I went back to waking Kelly; he groaned a little at the intrusion of his slumber, but he roused easily and headed for the bathroom. When he returned, I handed him my phone.
When he hung up, his news was not good. His Mom had told him the 101 was closed due to road damage and mudslides from Victoria to the Conejo Pass. She couldn’t come to get him, but they were working on something or someone to come get him until they could get down to him.
I called her back and told her that, if it was okay, he could bunk with me and that I would be driving back to Ojai in the morning. Then I could shuttle him down to them when the roads opened.
She thanked me profusely and said she didn’t know how to repay me. I heard Mr. Obnoxious say, "Why don’t you fuck him like you do everybody else?" I was getting to despise Lyle.
I gave Kelly the news and then called my hotel to make sure they hadn’t given away my room. They were getting ready to, even though I had set up a late arrival reservation. I explained that I was on that big white 757 on the TV, and I would appreciate it if they would hold my room a bit longer. They assured me my suite would be ready.
I had opted for a suite because I was planning to meet a few people the next day, but I would reschedule for another time.
My next call was to the limo service I had arranged to take me to the hotel, and told the dispatcher that we were stuck on the runway. She asked if that was us on the news and I told her it was. She gave me the driver’s cell number so I called him. He asked that I let him know when we got our baggage and he’d meet us at the curb. I thanked him and told him to get some rest; he would likely have a busy night.
After we made the terminal, I checked in at the baggage counter as I had a gun in my luggage and would have to sign for it.
Kelly waited patiently at the carousel and eventually retrieved his ancient Samsonite suitcase; the type they used to advertise with gorillas throwing them around.
"It’s, old but it holds everything I need," he said, sheepishly.
"There's nothing wrong with it and they're becoming popular again with some of the fashion trend setters," I told him.
I called the driver and he said he’d be there in five minutes. True to his word, Narvon was there in his Escalade with the hatch open for bags.
"That’s some vintage gear, I love the turquoise," he said, admiring Kelly’s suitcase.
He warranted a good tip just for that.
The roads were pretty deserted except for shuttle busses. We made the hotel lobby in about twenty-five minutes; the weather was still crap, so I had told Narvon to take his time.
The awning in front of the lobby was full of shuttle vans. A valet ran over and said, "I’m sorry, Sir, there are no rooms available."
I told him about my reservation and the phone call.
"That’s different, follow me." He started snatching up bags and clearing a path. I slipped Narvon a couple of fifties for being patient and shook his hand.
"You know, this ain’t necessary, but I’ll take it."
"I’ll be sure to ask for you next time," I said, and followed the valet.
He took us all the way to the counter and a young lady asked for my name.
"McKenna," I told her and she looked up my name. I scanned the lobby and the sea of people. I spotted two men with small kids. A man with two adorable little girls and an exhausted looking twelvish boy. Again, I’m not good with kid’s ages. And another man with two animated towheaded boys that reminded me of mine when they were small. Dad appeared spent.
I leaned into the counter and asked how big my suite was. She told me there were three beds, a king and two queens, each in their own room, with a living room and kitchenette in common. After a bit of conspiring with the agent, I arranged for the two families to be invited to join us if they didn’t mind sharing.
About twenty minutes later, I told Kelly we would have company for the night. It didn’t seem right that kids should have to sleep in an airport when we had all this room.
Ten more minutes passed and a knock at the door announced that at least one family had taken us up on the offer.
I opened the door and two men and five kids stood there, not quite believing this was happening.
I invited them in and the valet brought the luggage in on a cart. Both men tipped the valet and Jeff, the valet, grinned at me. I waved him over and told him we might need some stuff for the children, and could he make that happen? He said, "Sure, I only work this floor because it's all suites, but the concierge can get anything and then I will bring it right up. I have my own extension; just call with whatever you need."
"Oh, the bell captain takes forever, so don’t waste your time with him." Jeff gave me his card and excused himself.
The kids and the men were completely floored by the luxurious nature of the suite. I told them that we had claimed the center room, but the other two were virtually identical and they could wrestle, draw cards or whatever, to see who gets what room. The man with the two boys spoke up.
"If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not be reminded what floor we’re on, so I’ll take the room without windows."
It was agreed to and everyone got comfortable. I summoned the dad’s and asked about any special needs.
Once gathered I told them, "I just realized with the time zones we went through, it’s only eight o’clock. Are your kids hungry? Is Pizza alright or would they want something else.
Stan, the guy with the two boys, said, "Are you kidding? My boys would live on it if I let them."
"My kids too," said Dale.
"Okay then, I know a little place close by that will deliver if I ask nice, so let’s decide what we need."
We decided on four pies; one cheese, one sausage with olives, a pepperoni and a Canadian bacon.
I called Mario’s and added a few sides, a couple of liters of soda, some of their cinnamon breadsticks and chocolate chip cookies. This was not a night to worry about cholesterol or gaining a pound or two.
Lance at Mario’s was very happy to take our order and sent his best driver to deliver it all. I told him to have his guy ask for Jeff, the valet, on the nineteenth floor and gave him the extension. Then I called Jeff and let him know. In less than an hour, everyone was stuffing their faces and watching coverage of the storm and the plane at the airport.
Kelly watched closely and said, "That’s our plane isn’t it?"
I told him it was and he got a little pale.
"Two crashes in one day? What did I do to deserve that?"
He looked a little rocky, so I hugged his shoulders and got his mind on something else. I told him that he and Danny, the older boy could watch something in our room, but I recommended that he get a shower first, he was a bit ripe.
"I need one too, you wanna go together?" Asked Danny cheerfully.
Kelly looked a bit embarrassed but ultimately said, "Yeah, sure." I had noticed that he had been studying Danny since he came in. He was a nice looking boy, dark hair, brown expressive eyes and a sweet smile. With the little ones watching TV in one of the rooms and those two in the shower, I fired up my laptop and sent a few emails, canceling plans to meet the next day. There was no door on the master bath just a tiled entryway and the acoustics were such that I could hear the boys talking in the shower. I heard Danny say, "Man your dick is way bigger than mine!"
"Yours looks good too," I heard Kelly respond.
After that, I didn’t hear much talking, just the sound of the shower coming on.
I put one of my clean T-shirts for Kelly on the bed and went to ask Dale if he had something for Danny to wear.