I wrote another photo on DeviantArt. It’s about 1,300 words (7-8 minutes).
Again, the photo is a giveaway so I’ve tagged it onto the bottom of the piece. Enjoy!
Late again, though those extra few minutes with him had been… a pleasure. Dating Patrice for just six weeks, last night’s candlelit dinner with this still-perfect 6”4’ Adonis had become a naked game of ‘truth or dare’, and Lydia needed all the rest she could muster. Which might have worked, had he not wanted more of her this morning.
“So, have you ever slept with another woman?”, he had asked, provocatively.
From behind a mane of rich chestnut hair, so long that it covered her face, she blushed. It had to come out sooner or later. How to put this? Choosing her words carefully, not wanting to reveal too much, too soon, her face momentarily lost its smile.
“You know the night we met I said I’d just broke up?”
“Uh-huh…” The man rubbed his dark beard, intrigued at the sniff of a reveal.
“And that when it finished it was… awkward?” She sat her petite frame straight, and as if to project gravitas, swept the hair from her face.
“We don’t need to talk about it, if you’re uncomfortable.” Her past, he knew, was not his business, however Lydia offered more.
“Pour some more wine”, she thrust her glass toward him, “and I’ll tell you about Gemma”.
Refilled, Lydia continued. “You know I told you my last relationship ended badly?” Patrice shrugged his broad shoulders. All relationships ended badly. “Well, that was Gemma.” Lydia’s face became sullen, as she relapsed.
“I met her through work. Chopper pilot. Used to ferry me around for ‘Eye in the Sky’. Not since we split, though”, she added hastily, spotting his perturbed glance. “We were together only for…”, she mentally counter the time, “four months… Way too clingy, used to drive me mad, I had to break up with her. When we did, she acted all weird, how I was the One. For fuck’s sake, we were only together two minutes…” She jerked the now-empty glass down in a swift movement. “Anyway, it was just easier to have her reassigned.”
Lydia was done, for now. How would he react? What would he say? The last thing she wanted was an interrogation, he wouldn’t make her relive this, surely?
But Patrice bought her words. The night they met, she had surprised him by disclosing that she was a radio presenter, and he’d learned later that she gave traffic bulletins. And he had already seen Lydia’s… persuasive.. side. He had no doubt she would have someone “reassigned” if she wanted. Besides, he was now picturing other images; for the moment, he was satisfied with her explanation.
“That’s so sexy, two women. Tell me what her tongue felt like”, he began, unwittingly diffusing the situation as he bent toward her naked crotch. “Did she feel like this?”
And ‘truth or dare’ was postponed for another evening.
But this morning, she was late, cursing, fumbling in her oversized handbag for her ID.
“Morning, Miss McCarthy, blowy today.” The security guard made idle conversation.
“Oh, you know what they’re like, Ron. They make me go up in all weathers. Anyway, I’m late today.”, she cut the niceties. “Is the bird in her normal space?”
“Just drive on up”, instructed the man, returning her pass and waving her through.
Untidily parking her rusting blue Honda, she charged toward the waiting helicopter. A tiny, 2-seater Mosquito with an open cockpit, Lydia would never have believed it could even leave the ground, had she not been up in her a hundred times before. The blades were already idling as she ran crouching through the breeze. Climbing into the cockpit, however, she registered her pilot for the first time, and froze.
“Where’s Reuben?”, she quizzed, surprised by the figure before her.
“Hi, Lydia. He called in sick, I’m afraid. I’m the only pilot available to take you up today.”
Lydia was hesitant, her head swirling.
“Hey”, came Gemma’s soothing alto voice, “if it’s me you’re worried about, forget it. I’ve been qualified eight years, don’t forget, I’m good at this. And I’m also professional. I can sure fly my ex without drama”, she beamed. She always did have a killer smile, complemented by those cute boyish dimples under her short blonde bob.
Nice try, lady. But not ‘ny more.
A fortuitous time for Lydia’s cell phone to ring. Her producer. First stop, Harbour Bridge.
“Something going on, and with rush hour coming up, we need a visual of the scene.”
“There’s a problem today. My pilot is sick.”
“I just want you up. Aren’t there other pilots?”, retorted the unsympathetic voice. “Lots of people would give their right arm for this job, Lydia, so come on. Show us why you’re worth all this money we pay you.” His veiled threat did not escape her.
Turning back to the blonde, Lydia sought a final assurance. “We can fly in this wind?”
“Eight years”, reminded Gemma. “These birds can handle worse.” Then a final sop. “I promise I’ll behave myself. Scouts honour.” Grinning, she held two fingers to her forehead.
“You were never in the goddam scouts”, muttered Lydia, but Gemma was already smiling, smug as Lydia at last climbed into the spare seat. “Okay. But nothing heavy, understand?”, threatened Lydia, as she secured her safety harness. “Let’s just do our jobs, and get down again in one piece.”
On the bridge, a high-sided truck had blown over, and Gemma herself became nervous for the helicopter. “The wind’s always worse over the water”. But the comment was nothing more than Gemma’s professionalism. Like when we first met, thought Lydia. They began to exchange banter during the flight, though she was careful not to drop her guard completely. If only we had stayed that way.
The mission complete, they flew back toward base, and Gemma took advantage of the thaw. “Tell me, Lydia, how’ve you been?”
“Okay.” Lydia didn’t want to get too detailed. “You?”
“I’ve missed you. We had some great times together.”
Lydia smiled at the reminiscence. “We did.” Snapping back to the present, however, she quickly added, “but we’re through now. We wanted different things and it just wasn’t working for me.” Before consoling, “You must admit, deep down, it can’t have been right for you, either. It was only a matter of time. We were always going to split, one day.”
Gemma placed her hand on Lydia’s thigh, causing the reporter to recoil.
“It doesn’t have to. I’ve missed you. Can’t we try again?”
Lydia removed Gemma’s hand. “It wouldn’t work. What split us, it’s still there. Nothing changed. It’d be five minutes before it surfaced again. Can’t we just remember the good times we had?”
“Can you just…”
“No, Gemma. We’re past that. We both need to move on.”
“I’m not sure I can move on.”
“Gemma, I’ve started seeing someone else. It’s early days yet, I don’t know where it will go, but… I’m moving on. You need to do the same.”
“Are you sure there’s no hope…”
“I’m sure”, interrupted Lydia, losing patience. “Now, can we just get back to the field?”
They flew in silence, save for the odd sniff from Gemma. Lydia supposed she was sobbing though she could not bring herself to seek confirmation.
Again the professional, Gemma recovered her composure, over downtown, breaking the silence.
“I need to check in with control. Can you pass me the flight manifest, please?” She indicated a clipboard in a pocket by Lydia’s feet.
Lydia stretched but, constrained by the harness, could not reach. “Wait”, she offered, momentarily unbuckling the restraint completely. As she bent down for the clipboard, Gemma jerked the joystick hard to the left.