into bed and blissfully to sleep.  The last thing she remembered was thinking, “Another one bites the dust.”

She awoke some time around seven, showered and donned a bath robe.  A knock came at the door.  Curious.  She hadn’t ordered room service and it was too early for housekeeping.  She looked through the peephole.  She opened the door.  Frank stood there, holding her sling-backs with one finger.  “Cinderella, I’m here to deliver your slippers.  They’re not made of glass but, I’ll bet, a whole lot more comfortable.”

“Oh, that’s where they were. Well, aren’t you a prince?” Then, “I thought you had left.”

“I’m taking a later flight.  I can’t leave you like this.”

“Come in” she whispered.

He wore jeans, white T-shirt and blazer.  “God, he looks good.”  She thought to herself.  “Have a seat.  I’ll order breakfast,” she whispered, not knowing what else to say.

“No. No breakfast.” His dark eyes pierced her very soul.

They gazed at each other, he wrapped his arms around her and for the first time, they kissed a long, slow, passionate kiss.  She melted into him.  She did not want to let go. It felt good to have a man’s arms around her.

Frank sensed her need, reached around, undid her loosely tied belt from her robe. It fell to the floor. He slowly unzipped his pants and let them drop. Suddenly, he tore off the rest of his clothes, grabbed Zoe and threw her on the bed. He entered her. She let out a moan. He pumped hard and fast, then stopped and gazed at her for a moment. He proceeded to grind her slowly and deeply. She gave her hips a violent push against him and let out a long, low moan. He gave a couple of pushes and let out a loud grunt. His body quivered with pure extacy. She lay there panting.

They collapsed into each other’s arms and lay there for a long time. They drifted off a little. Time flies by so quickly when you want the moment to last. Finally, they stirred. It would be the last time she would feel him inside her, she thought. It was time to face the day – and reality.

Zoe showered first. Then Frank.

They were quiet. After dressing, Frank watched Zoe do the magic with her hair, first throwing her hair forward and drying from the nape, then tossing her hair back to dry the rest. Incredibly, the soft curls just appeared. He watched her apply makeup, smiling as he watched. She fascinated him.

She grabbed a pair of white shorts, navy and white t-shirt, gold sandals and bag. Together, hand in hand, they left to have breakfast on the hotel patio.

Too soon it was time to head for the airport. “Come with me to the airport. We can talk in the cab.”

“OK,” Zoe whispered.

The cab ride was a quiet one, each one alone deep in thought. Each wondering what just happened. She had the cab wait while she followed him in as far as allowed. He held her and kissed her one more time. Then he was gone.

Back at the hotel, she kicked off her shoes and threw herself on the bed.  Although she missed him, somehow the afterglow left her surprisingly calm and almost happy.  She put on a bathing suit and headed to the beach.  Not feeling like reading, she gazed out to sea and watched the waves as they lapped on the shore.  Soon she drifted off in a gentle doze.

Her cell woke her.  Who the hell?  “Hello.”

“I’m calling from the plane.  What are you doing?” said the, by now, familiar voice.

“I’m having a nap on the beach,” she whispered softly, smiling.  “At least, I was.”

“Sorry to wake you.  How about I come to visit you in Guelph weekend after next?  Maybe you could take a day off; we could make it a long weekend.  What do you say to that?”

“Wow.  That would be good.  I can’t answer you this second.  I have to check to see if I can take an extra day.  It depends on my schedule.  I’ve already taken time off.”

“OK, then we’ll make it a regular weekend.  I can take the 7PM flight on Friday and return Sunday night.  Does that sound less scary?”

“Yes.  That’s much easier to arrange.  OK.  Call me when you have all the details and I’ll pick you up.”

“No need for that.  I’ll just rent a car.”

“OK.  That sounds good.  We’ll have a late dinner.  I’ll cook.”

“Sounds great.  I’ll call back when I have it arranged.  Bye for now.”

“Bye,” she whispered, then smiled to herself.  “So, I’ll see him in two weeks.  Hmm.  What a weekend this has been.”  She closed her eyes and fell into a blissful reverie.

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