The Flight

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Hour 1

Ten hours.

Just ten long-freaking hours sitting next to the most desired man on earth.

Do I know who he is? Of course I do, I don’t live under a rock or inside a cave. He is Jack Stone, the vocalist and main guitarist of The Storms, the most famous rock band of this decade. He’s a well-known diva, known by his exquisite appetite in women, not to mention his fame as a womanizer.

The Storms is the most talked-about band of our era. They’re rock and they’re punk and they’re fierce less, just what the world needed after so many lame pop-stars. They have toured for the past five years making their fans – and the media - go crazy and they just keep getting bigger and bigger.

They always give something to talk about, from the women they date to how many times they have been kicked out of hotels. My sister is always talking about Celebrities and their lives and she often tells me stories about the crazy things they do.

Do I like their music? Well, not all of it. I was never the type of girl to assist a concert wearing high-waisted shorts with a flannel tied around my waist to throw brassieres to the stage. I think I have three or four song of The Storms in my iPod but rock is not really my style.

Do I like Jack? Physically, it’s impossible to not feel attracted to him. He has green-grey piercing eyes with his signature mysterious gaze, plump lips that change of shade constantly, right now are dark rose and he is playing with them desperately with his fingers full of rings and red knuckles, I can even notice the remain of maroon nail polish in his nails. He is tall and has a pose every time he is standing up, moving his hip slightly to one side, I don’t know if he do it on purpose but it makes him look in charge. He continuously performs shirtless on stage, so, of course he has a great body. He is not the heartthrob of the year just for nothing.

His bad boy style is what makes all the girls go crazy-pants for him. He always wears leather or fur, black skinny jeans and boots. He has a true rock-star spirit going on. His body is covered with tattoos, almost completely. He was the one that made the ‘man bun’ a thing by growing up his hair and tying it up. His bad boy attitude may be a panties dropper for a lot of girls, not for me though. He is quite the character, the hot topic of the moment.

So, yes. I’m trapped in this plane sitting next to him for the entire time of ten hours until we arrive to London.

He huffs and shifts on his seat, he must be in discomfort, I guess. I try to keep my thoughts to myself but it is quite difficult when he is moving incessant on his spot. I grab my water and take a drink, guiding my eyes to the window, I need to distract myself.

Soon enough the plane starts moving, the air hostess appearing on each side of the cabin telling us about the safety issues inside of the plane. I move my eyes again to look outside of the window, this is the last time in a while I’m going to see the LA sky, I better take a good look after I leave.

“What’s with the ugly jumper anyway?” I hear a husky voice next to me. “We are not even in Christmas.”

My eyes are still pointing to the window; I move my head slightly to see if he’s talking to me. My heart stops when I lock eyes with him, he is looking directly at me with his bottom lip between his fingers.

I look down to my sweater, the one that has little moustaches knitted on it.

“I... I li-ke this s-weater...” I say with my voice in only a whisper, stuttering a few times.

“You really need to stop stuttering.” He sighs, moving his eyes away from me. “It’s annoying.”

“I’m sorry.” I say trying not to stutter, moving my eyes to the window feeling my cheeks flush.

Deep down I feel offended but I understand his point, though. Probably all the girls he is around with stutter like me, or just faint or scream, it must be annoying.

“It’s okay.” He says in a kinder voice now, I feel his eyes on me. He has a pretty heavy stare. “I understand, I guess.”

It’s the first polite thing that comes out from his mouth since he got inside of the plane. It makes me all flustered but I’m lucky enough to hide it. The attendants tell us to turn off our phones for the takeoff so I quickly grab my phone to shut it down, Jack does the same with his, a black IPhone 6S that looks incredibly tiny in his big hands.

Okay, Frances. Stop creeping on him.

The stewardess walks through the small cabin checking our seatbelts before walking away to sit on her chair, buckling her seatbelt as well. I take a deep breath, I have never liked the takeoff part of a flight, I hate the vertigo and the dizziness feeling. Its the first time I will experience it alone.

I hold on tight on the armrests, my eyes shut waiting for the worst part of flying.

I can do it, I can do it.I say to myself in my head, pressing my lips together.

I hear a chuckle next to me, making me open my eyes. “Are you afraid of flying?” He asks in between the chuckle.

“No.” I shut my eyes again, moving my face front, my breathing still uneasy. “Just... The takeoff part.”

“The rate of exploding in the takeoffs are really low, y’know?” He says and I instantly widen my eyes at him.

"Exploding!?" I say in a loud voice, a few eyes in the cabin turning to look at me.

“Gosh, quiet.” He chuckles, moving his hands in a ‘no’gesture in front of him. “I’m messing with you.”

“Oh.” I let a breath out, my chest losing the tension it previously had. “Okay.”

“Here.” He takes my hand and places it in his. “You can hold my hand as tight as you want but please, don’t break the arm rest.” He jokes, trying to relax me.

I’m not going to lie. I think I peed myself a little at this point.

My face must be red as a tomato; he looks front like nothing is happening but here I am losing my shit.I’m touching his damn hand!His hand is cold but somehow soft, I’m glad my hands are not sweating because that would be so embarrassing. I try to not move but soon enough the plane accelerates and with that, my pulse.

Just on cue the plane starts to ascend, making my stomach twirl with the horrible vertigo feeling. I close my eyes shut, pressing the arms rest in one hand and his hand on the other, my already accelerated heart pumping fast as ever.

This is it.Goodbye Los Angeles.

In a heartbeat the plane is flying in the air, my stomach coming back to its usual state. My eyes are still shut and my body is pressed hard against the seat. The green light rings signaling we can unbuckle our belts; I open one eye realizing we are in the air and out of danger. I survived my first alone takeoff. Well, not so alone.

“You good? He asks me, a smile on his lips. I find myself noticing a dimple on the side of his lip, such a cute feature for someone like him.

“Yes.” I chuckle, moving my hand away from his. “Thank you.”

He is acting really different from what he’s been acting so far. He is acting kind, very kind. If I didn’t known better it would be erasing his entire snotty attitude from before.

“My pleasure.” He says with the same smile on his face. “I’m Jack, by the way.” He puts his hand front for a handshake.

I know.I say to myself.

“Frances.” I take his hand shaking it, my nervousness still running inside of me.

“Cool name.” His lip smiles to a side.

“I apologize if I... Made you feel uncomfortable with my attitude. I can be a pain in the ass sometimes, even more when things don’t go as I plan.” He explains, moving his eyes down to my sweater. “I did mean the jumper part. It is quite hideous.”

“What’s wrong with it?” I ask moving my eyes to look at it once again. “I find it cute.”

“It’s stupid.” He chuckles shaking his head. “You should just take it off.”

“Um...” I take the fabric of my sweater between my fingers. “That’s not going to happen.”

“Why? You’re not wearing anything under it?” He moves an eyebrow up, his words heating my entire body for some unknown reason. How can he do that only with his voice?

And besides, that’s none of his business...

“I will take your silence as a yes.” He smirks, moving his face to look front, his head resting on his knuckles while his elbow is on the armrest.

We remain quiet for quite some time; I feel my heart still pumping fast in my chest. He literally just met me and he is already making inadequate remarks. This is going to be a very long flight of me fighting my nerves away.

The view from the window is breathtaking, the lights from the city are shining bright in the night sky, it makes me feel emotional and nostalgic already. I’m going to miss this place, the beach, my family, my bed. It wasn’t that bad now that I’m one step away from it. I did have a good time here, but I need something more, something less superficial that I know I will find in Europe, I have the feeling.

The attendant steps in the cabin telling us we can now use our phones in airplane mode. She offers us headphones but I gently refuse, I already have a pair with me. I instantly take my phone out along with my iPod, placing them in the tiny folding table in the back of the seat in front of me.

Jack calls a stewardess pressing the buttons of his chair repeatedly and without stopping, just like a little kid. She comes right away.

“Can I help you with anything, sir?” She smiles politely at him, trying to hide her nervous voice and shaky hands. He doesn’t notice and if he does, he doesn’t put attention to it.

“Yes. Can you bring me some pillows, two to be exact, and a blanket please.” He suddenly turns to look at me. “Do you want anything?”

I shyly nod my head, that’s very attentive of him. “A pillow and a blanket would be nice, thank you.” I say shyly, is still difficult to speak normally around him, I don’t blame the stewardess.

“Three pillows and two blankets coming right away.” She smiles at us, walking away from us.

“Only one pillow? Why?” He asks me like if that was the strangest thing on earth.

“Why two?” I ask with humor in my voice, fighting my nervousness.

“Well, I like to hug something while I sleep.” He licks his lips before talking. “Don’t you?”

“Not really.” I move my eyes front, unlocking my phone. “One pillow is fine for me.”

“Okay.” He moves his hands up in a whatever-lets-you-sleep-at-night way.

I have no messages in my phone and my battery is already in 50%. I decide to put it aside and check the guide in the screen in front of me. I really like this seat, its so much comfortable than a commercial seat, I have so much space to myself.

The attendant comes to us handing us our pillows and blankets. She asks if we need anything else and we both say no, so she walks away. I place the pillow behind my head and let the blanket aside, I’m not cold right now.

While I surf on the screen in front of me the pilot of the plane speaks through the speakers, greeting us and telling us about the forecast of the flight. Ten hours and fifteen minutes from now will be landing in London and we have a clear sky ahead of us. That makes me calm, I hate turbulence.

“That movie is great.” Jack says out of nowhere, his eyes moving up from his phone to my screen just when I stop in Million Dollar Baby.

“Really?” I start reading the synopsis. “I’ve never seen it.”

“No way. You have to.” He sits up straight, pointing to my screen. “We are going to watch it later, I even feel like watching it again.”

“What if I don’t like boxing?” I ask, resting my back against the seat, accommodating the pillow in my head. He treats me like if I wasn’t a stranger and as weird as it sounds, it feels good. It actually makes forget he’s famous in this exact moment.

“It’s not just about boxing, its so much more.” He talks with his hands, it’s quite distracting how expressive he is with his hands. “It’s truly inspirational, a great plot, the acting is exquisite. And of course, some punches here and there, but I promise you’ll like it.”

“Alright.” I give in, shifting in my seat to feel more comfortable. “You convinced me.”

“Yes!” He smiles at me, an award winning smile. “How old are you, Frances?” He asks, moving his back on his seat.

“Oh, you can call me Fray if you want.” I say, turning to look at him. “And I’m twenty. Why?”

“I like Frances better.” He says with a slight smile on his lips. “I was just curious about your age, I couldn’t decipher it myself.”

“How old did you think I was?” I ask letting a small chuckle out.

“In the gap between eighteen and twenty two.” He says, crossing his leg letting his boot hang on the side. “So not so wrong.”

“You’re 23, right?” I ask, moving my eyes away from him for a moment. “Not that I know your age, or anything about you I... I don’t know you at a-ll... I... I was just guessing. You k-now, um...”

“Hey, hey.” He chuckles, shaking his head at me. “We agreed on not more stuttering.” He keeps laughing slightly, making me blush. I’m embarrassing myself here. “And no, I actually turned 24 a few weeks ago.”

“Oh.” I scratch my elbow nervously. “That’s...”

“Cool.” He completes, a smile lingering on his lips.

He makes me blush once again, but I quickly look away concentrating on the things on my table. I really need to work on my nervousness, I need to make a good impression on him. Not that I mind what he thinks of me... Well, I do mind. He is Jack Stone. But I shouldn’t be thinking about it, this is why I’m going away.

I guess all I want is to survive these ten hours of flying. I can do it.

I decide to go to the bathroom, the water in my system is making my bladder rush already. But is not my bladder what is making me go to the bathroom, I just need some alone time to let all of this sink in.

I stand up, careful on not tripping anything on my table.

“Um... Can you- excuse me, please?” I ask him, but he instinctively stands up, his body hovering over mine almost crashing with me.

“Uh, sorry. Go ahead.” He moves aside, letting me pass.

“Thank you.” I say, trying not to touch him in any way while I pass by him.

I walk inside of the bathroom locking the door behind me. The first class bathroom is way more spacious than the commercial one. You can actually fit in here. I do my business inside and then stand in front of the mirror, staring at my black sweater with the little white moustaches knitted on it.

It’s a cute sweater, I like it. He is nuts to call it hideous.

I wash my hands and splash a bit of water in my face, trying to relax a bit.

Jack Stone is in the same plane as me, sitting next to me. It doesn’t feel real, I mean, a lot of girls would be dying to be seated next to him in a flight but... For some reason I don’t feel that excited. He seems like a pretty cool person but I don’t fancy him. Yes, he is gorgeous and sexy but he is still a stranger to me. Thousands of girls would be already passed out or at least trying to flirt with him, but that’s not me.

He is just a normal human.A very sexy one, but still.

I take a deep breath, trying to calm myself. I think I can handle ten hours next to the sexiest rock star on earth.Yeah, I can do it.

Taking the hair tie out of my hair I let my hair fall down my shoulders. I have slight waves at the ends of my hair, I brush them off a little until I look decent. I open the door and just when I’m about to step outside someone stops me from moving.

“I brought you something.” He practically throws something at me. “It’s a hoodie. I seriously can’t stand looking at that jumper any longer.”

“What? What for?” I ask but he just stares down at my sweater and returns his eyes back to my face.

No, no way.” I say frowning my brows. “I’m not changing.”

Who does he thinks he is? Just because you’re famous you can’t make me wear what you want.

“Yeah, you will.” He opens the bathroom door for me, trapping me in the small space between the wall and him. “Take it.”

“No. I like my sweater.” I state, keeping my distance from him.

“Please.” He looks me with puppy eyes. “I wouldn’t ask you if... If it wasn’t that hideous. I’m doing you a favor. A fashion favor.”

“And who are you? Joan Rivers? No. You can’t always get what you want.” I cross my arms in my chest, rising an eyebrow at him.

“Don’t quote The Rolling Stones at me.” He smiles, letting a chuckle out. “Just change.”

“No, I...” I start saying but he cuts me off.

“Please, Frances.” His voice is now low, his green-greyish eyes are serious now but in a way, they are soft, a sad glimpse hidden in them. There’s something in the way he says my name that makes it irresistible. “Please.”

How can I say no to those eyes?

“God... You’re so stubborn.” I roll my eyes, taking his hoodie and walking inside of the bathroom again, closing the door on his face.

I can’t believe he is making me change my sweater just because he didn’t like it. I can’t believe I’m letting him do this. I take a deep breath, cursing quietly at myself while I change. One of the main reasons why I’m making this trip is to have great stories to tell. Now in the future I can tell my grandkids about that time I wore a famous rock star hoodie just because he didn’t like my sweater.

What a great story. Right? Ugh.

When I finally put it on, I stare at the Green Bay Packers logo now plastered on my chest. He can’t be serious. My dad would kill me if he sees me wearing his rival team logo on my chest.

I hate to admit it but it’s really comfy and so soft inside. It also smells amazing. Like a mix of manly aftershave and... Something else I can’t quite point out, but it’s a wonderful smell. I step out of the bathroom -successfully this time - my sweater hanging in my hands. I walk to my seat and stop on my tracks catching him in the act.

“What are you doing?!” I ask startled, my iPod between his hands.

“Nothing.” He puts it down quickly, standing up to let me pass to my seat. “You look great in green.”

I walk pass him sitting in my seat, taking my iPod from the table and putting it inside of my bag along with my sweater. I take a deep breathe before turning to him.

“Please don’t go through my stuff.” I say firmly, zipping my purse close. “It’s rude.”

“Oh, come on. I just wanted to see what music you listen to.” He says, sitting beside me and giving me a smile.

“Still... I don’t like it.” I say, crossing my arms on my chest. His hoodie is way too big for me; I don’t even know why I accepted to change.

“Well, I’m sorry, okay? I will not do it again.” He apologizes, taking his phone and giving it to me. “Here.”

“Huh?” I move an eyebrow up, confused.

“I snooped into your stuff so you have the right to do it as well.” He says his phone still on his hand. “Just iTunes though, don’t touch anything else.”

“It’s... It’s not necessary.” I say, moving my hands in front of me in a ‘no’ gesture. “Just... Don’t go through my stuff again.”

“Well, you’re missing out.” He says, moving his phone away. “You have great taste in music though. You don’t seem like the type of girl that listens to Rolling Stones.”

“Why? Because of my hideous sweater?” I ask trying to joke, but it sounds more like an annoyed statement.

“That and because, I don’t know... I thought you liked bubblegum pop or something, just like any other young girl out there.” He chuckles, putting his phone on the table in front of him.

“Ew.” I sit back, rolling the sleeves of his hoodie up my arms.

“Innit.” He says, closing his eyes and hugging a pillow to his chest, spreading his legs front.

We don’t say anything else for a good thirty minutes. It gives me time to focus on other things rather than being consumed by his presence. I take my iPod off my bag and plug my headphones in, unlocking the screen that doesn’t have a password. I need to put one right away. In the screen appears the last song he checked. ‘Miss You’ one of my all-time favorites.

The truth is, I like The Rolling Stones thanks to my dad. Like I said before, rock is not really my thing but I grew up listening to them, so of course they’re one of my favorite bands. I press play and sit back in my seat moving my legs up front of my chest and resting my chin in my knees as I stare out of the window letting my mind run wild with thoughts.

Jagger sings as a background, letting me think about what I’m leaving behind.

I will miss hanging out by the beach, having my surfboard with me. I will miss going hiking to the valley and going running to the park. I sure will miss the view from the hills. But at the same time, I can’t wait to see all the important historical buildings all around Europe.

The Big Ben, the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Coliseum and so on. I want to live the story behind every city, to meet the people and their traditions, to drown in their culture.

I can’t wait to visit every museum, every famous bar, every park, garden or plaza. I know amazing adventures are waiting for me and I’m so pumped to live them.

“You’re humming.” Jack moves one of my earbuds off my ear, making me turn to look at him.

“So?” I raise an eyebrow at him, not controlling the smile forming on my face.

“So, I’m trying to sleep.” He chuckles, pressing his head on his pillow. “And if you want to sing me a lullaby, pick a more decent song. That one kind of turns me on.”

“You’re gross.” I roll my eyes while laughing, changing the song to the next one.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” He closes his eyes, drifting to sleep successfully in a matter of minutes.

I find myself staring at him while he sleeps. I know… I’m a creep, don’t judge me. He just looks so peaceful, so different from when he’s awake. His features relax, his brows are calm and his lips in a natural pout making him look completely adorable. He looks so incredibly cute, erasing his whole bad-boy fame and turning into someone different.

So far, he is not acting like the diva or the obnoxious boy the press makes you think he is. Yes, he can be persistent and intruding - and sometimes very indecent – but he is also funny and outgoing. His attitude is not something that bothers me much really; I’m kind of used to worse, one of the main reasons why I’m leaving Los Angeles.

I’m starting to see him as a normal person and not so much the boy holding the fame on his shoulders. He is not what people think he is, I guess.

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