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Denver, Colorado
December 23
1:48 pm




TIME: 7:00a



I glare at the information the attendant just announced over the intercom a few minutes ago. Since I can't trust anyone in this airport, because they're all lying liars who lie, I had to check the flight information for myself.

She was right, I guess. The flight I've been waiting to board since seven this morning, the one that the attendants had been telling me would only be delayed a few hours, has now been cancelled.

I want to rage.

I head back toward my gate, trying to maneuver around people. I'm jittery and on edge and fucking starving. Airports in general are terrible, but they're especially awful during the holidays.

When I make it back to the area I'd set-up camp in, I mutter a low shit when I see an older man in my seat. I shouldn't have walked away for that one god damn minute. My suitcase is right there, which obviously means this seat is taken. I notice the book I was reading, which I had left in my seat, is now on the floor.

I try grabbing his attention with a polite, "Excuse me?" and leave out the fuck face.

He blatantly ignores me, staring at the newspaper in his hands. I mean, I'm standing right in front of him. There's no way he didn't hear me.

I try again. "Excuse me, but that was my seat and you seem to have taken it, so it'd be super nice if you could—"

"No one was sitting here," he snips.

My blood sugar is too low to be dealing with this right now. I glance around the gate, and if there were another seat open, I wouldn't even bother with this asshole. But there's not, and I need to fucking charge my phone. And eat like, twelve pizzas.

"I left my suitcase here. And my book. And—"

"You're not supposed to leave luggage unattended. Don't you fucking listen to the announcements?"

Oh, hell no. I'm mildly embarrassed this stranger just spoke to me like that in public, but I'm more pissed off that he's such a dick.

"Are you kidding me?" I ask, voice slightly rising. "I seriously walked ten feet away to go check the flight info, then walked back and you had moved my things. Don't you fucking know not to touch other people's belongings?"

He clears his throat, muttering something under his breath before he sinks lower into the seat, making himself comfortable.

I look at the teenage girl sitting next to him, who had been sitting next to me for the past few hours. She's probably only eight or nine years younger than I am, but because I'm desperate, I point to her and lie. "That's my daughter. Please move."

"No I'm not. What the fuck?" she hisses, staring at me like I'm deranged. And maybe I am. But I've already been at the airport for seven hours, and it's reduced me to this. I'm losing my mind.

"Fuck off, lady," the teenager adds.

Jesus. What an asshole. I just wanted my seat back. It's not like she had to actually pretend to be my daughter.

I give them both an incredulous look. It's amazing how they're making me feel like I'm the crazy one, when he's been insanely rude and she just… is being all stupid.

But fine. I'll be the bigger person. Mostly because people are starting to stare and I don't really want to get kicked out of the airport.

"Merry Christmas to you, too," I mutter. "Assholes," I add. Because fuck being the bigger person.

Picking up my book, I shove it under my arm and grab my suitcase with more force than necessary. Scanning the area a second time, I spot an outlet near the window that's not being used. I sit down with my back against the wall, cross my legs and fold my arms over my chest.

Everyone has stopped staring, so that's nice. And I didn't get kicked out of the airport for causing a scene, which is also a win.

I people-watch for a second and see a family who's actually smiling. And wearing Christmas sweaters. I'm irrationally pissed at them. Why are they so happy? All of the flights in Denver have been cancelled due to the weather. They should want to blow up the city, like I do.

I try to erase the last thought from my brain. It's shit like that that will get you kicked out of the airport. And arrested. It's not like I actually even meant it. I'm not a fucking villain from Batman. I'm just an average girl from Colorado who's trying to surprise her dad, the one she hasn't seen in four years, for Christmas.

I sigh. Loudly. And then I lean over to my left so I can look out the window next to me. It's gray and windy and hasn't really stopped snowing since last night. I've seen worse. But do all of the flights in this city need to be cancelled?

"It's not that bad outside," I mutter to myself before staring straight ahead.

"Yeah, not so bad… for a blizzard," a voice a few feet away says.

I turn to my right, narrowing my eyes at the guy who decided to interrupt the conversation I was having with myself. My first reaction is to say who the fuck asked you? but then he adds, "Also, that guy over there? Is an asshole."

I follow his line of sight, and glare at the man who stole my seat. "Right? Total dick."

When he nods, a piece of hair falls across his forehead. "Definitely."

He turns his attention back to his laptop. End of conversation, I guess. Which is fine, because I have a lot of things to do right now. Like… charge my phone. I pull the cord out of my bag and plug it in.

I get bored and nosy after a minute, so I try to sneaking a glance at what the guy next to me is doing on his laptop. I can't see anything from this angle. When my eyes travel up to his face, he's already looking at me.

"Um…" I start. He waits expectantly, blinking. "So, you're going to Seattle?"

He smirks. "Yep. That's why I'm sitting at this gate."

"Well… that doesn't necessarily mean…" I trail off. Okay, so it was a stupid question. "Not like we're actually going to make it to Seattle, though."

He shuts his laptop, then stretches his arms above his head. "You never know."

"Yeah, and neither do the fucking attendants. I swear they just say shit to appease the customers. I'd be less hostile if they'd just tell us the truth. They knew all along the flight was going to be cancelled, didn't they?"

The guy breathes out a laugh through his nose. "Your hostility is pretty amusing. And yeah, the attendants are pretty stingy with their information."

"Amusing? I don't find it amusing. It's stressful."

"Yes, amusing. The bit about that girl being your daughter—that was great." He laughs after a second. His eyes squint when he laughs and I hate myself for even noticing.

"It wasn't great," I argue, eyebrows pulling together as I frown. "It was… weird. Pretty low, even for me."

He shrugs. "Okay. Well, I thought it was funny."

He thought it was funny.

I don't even know what to say to that.

It's silent for a minute before I feel the need to add, "I'm not always this bitchy."

He does that smirk again. "No?"

"No. I'm just tired and hungry and don't like when people touch my things."

"You should go get some food," he suggests.

"And give up this spot near an outlet? Pass."

"Leave your suitcase so no one will take your spot." He's got to be fucking kidding me.

"I tried that before, remember? That tactic clearly doesn't work."

"I'll watch your things, then," he offers. "And I promise not to touch them."

"You're not… going to rob me?"

He barks out a laugh. "No."

"What if they say something about the flight?"

He turns his head, then tells me he'll be right back. I watch as he gets up and heads toward the counter. He says something to the attendant, using his hands to gesture while he speaks. It's kind of cute. The attendant laughs. Wow. I didn't even think she had the ability to smile. Every time I've gone up there to pester her, she's barely glanced at me. With a nod and a smile, he heads back.

"Okay. So they're not expecting any carriers to fly out before tomorrow night. Even then, it might be Christmas morning."

"What? How did you do that?"

He looks confused. "I just asked."

"You just asked," I deadpan. "What are we supposed to do now?"

"Nothing, I guess. I don't know."

"I can't wait that long. I need to be in Seattle tomorrow." I take a few deep breaths. "I was supposed to be in Seattle tonight. I was going to surprise my dad, and… ugh. Fuck."

"Not gonna happen… sorry."

"Yeah, I'm gathering that," I mutter.

I feel tears pool in my eyes. My nose burns and my throat tightens. I feel stupid for crying, but I'm exhausted and I'm pretty sure being emotional is the only thing that's going to make me feel better.

I pull my sleeve over my hand, wiping the corners of my eyes. I'm sure this guy thinks I'm a psycho now. He grabs his phone and stares intently at it.

A minute or so later he says, "Hey, uh… I didn't catch your name."

I sniffle. "It's Bella."

The concern on this stranger's face makes me want to cry even more. God fucking damn it.

"I'm Edward," he tells me.


"Hi." He offers a sympathetic smile. "Okay. So, I was thinking… I have a car here. A 4-Runner."


"What if I told you I was going to leave for Seattle tonight?"

"I'd say that you're crazy and it's going to take you forever to get there."

"Actually, I just used Google Maps and it's going to take about twenty-two hours. Not including stopping to sleep and stuff, but… that's better than waiting here, right?"

"I guess." His smile and the optimistic tone in his voice is starting to annoy me. "Have fun."

I close my eyes, hoping he leaves soon.

"No," he says, interrupting quality wallow time. "What I'm suggesting is that you come with me."

My eyes open at this. "Why would I do that?"

"Because you need to get to Seattle."

"Okay, yeah, but I also don't need to get chopped up into a hundred pieces."

"Alright, I understand why you'd be nervous." He thinks for a minute. "We can go grab some food, since you're hungry, and I can tell you anything you want to know."

I side eye him. "Accommodating. Just like a serial killer would be."

He laughs, which is a good sign. He's not easily offended. I don't actually think he's going to kill me, but I have to pretend to have some sort of self-preservation.

"Alright. Fine." I stand up, grabbing my phone, charger, book and suitcase. "Let's go."

Hey. Some fluff for Christmas. I hope y'all like iiiiit.

Thanks to Kim and Vic for putting up with my neurotic self. Also, they didn't read the second half of this chapter because I'm impatient as fuck, so if you hate it and find mistakes, blame me. Not them.

Thanks for reading! Next update tomorrow.