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I stand in the bathroom for the Plaza Restaurant on the top floor of the Grand Continental Hotel. Nerves frazzled, I straighten my black pencil skirt and red twinset. I’ve had so much water that I have to go every few minutes. Alex’s mother is running late, which he assured me is typical even as he kept twisting the thick white napkin in his hands. One thing he emphasized to me, she hated Christine.
“Which means she’ll like me, because I’m not Christine?” I whisper to myself as I pick a white piece of fluff off my cardigan. I’m not convinced. I get the impression she’s never late unless she wants to be. Sucking in a deep breath, I meander back to the table.
At first, all I can see are silhouetted figures against the downtown buildings beyond the windows. My eyes adjust. No Alex. In his place I spot a stunning, fortyish woman sitting as if she’s in the front row on the first day of school, back erect, hands folded neatly in front of her on the table. Alex said she’d had him young and he wasn’t kidding. She looks more like an older sister to him.
“You must be Marissa.” She stands and pecks both my cheeks.
Sickly-sweet perfume stings my nostrils. “Nice to meet you Mrs. Smythe!”
“Call me Daria. Please. And it’s Smith. Smythe is Alex being pretentious.”
Speaking of, Alex’s jacket is no longer slung over the back of his chair. I take the seat next to the window, pulling myself all the way in and scanning the restaurant for where he might have gone.
“Alex had to leave.” Her painted red lips pout slightly as she smiles. Her chestnut hair is swept up into a perfect chignon and she has the cheekbones and arched eyebrows of a supermodel. I can see where Alex got his looks. She has the face of an Italian movie star. “He’s a bit. What’s the word.”
Cowardly? I think, wanting to wring his neck.
“Reticent. He has the same paranoid ways as his father, who used to be in politics. Although Robert had real enemies.” Daria places one of her manicured hands across mine and gives my fingers a squeeze. Her hands are shockingly warm, and soft. After all of Alex’s comments, I’d been expecting them to be reptile-cold. “This way, we get to gossip about him.”
I giggle nervously, feeling lightheaded.
“So tell me. All I know about you is that you work for a marketing company and have many friends. And that you’re very family-oriented. I take it your parents are together?”
I sense such a thing is hugely important for her. “Happily married for more than three decades.”
“What do they do?”
“They used to own a database consulting firm; they’re retired now.” Suspecting she’d be impressed, I add, “And they live in Hillsdale. I have dinner with them every Sunday.”
“Marriage material,” Daria says and I find myself suddenly unable to breathe. “There’s no kind way to put this. Christine was trash.”
Holy shit. I sink in my chair. No wonder Alex steers clear of her!
“Christine was a middle child of five, all of questionable paternity. A pretty girl, and intelligent, but rough, as though she’d fallen off the back of a motorcycle stopped outside of a dive bar. Hardly one you could take to too many places. You don’t have any tattoos, do you?”
“No, I don’t.” None that she’ll ever see. I straighten up to mimic Daria’s posture. All of Alex’s weird, annoying quirks and his obsession with his appearance make so much sense now.
The waiter comes by to take our orders. I catch sight of filet mignon on the menu and ask for it to be medium. Daria requests a salad, dressing on the side, and a vintage Riesling. Once he’s gone, she says, “I have one more question for you. About a woman by the name of Kayla Robinson, née Verenich.”
My blood turns cold. This woman has feelers everywhere and maybe Alex shouldn’t scoff at rumors of her having mafia ties. “She … married my ex.”
“I gather she was an ex before you, and their marriage came later on.”
I force a giggle. I really don’t want to be discussing this or even thinking about it. Connor is ancient history. A different lifetime now. “Hopefully I won’t have similar bad luck with your son.”
She doesn’t look at all amused and her stare is snakelike. “She was assaulted, pushed into a canal, and left for dead. Apparently one of the witnesses police interviewed is a good friend of yours.”
“Pierre,” I say, my heartbeat like an out-of-control jackhammer in my chest. If she’s implying what I think she is implying, so help me God. I’m starting to see why she and Alex’s girlfriends went at each others’ throats. “I’m still friends with him. He didn’t see much, although he did do his best to help with the investigation. He was never a suspect, by the way.”
“An interesting coincidence, though, hm?”
“Not really. After Connor and I split, I moved only a few blocks away. It’s way easier to find a place in a familiar neighborhood than across town. Pierre came for a visit around when I was first thinking of coming back home. On the second night, he went to pick up some takeout when he heard screams. Unfortunately he was too far away to see much of anything beyond a shadowy figure on the bridge over the Gowanus Canal. He tried to give chase, but he was not terribly fit, unfortunately.”
“Unfortunately. In your shoes, I imagine I’d feel guilt-ridden even if I had nothing to do with it whatsoever, because I’d have been wishing ill on the person under similar circumstances.”
I look her straight in the eye, amazed at my own boldness. “What happened to her is extremely tragic. I hold nothing against either of them, especially after that ordeal. Besides at that point, my ex and I had been split for nearly two years. I’m thankful Connor broke up with me, since otherwise I wouldn’t be with Alex, the most amazing man I’ve ever met in my life. And it takes a good mother to raise one.”
She beams proudly and I take an inner sigh of relief. Having her on my side is one more edge I’ll have on Christine. If she knew about Graftem Securities, she would have brought it up by now. I can’t see her not being thorough. Though after signing my future away while an army of lawyers looked on, the guilty parties are bound to keep a tight lid.
Over lunch, I learn more than I ever wanted to about Alex and Christine, who were off and on for more than half a decade. My heart sinks at tales of how Alex would rush to Christine’s defense no matter what she’d done. I begin wondering if Daria enjoys sticking a knife in people and twisting it around. “So you think Alex and I are doomed and at some point he’ll go running back to her?”
“No. However you need to be on your guard. Alex may hide a great deal, but he is a very predictable young man. Anybody who knows him well can work him like clay on a potter’s wheel.”
“Especially Christine,” I mumble, thinking back to some of the stories Reggie told me.
Her eyes narrow and the corners of her mouth curl up the way I picture a dragon or snake smiling. This is why Alex calls her Mommasaurus. “So tell me. What are your plans for the future? Do you love Alex? Do you foresee getting married or having children with him?”
I hesitate, sensing a trap. Why is she asking this?
“No? You’re not getting any younger.”
“Absolutely I would! If he asked, of course.” Whatever Daria’s agenda is, I wish she’d come straight out with it. I should have researched her more when I had the chance.
“When it comes to his personal life, Alex never does a thing on his own.” Daria lets out a seemingly calculated sigh. “If things go the way I’d like them to, Alex would be married, or at least engaged, by the time she’s out of whatever facility is currently housing her.”
My mouth is parched but any more water and I’ll burst. The wine is getting to me too, and nausea creeps up into my throat. The sauce on that steak was extremely rich. Steeling myself, I say, “I don’t think Alex would appreciate us having this conversation.”
“Good thing he’s not here, then.” The woman doesn’t so much as bat an eyelash. She’s horrifyingly cool. “Getting what you want in life isn’t something you sit around and wait for, my dear. No wonder you were still single at your age. If you want him to marry you, hints will fall on deaf ears—he’s a man. Nor would directly asking him work, since he likes to think he makes all of his own decisions. Christine gave him an ultimatum and you know how he chose there. Subterfuge is the only way to go with him.”
“I can’t be like that.” It’s a wonder Alex has turned out as sane as he has.
“Why ever not? Your idealism is very endearing. I’m sure he adores it. Christine almost had him snared, although I doubt she was pregnant to begin with. Awfully convenient timing.”
Again I sink into my seat; what? Alex never doubted her for a second. Not really.
“Once the restraining order’s expired, she’ll try to lure him back and surely you’ve seen what she looks like without many clothes on.” Daria leans forward and hisses in my ear, “That, my dear, is what you are up against. In the face of temptation, I’m not so sure my son would be as faithful as he’d like to think. He’s not always the good young lad he pretends to be.”
I gaze outside at the afternoon sun casting the surrounding office towers in sharp relief, then at my fingers knotting together on my lap. Talking to Daria feels like dealing with the devil. She’s temping me, but I sense there will be a catch. “If he ever found out we were discussing this, he’d hate me.”
“Leave that up to me, since he hates me already.” The devil leans closer and whispers, “Your choice: do you wish to marry him, or not? At the very least, you should be more honest about what you yourself want from life because you strike me as somebody who’s already frittered away much precious time.”
“I do want to marry him,” I say absently, gazing out over the sun dappled rooftops below and wondering if I’m dreaming all of this. If I did have to start my life all over yet again in a new city, I could bring Alex with me. I’m sure he’d be happy to squeeze out from under her thumb as well. In his profession, we’d easily be able to afford living anywhere. “I do.”
Marissa has stayed true to her word. Not a peep about Christine. Last night she gave me the perfect birthday. Dinner at a Brazilian Steakhouse followed by a quickie in the hotel Jacuzzi. A much longer romp in the king-sized bed. She’s one of the best lovers I’ve ever had. Attentive, adventurous, no hang-ups. She takes me out for breakfast the next morning. Then we say our goodbyes and I head home.
She appreciates how I need my alone time. I wish Chris had understood that better.
I lounge on my sofa, sift through my non-work emails. Nothing from Reggie. I haven’t heard from him for months. We used to hang out every week. Lina emailed thanking me for the card I sent. She included a jpeg of her puffy-cheeked newborn, a boy they named Tomislav. Yet no invitation to meet him. I’ve heard of new parents blowing off their childless friends but this is nuts.
My phone rings. An out-of-state number. I answer, only too late remembering who it’d be. I sigh loud enough for her to hear over the line. “The restraining order, Chris.”
“I’m sorry. Just wanted to wish you a happy birthday, see how you were doing.”
“Thanks,” I say, seeing through her flimsy excuse to call me. My next birthday of consequence (the big three-O) is still two years away.
“I’m so bored and I don’t have many people I can call whose numbers I know by heart. Forgot to pack my address book and they took my cell phone away.”
“Where are you?” Gavin had said something about her being sent to a psychiatric facility.
“New Mexico. They call it a retreat, but it’s a prison with rainbow murals and designer bed sheets. Twice a week is group, and then there are other counselling sessions, these art classes.”
She then tells me how sorry she is. She needs someone to listen, so I listen (so long as there is a good thousand miles between us). Wonderful to hear she’s learning so much, gaining insights into her rotten childhood. Let’s see when she’s back in her normal day-to-day life. In no time she turns the topic to Marissa (and people call me predictable).
“None of your business, okay? Yes, I am still seeing her. She’s easy to get along with.” Hint.
“But thirty-six? Alex, this chick has a lot of history. Matt says she’s been with over fifty—”
“Enough! If you need to unload, fine, but leave other people out of it!” I’m on the verge of hanging up on her, but I don’t. I still miss her voice. Her voice is soft and low and a little husky.
“Did you know Lina and Reggie split? She caught Marissa sleeping with him.”
Oh for crying out loud. Chris’s tall tales have no limits (yet she’s mystified why I broke up with her). So Marissa got around. (Beats being stuck with a prude.) I was hardly an angel myself before Chris came along (half our fights were about people I’d slept with before she and I met). “Yeah, which is why they sent me a picture of them with their new baby. Seriously Chris, fuck off.”
Never did pushing the end call button feel so good. She is one piece of work. Who knows what she fed Lina. I hope Lina’s not dumb enough to fall for it (truth be told, the indicator lights on my laptop are brighter than her). Unless you’ve been around someone who lies as easily as they breathe, it can be hard to believe they exist. I call Marissa to see if she’s up for dinner tonight. I’ve balked at passing on my mother’s invite long enough. She doesn’t answer. I leave a message that my mom wants to meet her.
I then open Facebook. Marissa’s age is hard to guess. I figured (going by where she is in her career and the way she dresses) that she’s twenty-eight or so. Around my age, maybe a year or two older. Only the date of her birth is in her profile, not the year. No biggie. Neither is mine.
I check Gemma’s profile. She turned thirty-five last December. Huh. She looks at least a decade younger. Stephanie turns thirty-seven at the end of October. So Chris wasn’t lying (for once). I never would have guessed. I never asked her her age. I can’t say she lied when the subject never came up. Nor should this bother me. Six-odd years is not a terribly large gap. My dad is twelve years older than my mom. I slept with one of my mother’s friends as a teenager. If age were important, I’d ‘ve asked Marissa by now. I’ve always been on the fence about kids. If I wind up having them, great, if I don’t, oh well. And if Marissa can face down Mommasaurus … she can handle anything.
Some examples of French Colonial architecture in Ho Chi Minh City:
1. Ho Chi Minh City Hall. Built in 1902-1908.
2. Saigon Municipal Opera House. Built in 1897.
3. Saigon Central Post Office. Built in 1886-1891.
Credit to Instagram account hao_ng_
Hi All, I've just finished this little digital painting... a studio from a screenshot of Audrey Tautou as the title character from the film " Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain" directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (swipe to see the reference), One of my favorite movie of all times. I am very fond of its magical atmosphere, created also by the wonderful soundtrack by Yann Tiersen. Used photoshop cs5 and wacom bamboo tablet.
Grand Rapids is a city in the state of Michigan in the United States. A historic furniture-manufacturing centre, Grand Rapids is still home to five of the world’s leading office furniture companies, and is nicknamed “Furniture City”. Its more common modern nickname of “River City” refers to the landmark river for which it was named. Grand Rapids has several tourist attractions, including John Ball Park, Belknap Hill, and the Gerald R. Ford Museum.The city is economically diverse, and has an economy based on the health care, information technology, automotive, aviation, and consumer goods manufacturing industries. The city is also home to the Van Andel Museum Center.
Here are some of the top places to visit in Grand Rapids
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Meyer May House
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Blandford Nature Center
John Ball Zoo
Fish Ladder Sculpture
Heritage Hill Historic District
Things to do in Grand Rapids
Go on a food tour of the downtown market
Be one with nature at Frederik Meijer Gardens
Get cultured at the grand rapids art museum
Explore the beer city ale trail
Eat a farm-to-table dinner at the grove
Walk the blue bridge
Rock out at the intersection
Spend your night at the B.O.B.
Relax in the ah-nab-awen park
Drink an artisan cup of joe at madcap coffee
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This Article, Information & Images Source (copyright):- Travel Center UK Blog
Quais destes destinos você quer visitar nos hotéis @exploratravel ?! 😍 Fotos 1 e 2: explora Atacama, Chile Foto 3: explora Rapa Nui, Ilha de Páscoa Foto 4: explora Travessia Uyuni, Bolívia Foto 5: explora Valle Sagrado, Peru #Repost @primetourviagens ・・・ #viagem #viagens #viagemeturismo #passagensaereas #passagemaerea #travel #luxo #viagensdeluxo #viagemdeluxo #destination #destinationwedding #destinosimperdiveis #destinations #luxury #luxurytravel #luxurytravelagent #luxurytraveler #luxurytraveller #luxurylifestyle #luxuryhomes #luxurycars #lux #luxuryliving #madeinitaly #negroni (em Deserto Do Atacama) https://www.instagram.com/p/CQdzk0kNrkh/?utm_medium=tumblr
been. Playing around with expanding my dæmon au into the deeper his dark materials universe. making Nile the bearer of the subtle knife, perhaps.
Oh and what is you’re plan? You-you-You’re gonna-you’re gonna use pulse pistols? Kill all the Veneks you can?
Actually - yes. When they attack again - I’ll show you my way to get a cease-fire.
3x05 - Different Destinations
Huế City, Vietnam. Credit to Instagram account dadi.gogo
A/N Sorry y'all but this was always designed to be a short story. I am thankful for all the reblogs and likes, the comments and kudos. 😘😘😘😘😘
“Drawn Together, indeed.” Geillis says when she finally rings her a week later. They had spend the entire time together. Holed up in his flat as he draws her and then. Erotic pictures but also sweet ones. He draws them laying together, her head nestled on his chest. He sketches the future also, her in a wedding dress, a soft rounded belly, a baby that has both their features. “I was about to report you as a missing person but Murtagh talked me out of it.”
“I am truly sorry Geillis. It is just he is everything, all I never knew I needed.”
“Well then. It isn’t just the sex?”
“No, we are deeply in love. I was drawn to him before I even knew him. He did see me in his dreams.”
“That is extraordinary Claire. So he was the one keeping you awake?”
“Yes, still is. We will be married, have a baby or two.”
“It has been a week Claire.”
“When you know, you know. He is my destiny and I am his.”
“I pray it works out for you two then.” She can’t help her skepticism. Claire easily forgives her for it. She is to busy loving her man to worry about anything else.
She is right. Two months after they meet at the pub, they are married. Geillis stands up for Claire and Murtagh for Jamie. These two are also tagged as Godparents when their first baby is born a year later. They name her Destiny. Two years later they are blessed with a son that is Christened Dream.
When Claire thinks back, she is so thankful that she was awake in her man’s dreams. Every day since they meet has been dream like, an amazing adventure. She wouldn’t trade those four sleepless nights for anything.
Shirakawa Dori, Kyoto
This report studies the In-destination Travel Market with many aspects of the industry like the market size, market status, market trends and forecast, the report also provides brief information of the competitors and the specific growth opportunities with key market drivers. Find the complete In-destination Travel Market analysis segmented by companies, region, type and applications in the report.
The report offers valuable insight into the In-destination Travel market progress and approaches related to the In-destination Travel market with an analysis of each region. The report goes on to talk about the dominant aspects of the market and examine each segment.
Top Key Players: McMurdo Group,HR Smith,Emergency Beacon Corporation,Cobham,ACR Electronics,ACK Technologies.
Get a Free Sample: https://www.reportsandmarkets.com/sample-request/global-in-destination-travel-market-3817652?utm_source=tumblr&utm_medium=14
The global In-destination Travel market segmented by company, region (country), by Type, and by Application. Players, stakeholders, and other participants in the global In-destination Travel market will be able to gain the upper hand as they use the report as a powerful resource. The segmental analysis focuses on revenue and forecast by region (country), by Type, and by Application for the period 2021-2027.
Market Segment by Regions, regional analysis covers
· North America (United States, Canada and Mexico)
· Europe (Germany, France, UK, Russia and Italy)
· Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia)
· South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia etc.)
· Middle East and Africa (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa)
· To study and analyze the global In-destination Travel market size by key regions/countries, product type and application, history data from 2013 to 2017, and forecast to 2026.
· To understand the structure of In-destination Travel market by identifying its various sub segments.
· Focuses on the key global In-destination Travel players, to define, describe and analyze the value, market share, market competition landscape, SWOT analysis and development plans in next few years.
· To analyze the In-destination Travel with respect to individual growth trends, future prospects, and their contribution to the total market.
· To share detailed information about the key factors influencing the growth of the market (growth potential, opportunities, drivers, industry-specific challenges and risks).
· To project the size of In-destination Travel submarkets, with respect to key regions (along with their respective key countries).
· To analyze competitive developments such as expansions, agreements, new product launches and acquisitions in the market.
· To strategically profile the key players and comprehensively analyze their growth strategies.
· To strategically profile the key players and comprehensively analyze their growth strategies.
The report lists the major players in the regions and their respective market share on the basis of global revenue. It also explains their strategic moves in the past few years, investments in product innovation, and changes in leadership to stay ahead in the competition. This will give the reader an edge over others as a well-informed decision can be made looking at the holistic picture of the market.
Table of Contents: In-destination Travel Market
· Part 1: Overview of In-destination Travel Market
· Part Civil Aircraft Nitrogen Service Carts: Global Market Status and Forecast by Regions
· Part 3: Global Market Status and Forecast by Types
· Part 4: Global Market Status and Forecast by Downstream Industry
· Part 5: Market Driving Factor Analysis
· Part 6: Market Competition Status by Major Manufacturers
· Part 7: Major Manufacturers Introduction and Market Data
· Part 8: Upstream and Downstream Market Analysis
· Part 9: Cost and Gross Margin Analysis
· Part 10: Marketing Status Analysis
· Part 11: Market Report Conclusion
· Part In-destination Travel: Research Methodology and Reference
Key questions answered in this report
· What will the market size be in 2027 and what will the growth rate be?
· What are the key market trends?
· What is driving this market?
· What are the challenges to market growth?
· Who are the key vendors in this market space?
· What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the key vendors?
· What are the strengths and weaknesses of the key vendors?
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