Chapter Three begins with this episode.
“This is amazing,” said Gina from the back seat of the old Bentley. Jake, in a car seat next to her, had fallen asleep an hour ago when Chartan had first entered the freeway.
“The life of a full-time limo driver isn’t so bad,” said Chartan. “Maybe that will be my new mantra…my acceptance.” He watched his wife smile in the rear view mirror.
The very worn luxury vehicle had been a gift from Sloan after he had put Chartan under contract to drive five days per week. It was a shrewd move by Sloan who saw business soar when high-rolling clients discovered they could retain the driving services of Chartan, the one-time guru, full-time hero.
“You sure you don’t mind driving on your day off?” asked Gina.
They were headed for a beach off the Pacific Ocean about two hours from Sacramento. It was a place Chartan had come to years ago to contemplate life as a young man who had lost his parents. Sun bathers stayed away from this sandy seashore, usually wind-swept and overcast, if not completely enveloped in fog. He was returning this time with his family—the weather didn’t concern him.
“Did you hear me?”
“Sorry, I was thinking about where we’re going. How’s Jake?”
“Asleep like you sometimes.”
Chartan realized he’d been day dreaming about walking along the sand dunes, his eyes watered by wind gusts. “I love you.”
“That’s your get out of trouble mantra,” said Gina with a laugh.
Chartan blew his wife a kiss, then accelerated. “We’re almost there.”
It takes no effort to drive, but so much effort to keep my mind in the present. Chartan silently repeated his mantra: Gina and Jake.
To be continued next Sunday…