Second Chance Layover — Part 15 (FREE Holiday Blog Serial)

Sandra Bunino and I have collaborated to bring you a FREE holiday blog serial that runs in 18 parts of usually less than 1000 words for each post—easy reading on your lunch break.

Prefer to read on a Kindle or Nook? No problem, just head over to Smashwords every Wednesday to download week one (parts 1 – 4), week two (parts 5 – 9), and week three’s (parts 10 – 14) volumes, FREE! I also post the volumes on ARe on Thursdays. Really, there’s no excuse not to read this serial!

Of course, you can catch up here: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

And now, PART 15 of Second Chance Layover (Click title to read a quick summary of the story):

Cover15Charli ~

A storm of anger and sadness brewed inside my belly. I couldn’t bear to look at him, but I couldn’t help to leave him with a kiss good-bye. Tears burned my eyes as I walked out and closed the door. How could he just flip the switch off after what we shared the night before?

Then it occurred to me; I was nothing but a casual fuck to him.

Pinching the bridge of my nose, my stomach reeled. I was such a fool. Red-hot lava shot through my veins, and I contemplated turning around and banging on his door. My hand balled into a fist, and I’d have done anything to have wound up and given him a right hook to the jaw. Forget the girly slap, I’d have given him something he’d have felt for days. My phone chimed with a text. I pulled it from my purse and glanced at the screen. The message was from the airline notifying me my flight was to take off in an hour.

I glanced back at the door, shook my head and continued down the hall to the elevator. I would not give Cal Wheaton the satisfaction of a reaction. No. For once in my life, I’d play it cool. That’s what Tiffany would do. I was damn proud of my work, even though guilt niggled at me like a day old mosquito bite. Had the article been a catalyst in Renata’s death? Would she still be alive if the feature never ran? No one could answer that question, although I knew Cal’s opinion.

I sniffed back the effects of a half cry and made my way back to my room for a quick shower. I cleansed my body and mind of Cal and the lingering residue of the passion we shared the night before.

Twenty minutes later I pulled my carryon as I headed to my gate, leaving behind Cal and all traces of my stupid indiscretion at the hotel.

English: Broken Heart symbol

Before I boarded, I placed a quick call to Duncan because I knew my mother would send him to pick me up at the airport. The hour was early in Aspen, but I figured he’d get my voice mail. He surprised me by picking up on the first ring.

“You’re up early.”

Duncan groaned. “Mommie Dearest had us all up to watch the sunrise on the top of the mountain. I need a nap.”

Duncan’s morning sounded almost as painful as mine. “My flight’s leaving in a few minutes so I’ll be landing in about four hours. Should give you enough time for some beauty sleep.”

“I’ll be there. Hey, I still can’t believe you and Cal bumped into each other yesterday. Crazy, right? At least you had someone to keep you company. Must’ve been fun for you. Remember, you had a thing for him back in the day.”

“Yeah. I gotta go, Duncan. Just be on time, okay? You can pull up to the curb at arrivals. I only have a carryon.”

“See you then, sis.”

I powered down my phone, took a deep breath and followed the line to board the plane. Forcing my thoughts to the hellish Tierney family holiday, I decided to make the best of the ski weekend. I needed a release for the pent up anger churning in my belly.

***

Cal ~

“What’s the difference between a lawyer and a gigolo? A gigolo only screws one person at a time.” A hyena-like cackle from the jokester bore its way into my brain and gnawed on my last nerve.

I frowned at the lawyer jokes being passed back and forth between the coffee shop barista and the man in line ahead of me. I’d heard them all before. Most were funny. This particular one was not. Had my mother not insisted on a fancy coffee from this particular shop, I’d have taken my business elsewhere.

Christmas had been a dismal affair with Renata’s absence like a thundercloud looming overhead, threatening to deluge everyone in tears, yet again. The ghost of another woman and our last conversation had weighed equally heavy on my mind.

My mother sat at a table for two in the corner, tapping on her cell phone, a smile on her face. We would spend my final hours in my boyhood town over coffee before I drove back to New York City, to my cold, empty apartment. Hopefully my movers would arrive the next morning as scheduled so I would only have to sleep a single night on the air mattress I borrowed from my mother.

“What can I get for you, sir,” asked the barista.

“A large cup of your house blend, black, and a small skinny vanilla latte, please.”

He scribbled my mother’s drink on a cup and handed it to the drone pulling espresso shots and prepping drinks next to him. “$6.54,” he announced after he poured and plunked my coffee cup on the counter in front of me.”

Lawyer jokes

Lawyer jokes (Photo credit: mikemac29)

“Good Lord, that’s highway robbery. I only got one fancy espresso and a plain coffee.”

“Yep. Four for the latte and two for the coffee. Uncle Sam wants his share too.”

“Tax is collected by the local government, not the federal,” I said, frowning as I handed him a ten.

He shrugged and fished out my change. “Whatever. The lawyers are behind it all in some way.”

“You seem to bear some animosity toward lawyers.”

The man chuckled. “That obvious is it? Going through a divorce and being fed through the ringer, care of my wife’s blood-sucking attorney. I guess you could say I’m bitter. But I wasn’t the one who made up the saying ‘the only good lawyer is a dead lawyer’.”

***

Please be sure to come back tomorrow for Part 16!

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