Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Chapter 128-A Long Day


“This has got to be the fanciest place I’ve ever been in!” Zana exclaimed as we walked through the ornate double doors of the hotel. “First, flying first class and now this. Man, Fin your family knows how to travel. The most we ever did was take a crap ass RV trip one time.”

She and Finley had been going nonstop sense we boarded the plane. They were excited for this trip. Both girls were looking forward to finding an apartment during the down time from the parent’s weekend events at Finley’s school. The flight for me hadn’t been nearly as exciting. Spending five hours sitting next to Marcus on the plane was tense. We barely spoke to each other and what we did talk about revolved around the plan of action for the weekend.

“Hello and welcome to Hotel Verde, how can I help you today?” the friendly receptionist asked.


Digging through my purse, I pulled out my ID and credit card. “Um, yes. Reservation for Amari Smith.”

The woman took my items, then busied herself with looking up my reservation. Finley pulled Zana off to go explore some large fountain that sat in the middle of the entry.

“Ah, yes. I see you are booked for our two bedroom, penthouse suite. You’ll…”

“What?” I asked interrupting the woman.

“I thought you said you booked three rooms,” Marcus stated, giving me an accusatory look.

“I did.”


The receptionist was busy typing away. “Um, well yes ma’am, your reservation was changed a few days after you made the original one. It shows you called in requesting the upgrade.”

“You changed it?” Marcus asked. I could hear the bite in his tone and it took me a moment not to snap back at him.

I looked over at Finley who was nervously watching us. “No, I didn’t, but I have a feeling I know who did.”


Marcus turned to look over at Finley, shaking his head. “Right. Well,” he said turning his attention back to the receptionist. “There’s been a slight mistake, we actually need to keep the original reservation.”

“We’re booked, sir. A few of the colleges are having parent weekend, plus there’s a convention in town.”

“We can try another hotel.”

“I have a feeling they’d all be book too,” he replied. “We’ll take the room,” he said, turning back to the woman.

Marcus walked off to go talk to Finley while I finished up at the desk. A few minutes later we headed up the elevator.

“Sorry Mom,” Finley mumbled.

When we arrived at our room, the girls excitedly ran out straight to the balcony.


The room was nice and at two thousand a night, it should have been. The first thing you noticed was the view. The room overlooked the bay and off in the distance you could see the buildings from the city. To the right of the foyer was a small kitchenette complete with expresso machine, convection microwave, and a mini fridge, not to mention a nicely appointed wet bar. The living room area was cozy with a large sectional sofa and two chairs positioned to have a great view of the big screen TV. In front of one of the large windows sat a small dining table. To the left and right of the living room were entry ways that I guessed led to each of the bedrooms.

“Mom, Dad, I think you can see the whole city from here!”


Marcus walked out to join them, I went to go check out the rooms. One to the right had two queen sized beds while the one on the other side of the suite had one large California King.

“Sorry about the lobby.”

I turned to see Marcus propped up in the doorway.  I tried not to let my gaze linger on him. Sitting next to him on the plane, trying not to touch him, trying not to be affected by his alluring scent was like slow torture. I’d looked forward to getting to the hotel and having some time alone to recoup, now thanks to Finley’s stunt, I wouldn’t have that at any time this weekend.


“It’s fine. You can take this room. I’ll share with the girls since there’s two beds in there.”

Marcus gently grabbed my arm as I attempted to walk out. “It’s not fine. I shouldn’t have assumed that…”

“That I what?” I snapped. “Set things up so I’d be forced to share a room with you? If you really think I’d do something like that then your opinion of me is at an all-time low.”

Marcus gave a quick look over to where the girls were before pulling me back into the room and closing the door.

“I don’t know why I thought you would have done this, but I’m trying to apologize, not pick a fight.”

I didn’t want to fight with him either. I wanted to make this a good weekend for Finley. I just hoped we could call a truce for these few days. 


“Apology accepted,” I replied, walking farther into the room to put more distance between us. “This isn’t ideal for me either. This whole weekend…” I paused, trying to collect my thoughts. I could hear the girls still outside on the balcony talking away. They had a whole list of ‘must haves’ for their apartment. This weekend was about Finley and no matter how uncomfortable being here with him made me, I had to get past it for her sake. “Three days Marcus. We have three days together. I…I want her to have a good time.”

Marcus pushed off the door, crossing the room, but stopping shy of reaching me. “We want the same thing. This time is not about us.” He took a step closer. “I am sorry for my attitude about the rooms. With all that’s happened between us lately, how you’ve accepted things with the separation, I shouldn’t have jumped to that conclusion.”


I didn’t know how to respond. In the past few months, every time Marcus spoke to me, he always had this angry undertone to his voice. No matter what the topic was, it was there, but that statement, his apology, it wasn’t there. In that brief statement, the old Marcus was there, the one that didn’t hate the sight of me. I wasn’t sure if I should just be happy for that brief moment, or be pissed at myself for being in such a pathetic state that something so minute, something he probably wasn’t even aware that he did, could have such an impact on me. He looked as if he wanted to say more, but a knock at the door stopped him.

“Hey, the luggage man is here with our stuff,” Finley called out.

Marcus turned and headed to the door without another word. Yeah, I was definitely in a pathetic state. I took a seat on the bench, needing a moment to collect myself, but Finley walked in as Marcus walked out.

She slowly made her way over and sat beside me. “Are you two mad at me?”


I reached over and pulled her into a tight hug. “Without a doubt,” I replied kissing her cheek. “You are so grounded when we get home.”

“Grounded? Mom, I’m eighteen.”

“And?”


“And…and I’m an adult,” she replied, crossing her arms like a defiant child.

I laughed at her answer. “Oh, well you should act like it then. What you did, Finley, what possessed you to think this would be a good idea?”

She shrugged and dropped her head. “I just thought, or hoped that if you two had to be together that, I don’t know you’d stop fighting.”

I put my arm around her as she rested her head on my shoulder. “Aw, baby girl it doesn’t work that way.”

“I know, but we’ve all talked about it…”


“Who’s we?”

Finley bit her lip, giving me a sheepish look. “Um…all of us, well the ones that can talk anyway, but I’m sure the babies would agree if they could talk.”

I shook my head and laughed at her admission. “You and your siblings are a bunch of conspirators.”
    
Zana walked in with Marcus following carrying his bags. “What’s on the agenda first?” he asked, putting his bags down.

Finley looked at his luggage then over at me. “Where’s Mom’s stuff?”

“Oh, first part of your punishment,” I answered. “Your father is taking this room and since the other has two beds, I’m bunking in there.”


“Mom!”

“You only have yourself to blame,” Marcus stated. “She’d booked you and Zana your own room.”

Zana stood off to the side laughing. I didn’t know if she was in on this whole set up, but she was taking the news of the sleeping arrangements much better than Finley was.

After touring a few places near campus, the girls finally decided on a nice two bedroom apartment. Marcus and I were both happy because it had the added security of having a twenty-four hour doorman. I got pissed when the leasing office tried to charge us a higher deposit because of the ages of the girls, but Marcus was able to keep the peace and talked the woman into keeping the deposit rate the same. Since the activities for parent’s weekend didn’t start till tomorrow, we spent some time walking the city making sure the girls were comfortable with the area and knew their way around.

Marcus


I sat across from Amari watching her laugh and have a good time with Finley and Zana. I couldn’t recall the last time she seemed so at ease. I knew a lot of her tension had to do with me. It was like I couldn’t help myself most times, I always jumped to the worst assumption when dealing with her. Today was no exception. Finley had told me Amari tried to get out of coming on this trip. I knew she was upset about Finley moving across the country, so there was only one reason Amari wouldn’t want to be here this weekend. Things had gotten so bad with us that Amari would rather miss out on things with her daughter just to avoid being around me. When did I become that man? The petty, nitpicky guy that looked for any and every reason to make things harder on her. I’d think I was okay, but then I’d see her and it became like a defense mechanism to keep myself from falling back into some trap.

Amari glanced over and saw me looking at her. The smile on her face faltered. From relaxed to self-conscious in the blink of an eye.


“Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I forgot to tell you guys, my acceptance letter came the other day,” Zana said excitedly. She reached into her bag to hand me the letter.

Her original plan was to work a year before applying to school, but Finley had convinced her to apply for a few of the community colleges. Both she and Finley both looked so happy about sharing the news with us.

“Congratulations,” Amari and I said in unison.


“Thanks, I was worried since I’d applied so late, but yeah, guess I’m still doing the school thing.”

“I knew you’d get in somewhere, Z.”

“Now the fun stuff begins. Filling out all that paperwork to hopefully get some financial aid and student loans because my mom, while happy for me can’t really help ya know.” She took a drink of her soda, her happy expression dampering.

Amari frowned as she reached over to pat Zana’s hand. She had a great maternal instinct. She fell into the role easily and that maternal nature of hers extended to not only our children but to any partners that came into their lives. Hell she’d even finally gotten to a good place with Embry.

“We’ll take care of it,” I said, causing all of them to look at me.

“Mr. Smith…I…I can’t. You guys are already paying for the apartment.”


Amari looked at me, the smile returning to her face. “We want to help, really. Finley let us off the hook with her surprise grant, and you’ve been in our lives for the last few years. You’re practically one of our kids. We didn’t like the idea of them being in debt for school and the same applies to you.”

The girls hugged us both tightly. Zana promised to work hard and get good grades to make us proud. The rest of dinner was easy going and I realized how much I missed being able to just enjoy family time.

 
When we got back to the hotel, the girls went back out to the balcony to eat the ice cream we’d picked up on the way. Amari stayed downstairs at the hotel gift shop. I could tell she wanted some alone time so we headed up without her. It had been a good day leaving, me optimistic that we might just make it through this weekend without too much pointless fighting. A knock at my door interrupted my thoughts.

“Hey, um so three women sharing one bathroom, do you mind if I take a shower in here?”

“Yeah, sure,” I replied, stepping to the side to let her in.

An uneasy silence filled the space around us. “I…um, I’ll be quick and get out of your way.” She turned and headed towards the bathroom then stopped. “Marcus, thank you.”


“For what?”

“Today. I know being around me isn’t easy,” she stopped, pressing her lips together. Everything was so awkward between us now. Every conversation strained and while I wanted to blame Amari completely for the state of our relationship, I knew I was to blame as well for how things had deteriorated with us.

“You’re welcome.”

She gave me a nervous smile before walking into the bathroom. Our eyes met right before she closed the door.


I started to leave; my hand gripped the door when I heard water came on. I needed to walk away, I knew I did. I looked over at the closed door. Taking that first step was proving to be harder than I imagined. 

**A/N**

Hotel Verde is actually Green Palace by denizzo_ist. Like always somethings were altered to suit my needs of the story. 

Also...don't hate me for that sorta open ended conclusion to this chapter. I'm sorry, I really am. Marcus and Amari have been a struggle so I couldn't decide if he walked out of the room, or into the bathroom. LOL

22 comments:

  1. Well I know where I want him to walk. It's not to late for Marcus to still love Amari.

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    1. It's a tough call. Considering the state of their relationship, he SHOULD walk out of the room, but will he??? That's a question I'll need to answer.

      thanks for reading

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  2. Even though I liked Mulo more (Can't help it like the bad boys lol). I feel like Amari is going back to Marcus. She will most likely find out she loved him first and last. Something big will happen where he will be there and they most likely will get back together. I am not certain it will happen this way but the feeling seems to lean with them reconciling. Thanks for the chapter Jazen. I enjoy your reads as always lol

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    1. I like my bad boy too. Mulo has changed a lot over the course of the story and if he got a chance, he probably would make Amari very happy, but she wants to fix things with Marcus. She feels she deserves that to him and to herself to give it an honest go with no secrets or outside forces between them. Marcus is having a hard time believing he'll really come first in her life since she doesn't have the best track record with that. :( Hopefully they will be able to reconcile, but we'll see. You're welcome. So glad you enjoyed it. :)

      thanks for reading

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  3. What a naughty girl Finley is but it looked as if her plan did work. At first Marcus was accusing Amari but I give him credit for apologizing nicely. I do understand why she was annoyed at first as I would be too but than again with everything that happened before I can understand why Marcus did blame her.

    Having time for them to be together and acting like a happy family seems to have done a world of good. Both of them seemed to be at ease while they were all eating dinner. Marcus is still struggling or he would have walked into that bathroom without hesitating but something is still holding him back. I can see he wants to reconcile but as he said "Taking that first step" is not going to be an easy one. I just question which direction is the more difficult step to take.

    And now we have a cliff hanger so I really can't wait to read the next update!

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    1. LOL yep Finley was a very naughty girl and got herself grounded in the process. LOL Not sure if her plan worked or not, but Amari and Marcus are agreeing to be civil for the weekend. Marcus knows he lashes out at her and he knows he's wrong for doing it. He did apologize and sincerely meant it. He shouldn't have assumed she'd do something so underhanded like that.

      They have both missed having the tension gone. Family is important to both of them, so spending that time like before was needed. Marcus is struggling, but I think if he wasn't he would have walked out of the room without hesitating more than deciding on if he should go in or not. The fact that the thought even crossed his mind shows that he still has feeling for her on some level. Let's just hope all of those feelings aren't just sexual. :( The taking the first step comment was about more than just leaving the room. He really feels because of everything he needs to make a clean break, but he's yet to do that and he knows it. Carter was right, there is hope in that fact for Amari. :)

      LOL I couldn't decide! Man hopefully I'll figure out the did he or didn't he thing for next chapter.

      thanks for reading

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  4. WOOT! An update! Yay! So happy to see this one my dash :D

    It looks like things are shaping up. This weekend should be an interesting one. They may have gotten all the discomfort out there in the first few hours of the first day so, hopefully, the next 2 days will be a breeze. It's great they have the moments to see each other again as they first were. Emotions will be running at an all time high. Marcus. Poor Marcus. He wants to forgive, that's easy to see. But when there is no trust, that's a really hard decision.

    I do hope they can figure things out. Their kids obviously know what's best for them and want to see them patch things up. They just need to talk, REALLY talk, none of that awkwardness and fighting BS. Maybe once they air out their feelings in a calm, understanding manner they can truly start to heal.

    It's really great of them to help Zana out with her school. I'm sure both girls really appreciate that.

    The hotel looks great. I can't wait to see how the rest of their trip shapes up :D

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    1. I was happy to finally write something. Man I hate writer's block!

      It will most certainly be an interesting weekend. 3 full days of togetherness doing 'couple' things for parent weekend. Maybe it's just what they need. It is nice for them to see the 'old' them in each other. Especially from Marcus. He's been so angry with Amari lately, for him to see her as something other than the woman that hurt him is a big deal. There are still feelings from both parties. He does have trust issues and with good reason. Hopefully, it the weekend goes well, it'll open the door to conversation/counseling.

      LOL the kids. Yeah, they are a sneaky bunch but when you have that many what do you expect. Poor Finley takes the punishment when it was probably a joint effort. LOL Not fighting would be good, but as Marcus said, it's almost a go-to for him. :( Maybe seeing her as the woman he fell in love with will be just what he needs to start down that road to forgiveness.

      Yep, since they don't have to pay for Finley thanks to that *surprise* grant. Not like they couldn't afford to help even if they had to pay her tuition.

      Thanks. The lot was laggy for me, but glad it worked out.

      thanks for reading

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  5. Aww... I can sense the two still have feelings for each other... They both denied it... But we can just hope... Fingers crossed... :)

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    1. Yes they do. If they can just talk instead of fight then maybe they can get back to that. Marcus is fighting it because he can't trust Amari. He's been hurt by her so not ready to give in and forgive just yet. Amari is nervous and never knows what to expect from him. They need to talk.

      thanks for reading

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  6. Lol @ the kids playing match maker. It's sweet of them to try and help their parents work things out.

    I'm glad Amari and Marcus cleared up that misunderstanding and they are back on speaking terms. Hopefully the rest of their trip is less awkward.

    Also it was nice of Amari and Marcus to offer to help Finley's girlfriend.

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    1. They figure if their parents won't act like grown ups and talk they'll force it. LOL

      Marcus needed to apologize for jumping to conclusions. It meant a lot to Amari that he gave her a sincere apology. They've had so much tension between them, that moment was nice. Hopefully they can build on it and get back to where they were.

      Yep, Zana's family wouldn't be able to help and she's not that close to them anyway.

      thanks for reading

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  7. Finley sure is a cunning young woman! It was so nice to see Amari and Marcus enjoying the weekend, even if it was strained as soon as their eyes met. As much as I would love for him to walk into the bathroom I don't know if that'd be a good idea right now. They need a talk first I think rather than just sex. Or maybe an awkward conversation while she's showering and he stands clothed by the sink? Hmm..

    ~MischiefTheKitten

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    1. lol well you know teenagers. Always getting up to something. Those two in the same room always breeds tension. :( Luckily they did find a good place, let's hope that keeps up for the rest of the weekend. I agree, sex in their current state would probably not be a good idea. They need to talk, they need to clear the air, figure out what they want before falling back into bed together. Um...if he walked in there with her naked in the shower there wouldn't be any talking. LOL

      thanks for reading

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  8. I actually at first thought Mulo changed the rooms and then booked up all of the rest of the rooms... hahahaha... I think Amari needs to follow her instinct though and don't think Marcus is the one. She had him and still strayed and seemed to me to always seek someone else... To me, Marcus is her pasture on the other side of the fence and Mulo is the one she is rooted in.

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    1. LOL no, Mulo would not offer a helping hand towards Marcus and Amari's relationship. You don't think she really wants to be with Marcus? Interesting. Mulo has always been there and yes she's always sought him out when the going got tough. For some thing only he could handle it, but others, well that's why Marcus is so pissed. Now that she doesn't have trouble hanging over her head, she doesn't 'need' Mulo's help but that doesn't do anything for the feelings she has for him.

      Marcus is the 'safe' choice and he's who her life would have been with had all this not happened. She wants that, or at least she thinks she does ;)

      thanks for reading

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  9. Finley probably thought what she did was quite clever, but I think that is a complete disastrous idea. Look at them. It seems like it was hard enough for them to just sit next to each on the plane for a couple of hours. Spending time in the same room 24/7 does not seem like a good idea. Just finding out about the room change was enough to almost start an argument.

    Well, it was good that they managed not to make things too awkward. Finley and Zana still had a good time. I forgot how cool Zana looked. Did you make her or was she born in game and you gave her a make over? Its been a while.

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    1. LOL yeah, with the way those two have reacted to each other lately, trying to put them in a room together for 3 days was not a good idea. The plane ride was hard, mostly because Amari doesn't know what to do. She knows Marcus is angry, but they've not talked anything through. They are in a weird place right now. Marcus jumped off the handle fast and he shouldn't have. He knew that and sincerely apologized for that reason. He knows he needs to stop looking for the worst.

      They really do want Finley to have a good weekend. No matter what, the children are important to both of them and will try to put their differences aside for her sake. I made Zana, well her whole family. They were in my bin for a while and I pulled her for this so she got some screen time.

      thanks for reading

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    1. Aww thank you. :)

      thanks for stopping by

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  11. Finley...it wasn't her place at all to intervene like that, but I guess if I were in her shoes, then I'd try something similar or at least want to. It was nice to read a chapter where Amari and Marcus weren't at one another's throat. And aww, it was so nice of them to offer to pay for Zana's schooling. The ending...omg. Don't do it Marcus, be strong lol.

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    1. LOL I agree and her parents felt the same way. Finley and the other kids can see the love is still there with Marcus and Amari and they just thought they needed a little 'help' in making them see it as well. Finley hasn't really known a 'complete' family and she wants that. Marcus isn't her dad, but he's been a father to her and most kids want their parents together.

      It was nice that they both were adult enough to put their differences aside for the sake of Finley. They are happy Zana is finding a path in life and since they are in a place where they can help they did. :) LOL Well we'll have to see if he's strong or not.

      thanks for reading

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