Sophie looked up from her magazine when the next flight was announced. It wasn’t hers. That one was going to New York and she was headed to Atlanta. She was actually going to Lexington, Kentucky, but the cheapest flight from Orlando had a layover in Atlanta.
She didn’t mind it though because for her, this trip was about fantasy. Disney World, Epcot, Wet ‘n Wild, these were all places that she had once visited as a kid. She had saved for over a year to return now. And escaping what she had left in Kentucky, she would do anything not to have to return. She could be anyone she wanted to be on vacation. And noticing the man with the bedroom eyes and tussled dark hair in front of her, she wondered if he could be her last vacation escape.
There was something odd about this man. He didn’t seem like a traveler. Sophie had two bags surrounding her excluding her purse. He sat completely free with a coffee in each hand. She looked back into his eyes and found that he was also staring into hers. She couldn’t tell if he was trying to be friendly or creepy. Quickly checking out the way his thin shirt draped over his toned body, she settled on the former.
“I got you one,” the man said sending Sophie’s gaze back into her magazine. “Excuse me. I saw you looking at it. I got the second one for you.”
He was talking to her and she knew it. So casually lowering her magazine, she crossed her ankles, shifted her right shoulder back, brushed down her mid-thigh skirt, subtly shook out her long dark blond hair and flashed him her coy smile.
“Pardon me?” she said finding another opportunity to escape real life.
“I also got you a danish. They’re good. You’ll like it.”
Without another word, the man placed one of the coffees and a paper bag on the table next to Sophie. Watching him, she found it amusing.
“You bought me a coffee and a danish?”
“Yeah. It’s early. I figured that you didn’t have enough time to have breakfast at whatever hotel you’re coming from and I didn’t see you get anything from any of the shops. We both know they don’t serve anything on these flights so instead of letting a pretty girl like you suffer, I figured I’d get you something.”
Sophie liked him. This had to have been the boldest thing that a stranger had ever done to get her attention. She couldn’t accept his offering but he was sweet for doing it.
“I’m not gonna eat your food,” she said with a smile.
“It’s not my food, it’s your food. I got it specifically for you. I stood in that long line and thought, ‘how does that beautiful woman over there like her coffee? I bet she likes it black. But you know what? I’m gonna offer her a little milk today and she if she likes it.’ Then I made the long walk over here, sat down and waited for you to come out from behind that magazine. I think the least you could do after all of that is sip it and pretend.”
Still amused, she retorted. “My momma always said that I shouldn’t take candy from strangers.”
“Well, if you’re gonna limit yourself like that, think of all the candy you’ll miss in your life.”
The man beamed a brilliant smile. Sophie did like him, so slightly tilting her head back she wished that she could allow him to continue. She couldn’t though. There was no way that she was going to accept his gift. It flew in the face of everything about the way she viewed herself.
Sophie smiled. “Thank you, but I’m not hungry.”
“You’re not?” he asked as if he knew something she didn’t.
“Nope. Not hungry at all.”
There was a silence between the two where Sophie decided that she had made her point. So returning to the magazine, she stared at the words barely able to concentrate. It didn’t take long before her point was lost. With a loud rumble that she was sure the stranger could hear, her stomach growled turning her creamy face a bright red.
“Are you sticking to that story?” the man asked from the other side of the magazine.
Sophie’s wide blue eyes popped up for only a second to find his amused face staring back. She was embarrassed and prayed that it didn’t happen again. It did and this time louder. Sophie flinched at the sound.
“Uh huh,” he cajoled.
When her stomach did it again, this time long enough for anyone listening to hear, she relented. She knew that accepting his treats meant that she wouldn’t be able to get rid of him until she boarded, but she didn’t consider that an entirely bad thing.
“Ok, I’ll eat your danish.”
“And you may as well have the coffee. You’re gonna need to wash it down with something.”
“Fine, I’ll have the coffee too,” she conceded through a flirtatious smile.
As Sophie pulled the danish out of the bag, she could feel his stare. Between the embarrassment of accepting his gift and the whole departure gate listening to her stomach growl, this was the lesser of two evils.
“I don’t know why you were resisting it. I know a girl like you likes to eat.”
Sophie froze at his words and stared at him in shock.
The man stared back innocently. “What? You got some meat on your bones. That’s a good thing. You’re not one of those walking tooth picks. It’s sexy.”
Sophie didn’t know what to do. She knew she wasn’t a tooth pick. She had never been. She was curvy. She did have some meat on her bones, but it was that well placed meat that she thought drew the attention of men. He wasn’t wrong, but hearing it while stuffing down a charity danish wasn’t fun.
“Excuse me?” Sophie protested.
“Oh don’t take it like that. You’re beautiful and you know it. I’m just saying that you don’t have to pretend with me.”
There was something in what he said that was comforting. And hurried by the coming of her next stomach growl, she took him at his word and bit in. The truth was that she was starved. And melting in her mouth, the pastry was tantalizingly good.
Watching her close her eyes and taste every morsel of the bite, the man slipped to the seat next to her.
Titan stuck out his hand causing Sophie to fumble with the danish and bits of frosting to tumble off of her lips.
“I’m Sophie,” she said trying not to get frosting over his hand.
“Did you ever notice how much friendlier people are in an airport?” Titan asked leaning into Sophie. “They did a study on it. People are much more willing to do things at airports than they would in normal life. It’s because they figure they’ll never see the person again.”
“Really?” Sophie asked truly interested.
“Yeah, I guess everybody’s just waiting for their opportunity to be a bad girl.”
“Or a bad boy, right?”
“I guess, but being a bad boy wouldn’t explain why I’m wearing sexy lady’s underwear,” he said with a charming smile.
Sophie laughed. “Oh, are you?”
“What? It’s not weird. The study said so.”
Sophie laughed again. She decided that she did like him. And looking at him up close she found that he was also extremely good-looking. His deep tan, his three-day stubbled face, his narrow yet masculine features, the way that his resonant voice showered over her and made her chest quiver, they were all better at close range. And feeling herself flirt more than she ever would have otherwise, she wanted to know more about him.
“So where are you going?” she asked with a now permanent smile on her face.
“Me? I just hang out at airports looking for bad girls who are looking to do bad things with me,” he said in a way that didn’t indicate whether or not he was joking. “What about you?”
Sophie considered making something up. Nothing coming immediately to mind she told the truth. “I’m goin’ home to Lexington.”
“Tennessee or Kentucky?”
Titan smiled. “Me too.”
Sophie stared into his eyes incredibly taken by the stranger. She wasn’t sure what it was about him, but he made her feel warm all over. She wanted to touch him, and now with four and a half hours to do it, she looked forward to her flight.