Pre Flight 1
And y Sachs
Andy lengthened her stride to keep up with her boss. Miranda, flanked by Emily, the first assistant, and Nigel, the creative director of Runway Magazine, hurried along the concord of Terminal 2 of the Narita Airport in Tokyo. They were late for their flight as the press conference after Tokyo fashion week had wrapped up, dragged on. Miranda was famous for her bow-in-bow-out stunts, never one to linger, but when it came to the international press, too much was at stake to risk alienating any of the other magazines or newspapers.
“Andrea.” Miranda’s voice, low and without inflictions, still carried easily back to Andy. She half ran to catch up to the trio in front of her. Serena, the makeup artist, did the same.
“Yes, Miranda?” Andy tried not to gasp the words out as she was seriously out of breath. How the hell did Miranda keep this pace and not even look the slightest frazzled?
Miranda cast a glance over her shoulder. “You will take Emily’s seat on the plane. I need you next to me.”
Andy gawked. Miranda needed her next to her? What the hell was that supposed to mean? Was she in trouble? Was Miranda displeased, or, god forbid, had she figured out Andy’s not-at-all-professional feelings for her much-older boss? Swallowing hard, Andy managed a wan smile. “Of course, Miranda.”
Pre Flight 2
Thank god they boarded first class passengers before anyone else. She was no accustomed to waiting. Yes, there had been a time when she had barely afforded to travel economy class, but that was almost thirty years ago. Nowadays, she enjoyed the privileges of being the most influential fashionista—thought she loathed that word—in the world, which all the perks that came with her position as editor-in-chief of the leading fashion magazine. She glanced behind her, making sure that Andrea had not misunderstood. True to form, the beautiful brunette stood close to her, holding onto her boarding card and her passport.
This was the first time Andrea had joined the Runway staff at Tokyo fashion week. She had gone with Miranda to Paris six months ago—and perhaps that’s when this…this something, had begun? Not one to second-guess herself, or to become too philosophical, Miranda couldn’t pinpoint the exact time Andrea had begun looking at herthat way. She wasn’t even sure how to decipher what Andrea’s glances made her feel. It was unprecedented, that much was clear, as these thoughts came unbidden to Miranda, sometimes at the most inopportune times. The nearly ten hour flight to LAX would provide ample opportunity for Miranda to examine, diagnose, and, preferably, dismiss it all.
Pre Flight 3
“Good evening, Captain,” Chuck Taylor, her co-pilot and good friend, said and saluted her with his index finger. “Looks like it’s going to be a lovely, starry night going back to the US.”
“Lovely and starry?” Kathryn looked suspiciously at Chuck. “You on some romantic streak there?”
“Haha. I wish,” Chuck said as he took his seat, pulling the preflight checklist binder from its place next to his chair. “On the contrary. I’ve worked extra shifts to be able to finally take my extended vacation and join the digs under Mexico City.” Chuck was an avid archeology buff and always saved up vacation time to join one trench or another around the globe.
“I’ll be right back.” Kathryn got up, wanting to touch base with the number one flight attendant before they went through the checklist. She stepped out into the front galley, finding Monica as she prepared for boarding the passengers.
“Hi, Captain,” Monica said, as always cheerful and pleasant. “Our air marshal’s boarding with the first class passengers this time. Other than that, it’s business as usual.”
“Sounds good. Anyone we’ve had before?” Kathryn glanced at the passenger manifest in Monica’s hand.
“Yes, actually. Annika Hansen. The tall blond?” Monica looked like she tried not to smile.
“You all right?” Chuck looked up from the checklist, which he sound would start reading from.
“Yes. I’m fine. Why?” Kathryn gave him her best indifferent look.
“Oh. Right.” Kathryn nodded briskly at Monica and returned to the cockpit. She sat down and busied herself with harness, adjusting it to her compact size.
“Just looking a bit flustered, but, them again, it’s hot in here.” Chuck grinned.
Oh, for heaven’s sake. Flustered? Honestly.
Pre Flight 4
“Welcome aboard. That’s the right isle, 5C. Enjoy your flight.” The flight attendant whom Annika had flown with on several occasions before, smiled warmly at her.
“Thank you,” Annika said and pulled her small carry-on behind her to her seat. After stowing it, she sat down and pulled out her cell phone. Dialing the woman who once recruited her to become an air marshal, Super Advisory Air Marshal in Charge (SAC) Queenie Borgstrom, she drummed her fingertips as she waited for the busy woman to pick up. As on of the few people at her level to have the SAC’s direct number, Annika still found herself squaring her shoulders as she anticipated her boss’s annoyance. No, not even that. Fury. Annika knew she skipped four steps in the command structure at the Federal Air Marshal Service by doing it this way. And it wouldn’t be easier, but it would be quicker.
“Borgstrom.” The intimidating woman’s voice was short clipped and did not allow for any lengthy explanations, which was good as Annika only needed very few.
“Annika Hansen here. You will receive my letter of resignaton in today’s mail. This is my last flight.”