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500 Miles

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Angela Ziegler is a flight attendant and quite an overworked one at that. She works the late night shifts well into the early morning and sometimes after noon if she forgets she can stop working. She needed the money, student loans weren’t gonna pay themselves, so she didn’t mind taking an extra shift every once in a while.

“Good morning, Angela,” a calm serious voice greets her. Satya never uses nicknames for her friends.

Angela returns the greeting with an added smile.

They get right to work setting up at their gate and waiting for the people to come in. This time in the morning is usually busy, but the two women are treated with a slow flow of customers.

“Good morning. What flight are you checking into today?” Angela says absentmindedly.

She focuses in on this customer in particular. She’s tall, muscular, and overall gorgeous. The customer takes no notice in the staring and pulls out her ID.

“Fareeha,” Angela reads aloud, “Such a pretty name.”

Fareeha shrugs, “My mom gave it to me.”

Angela feels herself blushing and quickly busies herself with her computer. She can feel Fareeha looking at her, perhaps checking her out too. She immediately regrets not doing her hair this morning.

“You have pretty eyes,” Fareeha comments, making the other woman blush more.

Angela holds in her reaction, wondering if this beautiful woman is so blatantly flirting with her.

“T-thank you,” she answers quietly, handing her a boarding pass.

“And thank you,” Fareeha smiles at her, “Have a nice day.”

She turns and walks away, toting her suitcase behind her. Angela subconsciously stares at her.

“Angela.”

No answer.

“Angela!”

She snaps back into reality.

“Sorry. I got distracted.”

“Yes, but by a woman,” Satya sighs, leaning on her desk. Her eyes show her disappointment.

“She’s cute.” Mercy argues. “And we’re not busy. I’m allowed to look.”

“Angela, please focus on your work, not a woman you’ll never see again.”

Once check-ins are finished, the two move to their next job on the flight crew. The replacements come in right as a big rush hits them. Angela doesn’t feel any remorse for them as she’s been in their place too many times to count. Their gate is all the way in the back of the airport, past all the stores and restaurants. However, at the end of the airport is a small bar for getting buzzed before your flight. Angela wishes she could join the passengers indulging themselves with Bloody Marys and margaritas.

Then she spots her, again, sitting at her gate. Angela freezes, thinking why she would be there. There is no way she could be on her flight. Maybe she’s at the wrong gate? Maybe her flight was delayed and she’s waiting here where it’s quiet? There’s no way she could be on her flight.

“Angela, you’re doing it again,” Satya scowls at her.

“Sh-shut up, Satya,” she tries to mimic the same amount of sternness Satya has. She deems it impossible to be as disgusted with the world as Satya is.

Satya cracks a smile, “It’s kinda cute actually.”

Angela goes red again.

“I’ll do the announcements today.”

The crowd of people wait eagerly to board the plane. Multiple passengers go up to the desk to ask when the plane is leaving. Every time, the answer is the same, on time. It even says it on the board right above her head. This is her least favorite part of the job.

“Boarding will now begin,” Satya announces, easing the crowd, “We will start with disabled passengers and veterans or anyone currently in the service.”
Fareeha stands up and joins the line of people. Angela nervously awaits her arrival.

“Oh, it’s you again!” Fareeha beams at her.

Their hands brush together briefly as they trade off the boarding pass.

Angela laughs anxiously, “Yes. I’m your flight attendant.”

“I’ll feel much safer knowing you’ll be up there with me,” she replies, “See you in the air!”

She takes her bag and disappears into the plane.

The plane is not particularly crowded, but packed enough to be troublesome. Angela helped old women stuff their bags into the overhead compartment. One bag in particular gives her some trouble. Unfortunately, Jesse McCree, the tallest flight attendant on the crew, was missing in action. Angela wonders how this bag passed through security given its excessive weight and girth.

“Let me get that for you.”

Angela has no idea where Fareeha came from, or why she jumped up to help, but there she was. She picked up the bag effortlessly and placed it safely in the compartment. Angela catches herself staring. The old woman thanks them and sits down in her seat.

“Thank you for your help, Fareeha, but you really didn’t have to help.”

“It’s my pleasure,” the woman smiles at her, a slight blush on her cheeks.

Angela notices the blush, making her remember her own. She shakes away the thoughts and goes back to work. The safety demonstration was embarrassing enough, but doing it right next to the most beautiful woman she has ever seen made it particularly hard to do. She imagines briefly, Fareeha rescuing her from the burning plane, carrying her wedding style into safety.

The planes starts making its way to the runway.

“Angela,” Satya calls her over, “I need to ask you a favor.”

“Yes?”

She points. “You see that seat over there? By Ms. Fareeha Amari? I need you to sit there until we’re safely in the air.”

“Satya,” Angela is taken aback by her boldness, “You really want me to do that?”

“You two are cute. I want to see it happen”

Angela turns a dark shade of red. She slowly makes her way to her seat, hoping the blush will fade before Fareeha sees. Without a word, she sits down next to her.

Fareeha is pleasantly surprised. “Welcome back. I missed you.”

“Missed me?”

“You’re cute. I quite enjoy your company.”

Angela has to look away in embarrassment. She thinks she’s cute. The plane straightens out on the runway, ready to take off. Angela braces herself for the sudden burst of movement. She glances at Fareeha doing the same, but it feels off.

“Are you okay, Fareeha?”

She grimaces. “Take off is a little hard for me.”

“It used to be for me too,” Angela consoles, “It’s okay.”

Fareeha goes silent. She stares at the floor and squeezes her hands together tightly. Angela wishes she could take her hand to take some of the stress away. The plane gets louder as it speeds up. The wheels slowly lift off the ground and the plane ascends into the sky. Back to work. She is sad to leave her side.

The flight goes smoothly as usually. A few crying babies cause discomfort, and some turbulence shakes the cabin, but otherwise, everyone is happy. This trip is particularly long, landing in the evening. The crew has one more flight after this.

Angela is sad to see Fareeha go, but is hopeful she will see her again. She waves her goodbye as she steps off the plane. Once the cabin is empty, their work is cut out for them.

“How are you?” Satya makes idle conversation as she checks each seat for items left behind.

“I’m okay,” Angela sighs. She restocks the fridge for the next flight.

“That’s good. Did you talk to Ms. Amari?”

“Yes. She’s very sweet and helpful.”

“A good match for you.”

Angela drops her handful of water bottles. “What.”

“She’s cute. She obviously likes you, and take care of you.”

“Take care of me?”

“Well, I’m just guessing that one. She’s very eager to help you.”

Angela stuffs the water bottles back in the fridge. “I don’t need help.”

“Angela, it’s okay to ask for help.” Satya insists, “Even I ask for help on the rare occasions I need it.”

A sudden noise makes them both jump.

“Sorry ‘bout that.” A woman appears from seemingly nowhere, “I’m just fixing the air machine.”

“Who are you and where did you come from?”

“Name’s Sombra,” she introduces herself, “I’ve been here all along, amiga. Just trying to stay quiet and out of the way. Some interesting girl troubles you’re having though.”

“You don’t need to worry about my relationship troubles,” Angela scowls.

“I’m not really interested as of now anyway,” she shrugs, “Anyway, the machines working better than ever. I’ll leave you two alone.”

She winks at them to make the encounter somehow more awkward. The other two women stare at her in appalled silence as she exits.

“How much did she hear?” Angela worries.

“The whole thing.”

“Great.”

They make their way off the plane to start boarding the passengers.

“Well hello again,” a familiar warm voice greets her.

Angela looks up in shock at Fareeha standing in front of her. This is her chance.

“Couldn’t get enough of me?” Angela asks smoothly. She does not know where the sudden confidence came from.

“You caught me,” Fareeha flirts back, “Maybe I’ll save you a seat.”

Satya watches amusedly in the background.

“Please do,” Angela’s confidence wavers.

She lets out a deep breath as the woman passes her to board the plane. She desperately tries to put her focus back into her work.
The plane finishes boarding and finally Angela can sit back and relax for a moment. Satya walks the aisles, instructing people to put away their laptops and bags. Angela tries to find where Fareeha is hiding.

“I saved you a spot,” a friendly voice surprises her.

She turns around to see Fareeha patting the seat next to her.

“How do you manage to find empty seats on every flight?” Angela asks.

Fareeha shrugs. “Got lucky twice in a row.”

She could get lucky as many times in a row as she wanted.

“We’re about to take off,” Angels idles, “Mind if I sit?”

“I was hoping you would.”

She sits down as the plane slowly proceeds to the runway. Satya rambles on about safety features and proper behavior during flight. Angela enjoys her time with Fareeha. She feels herself relax for the first time in weeks.

“Why are you headed to New York?”

“Only for a meeting. I’m barely getting time to see anything except a business room and my bed,” Fareeha sighs.

“If it makes you feel better, I won’t get much free time there either.”

“If only that overlapped. Maybe I’ll see you around.”

“We could make that happen.”

“Already asking me out?” Fareeha smirks, “Bold move, Angela.”

She catches herself blushing. “How did you know my name?”

“The other flight attendant yells that at you a lot, but it’s a beautiful name. How could I forget?” Fareeha gushes, “You’re an angel.”

She inches closer to her. Their thighs touch together. Angela desperately tries to contain herself. The plane bursts into the air, making Fareeha stumble back. Panic fills her. Angela grabs her hand to comfort her. Fareeha squeezes back.

At the end of the flight, Angela is exhausted and cannot wait for a soft bed to collapse into. She catches Satya yawning when she thinks no one is looking. They wait for the passengers to get off the plane. Satya helps the passengers in need of a wheelchair and strolls them off to their next gate. Fareeha waits for most of the crowd to pass before getting up. Angela eyes her curiously; she seems to be holding something, a piece of paper.

“Here’s my number,” Fareeha says nervously, “In case you want to meet up while we’re in New York?”

“I’ll call you when I’m off my shift and at the hotel,” Angela smiles, clutching the paper. She would hate to lose it.

Angela feels an excited energy rushing through her body. They hurry to finish cleaning the plane, so they can head to their hotel as soon as possible