Tuesday = #Blogbattle
#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration. Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.
This week’s word: Distance
Close the Distance
Evelyn boards the plane hoping she won’t end up sitting next to some older woman who wants to chat incessantly about her grand kids. She finds her seat with out any trouble, and is relieved when she notices the person in the next seat, Oh good a sleeping man. Just then the flight attendant appears behind her and asks if she needs any assistance. Evelyn puts her finger to her lips and says in a whisper, “I’m fine thank you, I don’t want to wake him…I don’t want to have to talk to him during the flight.”
“That wouldn’t be so terrible,” The man says with a mischievous grin, without opening his eyes.
Evelyn chokes back an expletive as she stores her carry on bag.
The flight attendant smiles and says, “Have a nice flight.”
“Oh…she will,” He is now fully awake and looking right at her. She has a difficult time not getting lost in his blue eyes.
Evelyn takes her seat. With a hand to her chest she pleads her case for forgiveness, “I am sorry, I hate to fly…I’m just a little anxious.”
He holds up a hand, with a sincere smile, he says, “It’s fine, we don’t have to talk.”
“Well that would be just awkward now. Let’s start over…Hello, my name is Evelyn Rhodes,” she extends her hand.
“Hello Evelyn, I’m Jack McAllister, nice to meet you.” He gives her hand a somewhat firm shake.
“So Evelyn, are you traveling for business or pleasure?” he inquires.
Trying to ignore the effect the smoothness of his voice has on her, she stammers, “Uh….both. Whenever my company sends me somewhere, I like to tack on a few extra days to take in the sights, and get a break. What about you?”
“Friends wedding…at the Grand Hotel.” He says with little emotion.
She didn’t want to mention to this stranger, albeit a very handsome stranger, that she was also staying at the Grand Hotel.
As the plane prepares to take off, he notices that she is visibly uptight. Her hand is gripping the armrest so tightly, her knuckles have turned white. She leans her head back against the seat and closes her eyes. Her lips are frantically moving, and he thought she was praying until he heard the whispered affirmation repeated over and over, “I am a calm airplane passenger” which totally belies her posture.
Trying not to laugh, Jack gently takes her hand in his, and calmly says, “Evelyn, look at me…relax, and just breathe. Tell me about your job, but no matter what, don’t take your eyes off me.” His uses his other hand to rub a tiny rhythmic circle on the top of her hand, which pleasantly calms her down.
As the flight continues, they talk about where they currently live, and are both surprised to find that they only live blocks away from each other. Jack keeps the conversation going and asks if that is where she is originally from. When she explains that she is from a small town he probably never even heard of, but yet he has, he let’s go of her hand, and says, “Just stop,” He turns in his seat to angle his body so that he is almost facing her.
Evelyn looked nonplussed, “What? Stop What?”
With an eyebrow raised he suspiciously asks, “What street did you live on?”
She cautiously responds. “I lived on Willow Street…Why?”
“Seriously Evelyn? I lived on Birch.” Jack continues to look at her until his words sink in.
As understanding dawns on her face she says incredulously, “Jack, no way…that’s well within walking distance from each other…like where we live now.”
“We have probably been passing each other on the streets our whole lives, what are the chances that we end up meeting on a plane taking us to another state?” asking the rhetorical question.
“Jack, this actually wasn’t my original destination. I only found out yesterday of the change in plans, which rarely happens. My boss knows how I am about sticking to a plan, but it couldn’t be helped.”
He quietly laughs, and takes her hand in his again, and says “Evelyn, be my plus-one for my friend’s wedding.”
“Gee…so charming, how can I resist an invitation like that? Where is your original plus-one?”
“I found out yesterday that all her late nights at work had nothing to do with her job.” He replied flatly.
“Oh…I’m sorry Jack.”
“Eh…it happens. I’m serious Evelyn, this has to be fate, destiny….kismet, serendipity….or whatever word they use in romantic movies to get the girl to say yes.” He says while waving his hand back and forth to punctuate each word.
“Since you put it that way” she smiles and then murmurs, “and I happen to be staying at the Grand Hotel.”
He let’s out a triumphant “Yes,” with a single fist pump, and says, “You see Evelyn, I’m telling you…it’s fate.” He wiggles his eyebrows up and down.
“Is it too late to get a refund from the Charm School you attended?” She teases, shaking her head this is definitely not what I had planned.
~ ❤ ~
Later that evening, Evelyn exits the elevator and begins to walk through the lobby. When Jack turns around wearing a gorgeous black suit, the sight of him stops her in her tracks. He sees her and quickly closes the distance between them. When he is right in front of her, he takes her hand and steps back so he can admire her.
She looks back at him and declares, “Oh my, Jack McAllister, don’t you clean up nicely?”
He kisses her hand and says, “I’d say the same to you, but my charm must accommodate my attire. Besides, mere words cannot express how stunningly beautiful you are. Thank you for being here with me. Shall we?” He places her hand in the crook of his arm and leads her into the ballroom.
With a nod and an alluring smile, Evelyn says, “I guess charm school paid off after all.”
“You don’t even know,” his words are flirtatious but filled with promise.
Later when he leads her to the dance floor, she places one hand on his shoulder, and the other in his hand, leaving enough space in between them so their bodies do not touch. When he places his hand on the small of her back, and draws her close, he whispers in her ear, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anymore distance between us.”
© 2015 Carrie Ann