AN: I would like to say that the title to this story was inspired by Saliva's song "Always". If you haven't listened to it, you should. For some reason I feel like it fits Red Eye perfectly.
Chapter One: Change of Plans
"Wait a minute." He turned to her, a look of complete and utter seriousness written on his face. "You're not stalking me are you?"
She jerked back and shook her head slightly. "No." she replied, her voice small.
Jackson stared at her a moment more, drinking in the tiny fear flickering in her eyes. Finally, he laughed to ease the tension
After realizing he was only joking, Lisa smiled. "You got me," she replied, looking away.
Jackson laughed again. "I'm sorry," he said, smiling to himself at his joke.
They stayed silent for a moment, Jackson staring straight ahead as Lisa rubbed the back of her head. "Oh jeez."
Jackson turned to her, a look of concern flitting across his face. "Are you alright?"
"If I say yes are you going to ask me if I'm sure?" she asked, smiling slightly.
"No. No. That's your dad's department," he responded, laughing gently.
Lisa nodded slowly. "Yeah I'm fine. I . . ." she paused for a moment, attempting to read anything in his ice-blue eyes. "Earlier today I had some cheap wine at the funeral, and combined with the cheap vodka . . ."
Lisa smiled at him. "I blame you for that part." She teased.
"Well, I feel terrible now."
She gave him a knowing look, a smile attempting to cross her face. "You should."
"Oh, I do." He replied and then laughed slightly, his mind drifting slowly away to watch the other passengers file slowly in.
The phone rang in the silence of the cabin, causing Lisa to look up from the magazine she was perusing. She laughed slightly. "Well, you are popular."
Jackson laughed sheepishly and yet, Lisa noticed, the laugh did not reach his eyes. "I'm sorry," he said, reaching quickly to unclip the phone from his belt.
"No, it's okay."
He looked at the number on the phone, an odd look crossing his face. "It isn't usually like this."
Sure it isn't, she thought. "No. Go ahead." Lisa replied, turning back to the magazine in her lap.
Smiling again, Jackson hit the talk button and placed the phone to his ear. "Hey. What's up? Yeah," he paused and glanced at Lisa from the corner of his eyes. "No, it's okay. Uh huh. What do you mean they-? Uh huh," He paused again, rubbing his chin with his left hand. "Okay. Got it."
Lisa tried to pay attention to her magazine, tried to ignore anything he was saying. His words were smooth, as they had been in the airport bar. His arm would brush hers every now and then as he talked, shifting in his seat uncomfortably. Her eyes glanced at him for a moment, taking in the way his blue eyes stared unseeingly at the seat in front of him as he listened to the person on the other side of the phone.
He had the most amazing eyes, she noticed. They were the brightest blue she had ever seen. And yet it seemed as if there was something hidden deep within them; something she could not quite place . . .
"Hey. What's up?"
"Are you on the plane?" the voice on the other side asked. "Is she next to you? Should I let you go?"
"Yeah," Jackson replied, pausing to glance at Lisa from the corner of his eyes. "No, it's okay."
"Good. There's been a change in plans."
Jackson felt his heart skip a beat at the voice's words but kept his expression stoic. "Uh huh."
There was a pause and Jackson could hear papers being shuffled in the background. "It's been called off. The client called off the hit."
Irritation welled up in Jackson's chest, filtering through to his words when he spoke. "What do you mean they-?"
"Just listen," the voice snapped. "They may have called it off but we think they'll change their minds again. We want you to stay by her."
"Uh huh," he replied simply, rubbing his chin with his left hand, feeling the two day old stubble beneath his fingers.
"Do whatever you feel is necessary but do it right. Got it?"
"Got it," he replied, irritation sweeping over him again.
"Good. We'll be in touch." The voice said and then a moment later the phone clicked, signaling the call was over.
Exasperated, Jackson pulled the phone from his ear and turned it off. He didn't have time for this shit. It was supposed to be a simple job. Get in. Get out. What the fuck was the client thinking? Schooling his voice and expression, he gave a slight smile as he placed the phone back in its place on his hip. "Work. For the last time."
"Ah," Lisa replied, still looking at the in-flight magazine. "Are you on a business trip?"
Jackson almost laughed at the irony of her question. "Something like that."
Lisa finally looked up and noticed that his gaze was still locked on the seat in front of him. "Do you live in Miami?"
Jackson almost laughed again. What a stupid question. "Um, yeah. For now."
Lisa could see a flicker of irritation well up in his eyes before he quashed it. "I'm sorry," she said. "I don't mean to pry."
Jackson finally looked at her, dragging his gaze from the boring blue fabric of the chair. It wouldn't do to push her away now. "No. It's okay. It's just been a really long week." He replied. It's been a really fucking long eight weeks.
Lisa nodded. "I understand. Work follows you everywhere."
He looked at her, drinking in her features. She always looked so sad. Even when she smiled it was as if she blockaded off all emotions to be more distant from anyone who tried to approach her. What made her this way? He wondered. He would have to find out.
The plane had only just begun to take off. As predicted, and as the Captain had warned, turbulence shook the cabin. Jackson turned to look at Lisa when he felt her arm brush his. Her hand gripped the armrest, her knuckles turning white at the pressure of her grip. Her eyes were clenched shut, her face set in a perpetual grimace. He could see her forcing herself to breathe and to remain calm.
"So," he began, "what do you do at the Lux Atlantic?" he asked, feigning interest.
Lisa did not answer at first. "Um . . . I was recently promoted to manager. I deal with reservations. I handle guests and staff," she paused as the plane gave a particularly hard jerk, a small whimper escaping from her throat. "The usual things."
Jackson nodded. "How long have you lived in Miami?"
"Since I was twelve. We moved from Texas because my dad's job relocated him."
"And are your parents still married?" he asked, even though he already knew the answer.
"No," she responded, her breathing coming a little easier. "They divorced three years ago; married for thirty-two."
"Yeah. The bad outweighed the good at the end. Mom just couldn't take anymore so she left."
A sympathetic look crossed his face. "I'm sorry."
The plane gave one last tremble and then settled. Lisa opened her eyes slowly and released the death grip from the arm rest. "It's okay. It was for the best," she smiled weakly. "Thank you for distracting me."
Jackson smiled, the expression still not reaching his eyes. "You're welcome. It's the least I can do," he paused, pursing his lips slightly. "Or I can let you pay me back by buying me a drink when we get back to Miami."
Her smile faltered for a second and then widened. "I think I will."
"As long as you don't have any calls to make," he joked.
Lisa laughed. "That's right. No calls."
The rest of the flight passed in comfortable conversation. While Jackson, Lisa discovered, did not talk much about his job (only that he was a manager of a company called United Securities, a company which specialized in security systems), he was still pleasant company. Whatever secrets he had were his own. Who was she to judge him on his secrets when she had her own dark ones hidden desperately away? That was something that they had in common.
"Do you like your job?" Lisa asked abruptly, wishing the words back the minute they left her mouth.
Startled, Jackson turned to her and almost burst out laughing at the look of embarrassment stretched across her face. Instead he settled for a gentle chuckle. "It pays the bills," he answered simply.
"What do you do on your time off?" she asked, finding that once the ball got rolling she couldn't stop it.
Jackson scratched his cheek, contemplating a good answer. "Hmm. That's a tough one. Normal stuff I suppose. Go to the movies, read. Have drinks with a pretty woman," he replied, staring pointedly at her with his flashing blue eyes.
Lisa felt a flush cross her cheeks at his words. "Well, um. Yeah. That's normal." She smiled. "And were you in Dallas for business or pleasure?"
"A little bit of both," Jackson smirked. "What about you?" Before she could respond, he clarified, "What do you do in your time off?" As if I don't already know. Fucking boring, he thought.
"Oh, you know. Watch movies, read. The hotel takes up a lot of my time, so I don't really get out that much."
What a lie, Leese.
"Maybe we'll have to do something about that," he responded, raising his eyebrows slightly.
Lisa smiled slightly in response. This was definitely going to be an interesting flight.
AN: I hope you liked it. This is my first foray into the Red Eye universe so I hope I did everything okay. Please review and let me know what you think! I'm always happy to hear what readers think!