THE CANDLELIT DINNER was a remarkable success. To compensate for his wife’s splendid effort, Daniel eventually agreed to go to the Bahamas. Allison was beyond pleased to see his much-improved attitude since last night, specifically with his taking a half-day off so as to better accommodate the party, which she fully attributed to Adrian’s brilliant advice. Just so she could officially thank him, while packing, she kept her phone near at hand in case he was to call, but he never did.
After a quick grab-and-go lunch, the couple hurried to the airport to catch their flight. At the gate, they met up with Elton, who had been watching for them next to two Gucci suitcases in a cart.
“There she is! My baby girl.”
“Hi, Daddy,” Allison greeted with a big smile and the two hugged.
“Well, well, well, let me take a good look at you. Hmm… something’s different.”
“It’s probably my hair, sort of an awkward length right now. I’ve been meaning to let it grow out.”
“No, that’s not it. You look thinner. Has Danny been starving you?”
“I’m not starving.”
“Your father is only teasing, Allie,” Daniel chimed in. “How are you doing, sir?”
The men in turn shook hands.
“Good. I’m glad you were able to make it.”
“I do apologize for the short notice.”
“It’s about time to board. Where’s Mom?”
“She went to the restroom a few minutes ago. Ah, here she comes.”
Allison and Daniel turned their heads to see Brenda approaching.
“That’s all you brought with you? One suitcase?” she said to them.
“We are only there for two nights. So you guys have two suitcases, big difference,” Allison replied to her.
“No, no. Those two are just my stuff, we’ve had your father’s checked.”
“Are you planning to stay longer?”
“I don’t think so. El?”
“No. Tom Lee, the chairman of one of our major suppliers, is flying in all the way from China on Monday night. I want to be around when he settles into the hotel —”
INTERCOM ANNOUNCEMENT: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOARDING WILL BEGIN IN APPROXIMATELY TEN MINUTES TIME...
“They said that ten minutes ago,” Brenda whined.
“I’m sure it’s soon. In any case, we will be the first to board. So, Danny, have you ever flown first-class before?”
“No, sir. I haven’t.”
“Really? Not even once?”
“Daddy, Dan flies business class all the time for his work which is just as good.”
“Well, I suppose it isn’t bad for domestic flights, as for international travel, more often than not, the price point can be easily a couple times cheaper that’s for sure.”
“It’s not really about the money. It’s paid for by his company anyway.”
“You are right, comfort is what counts, although, those two things do go hand in hand. And if you want the best in-flight service, you definitely have to go for the best class. That’s just how this works. Now I’m not saying I’ve never flown business, as in fact I did all the time during the start of my career, but ever since I was able, I’ve always opted for the best seat available for good reason.”
“I honestly don’t see them being that different —”
“Oohh believe me, sweetpea, if you fly as much as I do, you will begin to notice all the difference it makes,” asserted he, giving his daughter a wink.
“Listen to your father, Allie. He’s the expert on everything remember?” Brenda added to his self-praise and meant it literally. In the next instant, a ground service agent came to inform them it was time to board, which just as well drew to a close the obnoxious chat.
First thing after settling down into their superior cabin, Elton took to request for a glass of Scotch. Allison overheard him, and was quick to express her daughterly concern. “Daddy, didn’t the doctor tell you to stay away from liquor?”
“Do not worry, I do this every time I fly. It helps calm me down before takeoff,” he explained to her when really it was just an excuse to drink, and then returned his attention to the flight attendant waiting on him. “I’ll take a glass of red wine instead just to make my daughter happy.” Swiftly, she moved along.
Meanwhile, at the sound of a ringtone, Allison searched frantically her pockets for her cell phone but could not find it. Seeing her enthusiasm, Daniel, sitting next to her, asked, “What’s going on?” By that time, the gentleman directly behind them had picked up what apparently was his call.
“I think I accidentally left my phone at home.”
“Are you expecting a call from somebody?”
“No, not exactly. I would just like to have it with me.”
“I’m afraid it’s too late to go back. Besides, I thought you wanted to be on vacation. You probably won’t need to use it. Unless there’s something you must attend to now.”
“Very well then,” he assured her, patting her hand resting on the leather armrest. “All you can do is sit back and relax for the next few hours, and then we’ll be there.”
She smiled in concurrence.
After a brief layover in Atlanta, Georgia, they boarded a short flight to arrive at Nassau International Airport before dusk. A taxi picked them up and dropped them off at Grand Cove, one of the most luxurious, coastal resorts overseeing the North Atlantic Ocean.
“Would you like an upgrade to the Penthouse Suite, sir? Compliments from Mr. Jacob Fenty.”
As usual, Elton did not shy away from gloating about his prime status for knowing personally the president of this hospitality establishment. “See what I’m talking about, Allie? There are always benefits for being a VIP. Ah, no, thank you, but could you please add a little note for me, attention to Mr. Fenty, expressing my gratitude.”
“Daddy. Why did you say no to the Penthouse Suite?”
The receptionist shot them a friendly grin, distributing the room keys. “Mr. and Mrs. Crawford, you will be in Suite 304, and Mr. and Mrs. Skala in 306. Would you like assistance with your luggage, sir?”
“Our rooms are next to each other?” Allison cut in suddenly to ask.
“It is a connecting room as requested.”
“What do you mean a connecting room?”
“Umm… is it going to be a problem?”
Before she could say more, Brenda had grabbed the set of keys from the counter, replying on her behalf, “No, miss. Thank you very much for your help.”
The group moved on up to their rooms. It was only through conversation in the elevator did Allison uncover her mother’s insistence on the room arrangement this morning.
“A family that travels together should stick together. It’s easier to keep everybody in touch that way.”
Knowing it was her mere attempt to keep tabs on Daniel, she retorted, “We can keep in touch with our phones in this day and age, Mom.”
“I know you want your privacy, darling, and there is a door in-between to separate the two suites. How’s that for privacy?”
“It’s too late to change anything now and crying won’t help. Maybe next time when you guys travel with us again, I might just make sure your room is as far away from ours as possible.”
There was no winning with her mother, Allison knew and therefore quit arguing. That however, did not lessen her guilt for dragging Daniel along on promised words that it was going to be a fun, carefree getaway.
“I’m sorry,” she apologized to him as soon as they got to their room.
“What for?” he asked her right back.
“I know this trip isn’t exactly what you’re hoping for.”
“You are right. I never expected to have to go on a trip with your parents. If it were up to me, I’d rather come by ourselves at a later time.”
“Really? You would want to come here with me?”
“Yeah. But, here we are now, and the weekend has barely started so I’m hopeful.”
Grabbing the suitcase from her, he laid it on the fancy canopy bed and opened it. Her cell phone happened to be tucking in a corner among the clothes.
“And guess what?”
“Looks like luck is already on our side,” he added encouragingly, holding it upright to show her.
She was immediately all smiles.