Copyright 2014 R.G. Ryan
I was sitting in the LAX International terminal waiting impatiently for the departure of my flight to Sydney, Australia. It was already a good thirty minutes late and I had started to worry since I had an interview in about 23 hours for the most important position of my twenty-four year-old life.
My name is Bree Simmons. A multi-national marketing firm based out of Sydney saw my resume on some website–hey, I papered the Internet with the thing–and called me personally to see if I would be willing to fly to Sydney for an all expenses paid interview. Sydney. All expenses paid. It took me all of about three seconds to say yes. That was two days ago. I don’t mind telling you it’s been a whirlwind since.
This interview means everything to me because, well, an MBA in marketing from Stanford just didn’t open all the doors I was promised by my advisors. Take away the intrigue of living and working in Sydney, if you want to know the truth, I’m floundering and something has to happen soon or I’ll be in real trouble.
“Attention in the gate area. Those of you awaiting the departure of Flight 1584, non-stop to Sydney, Australia, due to a mechanical malfunction this flight has been cancelled. Please see the gate agent for further instructions.”
At first I didn’t think I had heard the announcement correctly. I mean it sounded like someone just said my flight was canceled, but that just couldn’t be.
I was sitting quite close to the gate agent’s desk so I jumped up first in line and said, “Did you just say that this flight is canceled?”
“I’m afraid so, miss,” the agent said with an appropriate amount of concern. “Do you want me to see if we can place you on another flight?”
“Of course. I have a very important interview in about 23 hours from now that I simply cannot miss.”
She pecked away on her keyboard, making the same kind of clucking noises with her tongue that a dentist makes right before he tells you you’ll need about ten thousand dollars of dental work.
“Hmmm,” she said.
“Is that a good, hmmm, or a bad hmmm?” I asked.
She glanced up at me and said, “Not good. Every other non-stop to Sydney is booked solid.”
“How about other airlines?”
“Those ARE the other airlines. This was our last flight until tomorrow morning at, ummm, 6:10 AM.”
The first icy tendrils of panic began a slow and deliberate climb up my spine.
“Well, how about direct flights? I mean I don’t have to be on a non-stop, I guess.”
She sighed deeply and said, “Nope. No direct flights either. In fact, the absolute best I can do is get you on a flight to San Francisco that leaves in,” she paused to check something, “Ooh, about thirty-five minutes. You’d have a four hour layover in SF, but there is a bit of room on a flight that would put you in Sydney just about three hours later than your original arrival time. But I can’t guarantee your luggage will make it at the same time.”
With my head spinning I blurted out, “Do it! Let’s do it. If necessary I’ll buy new clothes.”
“That’s the spirit,” she said cheerfully and began attacking the keys with renewed vigor.
I turned around to check on my fellow passengers to see how they were handling the bad news. And that’s when I saw him.
Three people back in line. All six-foot something of him in his very Euro suit and his very Euro glasses and his very Euro haircut. Did I mention his smile? The smile was the only thing about him that wasn’t Euro. The smile was other-worldly.
The gate agent’s voice seemed to come from a place far, far away.
She actually had to tug on my sleeve.
“Oh, sorry. Yes?” I said, hoping the god among men would still be there if I turned around again.
“You’re all set,” she said. “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“If I pay you a lot of money, can you get him,” I jerked my head in the direction of my newly formed obsession, “on the same flight with me?”
She peered covertly around me and said, “No, but I’ll let you have my job and I’ll go on the flight.”
I smiled and walked away, making sure to stray as close as possible to my guy. Did I mention that he was also wearing a very yummy, very Euro cologne?
“Excuse me,” he said in a voice that rumbled from somewhere deep in his chest. “But did you have any luck in getting on another flight?”
I stood there with my mouth opening and closing like some poor beached amphibian for several seconds before I was able to utter, “Uh, yes. But you’ll, uh, have to go to San Francisco and get on a flight there.”
His smile was electric, “Is that where you’re going?”
I returned his smile and said, “Yes. Yes, I am.”
He leaned in and said conspiratorially, “I don’t suppose we’ll have a layover, will we?”
What I wanted to say was, “Excuse me while I go over and ask that nice looking gentleman to pinch me good and hard because this just can’t be happening.” What I said was, “Fo…four hours.”
Without ever taking his eyes from mine he said, “Well, then, this is fortuitous.”
“You want some of this Cinnabon or not?”
My best friend Gloria was nudging me in the ribs and waving half of the delectable decadence in front of my face.
“I asked if you wanted some of this, because, lord knows I don’t need it.”
I looked at the gate information which indicated that our flight was right on time; scanned the gate area in search of His Handsomeness, spotted him sitting a few seats away and said, “How’s my makeup?”