She jumped as the overhead speaker woke her from her memory, announcing that her flight would be boarding shortly and blushed, hoping no one saw her. She saved her work and packed up her things, thinking about how proud her dad would be of her right now. She got out her ticket and went to the gate to wait for her section to be called. CoCo got her a seat in business class so she could spread out and work. She had a short layover in New York but would still be traveling for over 12 hours. There weren’t many direct flights between Denver and London and she needed a flexible return ticket, not knowing when filming would wrap up for sure. They had a schedule, but things can change she was told, so flexibility was the name of the game.
Her principal and good friend was shocked when she went and talked to her that day in late October. Sharon knew she had a gold mine in Ali and wondered when she would move on, especially after her divorce. But writing for a movie and traveling to England was not what she expected! But Sharon knew she had to let her take the sabbatical and experience this to see what next steps she wanted to take in her life. She agreed and everything fell into place. Ali’s assistant director, Katelyn, was ready for the challenge and up to speed on the inner workings of the program to take over for several months. Ali felt confident in leaving Katelyn with her program and knew that the standards wouldn’t drop. So it was really happening!
Ali was still in a daze that she was actually doing this as she boarded the plane and found her seat. She put her coat and carry-on in the overhead bin, and stowed her laptop bag and purse under the seat in front of her. She pulled her out her phone and texted CoCo letting her know that she was on the plane. She replied that a car would be there to get her and take her to the hotel. Coco would be stuck in a meeting when Ali would land and would be over as soon as she was out. Ali replied that she would see her then. She put in her headphones and relaxed while the plane filled up and they pushed away from the gate. She had butterflies in her stomach as they taxied to the runway and sat in line to take off.
She was really doing this! Holy Shit! She smiled and closed her eyes and as she heard the engines roar to life and they sped off down the runway. As soon as the flight attendant gave the all clear, Ali pulled out her laptop and went back to work. Accepting the job from CoCo set a fire burning in Ali and she had been writing in all her free time. She had short stories and ideas flowing out of her. She even had ideas come to her in the middle of the night and had to write them down. She now kept a journal and pen by her bed and in her purse so she had something to write on at all times. Ideas hit her at strange times, so she had to be ready.
She worked until they brought some snacks around and took a break. She didn’t have anyone sitting next to her, thank God, so she really spread out. She finished the small meal and drink and got back down to work. She only stopped again when they were getting ready to land in New York for the layover. She knew she wouldn’t get as lucky the second leg of the trip and would probably have someone sitting next to her on the way to London. She talked to the flight attendant and she wouldn’t have to leave and re-board the plane when they landed. She was so thankful!
They landed and she put in her headphones and got right back to it. She had an idea on the next story she was deep into and had to get it down. She didn’t even notice the business man sit next to her as he started working too. When the flight attendant came back and told them to power down as they were ready to take off, she finally noticed the man next to her and smiled at him. He was attractive, but gave off the vibe of being an arrogant jerk. Please don’t talk to me, she silently prayed. He looked at her, smiled back and then asked if it was her first time in London. Damn, she thought.
“Oh no. I went with my best friend a few years ago to visit our other best friend. She lives there with her family. How about you?”
He said he went over about five times a year for work. He rambled on about some big job he had, making himself sound more important than he actually was and she was immediately turned off. He sounded just like Dave and she couldn’t stand that, especially since the divorce was final. She put on her fake smile and listened to him ramble on and was so thankful when they took off and they both went back to work. She typed some, but was agitated by the man next to her, since he reminded her so much of her ex.
Dave…David Jennings. The man that promised to love her and cherish her, cheated on her for years with younger women. She felt stupid for not seeing it before she walked into his office that night he was “working late” to bring him dinner. She walked in on him with his blonde twenty-something secretary with her tight skirt up around her waist and not much else as Dave plowed into her. She was livid and let all the stereotypes about redheads’ tempers come right out. She threw things, knocked over a chair, and yelled some pretty nasty things. She went up to him, punched him and stormed out. She drove like a bat out of hell and back to their house. She packed up some clothes and went to a hotel. She had to think and lick her wounds. She called Lila and just cried. Lila finally got her to say where she was and was over in minutes. She just sat and let her best friend hold her while she cried herself to sleep.
She called in sick the next day then called a lawyer, one of her students’ parents. He was an excellent attorney and agreed with Ali and wanted this over quickly for her. He gave her the rundown about the process and told her next steps were. She went to their home, finished packing up the rest of her belongings and went to her childhood home. She had kept it all these years and kept renting it out. As luck or fate would have it, the renters had just left and it was vacant. So she moved right back in.
She got on her knees and thanked God that night that Lila’s dad, who was executor of her parents’ estate, had Dave sign a prenup when they got married. Otherwise, her lawyer said she would have probably had to sell the house and give Dave half the house proceeds and her inheritance.