I’M GOING TO HELL.
That is, if hell was one of the few places on the face of the planet where plastic surgery was a norm and where one was shunned for being less than perfect.
Two words; ten letters that when put together made one arch their eyebrow with awe and expectations. The entertainment capital of the world.
Fast fact: four percent of people that move to Hollywood hoping to make it big, actually make it. The rest just... yeah, who knows what happens to them.
L.A. The place I’d sworn never to step a foot in thanks to my failure of a father, who dumped my mom when he found out that she was pregnant. Of course, if what he did was any indication, I was glad he’d ridded himself from our lives. But there was still the issue that we couldn’t quite leave him behind us.
He was everywhere I went, his face plastered on the cover of the latest issue of Entertainment Express or Daily Celeb.
The name left behind a sour tinge in my mouth every time I said it. Entertainment Express had dubbed him ′a ruggedly handsome man in his early forties, with green eyes that made women swoon with delight.′
′He still outshines men half his age,′ claimed Daily Celeb. ′A man that no woman was lucky enough to get, whose genes had a high probability of not being passed on.′
That wasn’t true though, because here I was, owing half of my genes to him.
I stared at myself on the spotless mirror in front of me.
An average proportioned girl of seventeen years stared back at me. Red tresses flowed past her shoulder, framing a pale, round face. Her lips were dry and chapped after having been bitten relentlessly on the way to the airport. And the eyes. Those eyes that as much as I hate my father, I admired and concluded to be one of my best features, not that there was many to begin with. Eyes so green they reminded me of the first gleam of green during spring when everything was in full bloom.
“Don’t think about him, Alex. Don’t,” I muttered to myself as the thoughts of my father brought on their normal reaction, leaving me full of raw emotions. “So what if he lives in L.A? There are millions of people living there. What are the chances of you running into him, right?”
I forced a smile, my face looking better than it did seconds before, even with black rings under my eyes from lack of sleep. “Besides,” I continued, “you’re not going there because of him. You’re going there for James.” My smile wasn’t forced anymore as I thought of my boyfriend of six months, who’d gone to L.A for the summer working as a Production Assistant in a blockbuster movie being filmed.
“There you go. Everything’s going to be fine. You’re going to see James.” After rinsing my hands in the cold water, I headed back into the crowded terminals.
Another thirty minutes until my flight, I judged as I studied the screen displaying the flights schedule.
My phone vibrated in my pockets. Once I pulled it out, I checked the screen, not at all surprised to see that mom was worried about me already. I had expected it after all. My mom was one of those typical worriers. One time during eighth grade when I had gone camping, she had made me pack three cans of bug spray, just in case the first two had run out and then made me put on nearly a half of the bottle of sunscreen even before I walked out the door. Then she had made me pack flares. Despite it being sometimes annoying, that was one of the reasons I loved her.
Typing a response, I turned around, planning to head to hunt down some caffeine.
I’m fine mom. I began typing. Don’t-
With my eyes on my phone, I don’t notice the barrier in my path until I’m sent flying backwards, my back hitting the hard granite floor. The impact then sent my phone flying out of my fingers, and across from me, landing with a distinct thud as a huge crack forms on the screen.
The rough cost to repair the screen comes into my mind, and internally I cringe.
A curse escaped my lips before I could get my bearings right.
My thought process stopped as I glanced up at the barrier I’d hit.
Holy mother of... My mouth dried as my eyes literally drank in the guy standing before me.
Tall, dark and untouchable. Clichéd, but that described the barrier perfectly.
A pair of dark shades hid his eyes as he towered over me, studying my unfortunate appearance. He was in a black jeans that rode low but were snug enough to hug his toned and really long legs. A white shirt hugged his muscled body, paired off with a leather jacket that oozed money. His hair was left messy, as if he’d just run his fingers through them seconds before, leaving it ravishingly tempting.
Studying him, I couldn’t help but wonder what colour his eyes were. Green like the forest? Blue like the icy depths of the ocean? Or brown like hot chocolate on a cold winter’s eve?
“Look where you’re going, why don’t you?” His lips formed the words, as his deep voice delivered it smoothly.
It took me a second to process that this handsome specimen of the male gender was addressing me. By then, he’s staring down at me like I’m impaired. “Oh for goodness sake, are you alright?”
My eyes widened profusely. The nerve of him.
“Now, lady I don’t want any trouble, okay? I’ve had enough girls fawning over me for today?” His eyes involuntarily drifts around him to the small group of people that were now watching our little exchange.
I couldn’t decipher his eyes hooded behind those dark shades, so I had no idea if he was kidding or not.
And did he just call me lady? Well, that’s a new one. I’ve been called a lot of things but never lady. I thought that’s what you called moms and women in their early thirties. I was not that old. Not yet anyway. Staring up at the ignorant hottie, I judged him to be around my age, two or three years older at most. Who did he think he was?
A scowl appeared on his face as a scoff escaped me involuntarily, but I could tell his eyes were icy as he stared back at me.
“Look,” his voice reeked of annoyance, “I’m in a hurry. What do you want?” He folded his arms defensively as he stared down at me.
A hand, clearly, I thought crudely, still unable to form words. Didn’t he see me, ass firmly planted on the ground, needing a helping hand?
Was he blind? That would make sense. Who in their right mind wears dark as night shades when there isn’t any sun to block out?
“Do you want money?”
That throws me off. What? Okay, WHAT?
I try to right myself up, hoping to look more sophisticated than I did on the ground. “No, I don’t want your money,” I snapped, as I bent down to pick up my carry-on. Yes, you do. You need it for college tuition, Alex, the sensible side of my brain argued.
“Well then,” he sighed in relief, “goodbye.” With that he turns around and marches off in the other direction, without a glance back.
Of all things righteous and good!
“Hey!” I called out after him, gathering the miserable remains of my still functioning yet sad looking phone.
The guy must also be deaf because he doesn’t even bother to turn around to look at me.
“Hey!” I tried again as I followed him, twenty feet behind. Maybe he really didn’t hear me.
Again, he doesn’t bother to look at me, instead he continued on his merry way towards the... Oh no! Is he heading towards the VIP Lounge?
Shit! The curse escaped as of course my suspicions are proven correct as he accessed the lounge using a golden card and disappeared through the tinted door. I couldn’t follow him.
Jackass! Now how was I going to get my phone fixed?
Suddenly my pathetic excuse for a phone vibrated in my hand.
It takes three swipes to finally unlock the screen. I managed to make out half of the message mom sent.
Is everything alright? Text me before you----
I can guess the remainder of the text. After managing to send a reassuring text with great difficulty, I made my way to get some caffeine.
Thanks to Sir Jerks-A-Lot I’d lost fifteen minutes, so I settled for a Frappuccino to go and scuffled down the drink as I headed towards my gate.
Unsurprisingly, the first-class got called to board first, so I took a seat waited for my turn.
“No, you don’t understand. I need a window seat.” A loud voice erupted from behind me, by the boarding gate.
“You don’t understand -”
“No! I need a...”
Curiosity overruled my desire to wait as I turned around to watch the commotion.
By the gate, an old woman dressed in a black trench coat and black pumps carrying a brown carry-on was in a debate with the young girl in an American Airlines uniform.
“I apologize for the confusion Mrs Laurent, but it seems that there is no free window seat. They have all been taken up. Only the aisle seats are free,” the girl behind the counter said in a respectful manner.
“No, you don’t understand.” The woman’s voice rose. “I need a window seat. It soothes me!”
“But Mrs Laurent-”
“No, I need a window seat, okay! No arguments.”
The old lady was taking up time and at this rate I’ll would be arriving in Los Angeles at nightfall. Rising up, I walked towards the counter and plastered on a smile.
“I’m so sorry to be such a prude, but can we please hurry this up,” I smiled wider, hoping that would help them calm down. “Can you please give Mrs... Laurent a window seat? I’m sure it wouldn’t be troublesome to ask the other first-class passengers if one of them would like to switch.”
“Miss, please go back and wait in line. This will only take a moment,” the employee shot me an irritated scowl. Seemed like her politeness extended to first-class only. Prejudiced dog! I read her name tag. Jessikah.
“No, the young lady is correct,” Mrs Laurent said. “I’m sure it wouldn’t be troublesome indeed.”
“I’m a regular flier, young woman. So I suggest you do not argue with me, and go and ask any of the other passengers if they would like a seat by the aisle.”
I smiled at her as Jessikah rushed into the plane, her tail between her legs. Go Mrs Laurent!
“Thank you for your help my dear,” Mrs Laurent turned to me smiling, her face weary yet glowing. “I’m afraid this old bag likes to sit by the window. After all, I might just drop one day and I’d like to see nature before I pass on and not a steel carrier filled with smelly passengers.”
I chuckled at that. “It’s perfectly alright Mrs Laurent. I understand. I called the airline last week suggesting they give me one.”
“Hmm... Clever girl. That would have been very helpful. However, this trip was unscheduled so I couldn’t really do the necessary arrangements. What’s your name, my dear?”
“Alexandria Hunt,” I offered. She didn’t look like the type that’d take to kindly to a female being called Alex.
“Alexandria. What a charming name,” she smiled at me. “If you don’t mind me asking, are you in the business class too?”
“No, I’m afraid that’s digging into my wallet a bit too much for my liking,” I tried to brush it off as a joke, knowing full well that she’d hoped I was.
Just then Jessikah appeared, her eyes not quite meeting either of us as she said, “I’m sorry Mrs Laurent but it seems none of the passengers are willing to exchange.”
“Well, that’s unfortunate. However, I think I’ve worked out a solution.” The old lady turned to smile at me. “Alexandria, would you mind switching with me?”
I was shocked at her words once I’d finally processed them. It seemed that Jessikah was surprised to. “You wanna switch to economy?” My voice sounded strangled.
“Yes, my dear,” Mrs Laurent looked amused. “After all, I need a window seat and since you mentioned that you’d already arranged for one, I was wondering if you’d mind helping an old bag out?” She arched a brow at me.
Finally managing to work out that this was no joke, I nodded slowly. “Sure thing Mrs Laurent. But are you sure you want to do that?”
She nodded. “Yes, my dear. It seems time I took a ride on the wild side and chance a flight in the economy section.” She offered a reassuring smile again before turning to Jessikah. “Please see to it that Alexandria gets my seat and direct me to hers, young lady.”
“Thank you so much, Mrs Laurent.”
“You’re welcome darling girl. But it should be me thanking you. You’ve been a great deal of help to me,” she rubbed my shoulders. “I hope we will meet again, child.”
“Mrs Laurent,” Jessikah called out from the entrance.
“Until then Alexandria Hunt,” she waved at me before heading inside to find my seat.
Until then Mrs Laurent, I think as a flight attendant signals for me to follow him to first-class.