Coffee, Tea? Or me?

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Part III

III

“That was very nice of you,” said Lucy as they walked into the lobby.

James lowered his head and placed a kiss on her cheek.

“You looked amazing out there.”

When they arrived at the big ballroom entrance a man in a black suit took their names and assigned them a table.

The room was big and well lit with glass chandeliers reflecting the pale blue walls and white ceiling trimmed with gold Greek frets, the floor was covered in a beautiful mosaic with flowers and cornucopias. On the far end of the room was a small white stage with a podium and a microphone ready for the ceremony.

“We’re at table ten,” said James looking at the leaflet of the evening timeline that they had been given at the entrance.

The two of them zigzagged amongst the tables until they spotted the one with a golden ten as a centrepiece, as they walked closer Lucy quickened her pace and placed her hands on the shoulder of the man already sitting at the table.

“Oh my God babe, you’re here too!” Sid Jack, turning around and getting up to hold Lucy.

He took a step back and looked at her

“You are stunning, honey!”

“So are you, darling,” said Lucy kissing the man on the cheek. “I didn’t know you were also nominated, that’s amazing!”

“I know! Oh, this is Charlotte, my housemate,” he showed the girl sitting next to him.

Lucy shook her hand and introduced herself.

“Oh where are my manners,” she said then, hooking her arm under James’ who was standing a small distance from the table. “Jack I believe you already know him but Charlotte this is my boyfriend James, James this is Charlotte and do you remember Jack?”

James leaned forward and shook both their hands.

“Nice to meet you,” he said to the girl. “And Jack, of course, I remember you. Nice to see you, mate.”

“Why don’t I get you all a drink?” he asked then with a smile.

Lucy ordered champagne for herself, followed by Jack and Charlotte and James disappeared towards the bar.

“Wow, he looks a lot like James Kent, you know the actor? And his name is James too...” said Charlotte, her eyes still on him, then her gaze moved to Lucy. “Wait a minute, your name is Lucy...you’re the Lucy and he’s the James?“. She looked at Jack who nodded.” Oh my God,” she mouthed.

“I still can’t believe you two are together,” said Jack.

“Thanks,” replied Lucy with fake hurt.

“Sorry babes, you are fabulous it’s just the situation that’s surreal. But he’s lucky to have you. How are you by the way? I heard about what happened with work...”

Lucy shifted in her chair.

“Wow Galley FM works restlessly,” she remarked. “But I’m good, thanks. Everything worked out well at work, obviously,” she displayed the room with her hand. “And as for my ex Sam, well we took care of him. He got what he deserved.”

“Good for you babes,” said Jack with a genuine smile.

“Champagne for everyone!” James approached the table precariously carrying two flutes in each hand.

As he sat at the table each guest grabbed a flute and they toasted.

“Congratulations to the both of you guys, ” said James raising his glass. “Glad to know I had the best of the best on my flight that day,” and he winked at Jack.

The man squeezed Lucy’s thigh as they cheered, then whispered in her ear.

“I love you babe but if he winks at me like that again I won’t be responsible for my actions.”

Lucy laughed and shoved him gently.

Then the lights went dim and a man on stage announced the beginning of the dinner and the upcoming ceremony after the last course.

They ate and drank and clapped every time one of the charities representatives went on stage to announce that a new target had been met, then after the Christmas cake, cheese and port had been served a middle-aged woman in a green dress took the stage. The noise around the room ceased and the lights went dim again, only illuminating the stage area.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Karen Flint and for those of you who don’t know me I am the head of operations for the fantastic airline that organised all this.”

A round of applause arose in the room, she continued.

“I am here tonight with the great honour of awarding our most committed, outstanding and loyal employees who’ve been nominated by fellow colleagues and by customers all around the world. We’ve selected staff from each sector of the business and gathered three nominees for customer service, ground operations and for our cabin crew fleets.

I would like to say that each of the people who are here tonight has distinguished themselves for their service and we are forever grateful to have them in our team, so can I please have a round of applause for them all?”

The entire ballroom exploded in a clapping noise and James looked at Lucy with proud eyes as she smiled and cheered her fellow colleagues.

As the room went quieter Karen continued.

“Thank you. And now without further ado let us begin the ceremony!”

She started with announcing the nominees for customer service and as the winner was announced they took the stage and collected the prize, shaking Karen’s hand.

The ceremony went on like that until they arrived at the prize for the cabin crew award.

“And now for the award for outstanding flight attendant at our base at London Heathrow, I’m pleased to introduce three eager and remarkable young cabin crew with an excellent record. They are Jack Sheppard, Adam Morris and Lucy Hamilton.”

Another round of applause.

Karen looked down at the paper in front of her.

“The recipient of the award tonight is Adam Morris, for his outstanding performance during a recent emergency situation. Well done Adam!”

The ballroom exploded in applause once again and James squeezed Lucy’s thigh as she was clapping and smiling sharing words with Jack. She turned towards James and gave a tilt of the head.

“I’m sorry honey,” he said. “You deserved to win.”

Lucy shook her head.

“No, I know Adam, he’s a much better flight attendant than I am. He deserves it, I’m very happy for him!” And she gave James a quick kiss.

When they arrived at James’ flat it was late evening and Lucy was drunk, she entered the big living room, removed her heels and danced and twirled her way to the big glass wall, her favourite feature of the house. She touched the dragonfly brooch on her dress and, humming a melody that sounded like a lullaby, she spread her arms on her side, her fingers graciously extending as she lifted her arms up and down in a flying movement spinning on herself, her skirt lifting and bouncing with her movements.

James leaned against the kitchen island, his arms crossed on his chest and looked at her. He already knew he loved her, he had known that for a long time but his heart filled with something different, a new type of love both painful and fulfilling.

“Jamie, come here! Come dance with me,” said Lucy in another twirl.

James walked to her.

“Jamie? You’ve never called me that before...”

“I did now,” she answered and took his hand, using it as a pivoting point.

James made her spin again then pulled her against his chest and held her, slowly moving to a silent song.

“Tonight was so fun,” said Lucy. “I’m glad you came.”

James kissed her forehead.

“I love you, James. You have no idea how much.” She looked up into his eyes. “I can’t envision being without you...”

James smiled.

“Are you addicted to me, Miss Hamilton?”

Lucy chuckled.

“Maybe,” she said, resting her forehead against his chest.

“Good,” he said hoarsely. “Cos I am definitely addicted to you.”

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