Desiree slid her key-card through the lock of her hotel room, opened the door, then reached for her carry-on bag, pulling it behind her as she walked in. She glanced around the room while dropping her purse and key-card on the oak dresser. The walls were a light tan, with oak furniture consisting of a couch in a darker shade of tan resting against the far wall, and coffee table sitting right in front of it. Further in was almost a full kitchen, and to the left was a bedroom.
After a small nod in approval of her residence for the next few days, she reached for her laptop case, then walked over to the couch, placing it on the table. She unzipped it and lifted the laptop out of the case, then booted it up.
While waiting for it to load, she stood then walked back to the dresser for her purse. Opening it up, she reached in for her cellphone and glanced at it. One missed call. She recognized the number: it was Ana, her best friend of 20-plus years. “Wish you were here, girl,“ she muttered to herself. She would call her back soon, but first she needed to get settled.
Setting her phone back down on the coffee table, she continued to rummage through her purse, pulling out her tickets and gazing over them. It had taken her a great deal to scrimp and save for all three shows, but she had done it. Then, when Ana couldn’t go, she’d almost put her tickets up for sale, but Ana had urged her to go. “If you don’t go, Desi, you’ll kick yourself. You always wanted to be that close, and in Jersey. Here’s your chance, take it.“ It just wasn’t the same without Ana, though.
Desi leaned her head back against the back of the sofa, propping her feet on the coffee table. Could she honestly do these concerts solo, she wondered? Seemed like she was doing everything solo these days, and it scared her to death. Not that she hadn’t been alone or done things alone before, but she wasn’t that “wanna have fun, don’t give a damn if I get hurt” girl anymore. The older, more cautious Desi was now present, and there were reasons for her concern. Ana had been her bodyguard, so to speak, over the years, protecting her from the shoving and craziness of the crowds. Now Desi would have to suck it up and do it on her own.
There were times she had wished she was like everyone else--maybe then her life would have turned out different--but safe to say, she never would be. She sighed and ran a hand over her knee. Even now it was throbbing. It never ends, does it? She sighed again, and silently thanked Ana for reminding her about her despised knee brace; she’d have been in a world of trouble without it.
She shook her head, trying to rid her mind of all her negative thoughts. That was one reason she needed Ana; ever since her divorce, Desi seemed to have slid into a backward spiral of negativity. “Maybe a hot bath might do the trick,” she muttered, then stood and started to walk to the bathroom when her phone trilled. Picking it up, she flipped it open and answered with a pleasant, “Hello?”
“Sure, Ana, I will call you the very moment I step into my room,“ Ana retorted.
Desi flopped back down on the couch and smiled. “I’m sorry, Ana. I was just trying to unwind after the flight.“
“Sure you were. You have a guy stashed in your room, don’tcha?“
Desi snorted. “Yeah right, what’ve you been smokin’? Certainly not your cigarettes.“
Ana let out a frustrated sigh. She loved her friend dearly, but some days her low self-esteem really bit her in the ass. “Desiree Marie, when the fuck are you gonna stop this shit?“
“Stop what? You know what I say is the truth. Who the fuck is gonna want me? Like this, anyway. Well, asshole did for about--what?--11 years, then it was sayonara,“ Desi argued.
Ana rolled her eyes, counted to 10, then spoke in a frustrated tone, “There is not a fucking thing wrong with you besides your mental state of: Fuck.“
“Yeah, I’m so America’s Next Top Model,“ Desi retorted.
“Well shit, girl, how many times do I have to beat it into your brain that you are fuckin’ gorgeous? So what if you got a few issues? If anyone’s got a problem with that, then screw them. Ain’t worth your time anyway.“
Desi laughed in spite of herself. That’s what she loved about her best friend; if anything, she was blunt. “If you say so.“
Ana growled, “Listen, if you think your pussy is golden, then so will guys. They won’t even fuckin’ pay attention to your flaws. Guys are just stupid that way.“
“Ana, sometimes, girl, I swear I think you’re a man-hater,“ Desi laughed.
“Not a man-hater, just been with enough to know they think with their head. And not the one on their shoulders, either,” Ana quipped.
Desi snorted. “So true, they do. When did we become so cynical anyhow?“
“When our fuckhead husbands decided they wanted 20-something college students instead of real women.“
A moment of silence passed over, the girls both recalling how their marriages had fallen apart, ironically at the same time.
“Wish you could be here, girlfriend; going to these shows just won’t be the same,“ Desi said, her voice tinged with a bit of sadness.
Ana’s tone softened just a little bit. “I know. Wish I could, too, but you can do this. I have faith in you.“
“Glad you do. What if I--“ Desi started to say when Ana interrupted.
“Don’t you fuckin’ think like that. Just watch what you’re doing, and if the crowd gets rough, step back a few. And call me afterwards. I would say during, but knowing you, you’ll be too excited to think straight.“
Desi sat up, propped the phone in her the crook of her neck, and reached down to take off her constricting knee brace, then slung her legs up on the couch and rested her head on the arm of the couch. “So what’s happening back home?“ Desi asked, changing the subject.
Ana shook her head and plopped herself belly-first on the bed. “I think Sandy called off on purpose; found out she wanted the same time off, and I got it, so she screwed me instead.“
“You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me. Figures. I never liked the woman anyway,“ Desi responded with a bit of disgust in her voice. “Hell, you asked for this time off from the moment I was able to swing the tickets.“
“I know. Sucks ass, don’t it? Just wait ‘til she gets back to work. Just might spike her coffee,“ Ana joked. “So hows ‘our’ hotel room?“
Desi swung her legs off the couch, then gazed around. “It’s really nice. I can’t believe I’m staying at the Hilton, to be honest. I could so kiss my brother for this discount.“
Ana chuckled. “Yeah, good thing you know people in high places.“
“ Yea it does don’t it . It even has a shuttle, so I don’t have to worry getting my ass lost,“ Desi said, joining in her laughter.
“Hey now, can’t have you getting lost in Jersey. Or you saying you want to? After all, Jonny-boy is single too,“ Ana teased.
“Only in my dreams, maybe,“ Desi scoffed.
“Desi, I fuckin’ swear, girl! Why don’t you give yourself a bit of credit here? I bet he’ll spot you and fall madly in lust with you on the spot. You did pack what I said to pack, right?“ Ana asked.
Desi rolled her eyes as her friend spoke. She had always had self-doubt, but since her divorce, it had become much more prevalent, and she was scared to death to go out into the dating scene again. She’d never wanted pity, but lately that was all she’d been feeling for herself.
“Earth to Desi!“ Ana called out.
“What? Oh, yeah, I did.“
“Good. So get all dolled up. Whether it’s hot out or not, do it!“ Ana ordered.
“Yes, ma’am!“ Desi chuckled and saluted the phone.
“That’s more like it. Have I steered you wrong before?“ Ana paused. “Wait, don’t answer that one.“
Desi laughed. “Okay, I won’t. But hey, I think I’m gonna get off here and climb into the big tub that’s calling my name right now.“
“You sure it’s the bath tub, and not the shower-head?“ Ana teased.
“You’re so funny. But I ain’t tellin’ ya which it is now,“ Desi shot back teasingly.
“See how you are? Okay, go get that bath and relax. You’re gonna have a great time, and I wanna hear all the deets, you hear?“ Ana added.
“Promise. The moment I come in from the show, I’m dialing your number.“
“We shall see, girlfriend,“ Ana laughed. “Night! See you when you get home. Love ya!“
“Love you, too,“ Desi said, flipped her phone closed, then placed it on the coffee table.
Tomorrow was gonna be a long day, so: a nice soak in the tub, then hit the sheets early. That was the plan for tonight. She walked over to her bag, unzipped it, and pulled out her comfy clothes, which consisted of a tank top and boy shorts. Then she went into the bathroom and closed the door.
Yes, tomorrow was exactly what she needed.