It’s hard enough moving, it’s even harder moving to another country, this is what Anna was finding out.All the silly little things that you have to do to make sure that everything gets to where it’s meant to go, tying up lose ends, pay the last bills, rent out place and all the crap that goes with it.The move was a good one though, she had managed to get a scholarship at an American university where she would be able to complete her degree in historical research. The hardest thing wasn’t leaving the country or leaving her job, it was her family, or what was left of it that she would miss the most.
“Okay Dad, look I will call you as soon as I land and call you each week for updates.”
“I just can’t believe that my little girl is going to be hundreds of miles away over the sea in another country! Your mother would be so proud.” He said as he hugged her tight.
“Dad!! Look I’m going to be fine and by the way 26 isn’t that little.”
She pulled herself out of her father’s arms. “You my dear will always be my little girl, here this is for you,” He said smiling as he handed her an envelope, “just a little something to help you by when you get there.” She opened it to a sea of green 100 dollar bills. “Dad!! I can’t take this! There must be over a grand!” She said looking with shocked surprise.
“I’ve been saving since you said you were going, hay just think of it as the last dad loan you’ll get, but one that you don’t have to pay back.” He said fondly.
She looked at her dad, the years had been kind even after the tragic death of her mother two years ago. He was quite grey now but there were still some dark chocolate brown flecks still shining through, she was thankful that her dad had good genes as she had got the thick heavy chocolate brown hair from him but the rest of the looks, they were from her mother. She had been a beautiful woman, with light blonde hair and soft hazel eyes that you could drown in and a complexion of pale cream with a light wash of freckles across her nose, Anna may have had her father’s hair and his deep tanned skin but she had her mother’s eyes and slender frame.
“Right, Dad I must go otherwise I’m going to miss my flight.” She gave him one last tight hug, pulling Anna away he held her at arms length just staring at her with I glint of tears in his dark brown eyes. “My girl, I’ll always be here if you need me and I don’t care what time of day or night it is, call me okay?”
“I’ll miss you Dad and I will. Don’t you worry.” She gave him one last squeeze grabbed her bag up from the floor and started to walk away, she looked back as she went and watched as her father waved good bye. “Be safe.” He called to her as she walked up to the counter, handed the fight attendant her ticket.
“I will!” She called over her shoulder. Then the doors closed and her father was gone. ‘One door closes and another opens.’ She said softly under her breath.
“Hello Miss Heal.” The air-stewardess said with a very fixed smile on her over made-up face. “Thank you for your reservation with us. I see this is a one way ticket, staying in the States long?” Asked the attendant as she handed Anna her boarding pass back. “For a little while yeah, finishing my degree.” Anna replied. “I hope you all the best Miss Heal, enjoy your flight.”
“Thank you.” She could not help but feel that was said a little false, she must ask that same question every time she had a customer; Must get boring , she’s lucky at least, she had a job. The one thing she had not sorted yet was getting a job; she had all her accommodation, car, work permit, but no job to speak of. ‘Thank you, dad.’ She said to herself as she patted the pocket which had the envelope of dollars in. This will help until I find a job. Right She thought. I think its time for a beer, flight isn’t for another hour, time to chill.
Anna looked around her; the airport was as bright, airy and busy as it had been the last time she had been here. Anna and her best friend had been here on there way to India for a bit of backpacking, it had been the best 3 months ever and had made them even closer as friends. She was going to miss her the most of all, as they were like sisters and had been friends since they were kids.
“Hay don’t you worry I’ll come out to stay and we can always chat on the net.” Clara nudged Anna with her foot as they sat watching their favourite movie for the last time. “It’s not the same though really, is it? I can’t just pop round to see you or grab lunch when we want.” Anna said rolling her head back on the sofa.
“Look, what your doing is a great opportunity. It doesn’t come to everyone and it has come to you, it will only be two years and I will be over all the time so much so you will want to get rid of me.” Clara pulled Anna over for a hug and they both laughed. “I’ll never get rid of you, too much history”. Anna smiled at the memory, looking across the hustle and bustle of the airport she saw families off on holidays, couples on romantic breaks, business men and women rushing to catch flights to there next meetings.
This is it. She thought. This Is the most exciting and the most scary thing I’m ever going to have to experience! My dad will be fine, Clara will always look out for him and she doesn’t need any looking after. The two things in my life that I care about the most have each other so why am I worrying! Taking a long draft of her beer she lo oked up and checked the board. In big red letters DELAYED appeared right next to her flight code.Oh great! More time to sit here and ponder my life! Slumping back in her chair she closed her eyes and took a deep breath in and then exhaled slowly feeling the calm wash over her, it starting from the top of her head and washing right the way through to her toes.It was a technique that her mother had taught her for when ever you need that extra bit of calm. She did this a few more times and continued to watch the shifting crowds as they slowly drifted by.
Mike was a confident guy. He had the looks of an American movie star with his sandy blonde hair, which had been sun kissed from 6 months backpacking round Europe, blue eyes the colour of aquamarine and skin a warm golden brown. When he spoke he’d make any lady melt like butter, the problem though was he was looking for only one! Everyone at some stage of their life is looking for the one, the other half, that special someone! He’d had a few long relationships and a lot of short ones, but now was the time to hang up the backpack and start to settle down, make something special that will last and mean everything.His parents had it right, they had been together since high school and were still very much in love. He never wanted that before, wanted to play the field have some fun but now in his mind it was time to sort it out and get that one!He shifted his rucksack on his shoulder and decided to find somewhere to sit, his flight had been delayed for another hour and didn’t fancy standing any more, his back was killing him.The last few nights had been hell, the hostels beds were getting worse! He was looking forward to sleeping in is own bed, the over soft mattress with the duck down pillows and quilt.Bliss! He thought. As he made is way through the crowds a glint of gold flashed in to his eye.
He looked toward the source, it belonged to a button on a pale blue blazer that was being worn by a very pretty young woman. She must have been about 5’5, 24 years old, slim but toned which the baggie black cotton pants that she was wearing didn’t quite hide.Waves and waves of chocolate coloured hair with a few natural highlights were being held back from her face by her black sunglasses on the top of her head, which helped show off her pretty face wonderfully.Her skin was a warm olive which he guessed would tan a rich deep colour when out in the sun, what caught him the most was her eyes.They were a golden hazel with no end to them, but they looked so sad like she had lost something or had a hell of a lot on her mind and was thinking of the best way to deal with it. So he decided there and then he would go and talk to her try and make her smile. I bet she has a great smile. He thought. “Hay there, with a face that sad looking I would have thought someone had died.”
Anna looked up to the soft American drawl that belonged to probably one of the most handsome men she had seen in a long while and it had been a while.If he didn’t have such a sweet smile and amazing white straight teeth like only Americans can, she would have more than likely told him where to go, in a way that only English girls can, especially with that crummy pick up line! Smiling she said;“No one’s died, just leaving a lot behind.”
Mike was feeling brave. “May I sit down and join you?” He said as he started to put down his bags.
Hum should I let this guy join me? He may help the time pass and he’s American, maybe I could get some useful information. “Yeah, why not? And your name is?” She replied.
“Mike or Michael if you want the long version.”
“Hi Mike. Nice to meet you.” She extended a hand and he took hers in his. Strangely his hand was cool to the touch, to look at them you would have thought they would have been warm even hot, they were ruff and his grip was firm.What would it be like to have them running over my body. She felt her face flush as she thought this.He had seen the red flush rise which made a smile twitch at the corners of his mouth. He had a great mouth with nice full lips.What am I thinking, I’ve just met this guy!! “Wow, is it hot in here!” She said as she took off her blazer and slipped it over the back of her chair.This bared her tanned arms which he noticed had a nice tone to them.
Hum, she must work out. He thought.
“So, are you going to tell me your name or am I going to have to guess?” He said with a smile that touched his eyes, making them crinkle just a little at the corners. “Oh, my name! It’s Anna.” She said smiling warmly.There’s that smile. Mike smiled to himself.
“Hi, can I take your order?” The waitress asked in a slightly deadpan tone, looking rushed and hassled with high spots of colour in her cheeks and a slight glimmer of sweat on her brow.“Can I have a beer? Would you like another?” Mike nodded towards her nearly empty glass. Anna looked down at her glass and was surprised to see that it was nearly gone. “Yeah…why not? That would be great.” She said.
“Would you like anything else?” He asked.
“No, the drink is fine. I have eaten all ready, my dad insisted on cooking me breakfast, said that I would never get one as good in the US.” She looked down at her hands and laughed at the thought.
“You haven’t tried the pancakes yet, they are something else!” He said licking his lips.
“That’s just two beers then mama.” The way he said mama made him seem even more the all American guy that you see in sitcoms. The waitress seemed to like his charm and good manners as she smiled sweetly for the first time since she had been at the table and would probably do anything if he were to say mama again.Picking up the menu she quickly walked away to get the drinks they had just ordered, with more of a bounce in her walk than she did before.
“States is it, whereabouts are you going?” He had picked up on the fact she was on her way to the US. Maybe she’s going somewhere near me. Mike thought hopefully.
“I’m off to a place called Tempa Falls, I’m finishing my degree there, two years away….” She said. What am I doing! Shouldn’t say too much.
“It’s going to be fun! So I’m guessing you’re from America? Are you on your way back?” She added. Keep the conversation about him. That’s the way to do it. She thought as she drank down the last of her drink just as the waitress brought over their refills. “There we go. Two beers.” The waitress said as she placed the beers down on the table. “Thanks.” They both said at the same time and laughed.
“Yeah you guessed right, I’m on my way back from 12 months backpacking in Europe.” Said Mike as he stretched his legs out.Having shorts on you could see the muscle definition from a lot of walking, and they weren’t over hairy either. Anna liked this. “Me and my best mate did 3 months in India.” She cut in.
“Nice! The one thing that I’m looking forward to is to be in my own bed and some of my mom’s home cooking!” He said as he patted his stomach and beamed a grin. “Falls is only an hour away from where I live, maybe I could come by and help you get settled into American life?”This he said with genuine kindness. Anna liked him, and it would be good to know at least one person, and you never know what could happen.
“Sure that would be cool, be nice to have one friend straight away at least.” As she said friend she saw a slight change in his face, almost like she had slipped him.He wants more than friends. Hum, keep an eye out for other signs. She thought and had a small flutter of excitement in her stomach.Friends! Mike was a little crushed; he didn’t want to be just friends! This girl was something else.Yes she had only just started to talk to him but he felt that there was already a connection.
Right, time to ask some more questions.“So…are you leaving behind anyone important?” He asks thinking, Nice getting to the point, do you have a man!
“Yes he’s the best in the world.”
“Oh right.” Great! She has a man! Mikes hopes were slowly going down the drain like left over dish water.“Have you known him long?”Keep fishing could just be a fling.
“It feels that way; he’s always been around and he’s always there when I need him.” Anna thought this was fun as he thought she was on about a love interest when in fact she was talking about her dad, time to step up the game.
“Yeah he’s older and very wise. Has been all over the world and has seen so much.” A smile creeping on to her face as she saw Mike’s face crumple more and more.“By the way I’m talking about my dad!” She said through a giggle. His face brightened straight away and there was hope back in his eyes.
“Right…cool…I mean I wasn’t trying to find out if you were single or anything…just interested in what you are leaving behind.”
He looked at her and smiled, put his head down and looked up through his fringe that had fallen in to his eyes and he saw the best smile yet from her.That was the ice breaker and they both started to laugh.Now that the ice was broken and they knew they would get on they started to tell each other a bit more about there lives.
Anna told him about the sad death of her mother 2 years ago and how it had effected her life. The way she had raised money for the charity that helped women that have had family die from cancer or had suffered themselves. How it had effected her father and the tough times she had when he started drinking. She talked about her best friend and the crazy things that they had got up to on their travels, how she loved the degree that she was doing and how much she enjoyed learning about history and historical figures. It was too easy to talk to this guy. She just couldn’t stop talking, bit of is was nerves and the other was he was a great listener. It’s so hard to find a good listener.Mike was hooked on every word she said, he was entrapped by the way she spoke about her father and how amazing her mother had been.Whenever she spoke about her mother her hand always went to the little locket that she wore round her neck, he guessed it had been her mothers.Clara sounded awesome and he would love to meet her.
He went on to tell her about life as an American kid, how crazy high school had been. How different it was from the way that television portrayed it, how insane collage was and this time television had it dead right! He told her all about his travels and the amazing places he had been and the things that he had done, his mom who he loved very much but tried not to seem like a mommy’s boy, told her about his place and that she should defiantly come and see the view and meet his friends as they would love her.
She was so confident, good natured but not big headed and got very passionate when she spoke of her love for history and anything old.He told her of the manor house that was in Falls and of the family that still lived there. “The place is amazing, the house has been in the same family for centuries, it’s really old. Probably one of the oldest homes in Falls.”
“It does sound amazing, I’ll have to make the effort to go and see it.” She had an excited look in her eye when he spoke of the place.
“Sadly I don’t think that the public can see inside, but the library in Falls has some fantastic illustrated books on it.”
“They will have to do then.” She looked just a little disappointed and why not, if you loved history as much as she did you would be too.
“Where in Falls are you staying? Do you have a place yet?”He asked making sure he knew where is was, and whether it was in an okay area because with most places there are very unsavoury parts of a town that you don’t want to accidentally wander in too. He wanted to know that she was going to be safe. “Yep, I have a place, found it through the university. It’s near campus which is helpful, it’s all mine, I do have spare room so I’m going to look for a room mate to help with the rent and things.” She said.
She picked up her drink and took a large gulp. I better hold up on the beer this is my 3rd and it’s going to my head! “What’s the address of this place?” He said this with a cheeky smile and pretended to get a pen and paper.She smiled back knowing exactly what he meant by that. “So have you finished collage then?” She said as she played with the condensation on the side of her glass.
“Did a year. Had a year out. Have to go back for another year and then I’m done!” He gestured with his hands in a final way.
“And what did….are you studying?” She inquired. “Computer-science.”
“Computer-science.” She repeated and had a slightly quizzical look on her face.
“What?” He said with a grin and a nudge of her arm.
She laughed; “Well you don’t look like the type of guy that would want to be stuck behind a computer all day….I saw you as more of an outdoors person…. maybe even sports.”
“Well I would not have put you down as someone that would always have her head in a dusty book.”
“Hey!” she pushed him playfully. “What!” he said in mock surprise. “I’m just saying you’re too pretty to have your head stuck in a dusty book….. You need to show that face off.”He watched as she flushed pink under her tanned skin. “I think you’re flirting with me Mike.”She looked over the table at him and he looked down in to his beer with a small smile. “Can’t blame a guy for trying.” Both laughing they continued to chat, until the loud speaker boomed out above there heads;
“WOULD THE FINAL TWO PASSENGERS FOR FILGHT NUMBER VS4478 PLEASE MAKE YOUR WAY TO GATE NUMBER 35. THAT’S PASSENGER HEAL AND PASSANGER STEVENSON, PLEASE MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE GATE OR YOUR LUGGAGE WILL BE REMOVED AND ANOTHER FLIGHT WILL NEED TO BE ARRANGED, PASSENGER HEAL AND STEVENSON!”
“Bloody hell I can’t believe the time has gone so fast!” Anna said.She got up a little to fast and knocked the remainder of her drink all over the table.“Shit! I hate being late!” Frantically mopping up the split beer. “Hay time flies when you’re having fun. Chill, we’ll get to the gate on time.” Mike helped with the spillage. “We?” Anna was confused.“The other passenger is me? I’m Stevenson, Michael Stevenson nice to meet you again Miss Anna Heal.” He held out his hand again she laughed as she took his hand for the second time and did a mock curtsy “and a pleasure to meet you AGAIN Mr Michael Stevenson.”
“Come on lets go otherwise we will be late.”Like a true gentleman he picked up her bag. After placing his rucksack on his back it looked really heavy “Are you sure you want to carry my bag as well as yours? It looks like it weighs a ton!”
“Hay don’t you worry I’m so used to the pack I’m now one with it.” He said this in the imitated voice of a monk; Anna gave a chuckle.
“Okay whatever you say.” They finally got to the gate just with a minute to spare. “Hi, I’m Miss Heal, sorry I’m late.” She handed her boarding pass to the desk clerk who didn’t look very impressed. Ticket checked she handed it back to her.
“I’m guessing you must be Mr Stevenson?” The attendant asked with raised eyebrows. “I sure am mama.” He said with a nod of his head.Anna just could not get over the reaction that mike had on women, just with the simple nod of his head and the use of the word mama the attendant was no longer irritated by their late arrival. Anna just smiled to herself and shook her head slightly in wonderment as she didn’t think that Mike had a clue at the effect he had.
“Well I hope you both enjoy your flight and stay in the States.” She said as she handed back Mike’s ticket and passport with a smile which was more than what she gave Anna.
“Right here we go!” Mike said excitedly.
“I hope it’s a smooth flight, I hate flying.”He looked at her from the corner of his eye and could see that she wasn’t kidding, she had a flush across her chest and a thin film of sweat had broken out across her forehead.He touched her arm reassuringly. “Hay it will be okay, there is more chance of you getting killed in a car accident than dieing in a plane crash.”
“Thanks that make’s me feel a load better!”
Mike just grinned, he could see the opening of the plane coming up and the flight assistant waiting patiently. He knew this was going to be the make or brake in him seeing this amazing girl again. “I just want to say that I really do mean what I said about helping you to settle in to Falls. When we get to the airport could I …..Umm give you a lift….you’re on the way?” He looked at her with imploring eyes, please say yes please! He willed in his head.
“That’s really sweet.” Oh my god what do I say I can’t get a lift with a guy that I have just met!
He could see she was unsure “Just to make it easy my mom is picking me up so it’s not going to be just me and you in the car.” He smiled a shy smile which just didn’t fit his handsome face. Relief washed through her. “That would be lovely thank you so much Mike. It means a lot.” When she looked at him again his grin was so wide she thought his cheeks would split.
“Cool…nice cool.” Was all he could say. Anna burst out laughing; it was like watching a little boy who had been told yes when he asked a girl to a dance. They finally reached the plane door; this was going to be the longest 10 hours without anyone to talk too.Anna had glanced at Mike’s ticket so she knew he wasn’t sat near her, she was business and he was in economy.
“So see you in 10 hours then?” She looked up and saw he had the same sad expression on his face as she did.
“Yeah see you in 10 hours, I may come and bug you if they let me in.” He said with a cheeky wink as the flight assistant led him away to his seat.
“Miss Heal, this way please.” Anna continued to stare after Mike as he was shown his seat.
“Oh sorry.” The assistant lead her to business class which was pretty much empty.What a waste of space. She thought to herself as she was shown her seat, and there were empty seats all around her. Great!The take off went smoothly. Not to bumpy and the skies were clear so less likely to be any turbulence . As she gazed out the window at the different blues that filled the sky and the white cotton candy clouds that make a soft blanket below the plane she thought about the first two crazy hours of her adventure so far. I have just met the nicest guy ever! And I don’t even know if I’m ever really going to see him after the lift I get!
The thing was she did want to see him again. She liked him and out of all the guys that she had been hit on by in past months, he was the most genuine! Miles way in thought she didn’t hear the person who had come up and was standing next to her seat. “Someone looks thoughtful, penny for them?” She looked up to see a smiling Mike looking down at her.
“Hi!” She said surprised.“What are you doing in this part of the plane? This is business class you know.” Anna said in a mock posh voice. Mike laughed.
“That was really good…sounds good in your English accent.” He chuckled; “I just said to the hostess that I wanted to talk to you for a bit, for some reason she said I could! Seeing as it wasn’t busy back here just needed to tuck in my shirt and here I am.” Mike held out his arms at his sides to show his tucked in shirt plus with a huge grin on his face which went ear to ear.
“Take a seat then Mr Stevenson! I’ll order the champers!” This was going to be a great flight.