Second Chance Layover — Part 7 (FREE Holiday Blog Serial)
Sandra Bunino and I have collaborated to bring you a FREE holiday blog serial that runs in 18 parts of usually less than 1000 words for each post—easy reading on your lunch break.
Prefer to read on a Kindle or Nook? No problem, just head over to Smashwords every Wednesday or All Romance eBooks every Thursday for the weekly digest to catch up. Volume 1 is already posted.
And now, PART 7 of Second Chance Layover (Click title to read a quick summary of the story.):
I checked the coordinates Charli texted me again. My phone’s GPS app put me in the general area where she should be. The only clue she had given me besides the coordinates was “Have a sip of water.” I spun in a circle scanning the area. A pair of men’s and women’s lavatories on the right with two water fountains between them offered the most likely hiding places given her clue. But where was my mischievous treasure?
I picked my way through the human currents running perpendicular to the direction I needed to travel. Advance. Pause. Step back. Pause. Step left. Advance, just like that old video game, Frogger.
Finally I reached the water fountains. Those had to be the water sips she meant and not that I needed to invade the ladies room or that she was hiding in the men’s room.
An old memory of Charli wormed its way into the present. I was fifteen. Back then, her brother Duncan’s room offered the best hangout on bad weather days when no adult would chauffeur us anywhere. Duncan had a better stereo, a better dirty magazine collection, better everything. He also had a pesky little sister who liked to hide and spy. Duncan had three sisters, but only one gave me grief, the same one deviling me with GPS coordinates not leading me to her, my living, urban geocache.
While that Charli might have hidden in the men’s room, visions of a very grown up Charli huddled in the handicapped stall, perched on the toilet seat encroached into ridiculous territory. On the other hand, no one I knew but Charli had the guts to do something so crazy. No doubt she was snickering, pressing a hand against her mouth to keep as silent as possible. Perhaps I only needed to listen for her to give herself away.
I tiptoed into the men’s room and scanned the stalls. None of the doors were closed all the way, but I pushed them open one by one. All empty. Reversing my tracks and ignoring the puzzled faces of the men watching me from the urinals, I headed to the water fountain.
The anemic water pressure made taking a sip of water a risky business. As I ducked my head to the water, I spied a tiny post-it note tucked between the edge of the fountain and the wall.
Good Job! Read any good books lately?
A rush of adrenaline made my insides tingle and put a smile on my face. Behind me, and opposite the lavatories, sat a bookstore. Of course. She was probably watching me right now.
Not yet, Charli.
Rising, I made a big show of glancing all around and scratching my head before ambling down the concourse. I melted into the crowd until out of the line of vision for anyone inside the bookstore. A nearby vending machine offered the perfect blind from which to wait and spy.
Sure enough, within a few seconds Charli emerged from the bookstore and cut her way through the crowd to the water fountains. She paused, took a drink, and then darted into the ladies restroom. Time to go. I hightailed it to the bookstore, praying the whole time she wouldn’t pop back out and bust me. I hid between some shelving units near the front. A few relocated paperbacks and I had created the perfect spyhole out into the concourse.
My cell phone chimed with an incoming text. Shit! Should have silenced the damn thing. Aha!
“Dude. I’m going gray waiting for you 2 find me.”
I dashed off a taunt of: “I’m hot on your trail.”
“Right. If you don’t find me in 10, you forfeit.”
I had to stifle my laugh when she emerged from the ladies room, and after a quick glance right and left, trotted into the bookstore. My heart pounded as I waited for her to draw even with my hiding spot.
The clicking of heels and the purr of a roller bag gave her away.
With expert timing, I lunged out, grabbed her hand, and tugged her into my secluded nook.
“And this is how you find a moving cache!” I said laughing.
She giggled and charged me, her fists thumping against my chest with what I knew to be mock fury. “Damn. I thought I had you!”
I caught her wrists and pulled her against me, both of us still laughing. Her soft body fit perfectly against mine, warm and pliant. Our racing hearts, pressed together through the fabric of our clothing, seemed to synchronize to a common rhythm. I’d never wanted to kiss a woman so desperately in my life, especially if she kept looking at me like that.
She would soon be jetting west while I headed east, and who knew how long it would be before the next time we saw each other. After all, it had been over ten years since the last time. Destiny might have thrown her in my path, but karma wasn’t done collecting my debts. Charli hadn’t asked me about Renata yet.
The drifting voice of a woman urging her husband to hurry, coupled with her announcement of the time, broke the moment. My time in O’Hare had trickled down to minutes. I hadn’t even noticed the passing time thanks to the woman in my arms. With searing regret, I released her.
“Um, I have to go catch my plane,” I said quietly.
Want more? Be sure to come back tomorrow for Part 8!
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