Racing Astronauts – Part 1


PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5 | PART 6 | PART 7 | PART 8 | PART 9


May 15, 1999


Staring up at the slow moving ceiling fan, listening to the sounds of cars cruising up and down the nearby boulevard, Claudia Sutherland strained to hear if there were any tell tell sounds coming from the hallway hinting that the housekeeping staff was making its way toward her hotel suite.  She knew she should have been up hours ago but after a full week of meetings, maybe sleeping in on Saturday wasn’t such a heinous crime.  The suite was bathed in a gentle spring flowery yellow creeping in through tiny slits in the tasteful draperies.  Claudia loved when her business brought her to this hotel.  The staff at the Boscolo Exedra Roma always made her feel like she was on vacation even though it was rare that her Italian account left time to tour the beautiful and historic sights of Rome.

She could remember a time not so long ago when she dreamed of this life. She knew one day she would travel the world as a full time business development consultant. It was tough to sell that dream to her close family and friends ack when she was sleeping on friends’ couches and stretching her dollars at Motel 6 trying to put as much as possible into getting her business off the ground.  Marveling at how God had seen fit to answer the desires of her heart as she started thinking about getting up to get ready for breakfast when her phone began to play Maxwell’s “Till the Cops Come Knocking“.  She reached over and thought of the very attractive man attached to the number on her brand new cellular phone.  A smile started spreading slowly, threatening to take over her entire face as she pressed the talk button.

“Good morning tall, tan and handsome. What are you doing up at this hour?” with the time difference she calculated that it was 3am in Atlanta.

“I was missing my baby so I called to hear your voice.”

“Aww, I miss you too babe, but I wrapped up my last meeting yesterday so I’m headed home tomorrow.  Just trying to drag myself out of this bed.  It’s soooo comfortable.”

“Well, why don’t you come answer your door and let me test that theory of bed comfortability?”

“What are you talking about?  Wait, are you HERE!?!” Claudia threw off the duvet cover, jumped out of the king sized bed before racing like a kid at Christmas to the door. Throwing the portal open, her eyes met the sight of her husband, Devon Wright leaning against the door frame looking sexy as hell in his standard travel attire of his Tougaloo College Alumni sweatshirt, khakis and the Cole Haan loafers she’d surprised him with last month to replace the broke down slides he was so fond of wearing that had seen far better days.

Pushing away from the door frame he looked at his wife of eight years, hair all over her head, smiling at him with a look that always made his manhood stand ready at attention when he noticed that she was wearing a nighty that made his eyes almost pop out of his head.

“Girl if you don’t hurry up and get back in that room folks might have to buy tickets for the show we’re about to put on out in this hallway.  Now, where exactly is this heavenly bed you were describing, cause a brother just flew 9 hours to bring you these and tell you, Happy Birthday.” Devon pulled from behind his back two dozen blood red roses and handed them to Claudia who was still swimming in the joy of the surprise of seeing the love of her life before her so unexpectedly.

“Well, I suppose you’d better get in here so I can properly thank you mister hop on a plane and don’t tell anybody you’re flying in to Rome to surprise me on my birthday,” said Claudia, laughing as she claimed her flowers and her man and led him into the room after flipping the “Do Not Disturb” sign and closing the door.

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