Monday, March 29, 2010

Chapter 5

Jon took a longer look at the small woman standing in front of him. She had a cap on her head that kept the lights off her face, sunglasses, no real hair he could see, and whatever figure she might have had was hidden by a baggy one piece jumpsuit of an unflattering grayish color. Nothing about her triggered the smallest bit of interest.

The anger that radiated, however, had him making an involuntary smirk that he quickly stopped, sure that would not help diffuse the situation.

While he might have felt small standing next to the man named Greg, the woman in front of him appeared the height of a child when Greg moved to her side. He watched as she put a hand on the man’s arm, somehow managing to calm the big man and herself at the same time.

“Greg, this is Mr. Martin. Do you remember him calling?” Mel waited while Greg’s gaze went distant as he thought. There was silence for at least a minute until Greg shook his head.

“No, the man who called before had a short name. Not Martin.” Greg looked back at the man in front of them and side-stepped a half step closer to Mel.

Quickly realizing the large man was being protective of the woman, Jon stepped back himself and turned a smile on Greg.

“When we spoke on the phone, you called me Mr. Frank.”

Greg thought about that for a few moments and then turned to Mel.

“That was it, Mel. Mr. Frank. I remember!” He looked at her until she once again put a hand on his arm and smiled.

“Thanks Greg, that’s what I needed to know.” She turned again to her customer and grinned.

“So, Mr. Frank…should we go into my office and you can give me an idea of what you’d like to do?”

“Sure Mel…” Jon voice seemed to drawl out her name as he reached down to grab his bag, “…anything you say.”

Mel shot him a look, one that started another grin crossing his face.

"Sorry, Ms. Gordon."

She raised an eyebrow at him and somehow within the space of a few seconds he felt he had been weighed, measured ... and dismissed.

Before leading him to her office, Mel asked Greg to take her flight bag down to the plane.

“And Greg, make sure all the tanks are topped off, okay?”

“Sure, Mel, I will. All topped off. Okay.”

They both watched as Greg walked quickly back out the door, again slamming it behind him.

“This way, Mr. Martin.” Mel gestured toward the side office.

Settling himself into a rather worn armchair, Jon watched as Mel pulled some charts out of a side cabinet and picked up a pencil. She slid her sunglasses a bit downward on her now, adjusted her papers, and turned to face him.

“So, Mr. Martin, you want to charter my plane for two weeks, correct?”

Jon nodded at her as she continued, making notes as she spoke.

“What are you looking to do?” She cocked her head as she finished, waiting for his response.

“I’m looking to purchase some property. I want to go to these islands…” He stopped and pulled out a list from his pocket. “These are the ones with homes I want to see.” He handed her the paper and she opened it, seeing several of the smaller, less inhabited islands listed. All were within a 1,000 mile radius of her island and most of them she had been to before.

Opening one of her charts, Mel began identifying the islands on his list.

“Okay, we’re here on Cat, and I’m guessing you’re not looking at Grand Bahama Island or Nassau, right?”

Jon shook his head. “Too touristy.”

Returning to the map, Mel pointed to Crooked Island and Watling Island. “We’ll start with those two and just continue to work south. Alright with you?”

Nodding at her, Jon agreed. “That’s what I thought too. I have rooms arranged so we can just keep traveling.”

Mel’s eyes met his at that information, but he just shrugged. “I only have a month off, but I want to get this done within two weeks if possible. It just makes sense to stay at places along the way.”

She looked at him a bit appraisingly, but filed that information away as one point against her “rich idiot” judgment.

They continued working for the next hour, revising their plans and Mel filled out her final flight plan. She would be leaving a copy with Greg as usual, as well as filing one with Bahamian customs. Gathering her papers, Mel glanced at her watch.

“It’s almost one. Do you want to get some lunch before we take off or do you want to stop on Bent?”

A half smile crossed Jon’s face. “Bent?”

“Crooked Island, Bent?”

“Ahh…okay…” He laughed then. “Let’s eat on Bent.”

A short time later both were ready to leave and they walked down to the bay where the seaplane waited. Mel did her preflight check, Greg watching diligently as she did so. Jon stowed his bag in the back and then stepped back to light a smoke. He knew it would be his last while they were in the air and he savored it as the warm breezes flowed over him.

The conversation between his pilot and her assistant were barely audible as they moved around the plane and he allowed his thoughts to drift as he waited.

What he had told Mel was true, he had managed to clear his ridiculously busy schedule for a month at his wife’s insistence. He knew he had been almost impossible to live with during the last few months and her patience was wearing thin. His continual snapping at the kids had been her last straw and she had all but thrown him out with instructions to “go get your shit together”.

That wasn’t what she said. Asshole. Be honest in your own head.

“I want my husband back.”


Anonymous said...

I like this story so far... cant wait for more ;-)

Bayaderra said...

Aha, so Dot is still in the picture...

Alice Faye said...

1 love the background. 2 love the concept and 3 why didn't you tell me you started it already?

I love it so far. But need to read more to give a 100 % love it.