Charlotte woke the next morning, somewhat dopey and had a headache, but she had slept a full 16 hours and couldn’t remember a single dream. Travis was still sleeping beside her, on his own side of the bed. She could barely remember the previous day, except that they had been arguing. She stumbled from the bed and into the bathroom to pee and washed her hands. She felt groggy, but at least she was aware of her surroundings and could walk on her own power.
Grabbing a key card from the dresser, she headed for the front desk. Rosa greeted her warmly. “Hi, Mrs. Jones! How are you feeling today?”
“A little wobbly, but otherwise I feel good. I’ve come for a cup of coffee, for both of us. Travis is still sleeping, I want to surprise him.”
“Do you need a carrier? I can get one from the restaurant for you.” Rosa was always so willing to help out.
“That would be great,” Charlotte thanked her and prepared a coffee for each of them.
“Here you are, sweetheart,” Rosa said, handing her a cardboard carrier. “Can I make any reservations for you today?”
“Not yet, I don’t know what he wants to do today, since yesterday was a lost day. Hopefully something fun.”
“Let me know!” Rosa chirped, happy as could be. It was obvious she loved her job.
Charlotte made her way back to the suite and opened the door. Travis was still sleeping peacefully. She set the coffee down on the table and got back into bed with him for a few minutes, curling herself around him.
“Good morning honeybear,” she cooed, kissing him. “Travis, baby, it’s morning time.”
Travis moved slightly, reacting to her kiss, and opened his eyes. “Hey beautiful,” he said, and smiled.
“I have coffee for us, love,” she announced.
“Oh yes, going to need that today,” he laughed. “I feel like I could sleep another whole day and not be caught up.”
“I’m just a little groggy, and maybe have the start of a migraine, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.” She handed him his paper cup of morning magic and took a sip from hers.
“I’m happy you woke me with kisses this morning and not screams,” he said. “It’s a much better way to wake up.”
“I agree. I know we still have some things to talk about, but I think we should make plans for something fun today. It was my fault we lost a whole day yesterday. Time we made it up, don’t you think?”
“I do think, yes.” He thought for a moment before he decided to bring up yesterday’s events. “Baby,” he said, “I’m sorry about yesterday. I never meant it to sound like I was blaming you for your dreams. I was as frustrated as you were. I don’t like to see you tortured by it.”
“You’re forgiven, honeybear,” she said. “I know I have much to be sorry for, too. I’m sorry I left here in a huff, that I got myself into a situation where it actually could have been dangerous, and most importantly, I’m so sorry I took my ring off and gave it back to you. I don’t want us to be done, baby. I love you way too much for that.”
“You are forgiven, honey. You know, that guy actually saved my hide last night when I was bringing you back from the doctor. I was carrying you over my shoulder because you were passed out cold, and I couldn’t open the door with one hand.” Travis took a sip of coffee. “I don’t think he wanted to help me, but he did anyway.”
“That was nice of him. I’m surprised he helped after you offered to beat the tar out of him.”
“Yeah, I shouldn’t have done that, either. I need to remember to keep my cool, but it’s difficult when I sense you’re in danger.” Travis shrugged his shoulders. “If I see him today, I’ll apologize to him for that.”
“Don’t be surprised if you don’t. He will probably stay away from you like you’re stricken with the plague.” Charlotte laughed a little, her headache still pounding.
“Okay, so what do we want to do today?” Travis asked, changing the subject.
“Why don’t we go diving?” Charlotte suggested. “I know you want to go, and the window of opportunity is closing where it’s safe before we fly home. I’m going to sit on the balcony and enjoy my coffee. Join me when you’re done?”
“That sounds like a plan,” Travis replied. “I’ll call Rosa and have her book a charter boat to take us to that wreck.” There was a sunken ship off the coast, and the wreckage was a popular diving site.
“Concierge Desk, this is Rosa!” came the friendly, now familiar voice on the other end of the phone.
“Hi Rosa, Travis Jones. Would you kindly make a reservation for a scuba trip for early afternoon?”
“Absolutely!” He heard her tapping on a computer keyboard and then shuffling some papers. “You’re all set, Mr. Jones. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“I’d like to schedule a couple’s massage for tomorrow morning, if I could. I would like to surprise my wife. Do you have a service that would send her a message?”
“I can arrange a gift basket with goodies, it will be a little extra, but many couples choose this option for gifting, especially a surprise. Would you like this option?”
“That sounds amazing, Rosa, thank you!” He scheduled the gift basket to be delivered while they were away that afternoon, and made the appointment. He thanked Rosa again and joined Charlotte on the balcony.
“What a beautiful morning,” she said. “It should be a good day for diving.”
“I have good news, by the way. That picture above the table in the bedroom is a safe. We can set the combination to any number we want.”
“Good! We can leave all of our jewelry behind. I don’t want to wear any of it in the seawater.”
He nodded. “Me neither, and I don’t want to lose it, either.” He spun his wedding ring on his finger. “It’s bad enough my first wedding ring disappeared.”
“That had some help, I think,” she posed. “Otherwise, it would have made an appearance in your locker at some point.”
“You’re probably right, honey,” he replied. “All the more reason to leave it here.”
They removed their jewelry and placed it into the safe, and set the combination as the girls’ birthday. Charlotte packed some clothing into a backpack and dressed for diving, knowing they would need to rent their equipment. They caught the shuttle to the same beach they had visited on their second day and caught the private charter boat to bring them to the popular diving site.
“You have four hours of air before you have to worry about coming up,” the captain of the boat told Travis. “I’ll meet you back here then”
“Thank you,” Travis replied. “Are you ready, my sweet Charlotte?”
“I am,” she said. They took each other’s hand and jumped into the water from the boat. Travis waved to the captain. They both descended to the floor of the ocean, which wasn’t terribly deep, and just looked around in awe. A cave sat straight ahead of them, and Travis knew he wanted to explore it. The old shipwreck was scattered in pieces on the floor, and Charlotte took her time to inspect it. She picked up some pretty old shells and found a chest that hadn’t been opened. Taking a rock, she broke the seal on the chest and opened it. There were quite a few cut and uncut gems, some old gold doubloons, and bars of refined precious metals that she slipped into a bag she wore around her weight belt. Then she swam to the opening of the cave where Travis had gone exploring, and waited for him to emerge.
About 20 minutes later, Travis came from the cave, holding a shell he had found sitting on a ledge inside. The colors were brilliant for being an empty shell, but he knew he had to bring it for Charlotte because it was perfect. They swam around for what seemed only minutes when Travis noticed he only had about thirty minutes of air left in his tanks. Holding hands, they made one more stop, where Travis found a chest tucked into a small alcove. Taking a rock, he bashed the corroding metal lock and opened it. Inside was a few more gold doubloons, a larger stash of gems and a few bars of refined metal. He slipped his haul into the bag he wore around his weight belt, and they began to surface slowly.
When they were just feet from the surface, they noticed the boat was back to pick them up a bit early. Travis knew, even though they were close, that going up quickly could cause problems, so he blew some bubbles near the side of the boat, to let the captain know they were there. And when they were safe to surface completely, they did, pulling themselves onto the small boat. Travis removed his mask, and helped Charlotte into the boat, pulling her to him.
“That was amazing,” he said, as he helped Charlotte with removing her tank and other equipment. “That cave was incredible.”
“You went into the cave, sir?” the captain questioned. “You are a very brave man. We lost a diver there just a month ago. He never came back out, his wife was devastated.”
“I have some training in cave diving, so I knew what to do,” Travis answered confidently. Charlotte, however, was less impressed.
“What if, Travis?” she said, slipping out of her wet suit. “What if you had gotten lost in there?” The possibility never crossed her mind that the cave would be unsafe, and she felt sick.
“But I didn’t, sweetheart. I’m fine.” He stopped for a moment to admire the one-piece bathing suit she wore.
“You’re right, but no more danger on this trip. I don’t want to go home alone.” The thought terrified her, especially after her dreams the day before.
“That is my fault, Ma’am,” the captain said. “I should have said something about that cave when I dropped you off here. I never imagined he’d go in.”
She took Travis’ hand. “It’s okay.”
The boat took them back to the beach, where they did a little more sunbathing. Travis wanted to wait to give Rosa’s gift basket a chance to be delivered before they returned to the resort. The surprise would hopefully be welcomed since they’d had such a rough time the previous day.
“I’m hungry,” Charlotte announced and looked at her watch. “I guess that would be the reason why,” she chuckled. “It’s almost six.”
“Wow, where did this day go?” Travis wondered. “I guess we should catch a shuttle back.” They gathered their belongings and rang the resort for the shuttle. “It will be here in about 10 minutes,” he said.
“I had a wonderful time today, honeybear. Thank you.” She snuggled up to him as they stood at the bus stop.
“The pleasure was all mine,” he replied. “I hope it will be your pleasure later.”
She smiled at him. “For both of us.”
The bus came and brought them back to the resort. Hand in hand, they walked back to the suite, and they happened to run into Ron.
“Hey, fella, can I talk to you for a minute?” Travis called to him.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Ron answered.
“Look, I just wanted to apologize. I shouldn’t have gotten in your face yesterday, and I certainly shouldn’t have threatened you. I’m sorry.” Travis held his hand out for Ron to shake.
Cautiously, Ron approached him. “Well, I shouldn’t have hit on your wife, especially after I saw that big ol’ rock sitting on her finger. I was out of line. I’m sorry, Travis.” He took Travis’ hand to shake. Charlotte was watching from the window, and saw the guys chatting cordially, and smiled. “I’m Ron, by the way, in case your lovely wife didn’t mention it. Hang onto her. She is special.”
“Thanks, I will. Nice to meet you, Ron.” They exchanged a few more pleasantries and Travis walked toward the room. Charlotte was peering through the window, smiling brightly.
“Why are you so smiley?” he asked, spotting the gift basket.
“You know why, Mr. Jones.” She walked to him and kissed him. “Thank you.”
“My pleasure. I knew you’d love it. We both go in the morning.” He wrapped her in a hug. “I love you.”
“I love you, too. So, what did you say to Ron?” she curiously asked.
“I apologized for my behavior yesterday, from the threats to just getting in his face. And, oddly enough, he apologized for hitting on you. He mentioned your ring. It must have impressed him.”
“It did. He remarked about it, and said that you must really love me.” She smiled, flirting. “So, Mr. Jones, how much do you love me?”
“I thought you’d never ask,” he purred.
The alarm on Travis’ phone woke them earlier than usual for a vacation day. He groaned and turned it off, kissing Charlotte’s shoulder. “I love you,” he whispered in her ear.
She stirred just a little, smiling in her sleep. He kissed her again and moved her hair to kiss her neck. “Mmmm, good morning honeybear,” she cooed at him.
“Good morning, baby,” he replied. “Time to get up for a shower. Do you want to grab a bite before our spa appointment, honey?”
“What time is it, love?”
“Seven. Our appointment is at nine-thirty.”
“If we stay close by, then yes. Otherwise, we can go for brunch afterward.”
Travis sat up and pulled the brochure from the gift basket. “It says the package includes champagne, strawberries and an hour in a romantic room. It sounds like a great way to relax before our flight home tomorrow.”
“Then we’d better have something light before we go. Champagne will not agree with me on an empty stomach.”
“I’ll take the shower first,” he said, grabbing his towel. “I won’t take as long as you.”
“We could save time and shower together,” she suggested.
“I love how you think, baby,” he purred.
After the shower, they dressed and walked to the on-property restaurant, which was more casual for breakfast than the other two meals they offered. They ate a quick, light breakfast and left the restaurant in plenty of time for their appointment. Hand in hand, they walked into the spa.
The storefront was attractively decorated, painted in neutral, pastel colors with floral arrangements that looked so real, Charlotte couldn’t tell if they were. There were shelves stocked with products for guests to purchase, in addition to the robes that had been provided in the rooms. She seriously considered a robe. She had never worn one so plush and comfortable.
Travis approached the receptionist, who recognized him right away. “Mr. Jones, what a pleasure!” she greeted them. “And you must be the lovely Mrs. Jones. I’ve heard so much about you! Rosa speaks highly of you both.” She typed a few things into her computer, and announced, “You’re all checked in. I hope you enjoy your experience here.”
They sat side by side, fingers intertwined. “I’ve never done this before,” he admitted. “I don’t know what to expect.”
“Me neither. But I’m hoping we will be nice and relaxed for the trip home. I’m not ready to leave yet, but then again, I miss the children.”
A young woman called their names and invited them back to their room. Two tables were set up, side by side, covered in a sheet, and an assortment of massage oils sat on a small table nearby. The room itself had a fireplace, a plush rug by the hearth, and places to lounge. The windows were one way; no one could see inside, but the spa backed almost right up to the beach and provided a scenic view of the ocean. By the window was a spa tub, large enough for two, filled with heated water, ready for occupancy. Charlotte looked around in awe, as she put her bag down by the sofa. “This is lovely!” she exclaimed.
“You’re welcome to get comfortable. No one else will have access to this room except for you and your massage therapists. You may use the robes until your massage. You will be nude under the sheet, but your modesty is always first and foremost. After your 30 minute massage, you will have access to the room for a full hour. You may extend if you’d like, just ring the front desk, and time will be added accordingly.” She handed them fluffy, white robes. “Any questions I can answer for you?”
“I think we’re good, thank you,” Travis stated. When she left, they both undressed and put the robes on.
Charlotte giggled. “Are you going to be okay with a naked massage, honey?”
“I sure hope so. I’m already almost not okay.” He blushed a little.
“We can extend the time now, if you think we’ll need longer than an hour,” she winked at him.
“We’ll see,” he said, shifting nervously.
The door opened, and two young women entered. They introduced themselves as the therapists
“I’m Cheri, and my colleague is Julia. If you have any questions, or if you need something specific, please don’t be afraid to ask.” Cheri turned to Charlotte and asked, “Do you have a favorite fragrance you’d prefer?”
“I love vanilla,” Charlotte stated. Cheri nodded and put a bottle of oil into a warmer.
“How about you, Mr. Jones?” Julia asked. “What is your favorite fragrance?”
“I’m not sure I have one,” he said sheepishly. “Whatever Charlotte is doing is okay with me.”
“Well, our vanilla tends to run a bit feminine with floral notes, but I have a lovely musk that is very popular with the gentlemen.”
“He’ll do that,” Charlotte piped up. “I love how musk smells on him.”
Travis laughed. “What the lady said, please!”
The therapists left the room so Charlotte and Travis could situate themselves on the tables, and cover what needed covered for the sake of modesty. A few moments later, a light knock on the door sounded, and the therapists reentered the room.
The tables were close enough so they could hold hands, as long as they weren’t interfering with the therapists. The massages lasted just a speck longer than the half-hour they expected, and when they were done, Travis called the front desk to extend their room time by an hour. He led her to the fireplace, and popped open the bottle of champagne that was left on ice, and poured each of them a glass.
“To the vacation of a lifetime,” he toasted. She smiled and softly clinked their glasses together, and they kissed.
“I wish we could have stayed by the fireplace all day,” Charlotte said, with Travis wrapped around her. “I really liked that musk, honeybear. I should get some in the morning before we leave.”
“Mmm, you smell delicious,” he remarked, breathing in the scented oils that still remained on her skin. “I think you should get a bottle of vanilla, too.”
“Maybe I will. You know, honeybear, I feel guilty I haven’t talked to the kids once since we left the Shores.”
“They miss us. When I called the house the other morning, Danae said they did. I miss them, too. It’s been too long since I’ve heard their giggles.”
“It has. I’m looking forward to going home. Just not the trip.” She snuggled into Travis’ arms, and he kissed her. “Do you want to order dinner in tonight, or get dressed up one last time and go to the restaurant?”
“If you’re wearing that red dress again, I’m all over it.” Travis buried his face in her hair.
“It’s settled then. Ordering in. You just feel too good to leave this bedroom.”
They ordered a light meal with sweet tea and had it delivered. The only clothes they had on since the massage was a robe to answer the door and to walk back from the spa. Travis greatly underestimated how romantic the couple’s massage would be, and he could not keep his hands off her all day. There are worse ways to spend a day, he thought. Wearing just a robe all day also helped Charlotte to pack most of their clothing and items into their suitcases, and she laid out a clean outfit for each of them before closing the cases.
“We should think about sleeping soon,” Charlotte said at 11pm. “Our flight leaves early afternoon, but we’ll need to be up early.”
“I know, but you… you’ve been amazing all day, my sweet Charlotte. I can’t stop loving you.”
She smiled sweetly. “Then let’s go one more round.”
The phone rang at 6:00am, and Travis answered it. “Good morning! This is Rosa with your wake up call.”
“Thank you, Rosa,” he replied. He did not remember ordering a wake up the night before.
“Who was that?” Charlotte asked, sleepy.
“Wake up call,” he grumbled. “I was going to sleep for another hour, too.”
“It’s okay, love. We’ll just have extra time for breakfast.” She stretched and felt the pull of tired, sore muscles. The massage had left her feeling uncomfortable, not to mention the activities that followed.
“Ooh, I’m sore,” Travis mentioned, trying to get up.
“I was just thinking that myself,” she agreed. “We either needed a much less rigorous massage, or we’re getting too old to spend all day in bed.” She giggled.
“Yes on both counts maybe.” He felt like an old man suddenly, even though they were barely pushing forty.
“Here, let’s shower together, and maybe that will help,” she suggested.
After their shower, they finished packing their suitcases and set them outside their room for the bellhop to retrieve. Travis called Rosa to let the front desk know they were ready, and then they walked to the restaurant for breakfast.
“I want to get some of those oils,” Charlotte said, as they passed the spa. “I’ll be right back.”
Travis walked to the concierge desk. “Rosa, I want to thank you for everything that made our stay here so memorable. Long after we’re back home, we will never forget how you made us feel so welcomed. Like family.”
“Oh, Mr. Jones, the pleasure has been all mine!” She motioned for him to lean toward her, as she whispered into his ear, “I am a closet Llamas fan! Jayna and I watch all your games together.”
“Would you like a photo together? Jayna has one, too.”
“I didn’t want to ask, but since you offered, I would love one!” Rosa smiled as the front desk clerk snapped several photos for Rosa. “I will send one to your email address, Mr. Jones. For your scrapbook.”
“I would love that, thank you!” He reached for her hand to kiss it, and tears formed in her eyes.
“I will never forget you, Mr. Jones. Thank you so much.”
Charlotte returned to where Rosa and Travis were talking. “Oh, Mrs. Jones! I’m going to miss you, too!” Travis snapped a photo of the two of them together, and then posed for one of the three of them.
Amidst all of the hubbub, Ron was checking out, dressed in a business suit. Travis waved politely, and Ron walked to them. “I’m on my way home. Even though the circumstances weren’t the best, I’m glad I met you two. It has been a pleasure, Travis.” The two men shook hands.
“Likewise, Ron,” Travis replied. “Thank you again for your help that night. I would have been stuck without your assistance.”
“Hey, it was no problem. Take care of that special lady,” he said, winking at Charlotte. “It was a pleasure, Mrs. Jones.” He handed Travis his card. “If you’re ever in Twinbrook, look me up!”
“We will,” Travis said. “Take care.”
Rosa approached Travis. “Mr. Jones, your shuttle has arrived to bring you to the airport.” She wiped tears from her eyes. She hugged both of them and watched as they left the resort.
They were quiet on the way to the airport. They were leaving summer weather and returning to snow and freezing temperatures. “I wonder what it would be like to live here year round, Charlotte?” Travis finally broke the silence as they approached the terminal.
“I wondered that myself. Maybe we should think about moving here. When we retire.” The shuttle driver opened the door for them, retrieved their luggage from the hold, and checked it for them.
“It’s something to think about,” he said pensively. They joined hands and walked into the airport, ready to go home.
Up Next: Chapter Fifteen, Generation Four