A/N: This fanfiction is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Feel free to share it, but attribute the work to me, and don't attempt to use it for commercial purposes.
Thanks to Kitty Cullen for betaing.
It's amazing what you can learn about someone at the airport if you're paying attention.
What they like to read, how they take their coffee, if they are an over packer. I always enjoy people watching, especially at the airport.
It's my lack of watching though, that leads me to him. I'm on my phone sending a text when I turn the corner and run right into him. I collide with his tall, hard, and very attractive body.
I immediately back up when I realize what I've done, my backward steps putting space between us, but not enough that I can't feel his breath on my face.
All I see is green.
Deep and beautiful, with a touch of sadness and a bit of anger, his eyes are captivating.
After a few moments, I take a step forward, bringing myself closer instead of the farther away like someone normally would. I can't help it. All I want to be is closer.
"Sorry," I manage to mumble.
The green eyes look down at my mouth as I say the single word and then back up at my eyes. The anger slips away and for a brief moment I see something else entirely.
The stranger licks his lips and takes a deep breath.
"Its fine. Don't worry about it."
Then he picks up his suitcase and walks away.
I stand there stunned for a while, unable to move. Whoever he is, this stranger with the green eyes has me intrigued, turned on, and simply left wanting.
I follow him, still gripping my wallet and ticket in one hand, and carrying my suitcase in the other. My laptop bag is slung over my shoulder, but I don't let my bags slow me down as I quickly follow after the stranger. I follow him to the security gate where I glance up at the sign and then down at my ticket, relieved that I am actually in the right place.
I show the attendant my ID and slip in front of another guy so that I'm in line right behind the stranger. He doesn't seem to notice me at all. So while I unload my keys and put my cell phone in a plastic bin I study him.
Dark bronze hair.
He is tall, almost as tall as me, but with a much slighter frame. He is wearing a grey long sleeve v-neck sweater and dark jeans. I especially noticed the fit of his jeans when he leans over to take off his black leather shoes.
His feet are… Big.
I lean over to take off my own shoes, getting as close as I can without him taking notice. I breathe in deep. He smells amazing. Like leather and wood and rain. His scent makes me want to grab his hand and run and do cannonballs into a beautiful lake under the bright sun.
I stand up and look at his face again. He is staring straight ahead, obviously lost in thought, pushing his bag and plastic tray down the conveyer belt on autopilot. He looks so… Serious. All business.
The contents of his tray hold nothing unusual. A laptop, metal watch, cell phone and leather wallet. Inside of his clear plastic bag of liquids I see a miniature tube of toothpaste, a few bottles of shampoo and conditioner, and a bottle of mouthwash. Nothing in his tray is unnecessary or beyond the minimum for traveling.
I follow behind him as he makes his way through the metal detectors, eager to see what else I can figure out about him. Once his belongings come out on the other side he opens his suitcase and places his bag of toiletries inside. He hasn't packed a lot. He isn't staying long, wherever he's going.
I pack my belongings back up, which also isn't very much, just my usual. Every Tuesday night I fly from Portland to Seattle and spend the night there before meeting with the executives of McCarty's Sporting Goods for a long day of business. After my father's death a few years ago, I took on the small chain of sporting good stores that he had spent his life building. Twenty-four was a very young to take on such a task, but as my parents were divorced and I am an only child, I took it on without hesitating.
Spending the last three years proving to everyone that I'm not some stupid kid – that I can handle it – hadn't been easy. But three new store locations and good profit margins were tough for even the most skeptical of executives to deny. I'm good at my job.
I continue on to my gate, still walking behind Mr. Serious, only sort of on purpose. It looks like we are going to the same area. I watch him as he carries his suitcase and a long black tube that is slung over his shoulder, the kind that holds posters or drawings.
I keep close, enjoying the view, then break into a huge grin when I realize that Mr. Serious and I are taking the same flight. He sits down at the end of a row of chairs, setting his ticket on the seat next to him as he pulls his laptop out of his bag.
As I walk past I discreetly glance down at his ticket. 8D. I keep walking and with barely any hesitation I go straight up to the ticket counter and flash the attendant my best I'm-a-nice-guy-don't-you-want-to-help-me look.
After a few minutes of innocent flirting I walk back over toward Mr. Serious with my new ticket. 8A. I've taken the flight enough times to know that I will be sitting in a window seat, and he will be across the aisle in the other window seat. It's the best I can do.
I glance around and curse when I realize that all the seats near him at the gate were already taken. I settle with sitting a few rows away with him still in my line of sight. He has his laptop open and is typing furiously on the keys. I almost wish I were sitting behind him so I can see what he is working on. Then again, I wouldn't be able to watch his face.
Over the next twenty minutes I try to think of creative ways to look like I'm not blatantly staring at the man. The TV over his head is a great excuse, as well as looking at the people walking down the aisle behind him. It probably looks like I'm just people watching. When really, I'm only watching him. He bites his lip frequently, especially when it looks like he is really concentrating. I'm concentrating too. Only I'm focusing on ways to start up a conversation and not sound like an idiot. Unfortunately, I haven't come up with much when they announce they announce that our row can board.
I follow behind him and a few others as he walks down the aisle and then secures the black tube and suitcase in the overhead bin. I do the same with my bag, but instead of sitting down in 8A, I sit down right next to him. When it comes to Mr. Serious, I can't seem to help myself.
He's looking down at his phone when I sit down. When he finally glances up at me, his green eyes meet mine and my breath hitches. Recognition passes over his face and it's obvious that he knows who I am.
I know that I need to say something to get his attention before someone kicks me out of their seat. My mind races but I can't think of anything to say. Finally something comes tumbling out of my mouth.
"Business or pleasure?"
I almost laugh out loud at myself – I've just used the cheesiest opening line possible in an airport.
Every second that I wait for his response I feel like I'm dying inside a little. He just stares. Finally I'm rewarded when the corner of his mouth twitches up into a smile.
"Business," he says, then glances down at my lips again.
I almost collapse back into the seat in relief.
He doesn't say anything for a moment, and as the plane fills up I know that my time is running short. I need to make the most of it, so I continue.
"I have a meeting early in the morning and I hate flying first thing, also with the weather there's always a chance of the flight being canceled. It's better not to risk it and to spend the night."
He nods in agreement and his serious expression returns.
It's now or never so I open my mouth to introduce myself. "I'm – "
"Excuse me." I hear someone bark and glance up to see a middle aged women glaring down at me. I had to hold back a glare myself.
"You're in my seat." She holds up a ticket that clearly says 8C.
"Oh." I open the ticket that I am clutching and give her the best smile I can manage. "My mistake."
I stand up and give Mr. Serious an even better one.
This isn't over.
Grateful that I at least have a seat nearby, I move past the woman and sit in my assigned seat. Mr. Serious goes back to looking at his phone. I spend the next hour trying to come up with more ways to speak to him, and hopefully something less lame to say. I've been making this weekly trip for years, not wanting to relocate to Seattle, but this is definitely the first time that I've ever seen him.
I don't want it to be my last.
I realize that I am being a bit crazy about the stranger, but I can't help myself. The energy between him and I is humming. I definitely feel it, and I could only hope that he does too. By the time we land I have the entire conversation planned out. I will introduce myself, ask if he is familiar with the area and suggest a place to have dinner – the whole time trying to keep myself from grinding up against him.
Things don't quite work out for me though; he exits the plane quickly and the ancient women sitting next to me takes her sweet 'ol time. I tell myself that it's all right – there's no need to plow over tiny old women – and that I will catch up with him. I'll run after him if I have to. But as soon as he is out of my sight I start to panic. If I lose him I'm not sure if I will find him again.
As carefully as I can I step my large frame around the old women and then not so gently push past the next few people on their way off the plane.
My feet pound loudly down the ramp as I run to the gate. Once inside the airport I glance around furiously.
I've lost him.
My heart sinks and I berate myself for not being smarter, for not making sure that we spoke again before he leaves. Out of the corner of my eye I see a shock of deep bronze hair poking out above the other people making their way towards ground transportation. I run after him, trying not to make a scene.
When I reach the curb just as his cab drives away. I pause for just a moment, realizing that if I'm already acting this crazy I might as well go all the way.
I hop into the next cab with my bags and point towards the cab that Mr. Serious is in. "I need you to follow that cab!" I yell as I lean forward, willing the driver to take off speeding.
Instead of moving the driver turns around and rolls his eyes in a what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you kind of way.
"Come on man!" I pull out my wallet and fling sixty bucks down on the seat next to him. He shrugs and shakes his head, but pulls away from the curb screeching.
The other cab is right in front of us, so I try to relax a little. At least now I can see him. My phone buzzes in my pocket and I realize that I had been too distracted to even turn it off for the short flight.
When I see who it is I groan, but answer the phone anyway – she won't give up.
"Rose," I snap.
"What the hell is your problem?" she yells back.
"Doing what?" she asks, and I can tell that she's already wildly curious.
"Being a crazy stalker." I might as well tell her the truth, as my best friend she'll find out eventually.
"Who are you stalking?" she demands.
"A guy I met on the plane."
"Don't make me force it out of you Emmett. Tell me everything."
I know there was no point in fighting it. My eyes remain fixed on the cab in front of me, never leaving the back of his head.
"I don't know his name. He's traveling for business. He has a nice phone and he has big feet."
I hear Rose's laugh coming out over the phone. "That's all you know? You don't even know his name? And you're stalking him?" Her laughter is so loud I have to hold the phone away from my ear.
"Be careful, Rose or you'll pee yourself." I know that I'm acting crazy; I don't need Rose to give me a hard time about it.
I watch as the other cab pulls off the freeway and my cab follows.
"I gotta go."
"Don't get arrested you stalker."
"Very funny," I snap, then end the call.
Both cabs pull up to the roundabout in front of a hotel. I pull out another twenty and throw it on the cab driver's seat with mumbled thanks.
As quickly as I can I follow the stranger as he goes up to the counter to check in. I let the employee know that I don't have a reservation, but luckily they have room available. At some point I feel his green eyes on me and I glance up just as I take my room key from the employee.
Mr. Serious gives me a curious look then turns toward the elevators, wearily looking at me out of the corner of his eye.
I move to stand next to him and grin.
"What a coincidence huh?" I smile my most innocent I-swear-I'm-not-crazy smile.
"Yeah..." he mutters as the doors open and we step on.
This is my chance, probably my last one, to make some sort of connection with the stranger. So I go for it.
"Would you like to get a drink?" I smile cautiously at him, letting him know that I know I'm being forward, and that I hope he thinks it's ok.
He looks stunned, as if he isn't the most handsome man ever and doesn't get asked out for drinks all the time.
"I…" His eyes move down to look at his shoes, and yet again I feel like I'm going to die inside.
"I don't do that."
I try to make a joke of it, laugh it off, keep it light.
"Do what? Drink? I'm pretty sure the bar will have coke or something else…" I trail off, clinging to what little hope remains.
His looks up quickly, his green eyes locking with mine, determined.
"I don't go for drinks. I don't date. I don't do any of it."
Now I'm the one who is stunned as I try to let his words sink in.
I'm still standing there as the elevator doors open and then shut behind him.