The prompt was: If I keep your secret, what's in it for me?
As per usual, I am totally cool with being up for consideration for the weekly picks by the leaders.
Without further ado...
Bert had expected the need of a taxi once the plane landed. He had even prepared himself to tell the driver that he was going to Hell, because he wasn’t sure of the address of the resort. Stupidly, he hadn’t even thought to ask for it.
He was still practicing how he was going to say his new catch phrase to the taxi driver in his head as he exited the plane, his carryon bag over his shoulder. He started looking around for signs to take him to baggage claim as soon as he stepped out of the terminal. He headed down, grabbed his suitcases and started for the doors, almost walking past a statuesque limo driver.
He stopped two steps away then backed up and stared at the sign he was holding. The man didn’t move, though Bert couldn’t see his eyes behind those dark shades so he could have been sizing him up.
“I’m Bert Sommer,” he said, motioning to his name on the sign. When the guy didn’t move at first, he wondered if this was some kind of practical joke, an actual statue with his name on it. Bert jumped and yelped when he actually did move. “Oh god.” He dropped one suitcase and put the hand to his chest. “Don’t do that!”
The driver wasn’t even fazed. “Right this way, sir.” He grabbed the downed suitcase then headed out of the airport. Parked on the curb was a long black limo.
“Are you allowed to park here? I thought this was passenger pick up only?”
The driver looked at him and smirked. “I am picking up a passenger. A wad of cash never hurts, either.” He popped open the drunk and put the one suitcase in then motioned for Bert to do the same. Once the trunk was packed and Bert was snuggly placed in the back seat, the driver got in and started the limo.
Bert sat back and looked out the window as the scenery started to move. The ride was shorter than he thought it would be, but it still would have cost him a small fortune in a taxi. “Thank god for small miracles,” he muttered to himself then stepped out as the driver opened the door for him. He forgot about everything as his jaw hit the ground.
The resort in front of him looked more like a castle than any hotel he had ever seen.
“Make you feel like royalty, doesn’t it?” a woman whispered over his shoulder, causing him to jump.
The woman giggled. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. I take it you’re one of the other chosen few who get to wine and dine here for the next few weeks, right? So am I! You and I, we’re the first two here. I’m Sister Loquacious, er, Mary. Sorry, that’s what everyone back home calls me because all I do is blather on about whatever the hell it is that we happen to be talking about. You’ve read Good Omens, haven’t you?”
Bert opened his mouth, but before he could get anything out, Mary was chatting on again.
“Look at me; I am so rude asking you questions before even knowing your name. What’s your name?” She smiled sweetly at him, head cocked slightly to the side.
Bert waited to see if she was going to start talking again, but when she didn’t, he took the chance to talk. “I’m Bert Sommer,” he said as he held his hand out to her to shake. “I actually have not read Good Omens, but I’ve heard it’s pretty good.”
That must have been the wrong thing to say as it launched her into another tirade of words. “Oh, it is a great book, you really should read it. Actually, I have a copy right here in my purse” -she began digging around in the large, red, leather purse hanging at her side- “that you can borrow while we’re here. Now where did I put that thing? Oh! Here it is!” She pulled out a white paperback book about two inches thick. “Don’t worry about the length, it’s a quick read and I am sure that you will love it!” She held it out to Bert, a large grin on her lips.
He took the book. “Thanks…” he said, unzipping his carryon. He inwardly sighed in relief as another limo pulled up where his had been.
“Oh look! The next lucky person is here! I wonder who it is. These windows and so damn tinted, it could be someone famous in there! Though do you really think the guy that owns this place would really be able to get a famous person to come here? And if he did, why would he choose us random Joes to…”
Bert decided it was time to tune the woman out. She looked like a nice lady, if she ever shut up. She looked to be maybe in her early thirties with dark brown hair and a little on the plump side. And a teacherly type. He felt bad for her students if she really was a teacher.
The driver of this limo opened the back door then went for the trunk. Bert found himself holding his breath as he waited for the next person to step out. Hopefully this person wasn’t as talkative as Miss Mary over here. He didn’t care if it was the worlds ugliest nerd who enjoyed playing Dungeons and Dragons in his mom’s basement as long as he didn’t talk as much.
Well, ugly nerd isn’t what stepped out of the limo’s depths. What he actually saw was a very good looking black guy. He was tall, towering over Bert’s ideal model height of 5’10”, and twice as thick as Bert, though the guy probably had less than ten percent body fat. Bert felt weak in the knees as he watched the man’s broad chest rise and fall steadily like the ocean’s tide. Was that even a correct thing to compare this to? Oh whatever! Bert was surprised he could even think to compare him to anything but delicious!
Bert was torn back into reality by Mary’s voice, introducing herself to the newcomer. “Hello! I’m Mary and this is Bert! We’re the first two here--”
“I can see that,” the man’s deep voice interrupted the chatterbox. She pouted, looking affronted by his interruption. “My name’s John Wrigley.”
Bert shifted his weight to keep from hitting the ground. This guy was quite possibly better looking than he was. Did it bother Bert though? Not one bit. This gave him the excuse to drool over someone other than himself. He shook his head to bring himself back to the present. It was oddly silent. Mary had her back turned towards them and Mr. Dark Chocolate was looking around. Bert took the chance to check out his ass.
“If I keep your secret, what’s in it for me?” another woman whispered over his shoulder, but this one wasn’t Mary. This girl sounded younger and wasn’t talking about this place making them feel like royalty. In fact, this question made his heart thud away in his chest as he tried to keep a calm look on his face.
“What’re you talking about?” He sounded like he was being strangled.
The girl laughed loudly. “You so have a crush on John.” She had obviously already gone through the introductions with the others.
Bert felt a rush as he sighed in relief. She knew nothing about the agents on the plane and there was no giant target on his back. “I do not,” he fell easily into the banter.
The girl walked around him and smirked. She was younger than he was, and he was only twenty-two. This girl couldn’t be more than her late teens with hair blonder than his was. “You do, too. I know these things. I write the romance advice column for my school magazine.”
He raised an eyebrow.
“College magazine. I write under the name ‘Dr. Lovejoy’ and my column is called ‘The Oracle’.” She grinned proudly.
Bert chuckled. “That’s brilliant. I love word play.”
She nodded. “So do I, that’s why I did it. I’ve taken a year off of college to ‘find myself’ but I still do my column.” Well that explained why she was here and not in school.
“So, Dr. Lovejoy, what’s your real name?”
“Why? Are you going to stalk me?” she asked with a slit-eyed glare, her lips pulled into a smirk.
“Oh of course I am. I want to know everything about you!” Bert said as creepily as he could then laughed. He was glad to have someone here that he wouldn’t look like a total fool in front of or who would talk his ear off.
“I’m Shelly Waters. And you are?” She playfully sized him up.
“Pleasure, Bert Sommer.” She looked like she was about to say more, but the last limo pulled up and she changed the topic. “I wonder what kind of person this one is?”
“Maybe it’s a creepy nerd. I think Mary wants someone famous, though.” He nodded, eyes on the vehicle.
“Maybe it’ll be some bisexual dude and we can have a threesome,” Shelly smirked.
Bert turned his head towards her, eyes wide. “You little pervert!”
Shelly grinned at him. “As if you wouldn’t entertain the idea.”
He laughed. “I think we’re going to be all right.”
It wasn’t a guy that stepped out, but another female, hair colored like the sunset. “Ugh, let me guess, this is going to be some kind of Willy Wonka fest, isn’t it? I was hoping more for The Haunting where the creepy housekeeper taking us to out rooms.” She crossed her arms over her chest, which was bulging from the corset she wore. Bert had to admit that she was beautifully dressed, even if she had the personality of a bee. “So where is this Vincent guy to divvy us up into our separate rooms?”
Bert shrugged. “No clue. We’ve all been standing out here for at least half an hour.”
The woman rolled her eyes. “Great.” She walked over to Bert and put a hand on his shoulder, using the other to remove one of her shoes. “Name’s Venus Raven. I’m a fortune teller. Any of you lovely people want to know how you’re going to die here?” She grinned deviously and started on her other show, still holding onto Bert for support.
“Uhh…” Bert stammered, pleasantly creeped out. “No thanks.”
“I’ll pass,” Mary said. Bert had the feeling she was still upset about John interrupting her.
“Maybe later,” Shelly said then pointed at the front doors that were opening. They all turned to the opening doors, John rejoining the group.
A man in a suit looking a lot like Alfred from the old Batman cartoons, snuffed nose in the air and everything, walked out and stopped at the top of the stairs. “I regret to inform you that Master Rice will not be able to attend to you tonight but will be here tomorrow morning at breakfast. Breakfast is served from eight to ten every morning, lunch begins at noon and runs until three, then dinner is out at six. There is a list of rules and hours in each of your rooms. We are all here to serve you. Master Rice would like you all at breakfast tomorrow morning at nine.” He cleared his throat. “Welcome to the Paradise Resort and Spa. We will now lead you to your rooms.” He turned and walked back in, five more butlers coming out and down the front steps. Each one grabbed a different person's suitcases and led each one off.
Woo! So what do you guys think? I rather like the collection of people. Yes, I know quite a few of them have four letter names but I kinda like those short names. Oh well.Bert sent a look to Shelly, who mouthed ‘Find me’ back at him. He nodded then followed after his butler.
The writers group words used in this story are: statuesque, brilliant, divvy, tide, oracle, loquacious, sunset.