It was funny actually. To watch his older brother, so suave in all situations involving the female populace actually trying, and failing, to impress Kate Kavanaugh. Two hours ago the four of them had started up a game of Trivial Pursuit on the flight over to Scotland but it may as well have been the Elliot and Kate show. If they weren't arguing over an answer, they were cracking jokes and insults that, for better or worse, appeared to be some kind of foreplay between them.
Not that Christian cared. Convincing Elliot to come along had taken no effort, not when he'd found out that it meant a solid 13 hours of alone time with Kate. As altruistic as it seemed, the payoff wasn't about making Elliot happy; it was having Kate suitably dispatched and distracted so that Christian was afforded as much Ana time as possible. He'd gotten as far as being in the same country with her, now he just needed to get Kate out of the picture, a prospect that wasn't exactly looking promising at the moment. But if listening to these two fools banter and pick at each other would get him one step closer to what he wanted with Ana, Christian wasn't about to let it deter him. Not when they were standing on the edge of true reconciliation.
The night before played in a constant loop in his mind. Ana, hand in his as she shyly showed him around her home. Ana, flat against the wall in the hallway where he'd ravished her mouth with kisses so deep and needy they'd stolen her breath away. Ana, straddling him on the couch, her dress bunched up at the top of her thighs as she ground against him while her fingers played delicately over his chest.
The irony that both times he'd managed to get physical with her in the last week she'd taken control and had gotten on top didn't escape him. But if that's what it took for her to feel safe with him again, well he'd be fine to watch her ride him for eternity. More than fine, actually, he thought as she leaned over the board to move her piece, the back of her shirt riding up enough to see a small sliver of skin.
How he'd walked out of her house and made it home before jacking off was still a mystery but he'd done it. As soon as she'd pulled back and had taken that deep breath he knew meant things were winding down, he'd bit back the desperation and instead brushed the hair from her face, nodded solemnly in agreement that if he didn't leave now, they'd take it too far, and let her walk him to the door.
"I want to," she'd said softly as he lingered on the porch, her palms flat over each of his pectoral muscles.
"I know," was all he said, his hand brushing down the side of her body just so he could feel her one last time. "I get it."
"Do you?" Those blue eyes looked up at him with such hope that he nodded, used his thumb to pull her lip from her teeth and kissed her again.
"I do." And suddenly he did. Sex was their power struggle. It was what brought them together, what became their common ground and ultimately, what broke them. Maybe, he'd realized with a small amount of shock, maybe she's right in delaying the physical. Maybe if they built up the rest of their relationship, the sex, amazing and fulfilling as it was, would enhance it and not fuel it. If there had been more of a foundation, maybe things wouldn't have crumbled as fantastically as they did.
And that realization is what gave him the fortitude to take the first step towards his car and make the trip back to Escala. In a way, the entire thing was a mind fuck. His entire existence with women, outside of his family and work associates, centered around the physical. And while sex with Ana had certainly evolved to include the more vanilla aspects of day to day sex, it still was very much used by him to control both of their emotions. When those emotions had become too much for him to bear, he'd lashed out and he'd done it with sex. It had always led back to physical intimacy and now, with that escape off the table, there was nowhere to go except to deal with issues through actual communication.
He'd snorted when he'd finally understood what it was Flynn had been trying to tell him for the last few months. Fuck if that guy wasn't always right in the end. Yes, he'd craved Ana's body and the pleasure and comfort he found in it but what he'd really missed, the loss he'd felt so acutely was the loss of intimacy with her. A deep connection that ran way past a good fuck. And that, he thought as he made his way through the apartment, was what he couldn't live without.
He'd ignored the throb of his cock and the lure of his bed and instead went directly to the playroom, the smell of leather and citrus making his insides twist with regret. The bed and cross had already been dismantled and discarded but the bench, the grid, the couch and the dresser that housed a multitude of toys were still there, their very presence enough to kill his erection. In this room he'd pushed her limits and had broken her. Here, in this elegant room he'd tried to shift the balance of power and had wound up defeating himself.
It had to go. All of it had to go. If Ana wanted to explore this side of her sexuality with him, and he doubted she ever would again, it would all have to be different anyway. If she ever allowed him the pleasure of her submission, it would come at the cost of his as well.
Flynn had been encouraging him to get rid of the room for months now. 'Find a new coping mechanism. One that actually works,' he'd encouraged but Christian had resisted. This had been his crutch for so many years and in some sick way he'd begun to see his sexual dominance as who he was instead of what he liked.
But Ana changed all that when she walked out of this door and out of his life. Because it wasn't the loss of dominance that had done him in, it was the loss of her. She was what filled the space in his life that nothing else ever could. Sex had defined him but Anastasia had redefined sex and in doing so, had upended his entire existence.
"I don't get how a guy so smart could be so dumb," Kate said with a huff when, for the third time in a row Elliot's wrong answer cost their team a piece of the pie. "You use all these big words and from what I hear you're pretty adept at running a company but then you get asked about the mineral that creates fizz in soda and you're all inadequate."
"Aw," Elliot said, his arm pulling her in by the shoulders. "It's so cute that you've researched me."
"Well you're stalking me, I hardly had a choice in the matter," Kate retorted, the venom doused by the scorching chemistry between the two of them. Damn if I could get away with it I'd ride this fine man right here. I don't even care if Ana and Christian are watching.
"Pursuing," Elliot teased, popping in a grape and reaching for his beer. "I don't stalk, I pursue. You're the one, Kate. Not sure why you're denying what you already know is true but I'll wait. I'm pretty damn patient when I need to be."
"There is no such thing as 'The One' so stop with the bullshit."
Elliot placed a hand over his heart and picked up the next card to read to Ana and Christian. "You wound me. I thought all girls believed in 'The One'."
"Only the naïve ones," Kate said with a shrug. "It's a nice idea but it's counter productive to what society and science have to say about monogamy."
Ana sat up and pursed her lips. Having had this conversation with Kate more times than she could remember it was old but to see the way the guys responded was interesting for sure. They actually seemed…offended.
"Are you saying that monogamy is against the norm?" Christian asked, leaning back in his chair and lifting Ana's legs across his lap.
"That's exactly what I'm saying." Kate crossed her arms over her chest and tipped her chin up. "I would expect men like you to agree with me. You're highly sought after specimens."
Everyone laughed at that but she continued on, defiant in her stance. "You are. Intelligent, able bodied, very handsome, powerful and wealthy alpha males. It's not a secret, anyone who meets you would have to admit to that. What I'm saying is that you of all men should know that having so many of the female population offering up their goods to you would be impossible to deny."
Elliot coughed and turned towards this petite blond bombshell. At first he just stared at her but then he saw it, the sadness that she fought so hard to keep out of her eyes. The way her chin jutted out in challenge and damn if he didn't want to prove her wrong.
"I get it, Kate. I get it. You think that because women are willing to spread their legs for me that I always take them up on it because biologically I can't help it. You're wrong though. I can help it just fine."
"And yet, you're the biggest man whore I've ever met."
That stung, no denying it. Where her vitriol was coming from Elliot didn't know for sure but he had a pretty good idea the philandering Mr. Kavanaugh had something to do with it.
Ana slunk back against the fine leather of the seat, face turned towards Christian in a silent bid to have him end this strange non-argument going on in front of them. He raised his brows but remained silent. Elliot had made his bed years ago and was a grown man. If coming up against Kate Kavanaugh was too much for him, better he figure that out now.
"You're right, Kate. I've certainly had my share of fun. Shocking that we never met up before since you were doing your fair share of fun as well, no?" He relished her slanted eyes but pressed forward anyway. Something about her was just so damn alluring. "But my guess is that your anger towards me is more about you feeling something for me that is new to you and your insecurity with men has you putting up a good fight instead of just going with it."
"You're an idiot." Kate rolled her eyes and looked out the window. But it was night and the sky was pitch black so the only thing she saw was her own reflection.
"But I'm right and you know it."
"This is getting a little too personal," Ana whispered to Christian who had to agree.
"Night," was all he said when he stood, lifting Ana to her feet alongside him. "We'll be in the back bedroom. The couch out here turns into a full sized bed, Nicola can get you situated. We'll see you in the morning."
"That was incredibly awkward," Ana breathed out once the door had been shut to the bedroom.
"Yes, it was." But it had also created the perfect excuse to bring Ana back here alone and as things stood now, this was where they would both be spending the night.
"Believing in people is hard for her." Ana twisted the hem of her shirt and bit her lip sadly. "Men especially."
"Yes, I picked up on that," Christian deadpanned, a smile gracing his face when Ana began to laugh.
"She has a point though."
His brows perked up. "You think?"
"Mmmhmm." Ana shrugged, the silk of her tank causing it to slide from one shoulder. "Has any female ever said no to you?"
He felt his heartbeat on the tip of his dick quicken when more of her shoulder became exposed. "You have. Multiple times."
At that she laughed and adjusted the strap, his pout only making her laugh again. "Her point, Christian Grey, since you seem to be choosing to be obtuse, is that as an alpha male you are more likely to have a greater number of women to choose from and hence, are more likely to partake in nature's generosity."
"Her point is hardly a fact, Ana and shouldn't be portrayed as one. She has a bogus belief in a principal she's adopted because it's easier for her to assume nobody could be faithful than to hope that there is someone out there who will be true to her. She's afraid of living in the fear of the ultimate betrayal. Her fear is not fact though." He took off his watch and kicked off his shoes, turning back to her. "I'm proof that she's wrong. Even when we weren't together I was faithful to you. It wasn't even a question whether I would be or not."
"What about Elliot?" Ana moved further into the room and put the small diamond earrings she'd been wearing on the small shelf next to Christian's watch. He pretended that the sight of her things so casually resting next to his was no big deal.
"My brother is most certainly promiscuous and has been for as long as I can remember but he's also the most loyal person I know. Once he set his sights on Kate, that's the only place his sights went." Shrugging he untucked his shirt and threw his wallet next to his watch. "He's not going to wait around for her forever but he's definitely drawn to her. Maybe the chase is part of it, I don't know but I do know that he'll surprise her if she lets him. Elliot's a good guy underneath all that bravado."
"And he really does believe in there being 'The One'?" Ana moved to the bed and pulled down the comforter, sitting on the white sheet before looking down at her tank and skirt. "All of my clothes are packed below. I didn't think about sleeping."
"It's fine, Ana." Ana in a short skirt next to him in a bed was definitely something he could live with. "Elliot has always spoken in the abstract about a wife and kids and as far as I know has always idolized what my parents have. It would be safe to assume that he believes in there being one woman for him."
She got on her knees and reached over to where he stood so that he was in front of her. With a few tugs his tie was loosened and wrapped in neat coil and handed back to him without any fanfare whatsoever. The fact that that tiny bit of undressing had made him stiff as hammer was lost on her completely.
"And you? Do you believe in the concept of there being one person, Christian?"
He smiled because she'd asked him this before and he'd already told her he did but to ask again meant she wanted to hear it again. Which could only be good news for him.
"I do," he said softly, his finger trailing along her collarbone. A blush followed in its wake but it was Christian who felt the heat spread throughout his body when her palm slid up his arm and onto his chest. Always. No matter what they were doing or where they were Ana's hand always made its way to where his heart beat. It had taken a few times to get used to it but now, instead of pain and anxiety, her touch brought familiarity and peace. He stared at her painted nails as they popped first one button and then the next until his shirt fell open. He watched those nails scrape up from his hip bones and over his ribs until once again they rested over his heart.
"How? How do you know?"
"Well," he started, swallowing back the lust clogging up his throat, "Admittedly it's not something I gave a ton of thought to until a few months ago and I don't claim to be the most poetic person but the best way to describe it, for me at least is this. I lived my entire life with this…void. I didn't even realize it was there until you came along. You...our time together, the way we were in public and in private...it was the first time I didn't feel…like a shell of a person. I felt like a whole being. And it was because for my entire life I'd walked around with this void and you filled it perfectly. So yes, I believe in one person."
"Wow," Ana breathed, her fingers ghosting up to his jaw as she stood to kiss him gently. Reverently she held his face to hers, relishing in the way his mouth responded to hers with delicate ease. They barely touched yet the message scorched her soul. "You leave me speechless sometimes, Christian. The way you can be so honest and open with your heart." Her palm slid down to rest over his pec, his deep inhalation the only sound between them. "Does it hurt? For me to touch you like this?"
He swallowed and nodded slowly, watching her eyes dip to her hand and back up to his. "A little. Less every time we do this though." She pulled back only to have him grab her wrist and keep her to him. "No, Ana. I want this with you. I want to be normal with you. I want to be with you and have no rules between us."
"I am with you, Christian. I may have left but my heart was always yours." He smiled and stepped away when the plane hit a pocket of turbulence, wincing when her nails scraped down his chest. Ana hooked a finger towards him and grinned. "Come back here." He did, keeping his gaze on her face and not the strap that had once again slid from her shoulder. Her hands snaked around to hold his lower back as she kissed him, her palms pressing against the warm skin she found there. "Does it hurt when I touch you here?"
"No." He'd long since gotten used to her hands on his lower spine. She peppered kisses along his jaw and the column of his neck, smiling each time he growled low in his throat.
"Does it hurt here?" One hand slid to the curve of his ass, the other to the defined muscles of his abdomen.
"No," he huffed out, his mind blanking out to anything outside of Ana and what she was doing. Tracing her way back up she licked the shell of his ear and whispered.
"What about," her palm slid over the ridge of his belt and down to where he was hot and hard, "here?" Cupping her hand she squeezed him firmly and dragged upwards, nipping his lobe with her teeth much to his enjoyment.
"Fuck," he groaned. "Definitely not." His breath caught in his throat when she applied the perfect amount of pressure to the tip. Slowly dragging her fingertips down his shaft she licked along his collarbone, sighing when she palmed his balls, heavy and drawn tight against him.
The plane lurched again but he caught her and held her steady, one hand holding hers to his groin. With a grin she unzipped him and watched his eyes close as her fingers dragged along the heated skin of his cock.
"I missed a lot of things, Christian but this," she gripped him tight and pulled him out, "was at the top of the list." He blew out a harsh breath, fought the need to sieze control of the situation and held tightly to her hip as she slowly jerked him. It fascinated her, the way this body tensed and shivered with each pass. The way his breathing became rapid and stilted.
"I want to touch you, Ana." The words were gritted out, uneven and pleading but he was close to the edge and a hand job on the back of a plane wasn't exactly what he'd had in mind for their reunion.
"I want that too," she whispered, her forehead falling to his shoulder when his hand slid up the outside of her bare thigh.
Silky and warm and so exactly like he remembered her skin to be. She trembled and gripped him tighter when his hand slid around and cupped her lace covered sex. Wetness coated his fingers and his mouth watered with want so visceral he had to grind his teeth to keep from ravishing her.
Her thumb swirled around the head of his cock as his fingers traced along her slit. The plane shook violently and her arms wrapped around his neck but his hand remained between her legs, squeezing in gentle pulses that demanded more.
"Christian," she panted when his hand pressed to the flat of her belly, under the band of her panties and down through curls that tickled his palm.
"I like," he grinned, pleased when he found her lips smooth and silky. "I want to feel it against my nose as I lick you clean."
Her head lolled back and then snapped forward as one finger slid inside.
"Fuck!" He grunted. "God damn I want you so badly."
Her head nodded to acquiesce and then shook in refusal. Christian ignored the disappointment of her lingering confusion and focused on the tiny noises coming from her mouth. Again the plane lurched and again he held firm. If they went down they'd be doing it fused together because no fucking way was he letting go when she was finally, finally letting her guard down.
On another patch of turbulence he lifted her and laid her on the bed, drinking in the sight of her white lace panties. She reached up and pulled him down, her hand finding his dick again only to let it go when he sat back and pulled that lace past her toes.
He didn't try to hide his stare and she didn't pretend to be shy. Instead he ran each hand up her calves and over her knees, his eyes taking in the sight of her as she spread her legs under his gentle command. She whimpered when he dragged a thumb along each lip and bucked when they brushed against her clit. How could she be so close already? Five minutes alone and Christian had her spread eagle with her back arched in blissful agony.
Breathtakingly gorgeous. Feminine perfection in every sense of the word. Each pass of his fingers elicited a whimper, a sirens song Christian had dreamt about for months now. Slowly exhaling in an effort to calm himself down he closed his eyes. If this was some sort of dream he'd die but when his lids opened Ana was still there with her hair wild on the pillow beneath her. Still there with her skirt pushed up past her navel and her lip between her teeth. Still there with his fingers between her legs, wet and glossy as he slid them over her mound.
"Pull your top down, Anastasia." The demand was gentle and soft but a demand nonetheless. She reached out, swirled the drop of pre-cum around his shaft and lifted the finger to her lips. Christian didn't know if it was the turbulence or his own body that had him lying on top of her just as she pulled that finger from her mouth but he didn't give a shit either way. "Down," he reminded her, his own finger snaking beneath the strap to tug it down her arm.
He kissed the swell of her breast, his fingers gripping the flare of her hip in an effort to steady himself. When one nipple popped out, hard and waiting for him he wasted no time latching on, the deep pull of his sucking more than Ana could take. She moaned and called his name, her hands tangling in his hair to keep him there.
With a pop he pulled off, ripped the other side down and mashed his mouth to hers. Months of want poured out into that kiss. Months of not knowing if she would lie beneath him again. Months of remembering just how it felt when she would succumb to him and become soft and pliable in his arms.
"Ana," he panted, his teeth pulling at that plump bottom lip as he ground his dick against her hand. "I'm dying…" His plea was lost to sound of their drinks falling from the dresser as the plane shook. Ana stiffened but Christian kissed her again and with a deftness she'd only ever seen in him he sank two fingers deep inside her only to draw them out and circle them around her nipple.
Her scent overwhelmed his senses, the familiarity and desire for her body making him hedonistic and desperate. While she watched his tongue darted out to lick up the liquid he'd spread on her, his moan loud and unfiltered.
"Holy Christ have I missed this. Your taste, your scent, the sound of you…" His fingers went to her mouth, her suck going straight to his balls. He bit down on her breast and brought those fingers right back to the very place he was dying for. She whimpered and bowed as he watched. "That's it, baby. Let me watch you."
Her hand let go of his dick and gripped onto his shirt as she lost herself to the pleasure but it was just as well. Three more good pumps and Christian would have cum all over himself. She may not be sure of what she wanted yet but her body knew. She wanted to cum and he was going to make it happen.
"Christian," she whispered as she pulled her legs up. Instinctively she spread them wider, her reward immediate when he quickened his pace. Her eyes snapped open, locked on his and rolled to the back of her head. Yes! Fuck he wanted to taste her orgasm but watching her like this; her clit swollen under his palm, her pussy tight around his fingers, her nipple on his tongue, her breath on his face, that was too good to pass up right now.
Hands twisted in his open shirt she cried his name, the sound washing over him in soothing waves that promised satisfaction. "Oh fuck yeah, Ana. So fucking beautiful." She looked at him, opened her mouth to cry out only to have her breath stolen when his teeth grazed the tender skin of her breast.
"Don't stop, Christian," she pleaded, his answer a punishing suck of her nipple. So close, she was so close it almost hurt but when he whispered he loved her, when he looked into her eyes and repeated those three words she lost all control and surrendered to the pulsating bliss that overtook her body.
"I love you," he said again, his fingers wringing out the last of her pleasure, his face buried in the crook of her neck as she held onto him. "Fucking love you, Ana." He'd have said it a thousand times if she'd let him but she turned her head and had kissed him, her muscles tensing one last time when he withdrew from her. When it was over and her body was damp and limp Christian lifted his face above hers and waited as she blinked back to consciousness. "You are heartbreakingly beautiful," he murmured against her temple as he rained kisses along her cheek and mouth. "Breathtakingly, heartbreakingly beautiful."
Ana dropped her boneless arms to her side and laughed on a sigh. "I so did not plan on that," she laughed again, gripping Christians arms when the plane pitched to the side.
"Ana," he grinned, closing the small distance so that he could kiss those bee stung lips again. "The best things in life aren't planned."
"Says the man who plans out every single detail of every single thing."
"Used to," he quipped, his finger running along the seam of her mouth. "I didn't plan this and look how well that turned out," he teased, looking up towards the door when he heard a knock. Ana tilted her head and studied him, the desire to watch him fall apart the way she just had begging her for action. Against her leg he rested heavily, ready and waiting.
"Sir, Mr. Grey," came Nicola from the other side of the door but then Ana closed her hand around his shaft and it could have been the Pope for all he cared.
"Shit," he sighed, his head falling against her shoulder. Was it her hand that felt so good or the desire he saw reflected in her eyes? "Ana...I..." He held his breath, lifted his hips and watched as she circled him twice more before lying down on his side next to her. "As much as I love the feel of you, I'm not expecting anything in return, Ana." Expecting? No. Wanting? Hell yes.
She answered with a smile and a long stroke from root to tip that had him bucking against her leg. "Are you denying me, Christian?"
"I would deny you nothing, Anastasia. Nothing."
"Then don't deny me this," she purred, rolling to her side so that she could see him better.
"Sir, I must insist that you and Ms. Steele come back to your seats. Sir!" Nicola knocked again, louder than before.
"We're fine in here," he yelled out just as Ana slid her finger over the throbbing vein that ran down his cock. His hand ran up and down her naked warm body but the knock came again.
"Sir, I must insist. We're heading into some severe turbulence and the pilot feels it's best if we were all strapped in. I'm sorry to interrupt but this is a safety issue and can't be avoided."
"You have got to be kidding me," Christian growled, smacking a hand to his head before running it over his face. Another knock, harsh and demanding had him standing angrily, his dick bobbing and waving in mocking defeat. He'd have argued further but the plane pitched violently then, followed by a loud bang as the stewardess was thrown against the hall wall. Of fucking course. He picked up Ana's panties and brought them to his nose, inhaling as he watched her put her clothes back on properly.
"Sir," Nicola began but Christian cut her off with a surly and loud 'We're coming for fucks sake!'
"It's not her fault, Christian."
He rolled his eyes and handed her the lace, catching her when the plane shook. Maybe it wasn't safe to have her back here unrestrained. It was only another four hours to Edinburgh. He'd wait. It would kill him but he'd wait however long it took.
"Hold on," Ana whispered when he reached for the handle. Turning he watched as she fell to her knees and unzipped him again. With a smirk she pushed him against the door, told him to be quiet and sucked him in deep.
"Holy…fucking…hell, Ana. Shit. Shit shit shit," he panted. Those lips that he coveted so much slid all over his shaft, those blue eyes he'd never get out of his head closed as she reveled in the taste of him. A half a minute later and his legs began to tremble, the beating of his heart out of control when she opened her eyes to watch him. Her mouth moved quickly as her hand glided up and down and as good as it felt, it was the sight of his girl looking up at him, her desire and trust for him in that moment so overwhelming that he shot off like a teenager. "Oh fuck…I can't…you're going to make me cum."
She hummed her approval just as the tingle moved to his balls. "In your mouth? You want it in your mouth?" he asked between ragged breaths, his body a slave to the demands of her mouth. "Because if you don't you need,"
"My mouth," Ana interrupted and three seconds later she tasted the salty splash of cum on her tongue. Christian grunted, knotted his hands in her hair, flexed his hips towards her and hissed as she swallowed all he gave her. Watching him shake with violent release, his face contorted with pleasure, his eyes fixated on hers she reveled in the vision before her and held him there. Up and down her nails scratched against his legs, stopping only when he slid down so that they were eye to eye.
Christian pressed his forehead to hers and shook his head slowly back and forth. "Ana..." Nodding slowly she brought her hands to his and kissed him softly. His breathing was still rapid, his body still languid from the build up of tension and the spectacular release of it. Around them the plane shook but there they stayed, on their knees, holding to the other in a moment of pure vulnerability. "Never...it's never been like that with anyone...I've never...you're the only one who does this to me."
Reaching down she tucked him back in and carefully zipped him up, biting her lip as she nodded. "For me either. You...you overwhelm me."
Christian laughed, drawing her attention to his eyes. The man at his knees before her was very much the man whom she had met months earlier but in so many ways he was different. More thoughtful, more aware, more loving. Free from an isolating darkness that had held him captive. There had been a shift in their dynamic, that much was undeniable but beneath that quiet and subdued exterior still resided a man who was most comfortable dominating and dictating.
And she loved that part of him just as much as the rest of him. Her heart skipped painfully.
"I miss you," she stated, taking in the flecks of gold in his blue eyes. God he was so beautiful.
"I'm right here," he said softly, pulling her lip from between her teeth with gentle reverence. "I'll always be right here, Ana. I'm not going anywhere." Heartbreakingly sweet Christian leaned down and brushed his lips against hers.
"I miss us," Ana choked out, her emotions intensified by their intimate exchange only minutes earlier. "I miss what we had."
Christian held her face close and delicately kissed the bow of her mouth. "What we're making now, Ana? What we're working on and moving towards? It'll be better than anything we could have had before."
Author's note: Hi there! One chapter left and just in case you're worried, I'm not offing them in a plane crash! No worries on that front!