I own nothing except a vivid imagination. All rights belong to S Meyer.
Airports were lonely places in the dark of the night, but especially so in the middle of a snowstorm. It was unnaturally quiet and empty with all the planes grounded, the skeleton staff talking softly among themselves.
With a sigh, I shifted my backpack higher and moved away from the counter toward the window. Outside, the snow beat against the panes, the wind wild in its fury. I leaned my aching head on the cold glass, watching the storm swirl and rage outdoors.
Turning around, I scanned the terminal. People were scattered everywhere—those who were silly or hopeful enough not to listen to the reports of the sudden storm and plane cancellations were now stranded, or those, like me, who hadn't been able to get a hotel room. My plane should have flown around the storm and been fine, except for the unexpected problem with the engine, forcing an emergency landing just before the airport closed to all traffic. I had been in the back of the plane, and by the time I made it to the front of the line, the few hotel rooms the airline was able to provide were long gone. I had accepted the travel voucher for another flight, a food voucher I could use in the terminal, and their apologies with a smile. The woman I was talking to managed to grab me a small pillow—smiling in gratitude when I told her I already had my own blanket in my pack . Listening to the people cursing and complaining at the airline staff, I was flummoxed. It wasn't as if they caused the storm preventing us from getting out of the city, or the fact, because of the same storm, they couldn't even take us off the airport grounds.
I glanced at all the people, noticing most of the seats and spots against the walls were taken. The terminal was well lit and there were a large number of people sleeping or using their phones and iPads. There were long lines at the payphones, as people tried to contact their loved ones. I felt the sudden rush of sadness. I had no one to call. No one was waiting for me to come home, or cared where I was or that I would be late arriving at my destination.
Investigating, I noticed an escalator leading down to some other, smaller gates. I paused, looking over my shoulder—I could go back through security into the larger main terminal. It probably wouldn't be as busy out there. I could find a spot to sit and watch the storm, but then decided I would see enough snow over the next while, and what I really needed was some sleep. I headed down, wondering if perhaps it might be quieter below. At the bottom, I hesitated, then grinned in relief, because the area was almost deserted. The lights were dimmed, there was no staff at the gates and only a few people were relaxing in chairs. I walked to the far corner, sitting down in one of the empty rows and pulling my backpack off my weary shoulders. Leaning forward, I stretched out my back with a small sigh of satisfaction. Sitting back, I closed my eyes, only to realize I should have taken a couple Tylenol. With a groan, I got up and found a fountain, swallowing the pills I had dug out from my pack. Seeing as I was right beside a washroom, I went in and washed my face and hands, brushed my teeth, and ran a comb through my hair. Feeling a little fresher, I made my way back to my little corner, frowning when I saw I had company.
Across from my spot, a man was stretched out, already sleeping. His legs were bent at a funny angle, pulled tight to his body, and his head buried on his arm that was tucked under a scrunched up jacket. On the floor beside him sat a bulging backpack resting against the seat and a battered guitar case. He was dressed in a white T-shirt and jeans, his feet clad in dusty work boots. The way he was curled up, his T-shirt had ridden up over his pants, exposing a wide expanse of his naked back. His jeans were pulled down, the waistband of his underwear peeking over the edge. Tilting my head, I read Fruit of the Loom written across the banding. Feeling like a stalker, my eyes drifted lower, settling on his ass.
His well-shaped, very firm-looking ass. The angle he was bent in showed it off to perfection. Squinting my eyes, I could even see two dimples that rested just over the swell of his ass cheeks and the sudden desire to reach across and touch them made me actually sit on my hands so I didn't do exactly that.
I frowned, wondering if I should move. Maybe he wanted privacy. Internally, I snorted—as if anyone could find privacy in an airport. Obviously, like me, he had sought out the quietest place he could find, because he wanted to sleep.
Which was a very good idea.
Shoving my backpack under my feet like a stool, I shut my eyes and leaned my head back. But I couldn't get comfortable. I shifted a little and tried again. I used the pillow I'd been given and attempted to curl into the seat, but the metal bars dug into my side and the thin cushion under me offered no relief at all. I turned the other way, trying to find a more comfortable position, throwing an envious glare toward the fine-assed, sleeping man. He seemed pretty cozy.
I watched as his shoulders moved in a continuous slow rhythm, his breathing deep and even. I tried matching my breathing to his and felt myself relax and my eyes drift shut. A loud noise behind me was startling, and I sat back up to see a woman had dropped a large overstuffed suitcase. I turned around and attempted once more to relax, but this time it didn't work. I was never good at sleeping while sitting up. My slumbering neighbor made a low groan, his arm twitching a little before he resettled, and I frowned. He was lying down—stretched out across a few seats. Maybe I should try doing that. I stood up and pulled on the wide, metal arm rail, but it didn't budge. I pushed and pulled, but I couldn't get it to move. I moved to the next set of seats and tried again. Obviously, some of them had to pull up so you could lie down. Ass-man had figured it out. Surely I could, too.
However, I had no success. I sat down, frustrated. Looking across the aisle, I wondered if maybe only certain rows allowed you to move the handle out of the way. Cautiously, I tested a couple in his row, tugging hard on the handles, but none of them budged. Finally, in desperation, I circled around and warily leaned over the back of the seats he was sleeping on to see how the arm lifted. I was shocked when I realized the arm wasn't missing. Mr. Ass-man was curled right around the metal—so tightly it was digging into his stomach. I shook my head—it had to be uncomfortable, yet still he slept. Unable to resist, I stared at his slumbering face. He was handsome. Beyond handsome. He had turned a bit, so his entire face was on display, his bright-colored hair in wild waves around his temples. Thick, arched eyebrows framed wide-spaced eyes. Long, dark, full lashes rested on high cheekbones. A sharp jaw was covered in thick scruff, the color glinting red in the dim light. Full, pouty lips were partially open, his pink tongue resting on the bottom lip invitingly. I frowned at the dark circles under his eyes, but understood better how he was able to sleep in such an awkward position. He was exhausted. Now that I could see him, I realized that even asleep he wasn't in total rest. His hand moved, fingers twitching constantly. His eyebrows flexed and contracted as his mouth frowned and pursed. Another low groan escaped his lips as a soft pleading "no," came out. His hand moved, lifting and seeking, his fingers flexing mid-air.
I felt the strangest need to comfort him. I wanted to run my fingers through his wild hair and soothe him; hold his hand and stroke the rough-looking skin so he would relax. When his hand moved again, I slipped mine into it, squeezing the wide palm lightly. Instantly, he seemed to calm and his face relaxed. His hand flexed and held onto mine.
My gaze strayed over to my backpack. I wondered if I should cover him with my blanket and if there was any way of sliding the airplane pillow under his head, to make him a little more comfortable. I wanted to do something, help in some small way. Why, I had no idea, but the urge was overwhelming. I had to get my hand back first, though. I glanced back down, only to freeze in place.
His eyes were now open—staring right at me. Wide, startled eyes, so green it was like losing oneself in a deep forest. I felt my cheeks burst into flames at being caught leaning over him and staring.
I waited for the anger. The yelling that would start any second.
Instead, his full mouth curved into a slow, deep smile.
I wonder who the stranger is?
Update next week. Am still recovering, still only have one good hand, so it will be a slower story to post. Thank you for reading.