The 22-Hour Date
By R.K. Bryant
R.K. Bryant reached out to BB&W because she is an unsure, up and coming author of erotica who observed our penchant for essays on the weekend. Here’s Part One of a story she’s working on. Feel free to give her input.
“John and Chelsea”
He said he was coming, but even as she drove to the airport to meet him, she couldn’t believe it.
John lived in New York and Chelsea safely 3,000 miles away in California. At least she thought she was safe. The online flirtation seemed harmless, after all, what could come of it? But it only took a suggestion. One slip of a keyboard stroke, a tease. A hint. That’s all he needed. But this was the beginning. She had no idea what else this man would be capable of, and how he was about to forever change her life.
A man of means, when John says he’s coming, he comes. He has the wherewithal to spend $1,500 on a plane ticket for a 22-hour stay at one of the poshest hotels in Malibu, and he wanted Chelsea there for every minute. When he booked it, he emailed Chelsea the receipt, as proof he was entirely serious. “No” would be an answer he would not accept or acknowledge. He wanted what he wanted, and at that moment, it was her.
Chelsea shook with fear and anticipation as she drove into the Arrival Terminal at Los Angeles International. She wore her tight, off-the-shoulder black dress, and heels, just as he requested. She checked her lip gloss, fluffed her kinky Afro, took off her wedding rings, and prayed to God she would never get caught. This date was not going to be just dinner…John was coming to have her, and she was going to give herself to him. She didn’t seem to have any other choice. The attraction between them was electric and inexorable. It would happen. This, was happening.
She checked the Arrivals and Departures sign at Tom Bradley terminal–his flight was delayed–at least an hour. It was only two o’clock, but she saw the bar and ordered a glass of malbec. The liquid sat badly in her stomach, enraging her butterflies. She was about to break a promise she made to her husband, a promise of fidelity and loyalty with a man she’d only known for a few weeks. But why now? Why this man? Why this way?? Her work immersed her with exposure to handsome, single men, none of which ever affected her or moved her…until him.
He was a force of nature–chaos in human form–and Chelsea could not get enough. That chaos seemed safe at a distance, but now Chaos was coming…
“Another drink, Miss?” the Mexican bartender said.
“Hmmm? Oh…no I better not, it’s only two and I have to drive!” Nervous laughter. Arab men to the right of her were trying to decide on imported or domestic beer, the bartender moved on to them.
Chelsea got up and walked to baggage claim. She’d wait out the delay sharing chairs with a young Asian girl who made the bench wobble every time she sent a text. Two forty-five. He would be here in 15 minutes. Her stomach lurched again. She thought about running away and getting into her car to brave the god-awful 91 freeway. But it was too late to turn and run. This man moved a mountain for her, and there was no turning away from that.
This time it was her phone alerting her of a text. John’s plane had hit ground. He was here, and heading her way. She stopped breathing for a moment. She was worried she might not recognize him in the flesh. Before now she had only seen him online in a social media forum and chat room. In his pictures he looked startlingly handsome, with piercing blue eyes, brown hair with flecks of gray, a trimmed goatee. He had a few profile pictures up on the site, one with him on the beach in Hawaii. His shoulders were broad, his stomach rippled with muscles, his swim shorts loosely covering the sinewy lines leading to his groin. His body aroused her, his eyes, blue as the ocean, seemed to bore straight through her in those pictures. She was his target. He would have her. She would let him.
“I’m here!” John said in his text.
“Oh wow! What are you wearing? Where are you?”
“I’m not telling. Surprise; remember?” While John knew what Chelsea would wear, he stayed mum about what he would greet her in.
“I’m in Baggage Claim. Do you have any bags?”
“Nope. No bags. Just me. I’m here for 22 hours.”
That would be just like John not to pack or prepare. Chelsea on the other hand, had two bags in her Honda with three changes of clothes, just in case.
“I’m in Baggage Claim too. Where are you?”
Chelsea looked around frantically. A group of Asian tourists, snapping pictures of the inside of an airport. The baggage carrousel spinning lazily. Faceless people picking up bags, leaving in taxis. She looked to her right–no John. Then to her left, and…there he was. She dare not look too long.
There was a man, texting on an iPhone in a tailored black Hugo Boss suit and black Gucci shoes. Chelsea stopped breathing. Frantically texted.
“Is that you? In the suit. Is that you?!”
Chelsea’s stomach lurched so violently she thought she might expel the malbec sitting stale in her stomach. It was him. It was John. She watched him walk through the sliding doors and begin to peck at his phone.
“I’m waiting. Can I kiss you?” he wrote.
She got up from the rickety bench and walked toward the exit. There he was, his back turned to her. At the bar, Chelsea thought it would be cute to write “GRANT” in big, square letters on a cocktail napkin like the airport chauffeurs. After all, she was his driver, and he was an heir to the fortune of one of the richest families in the Midwest. She nervously pulled it out of her purse, gently tapped him on the shoulder and held it up across her chest. He turned, smiled, looking pleased. His arms outstretched, he gathered her into an embrace. She could feel the hardness of his arms and chest, she could hardly wrap her arms around his broadness. He pulled away slighting and looked at her with those aquamarine eyes and sly smile, and bent down, just inches away from her face. A pause. Nervous and a little sheepish, Chelsea started to turn her head away. But before she could, John gently pressed his lips against hers, right there in front of the Asian tourists and the taxis. She could feel his erection rising and her stomach quivered again…this time, for a different reason.