Chloe stormed into their house like a tidal wave startling Brooklyn awake who’d unknowingly fallen asleep on the couch. Turning back to the door she leaned out and yelling at the top of her lungs “bye guys’ great job today” with a final wave she slammed the door shut and walked into the house her Dior platform heels clomping on their hardwood floor. Taking off her expensive crush velvet blazer she dropped it on the floor heading to the kitchen she stopped when she saw Brooklyn draped across her chocolate brown with cream accented six thousand dollar contemporary Italian leather sofa-sectional like it was that cheap tacky lazy boy she threw out to make room for her dream sofa. Walking to him she ignored his outstretched arms and hopeful eyes and walked to the end of the sofa and slapped his feet off of it “Jeez Brook you don’t put your feet on Italian leather, could you at least pretend to have some class” huffing she rolled her eyes as she straightened up turning back to the kitchen. Pausing she suddenly realized he didn’t say anything to her, she normally at least got a ‘yes dear’ even though they both knew it was bull. Turning her head her brows scrunched up in concern to see him sitting on the sofa with his head in his hands and his shoulders slumped. The posture was so symbolic of defeat that she almost went to him, in fact the sounds of her heels clicking made her realize that she’d in fact taken a few steps toward him before she stopped herself. What did he have to be upset for, they were richer then they’d ever been thanks to her, she’d moved them into this house in the richest neighborhood in the area and his wife was making her way to the top. Snorting Chloe rolled her eyes and turned back to the kitchen having worked out the problem to her satisfactory, turning on the Kuriq she got her coffee mug out and the cream and made herself a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee while she took her script out for tomorrow’s episode of ‘Passions’ the soap she worked on. Firmly she put all thoughts of Brooklyn out of her mind, he and whatever was wrong could wait, the producers of ‘Passions’ however wouldn’t. It took a lot of hard work and scamming to make herself the star of NBC’s number one soap opera, and it would take just as much hard work and sacrifice to stay there. She had no time to coddle a jealous husband. Her mind made up she put her cream in her coffee and sat down to do her memorizing.
Brooklyn knew the minute she walked through the door without a care in the world that he wouldn’t be able to pretend anymore. For the past few years he’d been doing nothing but giving in, his entire life centered around Chloe’s whims and desires, he’d put his own aspirations on hold because she had her dreams and for what. Chloe was born with this sense of entitlement that you only see in the extremely wealthy it was the reason he threw his inheritance in his father’s face and made his own fortune. That sense that the world owes rather than you should work for never sat well with him, and though Chloe worked hard she wasn’t above using if it was a means to an end. She thought he didn’t know but she used his family’s name to get her job at ‘Passions’, sighing he shook his head. She wouldn’t even go to his family home for dinner, or God forbid a holiday. It was always her family, her friends, anything he suggested or wanted to do was quickly shot down. But he simply grinned and bared it because she was his wife and he loved her, he knew she didn’t appreciate him but he thought he at least had her respect. He could live with respect, lesser marriages were established on merely that, but today he discovered she didn’t have neither and that he couldn’t live with.
Getting up he started to head to the bedroom to get the backpack he’d packed earlier when he’d first gotten home. He hadn’t realized what he was doing at the time but now he knew his subconscious already knew what needed to be done. Passing the hallway coo-coo clock he gave it a sad half smile, it was the only thing in the new house that represented him and he had to fight tooth and nail to have his childhood clock brought over with them. Suddenly the clock began to chime the new hour shocking Brooklyn when he realized he’d sat on the couch trapped in his thoughts for over two hours, hurrying on to the bedroom he forced himself not to look around simply grabbed his bag and walked back out. Looking back towards the kitchen as he headed for the door to leave, Brooklyn longed for those days when things were happier, and she loved him. He’d give anything for her to tell him what he did wrong, if he could just fix what was wrong. Make her love him again…but she didn’t seem to want to love him, only his money and her fame.
Needing to take a break from all the words jumbling together Chloe walked out of the kitchen massaging the back of her neck just as Brooklyn was opening the front door. “Oh good you’re going out, stop and bring me some dinner on your way back. And don’t take long I have some things I need you to do” she never looked at him longer than a second, groaning Chloe talked to him with her back turned as she bent over to unbuckle the strap of her shoes to slip them off.
Brooklyn had it dropping his bad he raked his hands through his hair “no Chloe” his deep voice was so low it sounded like a growl, for once he didn’t look at her as he spoke he couldn’t. His eyes were closed shut as he used all the self-control he’d ever learned to contain his anger.
“What? Why?” Chloe answered shocked to hear him say no but quickly dismissed it “look don’t be stupid Brook you’re going out just do as I say. I have more important things to do than to be dealing with this” shaking her head she started to walk off but the tone of his voice stopped her cold making a chill go down her spine.
“I’m sorry I forgot” Brooklyn spat out the tone of his voice so out of character for once if shut her up and stopped her cold. Pacing back and forth with barely restrained anger he kept his eyes on the floor “I should be trained well enough by now to know not to rebel against a direct order right Chloe” he asked mockingly laughing at her shocked gasp.
Shaking her head Chloe laughed nervously “what in the hell is wrong with you?” crossing her arms over her chest “what are you talking about? You never make sense Brooklyn that’s why I never let you talk” she said condescendingly. Normally a comment like that would have made him back off but not tonight and the surprise was in her face when he spoke again.
“Oh I make perfect sense” he growled “it’s you that’s clueless and I’m tired of it, I’m tired of you. A person can only take so much before they leave and look at you” finally he looked up at her. He had no idea what his expression was like but whatever she saw it made her clutch her chest and back up a few steps her face suddenly very serious. “You’re so self-absorbed, so wrapped up in yourself, your own world, and your own needs. You haven’t even noticed that I’M LEAVING!” he screamed the last part.
Chloe seemed to go absolutely still breathing shallowly she blinked a few times looking down at the floor flinching at his words. Looking up finally she seemed to really look at him, her eyes traveled the length of his body as the fake persona she’d built the past few years began to chip away and for the first time in years Brooklyn could see a glimpse of the Chloe he’d fallen for and married. Her eyes finally made her way to his feet and took in the bag lying there and an involuntary sob left her as she took a few large steps forward stopping when Brooklyn help up a hand and shook his head “Brooklyn” she whispered her eyes wide, she looked like a child faced with an unwanted harsh reality. “What is this how could you do this to me? Why now?” suddenly her arms narrowed “you won’t get any of my money when it comes it’s mine I did the work. Me” she said arrogantly thrusting her chin up in the air even though it was quivering.
Fists clenched Brooklyn felt the overwhelming need to throttle her and hand to close his eyes and breathe for a few minutes before speaking “You think this is about money? How dare you, it’s like you never knew me at all, there is only one person in this relationship that can answer that question and it’s not you. Especially if you’re honest with yourself. But we both know how hard that is for you”.
Chloe looked as if he’d slapped her in the face but quickly like the actress she was she pulled herself back together and blanked her face “Sss..so then what it is about” she stuttered as stray tears came down despite her best efforts. Her fingers clenched with the need to go to him as she starred at the back of his long brown wavy hair, his normally easy going stance was now rigid and cold, but still she felt confused.
“This is about us Cloe” his voice choked as his emotions rose. “about how I feel invisible, how I can count on one hand the amount of kind words you’ve said to me this year, it’s about we never say more than three words to one another, how when you come home I hide so that I don’t have to see or hear you, how I don’t remember what if feels like to hold you in my arms…”.
“Stop!” Chloe was breathing heavily now her face flushed red and her hands shaking, she brought her hands up to her face to cover her trembling lips. “Why now? Everyone will know? Ask questions” she looked as if she wanted to plead but they both knew her pride wouldn’t let her.
“I’m telling you I’m leaving and you’re worried about your fake little friends finding out?” Brooklyn shook his head in amazement and leaned down picking up the backpack and draping it over his shoulder. “I heard you” he confessed, when her face looked even more perplexed he elaborated “remember you asked me to watch you film today, which you never even noticed I was there or not. But anyway they asked me to leave cause I was apparently in the way, I didn’t want you to think I didn’t come at all in case you looked for me so I waited outside and my phone rang”. He met her eyes and could see she finally caught on, her face turned white as a ghost as she realized what happened, the tears suddenly falling down her face unheeded as she called his name over and over repeatedly “you must have been sitting on it or something cause I could hear your whole conversation and you didn’t know I was there”. He backed up when she walked forward again this time her arms outstretched he thought he might have heard a whispered I’m sorry “would you like to know what I heard?” he asked meanly.
“Please let’s talk about this” she begged now “you know I didn’t mean any of that it was just Hollywood talk. Please Brooklyn, you can’t leave like this. Where are you going to go?” her thoughts going on million different directions she went on as her mind continued to fight what was happening. “You can’t listen to anything that I say you know I do things I don’t mean, what am I supposed to do if you’re not here” she was almost incoherent now as she babbled tears streamed down her face as she felt on the verge of a panic attack.
“You learn that people aren’t there for you to just toy with. You learn that some things you can’t take back” turning way he opened the door and started to walk out. “Bye Cloe don’t worry about the rest of my things this is all I need”.
“Wait!” she screamed finally she ran forward clutching his arm her long nails digging into his forearm painfully “please tell me where you’re going, can we talk about this please” she met his eyes making sure he saw everything. It’s funny how you don’t appreciate a person until they have one foot out the door… literally, but her husband was right she had been horrible to him why he hadn’t had an affair or left her before now she didn’t know. She talked all time to her Hollywood friends about how horrible he was to her, and even divorce, but the truth was none of it was true. Her husband was a good man and he didn’t deserve her, she acted like he was invisible but she suddenly realized that she couldn’t let him walk through that door. She loved him. “I love you” she said the words she’d just thought aloud.
Brooklyn’s face was stricken as he forcibly shook off her death grip and walked through the threshold and turned back to her with tears in his own eyes. “I’ve been starving to hear you say those words for two years. I told myself if she just said them things would be okay. If she just said them I know we can work and make things better cause that’s all we need.” Sighing he took a shaky breath and shifted his backpack “but I know what it means now when people say love isn’t enough” blinking the tears fell down his cheeks in large dollops blending in his 5 o’clock shadow. “You said the words I needed to hear but it’s too little too late” his entire body all six foot two inches of him seemed to slump Chloe had never seen anything like it he looked like a broken man. “Go…”he clamped shut as if saying goodbye was too much even for him “later Cloe, I’ll…later” turning away he walked down their driveway he got in his BMW and drove off.
Chloe fell to her knees completely hysterical right there in the doorway as she rocked herself back and forth watching his taillights disappear around the corner. “He really left” she said to herself over and over as she wailed inconsolably the coldness of the night was nothing compared to the numbness seeping into her heart, “oh God he really left”
LOOK OUT FOR THE NOVEL COMING SOON!
"Provisions in the Contract"
As a beautiful onyx colored luxury 1940 Packard pulled into the large drive way and pulled to a stop in front of the entrance to the infamous Grand Hotel the waiting press hurriedly pulled out their notepads, pens and cameras as they all ran to the designated press line. “Miss Fair! Miss Fair! Over here! Over here answer a question for the New York Journal-American” one of the many reporters standing around the entrance to the Grand Hotel screamed out, hoping like all the others to be the one to get the exclusive on the stunning international performer Chestiny Fair… and her historic arrival at the Grand Hotel. With the Grand’s 14th Annual Summer’s End Gala one the biggest events of the season scheduled to happen at the end of the week reporters from newspapers all over the country flock every year to Highmount, New York, and this year seemed to be the year to top it all. They all waited with baited breath to get their first look at the first, only, and likely last Colored performer asked to perform let alone stay at the prestigious luxurious hotel.
Smiling Miss Chestiny Fair the most celebrated performer in the industry was brimming with excitement as waited for Frank her manager to walk around to her side of the car where she sat with barely contained glee and open up the door for her. Taking his outstretched hand she allowed him to gently pull her out of the limo, giving him a small smile “thanks Frank. We’re here can you believe it?” not able to keep her excitement in another moment she asked him looking into his smiling face even though five foot seven was considered rather tall for a woman on the other hand for a man he was considered to be extremely short and constantly teased for it especially by her.
Laughing “you’ve gotta pace yourself Ches, if your excited now what are you going to do on Sunday?” he asked smiling at her indulgently. Their relationship was more than that of a business one through the years it had grown into a paternal one. Frank had been there for Chestiny from the beginning and had seen her through some hard times this week was just as exciting for him as well, he just covered it up better.
Patting him on the shoulder as she stepped past him “you’ll bring me back to earth” and truer words had never been spoken, Frank who had slowly taken on the role of a doting father through the years and her solace in a world often both cruel and mad. She had no idea where her life would be without him. Turning to the reporters she started to walk over intending to answer a few questions before going into the hotel but Frank’s gentle but firm hand on her elbow quickly leading her away had her looking up at him silently in confusion.
Looking down at her with an odd expression “sorry Ches but we can’t do any press while here, the Hotel management put it as one of the conditions of your contract”. Pausing he waited for the three porters to make their way through the crowd and to them “her trunks are in the back” he gestured to where their driver was already unloading their trunks and other luggage from the trunk of the limo.
“Yes Sir, right away Sir” the oldest of the three Porters said to them as they rushed past them and to their task making quick work of distributing the trunks and bags between the three of them.
Chestiny sighed mentally counting out ten relaxing breaths in her head, clearly Frank had decided not to tell her beforehand about these terms and conditions and in and of itself made her suspicious. Taking another deep breath she knew her manager probly did the right thing because if she’d known this beforehand she wouldn’t have come not that doing press was so wonderful but the implication that even though they needed her fame they still wanted to hide her away. Looking at the hotel building she had to admit this was a great moment, it wasn’t very often a girl got to stay in a real life castle, especially since there weren’t very many in the Americas. Chestiny suppressed the urge to grin like a loon as she looked at what she could of the building through the dark “it would have been better if we got to see this place during the day, why’d we have to check in so late” she fussed at Frank but he wasn’t really listening to her. Taking the small opportunity to explore a bit while no one was paying attention to her, she walked to the side of the building where no people were, she’d read about the history of The Grand years ago having always had a fascination with the opulent hotel. It still felt surreal that she was here as a guest and performer and not as a maid, or cook.
From what she’d read the Grand was formerly a castle owned by a very rich family here in Highmount, New York. No one knows for sure what ever happened to the family but it was rumored that the very same family of the original castle are also the owners of the hotel. She loved that they’d kept the originally architecture intact, the enormous stone castle was imposing and looming even in the dark casting intimidating shadows in spots that lacked lighting. The grounds was tended by some of the best gardeners and landscape artist in the country that worked tirelessly all year to keep beautiful the Grand Hotel’s four public gardens, two private gardens, the labyrinths and koi fish ponds not to mention then endless acres of flawless green grass, the shade of green so bright Chestiny could even make it out in the dark. Looking around she could see romantic candle lit lanterns lit throughout the gardens and lighting the way to cobblestone pathways meant to guide patrons throughout the hotel grounds across from where she stood to the side of the building. The entrance doors which were thrown open for the night air to cool the lobby were imported Indian wood so heavy they took five men to carry each one and attach them to the frames.
Chestiny smiled taking a deep breath of the New York State air, this was the type a place a girl like her dreamed of, never once had she thought she’d one day perform here let alone be asked to stay as a guest. She was just a little Colored girl from Phoenix, Arizona, but since then she’d defied all odds. She’d traveled all around the world, throughout the country, she’d even been asked to be in a movie and not to play anyone’s maid…but somehow this moment standing here in front of the Grand Hotel waiting for Frank her manager to her their arrangements together made her finally feel like she’d made it, like she was equal. All the doors shut in her face, not being able to walk in the front door where she was performing, having to get ready in her car cause dressing rooms where ‘WHITES ONLY’… Chestiny could feel the beginnings of a few tears threatening to come down. All of her white counterparts that’d hated her, or blackballed her because they refused to perform on the same stage as a Colored girl, now she was performing at the Grand. She smiled ear to ear her chest puffing out with pride, the Grand was one of the most prestigious hotels in the world they not only didn’t’ let just anyone perform at their ‘Summer’s End Gala’ but the only Colored people allowed in the building were cooks and maids. She was making history and couldn’t be prouder.
“Ches” Frank yelled for her to come on “where are you girl come on” the tiredness of the trip was clear in his voice.
Shaking her head a bit to clear it Chestiny lifted her dress a few scarce inches so she wouldn’t trip and using a mix between a jog and a shuffle hurried over to where her manager stood with a group of hotel employees. “sorry here I am” she apologized to Frank not wanting im to look bad in front of the Grand’s Managers, she knew how people treated him for representing a Colored person for talent and she promised herself she would never give him cause to be embarrassed with her.
Frank turned to her as she slowed down and stood by his side “good Miss Fair I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Clark Johns” he gave her a subtle shake of the head their code telling her the person in front of her would find it offensive if she were to extend her hand for a shake. “Mr. Johns here has come to check us in personally and make sure we get settled in, nodding politely to the women standing slight Mr. Johns left “This is Ms. Elody Martinique she’s of the maids in the hotel, she’ll be seeing personally to your comfort as well” he finished not bothering with introducing her to the other two people with the group so she assumed they mustn’t be important.
“Ms. Martinique, Mr. Johns” Chestiny gave each one a polite nod “it’s very nice to meet you both. Thank you for having me here the hotel is beautiful…” she complimented intending to ask him a question about the hotel but the manager cut her off.
“Yes I know it is, we all work very hard” he said smugly, looking at her with thinly veiled contempt “please call me Clark Miss Fair” he asked as if the very question was like pulling teeth. Waving a nonchalant hand behind him “and call Ms. Martinique Elody, now please come with us and we’ll get you checked in and settled in you suite” he said in loud slow tones as if one was talking to a dumb animal. Without another word and rather rudely he did a military style turn swiveling on the ball of his foot and started walking towards the entrance not bothering to see if his guest followed.
When the group made a curve to the right and began walking towards the side of the building Chestiny stood a few feet away from the main entrance looking completely perplexed “excuse me?” she called out just loudly enough for the entire party to hear her and stop walking, turning to look back at her. Pointing to the main doors “I know I haven’t been here before but isn’t this the main entrance? Why are we going down there?” she looked back and forth between Frank and the Clark the hotel manager.
Clark looked between Chestiny and Frank a few times before a look of annoyance crossed his features “she wasn’t informed” he asked Frank clearly he would rather Chestiny not be there at all.
Frank walked back to Chestiny and took her hands in his and she knew he was going to say something she wouldn’t like “well you see the condition of you staying at the Grand during the duration of your performances is that you are not to be seen by the other guests. The Grand still maintains its stance as a segregated hotel and doesn’t want to offend or loose the patron of its more prestigious guests, therefore the agreement is while you are not making an appearance at one of the social events you have been booked for while here or performing for one of the shows you are to stay in you suite where you have the entire floor to yourself so that there is no risk of you being seen” he recited now memorized first paragraph of the conditions of Chestiny’s contract, the guilt he felt at keeping this information from her before she signed the agreement was clear but the prestige performing at the Summer’s End Gala would add to her career for Frank outweighed all of the grief she would get from these prejudice pricks. For him his kid’s future was more important than anything, especially with the secret she carried in the end she needed all the power she could get if ever suspicion clouded her.
Chestiny felt the tick starting in her jaw, it always went off when she was aggravated and lately it seemed to be happening more times than not. Deep within her she felt her Leopard spirit stirring with irritation as well and quickly put her arms behind her back when she saw the skin on her arms literally crawling out the corner of her eyes the telltale sign that her inner Leopard was close to the surface than usual. She’d never have to worry about losing control actually shifting being a Therian but she could still do some freaky things humans would put her away for and knew she had to get it together. She could feel her pacing back and forth her rage mixed with her own anger mingling until neither of them could tell one from the other, a growling sound snapped her out of her inner thoughts and had her looking around.
“Was that you” Clark looked at her his eyes nearly bugged out of his head as he shook it in confusion, ‘was that an honest to God growl that came out of her mouth?’ he mumbled under his breath.
Frank pressed up close to her back and mumbled under his breath so quietly no one else could hear but her “get it together Kid” he rubbed the back of her neck briefly in a soothing manner her cat instantly responded “you can’t afford to lose it here, not this weekend too much is at stake” he warned stepping back just as quickly.
Giving him a barely perceptible nod that she understood Chestiny felt her leopard settling as she turned back to the hotel manager, clearing her throat a few times “sorry I have a frog in my throat. Now why are we going this way”.
Clark was quiet for a few moments looking her over suspiciously as if he instinctively knew something about her was off but couldn’t place what, as if coming to some inner decision he finally answered her “well to be frank Miss Fair The Grand has never allowed a Colored person through the front doors, we are already breaking precedence having you here management has no intention of prancing you through the front door” the resentment in his voice was palpable. His eyes traveled down her body again this time with hate as he took in her floral half hat piece placed expertly in her pin-curled red hair, the navy and white silk dress by Mme. Eta Hentz and her black geometric shaped corde purse with the Lucite handle that hung in the crook of her arm, her nude expensive silk stockings with black roses embroidered at the ankles and her expensive Chanel heels. Everything about Chestiny screamed success and she knew in the very moment his eyes finally met hers once more and widened in surprise at being caught before the disdain returned that she would have to watch Mr. Clark Johns.
“Very well” Chestiny nodded letting it go, the contracts were signed she couldn’t put up a fuss now, besides this was her dream wasn’t it. Pulling herself up with all the poise of a queen just like her mama taught her she held her head high dispite their nasty looks “fine then let’s go” she said waving her hand as if granting them permission, she could tell she’d pissed them off more but who cared…she knew no matter what she did they would hate her, so she mine as well have some fun.
Look out for Book 2 of the "Grand Hotel Series" available soon!
Closing the cockpit curtain the Stewardess walked promptly over to the intercom a present smile on her face as she picked up the microphone and brought it to her mouth. “Please buckle your seatbelts Ladies and Gentlemen” the Stewardess announced using the microphone at the head of the plane. “We’ll be arriving in Paris, France and landing shortly”
For Lois Symone this month long vacation to Paris was the trip of a lifetime. Since she was a child growing up in the French Quarter or New Orleans Paris was the ultimate destination. It had to be one of the most romantic places in the world, there was so much to see, so much history and culture and of course the fashion. She could remember as a little girl her Mama telling her about all her adventures there before she came to America and it was all she could dream about since.
Sighing Lois closed her eyes to keep from looking out the windows as the plane began its decent not wanting to ruin her first look at her beloved ‘Gay Paree’. She had no desire to enjoy that moment on a tiny charter plane no she wanted to experience the city the way it was meant to be. Her eyes clenched so tightly together that they hurt but the smile she wore on her face grew even wider when she felt bump that indicated the plane landed on the runway and rather roughly to be honest she thought to herself as her right hand went up to her suddenly fluttering heart and the gasps of the other passengers echoed throughout the plane. But none of that mattered she was in Paris and ready for adventure, the flight over she’d dreamed of what this moment would be like, the sights, the smells, and the people. She was practically bouncing in her seat a whole lifetime of dreaming coming down to one moment, she was finally coming home to Paris.
As the plane eased to a slow halt she opened her eyes with a shuddering breath, a sudden case of nerves coming on so strong it was overwhelming. Reaching for her purse under her chair she took out her engraved gold cigarette case and gold lighter that her Papa brought for her for the occasion. Opening her case she took out one of the Embassy brand King sized cigarettes and brought it to her lips with shaking fingers quickly lighting it then taking a deep relaxing inhale. The Stewardess’s voice coming through the microphone once more had Lois quickly putting it out a few exhales later as she scrabbled to put everything back into her purse and sit back in her seat to see her clearly making sure to take in every word.
“Ladies and Gentleman may I have your attention please!” the young Stewardess spoke into the mic loudly to be heard over the chatter then waited while the ten passengers riding the Stratocruiser Flagship charter plane settled down. “We have now arrived at our destination and are about to leave the plane. I would ask you all to be patient and form a single file line and ask that you be careful coming down the rollaway steps. On behalf of Stratocruiser Flagship Pan-American I would like to thank you all for choosing us to fly with and we hope that we have made your time with us pleasant. Bienvenue á Paris: Welcome to Paris merci” hanging up the small microphone she walked to the plane’s exit and opened the door and stepped out smiling at everyone’s cheers and claps.