Part III ~ Palace Hotel Grand Finale!
(Dear Readers, again, note that this is the final chapter in a series of three. Please see the two entries below this for parts I & II)
5:23 a.m. PP awoke with a raging headache. Where was she? Wasn’t she at the Blue Palace swimming with Daryl Hannah? Yes, and Daryl had invited her over for a cocktail and when PP got out of the water, Daryl giggled, turned around and then dove into the bright blue sea. Vanished. Like a flying mermaid. Hey wasn’t she a mermaid in another one of her movies? That Daryl. She’s definitely part of PP’s swimming faith.
The headache pounded in her ears. Temples. Back of the head. Neck even. Where the hell was the Advil? Glancing around, PP remembered where she was. Not at the Blue Palace but at the Real Palace. With a nasty sickness. And no swimming!
Tottering into the bathroom, she retrieved the Advil and gulped two down. Then glanced over at the curtain drawn across the window in the dark stillness.
The pool opens at 5 a.m. Wonder if anyone’s swimming? Peeking through the curtain, PP spied a steady back and forth splash. Yup. Some insane swimmer was up doing laps at 5 in the morning.
Crazy. Yet, PP did admire such obsession around the pool. Another member of her swimming faith.
PP closed the drapes as the headache returned. What was she gonna do? Here she was, the day after Christmas now upon her, and she still had this stupid headache. She had had HAD to swim today before they checked out. She was no way not going to. Maybe if she went back to bed she’d feel better in a few hours. If only Daryl would come and whisk her away to her blue mermaid sea…..lying back down, sinking into the luxurious big pillows, PP smiled sleepily as the vision of a beautiful blonde flying mermaid carried her away.
“Here’s your coffee,” DHBF had run down to Starbucks instead of the crazy room service coffee extravagance. Since it was the day after Christmas they were open and pouring. Thanking him, PP took a sip of the strong brew as another shooting pain came upon her. Damn! Her headache just would not go away. The Advil from 5:23 had done little to dull the pain. What was she gonna do? She must swim before the noon checkout time, especially since she’d missed yesterday’s swim.
Glancing at the clock, PP noted that it was already 9:30 as another shooting pain took hold of her. Shit.
DHBF gave her the worried look. “You’re not any better today, are you?”
PP tried to keep back the tears as she shook her head no. “What am I gonna do? I have to swim before we leave.”
”We’ll come back again some day…” he assured her, though PP was unconvinced. When the hell would she ever have this opportunity again? It wasn’t like she was really part of the SF Aristocracy. She’d just been pretending for a couple of days so she could swim in the precious little pool. And now this damn headache!
“Can you hand me my backpack, Honey?” she waved her hand vaguely in the direction of one of the gaudy Louis the 14th style chairs. Raising an eyebrow, DHBF rose to retrieve it for her. Handing her the pack, PP rummaged around till she found the bottle of pills.
“What are you gonna do?” he asked, just a little anxious.
“I’m gonna take a Darvocet. And then I’m gonna go swimming!” she announced, stubbornness taking over common sense.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“Why not? If I’m allergic to it, a rash is better than this headache. And if I can get rid of the headache then I can go swimming.”
Though even if he’d told her she was crazy, no way was PP gonna be talked out of the idea. Downing the pill, she lay back on the puffy pillow and took another sip of coffee. Yes. It was the only recourse. A Darvocet Swim is the answer!
30 minutes later, the pain began to subside and PP slowly rose and started to get ready for the pool.
“Is the headache gone?” DHBF asked, worry still lacing his tone.
“Yup!” PP felt a little dreamy as she put on her suit and looked around for the white terry cloth robe. “You coming?” she asked him.
Grinning, he grabbed his swim trunks and threw on his white robe. “Oh, yeah! I’m so glad your headache went away!”
“Me too. Now I can do what I came here for. The pool!”
Floating down the long hallway toward the pool, PP touched her head tenderly. She could still feel that the headache was there, but the drug really did a fabulous job of masking it! Why hadn’t she thought of this last night? If she’d taken a Darvocet then, she wouldn’t have wasted her Christmas writhing in pain.
On the other hand, she never would have discovered the Blue Palace on Crete with the 109 pools!
Signing in at the pool’s front desk, PP chitchatted with the bored pool girl about the insanity of all the new skyscrapers taking away the light and the view. Guess they’d given the Filipino Woman the day off; she certainly deserved it.
As they meandered out onto the deck, past the rosy candles and smell of coffee, PP smiled to herself about the little civilized touches of the Palace Pool. Of course they’d have coffee at the pool in the morning! Every swimmer needs to fuel up before taking the plunge. Then PP heard the sound of screeching children as they opened the door onto the deck. Damn. Children. How many? It sounded like a zillion!
But really it was only a few. 2 in the pool, shrieking in delight while throwing the kickboards across the little lanes. Another 4 in the hot tub. Wait a minute, kids in the hot tub? What’s up with that? Guess the Palace was more permissive than Mills College. But now PP didn’t care. She was deep into in a floaty Darvocet cloud and nothing was gonna phase her as she climbed into the hot tub and starting chatting with two blond brothers, ages 8 and 10 about the new Chipmunks Movie. Fortunately, a buff blonde dad came to retrieve them. It was nearly 10:30 a.m. now, and PP was hankering for that final floaty swim.
And dreamy and floaty it was. The Darvocet made swimming so easy! Why she didn’t even have to pull at the water. She just floated up and down the lane, the bright blue sky and the little lion heads on the curly cues of the building across from the pool glimmering in the morning light.
Who knew that Darvocet could make swimming so dreamy? Hell, she was gonna take a darvocet before every swim from now on. Giggling to herself as she turned at the wall, PP grinned over at DHBF as he did his slow easy breaststroke. Had he taken a Darvocet too, she wondered. No, not that she could recall. But right now it was impossible to recall anything. She was just swimming in the Moment.
Deepak Chopra would be so impressed. Though he probably wouldn’t have approved of the drug aspect of her mindfulness.
PP turned onto her back and kicked languidly on her back, watching the puffy clouds float through the blue blue sky between the surrounding skyscrapers. Laughing at the little lions on the building directly across from the pool each time she turned at the wall. Later when she pointed them out to DHBF, he shook his head, “I don’t think they’re really lions, Honey. They’re just curly cues.”
“But they look like LIONS!” PP insisted. And they did. At least in her present dreamy state.
Finishing up her laps, PP hopped into the hot tub, sinking down into its warm bubbles as she continued to watch the enchanting sky through the Palace Pool’s glass domed roof. The kids had all left. It was just her, DHBF and one lone swimmer, lounging on the chair opposite her, his body lean and long. His sideburns lean and long. What’s up with that? He looked like he could be on Masterpiece Theater in a Jane Austen production with those sideburns. Or maybe he was just from France.
It was so peaceful. So quiet. So like a dream. Why PP wouldn’t be surprised if Daryl Hannah were to appear in her gold bikini with a tray of mimosas for them.
“Did you have a nice swim?” DHBF asked as he climbed into the tub with her.
“Oh, yeah,” she murmured. “It was so dreamy.”
”Musta been the Darvocet,” he grinned.
PP smiled. “No, I don’t think it was just the Darvocet.”
He nodded, understanding her completely, as he nudged closer to her, slinging his arm round her shoulders to bend down for a final dreamy Palace Pool kiss.