Ch. 3.2 Don't Forget to Get Lei'd

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Beth wasn't sure what she was screaming, but it was most likely, "How many stupid mojitos did I drink?"

Infidelity sucks; she should have stayed with her one and only Margarita.

"I need my mommy," she mumbled, scrambling for her phone. Then she thought better of it. She would not get any sympathy from her, and more importantly, she would not get any information.

"Jerry, I need Jerry." She dialed his cell phone and hopped up and down until he answered.

"Yellow?"

"Yes, Jerry, it's me, it's Beth! You know, from work!"

"Yeah, I remember. How's the head this morning? Susan said you were hitting the mojitos a little heavy."

"Yes. That's the problem. Russell called you, didn't he?"

"Russell," he paused. She could feel him holding in laughter through the phone. "Yeah, he did. We got your trip all worked out. It is a little last minute, but I think you'll come back with some great stuff for the magazine."

"Stuff for the magazine? No, no, no. That is my All Expenses Paid Vacation to Paradise, I am not working when I go to Hawaii. What exactly did you two arrange?"

"The two of us didn't arrange anything. We just decided on the best course of action for the magazine, and for your job." He called the next questions out to Susan, who must have been in the room with him, "Isn't that right? Beth and Russell are doing a project together?"

Beth heard Susan answer something in the background.

"Yes, that's right," he said to Beth. "The problem with taking the time off was that Russell only has two days of vacation still for this year, so I said I would let him go on the condition that you guys bring back an exotic living article. It shouldn't take you more than a couple of days of actual work. Should have plenty of time to surf and lay on the beach."

She pressed one palm into her forehead. The pounding made it difficult to concentrate. This was not too bad. She would go to Hawaii with Russell as colleagues, she would shoot a few pictures of tropical gardens, thereby saving her job, he would interview a couple of people, and afterwards they could hang out on the beach, congratulating themselves on how a week in Hawaii only cost them each two vacation days. It could be worse. Wait. There had been a bargain. Russell said he still had his end of the bargain to do.

"Jerry," she asked, strangling. "Do you know anything about a bargain I made with Russell? I'm assuming my part of the deal is that I take him to Hawaii for free, although if we are working, technically, I think you should be paying for it, but that's beside the point. The point is, do you know what he is doing for his part of the bargain?"

"Bargain? A bargain between you two? Um, let me ask Susan." He covered the mouth piece for a moment. "She doesn't remember you striking a deal or making a bargain with Russell, nope. Could be anything, couldn't it?" There was laughter in his voice again.

Beth wished she could hit him on the head with her phone. "No, no, no," she whispered. "I can't do this. It' not right. This was supposed to be some fabulous get-away for me, and now I'm going for work with a man I negotiated with and who is going to do something for me or to me, but I don't know what. I can't go."

"What do you mean, you can't go?" he exclaimed. Susan yelled in the background. "Oh, Susan says she can go, if you can't. Thanks, darling. I won't forget it."

"Jerry, this is serious," said Beth.

"You betcha this is serious! Beth, how many other people could get away with this? Calling me on Saturday about a last-minute trip to Hawaii? And yes, you will bring back some gorgeous pics and a great article, but usually these trips are planned months in advance. There is exactly one reason I am letting you two go. Well, two reasons. Do you know why?"

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