Chapter 26: Flight to Barbados


Barbados

Barbados (Photo credit: Loimere)

 

Maybe we should get away

 

Baby, we could leave this town together

 

Maybe we could find our place

 

We could make it

 

(We’re gonna make it, we’re gonna make it)

 

Baby, we can get away

 

And we don’t have to wait to start forever

 

This could be our only chance, we should take it

 

(We oughta take it)Baby, we should get away

 

-Get Away – Mitchel Musso

 


 

Early morning brings the crushing disappointment of waking up alone. The past twenty four hours have been a roller coaster of emotion with so many unexpected revelations. It seemed only fitting that we should find some solace in mind blowing sex but with every climax we withdrew from each other emotionally until in the end we slept, or rather didn’t sleep, on either side of the bed, barely touching. It is difficult to put a finger on why but needless to say that while disappointed I am not surprised Elliot is not here right now.

 

Feeling shattered, both physically and emotionally I lie back against the pillows and examine the evidence. Our worlds have been flipped, first by my discovery of and reaction to Gia, then Dad’s 180 on Elliot and all things Grey topped off by our run in with Elena Lincoln. The only constant in all of this is the incredible sex and Elliot’s continued determination to declare his love every few minutes which is wearing my nerves thin. Not because I hate it but because I am starting to depend on it and that scares me.

 

With every revelation I fall for him more and more but I don’t want to feel like this. I don’t want to be that vulnerable. Great sex and happy times, that’s my MO. I don’t want to trust and have my heart broken so I treat sex like ice cream. I love it, even crave it but I don’t expect it to be satisfying and nutritious. My problem is I am developing an addiction that I know I will live to regret later.

 

Last night’s encounters only served to seed more doubts for me. There were the openly covetous stares from the assorted females as we made our way through the ballroom. Later I overheard a snide conversation between Crystal Leighton and Lindy Smith while I was in the ladies room. Seems they had both had wild passionate affairs with Elliot at some point in the not too distant past that they just couldn’t wait to get all nostalgic about. From their conversation I could swear that they shared him. As I emerged from my cubicle I had to resist the urge to smack their smug faces.

 

After that little love fest I was on my way back to Elliot when I was approached by the Bellevue Frat Pack. A group of guys who, from what I know of them, were conceived for the sole purpose of wasting their family fortunes on their endless whoring and gambling sojourns to Vegas. They are only a year or so older than me and a complete waste of space by all accounts. Immensely popular with many of the equally vacuous, born-to-be-trophy-wives that I went to school with, they have never been on my radar, nor I theirs. Suddenly because I am with Elliot they seem to have decided I am fair game propositioning me for a menage, my choice of partners, as if that would be the next selection off the sexual menu once Elliot got bored with me.

 

None of this surprises me. The kink, the blatant disregard for human decency or the bitchiness. This is rife in certain circles of the upper echelons of any society. Boredom and money are a dangerous and toxic mix. The fact that this is all sitting somewhere in Elliot’s not so distant past serves as both a warning and a reminder that even if he is genuine now, the shelf life on his feelings is likely to be short.

 

For now, I will take Barbados, and all it has to offer me and then I will have to be prepared to walk away. Never mind that I already feel possessive of him. A byproduct, of his repeated attempts at throwing tantalizing happy family scenarios in my path. The worst part of all of this is knowing that I already love him. For every aspect of his sexual life that I hate he has shown me other aspects of himself that my heart has no defense against. His intelligence, his humor, his creativity, his devotion and loyalty, his philanthropy. Who could not love him? I just know that in reality I am standing at the end of a very long line.

 

Then there are these threats that are hovering ready to destroy his family. I know that I will help him. I couldn’t possibly walk away from this if there is something I can do to help. So I wonder if his agreement to accept my help doesn’t mean that he and his family are ensuring my silence. Regardless of how badly it may end, and I have no doubt it will end badly between Elliot and me, I won’t ever use any of this for a story, I am not a heartless bitch.

 

Dad’s father-of-the-groom bullshit last night has me on edge as well. I can tell he isn’t about to let the possibility of a great story drop. He is playing a game that I don’t trust and would rather not be a part of. I wonder how long I might have before I am told what a career-limiting move it would be to suppress information.

 

Feeling lethargic I get up and move out to the kitchen to find Elliot entering the apartment, coffee in hand, returning from an early morning run. He strides across the room, stopping to plant a light kiss on my forehead before unloading bagels and cups on the kitchen bench.

 

“Morning, gorgeous.” His remote smile seems a little automatic, not the full-blown knock your sox off sexy Elliot Grey grin I have become used to. I pick up a bagel and a cup and go and sit on the couch in front of my computer.

 

“I missed you this morning.” My eyes are focused on the screen as it boots up. I don’t want him to see the tears that are threatening. He is focused on the morning paper.

 

“Sorry, I’m not good at staying asleep. Just felt like I need to burn off some energy.” Like three times last night wasn’t enough of a workout for you? Once more I keep my eyes on the screen while biting my lip hard.

 

“We made the paper. I’m going to have a shower.” He walks past me all but throwing the paper in my lap. Luckily he doesn’t look back as the tears begin rolling down my cheeks. What the hell is wrong with him? I look at the photo of us smiling at the cameras and realize my worst fears. Now that we have gone public he isn’t interested any more. Suddenly Barbados feels like a noose around my neck.

 

Later that afternoon I am curled up in the seat next to Elliot on the plane with my brother Ethan in front of us reading an eBook. Elliot has a laptop computer open on the tray table in front of him, he is working on a program that looks like a complicated flight deck and wearing full headphones not just small ear buds. I have been asleep while he started it and I am intrigued by how complex the process seems to be that he is doing. He keeps opening a window and and adjusting the numbers then he presses a play button and listens. I tap him on the shoulder and he pulls his headphones off and looks down at me.

 

“Sorry babe, I didn’t realize that you were awake.” He leans over to give me a quick peck all hint of his bad mood gone.

 

“Only just, how long was I out?” I ask, yawning.

 

Glancing down at his watch he says, “We’ve been flying for about two hours.”

 

“Oh. So what are you doing?” I ask indicating the computer.

 

“Looping a bass track,” he turns the screen to give me a better view. “I’m testing out a new version of some software that an old high school buddy has been developing in San Francisco.”

 

“That explains the headphones.” I reply. He immediately takes them off and hands them to me. I hold one side up to my ear and he plays the track to me. The music sounds really good and my mouth makes a wow shape. “This is great. Did you do this?”

 

“Uh huh.” He manipulates a couple of things on the screen and the track changes completely. The patterns merging and dancing on the screen match the music.

 

“Who is it?”

 

“Just something I did in the studio the other day.” He takes the headphones back and saves the work he has done.

 

“That’s you? Wow. That’s really cool.” I am genuinely impressed. He explains what he is doing. “How much is actually you playing?”

 

“Only eight bars. The rest is the program doing the looping.”

 

“But you have organized where the loops are taking place and how they are mixed together?”

 

“Yeah, it is pretty intuitive software so it is really easy.” As he explains some of the technical aspects of what he is doing I am lost. His brain and his fingers are going at a million miles per minute cutting and pasting blocks of color and then tweaking numbers as he shows me the intricacies of what he is doing. I don’t understand most of it and I am deeply impressed at how easy he makes it look.

 

“Do you have any of your recording with you?” I ask.

 

He smiles and takes his iPod out of his pocket. “Here, there are two tracks here that are just me and four that are the band from the work crew. Take your pick.”

 

I place the ear buds in and settle back into my seat to listen as he puts the headphones on to work on his project again. About twenty minutes later I tap Ethan on the shoulder and pass the iPod over. He listens for a while and then he looks back at Elliot and reaches over to give him a fist pump.

 

“This is really good, man. Where do you guys play?” Ethan asks as he hands back the ipod.

 

“A couple of bars around Seattle. Nothing major and not as often as we would all like.”

 

“Let me know when you have your next gig. I’d love to come.”

 

“You should come up to the house and see the studio.”

 

Ethan looks at me. “He has a studio in his house. Fantastic.”

 

“Ethan was a member of the drumline in college. Fancies himself behind a kit.” I roll my eyes and I can see the enthusiasm on Ethan’s face. I can imagine that if Ethan and Elliot get the opportunity they will play music all day and all night. Somehow the idea has a large amount of appeal to me.

 

“Shame you’re not musical but hey, even drummers are welcome.” Elliot says I almost choke with laughter.

 

Ethan smirks, “Yeah, yeah, drummer jokes are the lowest form of humor man. So you play bass?”

 

“Yeah, but anything with strings really. Guitar, uke, banjo.”

 

“Sure, what’s the difference between a banjo and a trampoline.” Ethan is in high spirits now.

 

I know this one. “I know, you have to take your shoes off before you jump on a trampoline.” I giggle. “An oldie but a goodie.”

 

Elliot laughs. “But seriously man, any time you want to come up for a jam let me know. The guys come around every couple of weeks. It’s a blast. Sometimes we just play and sometimes we record. You’d enjoy it and you’d be welcome to join in. I’ve got a kit in the studio.”

 

“Yeah, what is it?”

 

“I’ve got a Tama StarClassic with Sabian cymbals and Paragon hi-hats. I’ve also got a midi kit but I prefer the live sound.”

 

“I’m there, man. Have you heard Kate sing? You ought to record her.”

 

I think about last night in the studio. “Yeah, we did a little Civil Wars last night. I have every intention of getting her to record. It was fantastic.”

 

My mouth drops open and I sit up in my seat. “No way. I am not a singer.”

 

They both grin at me. “Yes you are baby. You were fantastic last night. We were. I really want to do some more of that with you.” There is not much that scares me but public music performance will do it. Does he really think I can sing or is he just being kind?

 

“No. I get performance anxiety with music. Freeze completely.” He shakes head at me but I am adamant that this is something that is beyond my capabilities.

 

“How come you can do the public speaking thing and have everyone eating out of your hand but you never sing? Not even at family parties.” Ethan is digging me in the ribs. “Has she shown you the valedictorian speech, Elliot? She was amazing.”

 

“No, she promised she would. Even mentioned that you would video it for me but then nothing. What’s with that?” Elliot asks him.

 

“Guys, performance anxiety here!” I need to put a stop to this discussion and I think Elliot takes pity on me.

 

“One day baby, I am going to record you and me singing together. But when you are ready.” He gives me a reassuring kiss on the top of my head while Ethan rolls his eyes at us. I lift my face up for a proper kiss and for the first time today I feel like he is back with me.

 

“Guys, get a room! This not what I came on holiday to see. Please.” He turns back to face the front of the plane, puts his headphones back on and opens up the ereader again.

 

Elliot and I look into each others eyes and I know that I am searching for reassurance. With a sad smile Elliot leans his head back against the seat.

 

“You know this is going to be the longest flight ever don’t you?” He whispers to me. I grin and signal towards the bathroom. He laughs. “Keen on joining the mile high club, Miss K.”

 

“Aren’t you already a member?” I say and his eyes widen in mock horror.

 

“How did you know?” Somehow I am sad but not surprised. And then he shocks me. “It’s an exclusive member only club in Seattle. Christian and I have been members for the last couple of years. And no, I have never done it on a plane so you would be a first.”

 

Oh, I mouth and then I recline my seat back with a smile pulling a blanket over my body. The upgrade to first class is Elliot’s contribution to the trip since my parents have already booked and paid for the accommodation. He lies back as well and we gaze at each other. His hand reaches out and touches my face. “Sleep baby. It’s a long flight.”

 

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