Read Layover Online

Authors: Peaches The Writer




A Novel







Peaches the Writer






All Rights Reserved





Cover Design by Heather Boyd


Chapter One

“I’ll be glad when you fail at this real estate business,” Kenny assured me. “Maybe then you’ll get a real job like everybody else!”

Kenny had been riding me for the past year about my decision to leave corporate America and start my own business. It had gotten ugly at times, and there had been moments when I thought about leaving. It was at those moments that I realized this is my house. I bought this house before I even met this fool. He was living in an apartment with his cousin. When we got married, he moved in with me. So, for me leaving is not an option, but for him it may be a requirement - especially when he says things like that.

This trip to California is going to do a world of good for me. In the first place, if I close this real estate deal, I will be set for the year and I can focus on building my business instead of worrying about sales. In the second place, I just need to get away from this place for a minute. I had been looking forward to this trip for months, so when my plane landed in Denver for a short layover, I felt relieved that I was halfway there. I rushed off the plane to use the bathroom and grabbed some hot chocolate in a to-go cup before I headed back. Even before I got to my gate, I could hear some of my unhappy co-passengers complaining about a potential delay. Apparently there was some weather related problems with our take-off and it sounded like we were going to be in The Mile High City for a while. I spent the next few hours listening to people complain about missing business meetings, not getting to see their grandchildren, and about the incompetence of the airlines. Not me. I was perfectly happy sitting my ass right there until they get their stuff straight. I don’t have to be anywhere badly enough to die behind it. I decided to call my brother-in-law and his wife to see if I could just go spend the night with them and pick up my flight in the morning. It was getting late and I had no intention of nodding off in that airport all night long.

Allen was Kenny’s brother. He was two years younger and twice as successful. I mean, Kenny and I had the nice house and cars with pretty good jobs and income, but Allen and his wife were way upper middle class. They were both scientists. They were both sensible and unpretentious. Kenny, on the other hand, was extravagant and worldly. He spent it as it came in, which is why he did not want me to the leave the certainty of a bi-weekly paycheck for the uncertainty of commission-based real estate brokerage. Kenny struggled to one-up his brother on everything and he finally hit a home run when he married me. Everyone knew that Allen had gotten his heart broken and his soul ripped out by a girl who looked just like me, his dream girl. After he had been devastated by the love of his life, he married a woman who was the exact opposite to insure that he would never be hurt again. Lisa was heavy and unremarkable. There were no frills about her. However, she was very kind, smart, and made a lot of money. So, the sibling rivalry continued. Kenny had the girl Allen always wanted and Allen had the girl that Kenny needed to fund his bourgeoisie lifestyle. However, I did not get into all that and I got along with everyone. So, I felt comfortable calling them to see if I could stay over. I tried the home number but there was no one there. I took a chance and called the car phone number, which I thought both Allen and Lisa shared. I got Allen on the second ring.

“Hey Allen. It’s Nya. Are you busy at the moment?”

“Hey, Nya. No I’m not. I’m just coming back from dropping off Lisa and the baby at her parent’s house.”

“Isn’t that about two hours from Denver?”

“Yeah, they’re going to stay for the weekend. I’ll pick them up Sunday.”

“Well, I’m in Denver. I was on my way to California and my flight had a layover. Now, because of the ice and snow, we won’t be taking off until further notice. I was wondering if I could stay over but I think I’ll get a hotel now.”

“Why would you do that? We’re family. You can stay with me.”

“I appreciate the offer but you know how insecure your brother is.”

“Well, at least let me take care of hotel accommodations for you. Once you get settled in, we can grab some dinner or something.”

“That sounds cool.”

Allen was thoughtful like that. He was very special and in another life, I could actually see myself married to him. He was attractive, but he was no Kenny. My husband is, hands down, the most gorgeous, chocolate-coated brother in the galaxy. Allen was sort of caramel colored and he did not have that sweet Ebony Man beard like Ken. At 6’3”, Allen was a good 2 inches taller than Kenny, but he had a slight belly. Kenny was quite vain and image conscious, never to be seen with excess stomach. However, Allen and I had more in common. We were both home bodies and we were closer in age. We shared the same interest in real estate investing, as well. Kenny even made a comment once that maybe Allen and I should have been married. Naturally, I found him attractive because of our similarities, but also because of the relationship he had with his toddler son. Not only was he attentive and involved with his son, but he also constantly planned for his child’s financial future. Still, he wasn’t the witty fashion plate that my Kenny was. Allen picked me up at ground transportation and took me to the hotel.

“Once you get settled in, just call me on my cell phone and I’ll come back and take you to dinner.”

“That’s the best offer I’ve had all day.”

I checked into the fine Marriott. It was an elegant, swank, hotel on Denver’s upscale side of town. I really don’t know why Allen sent me to this place; The Comfort Inn would have been just fine for the purpose of my brief layover.

After I took my shower, I got dressed in my fly Chanel suit that I was saving for my presentation to some land developers in LA. I figured Allen would take me somewhere nice to eat, so I may as well look my best. I called Allen to let him know I was ready. He said he would pick me up in an hour. So, while I waited for him to arrive, I started doing some work on my laptop computer. I added some finishing touches to my presentation. I prayed that the weather permitted me to make it to Cali the next day in time for my meeting. This is one of the most important and lucrative projects I have ever been involved in. This deal could make or break me and just the fact that they chose my company over all the competition, especially local, is a great honor. It’s a good feeling to know that they think enough of me that they are willing to fly my young, non-White, un-established ass across the country to talk to them face to face. It was a silencer for all the naysayers, especially Kenny, who thought I could not be competitive in this White, Male dominated industry. I hate that I left home angry at him today, but I just couldn’t take any more of his negativity and criticism about my choice to be a real estate developer. The last thing I said to him was, “Go to hell!” I meant it at the time and I don’t feel very different now, but I don’t like leaving with bad feelings between us. I thought about calling to let him know I had a layover and maybe smooth things over then. I was just about to pick up the phone when I started thinking about what he said that made me angry enough to curse him. He had a lot of nerve! If I pick up that phone and call him right now, I might cuss his Black ass out all over again. It’s not so much
he said, it’s just the fact that he thinks he can talk to me crazy! I reached for the phone just as it rang. It was Allen and he was waiting for me in the lobby.

“I hope you don’t mind an early dinner,” he said apologetically as we walked to the car, “I’m meeting some friends later.”

“That’s fine. I usually eat dinner around seven o’clock anyway. Besides, I’ve got some work to do on my presentation. I’ll stay up tonight and finish it. Just feed me and I’ll be alright.”

He drove me to Venice Ristorante in his brand new, fully-loaded Tahoe. Allen was very sensible and unpretentious. He is not the type to make a purchase like that if he wasn’t well able to afford it. On the other hand, Kenny wanted us to buy one. We would have been living paycheck to paycheck trying to pay for something like that. Kenny wouldn’t care. He would just want to be able to floss in front of his homeys.

I decided to put Kenny out of my mind and enjoy my evening. It would be hard though. I was sitting right next to the person who reminds me most of him. Allen has many of Kenny’s great qualities and few of his shortcomings.

Dinner was expensive and delicious. I sort of got the feeling that Allen was trying to show me that, “See this is what life would be like if you were married to me.” Maybe I’m being silly, but I know that attitude when I see it. And, the fact that Allen takes Lisa out to dinner every Friday night without fail, makes me wonder if I might like this life better than the one I currently have. We sat at the table after dinner for hours, talking about any and everything. It was like we were looking for a reason to stay in each other’s company. I assumed that Allen wouldn’t, at this point, be meeting friends later as he had previously mentioned. I figured he probably said that in the beginning just in case dinner was boring and he wanted to bail on me. Allen continued to order after-dinner drinks and put them away Reilly-style. He was descended from a long lineage of self-proclaimed alcoholics and there was no shame in his or anyone in his family’s game about it. My non-drinking self continued to nurse sodas until the server popped back up at the table long after it has been cleared and the meal tab had been settled.

“So, how long have you all been married?” He asked, certain that he was correct in his assumption.

“Why do you ask?” I rushed, before Allen could clear things up. I was curious as to why he thought we were married.

“Because you seem so happy, like newlyweds.”

“We are happy.” I continued, “But we aren’t married - to each other, that is.”

Soon the look on his face changed from curious and excited to suspicious and devilish.

“Hey, it’s none of my business,” he quickly conceded.

“No, it’s nothing like that,” I assured him, “This is my brother-in-law.”

“Well, on that note may I say one more thing, if it’s not too presumptuous? Under different circumstances, you two would have made an awesome couple.”

He walked away and left us both dumbfounded. Why is it that a total stranger can see things that are right before our own eyes? He was absolutely right. I was just imagining if it was Kenny that I was there with instead of Allen. It would have been a totally different scenario. First of all, we would have been arguing over who was going to pay the check.

Allen looked at me and got up from the table. He was famous for jumping up out of the hot seat when things took an unexpected turn. I remember the time we were playing Spades at his mother’s house one holiday. They had paired Allen and me together because we were the least experienced and we both could not care less about losing a silly card game. But, because we had such great chemistry and we could read each other’s body language and emotions so well, we ended up beating all the teams that played against us. I remember him looking across the card table at me in amazement and asking,

”How do you do it? How do you know what I’m thinking?”

I simply replied, “When you have a great partner, you can do anything.”

He looked at me with longing eyes and I stared right back at him until he lowered his gaze. As soon as that hand was finished, he jumped up from the table and announced he was going to bed. We all looked a bit confused because it was only eight o’clock. That was early, even for Allen. I felt that I had turned him on in some way and he could not handle being in the same room with me.

I guess I knew at that moment that things were getting kind of deep and that I needed to back off a bit. Allen was feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. Everyone seemed to want to put us together. Even his own mother often introduces me to people as Allen’s wife. When I correct her, she just says, “Forgive me, Ny, I’m old and senile.” Then she will turn right around and try to sell me on the finer points of the same son whom she just introduced me as his wife.

“Allen is a good husband. He takes his wife out to dinner every Friday. He doesn’t go out much without Lisa. He cooks; he helps out around the house. That’s a good man,” She often reminds me.

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