Home > Turbulence(10)

Turbulence(10)
Author: Whitney G.

“They’re definitely the slowest.” I noticed that rows fifteen through thirty had yet to open their overhead bins.

I am definitely going to be late tonight...

“Have the schedulers finally allowed you to bid on lines or are you still on reserve, Gillian?” she asked.

“Reserve.”

“Really?” It’s been a year since I last saw you and you’re still on reserve?” She looked as if she didn’t believe me. “Don’t tell me they’re still giving you that, ‘Wait until we finish all of our mergers’ excuse.”

I gave her a depressed look and she laughed.

“Sorry. If it makes you feel any better, at least you actually live in New York. You don’t have to share a crash pad with a bunch of other reserve attendants that you don’t know.”

“I guess...” I said dryly, and she shot me a sympathetic smile.

We remained at the front of the plane for what felt like forever, keeping our voices cheery and light as the hockey team at the rear continued to move like molasses.

When the last player finally exited the plane, I grabbed my bag, said a quick goodbye to the pilot and Christina, and raced through the jet bridge. I had exactly twenty minutes to catch the next bus to Manhattan.

Emerging into Terminal 7, I rushed past gate after gate, dodging hordes of travelers with every step. As I ran, the numerous restaurant signs, gift shop displays, and coffee stands all became a bright blur. The conversations between tourists, the arguments between gate agents, and the announcements from the speakers were all background noise. All I could hear was the sound of my heels clacking against the newly buffed floors.

My dress inched up my thighs as I neared the no re-entry zone, but I couldn’t waste any time trying to pull it down. I continued running, bypassing the moving sidewalks until I made it to baggage claim.

With a few minutes to spare, I slipped into a restroom and locked myself inside a stall. Unfastening my flight wing pin and nametag, I tossed them both into my purse. I pulled my navy blue dress over my head, quickly replacing it with a vintage black cocktail dress and a strand of faux white pearls.

Leaning against the door for support, I took off my grey heels and slid into a pair of glittering red pumps.

Frantic, I stepped out of the stall—nearly tripping over my shoes as I took my place in front of the mirrors. I blinked a few times and saw that my eyelids were still evenly coated in the “friendly light pink” that was mandated by the airline, and my lips were still stained in a dramatic, sexy red.

It’s good enough...

I yanked my hair out of its chignon bun and let the black curls fall past my shoulders. I ran my fingers through them a few times and rushed outside to the transportation dock.

Pushing my way through waiting travelers, I ran as fast as I could to the bus stop. I waved my hands frantically, screaming “Please stop! Wait!” when my bus began to pull away from the curb, but it was no use. It pulled off before I could catch up.

Ugh...

Cursing, I pulled out my phone and ordered an Uber car. As I stepped back to wait, I spotted a group of women pointing and staring at something in the distance. They were blushing like little schoolgirls, giggling as if they were catching sight of a celebrity.

I followed their line of vision, but all I could see was a pilot. The back of him, anyway. He was walking toward a black car while staring at his cell-phone. His fingers were tapping away on the screen, his four gold shoulder stripes gleaming and commanding attention. From the very way he walked, I could tell he was cocky as fuck—the type of man who thought the world revolved around him and him alone. The type who probably never had to ask anyone for a goddamn thing. As he slipped inside the waiting car, I strained to catch a glimpse of his face—knowing that there was no way in hell that he could be as attractive as these women were making him out to be. Pilots were typically much older, and they didn’t come in the attractive package. Only cocky, arrogant, and philandering. Mostly philandering.

“Are you Gillian?” A man shouted at me from the open window of a red SUV. “You waiting for an Uber?”

I nodded and he stepped out of the car, opening the back door for me.

“233 Broadway,” he said as he returned to the driver’s seat. “You’re going to The Woolworth Building, right?”

“Right.”

“Alright, seatbelt.” He pulled away from the curb, right into the warm rain of New York City.

The car’s windshield wipers squeaked as they swiped back and forth, as the crammed pack of cars outside honked at each other for control of the road.

Knowing it’d take longer than normal to get to Manhattan, I sent a quick text to my boyfriend, Ben.

Gillian: Just landed not too long ago. Caught an Uber, but slight traffic.

Ben: An Uber? Jesus, Gillian. I don’t know why you won’t just use my family’s driver. We really wouldn’t mind.

Gillian: Maybe next time. How’s your mom’s launch party so far?

Ben: Great. Anyone who’s anyone is here, no nobodies anywhere, and the press can’t get enough.

Gillian: Right...Are you still taking me to Hemingway’s after it’s over? I was serious about wanting to talk to you tonight.

Ben: Of course, babe. Whatever you want :-)

I didn’t text back.

“Of course, babe. Whatever you want” almost always meant, “Probably not” because Ben hated confrontation. He also hated the fact that over the past few months, I’d begun to painfully point out the numerous changes in his personality. Even though he refused to admit it, he’d transformed from the sweet, down to earth guy I fell in love with years ago into a man of appearances, a man obsessed with wealth.

   
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