Some of you might remember me introducing my blogging partner, Marquessa Matthews from Blogging 201 course. As part of the course, we decided to guest post on each other blog’s today!
Today’s post is an excerpt from a novel that Marquessa is presently working on. The main character of the novel is a young woman called Delaney who decides to ditch the responsibilities of her “regular” life, throw caution to the wind by taking a work assignment in Puerto Rico and embraces her new found freedom of putting herself first
Please head on to Marquess’a blog for other excerpts of the novel.
Wish you a happy read! Also, don’t forget to check out my story, Rosenberg on Marquessa’s blog which is my guest post for today.
Guest Post by Marquessa Matthews
“I think I’m going to be sick.”
As soon as I took one look at that tiny plane, I stopped dead in my tracks. My feet were cemented to the ground.
“Isn’t there a ferry or a boat we could take instead?”
Alejandro strategically placed his hand on my lower back to keep propelling me in a forward motion. “We could but in the time it would take to get to Fajardo, with traffic, and charter a boat, we could already be at Ric and Emme’s. Are you afraid of flying?”
I shook my head as the three of us walked up to the foot of the plane, Nate pulling on Aleja’s hand to hurry us up.
“Under normal circumstances, no. But this plane has propellers.” As soon as the words left my mouth, my stomach started to do little somersaults.
“Taking a plane from Isla Grande is the best and quickest option. Don’t worry. You’ll be fine.” Alejandro leaned into me, kissed my forehead and took hold of my sweaty hand. “And it’ll give me an excuse to hold your hand the entire way,” he reassured me.
“Me too! I’ll hold your hand.” Nate bolted around us and grabbed hold of my other hand. Even if I wanted to change my mind, I couldn’t.
The pilot ushered us into the plane and helped us to get settled in. Alejandro teased me about my quickness to buckle up. I rolled my eyes at him. In such a small plane, I needed to mentally prepare myself for every bump and bit of turbulence we could encounter.
“How long is the flight to Culebra?” I tried to make my question sound cool and nonchalant but I wasn’t fooling anyone, including myself.
The pilot turned his head to respond but Alejandro cut him off. “About 15 minutes.”
“Oh, that’s not so bad.”
As we taxied off, I held my breath, waiting for take-off. As promised, Alejandro kept hold of my hand to reassure me but Nate had totally forgotten his promise. Completely distracted with peering out the window, Nate had his nose smudged up against the window. The warmth of Aleja’s hand calmed my nerves. I had no idea what Aleja and I were doing as a “we” but it felt good. For once, I was determined to just go with the flow and not overanalyze the situation.
Before I knew it, I soon found myself doing the same thing as Nate. I was in amazement of the beautiful view below. The white sands and the turquoise blue and green water were absolutely breathtaking. Picture postcard perfection.
Photo credit: S F photographs / Foter / CC BY-ND
Nate chattered away as he always did, pointing out of the window for me to look at this cloud and that boat. Alejandro wasn’t saying anything and when I turned to him, I caught him simply smiling at us.
“Nothing,” he said and continued smiling. That smile that gave me butterflies.
I relaxed into the ride enough to let go of his hand, pull out my cell to snap a few photos of the scenery below.
“How are you feeling?” Alejandro was always so laid back. If he could bottle the Zen-vibe he always gave off, I would be the first one to buy it online. He always had a softness to his tone that stripped away any temptation I could have had to be anything but myself with him. And I liked that – a lot. Down to earth, intelligent, authentic and a surprisingly semi-introvert. For someone in his position, how could that be?
I could feel the plane descending. “Most of my nerves are gone, thanks to you.” I reached out and touched his thigh, probably lingering a little longer than necessary. I looked at the time on my cell. “Wait, this has been more than 15 minutes.”
Alejandro’s eyes twinkled and he grinned sheepishly. “I lied. It’s more like 30…”
With a grin like that, what else could I do but smile? “Don’t make it a habit. I don’t do well with lies.”
The touchdown was smooth and before I knew it, we were off the plane and into a town car that Ric had sent for us.
As we drove, my nerves began acting up again.
The first time Alejandro had invited me to Ric’s place, I had declined. But this time, Nate had begged me to go and the kid never took no for an answer without a valid reason. Alejandro hadn’t needed to convince me – his mini advocate had done all the work for him.
Sure, the three of us had been spending a lot of time together in our own little bubble but an entire weekend at his cousin’s place made whatever it was that we were doing a little more palpable. I was more than a little nervous hanging out with part of his family in such close proximity for an extended weekend. Somewhere between “friends with no benefits” and an “intimate couple”, I wondered what Alejandro had told Ric and Emme about me tagging along.
It wasn’t long before we pulled up to a three storey house perched on a hillside not too far from the beach. The intoxicating views of Luis Pena Cay and the warm breeziness of the air, I had never imagined that life could get any better than my little beach house. But it did get better. And it was stunning.
Ric and Emme were waiting outside for us and a little boy around Nate’s age was jumping around anxiously. We got out of the car and Nate rushed over to the little boy.
“It’s great that you decided to spend a few days with us.” Ric gave me a two-sided kiss and gave Alejandro a quick hug.
Emme’s face showed her surprise at seeing me. She quickly approached showering us both with kisses. “It’s nice to see you again Delaney. No one told me that Aleja was bringing a guest.”
No one meant Ric. Emme turned and gave him the eye.
Ric shrugged, looking guilty with his palms upturned to the sky. “Sorry, I didn’t think of it.”
“I apologize and hope that it isn’t a problem Emme. It was kind of last minute.”
Emme shook her head fervently, her smile genuine. “Of course it isn’t a problem. Any friend of Aleja’s is welcome in our home. It’ll be great to get to know you better. I just wish my absent-minded husband would remember to tell me these things.” She summoned the little boy forward. “Adrian, say hello to Delaney. Delaney is Alejandro’s friend.”
The little boy came forward, extended his hand and said, “Hello.” He was a cutie. It was obvious that looks ran in the family. I shook his little hand and almost immediately, he looked up at Emme. “Can Nate and I go play now?”
Emme gave him a nod of approval and the two little boys ran off towards the housekeeper who stood in the doorway.
“Why don’t we head inside too?”
As Ric and Aleja handled our bags, I saw Emme raise her eyebrows at Ric and he nodded to respond to some sort of secret code they had. I wondered what she was thinking.
The house had a beachy Zen feel to it much like Aleja’s but with a more open concept. Off-white walls, pastel accents to compliment the earthy toned furniture. Everything was simple, light and airy.
“Guys, why don’t you leave the bags at the bottom of the stairs while I give Delaney a tour of the house? Then we can all have a late lunch. Ric, keep an eye on Adrian and Nate before they get into too much trouble.”
Emme was definitely the boss of the house. Ric nodded and led Aleja away but not before he winked at me. Emme caught our exchange.
“Let me show you where you’ll be staying.”
The way Emme glided so gracefully up the stairs, there was no doubt in my mind that she was a dancer or ballerina. Or at least, she used to be.
“This section of the house is where our guests always stay. It’s pretty private.” She opened the door to a beautifully laid out bedroom that could have been featured in Coastal Living magazine.
A king-sized canopied bed filled one corner and the rest of the room was basically a living room equipped with two sofas, a mini bar and a flat screen mounted to the opposite wall. The French doors to the balcony teased a spectacular view of the cay behind the voile sheer curtains.
“Aleja usually stays in here and Nate always sleeps in Adrian’s room. If you haven’t noticed, those two little boys are inseparable, kind of like the two big boys. Then again, you and Aleja seem to be as thick as thieves too, no?” Emme smiled widely. She was reminding me so much of my straight talking Ella who I missed having around.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Subtlety is not your strong suit, is it?”
We both laughed and I was glad. I could tell that I wouldn’t need to stand on ceremony with her.
“I can surely say that I have never, ever been accused of being subtle. That’s for sure. Will you and Aleja be sharing this room?” She looked me straight in the eye for a reaction.
My hesitation to respond was reaction enough for her. What was I supposed to say? I didn’t even know the answer for myself.
“I’m sorry for being so curious. It’s just that Aleja never visits with, uh, women friends. He only visits with Nate.”
“Oh.” I was the one surprised.
“That says a lot, you know. I mean the fact that he doesn’t make it a habit of bringing women here.” Were her words a warning more than a mere statement, I didn’t know but it didn’t matter – I got the message loud and clear.
Emme led me through the balcony doors and to the balcony doors of the room next door. The room was a smaller version of the room we had just left.
“If you’d be more comfortable in here, you could stay in this room. As you can see, this room shares the same balcony so the two of you could have some…privacy.”
“Thanks for the offer Emme. I wouldn’t mind taking this room.”
She looked at me for a long moment and absorbed what I had said. Without coming right out and asking the question she was curious about, I had given her the answer to what she wanted to know.
“You know, what I’m going to say is going to sound very “high school” but Aleja bringing you here, it shows that he’s comfortable with you – like family. It’s obvious that he likes you.”
And don’t mess with that, right?
“Well, Aleja’s a good man and we are … enjoying each other’s company.” I was hoping that we could we finish this conversation and head back downstairs soon.
Emme read my mind and led me back into the hallway where we had started. “Have you met anyone else in the family?”
“No, just you two and those other friends when we all had dinner at his place that time a few weeks ago. I also met a few people at that music event the other night but there was no family there.”
“I was right! I told Ric that thought it was you in those photos I saw online.”
“Aleja did invite me to his parent’s anniversary party. A barbecue with his family and extended family next week?”
Emme’s mouth fell open. “Really? Well, well, well…That says it all. This is a really close knit family, Delaney. It felt like forever before Ric took me to a family function. Have you met Marisol yet?”
“Alejandro’s sister? No, not yet. Why?”
“Just asking.” Emme didn’t sound very enthused. “Are you hungry? Let’s go eat. Then, we can relax for the rest of the afternoon by the pool or go to the beach. I’ll give you the rest of the tour later.” It was obvious that she was changing the subject.
We headed back downstairs and we did, my brain went into overdrive. Curiosity got the better of me and I couldn’t help myself.
“Emme, why did you specifically ask about Marisol?”
Emme waited until we were almost in the kitchen before turning to me. The patio doors off of the kitchen were wide open and I could see Aleja and Ric outside on the patio with bottle of Medalla in hand while the two little boys had their feet dangled into the pool, trying to kick splash each other.
“I’ll let you make your own impression of Marisol. That’s all I’ll say for now.”
Carefully chosen words from an outspoken woman who had no problem speaking her mind?
That couldn’t be a good sign.
©2015 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.