Author: Elena de Goncalves
Date: 05-22-11 22:24
The first leg of the trip had been fine, a little bumpy toward the end, but nothing that Elena had been worried about. She'd given Max a smile and they'd shared a brief conversation -- naturally she had traveled before and she'd maintained a pleasant demeanor with Max, all the while amused by Gavin who was happily plying his wiles upon Verity.
It felt warm, but Elena didn't mind too much. She did sit up straighter when their destination was announced and gave Gavin a smile that revealed bright, white teeth.
"At last," she said. "Are you ready?" she gave Max an inquiring look.
"More than," Max said with a wry smile, grateful to be able to get off and stretch his legs.
Alison had been peering out the window when she heard the pilot's announcement. Everything had looked strange to her. She had seen pictures in magazines of places that she had only dreamed of visiting but viewing the terrain they had flown over had caused her to stare out the window like a child with her nose pressed to the window.
Hearing the others gathering their items to depart she waited knowing she would be the last one out the plane.
But eventually they were all out, their overnight bags had been off-loaded and the cars that Mr Schleppes had hired to take them to their hotel had whisked them away from the airstrip. Verity fanned herself with one hand, watching in fascinated wonder as the exotic-looking scenery flashed by the car window.
"Have any of you ever been to South America before?" she asked the other three women. Somehow the four of them had all ended up in the same vehicle, the guys all ending up in one of the others.
"Never," Wakanda replied as she clutched her bag and climbed in. While the others had several pieces of luggage all she owned was in the small military duffle she had with her. Perhaps in this strange new place she could get a few more things.
"My name is Wendy, by the way. Hello."
"Verity," Verity said, cheerfully introducing herself. "We never did get properly introduced to one another before, did we? Mr Schleppes seemed to want to get down to business. I'm pleased to meet you, Wendy."
"And I you, Verity." Wakanda replied as she settled into the seat. "I wonder what if there is somewhere here to buy clothing."
"I would imagine so," Verity said thoughtfully. "I had a quick look at a guide book when I found out what our route would be, I wanted to have some idea of what to expect so I knew what to pack. According to the guide book, Caracas is the capital and largest city of Venezuela. It must have clothes shops of some sort or another, you would think."
Elena uncharacteristically kept silent except to nod to the other women. It appeared they would all be squashed together into one overly warm vehicle and so she took her time making sure her luggage was properly stowed before she too took her seat. At least the climate here was fairly temperate despite its tropical location.
"Caracas is a beautiful, if troubled city," she said finally. "Its architecture is beautiful, it boasts a magnificent university, it has buildings that scrape the sky... yes, there will be shops."
"There you go," Verity said to Wakanda. "Lots of shops."
Elena snorted to herself and was glad she had a window. The easier to glower at nobody in particular.
The cars weaved through the city traffic and pulled up outside the front door of the hotel. The drivers got out to open the doors of the vehicle and helped to unload the overnight bags.
Verity stood looking up at what was obviously five star accommodation. "Mr Schleppes clearly doesn't believe in denying himself a little luxury every now and again," she observed to the other ladies. "We ought to sleep well tonight at least."
"Thank God," Elena said with feeling. She was already directing a bellboy with her bit of luggage and eyeing the others. "Another will be along soon," she said, "Though there's room for one more with this darling."
Overhearing Elena's comment Alison smiled at the bellboy, "We're all here now. Lead the way," she said. She was desperately trying to hide being overwhelmed by her surroundings. Her grandfather hadn't believed in spending his monies, what there was, on such elaborate surrounding when they traveled. "Unbelievable," she said in a whisper.
"Isn't it something else?" Verity said, flashing her a smile.
Their luggage was unpacked and brought inside the hotel, the group finding themselves in a foyer as opulent as the exterior had promised. Discreet and efficient reception staff quickly assigned them their rooms and handed over the keys.
"See you all later," Verity said, waving at the other ladies and then turned to follow the bellboy carrying her luggage towards the elevator.