Crisis at the Airport
She was stuck! She knew it; she acknowledged it and was on the verge of tears because of it. Seraphima Milford was stuck at this damn airport. Their group flight was supposed to leave late that evening for the US but she, with what she thought was okay timing, had one more stop to make. In her present state of panic, she didn't even remember what it was that she was going to stop, at the last minute, and see.
She was stuck in Paris. The trip had been, for Seraphima, Sera, a once in a life time kind of trip, even if the people on the tour turned out to be exasperating and the tour itself, too quick and too shallow. It was expensive but Paris had always been her ideal and she scrimped and saved and now she couldn't get home. At least not until tomorrow at the very earliest.
She knew full well that there as no refund on her return trip that she'd bought with that travel group. Now she had to go into debt, and to hear the ticket agents tell it, way into debt for the trip home from Paris. It was going to cost her, her folly was going to cost her another $1,000 for the flight home from Paris.
She'd scurried around the airport and no one seemed able to help her with her crisis. She knew that there were no more flights to be had that evening and her baggage all went with the tour group!
Sera Milford was now on the verge of tears!
Sera taught at the junior high school level. She was a science teacher and loved teaching. The money wasn't great and she really had to scrimp and save in advance to get enough for this trip but her love of teaching was significant.
At 32 years of age, she was a tall, statuesque afro-american woman. She was noticed but had never been very lucky with romantic relationships. She'd had her share of affairs but she seemed to have a knack for seeking out and dating the vain and shallow. Friends of hers recommended the new instant dating sites on the internet but she simply found those repulsive and refused to go in that direction.
Her Paris vacation was to be the treat of a life time. It's not that her salary wasn't ample for her needs but rather that she helped her Momma with her needs. Her Momma was on social security and not much more. It didn't help with all the simple needs and that's where Seraphima was her Momma's true angel.
(Seraphima had two sisters, and, when the story needed to be told, mentioned that her Momma was enamored of angels, and that's why her girls were Seraphima, Angelina and Cherubima. Sera was the oldest and Angelina was now finished with school and out working but her financial efforts were going toward more education for her, so that she could get for herself the kind of life that she wanted. That left, of course, Seraphima to help her Momma and her sister Cherubima.)
As a matter of fact, at that precise moment, Sera was talking on the phone to her Momma. She already told her the tale of 'one last' visit and terrible traffic that made her miss her plane, and was talking about what it was going to take to get her home. Her Momma was upset but because Sera was having a bad time on her Paris vacation with the other people and the tour itself and all, and she knew full well how much the Paris vacation meant to her.
Sera was sitting at a small seating area, where there was only one man but he was facing the other way, and Sera was making sure that she didn't talk too loud.
The man facing the other way was John Tyler, the CEO of an international conglomerate called 'Tyler Holding'. He had inherited it from his Dad but long before his Dad's unfortunate early death, he had partnered with him and learned the business. In fact, his Dad was very clear about the fact that John, or Johnnie, as he sometimes liked to call him, was a fair genius at the kind of business that they were doing. He had proved his worth in the business many times over.
At that moment, John was waiting for his assistant to come back so that they could go ahead and have a late dinner before leaving on their return flight to the US via one of the company jets. He was also, it needs to be admitted, listening to the soft voice of the woman behind him relate, apparently to her Momma, the problems that she was having.
In the course of his waiting for Suzanne, his assistant and person about everything, he picked up the information that this woman, he still hadn't seen her, had missed her group flight because she wanted to make one last visit and hadn't reckoned with Paris traffic. He also discovered that the extra ticket home was going to be a budget breaker for the woman, though she kept on reassuring her Momma that she could afford it. John knew enough about people and even tones of voice that he could readily see through the statements about this woman being okay with the extra expenditure.
As he was listening, and ostensibly working on his laptop, he heard the woman ring off the conversation:
"Yes, Momma," she said, "This phone is about to give out; I only bought it when I got here and have only a little bit of time left on it. I will contact you as soon as I know what's going to happen. Yes, I love you, Momma! No, I wont' fall apart here; I'm making a supreme effort to stay calm despite my own folly. Yes, Momma, I understand. I love you lots, say 'hello' to Cheri and Angie for me."
The woman, at that point, rang off and sighed a deep sigh.
"Way to go, Sera," she said to herself, "You've put your foot in it this time!"
It was then that John Tyler got up and turned around. The woman only glanced at him and kind of nodded her head. John was struck. The woman was a very good looking afro-american. She had curly kind of hair and, despite her terrible situation, seemed to be fairly under control.
"Excuse me, Ms," John said.
Sera looked up at him with a wary look on her face.
"I'm sorry if it seems as though I was eavesdropping," he went on, "But I heard you talking to your Mother about being stranded here at the Paris airport."
She just nodded and was even more wary.
"I was wondering if I might help!" he asked.
"How?" she asked, her voice very reserved.
"I'm sorry for being so dense," he said then, "My name is John Tyler; here's my card."
He handed her a business card that announced that he was CEO of 'Tyler Holding'.
She read it; nodded and waited.
"May I ask where you were going?" he said.
"Chicago," she said softly.
"Ah," he said, "My destination too. Well, let me tell you," he said after a hesitation, "I'm flying to Chicago on one of my company planes and we have extra room, if you would like to tag along."
Sera's eyes became very wide at that point. The look of indecision was completely obvious on her face.
"Of course," he said, "I don't blame you! I might be a slaver hoping to whisk you away to some mid eastern country."
Sera actually giggled, when he said that.
"I assure you that I'm not," he said. "Here, let me show you."
He got out his laptop and turned it on, making his way to the 'Tyler Holding' page. There was his picture as the CEO and a lot about the company. Sera looked at it and then looked up at him. She realized that she was feeling better already but she still didn't know what to do.
"I'm not trying to make time with you, seduce you or anything like that!" he said.
"Your wife might object!" Sera put in at that point.
"Sorry, no wife to object!" he said, "But if my Mom caught me being disrespectful to a lady, she would have kicked my butt!"
Sera grinned at that. Just then a voice hailed him and said:
"All done, boss!"
Sera and John both looked up as a woman was coming up to them.
"Suzanne," he said, "This lady is stranded at the airport, having missed her flight back to Chicago. I'm suggesting that she take a ride with us, since we have the room. She is naturally hesitant. I'm going to the men's. While I'm gone would you please answer her questions about me so that she realizes that this is a legitimate offer?"
"Of course, Mr T," she said, grinning at him.
"No, no," he said, "No 'boss' and no 'Mr T'!"
"Yes, boss," Suzanne said with a grin.
John turned then to Sera and said, "But you know me and I don't know you."
She stuck out her hand and said: "Seraphima Milford!"
"Like the angels!" John said with a grin.
"Exactly," she answered, "My Momma loves angels; I have sisters Angelina and Cherubima!" She was grinning, when she said that.
"Well, at least they are high ranks of angels!" John said and grinned back at her.
"Seraphima," he began, and she interrupted to say: "Sera!"
"Yes, Sera," he said, "This is my hench-person, Suzanne Wheeler, who is, as you've noticed, impudent!"
Suzanne grinned at him and shook Sera's extended hand.
"Okay, girls, I'm off to the men's," he said, "Talk to one another. Sera, if we can help here, we will." Turning to Suzanne he said, "Suzi, please show her your page on the web site."
"Will do, boss!" she said with a huge grin.
He smiled then and walked away toward the men's room, just shaking his head.
Suzanne sat and asked Sera about her predicament.
Sera was forthcoming about it, happy at this point to have a 'friend' nearby. She told Suzanne about the 'one last visit' and her not having counted on the traffic in Paris.
"Yes, it's a beast!" Suzanne agreed.
Then she spoke about her futile efforts to find a flight back to the US at this time in the day.
"They are either booked or there simply aren't any possibilities," Sera said.
She did begin to sob at that point.
"I'm sorry, Suzanne," she said, who at this point had laid her hand on Sera's, "But I'm also at the end of my money. I planned the finances for this trip so closely and carefully. There's simply no wiggle room for a crisis, especially the kind of crisis that I've gotten myself into."
Sera looked up then and feeling that an extra explanation was necessary said: "I help my Momma out, you see, who's on social security only and still has my sister Cherubima at home."
"Ohhh," Suzanne said.
"And this was to be the trip of a life time," Sera said and then she gave a rueful laugh and said: "Well, with this development and the constant griping and semi nastiness of the other people on the tour, I guess it certainly will pass as that, the trip of a lifetime."
"Please let us help you!" Suzanne said then.
"Will you?" Sera asked softly, "It will be such a blessing."
"Big, comfortable private plane," Suzanne said, "Lots of room and all."
"Ohhhh," Sera sighed and launched into a hug with Suzanne.
"Looks like some kind of decision has been made," John said, as he approached.
"Yep, Boss," Suzannen said grinning, "We have an additional passenger for home."
"How much time do we have?" he asked.
"About two hours," Suzanne said.
"Okay, how about if I take you two lovely ladies to dinner?" he asked.
Sera looked a bit embarrassed at that point but John held up his hand: "No, on ventures such as this, the boss pays!"
"He's right," Suzanne said, and Sera smiled. She was close enough to the end of her money that dinner wasn't going to be in the cards for her.
Their dinner, at a nice restaurant at the airport, was a lovely one. They got to know one another and Sera constantly said how much she appreciated their kindness.
"There have been enough times in my life," John said, "When I was helped out by the kindness of strangers. It's the kind of thing that I always believe needs to be repaid, when the chance comes."
"That's so nice!" Sera said.
"Tell me about your trip to Paris," John said.
Sera talked about the trip, it had been a 6 day trip, and how much she enjoyed it, though, she admitted, at times being with the group was a limiting thing, and some of the people were simply snippy and nasty.
"Yes," John said, "I'm sure that's the case."
After a bit, John looked at his watch. "We need to move now. I'll call and tell Craig that we're on our way." Then turning to Sera he said: "I guess that your luggage went on without you; do you need anything?"
"Of course she does," Suzanne said, as though even suggesting it was unnecessary.
Sera looked a bit chagrined again.
"Don't worry, honey," Suzanne said, "You come with me and we'll get the things that you need."
"Thanks, Suzanne," John said, and the two women went away to do a bit of shopping for cosmetics, and such simple needed items. They also stopped and bought a night gown for Sera at one of the women's stores.
John was waiting for them, when they returned.
"Successful?" he asked.
Suzanne nodded and Sera said a soft: "Thank you ... uh, John, for everything."
He smiled at her and gave her cheek a kiss.
"I've told Craig that as soon as you two returned, we'd be ready to board," he said then.
"Any other things that need to be done?" he asked Suzanne, who gave Sera a quizzing look. But Sera shook her head 'no' and indicated that she was ready to leave. She was smiling now, the full extent of her good fortune having dawned on her truly.
As they were moving along the hall way to the private gate where they'd disembark, John said: "Sera, why not call your Mom to tell her that things are okay?"
He handed her his cellphone.
"Oh," she said, putting her hand over her mouth, "I completely forgot."
She made the call and told her Momma that she'd met some people and they were going to give her a ride in their company plane back home to Chicago.
"Yes, yes," she said then, handing the phone to John.
"Hello, Mrs Milford?" John began, "Yes, this is John Tyler. Yes, you can look me up. It's 'Tyler Holding'. I promise that my assistant Suzanne and I will take extra good care of your daughter. Giving her a ride home is our pleasure. Yes, Ma'am, I hope to meet you also. I'll have Sera in touch with you, as soon as we land in Chicago but I'll give her a ride home, once we're there. The company car will be waiting for us. Yes, Ma'am. Oh, it's no trouble at all."
When he ended the call, Sera was standing and smiling at him broadly.
"You're so nice!" she said, and hugged him.
He was surprised by the hug but very pleased at the way that she felt, holding herself against him in that fashion.
The flight was a very pleasant one. They did each take some time to take a few hours rest. She shared a room for the rest with Suzanne. After sleeping for a good three hours or so, they were up again and then had a light breakfast kind of meal.
Sera was enchanted by the ambience of the plane.
As they sat, they took time to talk about themselves. Sera talked about her love of teaching and mentioned bits a pieces about some of the kids.
When it was John's turn, he talked about his Dad starting him out in the business and how that had been for him.
Sera also found out that Suzanne was married and that he'd be waiting for her at the airport.
"I want to thank you, both of you," she said finally, as they sat over a cup of coffee, "For taking me in this way, rescuing me! It's so nice this way, and, though my planning might have been sound, it didn't take into account any margin for error or disasters, such as I provided for myself."
"You're welcome," John said with a smile. "And that's the way that we learn about traveling. If it weren't for Suzanne's level headedness, I'd have been in trouble any number of times!"
"That's why you pay me the big bucks!" Suzanne said grinning.
"Oh," John retorted, "I was wondering!"
"Don't start with me!" Suzanne said with a dazzling grin.
Being with the Tyler party also helped Sera get through customs rather easily. When they were finished with customs, both John and Suzanne helped Sera track down her luggage from the other group.
"This has really turned out well, despite it's possibilities for disaster," Sera said. "Thank you, so much!"
"Wait, wait!" John said, "I promised your Momma that I'd deliver you to her door!"
"Ohhh," Sera said, smiling. "You're taking such good care of me!"
"Well, I'll see you home at least," he said.
They went outside and found that the company car as waiting for them. It was a big black cadillac. The driver, named Dave, took their luggage and took care of stowing it in the trunk of the big car.
Then it was time for hugs and 'goodbyes' with Suzanne, whose husband, Earl, was there to greet John and meet Sera.
"Sera got stranded in Paris," Suzanne explained to a smiling Earl, "And we just adopted her and brought her home."
"Next time, maybe you can go with us again, Earl?" John asked. Both Suzanne and Earl were pleased by the invitation that John had given.
"Okay, angel," John said, turning toward Sera and grinning, "Home shall it be?"
"Yes," she said, "I need some rest then. It's my time off for the summer and I have my school stuff done but I need some R & R after the trip, especially the disaster or near disaster at the end. And it would have been a disaster, if it weren't for you!"
She hugged him again. "Saying just 'thank you' seems so inadequate!"
"Not to me," he said.
They got into the car then and were driven first to Sera's house, which she shared with her Momma, Adele, and Cherubima.
When the big car pulled up in front of the house, the door opened and an older woman and a teen aged girl both emerged.
"Wow!" Cherubima said, gaping at the car.
"Honey!" Momma said with relief in her voice, as she pulled her daughter, back from Europe, into a hug.
Then Sera went for a hug to Cherubima also. Turning then she introduced both her Momma and Cherubima to John.
"You rescued my baby!" Momma said. "I appreciate that!"
"You're certainly welcome!" John said.
"Can you and your driver come in for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake? I baked?"
"Sure," John said, "Though I'm sure that Sera is a bit tired."
Dave insisted on having his cake outside and waiting for them, as John went in with the rest of them to have coffee and cake in the kitchen. The cake was chocolate and was excellent.
"This is downright wonderful!" he said, appreciatively.
"You're so welcome!" Momma said.
Sera said her 'goodbyes' to John relatively reluctantly.
"This has been so nice!" she said, quietly.
"I enjoyed it also, Sera," he replied.
They stood on the porch then and Dave got into the car, giving them their privacy. Adele stood in the doorway and said: "Mr Tyler, you come around anytime; hear?"
"Yes, Ma'am," he said. "I'll keep that in mind!"
"Good night, Sera, Seraphima!" he said then, kind of reluctant to leave.
She made a quick decision and gave him a quick kiss, brushing his lips with her own and then she turned and went up onto the porch.
John left but his mind was working at that point, thinking of the future.
John Visits Adele:
It was over a week later. Sera had gone out in the early evening to the store. Adele was home with Cheri, when the doorbell rang. Cheri answered it and said: "Momma, it's Sera's friend."
Adele was intrigued and went to the door. "Why, Mr Tyler," she said. "So nice to see you. Sera's at the store right now but will be back."
"Well, Mrs Milford," John said, "It's you that I've come to see first of all. May I come in and talk to you?"
They sat in the kitchen with Cheri looking on and grinning.
"Go ahead, child," Adele said, "The man wants to talk to me."
"Yes, Momma," Cheri said, smiling again at John, who winked at her and got a giggle from her.
"Just like our Sera was at that age!" Adele said. Then she just looked at John, expecting him to start.
"I wanted to kind of come around and ask your permission about something," he began.
"Yes?" Adele said, encouraging him.
"Well, next week my assistant Suzanne and I have to fly back to Paris for meetings. I know that Seraphima knows Suzanne and they are friends and I also know what a bust her trip to Paris seemed to be. I was hoping that you wouldn't mind me asking Sera to go along with us! I promise that we'll take great care of her."
He hesitated and then plunged on: "Mrs Milford, this is not my big seduction move; I assure you. Having met and talked with your Sera, I find that I really like her; Suzanne does also!" (He added this last almost as an kind of lame addition.)
Adele smiled: "Why you wonderful man! I know you'll take good care of her and she's old enough to know her mind, where the seduction thing is concerned."
She thought a moment and continued: "The Paris trip was her grandest dream. I know how much she saved for it. And I'm afraid it was a bust! The group was unfriendly. They were hurried along everywhere. It's why she made that one last trip by herself, to give herself that much of a memory that was positive, and we both know how that turned out. Maybe I shouldn't say it but the girl cried bitterly, when you finally dropped her off and had gone. Kind of broke her heart. This will be the grandest treat of treats for her but you must ask her yourself."
Cheri was at the doorway again, listening. "Wish I could go to Paris."
John smiled, and said: "If this works out, next time you and your Momma can go along too."
There was a squeal of delight from Cheri then, who rushed in and gave John a hug quickly, pulling his head to her stomach.
Adele looked at her and she said: "Yes, Momma! I'll be in my room."
She turned once and grinned at John, who winked at her this time also.
When Sera returned home, there was a strange looking car at the curb. It was a lovely new Lexus sedan.
"Who could that be?" she wondered out loud, parking in the driveway and taking her packages into the house.
When she entered the house, she was totally surprised to find John Tyler having tea with her Momma.
She had the packages from the store in her arms and just stood and stared
He went to her and retrieved the store packages.
Adele said: "Child were you born in a barn? Say 'hi' to the man; he came to see you."
That broke the ice for Sera who was then wreathed in smiles and said a soft: "John! Nice to see you!"
"Thanks," John said, "Nice to see you too."
"Okay, you two," Adele said, "I have some laundry sortin' to do. You just make yourselves at home here."
She left the two of them in the kitchen. John mentioned first to Sera that they should put the groceries away. He helped her. They did it quickly with a brilliant smile that Sera gave him now and again.
Finally, they were seated at the table.
"John?" she said.
"Yes, Sera," he began. "I have already talked to your Momma about this. I know, uh, that your trip to Paris was kind of a bust. I realize that it must represent a painful memory for you every time that you think of it now."
She nodded her head at what he was saying.
"I love the city and was hoping kind of that you'd let me help change that impression, opinion."
"John, I don't understand!" she said.
"Of course you don't," he said, "I'm being almost adolescent in the way that I'm saying this. Well, let me put it straight out. I have some more meetings in a week in Paris. Suzanne will be going with me; we'll take the company jet to get there refreshed. Maybe her husband Earl will go along, and I was wondering, since you are off of school for the summer, if you might want to go along?"
Sera got teary eyed immediately and put her hand to her mouth to suppress the groan/sob that was impending.
John hurried on: "It's going to be my treat! I just hate the way that you were robbed of the joy of that trip. And, no, this isn't my big seduction move. I've already assured your Momma about that."
"Ohhhh, John," she said, finally finding her voice. She grabbed him and clutched him to herself. "Are you really serious here?
"Well, if I weren't," he said, "Then I'd be in all sorts of trouble with your Momma! And I don't want that!"
Cheri was at the door then and said: "A date to Paris, how great is that?"
Sera grinned at her and Cheri said: "And he said that in the future Momma and I could go along also."
"Cheri Milford!" her Momma's voice rang out and she left them with a grin.
"Here's what!" he said, "You call Suzanne, or she'll call you and you two can conspire. She'll know everything that you need for the trip. But if there are things that you forget, we'll have the pleasure of shopping in one of the grandest places for shopping in the world!"
"Oh, John," she sighed, "I don't know what to say here!"
"Just say 'yes', you'll go with us!" he said.
"Yes, I will!" she said.
"You know that I'm not a totally disinterested party here!" he said, staring into her eyes.
"I know!" she said, "And I like that part!"
"Now I apologize but I have some things that I need to do to be ready for those meetings. I promise that we'll have all sorts of time in Paris."
He stood and she launched herself at him, hugging him and holding him fast to herself. Then, on an impulse, she kissed him. It was quick but it was soft and wonderful. He wrapped his arms around her and held her, while the kiss lasted.
Then they heard Sera's Momma coming and they broke the embrace, just as she entered the kitchen. Adele was grinning from ear to ear.
"Can you stay for lunch?" Adele asked.
"I apologize but I can't!" John said, "I have work to do to get ready for Paris."
"Yes, we want you to be ready!" Adele said and turning to Sera asked: "You going with them?"
"Yes, Momma!" Sera said with a grin on her face.
"Good for you and thank you, young man!" Adele said earnestly.
"Next time we'll go out to lunch," John said, "On me, all of us!"
That got a smile and nod from Adele and an appreciative noise from Cheri who was standing in the hallway again.
As Sera showed John out, Cheri insisted on a hug for herself also.
It was Suzanne that called for Sera a few days later.
Cheri answered the call and said to Sera, who was in the kitchen helping Adele work on something for dinner: "Sera, it's for you."
"Hello!" she said.
"Hey, girl!" Suzanne said, "This is Suzanne!"
"Hi there!" Sera said with enthusiasm.
"I've heard that Blue Beard has invited you to brighten up out next business trip to Paris," Suzanne went on.
Sera giggled and said: "He did!"
"Lunch?" Suzanne asked. "We can conspire."
"Great!" Sera said, and they made arrangements to meet for lunch in a half hour.
They settled into a tiny Italian place that was not far away for either of them, after hugging each other as they met.
"It's so nice of you to call," Sera said.
"Of course I'd call," Suzanne said, "You're my bud! And we have to make sure that we take that man in hand!"
Sera giggled, and Suzanne did also, "That's not what I was talking about!" she protested but it only made the two of them laugh that much more.
"So, Paris!" Suzanne said.
"Yes, it's so exciting," Sera said, "I have to admit that I was really, really down, after coming home from that trip. It was the chance of a lifetime that was just spoiled by the kind of trip it turned out to be, the people on the trip and my mistake at the end!" She was shaking her head as she said it.
"Yes," Suzanne jumped in with, "But look at the bright side. You got a chance to meet me and dazzle the boss at the same time."
Sera giggled then and said: "Dazzle?"
"Yes, don't you know? Did you feel it?" Suzanne asked.
"Well, I'm not sure really," Sera said.
"Oh, yes, I know that man," Suzanne said, "And he was positively smacked!"
"Ohhhh!" Sera said smiling.
Then Suzanne gave her an earnest look and said: "You need to make a decision here, you know!"
"I guess so," Sera said.
Suzanne then continued: "I mean does it bother you, the white and black kind of thing? You need to know and not bother with him, if it does."
"Oh, Suzanne," Sera said, as though thinking out loud. "I'm not sure that that's important at all."
"Good for you!" Suzanne said. "It means that he's in for a rough ride."
They both giggled then.
"He's a kind of old fashioned man," Suzanne said, "I mean ultra polite to women; it's his way. I'm afraid that he will be, is so concerned about your reaction to him, a white guy, pressing his case with you, that he might just not get around to it at all!"
"Ohhh," Sera said.
"If you get the chance, when you get the chance," Suzanne said, "You need to move in on him. Make it clear! Don't give him wiggle room!"
Sera smiled and said; "Oh, yes!"
"After all," Suzanne continued, "What better place to 'have a chance' than Paris."
"Oh," Sera said,"It makes me kind of shiver just thinking about it. But what shall I take?"
"I have a regular list of the things that I take, when we travel like this, and we do travel often for the company. I'll send it to you. Is that okay?"
"Yes, that'll be fine," Sera said.
Suzanne sent her the list, and it guided Sera's preparations. During the ensuing week, John called her a number of times. They even met for coffee on one occasion, and Sera sensed the truth of what Suzanne had said about his reserve toward her. She simply let down her hair, so to speak, when she was with him and they found themselves enjoying the time together a great deal.
Sera took the time to talk to him about how her Momma had struggled to raise her and her sisters, how things had always been 'tight' but they managed quite well.
John took the time to tell about himself also: working at an early age for his Dad's company and both of them discovering, after he was finished with his education, that he had a positive knack for the business.
"He was so grand with me," John said, as he finished, speaking in tones that showed his regret at losing his Dad so early in life. "Gave me every chance."
Sera reached out and put her hand over his. He seemed to absorb her smile, as he looked at her with pure gratitude.
"This is so nice!" he said, "I mean getting together with you. Has Suzanne gotten you all ready for our trip?"
"Yes, she gave me her list of things that she normally takes, and I think that I'm getting it all underway," she replied.
"Well, you need to at least plan to do some shopping," he said. He noticed right away the look on her face and went on: "Sera, I know how much helping your Momma and sister out takes of what you earn; I know that. The trip and the shopping will be on me, if you allow it. I'm not trying to make you feel bad or anything like that."
"Thank you for that," she said, "You're making me feel so special!"
"My only aim," he said to her, as they finished their coffee and prepared to leave.
The next few days were dazzling with her preparations for the up-coming trip. Cheri and her Momma pitched in totally to help her get ready for it. There was washing to do, clothes to look over and make selections from.
"You've got some money to spend?" Adele asked her, at one point.
"Yes, Momma," she said, "I have some. Not a huge amount but John is saying that I won't need much. We'll see."
"Oh, honey," Adele said, hugging Sera, "I hope you really, really have a good time!"
"Momma," Sera answered, hugging her back, "I really think that I will!"
The intervening time, though only a little over a week seemed, at times, to be longer than a century to Sera, her Momma and Cheri, and at times it seemed to be going too fast for Sera to get ready what she had in mind.
Suzanne was a constant help during that time period. The two of them, Sera and Suzanne, certainly seemed to have bonded and got together about every other day. They even got in some conspiring about John Tyler.
"Tell me," Sera asked, over a quiet lunch that the two of them had planned, "What do I do, I mean about John. I feel like I'm out of my depth here. I've had, you know, my share of affairs but nothing that was very serious, long lasting or really exciting."
"Well," Suzanne said with a conspiratorial look on her face, "The one basic that I recommend is to buy new underwear."
Sera started giggling immediately and Suzanna, a wicked smile on her face, joined in the giggles.
"If there's not a huge amount of extra money around," Suzanne began, "And, honey, I'm not trying to pump you or make you feel bad, but if there isn't then that's what I'd do."
"Well, there isn't!" Sera said, "I take care of Momma and Cheri, and that takes a lot of it right there."
Suzanne stroked her face and said: "Girl, you are so good!"
Sera smiled and just kissed Suzanne's hand.
"Well, how about it," Suzanne said, "Let's go shopping at least for a few new things and then we can, if you want, look over your clothes and do some selecting."
That was their program for the day. Sera bought a few new pairs of undies, a matching panties and bra set. She couldn't afford many but she was certainly pleased.
"We don't want to buy everything," Suzanne said, "We have to give our John a chance to do some purchasing of things in Paris."
Sera said to her: "You make it sound like such a done deal!"
"Oh, I think that it is!" Suzanne said, "Trust me on this one."
Suzanne looked into Sera's eyes and said: "So, tell me, just tell me now, are you sweet on that man?"
"Oh, I'm afraid that I am!" Sera said, "It feels like a 'sweep her off her feet' kind of thing that I've never encountered before!"
Suzanne giggled: "You've got it bad, so, watch out, John. Sera's going to be in hunting form."
"I still don't know quite what to do!" Sera said softly.
"Well, first of all, we'll let him do some of the 'doing'; I'm sure he'll come across, and when the time is just right, I'll give you some advice and then you go and get him."
"Sounds like hunting," Sera said.
"Is kind of!" Suzanne said.
They were emerging from the restaurant and onto the sidewalk heading toward where the two of them were parked. They embraced there on the side walk, just as two late teens were passing.
"Lezzies!" the one kid said to the other.
Suzanne looked at them and gave them a withering look. Both of the kids backed off immediately in the face of Suzanne's fury.
"I'm gonna take her home now and eat her pussy!" Suzanne growled at the two kids, who were still staring. "And your little cock only gets your four fingered salute!"
The kids actually blushed and walked away at that point.
"You are so bad!" Sera said, as they walked away.
"I should do what I said," Suzanne said laughing again now, "But I'll leave all that for John."
"Missed opportunity!" Sera said, joining the laugh.
"Opportunities are coming!" Suzanne said, as they hugged and went to their cars.
Of course, the time finally came around for Sera. Momma and Cheri had been there to help supervise the final packing that she did.
Then there were final hugs. During the hug, Adele slipped Sera $100.
"Sweet angel," Adele said, "I saved this for you from the house money!"
"Oh, Momma, you shouldn't have!" Sera said.
"No, honey, you take it! You just have a good time!" Adele said.
"I love you so much, Momma," Sera said.
"I love you too, honey, enjoy your trip!" Adele said then.
Then the voice of Cheri rang out: "He's here! He's here! There's a huge black cadillac limo kind of vehicle out there!"
Sera went to the door, and saw John coming up the walk, accompanied by another man in a black suite, white shirt and tie.
She opened the door before he rang the bell, all smiles and simply grabbed him into her arms.
"Hi there!" she said into his ear.
"Sera," he said to her in a soft voice, "You are a vision! Run away with me today to Paris!"
"Yes, I will!" Sera said back in the same kind of soft voice.
Then John turned and said: "Sera you remember Dave!"
"Hi, Dave," Sera said, holding out her hand to him to shake.
"Dave does everything," John said. "Chauffeur, pilot, security. Number one associate wrapped up in one package."
He turned to her then and said: "All ready?"
"Yes," she said brightly, "Bags packed and ready to go."
Dave carried her luggage to the boot of the car and then both he and Sera returned to the porch for 'farewell' hugs from Adele and Cheri.
"Enjoy your trip, sweet angel," Adele said, as she held onto Sera.
"Wish I were going!" Cheri said, in the midst of her hug.
Then it was hugs for John from both Adele and Cheri.
"I'll take the best care of her!" John promised Adele.
"You'd best," Adele said, "She's one of my angels!"
To Cheri, as he hugged her, he said: "Your turn is coming soon; I promise!"
It made Cheri give him a huge grin.
Then they were off.
The flight to Paris, begun at night to arrive in Paris in the morning, was an exciting one for Sera. This was so different from the return trip before, although it was the same kind of plane and accommodations. She was simply aflutter with excitement.
They had a light supper and then, after talking for a while, retired to the cabins to get at least some sleep. It didn't come easy for Sera buts she managed a number of hours before she and Suzanne emerged from the cabin and had a touch of early breakfast with John.
He explained, over the breakfast, what would happen. He and Suzanne, he said would certainly be tied up for that first day and maybe part of the next.
"I think they'll come around quickly," Suzanne said at that point. "We've been working on this for a while and I think they'll be ready."
"Hope so," John said. "That would be nice."
Then, however, he told Sera that he'd make arrangements for her to have a private guide for a general tour of Paris that first day, while he and Suzanne were busy.
It worked out well that way for them. The business took the day and only the day, and Sera was busy with Rene, her French guide for that day, until she was to have dinner with John and Suzanne in the evening.
The dinner was lavish, wonderful and simply a treat for Sera. John was known by name at the restaurant, and the maitre'd made a fuss over Sera, when introduced to her, welcoming her to Paris.
"This has been so nice!" Sera said to John, as Suzanne looked on and grinned.
John gave her a winning smile.
"With any luck," he said, "I'll be able to be your guide tomorrow."
"You know," Suzanne said, "I can finish with them tomorrow morning."