A/N: I own nothing in this story besides the idea. All publicly recognizable characters, locations, etc, are the property of their respective copyright owners. I just use a little artistic license to mess with them.
This story is complete, 4 chapters plus a small epilogue. Updates on Saturdays. I'm my own beta right now, so any errors are my own. Enjoy!
I sigh wearily as I drop my duffle bag off my shoulder and sink onto the plush sofa in the first-class lounge. Part of me hates Rosalie Hale for insisting on having her bachelorette party in Las Vegas. I hate flying, and she knows this, has known this as long as she's known me, which is since we were gawky teenagers living next door to each other in suburban Seattle. Then again, she did spring for my upgraded ticket, and flying first class almost makes it worth dealing with traffic, parking, and the indignity of TSA security. Almost.
I glance around the lounge, surprised there aren't more people here. I know there are only eight first class seats on this plane, but I would have expected everyone to have arrived by now, as the flight is scheduled to leave in half an hour. There's only myself and an older couple in the waiting area, meaning either this is a very empty flight, or five of our travel companions are even later than I am.
When the gate attendant announces pre-boarding, I realize it must just be an empty flight, as no other passengers have arrived. I smile to myself; this means I get even more room to sprawl out. The other couple and I make our way down the jet way, and I drop into my seat, plunking my bag on the seat next to me since it doesn't look like I'll have a seatmate.
I dig through my bag, searching for my headphones and book. I'm so engrossed in my search that I don't notice the shadow that's stopped in the aisle next to my row, until I hear a throat clearing.
My eyes shoot up, expecting the flight attendant, and then widen in shock. If this is what the flight attendants look like in first class, I might just change my opinion about flying. A gorgeous man stands in the aisle, gazing down at me with dark green eyes, set beneath a heavy brow and obscenely long eyelashes. He has close cropped brown hair, though despite the short length it looks unruly, as if he's run his hands through it repeatedly.
His black button down shirt is open at the collar and the sleeves are rolled up to the elbows, revealing sinewy forearms covered by a light dusting of dark hair. His shirt is tucked into dark blue jeans that sit low on his slim hips, and despite the relatively loose cut of the shirt, it's not so loose that I can't see the muscles of his arms and chest. This guy is ripped.
I realize I've been staring rather rudely and glance back up at his face guiltily. He's raised an eyebrow at me during my perusal, and when I meet his gaze again, he smirks at me knowingly. I feel the blush start in the tips of my ears and spread down my face to the base of my neck, and I swear his eyes follow the growing flush down my neck, and then lower, landing on my chest. Belatedly, I realize that with him standing, and the angle at which I'm leaning over the seat, he can probably see straight down my blouse.
I sit upright and his eyes snap back to mine, darker than they were a moment ago. It's my turn to raise a brow at him, as we are now even in our mutual ogling, but he doesn't look contrite. Quite the opposite, as he gives me another self-satisfied smirk.
"Your bag is in my seat," he murmurs, and I catch a hint of an accent. British? Australian, maybe. Despite his stunning good looks and sexy voice, I'm annoyed. The cabin is virtually empty and he's going to insist on sitting next to me and stealing my extra space? I glance behind me and am shocked to see the rest of the seats have filled. When did these other people arrive? Surely I wasn't rummaging in my bag that long.
I glance back at him, then something niggles at the back of my mind, and I turn back towards the rest of the passengers. The other seats have all been filled with men. Men who appear to be dressed similarly to the Adonis standing next to me, and just as swollen with muscles.
None quite match his beauty, though they're all incredibly attractive. My eyes widen as I take them all in - there's one with long, shiny black hair and russet skin, one with short, dark brown hair that falls in curls over his forehead, and two blondes, one with hair that curls over his ears, and the other with an almost-buzz cut and icy blue eyes.
I hear a throat clearing again and my eyes swing back to the god posing as a man standing in the aisle of the plane. I realize I've not moved since he spoke, and my bag is still occupying the seat that is rightfully his. I feel the blush that had receded during my perusal of the other passengers return full force, and I scramble to pull the bag out of his way so he can sit.
In my haste, the bag tips and the contents tumble onto the floor of the cabin through the still-open zipper. I groan at my embarrassing display of clumsiness in front of this epitome of male beauty, and bend over to retrieve my wayward belongings. As I'm shoving blouses and toiletries haphazardly back into my bag, I curse myself for being so flustered.
He's just a pretty face. And if he didn't think I was a complete fool for my reaction to his presence, he certainly does now. No, I chastise myself. I don't care what he does or doesn't think of me. As soon as this plane lands, we'll go our separate ways and I'll never see him again. So he can judge me all he wants.
Feeling slightly mollified after my little internal pep-talk, I zip shut my bag and shove it under the seat in front of me. I keep my eyes trained forward as he sits down, resisting my body's inclination to lean towards him and sniff. I bet he smells amazing. I bury that thought as I feel my ears turn pink. You'll never see him again, I remind myself.
I feel a fissure of energy as he leans towards me. My eyes drop closed, and I will myself not to spontaneously combust as his nose grazes the shell of my ear and he murmurs, "I assume these are yours." It takes me a moment to realize he has actually said something that requires a response from me, so I turn my head towards him and peel my eyes open only to slam them shut in mortification a moment later.
In the palm of his upturned hand is a pair of my panties - the lacy, dark blue ones that Rose insisted I bring with me, since, according to her, "You never know what will happen." Well, Rose, now I know what will happen. I will act like a complete fool in front of the most gorgeous man I have ever seen and he will hand them back to me after I've dropped them on the floor of the first-class cabin. Probably not what she had in mind.
I can feel my face flaming as I snatch them out of his hands and grit out a "Thank you," before I shove them into my pocket. My fingertips tingle from where they made contact with his skin, but I push the thought from my mind. If he had any doubt in his mind that I was absolutely nuts, he now has confirmation in spades. The rest of his group is seated in pairs; he's the odd man out, and gets stuck next to me for the whole flight. Poor, gorgeous man.
I curl up into the corner of my seat, trying to put as much distance between us as possible in the confined space. He seems oblivious to my efforts to make him more comfortable by acting invisible, because as soon as he's stowed his bag, he leans towards me over the arm rest between us and extends his hand. The same hand that was previously holding my panties.
"I'm Edward," he murmurs in his velvety accent.
"Bella," I whisper, unable to speak any louder for fear my voice will crack.
I realize his hand is still hovering in the air between us, waiting for me to stop acting like an imbecile and shake his hand in proper greeting. I smooth my palms across my jeans, hoping to eliminate any sweatiness, and gingerly place my hand in his. A tingle of electricity shoots up my arm at the contact, igniting my blush anew.
His gaze drops to follow my blush to where it disappears into the neckline of my top then quickly snaps back to my face. Rather than shake my hand, he squeezes it gently.
"Pleasure to meet you, Bella," he murmurs, and I shiver at the way his voice caresses my name. "What brings you out Las Vegas way? Business or...pleasure?"
It's all I can do to prevent myself from combusting at the insinuation as he practically purrs the word "pleasure" at me. I have no doubt that if I were traveling with him I would have no shortage of pleasure. The promise of dark, carnal things dances in his eyes as he smirks at me, awaiting my answer.
"Uh, pleasure I suppose?" I answer hesitantly. He quirks a brow at me, silently asking for more information at my half-questioning answer. "I'm going for a bachelorette party," I clarify.
"Ah, the ever popular bachelorette party in Las Vegas. Nice choice," he grins. "I suppose you'll drink yourselves silly then go break a bunch of hearts at a dance club?"
Sounds like the kind of thing Rosalie would like to do, though I wasn't exactly sure the specifics of the plans for the weekend. Her college roommate, Alice, had planned everything. All I had to do was show up. But I didn't doubt that I was in for some ridiculous debauchery, not that I really wanted to deal with that nonsense. I'd rather just sit around the pool at the hotel.
I didn't realize my face had twisted into a moue of displeasure until Edward let out a hearty laugh. "What, not your idea of a good time?" he chortles.
"Not exactly," I admit. "I'm sure I'm in for something like that, but I'd be much happier just laying out by the pool or something."
His eyes darken and I have a feeling he is imagining me in a bikini, or maybe even less. Suddenly I realize he still has my hand in his. Flustered, I quickly tug it out of his grasp. It's odd - I feel bereft now that I don't have physical contact with him. Stupid girl, you'll never see him after this flight is over, I chastise myself.
I clear my throat, trying to regain my composure. "How about you? Heading to Vegas by choice or requirement?" I ask.
"I actually live there, so I'm headed home," he explains. Before I can respond to this revelation, the flight attendant stops to see if we want anything, her tone implying she'd be willing to offer Edward much more than what is stocked in the little airplane kitchen. I grimace at her blatant flirting, then scold myself since I have zero claim on the man sitting next to me. Even though he's seen my panties, which is more than most men can say.
Edward barely glances her way before declining. Her face falls at his dismissal but she moves on to the other rows. Plenty more handsome men to work your wiles on, deary, I think smugly. Then it sinks in that we're moments away from takeoff.
My face must register my panic, because the gentle smile that had been on Edward's face falters as he looks at me. "What's the matter?" he asks cautiously.
"I, uh...I don't really like flying. I'm only doing it now because Rose insisted and we've been friends forever so I feel like I owe it to her," I confess.
"Shh, nothing to be afraid of," he murmurs, reaching for my hands which are now clasped tightly in my lap. He pulls one over to his lap and rubs his thumb gently over my knuckles, soothing the tension there. The gentle motion is enough to distract me as we taxi away from the gate and towards the runway.
But as soon as the plane begins moving into position for takeoff, the small touch isn't enough to keep the panic at bay anymore, and I can feel my heart-rate increase in anticipation. Suddenly, Edward releases my hand, and I'm about to protest - the small comfort is better than no comfort at all.
Then I'm being pulled up against his chest and I realize he only released my hand to lift the arm rest between us. He tucks me under his chin and wraps both arms around me. One holds me close while the other begins stroking the hair at my temple.
I'm rigid in surprise for a moment before his ministrations take effect and I practically melt into him. I burrow further against him, inhaling his scent. I was right, he does smell delicious. Like soap, and citrus, and something that must just be Edward.
He murmurs quiet, soothing things against my hair, though I can't make out most of the words, just the intention behind them. It feels like it's only been moments before he loosens his grip and starts to ease away from me.
I make a noise of protest and snuggle tighter against him, bringing my arms around him to keep him in place. He stiffens for a moment when I first touch him, but he quickly relaxes back into the embrace.
"I've got you, pretty girl," he murmurs against my hair. I hum my agreement and tighten my hands against his back, enjoying the way his muscles flex beneath my touch. I feel, rather than hear, when he begins to hum a melody I don't recognize. With my eyes closed and Edward's arms around me, I can almost forget I'm in a metal tube hurtling through the sky thousands of miles above solid ground.
I feel the seat beneath me jolt suddenly and I tense, expecting it's turbulence, and I resist when Edward's arms loosen again. "Shh, love, we've landed. It's all over now," he says, gently shifting me back into my own seat.
I'm completely confused - there's no way I missed the entire two and a half hour flight. But as I glance out the window, I see that we are, in fact, on the ground in Las Vegas. I can see the glittering lights of the strip in the distance.
Now I'm mortified. Not only has this man had to deal with my panties and panic, but I've fallen asleep on him, and he's made not a sound of discontent. I should nominate him to be canonized as a saint.
"I'm so sorry," I mumble, refusing to meet his eyes.
"Hey, why are you apologizing, love?" He brings his finger to my chin and turns my face so I have no choice but to look at him. "Best flight I've ever been on."
I search for any sign of teasing or deceit, but his eyes are earnest as they gaze back into mine.
"Still, I wasn't exactly the best seat-mate. Panicking, and using you as a human pillow," I protest.
"You can use me as a human pillow anytime you feel like, pretty girl," he says with a grin.
I blush again and avert my eyes, reaching down to retrieve my bag rather than acknowledge his statement. I find my phone and turn it back on, seeing several text messages from Rosalie waiting for me. I flip through them - nothing critical, just concern about how my flight went and hoping I got in safely.
Edward stands to debark the plane, and I realize this is it. I will never see this man again. The thought makes me incredibly sad, though I know next to nothing about him. I'm so wrapped up in my maudlin musings that I don't realize he hasn't walked off yet.
"You coming, love?" he asks.
I glance up at him, startled, but quickly regain my bearings and stand. I manage not to bang my head on the overhead bins, which is a miracle in itself, and stumble into the aisle behind Edward. Satisfied that I am not, in fact, staying on the plane, Edward turns and makes his way out of the plane. I follow and am slightly surprised to see Edward waiting for me at the end of the jet way.
Then I realize that he must be waiting for the other men who had been in first class. I glance behind me and confirm they are not far behind me. I sigh at my absurdity. Of course he's not waiting for you. You practically molested him. He probably can't wait to get as far away from you as possible and laugh about the crazy lady he sat next to on his flight home.
As I start to walk past him, he grabs my arm, halting my progress. My eyes meet his and he gives me a bewildered smile. "What's the rush, pretty girl?"
"Rose is waiting for me," I mutter, trying to shrug out of his grip. He drops his hand and his smile falters.
"Oh. Well, I thought..." he drifts off, reaching his hand up to scratch at the back of his neck. The rest of his group has reached us now, and he seems to be having a silent conversation with one of the blondes. He glances back down at me and smiles uncertainly. "Well then. It was lovely to meet you, Bella. Hope you enjoy your time in Vegas. Don't break too many hearts."
I snort at the suggestion that I could break any hearts and turn to go find a taxi to the hotel. I hear hushed voices arguing behind me, before Edward calls out, "Bella!"
I stop and turn slowly to face him. He runs up to me and holds out a scrap of paper. I look at him, confused, and he presses it towards me again. "I know you're only here for a short time, but if you find you've got some down time, maybe you'd like to call me? I'd love to take you out for a drink," he rushes out. At my hesitation, he continues, "Or not, no pressure. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, and you totally don't have to take my number if you don't want to, I'd just really like to see you again, get to know you a little better -"
I cut him off by snatching the paper out of his hand. He gives me a relieved smile, and rocks back on his heels as he tucks his now empty hands into his back pockets. "Good. Great. So, you'll call me? Or you can text if you don't want to call. Or if you don't have time to talk or whatever."
I can't help but smile at his continued word vomit. He sounds just like me when I get flustered. The thought is very comforting, that this perfect specimen isn't completely immune to human frailties.
"I don't know if I'll have time for that drink while I'm here, but I'm sure I can find time to give you a call."
His smile is practically blinding at my words, and he reaches out a hand to tuck some hair behind my ear. "I can't wait to hear from you, pretty girl."
I can't help but smile back. "Yeah, so, um. Talk to you soon?"
"I certainly hope so, Bella," he murmurs, as he begins walking backwards away from me.
"Yeah, ok. Um. Bye," I stammer, turning around and stumbling off towards the taxi stand.