He pushed his sunglasses onto the top of his head, his hand resting over his mouth as he did so. Gently, he stopped himself from closing his eyes and appearing rude as he waited in the queue for the train tickets to be handed out. When he had asked for a weekend off this wasn't what he had in mind. His weekend off had been ruined by one phone call. He often found that to be an issue. But, he'd sighed and accepted the challenge which had been posted for him.
He slowly moved down the queue before seeing the woman walk back out from it, carrying her ticket in her hand and making sure that all of the details were correct. He observed the way she pushed her dirty blonde hair behind her shoulders and chewed on the gum in her mouth loudly, not caring for anyone who was around her and didn't want to listen to the noise. He supposed it wouldn't be a hard challenge for him to carry out. She didn't look strong willed and the information he'd received on her showed as much.
Five hours and ten minutes. That was how long it would take her to get up to Seattle from LA and it was how long he had to complete the task which had been set of him. Politely, he gave his name, informing the woman behind the desk that he already had a reserved ticket. She'd nodded back once, handing it to him and he tucked it into his jacket, pushing his hair behind his ears and removing the sunglasses from his head, dropping them into the go-bag which he had with him.
He spotted her sat by the platform on a large mesh bench, playing on the BlackBerry which she owned with her nimble fingers. She clearly spent a lot of time on the machine. He wasn't particularly in the mood to talk to her. He wasn't particularly in the mood to talk to anyone, hence why he booked the weekend off.
But, business was business. He took a seat on the bench, bringing out the book which the firm had given him and he scoffed at it slightly before flicking to a random page, scanning through it, not really caring what it was about. He'd been told that it would be her favourite book. Everyone needed an ice breaker.
"No." She suddenly snapped and he flinched, looking to the side where she was leant forwards, her head shaking from side to side as her hand snapped forwards, slicing through the air to vent her frustration. "I told you that I would have the article done, Val. Why couldn't you just give me another day? I'm on my way back from LA now. You know that I only came out here for the conference."
His eyes remained focused on the book but his ears entirely concentrated on the conversation which she was having. He could feel people who were walking past stare at her as they went, wondering how her reddening cheeks and angry tone had come about. That was the problem with most people. They were wrapped up in their own world, but, thoroughly enjoyed sniffing into other people's business, trying to see if it was worse than their life. He rarely paid attention to the world around him unless he was working on a job. People held little attention for him.
"Tomorrow morning. I'll have it done by ten a.m. sharp. I just need you to hold the article for one more day. I went the restaurant and I know what it is like. I can give it an honest write up in comparison to someone who went and rushed through three courses." She snapped and leant back on the seat, folding her legs before she allowed the breath which she had been holding in to leave her body, her chest deflating as she nodded to herself. "Thanks, Val. Yes, I'll see you tomorrow."
His eyes scanned back across the black words of his book and then onto the blue seat before they settled on her face and he chuckled lightly, looking up and over at her.
"Stressful, isn't it?" he checked with her. She looked across to the man, her eyes wide with wonder as to why he was talking to her and he closed his book, allowing her eyes to glance at the title. "Work, it's overrated."
"Oh, that," she spoke, her voice deflated as she looked at her phone and he did the same. She shrugged once and dropped the device into her lap, one hand holding it whilst the other wrapped across her waist and scratched her arm. "Well, we need to do it."
"True," he said back to her, waiting for her to feel as though she should say something back to him. He knew how people worked. You struck up a conversation with them and they felt the need to keep it going until it turned awkward or they had to be somewhere. He'd done it plenty of times to know the typical routine inside out.
"You're reading Jane Eyre?" she checked and he looked at the book, pretending to forget what he had been reading before he nodded, tapping the book against his thigh as he did so. She couldn't help but feel that it seemed like a strange book for a man to read. Her father had told her that the classics by the likes Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen filled her head with feministic heroism. She disagreed entirely, seeing them as works of art and nothing more than that.
"I am," he confirmed, sensing how she was looking at him with an arched brow as his eyes remained fixed on the title. He didn't want her to think that he was stalking her before she knew it for real. "I'm an English teacher," he lied with a shrug. "I'm supposed to be setting my pupils a quiz on Jane Eyre, but, I've completely forgot about it. I wouldn't want to look dense in front of them," he lied; a smirk on his lips as he saw her relax at his plausible answer.
"Well, it's a really fascinating book," she informed him. "It's one of my favourites, actually."
"No kidding?" he asked her and she shrugged, chewing on her gum again and churning it around in her mouth. "Well, it's proving to be a fascinating read."
"Really? What part are you up to?"
Crap. He hadn't expected that. Why didn't he just ask her out for a drink? That always impressed women. But, no, he had to be out of the zone and get himself into a conversation about a book which he hadn't read since high school.
"Mr Rochester has just had the unfortunate event of a fire in his room," he said, his voice coming across as confident whilst he tried to rack his brain, wondering if that had happened. He was pretty sure that it had.
"Ah," she spoke back, popping the gum out from her mouth and throwing it into the bin next to the seat which she was sat on. "Just as they begin to enjoy each other's company then the mysterious fire and the unexplained laugh happen."
"Yes, that's it," he said back and she laughed once to herself, shaking her head as he laughed once along with her.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I don't even know you. I shouldn't be quizzing you on Jane Eyre when you seem perfectly knowledgeable of it already."
"No worries," he shrugged nonchalantly. "It was quite refreshing in comparison to having to listen to children ask me questions about it when they know nothing."
"Let me guess, they tend to think the film version is the same as the book?" she checked and he clicked his fingers quickly.
"Got it in one," he said back to her. She smiled and checked the clock on her BlackBerry before she stood up and grabbed the satchel which she had been carrying along with the small travel on case. He watched as she pulled down the pencil skirt which she wore and made sure her white blouse was tucked inside of it.
"Anyway, I think this is my train," she said, motioning to the one which had just pulled up alongside the platform and he stood up along with her, his eyes wide and he snorted once, shaking his head as he pulled his ticket out.
"No kidding," he drawled out. "It looks like this is my train, too."
"Seattle?" she checked and he nodded.
"Coincidental, huh?" he responded and she nodded once, grabbing her own ticket from her satchel, checking the number on it for the seat which she had reserved. But, he knew that it wasn't a coincidence. It was a cleverly planned event.
"Well...it isn't like we'll be sat next to each other, is it?" he told her, walking by her side as they stood behind the masses of people who were ready to board the train. She pulled her ticket away from her line of vision so she could see the number properly. She should have worn her glasses; the blurred closeness was no good for her.
"I'm in coach three in seat twenty two," she said and he shook his head, grinning as he did so.
"Coincidental again," he informed her. "I'm in seat twenty one."
"What?" she checked and he shrugged.
"It is probable," he simply spoke and she giggled lightly, the sound moving into his ears before he placed his ticket back into his pocket, simply choosing to follow her and where she went. "Looks like we should introduce ourselves, doesn't it?"
"Well, if you're going to have to spend the next five hours next to me then possibly," she replied, pushing her satchel behind her side and offering him her hand professionally as she dragged her case closer to the train. "I'm Amelia Drayton."
"Nice to meet you, Amelia Drayton," he smiled, taking her warm hand into his relatively cold one as his blue orbs found hers. "Jackson Rippner."
"Well...it's nice to meet you," she said before she pulled her case into her hands, dragging it down the small aisle of the train until she found her seat. Jackson placed his hands into his pockets, watching her as she walked off down the aisle and he eyed her with suspicion.
She tucked her hair behind her ear before grabbing her small case, pulling it into her arms and attempting to place it in the overhead compartment. He helped her, smiling softly as he did so.
"You got it?" she worried and he nodded at her.
"What have you got in that thing?" he asked. "It weighs a tonne. You're not transporting a dead body, are you?"
"Very funny," she commented. "No, it's mainly shoes and clothes along with toiletries. Unlike what you have in that thing." She pointed to the bag which he was carrying and he placed it beside her case as she settled herself into the window seat.
"I'm a male. We travel light," he informed her and she chuckled, shaking her head as she looked at him and he sat in the vacant seat next to her.
"You sound just like my brother."
And how he knew about her brother. How he knew very much about her brother.
A/N: So someone suggested that I write a Jackson/OC fic and here we are. This takes place before Red Eye by the way. So, if you've taken the time to read the first chapter then thank you very much and it would be much more appreciated if you leave me a review to let me know if it is any good so far. I never know! So, please review!