Chapter 42. Packing
After the exhausting “Unwedding” in Las Vegas, partying with her never-was husband, he dropped her at home, where she sat in her apartment drinking coffee with her sister, Melanie.
The two Grants sat next to each other in the bay window of Kaylee’s apartment on a garage-sale special faux wicker loveseat. They had turned it around to create their own private space while they talked like sisters do.
‟It was amazing, we saw acrobats and a ballet that hung from the ceiling! Tom introduced me to the manager of the casino who let us go back and meet the circus group. A few of them knew Tom from his novels and movies.” Kaylee described with a wistful smile. ‟I’m sorry that you weren’t his sister-in-law for very long.”
Melanie held her sister’s hand.
‟You are on my spank-list for that, but you did the right thing. Glenn has asked about you a lot. He’s made it sound urgent and I know he said he had to go back early.” She nodded. ‟I bet he got an appointment somewhere and wants to take you with him to D.C. to meet everyone.”
‟What about going to school here? I can’t marry him until I graduate.”
‟You would be engaged in that time.” Melanie winked over the cup as she sipped the coffee that she had bought down the street. A ‟Shot in the dark”, black coffee with a shot of espresso that she sweetened with some sugar. ‟You don’t have to run off and get married. Even if you like to do that.” She nudged her sister as they sat and looked out the window.
Sisters, first and always. They knew each other’s secrets and stood by each other no matter what the world came at them with. They might fight with each other, but they were family.
Melanie looked out over at the bay where a large jet floated.
‟It seems strange seeing it from so far away.” Kayley whispered, almost to herself. ‟It’s bigger than most boats.” Her smile widened. ‟Hard to miss with those colors.”
‟Is he there now?”
‟No. He had to make arrangements to move the Sea Dragon. The FAA approved it for flight and Tom needed to have a check up on his arm. He heals fast I think, his fingers don’t tingle anymore and he has movement enough to type without me helping him. He was typing when I left the Wizard at the airport.”
‟So everything is all right there.”
‟Do you know he has so much money that he gets free rooms at casino’s?” Kaylee said wistfully. “That whole thing kind of made me mad.”
‟You told me that.” Melanie brushed the hair out of her sisters face.
‟I am still amazed.”
Melanie smiled. Her older sister had repeated things time and again for the last couple days while she packed to go back home and meet up with Glenn.
*Glenn.* Melanie’s future brother-in-law would be interesting to have around. He would spend a lot of time in the Maryland area as a congressional aide and possibly be elected. *I am not as excited about that as I was about Tom. Politics corrupts so many people with power, money, drugs, drink, parties with temptation everywhere. I have no trust in them, that kind of snake den would cause nothing but trouble.*
Melanie wanted her sister to avoid that kind of stress, and Glenn was good-looking enough to have a dozen girls on the side, and Washington was awash in pretty women and men.
Kaylee leaned on her sister, putting her head on Melanie ’s shoulder.
‟I miss him. I miss Tom.” She said. ‟I did the right thing, Mel, didn’t I?”
‟Yes.” Melanie put her arm around her older but smaller sister and kissed the top of her sister’s head. ‟Glenn is our generation, Tom is almost as old as mom. I looked it up.”
On the volleyball courts, they called Melanie “The Monster”. As the six-foot-tall captain of the volleyball team, she drove her team to back-to-back championships. But now she was a sister. Melanie the Monster loved Kaylee more than anyone else of her generation.
‟I’m taking a flight with Tom to go home. He has some business in Seattle and would drop me close to home, I could take a taxi on the cheap then and surprise everyone.”
‟What business does he have in Seattle?” Melanie ’s quizzical smile tickled Kaylee ’s soul.
‟A book event where he autographs works of his novels for people.” Kaylee got up and refreshed her cup of coffee. ‟He goes to those a lot, like twelve times a year, maybe more.”
‟Headed home in a private jet.” Melanie laughed. ‟You’re spoiled.”
‟Chartered.” Kaylee corrected. ‟Oy! He has taught me that habit. Sometimes, Tom makes me mad and he is not even here.”
Melanie laughed again, harder. Her sister’s tastes in things had changed in the five weeks of being married, rather, not-married according to the government, to Tom. She had become more complex, even her drawing and painting all night had been fast paced and prolific.
Twelve charcoals done in eight hours. Some surreal like Picasso and Salvador Dali. A Monet style drawing of Melanie as she napped on the couch during the night, among the many that she did.
All for her own pleasure.
*If it was pleasure?* She pondered.
*All passion for sure.*
Some art she created with bright colors and filled a heart with happiness.
Others, blue and sad, a cold pastel of a single heart, alone in a snowy field.
‟I need to get packed,” Kaylee said softly, got up and went to gather her clothes for her trip. “So I can fly with him.”
Melanie tossed back the last of her coffee and smiled.
‟You have a last ride on him?” Winking at her older sister.
‟No, that part’s done. Tom is just doing this as a favor because I am late and he is going north, too.”
‟When is the limo supposed to pick you up?”
‟Anytime, now. It’s a ninety-minute flight to Portland from here.”
‟That’s that Tom said.” Kaylee shrugged. ‟It will be the last time I see him for a month. My classes don’t start at the normal date, they are a later starting class this year. Professor Denton, who is teaching it is in France.”
‟You have Professor Denton? That is cool! She got married to her wife last spring and they are in France on a honeymoon.”
Kaylee stacked her luggage by the door.
‟Yeah, did you see who she married? It was in the paper, her wife is an artist downtown.”
‟Yup! Sculptures are amazing, she even has a bathtub sculpted out of soapstone.”
‟I saw that, shaped like a flower. They want thirty-thousand for it.”
‟I am not going to buy it. Not for that price.” Melanie laughed.
‟I won’t buy it for a tenth that price, it is too much.” Kaylee nodded as she put her toothbrush in the last small bag to take down.
‟You are traveling light.” Melanie noted. ‟You used to go home with almost everything.”
‟I’ve learned a few things this summer.”
A knock on the door and Kaylee answered it. A handsome older gentleman was there, wearing a drivers uniform. It was a driver that she had not met before.
‟Miss Grant?” He asked.
*Ouch.* A sharp pang in her heart when he used her maiden name. *I had gotten used to being a Harte.*
‟Yes, Just these bags, please.”
The trio walked down the stairs to the street, a midnight-blue limousine waited. It was not stretched like many were, it was more business and less party.
‟Give mom and dad hugs for me. I wish I could go but I need to set up for early starting classes. I’m supposed to have access to the school network, but I’m blocked from logging in.”
Kissing her sister good-bye, Kaylee got into the limousine and the driver clicked the door quietly, leaving Melanie waving on the sidewalk.
For one brief, shining moment, she wished she still wore a ring. A pale band on her skin of her ring-finger showed where she refused to take it off until the very end.
One last time, she looked at the bay, where sat the Pacific Wizard, just before they turned inland to the airport and lost sight of it.
In the front of the limousine, Gulstan the Chauffeur looked in the mirror at the young woman who appeared to weep. Professional that he was, he would never ask.
What happens in his limo, stays in his limo.