I wasn't a terrible flier, but I wasn't a pro, either. Oceanic Flight 815 was sitting on the tarmac and everyone was boarding. The jingling of the zipper on my high heel drew my attention. Fidgeting in nervousness, as usual. I cleared my throat and sat back.
I was in the middle of the row. At least I'd have people beside me to distract me.
A tall nerdy looking man sat next to me.
"Hello," he said. "Scott."
"Ah, Anya," I said, reaching across and shaking his hand. "I'm not a great flier. Hope you don't mind keeping me company."
He laughed. "No worries. I fly a lot for work. Do it all the time. No problems." Suddenly, he stiffened and his face drew tight into a grimace.
"Are, I," I paused. "What's wrong?"
Scott gave his head a jerk past me.
I snuck a look over my shoulder. All I could see was the back pocket of someone loading their bag into the overhead compartment. Shrugging, I looked back to Scott.
"God damn Arab," Scott mumbled, his shoulders tense. He leaned over and mumbled, "I can switch you spots if you want. You know how they are with women."
"No!" I spat. "Are you kidding me?"
The man finished tucking his bag into the overhead. A woman behind him couldn't quite reach the compartment.
"Here," he said softly, "Allow me." He quickly swept the bag out of her arms and into the overhead.
Scott's eyebrows shot up towards his hairline. "Seriously? You trust this guy?" he hissed.
"Hasn't given me a reason not to," I replied. I fumbled in my carry-on tote for a magazine. I snatched it out and buried my face in it. Conversation over, Scott.
Scott crossed his arms across his chest and huffed.
The Arab man took his seat. I glanced up from my Cosmo. He smiled and gave me a curt nod. His curly black hair was tucked back away from his face.
"Sayid," he said.
"Anya," I replied.
"You look nervous," he said softly. "Have you flown before?"
My heart thumped an extra thump. His eyes were dark. "Yes," I said. "I'm just a little anxious. Not my favorite activity."
"Hopefully my presence doesn't worry you," Sayid said. He looked genuinely sorry, and I felt my mouth open slightly in sadness.
"No," I said softly. "Of course not."
Scott cleared his throat and sat up straighter.
I cleared my throat back. "You know how ignorant people can be," I said loudly.
The side of Sayid's lip pulled up into a half-smile. "That I do, Miss."
He bowed his head slightly and smiled. "Anya."
Whether my heart's pounding was from the upcoming flight or Sayid's exotic good looks, I wasn't sure. I glanced back down quickly. Jesus, he was attractive. I swallowed and looked back to my article. 20 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life. I put my head back and closed my eyes.
It was going to be a long flight.