NIKITA SHOVES THE mirror back into her handbag and smacks her lips together.
"I should've known," she says.
"Known what?" I turn my eyes to her from the steering wheel.
"That you'd have your grumpy pants on today. For the love of God keep your eyes on the road." Her voice goes an octave higher.
I roll my eyes but does as she says. "Whatever, I still do not like the idea of you leaving me for work, it was supposed to be a fucking vacation!"
"We're not going down that road again, husband," she says and throws her hands up. "Now, please stop being such a big baby about it."
I frown. "Pretending you didn't say that."
Her sigh could easily launch a ship.
"But—" I don't get to complete my sentence because she plants her mouth over mine in a deep kiss.
I finally manage to pull her away. "Nikki, I'm driving." I hold her chin in my hand and briefly glance at her. Her eyes are hooded. I let my hand trail down to her thigh.
She huffs. "Fine, I suppose you're satisfied now?"
I shake my head. "No."
"What if I promise to get you whatever you want?"
"What I want is you." I squeeze her thigh gently.
"You're insufferable," she says, sticking her pointed chin out.
I laugh at her expression.
"What's so funny?" She throws me a glance.
"You, Dear Nikita."
"Shut up, I ain't gonna miss you."
"Ooh, let's see the first to call," I say. I know I'll be the one to make the first call, she isn't even in Italy yet and I'm missing her already. The thought of spending the remaining one week of our vacation alone depresses me. "Sometimes I just can't help loathing your job."
"And what of the other times?" she says.
"I loathe it, too. It takes you away from me a lot."
"C'mon, babe, I'll be back before you know it."
"Can you still not go again?" I ask, albeit I know the answer to that question already.
My wife is a hotshot interior designer. She works mostly freelance but has contracts as associate designer for some companies once in a while. Most times she has to travel around the world but it kind of has a silver lining; free trips.
Her current client in Ethiopia wanted Italian-style decor for the new five star hotel he was building and was now funding her trip to Italy so she can go gather ideas and also choose designs for him.
It was most people's dream job —travelling around the world on sponsorship.
"No. Oh look, we are here."
I look up. I didn't even notice I've gotten to the airport.
"Ugh, so soon?"
Nikita offers a sad smile and starts to undo her seat belt as I pull into a parking space.
La Aurora International Airport, (GUA) towers in the distance in it's several feet glory. I gulp, thinking of getting swallowed into the belly of the huge building soon.
"I've got to get some thing at the duty-free," Nikita suddenly says after a long spell of silence.
"Let's go." She pulls my hand and I have no choice but to follow.
Seventeen minutes and two shopping bags later we walk out of the shop.
"Seriously, wifey, you don't have to go. I can easily put a call through that you're tied up over here," I say as we sit down in the departure lounge.
Nikita pokes my chest with a long polished finger. "You, are bad."
"At least I'm not a goody two-shoes," I say.
She makes a face and bursts out laughing. "Now that's baw-ring."
I chuckle too and pull her into my arms. "I'm gon' miss you so much."
She rubs the back of her head against my chest, sending pleasant sensations coursing through me. "Gama, this ain't my first time."
"I know, I had just been looking forward to some quiet for the whole vacation. With you," I add. "I'm not getting another vacation till fuck knows when."
"Sorry," she murmurs.
I comb her ginger hair from her face gently and she leans into my hand. Heck, I'm really going to miss her, I can't bear the thought of sleeping alone on the bed. Not that I haven't experienced it before. I guess it's because I'll be all alone in a strange town.
We've made some few friends but still they wouldn't be like my friends at home. I can't be as free with the Guatemalans as I am with them.
"You could spend the time with Guillermo and the rest, I think they're pretty cool." It is as if she'd peeked onto mind and seen what I was thinking.
I grunt in reply then say, "About your mom . . ."
"Step mom," she says, her head springing up.
"Whoa, don't bite me." I raise my hands.
"She's not my mom." She has a disgusted look on her face.
"But you don't have a mom either." She continues to stare at me as if not quite believing my stupidity. I smack my right temple. "Okay, yeah, that was a low blow."
"So, you gonna go visit her?" I say when she keeps staring at me.
Okay, what did I not say right here?
She eventually looks away, rubbing over her eyes with a palm. "She's not left me with much choice, as she? It's just my bad luck I got booked in her hotel."
Nikita and her late father's wife have never been on friendly terms, they used to pretend to be when Nikita was still young but the day she made it to university she fled the house and hardly went back, till her father died. Don't get me wrong, the step mom was not wicked, she was very nice, but Nikita never liked her from the beginning all because her dad married her not long after his first wife — Nikki's mother — passed away. She believed he'd been seeing her long before her mother died — when she was on the sick bed. Despite having two sons for her father, Nikki still never liked her.
Now she'd been booked a hotel by her travel agency and it turned out to be her step mom's, she'd even found out from the stepmom. She had invited Nikki to spend some some evenings at her own house. Nikita is still undecided on which cooked up lie to dish out to her step mom.
"It's gonna be okay," I say.
"Says the guy who left the garbage bag in the living room."
"Ouch, you're not gonna let me live it down, are you?"
"Of course not, Your Royal Garbageness." She hits me on the arm. "Thanks to you, I'm going home to a smelly house."
"You're most welcome, honey. I do remember offering to get someone remove it."
"You know how I feel about just anybody entering our house when I'm not there."
"Alanis was around then."
She raises an eyebrow. "No shitting?"
"Hmm mmm," I hum in answer.
"I didn't know," she admits softly then smacks my head. "Why didn't you say so? Argh!"
I chortle. She'd have let Alanis in since she was my adopted sister and also her very close friend.
A female voice called out a flight number over the intercoms.
"That's my flight, baby," Nikki says getting up to her feet.
"Oh yeah, here comes the dreaded moment." I stand up and we hold hands. "You're gonna call me when you're settled?"
"Try not to murder your mo — step mom."
"I'm not malevolent. You make me feel like a girl leaving the comforts of her home for the first time. Won't you tell me to not talk to strangers too?"
"Very well. Don't talk to — ouch!" She pulls at my hair. "Hey! Do you know how long it took me to slick it back?" I say.
I know without looking that my annoying cowlick is already standing at attention now, like a lone soldier awaiting command.
She smiles and gives me Bambi eyes. I lower my head and kiss her lips.
"Just stay safe, okay?" I breathe unto her lips.
"Sure thing, I'm going to Venice, not a battlefield."
'Passengers of Flight 307, please head towards your gate . . .'
"Gotta go." She pulls away from me and picks up her travel bag. She starts to go towards the terminals but then turns back, gives me a short silent kiss and is gone.
I forget the gel and run a hand through my hair.