Ann was late again. A scratchy intercom blasted the last call for her flight number as she slid breathlessly in front of a tall, brunette woman with piercing green eyes and a nose covered in freckles.
“Miss... Walker. We kept the doors open just for you.” Her eyes twinkled as she handed the ticket and ID back. Ann adjusted her backpack as the redness crept across her face.
“I- I’m so sorry. Th-thank you so much!” Of course, the woman had to be gorgeous, just to add to the humiliation of the situation. Ann’s eyes darted to the ground as she rushed past and down the ramp. Her fingers instinctively touched the plane as she stepped on board and she nodded shyly to the flight attendant who greeted her. She kept her eyes anchored downward to avoid the stares of all those who were already settled and interested in the flurry her arrival. Finding her seat along the aisle, next to a rather round couple who were bickering back and forth in sharp whispers, she kicked her bag under the seat and heaved a sigh of shaky relief.
She was glad to be headed back home, despite the week’s events. Tears stung at her eyes and her heart ached. Her mental health had been so fragile lately that she couldn’t even enjoy the getaway with her older sister Eliza. She had spent most of the week willing herself to put a smile on. Tearing herself from the 400 thread-count sheets was a near impossibility, especially this morning. Eliza had hardly let her get on the flight, she had been so worried about her. After many, many reassurances that she would be seeking professional help, not without tears, Eliza had let her pack up.
So I’m depressed, she thought, who the hell cares? I manage to get myself to work most days and, with my inheritance, I don’t even need to bother with that. I could just lie in bed and wither away. Her hands gripped the seatbelt and she gritted her teeth as the plane took flight. Her stomach flipped and she was reminded thoroughly of why she hated planes. Her eyelids fluttered shut and she imagined unlocking the door of her home and melting into her couch for the rest of the evening. Just a few more hours, she thought with a sigh, as her seat neighbor elbowed her roughly.
Anne Lister had been watching her since she rushed onto the plane. Her eyes had raked over her small frame, taking in her soft blonde waves, form fitting skinny jeans, and the way the light blue top clung to her breasts just so. Her eyebrows raised as she watched the beauty move awkwardly down the aisle to take a seat one row ahead and to the right, the only open spot left on the plane.
Anne breathed in her scent- citrus and soap. She smirked to herself as she thumbed through her book, more focused on the way the woman’s small hands twisted nervously in her hair, legs bouncing, than the words on the page. No ring, she mused, eventually giving up and closing the book. Anne noted a small rainbow flag was pinned to the backpack that she had pushed under the seat in front of her. A smile crept across Anne’s face and she leaned her head back into her seat. She didn’t usually feel so pulled to strangers, but the way this girl bit her lip as she lifted her perfectly sculpted neck to look around...Anne felt undone. Just as she started to wonder what her jaw would feel like under her lips- the flight attendant interrupted with her drink order. Red wine. She savored the oaky flavors and found herself savoring the blonde just as much, imagining how she would ravish her. Slowly, at first, and then…She adjusted her collar and averted her eyes, coughing a bit, as the pretty thing turned around in her seat to request something from the flight attendant.
Soon enough, the plane landed and Anne was impatient to disembark. She checked her watch. Half past four. Mariana should already be here. She stood silently with her work bag on, wretched thing, and used the free moments to shake out her cramped legs and roll up the sleeves of her black button up. Her feelings were constantly in flux with that woman. She was tired of being second to Mariana’s husband, a sort-of secret that everyone knew about. Anne was the one Mariana would stay with whenever there was an ounce of conflict at home, or if things were sorely lacking in other, more intimate, areas. Anne had long ago thrown up an emotional wall, although she was determined to call an end to the thing whenever they were apart. Things were so familiar when they were together, though, and they always seemed to fall into bed together in the end.
The girl in front of her was tucking a flyaway behind her ear and gathering her things. As she stepped into the aisle for her turn, she managed to clumsily knock both Anne and another passenger with the overstuffed bag. She turned quickly to heartily apologize to Anne, who was wearing her mostly cocky, nonchalant smile. “Oh! S-so sorry! I’m so clumsy!” Her blue eyes looked piercing, despite the redness of their edges. Anne waved her off politely and followed her dainty form off the plane.
She looks so timid and small, what is with this girl? Surely, a woman as beautiful as her should walk around like the goddess she is. Anne was ready for a distraction. Something new. Perhaps this young woman was just the thing. Anne was bemused by her demeanor but with a few quick steps, caught up to her as they both turned toward baggage claim.
“What a relief...” a low voice murmured near Ann’s ear, nearly knocking her off her feet. Ann looked up to see the absolutely stunning woman she had just practically knocked over with her bag on the plane. Humiliating. Ann felt her face go hot- panicked.
“Hm?” Ann managed, painfully.
“Oh, I hate flying. Such a relief to be home. And on time, at that!” Her brown eyes crinkled, warmly, and a smile tugged at her lips. Her perfectly soft, gorgeous mouth...Ann shook the thoughts away.
“M-me too. Sorry, again, about the b-bag. I don’t manage well on planes. They give me such t-terrible anxiety.” Ann stuttered, biting her lip and throwing a quick glance up at her. Stop oversharing with the stranger, Ann! God, you have no self-control! She gulped.
Anne nodded sympathetically, readjusting the bag over her shoulder as they walked. The woman was dressed impeccably, black button up tucked into form fitting gray slacks with a thin belt. Silver accents on her ears and around her neck. A large men’s-style watch glinted on her wrist. Her hair was smoothed into a perfect a-line cut, ending right above her shoulders. Ann felt woefully uncomfortable in her casual plane attire and second-(or was it third?) day hair.
“I’m Anne.” A well-manicured hand reached out for her own and Ann felt her stomach flip as she shook it, something curling low in her belly. Anne was hot. And only seemed to have eyes for her, for whatever reason.
“N-Nice to meet you. I’m Ann Walker,” she managed as she stopped, stunned, in front of their baggage carousel. It hummed on and bags started pouring out. The silence stretched out for a moment as their hands dropped and Ann had no idea where this was going. The woman was standing so close she could smell the leather of her bag, and study the individual lashes below her deep brown eyes. Ann felt very, very grateful she had not missed her plane.
“Hi, Ann Walker. Would you like to get a drink with me sometime?” Anne brushed past Ann’s arm and straightened the rainbow pin on the side of Ann’s bag with a single finger, smiling wide. Ann practically melted on the spot, exhilarated by the question, the touch on her arm, and the embarrassment over still having pins on her bag like a child. She felt her mouth wobble in response. No one had asked her out in ages, unless you counted Thomas Ainsworth. Which she didn’t.
“W-well... I... um...I... “ Ann breathed shakily, pulling her eyes away. She was so grateful Catherine had given her the rainbow pin after she came out to her last summer. She knew she didn’t look the part of a gay woman, but Anne did. She was sexy, well-dressed, confident. All the things Ann definitely wasn’t.
Anne was fishing for something in her bag, brown hair falling over her eyes. She handed a business card over, brushing her fingers effortlessly over Ann’s in the process. Electricity. Ann’s breath hitched as she looked down at it.
Anne Lister, CPA
Shibden CPAs & Advisors
Ann’s eyes glazed over at the phone number and email address, lips still trying to form a proper response.
“I’d love to get to know you better, Miss Walker.” Anne withdrew her hand and looked over at the baggage, breaking their eye contact.
“Ah. This is me.” She swung a compact, black bag down and pulled up the handle.
“Until next time?” she said in a low, hopeful tone.
“Y-yes. I would... like that. Very much.” Ann breathed, still working up the courage to say anything more.
“Good…good,” Anne chuckled softly and leaned back, eyes twinkling as she studied Ann for a moment longer.
“I’m very much looking forward to it,” Anne added, winking back at Ann as she wove her way into the crowd and out of the airport, leaving Ann speechless in her wake.