“I know. It’s lovely, isn’t it?”
“I just want you to enjoy yourself. Then again, I know how to make you really relax and how to put a certain kind of smile on your pretty face,” he growls as he slides into the seat across from me.
My eyes go wide at the idea that the driver might overhear, but Keith chuckles.
“You know this partition is sound proof, right?” he says gesturing with his head towards the black divider between us and the driver.
“No, I didn’t know that. I’ve never been in a limo before today, so this feels like a movie actually. Has everyone else already arrived? We’re doing business meetings right? What do I need to bring? Just let me know because I feel seriously unprepared. Neither you nor Corrine gave me any guidance as to what we’d be doing this week.”
He smirks a bit.
“Chill out, mon! You on island time now,” Keith says in a terrible fake Jamaican accent before launching into an equally terrible rendition of Don’t Worry Be Happy.
I laugh and relax a little. “I thought we were on Tahiti, not Jamaica, Mr. McFerrin.” Tropical paradise must really ease Keith’s stress because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him this carefree. There is no phone attached to his ear, and no e-mails pinging him notifications. It seems very odd, but also really nice too.
“Do we have service out here for our mobile phones?” I ask.
“Yes. Why? Do you need to make a call?”
“No. I just haven’t heard you get any calls or notifications. As one of your personal assistants, I know how busy you are.”
“I turned my phone off when we got on the plane.”
Really? I thought all CEOs were attached to their phones, but I don’t ask any more questions.
The car pulls up to an enormous but luxurious hut with a roof that looks like it’s made of brush. There are more thatched huts nearby with wooden walkways in between, and a glimpse of the shockingly blue ocean just beyond. As we get out and walk through the lobby, we’re greeted by the hotel manager, the concierge, and two bellhops. Even weirder, I look around but I don’t see anyone else. The lobby is empty of guests, although it seems fully staffed. What’s going on?
“Have you rented out the whole resort?” I ask Keith suspiciously. “Is it only for the people attending the meetings?”
But before he can answer, the manager interrupts.
“No, Miss Laine, but there’s a virus going around and a lot of people canceled their reservations out of fear. Since you flew private, your flight was safe. But I can assure you, you will receive even better service than you would under normal circumstances. Please just let the concierge on duty know if you would like to visit our shops and which restaurants you would like to dine in. Now, over here Jacques! Can you please direct Miss Laine to her suite? Guillaume will be taking your bags up, Mr. Commons.”
Jacques steps forward, a chipper young man dressed in a natty white uniform.
“This way, please,” he says.
I turn to wait for Keith but see that he’s speaking with the concierge about something now.
“Miss?” asks Jacques. “Never fear, another porter will show Mr. Commons to his suite. Follow me, please.”
I swallow. For a moment I’m a little disappointed that Keith and I won’t be sharing a suite, but then I realize I’m being ridiculous. Why would I think our romp in the air would equate to us sharing a bed again? Well, at least I’m not writing “Mrs. Kelsey Commons” on my notebook like a high school girl.
Jacques takes me up the elevator and shows me to a lovely suite that looks like it’s straight out of a colonial setting. There’s a four-poster bed with a delicate white coverlet, wicker furniture, and the window opens to a gorgeous view of the ocean. I settle in and begin to unpack my bags. It’s so quiet that I decide to flip on the TV and surf around until I find a channel in English. Then, my eyes narrow as my ears perk up. What is this about? The newscaster has a somber expression and is discussing stay at home orders, social distancing, testing issues, fatality rates, and toilet paper shortages. It seems the United States is in a crisis, and that the pandemic is hitting hard. Oh my god. This is so terrifying.
I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting on the bed with all sorts of doomsday thoughts running through my head when there’s a knock on my door. I panic. What if the nice bellboy, Jacques, has the virus but he isn’t showing symptoms? What kind of medical facilities are there on this tropical island paradise? Does Tahiti even have a hospital with a ventilator? The knock comes more insistently this time.