Business was good. It was better than good. It was steady and good. For an owner who was in it for the money, that could have been the marks of the beginning of a decline in business, but Jonathan was not that person. He was an owner with a life outside of the business and intended to maintain some semblance of that life. He was still raising a child–a teenage daughter at that. He had an adult child still living at home who still needed guidance and attention. He had a gorgeous wife he still wanted to show his love and affection to. He had elderly sisters he loved and dreaded the day he would lose them. He had a niece and a nephew and cousins he regrettably did not see enough of. Steady business was great. It was predictable and gave him opportunities to let the business run itself. He was comfortable leaving early and taking days off when he needed to. Aylin, Tiana, Savannah, and Archer were trustworthy professionals, and he couldn’t have asked for a better crew. They had families of their own and understood he needed to tend to his from time to time.
The evening of Maya’s breakup was supposed to be a date night, but Jonathan was so concerned about her. He heard her yell to Anthony about going home to his wife and wanted to kill him for breaking his little girl’s heart. But, he couldn’t tell if Maya was truly heart broken. She seemed keen on dating, so he thought she would have been glad to be done with that little bald jerk, but it must have hurt like crazy to find out that way. He wanted to scoop her up in his arms like he used to when she was little and hold her. She didn’t cry, slam doors, lock herself in her room or any of the things they were expecting. For the most part, she seemed normal, but they knew she was bothered. It was written all over the little things. She usually sat in front of the TV for hours devouring romantic comedies, but that day, she sat there flipping through the channels. Love songs on the radio were her jam, but she switched the station when they came on. He could have sworn he saw her roll her eyes when he kissed Skyla in the kitchen. He tried to ask her what was wrong, but she blocked him. “I’m fine,” she would say. He had enough women in his life to know what that meant.
It was time for them to go on their date–which caused more sighs and eye rolling–and Jonathan wasn’t sure if he wanted to go anymore. His little girl, the one his wife called pumpkin, needed him even if she didn’t think she did.
“Are you sure you’re ok?” he asked for the 165th time that day.
“I’m fine, daddy! Go on your date! Have a good time. You and mom don’t get out enough.” She seemed sincere.
He sighed. “Ok. Well…you can call us, and we’ll come straight home. Ok?”
She laughed. “Are you going to call a babysitter too? I’m not eight, daddy!”
The other ladies chuckled too.
Jonathan cracked a tiny smile. “I know. I’m just worried about–”
“I. Am. Fine. Please go,” she said through gritted teeth.
He sighed even heavier. She wasn’t fine, but he wasn’t going to get anywhere with her that night–except maybe an argument if they didn’t leave the house. So, they changed their clothes and left.
They went to the hotel his late brother-in-law, Aldo, worked. He figured their bodies could use a little pampering after standing for 8-10 hours a day several days a week. They had never got massages before, and he was very excited.
First, they began with a foot massage. He enjoyed that immensely.
Then, they went upstairs for the couples massage. When their masseuses came in, he had a bit of fun with them. He may have been getting older and matured a lot over the years, but he was still the same ol goofball he always was.
“You must be the Pruetts,” one woman said.
“Yes,” Jonathan said. “It’s a shame you had to come all the way up here. They should have told you I was going to be taking care of my wife.”
The woman laughed, and Skyla slapped his arm.
“Here are your robes,” the woman said. “We’ll leave you to change and come back in a few minutes.”
“Really, it’s no trouble,” Jonathan said. “You ladies can take a break and we’ll pretend you did it.”
“I’ll write a glowing review!”
The ladies continued laughing as they exited the room.
“I’ll even leave an awesome tip!”
They closed the door, and the Pruetts were left alone in the room.
He came toward her with a flirty look. “I was just trying to be helpful.”
Skyla blushed and threw his robe at him. “Put this on.” She was trying to keep from laughing.
“As you wish,” he said and began to strip.
He couldn’t believe after the all the years they had been together, she was still shy. She turned around to disrobe and did it quickly as if she didn’t want him to see. Maybe she was more self-conscious because they were in a public place. Regardless, he never understood why she was self-conscious anyway. Her body was beautiful. He wouldn’t mind if she wanted to show it off more.
Once they were properly clothed, the women returned to the room, knocking first, and were ready to begin. Skyla climbed on the table and the first woman attended to her. The quieter woman took Jonathan. He thought he poke more fun at her.
“Don’t be peeking under my robe, heh.”
“Oh. Sweet. Watcher!” Skyla sounded mortified.
He loved to embarrass her and he had no idea why. He knew she secretly loved it when he behaved badly.
The massage lasted for an hour, and it was not what he expected. Sure, it was lovely for someone to relax his muscles, but he hadn’t realized how tight they were. What should have been a relaxing experience was a bit painful. Perhaps if he made a habit of coming regularly it would be better. His body would probably appreciate it.
After the massage, they went to the adjacent room to take therapeutic baths together. Jonathan chose the muscle relaxing bath salts, and Skyla opted for rose petals.
He melted into the steamy water with a satisfactory moan. He didn’t remember the last time he had a bath. They couldn’t fit one in their tiny bathroom. It was amazing to him how he lived with three women in a house with one bathroom that was the size of a telephone booth with very little drama. He thought he was a very blessed man. Thinking about being blessed, he opened his eyes and glanced over at Skyla. Her eyes were closed, and she seemed to be enjoying her bath as well. He was enjoying looking at her bare form. It had been a long time since he saw her in that beautiful yet vulnerable state. Most nights, when they got home, it was late and they were tired. They checked on their daughters, took care of their needs and crashed. Sometimes they only had the energy for crashing. That was why he was so bent on making sure they made time for each other.
After their awesome baths, he had no more items on their itinerary.
“Let’s get some drinks.”
After her father died, before they were pregnant with Maya, she became a bit more receptive to having a drink with him. The only reason she didn’t drink previously was her father. When he died, there seemed to be no reason not to indulge, but she wasn’t used to it and usually nursed one drink all night.
When they arrived at the bar, the place was empty.
“Awww, boooo! They don’t keep the bar open?” Jonathan snorted and shook his head. “Heh, I can fix that.”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m gonna make us some drinks,” he said matter-of-factly.
“I’m sure you shouldn’t be doing that.”
He laughed at her concern and her goody-two-shoes nature. She was always so sweet and innocent. He often wondered how someone like her ended up with someone rebellious, impulsive and irresponsible as him. Maybe it was true what they said about opposites attract.
“Shhhh! No one will know we’re here unless you keep shouting like that.” He winked at her.
She sat at the bar and awaited her drink. Age treated her well. He was getting crows feet and bags under his eyes while her smile lines made her face even more stunning. Their daughters took after her, and he was glad. Thinking of their children made his mind drift back to their beginnings. Legacy life seemed like such a distant memory. He was supposed to have a son. He shuddered at the thought of a little Jonathan running around. It would have been a nightmare to deal with himself. Their family was perfect just the way they were where they were. He couldn’t ask for anything more.
He sat a drink in front of her and joined her. “Here you are, m’lady.”
“What are you thinking about?” he asked.
“Oh… Just…about Maya.”
He snorted. Leave it to a mother to be thinking about the children on a date. He loved that all of them were constantly on her mind, but he didn’t think it was good for her. That night was supposed to be a break for them.
“Yeah…poor kid. But… It is written,” he cleared his throat, “thou shalt not think on thine offspring whilst thine art on a date with the husband of thine youth…pretty sure I read that somewhere.”
She couldn’t help but laugh. Mission accomplished.
“I love you, Sky.”
He blew her a kiss.
“You have been teasing me all night with all of your beautiful nakedness.”
“Let’s say we go upstairs and, uhhh, un-tease myself.” That was so cheesy he couldn’t help but laugh.
“This is a hotel,” he said and looked around. “And this place looks as dead a doornail. I’m sure there are plenty of rooms available up there.”
“But, we’ve spent so much money already. We’re supposed to be saving.”
“It’s not that much! And it’s only for one night.”
“Are you sure? I don’t want us to regret this later.”
“Sky! Come on! You can’t regret an epic night with your husband.” He watched her face as he slowly disarmed her. He kept selling it. “It’s been forever since we’ve been together. It’ll be perfect without the girls around to hear us.” To bring it home, he hit her with the sexy puppy eyes. “Please? You know you want to.”
Bingo. He knew that look. She did want to, and he didn’t wait for an answer. He took her by the hand and led her to the reception desk to request a room for the night.