Coming home and facing an internal crisis. Cathy rides to the rescue again, with a surprise.
The trip home was anticlimactic. No last minute calls from Ana Isabel, no nefarious visits from men in black suits, and we were on our own at the airport. No mile-high club. My new favorite stewardess wasn’t on our particular flight. Even the petting on the flight was curtailed, nothing more than hand-holding and leg caressing.
We did chat a bit about our trip, and discussed business. There was still a possibility of travel for one more training session. I confessed that the next time I went overseas, I planned to take Debbie and/or Beth with me.
“I don’t imagine Major de Borbón would approve of that.”
“Perhaps not, but I’m thinking a clean break is best. Showing up in Madrid with my girls would be an effective way of ensuring that.”
She laughed. “It would do a pretty good job of enhancing the legend of ‘Señor Jack’. Everyone was already talking about how you’d finally melted the Ice Dragon, and of course there were a few rumors running around about you and me. Debbie would be the icing on the cake. Debbie and Beth both? You’d be immortalized.”
“Please. As far as most of that crowd is concerned, I’m the guy that struck out every night, and set his sights just a little too high.”
“I’m telling it how I see it. I can certainly see the allure, your Major is a fascinating and attractive woman. Wealth, power, bloodlines, and that body! What’s not to like? I’m almost surprised I didn’t lose you over there.”
I didn’t tell her just how close it might have been.
I managed to nap a bit on the flight, but my internal schedule was all messed up. I woke up tired and grouchy; Chris was kind enough to let me be. A free beer took the edge off. A second one had me back to my laid-back self, contemplating the situation I’d left behind, and the girls I was headed home to.
It was getting dark as we drove back to the office where I’d parked. Chris drove, and I couldn’t help but wonder if our antics would cause any troubles in her home life. I was hoping she’d get through it all OK.
“You’re doing it again. Stop it.”
“Doing what?” I asked.
“You’re staring at me.”
“Sorry. I’m going to miss what we have together.”
She sighed. “Me too, Jack. Me too. But it’s best this way.”
“Hundred mile rule still apply?” I teased, reaching out and caressing her leg.
“Please don’t, Jack. I don’t want to show up home with my panties soaked through.”
I withdrew my hand. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”
“And we’ll see about your ‘100 mile rule’. We might need to fly out to L.A. before too long. Who knows what might happen? We’ll take it one step at a time.”
“I hope your husband figures out what a treasure he has in you,” I told her.
“I’m going to work on it. I think sometimes I’m not such a treasure. Maybe I can do something about that.”
She was terribly pensive through most of the drive, and we parted in the parking lot with a hug. It started casually enough, but after several long moments she was clinging to me tightly. “We’ll both be OK, right Jack?”
“More than OK. I’m certain.”
She stayed in my arms. “There’s no doubt we’ll come out of this smelling like a rose at work. A huge success. And Spain was nothing short of incredible. But it’s back to the real world now.”
“I know. I’m sorry things got so crazy.”
She withdrew from my arms, and shook her hair free. “I think I needed a little ‘crazy’ in my life. See you Monday?”
“Bright and early at the stroke of ten. I think I’ll sleep in for once. I’m guessing I’ll have a busy weekend at home.”
It was nice to see her smile. “I hope that makes two of us.”
No kiss goodbye, she just walked back to her car, gave me a wave and climbed in. I hopped in my car and took off for home. There were a couple of girls I desperately wanted to see.
* * *
I arrived to a packed house. All the full-time residents were present, as were Karen and Jim. Even Ashley and Erin were awaiting my arrival and when they ran to me for hugs, I realized how much I’d missed the rug rats. I was definitely becoming domesticated. The only real surprise was Eric, who was there with Amie. Looked like that relationship was still on and from the way he was hovering and looking at her, I was guessing there’d been some advances on that front.