Nearing the American shoreline, the view was incredible while the sun played catch up following slightly behind the S-512 supersonic jet. Christian’s descent to JFK International Airport took them along the Atlantic shoreline with a perfect view of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. They continued their approach to southeastern New York City and Long Island where the plane entered the final leg of the landing pattern.
After landing, they taxied to a private terminal Christian had arranged for the jet. Justus asked, “Are you ready for a day and night of sightseeing and adventure in the Big Apple Zeta?”
“You are full of surprises aren’t you Justus. I’m feeling fine, with no jet lag from that quick flight.”
“Separate rooms of course,” Justus added.
“Why of course,” Zeta replied feigning demureness.
While they were getting ready to leave the jet, a helicopter landed not far from the plane. “There’s our connection to New York City,” Justus explained.
Justus grabbed their bags, and they quickly walked to the copter and boarded. Lifting off and away from the terminal area, Zeta could see JFK Airport shrinking further below. The pilot headed northwest towards New York City. It was a short flight following the Hudson River. Zeta looked down at the iconic 131-year-old Brooklyn Bridge connecting the Borough of Brooklyn to Manhattan Island like a metropolis steel cable tether. The chopper flew north for a view of Central Park before heading back to the helipad.
“We’ll be landing at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport,” Justus told Zeta over the noise of the copter.
“I had no idea Central Park was that large,” Zeta exclaimed after seeing the park from aloft.
“It’s bigger than Monaco or Vatican City.”
Zeta started feeling some New York state of mind as the pilot sighted his target at the heliport and descended slowly. The metal hummingbird settled softly on the concrete, and they left the copter and entered a waiting white limo. “Who co-ordinates the itinerary on a, well, ah, an outing like this Justus?”
“Aakifah, she is just amazing, extremely competent and efficient.”
“Yes, she sure is,” Zeta agreed, thinking about several of the absurd suspicions she initially had about Aakifah.
The limo headed north on the fifteen-minute ride on FDR Drive to Central Park. “We’ll be spending the night in Central Park Zeta.”
“Well not exactly in the Park, just right across from the southwest corner of the Park at the Trump International Hotel and Tower at 1 Central Park West.”
“My goodness Justus, you do know how to treat a lady.”
“We’ll go to our rooms to freshen up, have something to eat, go explore the Park, or do anything that suits your fancy Zeta.”
They checked in the Trump and as soon as Zeta showered she phoned Carol. “Hi, I’m in New York City on a whirlwind spur of the moment, ah, outing with Justus. We just returned from Monaco.”
“You are where, doing what, you’ve been where?” Carol asked in disbelief.
“You heard right. We’re at the 58 story Trump Glass Tower. I just wanted to touch base and let you know everything is fine.”
“Do you have separate rooms?” Carol teased.
“Oh yes indeed. We have marvelous rooms on the 17th floor with an incredible view of Central Park and the city. And Carol, I’ve discovered something.”
“Like what? Don’t tell me, let me guess. The guy is gay?”
“No, not at all, but he resurrects the dead,” Zeta said laughing.
“He does what?”
“He resurrects the dead. You know we had our talk about what happened with Benton.”
“Well, most of the time I was with him, after our honeymoon and first few weeks, I was so turned off by him I was a regular practitioner of the faked orgasm.”
“Oh Zeta, that’s terrible.”
“And I was also convinced my libido was quite dead and buried.”
“Oh, so Justus has resurrected your deceased sex drive? Somehow that sounds a little spooky my dear Zeta.”
“Spooky or not it seems like a miracle.”
“Maybe it’s the international travel, the change of scenery.”
“He’s clearly the stimulus. Of course, the travel adventure and excellent cuisine probably helps some.”
“Well calm down girl. Any idea when you’ll be back here?”
“I’m not sure, maybe tomorrow or a couple of days. I’ll keep in touch.”
“Be safe. Love ya.”
“Love ya too. Everything ok there?”
“Fine, I’m enjoying my divorce from party girl. And I love La Jolla.”
After saying goodbye to Carol Zeta showered, dressed in her jogging outfit, and rang Justus’s room next door to see if he was ready. He was, and they met in the hallway, took the elevator down and walked the short distance to Central Park. “Shall we walk or jog?” Justus asked. “Let’s just walk leisurely along for a while,” Zeta suggested. It was a brisk day, and the Park was full of people enjoying being outside in the fresh air.
It wasn’t long, and they came upon some musicians playing guitars and singing. “Why this is the John Lennon Strawberry Fields meditation garden memorial,” Zeta said, “And look at this.” They walked over to the large inlaid marble medallion set in the concrete with the word Imagine in the center. “He was a crusader for peace and tried to get people to see just how divisive organized religion is, so he wrote, “Imagine.”
“Oh, I love that song Carol, and I used to sing it all the time.” Then she sang, “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky, imagine all the people, living for today.”
Do you know the story about why he was murdered?” Justus asked.
“No, just that some crazy guy shot and killed him outside his apartment, The Dakota, right here in New York.”
“The Beatles had made the comment that they were more popular than Jesus. That guy, Mark Chapman, was in a Christian prayer group that would chant, “Imagine, imagine if John Lennon was dead,” so Chapman decided Lennon had blasphemed, and he determined to murder him.”
“I’ve watched the division, death, and destruction caused by religion for millenniums. I thought the fire was dying down, and now the flames are roaring in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa with potential for more death and destruction beyond anything in the past.”
“But religions do good things too Justus, like hospitals and schools.”
“Nothing that humans wouldn’t have done without the religions. Most humans are fundamentally decent. Religion has never made anyone good, but it has caused many basically good humans to do evil things they never would have done, without their religion.”
They sat on a bench and listened to the music for a while and then continued walking until they came to the Loeb Boathouse on the lake. The original Victorian style boathouse stood from 1874 to 1950 when it fell into disrepair and was demolished, and the new boathouse with a restaurant was constructed.
“How about a boat ride on the lake?” “Sounds like fun,” Zeta agreed. “Or better yet let’s enjoy a cruise in that Venetian gondola,” Justus proposed. So they booked the gondola and were poled around the lake for an hour by the skillful gondolier. They enjoyed the relaxing cruise and view, did people watching, talked about the city, and Monaco. Justus put his arm around Zeta, and she felt very comfortable and safe.
After the gondola ride, they went into the restaurant and had a grilled chicken sandwich on toasted ciabatta bread and a small chef salad. When they finished Justus surprised Zeta with, “How would you like to have a shopping excursion?” “Shopping for what, where?” Justus picked up his cell phone and told the limo to come pick them up just north of 72nd Street on Central Park West at the Strawberry Fields Park entrance. He took Zeta by the hand and off they went to meet the limo.
“Where to,” the limo driver asked? “Bloomingdale’s in Lower Manhattan by way of Times Square. How does that sound Zeta?”
“Sounds great, I’ve never seen Times Square, but…”
“Go splurge Zeta. All this is on the outing expense account.”
Zeta took in the sights as they rode through Times Square and then they were dropped off at Bloomingdales. The chauffeur opened the sunroof and Zeta and Justus stood up savoring the Big Apple. “Do you like Latin dancing Zeta?” “Absolutely. Salsa and merengue for sure,” she said with a soft smile. “Let’s do some early dancing at the Latin Club on Lexington. Then we’ll have a gourmet catered dinner in Christian’s 52nd floor penthouse at Trump Tower,” Justus suggested.
“Do I dare ask how’s that’s going to happen?” She told herself Justus was clearly feeding her libido more gourmet food, as she answered him.
“Trump Tower only rents rooms and suites up to the 17th floor. The rest are condos. Christian owns one of those condos, and here’s the key. Christian will use my room for tonight.”
“You’ve sure got some lovely friends Justus.”
As Justus watched Zeta try on several pencil skirts, chiffon dresses, and lace sheath dresses he thoroughly enjoyed the show. Zeta wasn’t one to buy something just because of the designer name. She finally settled on a red cocktail sleeveless Papel boatneck lace sheath dress that perfectly fit her gorgeous figure, a black lace sheath cocktail dress by the same designer, and then a black Kay Unger lace crop jacket. Then she selected a pair of black Edelman high-heel pumps and a silver pair of Kamuto high-heel shoes that were comfortable and sexy. Then she chose a black Fendi Fendista Pouchette purse and announced, “I’m done,” to Justus. “You’re a fast shopper Zeta, an admirable quality in a woman.”