A World of PossibilitiesbyGaucho©
"Shit!" Melanie slammed down the phone and walked over to the window. Staring out at the ominous clouds blanketing the lake, she said it again. This can't be happening, she thought. I can't be stuck here, today of all days. But she'd heard it for herself: The airport was closed for the rest of today and possibly tomorrow, depending on how hard the storm hit.
She went back to the phone and called her office. Her secretary told her that the storm had already shut down most of the airports from the Great Lakes through the Ohio Valley and that she was better off staying right where she was.
"Why is that?" Melanie wanted to know.
"Look, kiddo," Peggy was sixty-two years old, had been with the company forever and called everyone "kiddo", including the CEO, "They're calling this a 'once every 10 years' kind of storm. You're lucky to still be at your hotel. You could be stuck sleeping in one of those very uncomfortable chairs at the airport, fighting with the other passengers over who gets the pillow. I know; I've done it."
Though not convinced, Melanie had to laugh. "I guess you're right, Peg. Listen, call my clients and explain about the delay, will you? And tell Bill that I'll spend my time going over those quarterly reports he wanted. I'll email them to him la—"
"I'll tell Kaiser Wilhelm nothing of the sort," Peggy snorted.
Bill Campbell was the third company president that Peggy had served under and the one she least respected. She called him Kaiser because, as she put it, "His pointy head reminds me of the helmets the German officers wore in those old WWI movies".
"You listen to me, kiddo," she continued, "this whole layover has serendipity written all over it. Forget about work and treat it as an unexpected holiday. Enjoy yourself. Do something wild and crazy."
Melanie laughed harder. "Peg, I'm stuck in Vermont in the middle of a winter snowstorm. I don't ski, I don't ice-fish, and they roll up the sidewalks at noon. What am I supposed to do that's wild and crazy, go out and rent "White Christmas" in the middle of February?"
"You'll think of something."
Melanie hung up, still laughing, and called down to the desk to extend her reservation. Her good mood quickly faded. "What do you mean, you have no more rooms? What's wrong with the one I'm in?"
"I'm sorry," the woman on the other end of the phone sounded young, "but it's Valentine's Day and the start of President's Day weekend. This is one of the biggest ski weekends of the season and most of these rooms have been booked for months." She added, "With the storm and all the fresh powder coming down, the phone's been ringing off the hook with people trying to make reservations."
Melanie was tempted to ask how those people seeking reservations were planning on getting to Vermont, what with the airport closed, but she thought better of it. Anyone crazy enough to want to visit during this kind of weather would no doubt find a way, she thought. But as for those of us who are stuck here against our will…"You mean to tell me that even though I can't leave because the airport is closed, I don't have a place to stay, either?"
"We can try to find you a room at another hotel, ma'am, but that's the best we can do."
Melanie wanted to scream at her. Ma'am? You're calling me 'Ma'am'? What are you, twelve? Instead, she took a deep breath and said, "Is there a manager on duty?"
Goddamn it! If she calls me that one more time—"What's his name?"
"Will you tell Mr. Hailey that I'll be right down to straighten this out?"
"Yes, I will, but ma—" Melanie cut her off in mid-ma'am by hanging up.
Less than ten minutes later, Melanie stepped out of the elevator and entered the crowded lobby. She flagged down a bellboy and asked him about Mr. Hailey. He pointed to a crush of people standing near the reception desk. She stared at the crowd of ski jackets and snowsuits and felt a momentary pang of guilt. God, I'm glad I don't work here. This guy's got real problems. Then she straightened her shoulders and walked purposefully toward the desk. Fuck it. I need a room.
She worked her way through the pack and found herself facing a tall, gray-haired man whose maroon and silver badge read, "Trevor Hailey, Day Manager". She waited a few moments for him to notice her and when he didn't, she spoke his name loud enough to be heard over the din. He glanced at her and said, "I'm sorry. We're full up. Try the Sheraton."
She spoke his name again, louder this time. When he looked at her again, she gave him her brightest smile. "Look," he began, "I'm sorry, but we—"
"Mr. Hailey, my name is Melanie Nichols and I'm currently staying in Room 312." That stopped him.
"Yes, Miss Nichols?" he asked, giving her his full attention.
She glanced at the group of skiers who were loudly debating the merits of any hotel that couldn't accommodate extra guests during the best snowstorm of the season. "Could I have a few moments of your time?"
He followed her glance and nodded. "We can talk in my office." He turned to the young woman standing with him at the counter. "Try calling the other hotels again. And tell these people if they don't behave themselves we'll be forced to call the police."
"But, Mr. Hailey, I already called the other hotels. They don't have any room available, either." Melanie recognized her voice from the phone and gave her a quick appraisal. Not exactly twelve, she thought. More like nineteen or twenty. Probably a college student, working to have some spending money or to help with tuition.
"Then try the motels and the B&B's." The manager's voice took on an exasperated edge. "Just find some way to get those hooligans out of my lobby." Melanie followed him into his office and sat down across from him. "Now then, Miss Nichols. What can I do for you?"
She shrugged. "Well, after watching those people out there, I'm sorry to bring it up, but I'm afraid that I'm stranded and in need of a room, too. My flight was cancelled when they closed the airport and when I called down to extend my reservation, the young lady out there told me the same story you told them."
"Unfortunately, Linda was telling you the truth." He shook his head. "Believe me, I don't like turning away business, but we're overbooked as it is."
"Look, Mr. Hailey. I understand your situation. I really do. But please try to appreciate mine. I'm a business traveler – a regular customer of this hotel – and I've just been told that I not only can't leave but that I have no place to stay, either. Isn't there something that you could do?"
He stared at her a moment before saying, "Well, I'm not going to promise anything, but what room did you say you were in again?" She told him and he turned to his computer terminal. Melanie amused herself during the wait by looking around his office, but he interrupted her almost immediately. "Your reservation has you listed under the last name of Masterson."
"Oh, that." For some reason, she found herself blushing. "I've only recently gotten divorced and I'm going by my maiden name now. But all my ID is still under my married name, so when I travel…"
"It's all right. It happens all the time. The way security is at the airports now, I'm lucky I don't get strip-searched."
"No, I meant that I was sorry to hear about your divorce."
"Oh." His stare was back and for the first time she noticed the color of his eyes, deep pools of gray and blue surrounded by flecks of green and gold. She let her gaze trail down to his moustache; it made her think of a thick slab of quartz with veins of silver spider-webbed through it. She blushed again as she fought down a sudden image of those hairs scratching against her swollen labia. "Thank you," she managed. Get a grip, girl! "It's been…difficult."
"I can imagine." He turned back to his computer and began punching out some rapid keystrokes. Melanie glanced around the room, trying to get a feel for the man on the other side of the desk. Experience had taught her that you could often learn a lot about a person from the way they decorated their office. This one, however, told her very little. The room was clean and almost obsessively tidy. But there were no homey touches, no pictures of loved ones or scribbled notes from children. Are you that private, she wondered, or is it something else?
"What about you?" she asked. "Is there a Mrs. Hailey?"
"No, thank God." His chuckle was dry. "And no little Haileys, either." He laughed again, louder this time. He noticed her puzzled stare and said, "I'm sorry. It just occurred to me that if there were any little Haileys running around, they'd be legal adults by now." When she didn't respond, he added, "I'm gay."
Once again, the best she could manage was, "Oh." And then, a few moments later, "OH! You mean the last time you were with a woman was…"
"Almost twenty years ago, yes." She laughed with him this time, but inside she felt as if she'd just been sucker-punched. Oh, Christ! He's gay. She fought the rising bile in her throat. Can this day get any worse? Her spirits perked up a little when he said, "Hey! I may have found you something."
"We just had a cancellation. It seems two women were coming to Vermont to have a Civil Union ceremony performed and because of the storm they decided to hold off. So we have a vacancy." He looked up from his terminal. "It's the Honeymoon Suite."
"The Honeymoon Suite?" Melanie was shocked. "Oh, no. I couldn't."
"Why not? It's a nicer room than the one you had and I'll be able to rent it out at the corporate rate." When she hesitated, he added, "And it's the only available room in the hotel."
"I'll take it."
"Excellent!" He stood up. "It's actually ready now, so I'll get you your key and you can go on up. I'll have your bags sent over later."
She thanked him and took the key, walking away on wobbly legs. Riding up the elevator the extra two floors to her new room, she felt light-headed and leaned against the wall for support. This can't be happening, she thought again, opening the door to the suite. The front room was okay, a sofa, a couple of chairs, wet bar, television, nothing out of the ordinary. She braced herself for the bedroom. She turned on the light and cringed.
The bed was shaped like a heart.
Melanie immediately recalled a line from an Albert Brooks movie: "If Liberace had children, this is what their room would look like". Well, it's not quite that bad. But it's close. If it has a built-in vibrator, I'm going to scream.
She went back to the anteroom and opened the curtain. The snow was coming down hard now; big, white flakes that swirled and danced like down feathers in a pillow fight. She slumped onto the sofa. In her mind, she heard Peg's voice. Well, let's see now, kiddo. You're stranded in Vermont. Alone. In the Honeymoon Suite. And it's Valentine's Day. One year to the day since you caught your husband cheating on you. With another man.
Can your life suck any harder?
Melanie closed her eyes but she couldn't shut out the memory, the white-hot vision of that day. She'd decided to treat her husband Paul to a little Valentine's Day surprise nookie at his agency. Arriving just before noon, she planned to slip into his office, lock the door, and ravish him during his lunch hour. With any kind of luck, she hoped he might just recover in time to return the favor that evening.
His secretary told her that he was in a conference with Eric, his boss, and that she shouldn't disturb them. Of course, Melanie agreed. Far be it from her to disturb Paul and Eric while they were in conference. As soon as the secretary left for lunch, Melanie opened the door to Paul's office and walked in. To hell with Eric, she thought. He had her husband at his beck and call 8 hours a day. For the next hour, she wanted him to be all hers.
Her first thought when she entered the room and saw them was that Paul had dropped something at Eric's feet and was bending over to pick it up. Then she noticed that Eric's eyes were closed and he had a look of utter rapture on his face. Frowning, she moved to the side of Paul's desk and was just in time to see Paul's extended tongue lash the tiny slit at the end of Eric's thick, meaty cock. She watched in horror as his mouth opened in a wide oval and engulfed the circumcised head, swallowing the shaft all the way down to the root. She couldn't help noticing the distinct and startling contrast between her husband's sandy-colored moustache and his boss's dark, curly pubic hair.
Eric opened his eyes and saw her then. To her everlasting surprise and shame, he looked at her without shock or embarrassment, or even anger at the interruption. No, he simply smiled at her and asked if she wanted to join the party. She looked away from his leering face, down at her husband, who was only just then realizing that she had come into the room, and she saw something even more horrible. Paul's pants were down around his ankles and he had his hand curled around his long, beautiful cock – her cock, as she liked to think of it – and from the angry, inflamed look of it, he was obviously close to coming himself.
She barely made it out of the office and into the restroom before she threw up.
He followed her home and she spent that night, the worst night of her life, desperately trying to rid herself of the image that had been seared into her brain: The sight of her husband on his knees sucking another man's cock. She railed at him. Haven't she been a good wife? Given him enough sex? Been inventive enough for him in bed? Without meeting her eyes, he assured her that she had been all of those things and more.
Then what? There had to be something, she knew. Unless blow jobs had become fashionable at work these days. Unless getting the key to the executive washroom also meant fellating the man who'd given it to you. Unless earning a quarterly bonus depended upon the amount of semen you swal—
Paul cried out in such agony that she stopped, startled by his outburst. It's not you, he said finally. It's me. It's just…the way I am. What are you, she demanded. Gay? He shook his head. Bi? He shrugged. What then? I don't know, he admitted. But I've been that way as long as I can remember. She stared at him, the man she had known intimately for almost a decade, the man she had sworn to grow old with, and was stunned by the realization that she hardly knew him at all. She said one last thing to him before leaving their home forever.
You should get help.
Melanie writhed on the sofa, unable to stop the flood of memories or the flow of tears that streamed down her face. I was so cruel, she thought. So wickedly cruel. And I hated myself for doing it – for saying those things – but I couldn't stop myself, either. Because every time I stopped, I saw them again. My Paul. On his knees, mouthing Eric's penis, wearing a look of lust such as I'd never seen on him before. Had he ever looked like that when he'd gone down on me? She couldn't remember.
A knock at the door interrupted her.
"Yes?" she called out.
"Miss Nichols, it's Jonathon, the bellboy. I've got your luggage."
"Just a minute." She wiped her face and did a quick inspection in the mirror. Oh, Christ! I can't let anyone see me like this. She dug a five-dollar bill out of her wallet and placed it on the bar. "Look, I'm just getting in the shower. Why don't you leave the bags by the sofa and I'll put them away later. There's a tip for you on the counter." With that, she disappeared into the bedroom and closed the door.
She came back out a few minutes later to find her bags sitting on the carpet and the counter empty. Well, I'm all moved in. She glanced out the window. If anything, the snow was coming down harder now. She sighed. And it looks like I'm not going anywhere for a while. Melanie stared out at the cottony sky, lost in thought, seeing nothing. I need a drink, she decided finally.
She opened the small refrigerator. There were three bottles of wine tucked in the door. She was about to go eanie, meanie, minie, moe, when a sudden thought occurred to her and she burst into a fit of giggles.
Absolutely, she thought, reaching for the Zinfandel. Under the circumstances, it has to be the 'fruity' wine. And with the lovely, elegant screw top, too. She twisted off the top and tossed it in the general direction of the trashcan. She took a sip, swishing the tart liquid back and forth in her mouth before swallowing. Oh, yeah. That's the Brunch of Champions.
She surveyed the room, taking little sips as she walked. Now then, she thought. What do they have in this burg that qualifies as entertainment? She scanned the list of cable channels on top of the television. Wait a minute. This is the Honeymoon Suite, for crying out loud. Don't they have any porn? Maybe you have to call the desk and order it. She had another fit of giggles. She saw herself calling down to the front desk. Mr. Hailey? This is Melanie Nichols in the Honeymoon Suite. I'm feeling a bit bored and I was wondering if I could order up some porn on my television? Why, of course, Miss Nichols, he'd answer. We have 10 separate channels for you to choose from. All gay.
She collapsed onto the sofa, laughing so hard she almost spilled her wine. Oh God, she thought, when she’d regained some control. That would be just my luck. Of course, the men in those movies are usually pretty well hung. And it would be more cock than I’d seen in a good long while. Who knows? Maybe one of them would belong to my husband. She took another swig of wine. Ex-husband, that is. She squeezed her eyes shut, fighting back tears.
All right, she thought. Time to change the subject. She opened her eyes and saw a folded, laminated card sitting on top of the bar. On the front had been drawn a heart and under it written the words, ‘Especially for You’. Melanie opened it and discovered a list of special amenities the hotel offered its Honeymoon Suite occupants. She noted that the tub in the bathroom was oversized and could be used as a hot tub, complete with bubbles. Also available for the romantically inclined was a complete ‘Chateaubriand for Two’ candlelight dinner. And then she saw it.
“Get a Massage: The perfect way to prepare for a romantic evening or recover from a long trip. Performed by a licensed Massage Therapist, combining essential oils (aromatherapy) and moist heat hot packs, this Swedish Style Massage will increase your circulation, decrease stress and completely relax your muscles. Time: Approximately 90 minutes. Cost: Individuals, $150; Couples, $250.”
Well, Peg did tell me to enjoy myself. She dialed the front desk before she had a chance to change her mind. When Linda answered, she said, “Hi, this is Melanie Nichols in the, um, Honeymoon Suite and I was just reading that you have a licensed Massage Therapist on staff and I wanted to know if I could schedule an appointment for later today.”
“One moment, please.” Melanie heard pages rustling. “We don’t have anyone else scheduled for today,” Linda said. “I’ll have to find out if he’s available and call you back.”
“He? It’s a man?”
“Yes, ma’am. Is that a problem?”
Melanie thought a moment. For some reason, she hadn’t expected it to be a man. Was it a problem? No. He’s probably gay, anyway, she thought, suppressing a laugh. Hell, for all I know, the whole damn state is gay. “No,” she said, finally. “It’s not a problem. Please call and find out if he’s available and let me know.”
A few minutes later, the phone rang and Linda told her the Massage Therapist could be there at three. Melanie sat back in the sofa and raised the bottle. “Well, Peg,” she said aloud to the empty room, “here’s to ‘Wild and Crazy’.”