Somebody Needs You 2

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The smell of fresh laundry met her nose and made her smile.  It seemed lately that only the simplest things seemed to make her smile anymore.  She wasn't a depressed person at all, but it seemed as if the rest of the world forgot to smile about the little things in life.  She'd lost the connection to so many of those things that people forgot to notice that she had to remind herself to look at the little things from time to time.  Lately it was the smell of fresh laundry and sunsets that were her passion.

"What are you doing laundry for on a Thursday night?"

Colleen's eyes met her friend's across the room and smiled.  "I'm flying out to Orlando tomorrow morning then up to New York and I'll be back in a few nights."

"You'd better be."  Stacey put her hands on her hips and looked at her friend with mock anger.

"Awe."  Colleen's hands moved to press her socks into the small suitcase that was next to the laundry basket and other clean clothes lying on the comforter of her bed that were waiting to be put away.  "Ree are you going to miss me?"

"Of course Lee," her friend said smiling at the use of their nicknames.  "My little girl is all grown up and flying cross country."  She sniffed back fake tears.

Colleen rolled her eyes and took a moment to push back her cuticles.  She'd meant to get a manicure, but she hadn't had time that week due to the extra flights she'd been on from Los Angeles to Chicago and back.  "Oh shut up.  I do this almost every week."

"I know," Stacey said, "But I still worry about my little Colleen going all away across the country to visit parts unknown."

"Ummm," Colleen said with a smile as she finished the last of her packing. "Last time I checked you had been to Disney World in Orlando and I know that a case you worked on two weeks ago was with companies in New York."  She folded another t-shirt.  "They haven't moved so unless you think they are going to fall into the ocean, you've got that whole parts unknown thing a little wrong...especially since you went to school in New York nerd!"

"I wasn't in New York City though," Ree said, "I was in Connecticut."

"You were close enough," Colleen protested.

"Whatever."

"Ugh," Colleen said as she lowered the bag to the floor next to her bed.  "As much as I love this job, this suitcase is going to be the death of me...or something worse."

Stacey moved and lay down on her friend's bed.  "Worse than death?"

Colleen pulled the suitcase along the carpet and swore to herself when it hit against the door jam as she tried to pull it out towards the living room.  "I need to marry a rich man and have a porter to drag my bags around for me."

"Porter?"  Stacey bore a hole into the ceiling with her eyes.  "Wouldn't that be the worst name?"  She turned her head and looked at Colleen.  "I mean who would name their kid that."

"It's not a name."  Colleen laughed.  "It's a job."  She took the stack of shirts off the bed and put them into the dresser.  "Neither of us is near to naming our first born so I don't think we have to worry about it."  Colleen sighed.  "Can you imagine me with some richie-rich man lounging by the pool while our daughter Hillary and our son Chipper play in the water with the Nanny?"

"You are too funny," Stacey said, "You can barely take care of a dog or a plant."

"I could do it," she said, "I bet you I could win over a man and marry him."

Stacey laughed her heart out.  It wasn't that the idea was outrageous, but the tone that Colleen had said it sounded a little more than childish.  "I'll believe it when I see it."

Colleen straightened her shoulders and nodded at her friend and held out a hand. "Try me."

Stacey started to laugh and got up off the bed.  "Come on.  Let's order some pizza or something before you have to get to bed nerd."

"What an invitation," Colleen said and lay back on the pillows.  It wasn't out of the ordinary that a girl would want to marry someone that could take care of her, but this might have been a little more ambitious than normal.

^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^

"Wait!"

She looked up from there she was securing the plane for take off and saw him running towards her.  She took a deep breath and sighed.  "Sir go back up to the terminal."

"No," he said.  His breath was  coming out in short panting breaths and his cheeks were bright pink from running.  "I have to be on that flight."

"I can't sir," she said.  She knew full well that something like this could get her fired.  Either she let them on the plane and risked it or risked it because the passenger wasn't on the right flight and had to be bumped to another one.  She wished that she'd had a few words with the attendants up at the gate because this behavior wasn't at all acceptable.

"Look."  He acted like the world was expected to revolve around his every whim.  She hated people like this, even if he didn't look like an asshole.  "You don't understand.  I have to get on that flight."

She shook her head.  "You can catch the next flight."

"Let me on this flight!"

She backed up when a large African-American man came to stand behind him.  She'd seen a few other men like him on the flight and while she instantly thought the worse and that the plane was going to be hijacked, the other man spoke to her in a soft voice.  "Excuse me, but we need to get to our seats.  He and I have had every bad thing that could happen today happen so please just let us on."

She backed up and let them through when she didn't see security or the police coming up the gateway from the terminal.

"Say thank you," the bigger guy said hitting into is friend.  "The woman just saved your ass."

"Thanks," he grumbled and disappeared inside the plane.

She followed him inside the cabin and closed the door, secured the lock on it and turned to find her co-workers looking at her.

"You ok?"

"I'm fine," she said with a sigh.  "I'm fine."  She went through the motions of starting to brew a pot of coffee and brushed away the attention.  "We're going to take off soon.  You should go through your routines."

As they dispersed from where they were gathered she took a deep breath, smoothed her hands over her uniform and plastered a smile on her face.  It was show time.

Afternoon light streamed through the cabin and she had to shade her eyes a little as she walked through the first class cabin.  She'd been given the duty on the roster today and most days it was boring business men that occupied her time, but that night they were bringing NSYNC to New York with them...no announcements were made about this, but the crew all had recognized them instantly and a few girls from the coach section had been by to get autographs.  Colleen wasn't a fan and couldn't see herself being one.  If these guys treated other people the way they treated her she wasn't about to be supporting anything they did.

"Hey there honey," the blond one said as she passed.

"Yes sir?" she asked as she passed, pushing her hair over her shoulder.  She suppressed the urge to tell the guy that she wasn't his honey and that hay was for horses, but she smiled instead.  "Can I get you anything?"

His head leaned back against the chair and he smiled at her.  "A beer."

"Cut him off," the guy behind him said this time with a little less seriousness to his voice.  She looked over his shoulder and saw a larger African American man wearing sunglasses looking at her.  "This one doesn't need anything."

She nodded at the larger man, the one that had been kind to her at the doorway a few moments before, figuring that he was in charge of the blond haired man in the seat in front of him.  "How about I get you a sangria minus the alcohol or maybe some coffee?"

The blond man turned around in his chair and glared at the larger man.  "Fucking hell Loni!  You're my bodyguard not my babysitter."

His attitude was horrible.  The scowl on his face and the sharpness of his voice caught her ear.  If this man was going to snap at someone he knew she wondered what he might end up yelling at her.  She'd met some pretty bitter people in her years of flying, but this man definitely shot to the top of her list of disgruntled employees.  If he was the boss of the other man she sure had to pity his bodyguard.  No one would want to be around an employer like that.

"Lance.  You better watch it.  I'm not having you rip your--"  He looked up at Colleen and stared for a moment.  "Sweetie--I mean--"  He looked at her nametag.  "Colleen, can you let me handle this and get him some water or something?"

"Sure."  Her hand immediately went to run through her hair and she found that she needed to redo the low ponytail she'd had it in earlier.  She moved away from them and found her way through the rows to where they kept the beverages.  This flight from Orlando to New York was her last flight of the week and she only had to catch the connecting flight home to Los Angeles before she had to work that next Thursday.  It was a vacation that she'd been looking forward to for a while, but this leg of the flight was killing her.

Late afternoon and early evening flights were always the worst.  Not only was the time change hard to get used to, but the passengers were always--she liked to use the word--unique.  She either had everyone asleep the entire time causing her to have nothing to do with her evening, or she got a bunch of guys with road rage that seemed to think that it was HER fault that traffic was bad even most times he was never outside of the airport at all.

"You ok?"

She turned to see her partner for the trip with a carafe of coffee in his hands.  "I'm sorry Davis."  She wiped a hand over her face and smiled.  "I'm just not really wanting to deal with...she leaned a little...with someone like THAT tonight."

"Brush it off," he said, "I thought you always said you were going to marry someone rich and famous, well THAT ONE is about the richest and famousest one of all."

"Davis.  Is that even a word?" she said with a laugh.  She and Davis had worked flights for most of the two years that she'd been with the airline and he always was the comedy relief for her bad days.  "Famousest?"

"Well if it isn't, then I just made it one." He put the carafe into its correct holding spot.  "Lance Bass is a gazillionaire and you should be glad that he's calling you honey, half the population of America would die for that chance."

"THAT is Lance Bass?"

"Yes honey," Davis said slipping into his girl talk mode for a moment.  He leaned and looked at Lance for a moment.  "Sweetie, that guy is the most wanted bachelor of the times and you should be glad that he even spoke to you."

She sighed holding back the comments that she wanted to say about him.  "I guess I should have fun with this.  Maybe I can sell the story to the tabloids or Jerry Springer or something and make some dough off this."

"There's my little Los Angeles girl," he said with a smile.

She poured some orange juice into a cup and plastered a smile on her face.  "This should be fun."

When she approached him she saw a different look in his eyes.  This Jekyll and Hyde attitude wasn't impressing her, but when she reached him she liked whatever version he'd turned into better than the last one that had greeted her earlier.

"I'm sorry about--"

"Really Mr. Bass.  It's fine," she said setting his glass down.  "Although I'm sure my brothers wouldn't like to know that you--"

"Really," he said.

She put a hand up and put a finger to his lips.  Her eyes darted around for a moment and the front part of the cabin got quiet for a moment.  She leaned in close to him, looking as if she might kiss him.  "No apologies.  It's in the past."

"I really think that I should--"

"It's ok.  I'm sure you and your friends were only joking around.  I'm fine and I'm sure you are too."

A soft whistle filled the air, coming from across the isle where his friend was sitting, as she stood up.  She took a bow.  "Thank you," she said, "My next performance is just before we land."

While he was waiting to get something else out of his mouth her eyes moved down and she could see the top of his bag sticking out from between his feet.

“You can’t keep your bag there.”

“What?” he asked.

“Your backpack needs to be properly stowed.”

A laugh escaped his mouth and he smiled up at her. “Along with my seat being in the full upright position?”

A few snickers rose around him and she glared at all of them. “It’s FAA regulations that all your baggage must be stored in the overhead bins or below your seat.” She looked at him and tried to place his face but couldn’t do it right away. He looked familiar, but she couldn’t remember where she’d seen him before. “And you seem to have a lot of baggage here with you.”

The pupils of his eyes dilated and he licked his lips before he continued.  “The overhead bins are all full and I have my laptop computer under my seat. Is there room anywhere up here sweetheart where you can store this for me?” His eyes ran up her body and back down again and while normally she liked that kind of attention, that day she was too tired to deal with it and having it come from a passenger made her feel like she needed a shower.

She held her hand out and took the bag from him and as she made her rounds she found that he had been right in his information about the compartments. They were all packed with backpacks and suitcases and briefcases. As she passed him on her way back up to the front of the plane she smiled down at him and held back most of the comments that she wanted to say to him. “I’m going to store this with the flight attendant’s bags up near the front door so if you--”

“Thank you,” he said.

“No,” she said, “Thank YOU.”

She turned her back on him and started up towards the front of the plane where she would start helping Davis start the coffee for the pilots and the other passengers.

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Last updated: 07/10/04.