The past week in Aspen had been great. The boys loved it and were up every morning at 6 getting ready for ski school. This morning however I had other ideas but Mary wasn’t being very accommodating. “The kids are up and running around” “We have to get up” Mary said as she jumped out of the bed leaving me well….not happy. Mark and John were 8 and 10 and really getting to be excellent skiers. I loved being with them. In fact, once I got past the initial let down I to jumped out of bed. This was the best family vacation ever. We all got along so well and watching the kids ski was as exciting as watching the Winter Olympics for me. I love family life and want more kids. Not so with Mary. She’s only thinking of her career. She is a publicist and it had not been easy but things are looking up. I’m a writer and have written two mystery novels that were received well and one was actually selling very well since it had been on the New Times Best Sellers list for over a month. Trouble was I didn’t feel very inspired lately and my publisher was after me big time. The contract I was damn lucky to get required one novel a year and the drafts on the latest were past due. Mary seemed a bit distant this morning. “I think when we get back to New York you should go away someplace by yourself and get those drafts in. I like that we finally have money coming in and don’t want that to end. Anyway, I have a lot of work to do and I think a few days break from each other will be good for all of us.” What was she talking about? I don’t feel that way at all but I decided to go with the flow. I called our travel agent Heather at Classic Travel Service and asked her for an idea. “Some place warm for a few days and on a beach but not too secluded. I don’t like being myself at some small Caribbean resort.” She answered almost immediately and said Acqualina in Florida is a Virtuoso property and that I would love the place. We got back to New York on Tuesday and I left Wednesday morning. I was still a bit frustrated but eager to get inspired on the beach. I would knock out these drafts easily, even if I had to work all night.
When the taxi pulled into the entrance of Acqualina I thought I had been beamed to the Mediterranean. I was thoroughly awed. The place was beautiful. I would soon learn how perfect it was for me. Heather arranged a spectacular one bedroom suite with a kitchen. Not that I would cook, but I was by myself and wanted to stock the place with nibbles and maybe a few bottles of my favorite white wine. I figured I would write, walk on the beach, come back and write some more and then chill out watching that big TV (I love big TV’s). All luxury hotels should have big TV’s. Acqualina got it right again. I loved this suite so much I want Mary to come down. Maybe we could make that third baby here. I called her. “Are you crazy? I told you I have a lot going on and I can’t get anyone to watch the kids if I did agree. Enjoy yourself and get those drafts finished”. The conversation ended. She was all business. Seemed like she was always just all business lately. I walked out on the terrace and marveled at the view of the Atlantic. The white surf hitting the white sand beach and beyond the blue green color of the sea was all too perfect. I could anticipate feelings stirring inside of me. Good time to take a jog I thought and quickly got my old fav jogging shorts and T-Shirt on and was on the beach in a jif. After about 40 minutes I got that runners high and dove into the surf. What a rush! I had worked out every day in Aspen and was on a roll. The run was perfect and just what I needed. My mind felt clear and I was looking forward to getting on my computer to do some work. As I ran back along that perfect beach and was in front of Acqualina I couldn’t help noticing an absolutely drop dead gorgeous dark haired girl coming out of the surf. She was wearing a white one piece bathing suit and her hair was slicked back. She looked like a model that was doing an ad except there was no photo or film crew to be seen. I thought to myself ‘there’s one lucky guy up there waiting for her’. I went to my spectacular suite and noticed that staff had come in to straighten up (not that it needed it) and there was a bucket of fresh ice. I smiled as I remembered telling the front desk that one of the things I really liked was having fresh ice delivered a couple of times a day. I took a shower and sat down at the computer. There’s a character in my latest novel, a beautiful woman, and I started to describe her using my memory of the dark haired girl coming out of the ocean. Only problem was my character was a murderess and I could hardly picture this girl as that. That’s showbiz, I smiled to myself. I got about 3 hours of work done and sat on my terrace admiring the late afternoon. I could get used to this. Acqualina is beautiful. I decided I would get dressed and go the bar and maybe have a quick dinner. I always love cocktail time in hotel bars. I had a new summer sports jacket that I hadn’t worn and I got a little sun jogging. I felt really good about myself and wanted to be in public for a bit. When I got down to the bar I was surprised how sophisticated this place was. Sure not the Miami I remembered as a kid but then again I don’t think they had anything quite like Acqualina when I was a kid. The handsome dark haired and very professional but friendly formal coated bartender asked me what I wanted and I just couldn’t resist. “I’ll have a Belvedere Martini with an olive straight up and very cold”. “No garnish in the olive please.” He was so cool he didn’t even blink but said “yes, if course”. A famous Ozzie publicist I know once told a bartender in Beverly Hills that the olives in a serious Martini should never have garnish in them. At the time I thought it a bit over the top but noticed in the years since that at all the best hotel bars it is the case. I smiled at myself again realizing I was so close to South Beach but so far away. I loved how I felt. I liked South Beach but at this point in my life I wanted something more formal, more grown up. Whoever thought up Acqualina sure knew what they were doing. I think I’ll start and finish my next novel here I thought as I was admiring the view. Then all of sudden as I turned there she was. The dark haired beauty from the beach sitting at a table drinking what looked like a Mojito. She was alone and God, she was gorgeous. She had her hair up and was wearing a white short linen cocktail dress that showed just the right amount of cleavage. No jewelry whatsoever. I didn’t want to stare and so quickly looked away. I thought it strange that she was by herself. I was imagining all kinds of things, after all I am a writer. Maybe she was getting over an affair that had gone bad. She didn’t look like she was suffering terribly. When I turned to look a 2nd time she was already getting up and leaving but not without me seeing those perfectly shaped tanned legs that were accentuated by very high heels. Her body looked perfect, not so thin but more shapely, under that white dress. She didn’t even give me a glance. Not that I noticed or wanted it but a little attention wouldn’t be so terrible. I wasn’t bad looking and in great shape and I did get a few admiring glances as I walked through the lobby. My new best friend, Brian the bartender, gave me that very male all knowing nod. I casually asked if she was a regular. He just smiled and said. “No, she’s been here before but now every night at the same time for the past 3 days. She has one drink, keeps to herself and leaves. She’s always dressed in white. One of the other guests tried to talk her up the other night, she was polite but distant. I’m sure he got nowhere.” I decided to have some Sushi and call it a night which is exactly what I did. BTW the Sushi at Acqualina was fresh beyond. I was full but not overly when I finished and actually looked forward to getting into bed. When I got back to my suite the bed had been turned down, my bathroom cleaned and a fresh towel replaced the one I had used, and yes, more ice had been delivered. I took my clothes off, walked out on the terrace and listened to the waves and felt the warm breeze on my naked body. I went inside and got into that marvelous bed and wrapped myself up in that million count bed linen and fluffy pillows and thought how life was good. I fell asleep thinking about how much I missed my family. Tomorrow I would get a ton of work done.
I got up around 6:30AM and was on the beach by 6:45. It was a perfect morning. The slight chill in the air felt great and as I ran the sun coming up already felt hot. It was going to be the perfect Miami winter day. I decided I would get a cabana by the adult pool. I could work there, enjoy the gorgeous pool, go to the gym, do some weights and come back for some laps in the pool and then work some more. But first I went for breakfast at Acqualina’s Il Mulino New York restaurant. The charming hostess asked for my name and room number and asked if I would be dining alone. As she seated me she remarked that I was the 2nd single person she seated this morning. Without even thinking I jokingly asked if the other was a beautiful dark haired woman. She looked rather startled and said that as a matter of fact she was. I said “and I bet she was dressed all in white”. She looked at me, smiled and said “Oh, you know each other” The answer was more of a statement then a question. No, I don’t know her I said in an awkward way. All of sudden I had this sort of creepy stupid feeling. This hostess will think I’m a stalker or something. I just smiled at her as she left. The next two days I worked my tail off and kept totally to myself except for the amazing staff that had become my new family. I was so enjoying this amazing suite overlooking the ocean. I went to the gym 3 times and got a really serious sports massage at Acqualina’a Espa spa. God I felt energized and wanted to go back to New York to be with my real family. I missed them. I called Mary 3 times in two days and she was always too busy. I was starting to get concerned. The conversation was great as long as we were talking about the boys but when it came to anything about us she clammed up. I asked the Concierge who could not be more pleasant and professional to get me a flight back to New York in the morning. I was cutting my trip short but ambivalent about leaving Acqualina. It was 6PM, the sun had just gone down and I decided I would visit my buddy Brian one last time. I was sitting at the bar having my usual when he looked at my iPhone and asked if he could take a picture of me. It occurred to me at that moment that handsome macho Brian maybe Gay. Duh! Hey, it was my iPhone not his. Maybe I want him to be Gay I thought. I felt a bit weird but said OK. “Stand there” he pointed and as went to move a bit there she was. I hadn’t seen her for two days and I was getting feels I shouldn’t. God, she looked even better. She was wearing slacks and a top that was all contoured to her perfect body and it was all white. It took a lot of control for me not to speak to her but as I turned back to Brian she was leaving. I was glad.
I did my Sushi thing again and was in bed by ten. I decided to have room service for breakfast as I was catching an 11AM flight. I had done so much work and my publisher loved the drafts I sent. He particularly liked this woman in white and said he couldn’t wait to see what was going to develop. I was laughing to myself when I fell asleep. I slept in without going to the gym or the beach and room service was right on time. The breakfast could not have been better. Acqualina seemed more like being in Europe to me that morning than Florida. Maybe, it’s because I had my first wonderful room service breakfast in Paris years ago. Anyway I enjoyed it and the anticipation of getting back to my family and Manhattan.
As I walked to the desk to check out and say good bye to my new friends at Acqualina I stopped short. There she was and walking right towards me. My heart jumped and I felt about 12 years old. She walked like a woman on a mission. Then as she approached me we made eye contact for the first time. She was wearing what looked like a winter white suit and she was carrying the matching jacket on her arm. Her hair was up again but this time she had a pair of stunning emerald earrings on and I couldn’t help but to notice that her eyes were the exact same color. I nodded but it was more of a school boy awkwardness that I felt. Her gorgeous smile at me was memorizing as she walked past without looking back. God, I was a mess!
The flight back was uneventful and when I got home the boys were there and all over me in about 10 seconds. I loved it and Mary actually seemed like she missed me. It was the first time we had been separated. I was raving on about Acqualina to the boys and Mary and promised we would all go back in the spring for a few days. I had called Heather at the agency and she said if we book before the end of January we will get one day complimentary. It’s called the early bird promotion. Mark grabbed my iPhone and wanted to know if I took any pictures. Yes, I did take about 10. He was eagerly going through my usual terrible shots (Mary always jokes about what a bad photographer I am) when all of a sudden he said “Wow, Dad this picture of you is so cool and who is that lady looking at you.” I had not bothered to look at the picture Brian took of me. There I was looking very movie star but behind and to the side was the lady in white clearly looking at me with a slight smile and looking just as beautiful as in life. Mary grabbed the camera but didn’t say a word. That night she said she really missed me and we starting working on our third.