Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Three Thousand Mile Kiss

Since I'm not working on my craft right now because I'm in California and my craft things are in Florida, I was going through my thumb drive and found a story I wrote for a friend. He gave me the title and I wrote the story. It's a story about a woman who is being transferred across country and the relationship that develops between her and the consultant who will make her transition easier. Enjoy!

"The Three Thousand Mile Kiss"
The ground grew distant as she gazed out the tiny window.  She’d never found flying easy.  Takeoff and landing almost always disturbed her stomach, but there was nothing for it; this was the fastest and most inexpensive way to travel. Frustrated, she didn’t know why she always had this problem and no one else did. 
She looked at the man sitting next to her and grimaced. He hadn’t noticed take off, which frustrated her.  The portable computer in his lap was open and his eyes were only on the screen.  The look she gave him would have caused him to wonder, but he was engrossed in his work.
His short brown hair, well groomed, curled at the nape of his neck ever so slightly.  Just enough to make women wonder, including herself, what it would be like to feel his hair in their hands.  She envied him his hair.  Her own dark brown hair was straight.  Either long or short, it didn’t matter, her hair refused to accept styling.  It shone with it’s own light, but wouldn’t curl without much help.  In her position she needed hair that she could just brush and go, so she no longer worried with styling.
His skin appeared well tanned as if he’d recently spent hours in the sun on a beach somewhere.  He probably had, she thought to herself.  Staring at his features was only going to confuse him if he caught her so she turned her gaze to the distant landscape outside, but her attention remained focused on the man beside her.  Even sitting, engrossed in his work, his presence dwarfed hers.  At more than six feet, he could intimidate nearly anyone.  He had a muscular build and seemed to keep himself on a tight reign as if any minute a fury would be unleashed upon the unexpected.
The flight attendant brought drinks and practically gushed over him.  Why do women think they’ll get men’s attention by being so flirty? She thought to herself, perturbed. But the attendant was a tall, thin, outgoing blonde that most men would notice in a heartbeat.  She, on the other hand, was short, and quiet, not plain, but not willing to draw attention to herself.  She was glad to see that her seatmate paid no attention to the attendant.
She tried to relax and calm down, but the plane hit a pocket of turbulence and she started to fidget in her seat.
"Brenda, relax, will you?" he asked.  She glanced at him.  He hadn’t even looked up from his screen.  How could he be so calm? She asked herself furiously.  His green eyes flashed a glance at her and he turned his attention to her.  "What’s bothering you?  Your new position?  You were looking forward to it just yesterday."  There was true worry in his eyes.
"I’m not worried about the job, Mr. Anderson."  Now that she had his attention, she couldn’t talk to him.  Typical, she thought.
"Call me Colin. We're working too closely to go by last names.  It’s too much of a hassle to call you Miss Montgomery. What could possibly be bothering you?"  He closed his laptop and turned his full attention to her.
“Nothing.  I’m anxious is all.”  That he had closed the computer was a sign that she’d finally gotten what she had asked for.  But now she wasn’t sure she wanted all of his attention aimed at her.
"There has to be more to it than that, Brenda.  Worried about something you may have left behind?"
She stumbled over the words she wanted to say.  "No.  It’s so trivial, I’d hate to bore you with it."
Colin put the laptop in its case and slid it under his seat.  "Now you’ve aroused my curiosity," he replied, turning so he could more easily look at her.  She noticed some of the tension and stress had removed itself from around his eyes.  It surprised her when he relaxed because she’d never seen him that way.
"I don’t like flying.  It’s not fear exactly, but it’s enough to make me damned uncomfortable.  There’s just something about the idea of being suspended thousands of feet in the air that’s unnerving."
He put his hand on hers, a platonic touch, but she thrilled at it.  Colin had always been just a coworker before.  Now they could hopefully become friends.  It wasn’t like they worked in the same office anymore, not with this transfer.
"Must be because you don’t have control over what happens.  Many people have the same fear.  But I can take your mind off the flight."  He grinned devilishly.  She thought it suited him.  "I can always give you my work to do.  If that doesn’t take your mind off it, nothing will."
"I thought you were proposing something else."  He didn’t comment just smiled brightly.  "I thought you took care of my transfer before we left."
Sighing, he replied, "I did.  I’m not making this trip entirely for your benefit.  The company isn’t doing too well at this end.  That’s why you’re being transferred.  I’m along to see what’s been going wrong and help you find a way to solve the hold up.  Personally, I think you’re up to the challenge without me, but that’s just my opinion."  He smiled.  "But enough about work.  I’ve known you professionally for almost three years now and really know nothing about you.  If we’re going to be working closely for the next couple of weeks, I’d like to know more."
Just what she wanted to hear.  She smiled.  "What would you like to know?"
"What do you do for fun?"
"Well, I don’t go out often, so I read a lot.  I enjoy outdoor concerts in the summer, both popular and classical.  And I love to take long walks, even if the weather is lousy."
"None of that is in your personnel file."
"Of course not.  That’s trivial."
"I think what workers do with their personal lives is important but that’s just another of my opinions." He smiled.
"What do you do for relaxation?"
"Ahh, now we get to it.  I take time off and fly to my friend’s condo in the Caribbean."
She gasped.  "You lucky devil.  So that’s why you have a tan most of the time."
He chuckled.  "I suppose I am lucky.  I take it for granted.  I find I have more and more cause to get away now.  I don’t participate in any of the activities I used to have time for.  That’s one reason for the packet I gave to you yesterday.  I’m looking to convince the company that I need an assistant or something."  He sat up.  "I do need to get back to work.  And if you haven’t already, you should read that packet.  It might help you make my work a bit easier."
"Sure," she replied and pulled it out.  At least she’d gotten to know him a little better.  The pamphlet described the company and all the locations of the branches and Colin’s job.  Boring really, but it gave her and insight as to how busy he really was.  He had a background in management that helped him control situations that occurred in any of the six branch locations around the globe. She understood better why he’d always seemed stressed and why he really did need those vacations in the Caribbean. The rest of the flight passed in relative silence as they worked.  When they landed in Seattle, her anxiety of planes has been mostly relieved, for he had her talking about work for the descent and she was grateful for that.
A company car waited for them.  It became Brenda’s car as soon as she landed, so she drove them both to her new apartment.  She put Colin up in the spare bedroom.  She had insisted that he be at her convenience instead of the other way round considering it was her new position.
The apartment was impressive and spacious and larger than she’d anticipated.  She had a view of a park through her front window.  The huge living room had a fireplace and open to the kitchen.
After they were settled, Colin took her to dinner and acquainted her with the workings of the office and how she should best do her job.  Brenda took his advice seriously since he had worked here before.
Colin was at her beck and call for the next two weeks, helping her ease into the job, showing her exactly what went on.  He also made sure that the workers below her could trust her and go to her with all their problems and suggestions.  She solved the complications that came up, not him.  He just offered his advice and assistance when asked.

Late one night after a thoroughly grueling day of work, she couldn’t sleep so went to the kitchen for some warm milk.  Noticing the living room lights were still on, she went in to advise Colin to get some rest.  Since it was Friday night, he could rest.  No need to be working at three in the morning.
Brenda entered the room and stopped when she noticed his sleeping form.  The laptop was still on, papers scattered around him.  This is too much for him, she thought.  He didn’t look comfortable sitting up, but he did appear relaxed.  The worry lines around his eyes and mouth disappeared in sleep.
After turning the lights off, she tiptoed into the room, not wanting to disturb him.  She gathered up the papers and neatly stacked them on the table next to the computer, then saved the report on the laptop and closed it.  She looked down at him and silently asked why does he heap all the responsibility on himself?
The moonlight that spilled into the room gave her just enough light to see.  She thought him lovely, his dark hair in stark contrast to the white of his shirt.  She wondered what he’d think of her if he knew that she watched, taking pleasure in seeing him at ease.  But theirs was purely a working relationship and no matter how attracted she was to him, she wouldn’t act on those feelings.  In a matter of days, he’d be returning to New York, three thousand miles away.
She crept closer, slowly reaching her hand out touching his hair.  It was soft and silky, the way she imagined it would be.
Before she knew what happened, Colin pinned her to the couch.  He looked questioningly at her, not recognizing her at first in the low light.  He’d stunned her with his action so she didn’t fight him.
He had no idea why he had pinned Brenda to the couch, but silently thanked her for coming to him.  Before she could protest, he kissed her, chaste and soft.  The he exerted pressure.  Teasing, tasting, asking to allow the kiss to deepen, he let her dictate the pace.  She opened her lips to him, letting her tongue move with his.
Colin eased his length closer to her and she could feel his arousal.  Brenda shivered in delight and hugged him closer but he stood up and lifted her into his arms.  He carried her to the bedroom to finish the seduction.
The next morning the phone rang as they were eating breakfast.  Brenda answered and it was for Colin.  He looked puzzled, but shrugged and took the phone.  She watched him and after a few moments, he grew pensive.   His smile disappeared and he left the room with the phone.  Worried, she couldn’t finish eating.
He returned moments later and she noticed the tension had returned.  He sat and didn’t look at her.  She frowned at him, puzzled.
"If you aren’t going to tell me, then I’ll have to ask."  She put her hand on his arm.  He covered it with his own and finally met her gaze.
Colin sighed, still not meeting her eyes.  "Peter Garret wants me to catch a flight back to New York tomorrow."
She pulled her hand away.  "Couldn’t you tell him we still need you here?"
Dropping his gaze to his hands, he answered, "No.  You don’t need me.  I’ve created work for myself to make sure you could handle everything."  He paused as she stood.  "Besides, Peter knows that you’re what’s needed here.  He’s impressed."
"Thanks."  She left the room.  He sighed because there was nothing to say.  Now that the President of the company had called, it was time to leave.  He followed her into the living room.
"Were you hoping everything would change?" he asked.
She had sat down on the couch and was staring out the window at the light playing on the leaves.  "No," she whispered.
He sat next to her then gently stroked her cheek.  "This was your assignment, not mine.  You knew I’d be leaving.  I hate that it’s so soon, but I don’t regret last night."
"That’s nice to know."  She stood and went to the window.  The day shouldn’t be so nice, she thought.  Why couldn’t it be raining like it usually does in Seattle?  "I wasn’t expecting it to be so soon."
His breath caressed her cheek and she jumped, turning to him.  "I’m sorry," he whispered.  There was sadness in her dark eyes that he had no way of removing.  He took her into his arms and kissed her.  They had one day and one night.  He intended to make full use of them.
The following afternoon, she wouldn’t accompany him to the airport.  He understood why, but it disappointed him all the same.
In her sorrow she lashed out with anger.  "You’re great in bed and it was great while it lasted, but it’s best to end it I think," she stated caustically. The bluntness startled him, and then stung.
Instead of trying to ease her mind, he replied as hurtfully.  "We should have done this much sooner.  We could have had fun, you and I."  He leaned in and kissed her fiercely, which she broke off, disgusted.  He walked out the door and shut it behind him, not wanting her to see how much he had sickened himself.  Whatever had blossomed between them wouldn’t ever be rekindled with that.  Sighing, he got into the cab and didn’t look back.  Her dark eyes would haunt his memory.
What had she done?  Her actions had dictated his and that disgusted her.  She’d fallen for him and now she’d lost him. 
Work became her outlet.  It was easy to become immersed in the complications she needed to solve.  The parent corporation praised her excellent work, and she felt relieved but not satisfied.  She had proved to herself and her bosses that she was worthy of the promotion. 
She wished she could see Colin again and win him back.  No, she thought, she had succeeded in pushing him away and his actions couldn’t have been anything but real.    But what if they had mixed their signals and both gotten the wrong idea?  She’d been hurt by his having to leave, so maybe he felt the same?  Now she had to talk with him.  But how?  She had no idea where Colin lived, and it would be inappropriate to contact the main office.
One day, as Brenda walked in the park, she saw Colin standing not three feet before her. He gently embraced her.  It felt right to be in his arms and made her feel complete.
"I’ve missed you, Brenda."
She let her arms circle his neck.  "Don’t ever leave me again."
He chuckled.  "I can’t promise that, but I’ll promise to always return to you."
"Acceptable."  She grinned and tipped her head back.  He leaned his head down and gently kissed her.  They were both breathless and clinging to each other for support.  "Colin, why haven’t you called me?"
He pulled her close to him and rested his head on hers.  "I didn’t think you wanted me.  I treated you horribly."
"We were both awful.  Forgive me."
"Only if you’ll forgive me."
"Yes."  He could feel the relief in her stance.  Brenda became so at ease in his arms.  He wondered how he’d ever get on without her if he lost her now.
"I have to go, but from now on, I will call you every day.  I promise."  He hugged her tight for a moment then broke the embrace.  He kissed her nose and she closed her eyes to enjoy his presence.  When she opened them he was gone.  She looked around and called his name, but the world went on as if he’d never been there.
She felt like she was falling, then she jumped and sat up in bed.  She looked around her empty room.  It felt as if someone else had just been there.  Sniffing the air, she could swear there was the faintest scent of Colin’s cologne.  But he hadn’t been in the apartment for two months.  She scrambled out of bed and looked for him, called his name, but he wasn’t there.  Of course not, she thought.  You’re a fool.  It was a dream.
Brenda wasn’t going to get any more sleep.  She looked at the clock: four thirty on a Saturday morning.
She went into the kitchen, put a pot of coffee on and opened up her briefcase, pulling out her files.  She spent the next hour staring at the reports, not making sense of them when the phone rang.  Puzzled and wondering who on earth would be calling, she answered it.
"Brenda, I’m sorry to be calling this early, but-"
"Colin?" she interrupted in amazement.
"Hi.  I hope I didn’t wake you but I had to talk to you.  I’ve gone too long without calling and I want to apologize for that…"
Hardly able to speak, she asked, "What made you call now?"
"I promised."
"You don’t remember?"  He sounded hurt.
He couldn’t be talking about the dream, could he?  Deciding she had to find out, she asked, "Your promise to call me every day?"
"You do remember.  I woke up this morning with our conversation echoing in my head and couldn’t let a second go by without talking to you."
She was speechless.  They had never had that conversation.  It was a dream.  They had shared a dream? "Colin, you never made that promise to me."
"Yes I did.  I know I did.  We talked about it in the park in front of your apartment before I had to rush off.  I remembered it last night."
"I dreamt it last night, but you never made the promise to me in person."  Silence.  “Colin?"  Still nothing.  "Colin!"
“I’m catching the first flight out.  I have to see you.  I’ll try to be there by tonight."
"Wait.  You don’t have to.  I’m flattered that you think your dream was reality, and maybe I had the same dream, but you don’t have to waste your precious time to come out here.  It’s a coincidence.  It just shows you’re thinking about me."  She tried to pick up her coffee mug but found she was shaking.
"This is more than a coincidence.  I had this intense longing to taste your lips and smell the loveliness of your hair.  I want to be there with you, to feel your body against mine.  Even if it was a dream, that kiss left me feeling dizzy, like a part of my life was missing."
She nearly dropped the phone.  His emotions were as strong as hers.  She had longed for those same things when she had woken up and had felt the same way about the dream kiss.  "Colin, we’re three thousand miles apart!  How can we both feel the same way?  It was just a dream!"
"Brenda, you’re questioning what we both want?  Even if it was just a dream, I still want you and I need to see you.  Don’t you?"
She sat back in her chair.  "Yes, I do.  Call me when you have a flight and I’ll pick you up at the airport."
"Deal.  I love you."  He hung up the phone before she could take in that confession.  He loved her.  What had made him confess it now?  It had to be the dream.  But how could a dream be more than reality?  Some do say that dreams are as real as every day life.  She’d wanted to hold him again and it was coming true. Did she love him in return?  She pondered that for only a moment and realized she must.  If a wish could produce a dream that proved a man loved you when you had doubts, then she loved him. 
Jumping up from the table she hurried into the bedroom, the work forgotten.  She planned to take his breath away the moment he got off the plane.