tagNovels and NovellasThe Last 24 Hours Ch. 06

The Last 24 Hours Ch. 06


We pulled up to the valet stand outside of the Hyatt Regency Plaza, Tower One. As I got out of the car, the valet opened Beth's door. She handed him the keys but stayed behind the wheel until I had come around to her door and offered her my hand. As she got out of the car the dress she was wearing rode up and flashed the valet and myself a very generous view of her beautiful thighs. I turned and looked at the valet and saw that he was all but drooling at my lovely date.

Beth must have been feeling mischievous as she stepped out of the car. She took her handkerchief from her clutch purse and handed it to the valet. She then indicated the corner of his mouth. It was all I could do to keep for dissolving in laughter. After all, the valet had to be all of seventeen or eighteen years old.

I took Beth's hand and we walked into the lobby of the Hyatt. It was all I could do not to caress her naked shoulders. I looked around and saw the sign for the elevators to the restaurant on the top floor. As we came around the corner we saw that there was a podium in front of the doors and the young man standing behind it was busily checking the book lying on it. As we approached the podium, I realized I did not know whose name the reservations were made in.

I turned to Beth and asked her, "Whose name are the reservations in? You never said and neither did Josh." Beth took my hand and gave it a squeeze. "They are in your name of course. After all you are taking me on our first date aren't you?" She said smiling at me.

I looked at her and said, "Yes as a matter of fact this is our first date. But it's a little different than any date I've been on before, ever. I don't think I realize it's real, not just yet. I feel like I'm in a dream. I know that any good feelings I had for Lisa are dead. When I think of her all I feel is anger. I've decided to see someone about that. I don't want it to poison the rest of my life." I chuckled and continued "I also suspect that you are going to get very tired of seeing me, because I intend to spend as much time in your company as you will allow." The room was suddenly lit with the brilliance of her smile. Tears welled in her eyes again threatening to start falling.

"I don't suppose I have any say in this, do I?" At that Josh's voice interrupted our mood. Beth and I looked at each other and turned to face Josh as he stepped closer to stand next to his sister. Looking at him, Beth and I spoke at the same time "No, you don't!" The reservation clerk watched all of this with a vacant look on his face until Beth and I spoke. At which point he began to snicker madly. Josh seemingly outraged by this, looked at the clerk and said "Oh that's right! Encourage them why don't you?"

The poor clerk was absolutely hysterical at this point. The clerk turned his back on us trying to control his laughter. Gaining a measure of control he looked at me smiling and asked, "Name sir?" I grinned and said, "Alex Palmer party of three." The clerk glanced at his book, frowned for a moment, then pulled a post-it note off of the page he was looking at and said, "Yes sir! Here is your keycard; the elevator will take you directly to the restaurant. Give the host your name and he'll show you to your table. Enjoy your evening."

I had eaten here before but had never before been given a keycard. I looked at Beth and she seemed as mystified as I was. Josh looked smug but said nothing "Excuse me? What is the keycard for? I've never been given one when I've eaten here before." I asked. The clerk looked for a moment like he hadn't understood the question and then said "I'm sorry, ah, the reservation was changed earlier today to include an additional guest and the penthouse suite of Tower Two. The meal and the room are paid for in advance. The room is paid through until Monday at eleven a.m. check out time. The billing was also changed to an, ah... anonymous benefactor." He gave a distressed look at Josh.

It was only Thursday night. Beth and I looked at Josh. "What's going on here Josh? What are you playing at?" Beth's voice was a mixture of hope, disbelief, and suspicion. I said "Answer her Josh or we're leaving right now." I was not in the mood for a prank and Josh's sense of humor was questionable at best.

"Nothing is going on." He said with a smirk "I know how you two feel about each other. Alex I knew fifteen years ago you were making a mistake but it was your choice to make. Granted I didn't know just how big the mistake would prove to be, but you are both here, together, and unless I miss my guess very quickly becoming involved." Josh looked smugly at his sister, "I thought this might happen if you and Alex ever got to have a quiet talk. I also know you haven't had nearly enough time alone." Josh took Beth's hand and pulled her his way a little forcing me to follow.

Looking at me he said, "While you were gone this afternoon your ex-wife called and wanted to talk to you. It seems that your cell phone was off." He chuckled. "I told her I didn't know where you were and that I would pass on the message that she wanted to talk to you Alex. Consider the message delivered, by the way."

As he spoke he had been shepherding us towards the elevator doors. As they opened we entered the elevator and began the ride to the Top of the Tower, which was on the top floor of Tower One. The Hyatt has two towers connected by bridges. Tower One stands at twenty-six stories, and Tower Two stands at thirty stories. The penthouses of Tower Two could only be accessed by the express elevator in the lobby of Tower Two or by the bridge in the lobby of the Top of the Tower restaurant, where you had to show the concierge your room key to go across the bridge.

"I didn't think you would want to talk to her tonight and I don't think you should talk to her without your attorney present. I also don't think she'll give up. You need a little time to just learn to deal with what she did to you and my sister needs a little time to deal with what's happening between you two. So a faerie god-brother, who shall remain nameless, booked you a suite for the weekend where the Wicked Bitch of the West can't find you. The rooms are in my name and on my dime and you can consider it my gift to the two of you. In fact give me your cell phone Alex. You won't need it this weekend. I'll give it back to you Monday. I know where to reach you if anything comes up."

"I'm not pushing you to jump into anything. The suite has three bedrooms in it so if you don't want it to; nothing has to happen in the next three days. I'm not gonna ask and I don't wanna know. You guys have had this weird thing going on all this time and I think you'd be great together." Josh said all of this in a rush as I handed him my cell phone. "I had my assistant Joyce, pack a bag for you, Beth. I gave her my key to your place and told her to pack for three days," and with a gleam in his eyes "and nights. I told her to keep it sophisticated casual. She dropped off your bag and your house key while you guys were gone today."

A dark look crossed Beth's face. Josh continued "I took the liberty of packing your bag myself, Alex. I had Joyce bring both bags here and they are already in your suite." He had a smirk on his face and I just knew I wasn't the only one upset at the invasion of my personal space here.

Beth spoke in a low voice trembling with anger, "What gives you the right...?" Beth held up her hands and shook her head "No. No. I'm not gonna let you spoil this evening!" Beth took my hand in hers and squeezed it affectionately.

I took Beth's arm and turned her to face me. "Sweets, I want to spend this evening with you and not have to worry about any of this shi... stuff tonight." I smiled at her and watched the anger melt from her face. "All I want tonight is for us to be happy and have a good time." As I spoke the elevator dinged signaling our arrival.

We stepped out into a lobby that looked as if it had come straight out of a tourist brochure for Rome. There were columns with vines all throughout the floor. There was a dance floor, although no one was on it. To our left and a little forward was a stage on which a small orchestra was playing.

To our left as we exited the elevator the maître d' looked up and seeing Josh gushed "Ah Mr. Josh, so good of you to be joining us this evening!" He spoke English with a heavy Italian accent. He quickly came over and shook Josh's hand. Josh smiled and said "Thank you Franco." Turning to Beth he said "Franco Misiterelli I'd like you to meet my sister Beth" and turning to me "and my good friend Alex Palmer." Franco took Beth's hand and kissed the back of it and said "My dear, it is my most sincere pleasure to make the acquaintance of someone as lovely as you, Ms. Taylor." The smile on his face and in his eyes said he meant every word he spoke too. Beth smiled at the compliment and said "Thank you Franco I'm pleased to meet such a kind gentleman." Turning to me he said "I am pleased to make your acquaintance as well Mr. Palmer."

I shook his hand. "A pleasure Franco, and call me Alex please." Franco beamed at us. "Will you be joining us for diner this evening Mr. Josh?" Franco raised a single eyebrow in question. "As a matter of fact we have reservations for three, Franco, but I wonder if we could have one of the secluded tables? Alex's ex-wife is trying to track him down tonight and he and my sister would rather she didn't find us."

Franco's face darkened for a moment. "She will not find him here Mr. Josh. Unfortunately we are all booked up tonight!" He smiled and waved to the floor of the restaurant which was only about half full. His smile brightening, Franco laughed. "Mr. Josh I have just the place you want. They only just finished the remodel and it is ready only today." Franco turned and waved for us to follow.

We moved behind Franco towards a small area near a section of the window that was hidden behind a wall. It was lavishly appointed with a settee and two large over stuffed chairs, its own small dance floor, and an elegant dining area set for four. Around the small room were beautiful flowers and several medium sized, but tasteful paintings hung on the wall that separated the space from the main dining area. If you didn't know the place was there you'd never find it.

Beth gushed happily and said "Oh Franco, its lovely." Franco beamed at her. "Thank you Ms Beth. I'm so happy you like it. Please be seated and I will send the wine steward." As he started to turn away Beth said "That won't be necessary, Franco, Alex is allergic to alcohol." Franco turned to look at me "This is true?" He asked in wonder.

"I suffer from a rare allergy called Alcohol Anaphylaxis. Most people don't have as severe a reaction to it as I do. As little as a mouthful of beer is enough to provoke a severe reaction. I nearly died in college the first time I ever had a drink. Not exactly the best party experience." I said with an ironic smile.

Franco thought for a moment and asked "Are you allergic to any juices? Or fruits?" "Not that I know of. Just alcohol." I answered. He looked pleased and said "Then I send the steward. We have a lovely selection of sparkling waters and juices as well as fine wines to choose from." Franco turned and rounded the corner.

A moment later our waiter arrived and we ordered. I was having the Roasted Chicken & Mushroom Cannelloni, Beth had the Chicken Marsala and stuffed mushroom caps, and Josh had the Beef Burgundy and stuffed potato. As the waiter was leaving with our orders the wine steward arrived and we selected a non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider that he suggested would compliment our meal choices.

Franco checked on us several times during our meal and while I'm sure the food was outstanding, I don't remember a thing about it. All I could think of was how striking Beth looked. The blue of her eyes matched the blue of her dress which tempted and tantalized my eyes. As we dined I was captivated more and more by her spectacular beauty. My mind couldn't seem to focus on anything else. Josh took every opportunity to humiliate me about it. My heart leapt every time he did because Beth took him to task for it. Even to the point of violence, slapping his shoulder and admonishing him to leave me alone.

I had a decidedly warm feeling every time she came to my defense. As we were finishing our meal Josh stood "Well folks, I'm going to go and see if I can't find a little trouble of my own to get into tonight and I think you two have things to talk about that I don't need to hear. So good night and please enjoy this weekend. I'll see you both Monday at my office for lunch, Okay?" Beth and I smiled at each other and said "Yeah we'll be there."

We stood as Josh left us and instead of returning to the table we sat on the settee. Beth and I sat there for a while and just enjoyed the soft music that filled the air. I stood and held out my hand to Beth "May I have this dance?" Beth's smile rekindled the fire in my heart that I had felt for the first time that afternoon in the park, as we moved to the small dance floor. Our bodies came together as we danced slowly holding each other close. I stared into her eyes and never wanted to look away. I saw myself through her eyes and prayed that I could live up to her expectations.

I had never considered myself special or an outstanding person. But Beth had always considered me both. I brought a hand up to her face and brushed her cheek. "The music has stopped." I said. She looked at me and placing her hand on the back of my neck she pulled me down for a kiss. "What music?" she asked as our lips met.

We stood there for I don't know how long. It started as a simple, chaste kiss and developed into the passionate fire we had shared earlier in the park. Beth pulled away with a gasp and said "We need to go to the suite and finish our talk before I embarrass Franco by stripping you down right now." I chuckled, signed the bill, and took Beth's hand again.

We walked quickly out to the desk and saw Franco "Thank you for helping making our evening so special. We had a truly wonderful time tonight." Beth said as she gave him a peck on the cheek. Franco blushed and said, "You are most welcome Miss Beth. You and Mr. Alex come back anytime you like I'm sure I can find you a table." As we turned to walk away toward the concierge desk I saw Franco wave at the young woman behind the counter. She nodded in response and wished us a good evening without asking for our card or room number.

We got into the elevator and I found that it had no buttons, just a card reader. I put our keycard into the reader and the elevator began its assent. I took Beth in my arms and told her softly "I had a wonderful evening. Thank you for sharing it with me." She looked at me with one eyebrow quirked up in question, "Do you really think you're going to get rid of me that easily? The night is still young and I am by no means ready to let you go just yet."

I again leaned down and brushed my lips across her cheek and to her lips. "And do you think I'm planning to just let you have your way with me? You must really think I'm a softie." The smile in my voice told her I was teasing. She reached down and rubbed my pants leg and what lay beneath as she said "To answer your questions, yes I do and I certainly hope not." The impish glint in her azure eyes warned of pleasures to come. She pressed her lips to mine once more and again time seemed to stop.

The elevator announced our arrival and we separated. The doors slid aside and we looked into a small entryway with an elaborately carved door. I used the keycard to open a door that led to a sitting room. "My whole apartment could fit into this room with room to spare." Beth said in an awed voice. "Mine and yours both!" I replied equally awed at the spacious room. The suite was enormous. The sitting room was appointed with four couches arranged in a square, and doors that led to the guest bath and all three bedrooms. A full bar sat on one wall, complete with a small wine cooler and a small refrigerator. The walls were decorated in beautiful rose hued fabric wallpaper, with gold accents and trim.

The suite was lavishly appointed with expensive furnishings and carpets. It was the most expensively appointed room I had ever seen. The bedrooms each contained a king sized four poster bed, a desk, and a door to the bathroom. The Master bedroom had its own bath with both a walk in shower and a Jacuzzi spa bathtub big enough for two. "How convenient." I thought lasciviously as I looked at the large bathtub. The guest rooms shared a bath that was equally impressive.

Both of our bags sat on the bench at the foot of the large bed in the master bedroom. I looked at Beth and she had walked over to the bags and began looking through what Joyce had packed. She went rigid, slammed the top of her bag closed, glanced at me and then blushed from her lovely hair to the tips of her fingers. I watched as the blush ran down her shoulders and arms.

"What's wrong?" I asked. Beth's blush deepened, she grabbed her bag and clutched it tightly to her "N–n-nothing!" she stammered and fled to the bathroom slamming the door behind her. I stood and wondered what had gone wrong.

I took off my jacket and picked up my bag. I walked out into the sitting room and dropped my bag on one of the sofas. I looked at the other two doors and sighed. I walked over to the bar and noticed that the wine cooler had bottled juices in it as well as wines. I took out a bottle of sparkling white grape juice and poured myself a glass. I poured Beth a glass of an excellent white wine that was also there. Beth doesn't drink around me, I think to spare my feelings, but I really don't mind that she likes wines.

"Alex?" I turned as I heard her panicked call. I heard Beth say in a frantic voice "Oh God! Please don't let him be gone!" The urgency in her voice made my chest clench painfully. I called out to her "Beth I'm in here. I'll be back in, in just a second." I put the wine back in the cooler, picked up our glasses and returned to the bedroom. Beth was sitting on the side of the bed in a robe. She had it pulled tight around her. Her shoulder shook as if she was crying.

"Beth? I brought you a glass of white wine." I said softly. She still wasn't looking at me but her breathing was slowing back down. She wiped a hand across her cheek and looked at me. She had small tears unshed in her eyes and said "Thank you" as she took the wine. She swirled the glass and sniffed the bouquet. She took a small sip and said "This is really an excellent wine! Where did you get it?"

"There's a wine cooler behind the bar along with a mini fridge." I told her. I sat my glass on the dresser and knelt next to her on the bed. "Why would you think I'd have left? We only just got here." She started to tear up and said "When I came out you weren't here and your bag was gone. What was I supposed to think? You never said anything."

"I told you that you were going to get tired of seeing me. I meant it. I'm not going anywhere until we leave for Josh's office Monday. In fact we don't even have to leave this suite if we don't want to." I smiled as I said it and leaned in to kiss away her tears. As I leaned in she closed her eyes. I kissed her eyelids slowly and then I kissed her on the end of the nose, which earned me a giggle. I slid my arms around her and she tilted her head. As our lips met she brought her hands up and wrapped me in a strong embrace.

Beth is a tall woman, and a strong one. She works out almost as much as I do; only her regimen is a lot more intense. We sat there lost in each other for a long time. We parted and she asked me "Where on earth did you learn to kiss like that?" I smiled at her and said "Natural talent I guess. I take it the response was favorable?"

Beth looked at me with a wicked grin and said "I'll give you about a thousand years to stop kissing me like that." I stroked the back of my hand over her cheek and said "You have a deal." I meant it too. I had never reacted to any woman the way I responded to Beth. It was like I had a physical need for her.

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