Authors: Constance Barker
A Sprinkle of Tropical Trouble
Copyright 2015 C. C. Davenport
All rights reserved.
Similarities to real people, places or events are purely coincidental.
Never in a million years would I believe that we’d all be going on Stormi’s honeymoon together. Of course I don’t know why I didn‘t believe it. Stormi is so unconventional that it only seemed right she’d have an entourage with her for her honeymoon. That night after the entire Howie ordeal, Paige, Bruce, Brandon and I accepted Stormi’s invitation to go on their honeymoon with them. Now we were going to give the lovebirds plenty of space. Far be it from us to intrude on their time together, but I understood Stormi all too well. She couldn’t stand not being in the mix of things with her friends. After a few days of wedded bliss, Paige and I knew Stormi would want to know what the rest of us were doing or had planned.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let me wrap up the Howie fiasco. As Greg mentioned, the judge wasn’t lenient on Howie and his made up murder, especially performing the stunt for financial gain. He was sentenced to a year in jail, so with good behavior he might be out in eight or nine months. Luella hired a good lawyer and she got off Scot-free, which was no surprise to the rest of us. We knew she hatched this plan, but Howie wouldn’t implicate her. Instead, he fell on his sword for her and all he got in return was her backside as she sashayed out of the courtroom and his life.
We couldn’t feel too sorry for Howie. He was a grown man after all. Even the thought of him agreeing to such an elaborate plan to fleece his grandfather of his hard-earned money was despicable. I for one didn’t feel much sympathy and I know Paige didn’t. However, I did feel bad for Stormi’s family, especially Papaw Jeb. To think your own grandson would try to steal from him and who knows what else if Jeb had caught him. It gave me the shivers. I would like to think Howie would give up the ghost, so to speak, if the deception had continued to that stage, but with Luella’s influence, I wasn’t too sure.
But now we were ready to put all that unpleasantness behind us and leave our worries in Caesars Creek. Speaking of worries…not everyone could do so. Paige hated flying. If she could drive to a destination, didn’t matter if it was 20 hours away, that was her preferred way to travel. Now Bruce on the other hand, he flew all the time for business back when he worked for a tech firm. So flying, even internationally was second nature to him. Bruce promised they would see the doctor and get her a sleepy/happy pill. And of course time ran out and Paige was without medical relaxation methods. Bruce promised her another kind of relaxant.
“Honey, I’ll have the flight attendant get you a couple of those tiny bottles of alcohol,” Bruce replied. “You’ll be snoring like a hibernating bear in no time.”
“How about I stick one of those tiny bottles up your nose cowboy.” Paige was not happy, but I had a feeling she’d be partaking of liquid refreshment well before we stepped onto the plane at the nearest concourse lounge.
Our destination was the Platinum Paradise in Cancun, Mexico. An all-inclusive resort situated in a tropical paradise. Stormi and Paige scoured high and low online to find a place that would provide the tranquility we craved, but also entertainment and adventure if we were so inclined.
“Okay, this place has hang gliding, and excursions to waterfalls and ancient ruins.” Stormi said as she and Paige looked at the screen on her laptop. Sammi and I swept and mopped the shoppe as the twosome continued their search before ultimately deciding on Cancun. We’d closed the shoppe a half an hour ago, but we heard a small knock on the door. It was Trixie. I ran over to let her in.
“What are you doing out so late?” I asked as Trixie walked inside.
“Oh our garden committee meeting ran long,” Trixie answered. “We’re such a crazy group….we couldn’t decide what color mums we wanted to plant in the large urns surrounding the courthouse. Ginger wanted red and yellow, which several others and I agreed with, but Norma and a few of her cohorts had to make it an issue. They wanted orange and purple. We thought that would look hideous so it turned into barnburner. It got so bad Ginger and Norma were pointing fingers in each other’s faces, a few ‘how dare you’ were tossed about, and if my hearing was correct, a few expletives thrown in for good measure.”
“Wow, if I’d known there was that much excitement at the garden committee I would have joined a long time ago,” Paige declared.
“Oh that’s nothing,” Trixie claimed. “You should join the art guild. Now that’s where the fur really flies.”
We all chuckled and I pulled a couple of chairs over to Paige and Stormi’s table so we could see how the planning was coming along.
“Have you narrowed down where you want to go?” Trixie asked. I’ve been to Tahiti, Bora Bora and Fiji. They’re all beautiful in their own way, but a heck of a long plane ride.”
“Then they’re out,” Paige proclaimed. “The only way you’re getting me to go is to promise me a short plane ride. So somewhere in the Caribbean thank you very much.”
“Oh the Caribbean is stunning as well,” Trixie said as she slid the laptop over so she could see the screen. “Go to an adult all inclusive club though. You don’t want to have to deal with rug rats screaming and running into you. My second husband and I went once to a resort that catered to families.” Trixie waved her hand. “Never again. Kids are cute but not when they’re screaming banshees and their parents are off getting hosed at the tropical bar. It wasn’t the kids I blamed, but the parents. So save yourself some grief and go to an all-adult resort. That’s my two cents worth.”
Stormi sat back in her chair. “Sounds like good advice. Last thing I want on my honeymoon are loud munchkins interrupting me and my man’s….ummm special time.”
Paige made a face. “If I hear anymore about you and shmookins I’m backing out. There’s only so much sappiness I can take.”
“You love it and you know it,” I laughed. We had to give Paige a hard time. She was the least sentimental of the three of us, or at least she pretended to be. I think it may have been her reserved upbringing…no touching, hugs and especially kissing. However, Bruce wasn’t brought up in that manner and although it had taken him almost 20 years, he had slowly gotten her to give him a few hugs out in public.”
“Oh Paige, you were young and in love once,” Stormi said as Paige gave her the side eye.
“Listen, you and Greg can make goo-goo eyes all you want…just please don’t do it in front of me.”
“Why, you afraid it will give Bruce ideas?”
“The man doesn’t need any help…in fact…”
“Stop right there,” Sammi said as she walked around the counter. “You’ll scar me for life if I hear anymore.”
“Yes I agree,” Trixie stated, shifting in her chair. “Enough of this lovebird stuff…let’s get down to brass tacks. What do you want to do…lounge by the pool all day with a fruity drink or take excursions around the island?”
“I want to do both,” Stormi answered. It was her honeymoon and Paige and I agreed it should be wherever Stormi and Greg wanted to go, as long as it was in the Caribbean for Paige. Finally they settled on Cancun, which wasn’t the Bahamas, and a slightly longer plane ride, but Paige agreed that the resort looked gorgeous.
Sammi and her friends would manage The Frozen Scoop while I was gone. I told her to only open it in the evenings for that week so people would have to wait until after 4pm to get their ice cream fix. Sammi was also taking care of Winchester, my little furry buddy. I would take all his toys, bed and food over to Paige and Bruce’s house. I didn’t want to leave him alone at mine, and this way he’d have Sammi and her friends to snuggle and play with. While I would miss him, I couldn’t wait to head out for this trip. However, I had no idea just what we would step into.
The Atlanta airport was bustling with activity as usual. We’d all gotten there early, mainly so Paige could have a few drinks before takeoff. Stormi and Greg walked off by themselves to get a bite to eat and Brandon and I joined Paige and Bruce in the airport lounge. I figured most of the trip Brandon and I would spend with Paige and Bruce so the newlyweds could have their alone time together.
“A martini, extra dirty,” Paige told the bartender as we all took a seat at the bar.
“You aren’t kidding around,” Brandon teased. “I’ll take a beer; whatever you have on tap.”
“Make that two,” Bruce said as he put an arm around Paige’s shoulders. “We’ll get snuckered together sweetems.”
“Better get me a diet Coke,” I said. “Somebody’s got to steer this ship.”
The bartender served Paige first who took a bite of one of the olives served in her drink then a big swill.
“Slow down there girl,” Bruce exclaimed. “I don’t want to have to carry you on the plane.”
“That may be the only way you get me on that bird,” Paige said, taking another long drink and setting the empty glass down on the counter. “Hey barkeep, another extra dirty over here.”
“Paige, I’ve never seen you drink like this before,” I said half in jest and the other half slightly concerned.
“You’ve never seen me fly before either.” Paige slipped one of the two olives off its spear with her lips. She took a long sip and sat the martini glass back on the counter. Then she hiccupped.
Brandon and I couldn’t help ourselves. We snickered as Paige looked at us with dull eyes and said, “What?”
Bruce put his arm around her shoulders. “Here wife, let’s go sit in one of those nice comfy chairs over there before you keel over.”
Paige slid off the bar stool and waved her hand. “Yeah whatever.” Bruce grabbed her around the waist and maneuvered her over to a table.
“Bruce, don’t let her drink anymore; she’ll get sick,” I said as they walked to the table.
Bruce looked over his shoulder and winked. “Don’t worry. I think she’s going down for the count. Hopefully I can get her on the plane before she nestles in for hibernation.”
Bruce and Paige sat down where she promptly put her head on his shoulder. Yep, it looked like she was down for the count.
“Wow, that didn’t take long,” Brandon said as he took a sip from his frosted mug.
“Paige never drinks. Well maybe a glass of wine now and then. Plus she probably hasn’t had anything to eat either.”
At that moment, Stormi and Greg walked into the lounge with a couple of wrapped sandwiches from one of the restaurants on the concourse.
Stormi looked around at Paige and Bruce. “I take it Paige has already partaken of the liquid refreshments?”
“Two extra dirty martinis and the girl is lights out,” Brandon announced.
“We can only hope she doesn’t talk in her sleep or snore too loudly,” Stormi declared as she sat down on the bar stool next me.
“From what Bruce told me…I guess one out of two ain’t bad.” Brandon finished off his beer. “I think it’s time to head to our gate. Bruce you need a hand?”
“I’m fine,” Paige said as she stood up wobbly. “Just need to get my bearings.”
“That’s right all,” Bruce said, putting his hands on Paige’s shoulders to steady and lead her in the right direction. “We’re in the home stretch now, provided my beloved doesn’t toss her cookies on the plane.”
“Shut up and guide me,” Paige declared.
Bruce winked at us. “Yes dear.”
We fell in line behind Bruce and Paige, excited to be heading to a tropical paradise where Stormi and Greg could enjoy their honeymoon and the rest of us would rest and partake in the resort’s activities. But of course, this wouldn’t be any ordinary vacation. How could it be with all of us together. No this would be a trip to remember.