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Flightpath

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Bailey slid the fingers of both hands through the hair at the nape of her neck, and laced them together and she turned in a small circle. The hotel clerk was working as fast as he could, but it had been a long day, she was tired and she had thoroughly anticipated being someplace familiar that night, rather than stuck in the middle of nowhere due to snow storms in Atlanta. It never snowed in Atlanta. It was ridiculous. She sighed once more at the inconveniences of global warming and looked around for the bar. She was going to need a drink before the night was through, and she hoped the bartender knew how to mix a real drink. She smiled tightly as the clerk finally handed her a key and told her what room she was in. A quick signature later, and she was headed toward the hotel bar. Seeing the generic, even-the-art-was-recycled room could wait. A drink couldn't.

By the time Mark finished his story, his voice was almost embarrassingly loud.  He stared at the empty pitcher of beer on the table, glancing around at his companions.  Josh was still snickering from the anecdote, too tired and elated at the same time to realize the story wasn't all that funny in the first place.  Though she laughed along, Andi wasn't paying much attention to the guys anymore, letting their arguments and vulgar stories fade into the background as she worked her way through her drink.  It wasn't like she didn't appreciate the sentiment of the night- being grounded due to a seemingly endless snowstorm got to her just as much as any of the other pilots, but she was tired, and it was cold outside.  Syracuse could be worse, but it wasn't home, and with New York tantalizingly close she just wanted out.  

That was where she was supposed to be- being enjoying a few stolen days with her mothers, and what of the rest of their family was there at any given time.  The last time she'd managed it, there had been somehow a longer, more arduous parting, and it had left her unsettled.  She was brought back from her thoughts roughly by the pitcher being slid in front of her.  "You're up Kincaid," Mark smiled broadly at her, and she rolled her eyes as she got up.  She supposed it was her turn, and she'd been matching them glass-for-glass all night.  As she stepped up to the bar, the blond woman already seated there caught her eye.  There was something familiar about her, and Andi nodded to the bartender while she tried to sort it out.

Bailey gave the woman next to her a cursory glance, nodding slightly as she took in the uniform, before she focused again on her bad old fashioned. She should have just ordered the whisky straight. Two airports away from her destination and none of it drivable. The entire East Coast was buried under the snow. She could have given up on the drink and gone to her room, gotten some work done, graded papers or reviewed some research, but she just didn't feel like it. She had more flights stretching out in front of her the next day. She could do it then.

Something in the quick, dismissive look made Andi look twice.  She would have liked to blame it on the beer, but she wasn't to that point just yet.  She moved a little closer, leaning on the bar.  "Snowed in?"  It was almost a rhetorical question given the storm outside, but Andi wasn't feeling too creative.

"Just like everyone else here." Bailey nodded, taking in the whole bar. "Your friends seem like they're enjoying themselves." She looked back at the table of pilots who seemed to have gone back to their stories, despite the lack of fresh beer.

"Yeah...I'm sure they are."  Andi was starting to feel like she was intruding on the other woman's night, but wasn't quite ready to give up, "where are you trying to get to, as it's obviously not here."  Before she could get an answer, she heard Mark's voice carry across the room, "Hey Kincaid!  Give up, or take her upstairs already, just leave the beer on your way!"  Andi glared back at him as the table erupted into laughter.  She should have expected it- Andi wasn't usually above the same type of behavior herself.  She muttered a quick, "sorry, one second," and took the pitcher back to the table, slamming it down, and knocking Mark's half-full glass into his lap obviously on purpose.  "Don't be jealous Gregson, I'm sure Josh will take you home later."  She let a grin flicker over her face as Mark tried to come up with a response, but failed entirely.

Bailey watched the entire exchange with a wary eye. There was something interesting about the other woman, but she really didn't need to be yelled at by guy who hadn't seemed to have gotten past the 'frat boy' stage of human male development. She got enough of that at work. She pulled a bill from her purse and slid it to the bartender. "I'm just headed up to my room, actually. Sorry." She smiled tightly. She didn't have the energy for a one night stand with someone half her age. She didn't have any interest in one night stands in general.

Andi turned back in time to see the blond getting up, and intercepted the bartender.  "No, let me get that.  I'm sorry about them, it's the least I can do for your putting up with that."  She tried to give her an endearing smile, "Or stay for another, it's on me."

"I'm sure that smile works on a lot of other people, and I'm flattered, really, but it's gotten late and I should be getting to bed." It was nice of the other woman to buy her the drink, and it wasn't as if her smile, her far too charming smile, left her unaffected, but she had rules and she stuck to those rules. One of them was no one night stands. They just led to complications. Normally professional ones, as the rule had originally been intended for conferences, but just because the situation was slightly different didn't mean that the rule wasn't a good one.

Andi opened her mouth to insist, but closed it again.  How the other woman had so succinctly seen through her act made her just that much more interesting.  "Okay, but how about if we're still stuck here tomorrow, you let me buy you dinner?"  She could see the blond preparing to decline, and cut her off, "no strings attached, do it as a favor to me- give me an excuse to ditch those bastards for the night."  From the weather report, she gathered she had even odds of her plan working, but it was better than what she was getting so far.

Bailey narrowed her eyes, regarding the woman even more critically. "Do you actually know someplace decent here to get dinner, or am I going to end up drinking more bad drinks?" She couldn't believe that she was actually considering the offer, but she knew nothing at all about Syracuse and she wasn't looking forward to seeing what the hotel might offer. One dinner couldn't really hurt. She didn't have any rules about that.

Andi smiled broadly, "Don't worry, this isn't my first snowstorm on this flightplan."  She held out her hand, "I suppose I should introduce myself then, Andrea Duran-Kincaid... Andi."

"Bailey Anderson." She shook Andi's hand, trying not to think about just how warm it was against her own perpetually cold hand. "I'll, uh, see you in the lobby tomorrow night, assuming we're both still here."

Andi's smile didn't fade, and she resisted the urge to keep holding onto Bailey's hand.  "Eight?  You like Italian?"

"I do." Bailey stepped back toward the elevator, repositioned the strap of her bag as she pressed the call button. If she was looking forward to the thought of dinner the next night, she didn't acknowledge it. "I'll see you tomorrow."