November 21st, 1990

November 21st, 1990

Flight from LHR – LAX

Pacific Shore Hotel, Santa Monica, California

It’s easy to fall in love with a place where the palm trees sway in the light ocean breeze and the sky is always clear. The hard part is being in such idyllic surroundings, alone.

I could hardly wait to get to my room and ring David but when I did, battle axe (aka his secretary) picked up. The last thing I wanted to do was argue with her, so I left a message and shortly afterwards, he rang me back.

“I’m in room three two o,” I said.

“I’ll meet you in the bar at eight. Gotta go.”

Not allowing myself to read too much into his words, I met my crew in the bar and wasted no time using the drink chits the hotel provides. By the time I spotted David in the lobby, I was two Long Island Iced Teas into the evening, feeling pretty mellow.
At the sight of him, dressed in smart but casual work clothes, his hair freshly windswept, a sliver of guilt ran through me, which I choked down as I made my way over to him.

“Hi,” I smiled, kissing his cheek. “How are you?”

“Wiped,” he stated, his smile faint. “And hungry.”

“Fancy a drink before we eat?”

He shook his head, his expression stern. “Let’s get outta here.”

I waved to my crew in the bar, through the glass wall and gestured we were, “going out.” Andy, who I worked with for the first time today, gave a “thumbs up” and a look of approval that made me laugh.

David took a left out of the hotel and didn’t reach for my hand like he usually does. In my head, I was making excuses for his apparent lack of interest, attributing it to work stuff and how stressful it must’ve been for him to leave before a holiday weekend.

We didn’t speak until he stopped outside a tiny Mexican restaurant we’ve passed many times before, not two minutes from the hotel.

“Is this good?” he asked.

“Looks great,” I smiled.

Over the menu, I asked if he knew what he wanted, hoping he’d get my meaning and leave the work day behind.

“Something quick,” he said. “I don’t want a late night.”

In retaliation, I ordered a pitcher of Margarita’s, a starter and a main course. My stomach was churning with an unfamiliar feeling of not really knowing what to say, so I drank way more than I should’ve, immediately regretting it the second I stood up and excused myself.

In the restroom, I looked in the mirror and wondered if David sensed I’d been with someone else. Maybe I should come clean and tell him, I thought, just get it all out in the open, but when I returned to the table, his smile looked sincere.

Finally, I thought. That’s more like it.

Sadly, it was short lived and the moment I placed my knife and fork on the empty plate, he flagged down the waitress.

“La cuenta, por favor.”

In the hotel lobby, I waved to the stragglers at the bar and asked David if he was interested in a nightcap before we went upstairs.

“No.”

“No to what?”

“To both.”

“Oh,” I uttered. “You’re not staying?”

“With the early start tomorrow and the drive, I need a good night’s sleep.”

I felt the anger rise and could no longer contain it.

“What’s happening tomorrow?”

He glared at me in a way I’ve never seen. “You cannot seriously be asking me that.”

Not missing a beat, I retorted, “I seriously am.”

“We’re going to San Diego. For Thanksgiving. With my folks.” He said it like he was reading the phone book.

“Really?” I sneered. “It’d be nice if you’d given me some notice.”

“I asked you like a million times,” he hissed.

“Yeah, then you kept changing your mind!”

I knew the lobby was no place for a scene, so, forcing myself to sound calmer, I asked if he really wanted me to go with him.

“I just told you I did,” he said, not looking at me. “I’ll pick you up at nine.”

He turned and I watched the back of him disappear through the door.

Avoiding any eye contact with the remaining crew I knew were watching from the bar, I made my way to the lift but ended up taking the stairs, by which time I was in tears.

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