Kassandra raced through the airport and bulled over other fliers to find her connecting plane. By the time she arrived at the first electronic board listing the departures, it was like she was preparing for the eight hundred meter run. She slipped her bag off and massaged the cramps in her shoulder it left behind.
As she caught her air and relieved her discomfort, she directed her attention to the board.
“Come on! Come on!” Kassie was pointing at the board and moving a finger along each city. Her heart leapt at the sight of the flight to Colorado Springs departing at six that evening but sank at the message next to it. “Gate number to be announced at a quarter till six! Why don’t they know what it is now? Sigh.”
Kassie had a half hour to spend doing something. She didn’t want to kill it since that implied wasting it and she’d done enough of that on her mother’s couch the past five years. Her tummy was rumbling at her. All that activity in her gut had her noticing the aromas floating through the air. The fries from the burger joint, the herb-laden pizza sauce from the Italian eatery, and the fried tenders from the chicken shop were all mouthwatering. She could spend that time munching. She stepped left, right, and straight ahead but couldn’t settle on her choice of entrée. Kassie patted her jeans pocket and realized it was full of things that jingled instead of folded.
Kassie walked towards her left. “Small fries it is!”
A few minutes later, she was walking in the direction of the lounge to wait for news of her gate number. The potatoes burned her fingers and lips but they had the right amount of salt and were hot from the fryer. It also took half of the money she had left. Like that, despair replaced the moment of happiness from devouring those fries.
Kassie found what appeared to be the last pair of seats in the lounge that weren’t occupied. One was for her and the other for her shoulder bag. She hoped the bag would deter anyone from occupying her space. She welcomed the chance to mope all by her lonesome.
Her little butt landing on the chair was soothing—as soothing as sitting on a lump of hard plastic could be. The aching fled from her feet and there was a temptation to take off her ankle boots before realizing she wasn’t inside her four walls. She was beginning to wonder if the cost of beauty was worth paying.
Kassie leaned against the chair’s back and relaxed. She forced a grin across her lips. As much as she griped, it wasn’t all bad. The chance to leave her mom’s sofa in pursuit of the life she dreamed of in a city hundreds of miles away from everyone was enough to have her inwardly doing flips. She also learned how men must feel being on the end of a barrage of nags. It was her hope that her passion could be found out of range of mom’s pestering…err, her encouragements to make something of herself.
After high school, Kassie stepped on a university campus and it took all of two seconds to realize college life was for someone not named Kassie Singleton. She spent the next five years tapping at cash registers, hanging fashion in boutiques, and flipping patties while she searched for the reason for her existence.
Whenever she passed the homeless on the streets, especially those that had served, something always tugged at her strings. That led her to making beds and soups at the local homeless shelter. She spent most of her time lending an ear to the veterans and taking in their stories. Tales of them watching friends fall in front of their eyes and returning home with few skills other than being able to pull a trigger led many of them to where they were. Kassie dripped tears for them. Mama Singleton’s heart cried for them but she also lamented how her daughter could live off such empathies.
Kassie found a nonprofit in Colorado Springs that built homes for the families of those that wore a uniform for the country. She could have worked for such a place in her hometown of Charlotte but that would have been in reach of Mrs. Singleton.
Kassie wouldn’t make enough to move near Rodeo Drive but she would be doing something that had her anxious to see the sun each day.
It wasn’t long after shutting her eyes when a voice brought her from her relaxation. She pretended it was an imagination figment but it was persistent.
She opened her eyes to find a pair of legs behind black dress pants. As Kassie lifted her chin, she found a turquoise blouse, and above that a face with brown hair dark enough to be confused with black unless seen at the right angle. She also had eye shadow that mimicked her blouse’s hue and teardrop earrings that did the same.
Her cheeks puffed and her pink lips moved again as she aimed a finger at the chair beside Kassie. “Hi, can I have this seat or does your bag still need to rest?”
Kassie smirked and placed her bag on the floor between her ankles. “No, it’s fine.”
The woman stood her rolling bag upright and slipped off her overcoat. “Thank you. The chair Acıbadem Escort is nice but what I really want is something queen-sized and feeling like a bed of cotton.”
Kassie said, “That sounds perfect about now. When I get on the plane, I’m grabbing my pillow and going nighty-night.”
The woman folded her coat and laid it over the back of the chair. “Where is your flight taking you?”
Kassie would have preferred to be left to her thoughts but maybe a little chitchat might pass the minutes.
She scanned her black six-inch stilettos. Added to the rest of her attire, Kassie contemplated whether she could afford to sit next to her. She carried a whiff of some sweet scented spray at the perfect subtlety. Maybe she could bear the following few minutes after all.
As the woman sat, Kassie said, “I’m going to Colorado to be a part of a nonprofit that builds houses for homeless veterans. I think I’m happier than I ever been!”
Talking about it was enough to have Kassie schoolgirl giddy.
Her words seemed to put a grin on the lady’s lips as well. “That’s amazing!” The woman tapped Kassie’s knee. “You must have a kind heart.”
Trickles of excitement passed through Kassie when the woman touched her. She hadn’t an inkling why but she stored the thought away for later.
Kassie angled towards her new chat partner and lifted her voice over the clamors of the people nearby. “And where are you going? You look as though you have a lot of three letter abbreviations after your name.”
The woman waved off her observation. “Oh, no, no. I don’t have any of those. I’m headed to L.A. to pitch my fashion ideas to one of the largest clothing stores out there. I have my designs in a few mom and pop outlets in my hometown but if this company likes my clothes, big time here I come! I’m so nervous my tummy hurts! Oh, I forgot my manners. I’m Alyssa.”
She extended her hand and its pink manicured nails towards her. Kassie accepted the invite with a trio of slight shakes. Her hands were silky smooth and Kassie trembled again.
“Kassandra but Kassie is fine.”
“Nice to meet you, Kassie!” Alyssa said it like she was in glee to have met her acquaintance. “Your blue and white scarf is cute. It seems to complement your cream sweater.”
Kassie chuckled. “Hehe, are you also the fashion police?”
Alyssa shook her head in a frenzy. “No, not at all. I meant to come across as complimentary not judgmental. Sorry.”
“Relax. I’m only teasing but my sense of fashion never developed. I just throw on anything that I think looks cute and feels good to me. Maybe I got lucky today.”
Alyssa’s tension morphed into a smile that displayed each of her pearls. “That you did.”
Kassie was proud of the chenille sweater she discovered in the clearance aisle. It was like wearing a blanket and gave her plenty of room to do stretches if she desired. Her blue jeans went well with it but then again, there wasn’t much in which you couldn’t wear those.
Kassie slid the corner of her eye towards Alyssa. The fashion designer used the lull in the conversation to sneak peeks with her own sly eye. Kassie’s heart pumped a little quicker and her cheeks flushed. Stirring started between her legs and she tried telling herself to slow down.
Kassie hadn’t been on a date since the last full moon but when she did, it was a guy on the opposite end of the dinner table. When she had her eyes on women, it was usually because she wanted to be them not kiss them. The flirtations of the woman to her left had her mind wandering into foreign territories. She wasn’t “in the closet” or anything similar but that didn’t mean Alyssa couldn’t make her curious. Kassie hadn’t been in anyone’s sheets in a few months and that also served to have her wanting to see how far Alyssa would go with her temptations. Not that she would have the courage to do anything but if nothing else, the attention was flattering.
Kassie yawned and drifted off.
Sometime later, she awakened to Alyssa’s tapping on her hand.
Kassie stretched her arms forth and reveled in freshness her fifteen minute snooze provided. “Sigh…what’s going on?”
“Sorry to wake you but you should probably see this…” Alyssa was pointing at the roof-to-floor windows along the wall near the gates.
The view would have been nice to see when she was getting ready for school in the morning as a kid but not so much now.
Nature was dumping snow into the night sky. It was more visible as it swirled beneath the yellowish orange lights throughout the airport grounds.
Kassie walked in slow motion until she was leaning against a window. The chill emanating from the glass was enough to shiver her fingers.
Her mood collapsed into her gut when looking at how the concrete was beneath snow blankets. Snow that wasn’t there when her plane landed.
Kassie banged her head into the window. “No! I have Acıbadem Escort Bayan to fly out of here tonight! Nature, please don’t do this! You know how long it took me to figure out what I want!”
Mother Nature responded by whiting out the area with crystals and threw whistling winds into the mix. She turned and dragged her feet back to her seat. Alyssa was looking at the window as Kassie neared her.
“How does it look?” Alyssa asked as she sat her iPad aside.
“Pretty sure we’ll have time for a lot of crossword puzzles.”
Alyssa playfully smacked Kassie on the thigh. “Crossword puzzles? Like old people? Come on!”
“Whatever! Candy Crush, Tetris, Angry Birds, whatever gets you going when it’s boring!”
Alyssa giggled as she unzipped her bag and out came a brown portfolio. Kassie was about to ask about it when an announcement came over the intercom.
Attention! Attention! A weather system has moved into the area and dropped enough snow and ice that all flights have been delayed until further notice. We are working to clear the runways as soon as possible. The storm system is expected to be fast moving so hopefully, we can get you on your way tonight. We will bring you updates as they become available. Thank you for your understanding.
Kassie whimpered to herself. She was looking forward to a bed and pillows that soothed her body to the sleep land. Instead, it seemed her bed would be more akin to the comfort of floor tile.
No, no. She was not going to let this ruin her trip. Not when she was this close!
“Well, that sucks,” Alyssa commented. “At least I gave myself a two day cushion in case this happened. No way was I going to miss my opportunity!”
Kassie patted her leather jacket on her chair to use as padding before she lowered on it. “I see why you’re successful. Nothing stops you from seizing the moment.”
Alyssa shrugged. “Hey, it’s what it takes.”
Kassie pointed at the portfolio in her lap. “Are those your designs? I’d love to see them.”
Alyssa sprang to life in a way Kassie had yet to see. “Sure! I’d love to show them to you!”
She flipped over the front cover and Kassie scooted close enough their knees brushed. There was a flash of a moment that paused when the women gazed at each other. Kassie drew in a sharp inhale. She wasn’t sure what to do with that so she turned her attention to the design printouts inside plastic protectors.
The pink lemonade button up jacket and matching pencil skirt was first. The buttons were magenta and the skirt zipped at the back.
Kassie nodded in approval while being a little envious at her as she lacked any design ability. The extent of Kassie’s artistic prowess was designing some mean stick figures.
“Ooh, that’s cute.”
“Aww, thanks!” Alyssa stroked the rear of Kassie’s hand. “I really like the color. I was thinking whoever wears it would stand out in a room.”
“Hmm, yeah, it’d be difficult not to draw some attention.”
Alyssa, in mid-page turn, froze and Kassie followed her fingers to the stare that was fixated on her. Kassie laughed. This attention stuff was new to her—at least recently. Aside from the creepy clerk watching her pump gas at the station and the cashier whose ogling over her breasts never ended until she was out of sight, Kassie hadn’t noticed anyone “normal” fancying her. Warmth filled Kassie and she snapped her stare away. Alyssa snickered and continued the page flip to a sundress.
Kassie’s palm provided a rest for her chin while she checked out the dress. The layers of blues from light to the dark from its top to the flared bottom gave the illusion of water. Within its blues were goldfish, seaweed, and corals.
“This is pretty…” Kassie commented.
“Yes, you are.”
Kassie was so deep into her admiration for Alyssa’s creations, a few clicks went by before she caught what she said—or what she thought she said. Only the keenest of ears would have heard her so it could have been her imagination.
“Excuse me?” Kassie said.
Alyssa was blushing and shaking to her heels. “What?”
“I thought you said something.”
The designer shook her head in an exaggerated fashion. “Nope.”
Kassie was certain she said it and the pulses conjuring between her legs agreed with her. She placed a hand over her heart as both it and her digits were in jitters. Alyssa closed her portfolio and gently returned it to her case.
She rose to her feet and took her place in front of Kassie. “You don’t mind if I take a break do you? I heard the coffee shop has hot chocolate. Would you like one?”
Kassie could already feel the liquid warming her soul. “I would but…” She fumbled through her pockets and showed Alyssa a few quarters, dimes, and pennies. “This is about all I have.”
Alyssa started her trek towards the coffee shop. “Don’t worry about that. It’s on me!”
Kassie didn’t know how to thank Escort Acıbadem her. She could probably guess how she would want thanks. She slumped and yawned as she was leaking energy. Despite her makeshift leather cushion, her legs and butt were crying for relief. Alyssa happened to be the last person in line and Kassie couldn’t help but notice her hourglass frame and the extra padding in the back of her pants. She couldn’t recall another time she was consciously staring at another woman’s ass. She wanted to believe how long it had been since she had companionship was why she was mentally undressing Alyssa. She usually went out of her way to stay busy as to forget she was missing an “other half.”
Kassie curled some of her sandy tresses around her fingers and tilted her neck. “What am I doing? I’m not a lesbian. I still like guys but why does she look so good to me? I’ve been single too long. That has to be it.”
Kassie focused on the window and it was all white. It resembled Alaska not Kansas City. Another announcement came over the system.
Attention! Attention! The system we believed to be fast-moving has settled above us and is expected to be with us overnight. Despite our best efforts, we cannot keep the runways clear and safe enough for our planes to safely take off. There is also the danger of ice. Therefore, all flights tonight have been canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience. Your airlines will send you updates as to when your flights will be ready to fly. Thank you and goodnight.
Resounding moans and groans resonated from the masses. Commotion flooded the lounge as some people gathered their things and made way for the exits while others were using coats and jackets as their sleeping bags. Others were trying to make up their minds.
Kassie resisted the urge to cry about the news. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone who used that thing sitting between their ears. She scanned the floor in the hopes there was a spot that would be kind to her back but her wishes were dashed. If she dumped the contents of her bag on the tile, maybe enough of her shirts, bras, panties, and socks with her jacket might at least keep her from the chiropractor. Getting a good night’s sleep was another story but her body was begging her to try.
As she snagged her bag, Alyssa was walking up and was carrying a pair of coffee cups capped with brown lids.
Alyssa offered one to Kassie. “Here, sweetie. Trust me. There’s hot chocolate in there. They ran out of cups for them.”
Kassie held it and the heat brought her hands to their normal temperature. “Mmm, I can smell it. I can’t wait to get a sip.”
Alyssa took her seat. “I’ve tried it. Pretty good.”
Kassie’s sip reminded her of Christmas Days with her mom, dad, and sister. Its divine aroma summoned her and her sister from their beds and lured them into an ocean of presents beneath the tree. After wrapping paper was strewn all over the floor and she was brushing her dolls’ hair, she’d realize she could use some nourishment that wound up being hot chocolate.
She sipped her gift from Alyssa and closed her eyes to soak in the sensations of the sweetness on her tongue and the heat slithering through her body. It wasn’t as sweet as mama’s but still satisfying.
Kassie lowered the cup. “This reminds me of Christmas. We drank it every Christmas. We drank it every day when it was cold but Christmases stick out. Our snowman mugs had little marshmallows floating on the top.”
Alyssa was also lowering her cup and smacking her lips. “Oh, sounds nice. You had a happy family. I was an only child so I got to be showered in all the gifts from ma, grandma, uncle, auntie, cousins, friends. I always wanted a sister. I might have even settled for an overprotective brother. Got lonely sometimes but my life had its perks.”
“I noticed you left out someone.”
“Oh. Him. He, um, was more interested in his needles, powders, and bottles than his daughter. The best thing he did was offer his sperm to mom.” Alyssa sniffled and cleaned her eyes and nose with her palm. “I’d rather not travel further down this road.”
Kassie squeezed Alyssa’s hand. It was shaking but her resistance melted away. Kassie wasn’t sure if she was happy her new friend had already opened up so much or sad that she opened up so much. Either way, Kassie couldn’t have imagined her distraught. If she was without her own father, she would have been lost—floating through life without a rock to steady her.
Alyssa clenched her fists. “I don’t know why I’m crying about him. Fuck him!”
Kassie’s eyes became plums as Alyssa threw her off-balance. She shook at the designer’s rage though it wasn’t aimed at her. A note to elude her bad side.
Kassie said, “I’m so sorry. It’s amazing you’ve made it so far despite him not being there.”
Alyssa withdrew her hand and dropped it in her lap. “Thanks but can we try again to leave this alone? I feel like I’m turning you into Dr. Phil or something.”
Kassie’s cheeks ballooned. “Am I losing my hair or do I look like I’ve had too many large pies with all the meats?”
Alyssa laughed with a shove to Kassie’s shoulder. “You know that’s not why I said that! You’re a little prettier than him.”
Kassie angled her gaze at Alyssa. “A little, you say?”