Page 37

“Oh, Gillian...” Her voice was soft. “You are a disappointment. But that’s okay. Everyone can’t be great and I love you all the same. It’s not the end of the world if—”

I hung up and blocked all of their numbers. I knew I’d have to unblock them eventually, to also find a way for them not to say at the Lexington Avenue apartment that was mine no longer, but I didn’t want to let them ruin my day before it could even begin.

I turned up the volume on the television as a knock came to my door.

“One second!” I stood up and unwrapped my coffee cups before heading toward the door. But when I opened it, I realized it wasn’t hotel services with the additional coffee pods. It was Miss Connors.

Fully dressed in her uniform and looking absolutely flawless as always, she was glaring at me as if I was committing some type of crime.

“Um. Good morning?” I double-tied my robe. “Is something wrong?”

“Something is very wrong, Miss Taylor.” She glanced at her watch. “It is almost seven o’clock.”

“Are you upset that hotel breakfast doesn’t start until seven thirty?”

“It’s almost seven o’clock and you’re not downstairs with me, ready and waiting to go to the airport,” she said, ignoring my comment. “It’s almost seven o’clock and you’re dressed in a bathrobe and looking as if you have yet to start putting on your makeup.”

I was officially confused as hell. “We don’t have to be at the airport until ten today, right?”

“Are you asking me or telling me?”

“Telling you...” I tried to keep my voice calm. “The flight isn’t until eleven forty-five. And with the airport being literally right down the street, if we left now we’d be four hours early. Three hours ahead of everyone else in the crew.”

She stared at me.

I wasn’t sure if I should say, “Okay, I’ll see you downstairs when it’s time,” or continue looking rightfully confused.

“Miss Taylor,” she spoke before I could come to a decision. “I’m not sure why I have to keep stressing this with you, but I’m going to say this one last time. I am not everyone else, and since this airline has decided that you are working with me for the next few months, that means that you are not like everyone else. ‘On time’ is late, early is on time, and getting there when I get there is perfection.” She crossed her arms. “I am perfection. And now, since I’ve wasted five minutes of my morning on you, you have fifteen minutes to meet me downstairs. Or else I’ll write you up and you’ll be downgraded to working with another supervisor who only flies to places like Detroit, Chicago, and West Virginia.”

I bit my tongue, trying my best to hold back my true feelings about her too-damn-early timing and “perfection.”

“Is there something you want to say to me, Miss Taylor?” She tilted her head to the side. “Something other than, ‘I love working for Elite,’?”

“No.” I forced a smile. “I love working for Elite.”

“I thought so.” She looked at her watch. “Oh, wow. Now you only have thirteen minutes. See you downstairs.”

She walked away without another word and I slammed the door closed, screaming all of my frustration into a pillow.


Later that morning, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and bagels wafted through the terminal hallways at Dallas/Ft. Worth International. Passengers stood in long lines, awaiting an early breakfast, and the blue signs that hung high above every gate shone brightly beneath the stark white lights.

I rolled my bag across the floors for the second hour in a row, still searching for random ways to kill the time since the crew lounge was full. With another hour to spare, I darted in and out of various shops, picking up things I had no intention of buying, staring at things I wished I could afford to buy.

I watched passengers as they posed for pictures in front of Dallas Cowboys memorabilia, took the Sky-Link tram around all six of the airport’s terminals, and when I couldn’t take anymore, I decided to buy something to read.

I slipped inside the Hudson Booksellers in Terminal B and headed straight for the books on the back shelf, the bestsellers. Over the past few weeks, I’d torn my way through tons of them, even trading copies with some of the passengers on the long-haul flights.

Grabbing the latest Grisham, I picked up an overpriced bag of potato chips and stood in line. As I was pulling out my wallet, my phone rang. Meredith.

“Hello?” I answered, handing the cashier a twenty.

“Well, hello there, stranger!” Her voice was unusually high-pitched. “How’s life in the skies this week?”

“Exhausting, but I did get you something from Beijing last week. I think you’ll like it.”

“I’m sure I will. Is The Hawk treating you any better?”

“No.” I rolled my eyes at the thought. “She’s somehow managed to get even worse. How’s the fashion world?”

“Heartless and cutthroat as ever,” she said. “I’ll fill you in on that later, though. I’m calling because Ben came by last night looking for you. He left a small bouquet of roses and a card. Would you like me to open the card and read it to you?”

“Not really.”

“Too late. Already opened it.” She cleared her throat. “Dear Gillian, it’s been a month since we last spoke and I know that you’re upset with me for cheating, but the fact that you haven’t even tried to understand my side is a bit unfair. That said, I’m willing and ready to compromise. You can sleep with other people as well (two at most) and we just won’t talk about it. We’ll focus on us when we’re together and leave everyone else out of it when we’re apart. Love (Yes, you’re reading that part right: LOVE), Ben. PS—What time can I pick you up for makeup sex this weekend?”