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“Are you willing and able to help in the event of an emergency situation?” the flight attendant asked as she stood beside our row. She had appeared directly after the announcement that informed us that all of the passengers were now on board the plane to San Francisco and the pilots were doing their final preparations before Flight 88 pulled away from the gate.
“Yes,” I answered, and I should have gone back to the article on the housing market in lower Manhattan that I’d started when I was waiting to board. Instead, my eyes were on her.
The girl in seat 14A.
She had dark hair that went well past her shoulders, a patch of freckles under each of her eyes, and lips that were pouty and full. She wasn’t beautiful. She was exquisite.
And she had no idea at all.
In the forty-seven years I’d been alive, I’d learned something about women. There were those you couldn’t help but look at and those you just shouldn’t look at.
She was both.
That was rare.
“Yes,” she replied to the flight attendant, and then she looked at me.
Before all of the interruptions, she had asked why I was going to California. I finally answered, “Some work, some pleasure. And yourself?”
“Same.” Her eyelids narrowed. “Are you from Manhattan? I don’t detect an accent.”
I felt the paper in my hands and knew there was no way I could go back to it. Not yet at least, not with her fiery green gaze on me.
“When you’ve lived in New York for as long as I have, you tell people you’re from there. It’s easier.”
She laughed, and it caused me to keep staring at her. “I’ve been here a while, too, and I agree. Once New York becomes home, you seem to forget everywhere else you’ve lived.” She tucked some hair behind her ear. “Why is that?”
When I’d asked my assistant to book this flight, I hadn’t considered flying commercial would put me in a position for conversation, like the one she’d just started. I hadn’t thought much about the actual flight at all besides knowing I had to be on it.
But now that I was here, I had no idea what the fuck I was thinking.
I really shouldn’t be going to San Francisco at all.
I looked away from her to glance up ahead. The main door was closed, telling me it was too late to get off the plane. The only thing I could do at this point was get some air.
I excused myself, halfway to my feet, knowing we were minutes from leaving the gate and supposed to be in our seats, and I went down the aisle. “I’ll be quick,” I said to one of the flight attendants as she approached me, and I continued to the lavatory.
When I got inside, I locked the door behind me, guessing I had about thirty seconds before I heard a knock.
If I were in any other restroom, I would have washed my face, but I wasn’t going to do that with the water from a plane. What I needed from this tight, crammed space was to catch my breath.
Because all of it had been sucked out of me, and there wasn’t any air to be found in row fourteen.
ABOUT MARNI MANN
Best-selling Author Marni Mann knew she was going to be a writer since middle school. While other girls her age were daydreaming about teenage pop stars, Mann was fantasizing about penning her first novel. She crafts sexy, titillating stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotion. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida with her husband and their two dogs who subsequently have been characters in her books. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop working on her next novel, she’s scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling to new locations, and devouring fabulous books.
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