Home > The Stopover (The Miles High Cl

The Stopover (The Miles High Cl
Author: T L Swan

Chapter 1

“Can you move?” a voice behind me growls.

Startled, I turn toward the man behind me in the line. “I’m sorry?” I say in a fluster. “Did you want to get past?”

“No. I want these fucking idiots at the desk to hurry up. I’m going to miss my damn plane.” He sneers, and I smell the alcohol wafting off him. “They make me sick.”

I turn back to the front. Great, a drunk in the check-in line. Just what I need.

Heathrow Airport is bustling. Bad weather has delayed most of the flights, and to be honest, I wish they would delay mine. Then I could turn around and go back to the hotel and sleep for a week.

I am not in the mood for this shit.

I hear the man turn and complain to the people behind him, and I roll my eyes. Why are people so damn rude?

For another ten minutes, I listen to him bitch, sigh, and moan until I can take it no longer. I turn to him. “They are working as fast as they can. There’s no need to be rude,” I snap.

“What?” he yells as he turns his anger on me.

“Manners are free,” I mutter under my breath.

“Manners are free?” he cries. “What are you, a schoolteacher? Or just a raving bitch?”

I glare at him. Oh, I dare all right. I’ve just spent the last forty-eight hours in hell. I flew across the world to go to a wedding, only to watch my ex-boyfriend drape himself over his new girlfriend. I’m in the mood to cut somebody today.

Don’t mess with me.

I turn back to the front as my fury begins to boil.

He kicks my suitcase at my feet, and I turn. “Stop it,” I snap.

He gets right up in my face, and I wince at the smell of his breath. “I’ll do whatever I fucking like.”

I see security come through the lounge as they watch him. The staff have seen what’s going on here and called for backup. I fake a smile. “Please don’t kick my bag, sir,” I say sweetly.

“I’ll kick whatever I fucking like.” He picks up my suitcase and throws it across the airport.

“What the hell?” I screech.

“Hey,” the man behind us cries. “Don’t touch her stuff. Security!” he says.

Mr. Drunk and Disorderly throws a punch at my savior, and a scuffle breaks out.

Security comes running in from everywhere, and I am pushed back as he throws punches and screams obscenities. Oh hell, I do not need this today.

Eventually they get him under control, and he is taken away in handcuffs. The kind security guard picks up my bag. “Sorry about that,” he apologizes. “Come with me,” he says as he unhooks the rope on the line.

“Thank you.” I smile awkwardly at everyone else in the line. I hate jumping the queue, but at this point, I just don’t care. “Great.” I sheepishly follow him, and he takes me to a young man’s counter. He looks up and smiles broadly. “Hello.”

“Hi.”

“Are you okay?” he asks.

“Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for asking.”

“Look after her,” the security guard tells the ticket man, and he gives us both a wink and disappears through the crowd.

“Identification, please?” the man asks.

I scramble through my purse and dig out my passport and pass it over; he smiles as he looks at the photo. Oh man, that’s the worst photo in all of history. “Did you see me on Most Wanted?” I ask.

“Possibly. That photo: Is it even you?” He laughs.

I smile, embarrassed. “I hope not. I’m in trouble if it is.”

He types in my details. “Okay, so we have you flying to New York today with a . . .” He stops typing and reads.

“Uh-huh. Preferably not next to that man.”

“He won’t be going anywhere today,” he replies as he continues to type at a ridiculous speed. “Other than the lockup.”

“Why would you get drunk before coming to the airport?” I ask. “He hasn’t even been inside to the airport bars yet.”

“You would be surprised by what goes on around here,” he sighs.

I smile; this guy is nice.

He prints off my tickets. “I’ve upgraded you.”

“What?”

“First class, as an apology for him mishandling your bag.”

My eyes widen. “Oh, that’s not necessary . . . really,” I stammer.

He hands the tickets over and smiles broadly. “Enjoy your flight.”

“Thank you so much,” I gush.

He gives me a wink, and I could just reach over and hug him. But of course I won’t. I’ll pretend that cool things like this happen to me every day.

“Thanks again.” I smile.

“You have access to the VIP lounge, which is located on level one. Lunch and drinks are on the house in there. Have a safe flight.” With one last smile, he looks back to the line. “Next, please.”

I walk through the baggage checks with a huge goofy grin on my face.

First class—just what the doctor ordered.

Three hours later, I walk onto the plane like a rock star. I didn’t end up going into the VIP lounge because, well . . . I look like crap. My long dark hair is up in a high ponytail, and I’m wearing black leggings, a baggy pink sweater, and tennis shoes, but I did fix my makeup a little, so that’s something. If I had known I was going to be upgraded, I would have at least tried to look the part and worn something swanky instead of looking like a homeless person. But anyway . . . who cares? It’s not like I’m going to see anyone I know.

I hand my ticket over to the flight attendant. “Just through the left aisle and to the right.”

“Thanks.” I look at my ticket and walk through the plane and see my number.

1B.

Damn it, I don’t have a window. I get to my seat, and a man sitting next to the window turns to me. Big blue eyes greet me, and he smiles. “Hello.”

“Hi,” I say.

Oh no . . . I’m sitting next to God’s gift to women . . . only he’s hotter.

I look like shit. Fuck it.

I open the overhead, and he stands. “Here, let me.” He takes my bag from me and carefully places it up. He’s tall and built and wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt; he smells like the best aftershave in history.

“Thanks,” I murmur as I pull my hand through my ponytail, trying to smooth out the knots. I mentally kick myself for not wearing something better.

“Do you want the window seat?” he asks.

I stare at him as my brain misfires.

He gestures to the seat beside the window.

“You don’t mind?” I frown.

“Not at all.” He smiles. “I fly all the time. You can have it.”

I force a smile. “Thanks.” That was code for “I know you got upgraded, you poor homeless person, and I feel sorry for you.” I sit down in my seat and look nervously out the window, with my hands clasped in front of me on my lap.

“Are you going home?” he asks.

I turn to him. Oh, please don’t talk to me. You make me nervous just sitting there. “No, I’ve been at a wedding, and I have a job interview in New York on the way home. I’m only there for the day, and then I fly out again to LA. I live there.”

“Ah.” He smiles. “I see.”

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