Speed Writing #3 – Sleepy Traveler

The thing about traveling solo is that you never know who you’re going to meet.  Meegan’s parents perpetually expected her to run into rapists and murderers, compliments of hyperbolic media.  She’d encountered some really nice folks and a few incredibly rude ones, so really, just people being people.  She expected this trip to be a lot of the same.

She hadn’t been to Minnesota in a couple of years, not since the meeting where she’d landed these particular clients.  Most of the time she was able to work with them over the phone or online, but they had a new CEO, and he was the sort who liked to meet everyone in person once.  All that being the case, she’d decided to tack a little vacation on to her trip.  Her co-workers assumed she would spend most of her time at the Mall of America, but she’d seen it on her last trip, and it was enough to know it wasn’t really her thing.  She’d heard there were really nice trails both in and near the Twin Cities, and that was what she was really looking forward to.

She fidgeted in her seat a bit, wondering how long the wait would be. This was the disadvantage with being the first person at the gates this afternoon.  As she was looking out the window, a shadow fell over her.  She glanced up to see a young man pushing his carry-on into the overhead storage.  He was easy on the eyes, with light brown skin, dark brown eyes, and shaggy black hair that flopped into his face.

He looked down at her and smiled.  It was warm, but there were shadows under his eyes.  “‘Low,“ he said, his voice a low rumble. “It looks like I’m next to you.”  He gestured to the seat beside her.

“Hi, I’m Meegan.”  She gave him a cheerful wave before he could offer a hand.  It wasn’t that she disliked touching other people.  She just detested shaking hands.  So many people were terrible at it, either weak and sweaty-palmed or crushing her fingers as some sort of display of whatever.

He settled into his seat and started looking for the ends of his seat belt.
“Are you traveling or going home?” she asked.  It was always a good starting point.

“Going home.”  The buckle clicked together and he looked at her.  Even sitting, he was pretty tall.  “How about you?“

“Traveling.” She smiled.  “I have a work meeting in Minneapolis.“

“Hmmm.” He reached up with both hands and stretched, letting out a sigh as he brought his hands back to his lap.  Everything about him seemed exhausted, maybe a little sad.  “Too bad.  St. Paul is way better.“

“Really?” She hadn’t heard that before.  As far as she could tell, St. Paul and Minneapolis were one big city rather than two separate ones.

The pilot’s voice came overhead then, preventing a response.  After the usual pre-flight rigamarole, the plane started to roll forward.

“I’m probably going to fall asleep,” he said, apology in his tone. “If I snore, please feel free to jab me with your elbow.”

“Uhhh. Maybe I’ll try something gentler,” she suggested.

“Whatever works,” he agreed.  “I won’t mind.  I don’t want to be rude and trap you with a bandsaw for the whole flight.“

She giggled.  “I’ll keep it in mind.”

He did fall asleep, but he didn’t snore.  That would have been both better and worse.

Before they’d even leveled off from their climb, he had slipped down in his seat, his head lolling to the right.  The next thing Meegan knew, his cheek was resting against her shoulder.  Startled by the touch, she turned to him, her hand reaching out to give him a shake.  Her hand froze, halfway to it’s target, and she wasn’t sure why.  He was a stranger, and she owed him nothing.  But he wasn’t hurting her. Besides, he  obviously needed the rest.  Relaxed, he looked easily five years younger, and kind of adorable.  His breath across her neck and collarbones was warm and pleasant.  She couldn’t detect any cologne on him, which was a good thing as far as her asthma was concerned, but she liked the way he smelled.

Prompt: You fell asleep on my shoulder on the plane ride, and I would ask you to move, but you look so comfy and adorable when you sleep.  Also you smell really good and the feeling of your breath on my skin is somewhat relaxing.  Maybe we can go out to lunch in this shitty airport when you wake up. 

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Author of adult and young adult speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, dark fiction)

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