“Sir, can I get you anything?”
“No, David I’m fine. I think I’ll just stand here for the next….hundred hours.”
“Right,” Thomas’ personal assistant nodded and walked up, a foot behind the CSWA owner. “I took the liberty of placing your bags in your Cabin, sir. Everything should be as you like it.”
“Red M&M’s picked out of the candy dish?”
“I defy you to find one. You can’t. Won’t be done.”
“Temperature set to exactly 71 degrees?”
“Not a degree more.”
Thomas shot David an inquisitive look.
“I will live to serve you over the next week. If my job is done, and done well, this will be the most comfortable week of your life, sir.”
“I don’t think you have the power to pull that off.”
David began to answer, but Thomas waved him off.
“My proverbial two-ton elephant in the closet isn’t figurative David. She’s…”
“Your poor, poor man. I’ll—“
“SHOOG! THE DINNER!’ Thomas’ wife and former Love Sister, Hortense called from thirty feet away, fast approaching in a polka-dotted sun dress and white church hat. The deep Southern accent turned a pet name like “Sugar” into something approaching an alien language.
“Press your jackets again or…oh hell, I can’t help this.”
“David, this might be the last time you see me alive…”
“David, be a dear and draw me and shoog a bath. Baby, you’re sweating like a whore in church.”
“Am I? David, do I look…” Thomas checked his pulse. Damn. “Nervous to you?”
“That man of yours is a saint, Mrs. Thomas.”
“Mrs. Thomas?” Hortense grabbed Stephen by his right arm, and swooned into his body. “Mrs. Thomas. David? Bath honey. The dinner starts in an hour and you need a bath, oh baby, this wind and moonlight sparkling off the sea…I feel twenty years younger. I’ve got the urge to sing again!”
David and Stephen exchange horrified looks.
“And,” Mrs. Thomas stifles an embarrassed laugh. “to feel like a woman once more.”
“You know, David, I am feeling a little light-headed. Maybe…you should take me straight to medical. There’s bound to be a small tunnel to China I can crawl to from there.”
Stephen clutches his assistant’s shirt collar and pulls the kid into his face. “Don’t ever shake hands with the devil. DON’T”
“Baby, it’s later than I thought. The Ballroom David. I can carry him from here.”