Creative writing. I started this on a rainy day so it counts!
I know my one rule is to leave your writing and then go back to reread before publishing. I am breaking that rule with these stories because they’re just little nonsensical ideas I just write to write. I’m not going to put them into a book or try to publish them. They’re a fun exercise.
Anyhoo on with the show.
“Are you ok?”
Philippa dredged up a smile. “Of course!”
There was a small problem with that statement. Philippa was not fine. She was the furthest thing from fine that she could get. Here she was in a foreign country where she didn’t speak the language, understand the customs or even have access to air conditioning, so no, she wasn’t ok. She wanted to be holed up in her brownstone Manhattan apartment with a margarita! Not trudging around miles of sand, drenched in sweat, make up melting off her face.
When James told her about the desert, he made it seem like an exotic adventure and not the pure torturous hell that was assaulting her at any given opportunity.
“Will we be there soon?” She could park herself under a palm tree and suck back the entire water bottle.
“We should be entering the oasis in forty minutes.” James did that thing, where he smiled and the whole world smiled with him. It enchanted her the second she saw it, now all she wanted to do was slap it off his face. Her prince charming was turning into a real Crocodile Dundee.
Philippa gave a jolt when her phone went off. She ignored the scowl on James’s face when she went ripping through her Birkin bag looking for it.
“Hello!” Philippa greeted as James kicked the sides of his camel and moved ahead.
“Darling, you’re alive,” Francesca purred from the other end, “hows the globe trotting coming along? Have you gotten the ring yet?”
“We miss you Philly!” Voices rose up from the other side of the world, comforting, familiar, and most of all English. It positively choked her up. She could see them, her friends, gathered around the private pool of Francesca’s upper east side loft. Casually taking stock of the next hot item, dishing gossip about who was sleeping with who and on whom. She would be the topic of conversation right now. The globe trotting heiress being whisked away on safari by her globe trotting boyfriend.
“I miss you all desperately.” Philippa whimpered.
“Well has he done it yet?” Francesca needled. “I need to know. You are aware I have to plan my yearly commitments in advance.”
If only there was news to tell. She was tempted to lie and say it happened but they would demand evidence. Her finger was decidedly bare at the moment. She would have to swallow the shame and deal with it. It would make the moment all the more sweeter when she shoved the rock into their faces.
“Not yet. But we are crossing into a beautiful Oasis,” Philippa smiled into the phone, “I’ll contact you tonight with news because this is the most perfect spot for the proposal. Ciao my loves, chat soon.”
She managed to keep the heartbreak and agony out of her voice by sheer damn determination. No one would know the truth.
If only reality lined up with expectation. Unbeknown to Philippa, James was a real slumming it, rugged out doors type. No lavish glamping for her. It was outdoor toilets that stunk to high heaven, her luggage reduced to one backpack, her wardrobe a never ending parade of cargo shorts, sneakers, and- the horror of horrors- t-shirts. All of it covered in sand!
It’s for the ring. He’ll do it at the Oasis. It’s the perfect spot.
A little voice nagged at her. But he hadn’t done it at the pyramids, he hadn’t done it at the museum. Why would this be different? Because this was obviously more romantic, she firmly clutched at the reins. He was her damned prince charming, they would live above 5th avenue where she would host all his important clients and friends. They would raise two children who would get accepted to the best schools and be an accomplished wife. This was her golden dream, her mother was just a moment away from ordering the silk for her wedding dress. Her father had cultivated relationships with prominent men who owned the best wedding venues in the city. She could not fail to secure the ring.
All the stink, sweat and sacrifice could not be for nothing. They would live happily ever after come hell or high water.
The idea of going back as a girlfriend was unthinkable. She might as well die in the sand dunes. It was a kinder fate.
“I thought we agreed no phones for this trip.” James jolted her out of her head with a soft chastising.
“It was just the gang. They were worried about me.” Philippa smiled.
“They were checking in to see if I popped the question.” James returned her smile as her heart positively stilled.
She waited, this was it, this was the moment, the story she would tell their children as she tucked them into bed. I was so miserable but the moment daddy went to one knee I never knew misery again.
“I honestly don’t know how you can call them friends. The whole lot is insufferable for a hour, imagine a lifetime of that. Thank God we are never getting married.” James scoffed as he turned his smile off of her and towards the Oasis.
All the hopes and dreams went out of her world with a scoff of all things.
“Excuse me?” Philippa grabbed the reins of his camel and yanked it to a stop, “what the hell did you just say to me?“
James had the sheer audacity to look confused. He frowned, brow furrowed. “Come on Philippa, you’ve been miserable every step of this trip. I wanted to share a vacation with the smart charming woman from college. Not the entitled, pretentious, shallow, person that came along.”
Her mouth dropped. He never spoke to her that bluntly before. How dare he! Entitled? Pretentious? Shallow?
“I am an award winning philanthropist! And my friends would never drag me out to the desert without a tent, staff and my Jimmy Choo shoes! They know me better then that!” Her heart was breaking.
“I thought there was more to you then that!” He shot back.
“Then you don’t know me at all!” She was crying now, fat tears of failure that was making her eyeliner run. Well so be it. It’s not as if appearances mattered now.
“You’re not the person I thought I was dating. I thought I could find the real Philippa underneath the Manhattan elitism. Imagine my shock once I took you away from all that, that is all you were.” James’s voice was soft. The same sort of voice she had heard over and over. Don’t be so jealous of that dress, it wouldn’t suit you. Don’t make a stink about the steak, I’ll switch my plate with yours. How about we go to the east side for dinner for once?
She pulled out her phone.
“God who are calling now?” James groaned.
“Hello Daddy, James just called me entitled and shallow. Can you send someone for me? I’ll turn on my GPS locator. I want to go home.” She sniffed dashing the tears away with the back of her hand. She shut the phone.
James crossed his arms over his chest. “Who the hell is going to find you this deep in the desert-“
“Hello Miss Abernathy!” A man emerged from the bush, dress nicely in survival gear, he was Turkish and a beard covered his lower jaw. “Your father has asked us to escort you back to Cairo.”
Philippa put her phone away sniffing. “Thank God!”
“Good riddance.” James muttered lowly.
“I heard that!” Philippa shouted as she jumped off the camel, yanked her dusty backpack off the saddle and marched up towards the man.
“Don’t call me when I return to New York.” James yelled at her back.
“Trust me, speaking to you is the last thing I ever want to do!” This was humiliating. No ring, and now no boyfriend. She could just see it now. Her mother’s face falling as yet again their hopes for her vanished. Her father telling her the same platitudes, he just wasn’t up to snuff, you’re clearly better then that.
But was she? She managed to hook the biggest bachelor and yet, she hadn’t seen how he really treated her. Perhaps, she didn’t want too.
She left her prince charming on his camel and climbed up in a Hummer jeep to get away from him. The whole ride back was silent save for the music the man put on. Once safely back in the hotel, the plane ticket ordered, Philippa decided to do something about her relationship problems. She decided to date men who liked entitled, pretentious, shallow women. That way, when they disappointed her, she wouldn’t be surprised.