Almost Meeting Mr. Mogul

 

Andy Peterson

The chilly morning of California air rushed as the airport door slid open. I shivered from my lack of clothing, cursing under my breath. There were many ways I could have avoided this trip. Too many excuses I made to get away from traveling. But I didn’t fight it off. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted to do anything at the moment. Not after what happened. Not after she left me.

“I know what you’re thinking. And by the love of god, don’t start sulking on me now. I can’t roll these bags,” my father grumbled beside me, snapping me out of my stupor.

“I’m not sulking, dad,” I defended, grabbing one of our luggage and pulled out its handle.

“You promised to enjoy this trip. So, enjoy…” My father patted my arm awkwardly when I stopped on the pavement, eyeing the busy LAX.

“Tell me why we are spending Christmas in California?” I changed the subject with a heavy sigh.

“Because Vegas is packed,” he frankly replied with a straight face.

“Right.” I rolled my eyes at his weak sarcasm and moved one of the bags towards the pick-up stop from the hotel we were staying.

Once we arrived at the area, a luxurious sedan with a man in a chauffeur uniform greeted us with our family printed in a paper. I thought my father had humored about being driven to our hotel in style while we were airborne. It took me a moment until my father approached the driver that he wasn’t joking.

“Dad, how much did this cost you? With my college loans, I’m not sure If I can afford to pay back my half,” I grumbled as the chauffeur placed our luggage at the trunk of the car.

“I have a few money saved up for unexpected vacation plans such as this, and you aren’t paying me back anything,” he replied evasively as he got in the back of the car. He gave out an appreciative whistle while eyeing the leather seats.

“Dad. You know I only agreed to come along since you insisted this would be a simple family vacation to get our minds off things – well, my mind off things – while we celebrate Christmas.”

“We are having a simple vacation… if we earned a minimum wage of a hundred thousand a year…” he countered but paused to mumble softly in secret.

With a frown, I contemplated getting another ticket back home. Yet my father was adamant while looking up at me with an assuring grin. It was rare to see him excited about something. He put in the effort to plan this vacation for the two of us. There was a limit on how stubborn I should be.

The trip to the city was breathtaking. I’d never been far out of the west side of the country. Though I’d seen in movies and television what Los Angeles looked. Nothing from our small television screen could compare what I saw with my bare eyes. And as the car drove up towards the luxurious side of LA, I knew where we were. It was the road that’s been shown before colored television was invented. We were in Beverly Hills.

“You haven’t mentioned where we are staying,” I stated rather than asked while my eyes were glued at the view outside the car window.

“It’s called seasons hotel or something like that…” my father trailed off with uncertainty.

“You are staying at the four seasons hotel, miss,” the chauffeur replied, talking for the first time since he greeted us at the airport.

“We are staying at what?” I almost choked in surprise, staring with wide eyes towards my father. “Christ! Dad, do you know how expensive that hotel is?”

“Peanut, would you stop with the outburst and the scolding, please? When I said I could afford it, I can. And don’t you dare talk me out on canceling the reservation. Mrs. Donnelly’s son had gone his way to book us this place.”

He mentioned one of my close friends, which I was no longer in speaking terms after the break-up. In truth, no one in that circle of people would talk to me since I was nobody until I dated him.

“How did you manage that?” I asked in interest.

“Let’s just say I still have my charms,” he replied smugly.

I didn’t probe on how he asked him to reserve us a room at one of the most packed hotels in the country during this season. But I’m proud that my father had some guts to try and talked to them, or rather, threatened them to book us a room at a famous hotel in LA.

Once we arrived at the Four Seasons Hotel, I couldn’t hide my reaction just from the view of its exterior. There was a lot of gasping and gapping on my part until my father had to cover my mouth and shut me up. The lobby was pure luxury, complete with marble furnishing and a chandelier hanging above the entryway. A bellboy attended our luggage as we headed towards the reception desk to finalize our room. At that moment, I trusted my father to get things done.

I excused myself and wandered around a bit. The first door I entered lead towards a lounge area, which was a dining room complete with a bar on the right side. I didn’t linger in the room while I eyed a group of posh people wearing suits chatted by the bar. I continued my exploration until I reached what looked like the pool area.

There were rows after rows of beach chairs surrounding the pool. A few of them were occupied with guests who were either tried to get a skin disease or to showcase their expensive swimsuits.

“Good morning ma’am, how may I help you today?” I snapped out of my daze as an attending staff approached me. I took a cautionary step back from his proximity.

“Hi. Ah… I’m good, thank you. My father is checking us in,” I stuttered in reply.

“Would you like a drink while you wait, ma’am?”

“Maybe later,” I replied as politely as I can and backed away in the opposite direction. I gave the staff an assuring wave before turning around and hurriedly walked back inside the hotel.

Once I got back to the reception area, my father was already done all of the transactions. Another staff greeted and escorted us up towards our room. I’d gladly accepted that offer instead. When the hotel staff opened our room, I put side my politeness and rudely barge in as my eye glued to the view on the balcony. I headed towards the sliding door, easily opening it and allowed the morning LA breeze to greet me.

“I will take it that you no longer think this was a bad idea,” my father stated in amusement, snapping me out of my ogling.

Once I turned around, I noticed that our things were by the foot on one of the beds with no more hotel staff in the area. I beamed at him and nodded in defeat.

“I’ll pay you back once I get my paycheck,” I stated absentmindedly as I turned my attention back to the view.

“Don’t worry about the money, please. Enjoy the moment.” His words were faint in my ears.

After I rested in the most comfortable bed, I took a quick shower and changed into a comfy tank top and denim short with slippers. Then I decided to head back down to the pool area and watched the sunset on the horizon. Being naturally tan, I wasn’t fond of sunlight. I’ve never been thankful for myself for making that decision to bring flats than a pair of army boots with me. At twenty-three, my fashion wasn’t sophisticated at all.

Reaching back to the pool, I picked the most secluded spot that was strategically where no one would assume I needed company. After finding the perfect place, I took off the scarf I brought to cover my almost revealing tank top and lay down on the beach chair. I rearranged the scarf and unfolding it to its maximum length before I covered it on the top part of my body like a blanket.

It felt stupid taking another nap after I woke up from one. But it was vacation and I hadn’t been sleeping well. So I closed my eyes again and allowed myself to rest. I didn’t know how long I went to sleep until I heard a female voice scolding someone. Peering underneath the thin material of my scarf, I watched a blond hair woman chewed out a handsome blond man in front of her. From the tone of their voice, they were worlds away from noticing my eavesdropping act.

“Go home, Courtney. I don’t need this right now,” the man stated coolly before turning away from the women.

“We are not done talking, William. Do you hear me? Not done!” the woman called firmly and watched the man walked away from her.

It took her another minute to turn away, stomping her heel towards the opposite direction of where the man left. A second later, I watched my father took their place. I pretended to sleep, fearing the angry couple to be close by.

“Peanut? Is that you?” my father called out, eyeing me cautiously.

I counted to three before I pushed the scarf aside to give him a view of my face. “Hi, dad. Are you done looking around the hotel?” I asked, seating up slowly while my eyes wandered around the area.

“Yes. They have a nice restaurant here. If you want, we can eat dinner there instead of strolling around the city. I’m too hungry and tired of sightseeing,” he replied grimly.

“Well, let’s make most of the hotel facilities while we are here. We’ve already lost a day in this visit and tonight’s the eve of Christmas. It’s best to stay in one place for it.” I nodded and stood up from my seat.

We headed towards the restaurant, allowing my dad to guide me back inside. The restaurant looked too posh from how we were both dressed. But once my father