Authors: Lashawn Vasser
Text Copyright © 2014 Lashawn Vasser
All Rights Reserved
The cab ride over to the airport had been bumper to bumper for over two and a half hours. Although it was late evening it still moved at a snail’s pace mostly because of the wind and rain from the storm. Even the windshield wipers had trouble keeping up with how hard the rain was coming down. Traffic was definitely a nightmare but Nicole managed to get to the airport with 45 minutes to spare before her plane was scheduled to leave.
After exiting the cab Nicole rushed over to the private waiting area and checked in with the attendant. She hated flying but when she did, it was usually coach or business class. Today, she was flying on Chatham Industries’ private plane. Nicole didn’t quite know what to expect but, so far, the experience had been quite different from anything she’d ever experienced before. There weren’t even any security checks with underpaid airport security staffers forcing her to take off her shoes. As a matter of fact, shortly after she checked in, a guest services representative came over to carry her luggage onto the plane. Nicole walked a little further into the waiting area and was stunned at how luxurious it was. So, this was how the other half lived? There were beautiful paintings on the walls, carpet that was so plush a person could sink into, and Italian leather chairs with cherry wood accent tables. Surrounded with so much lavishness Nicole felt almost underdressed in her jersey maxi dress, denim jacket and gym shoes. Maybe she should have at least put on a little makeup and worn her hair loose instead of putting it up into a messy ponytail. Hadn’t Dana told her to dress comfortably? She was being ridiculous. According to Dana, it was just going to be a couple of Chatham Industry associates and her on the plane. Old habits die hard. This was going to be a new life, new adventure, and a cold death to old insecurities.
Life can change so quickly. Just a few short months ago Nicole was in the process of planning her wedding. Never would she have thought she’d be about to board a plane owned by Mr. Davis Chatham. How her friend Dana had convinced him to back her technology school was probably one of the world’s greatest mysteries. How’d she even know him? Dana was pretty successful in her own right but Nicole didn’t think she traveled in the same circles as people like Davis Chatham. It didn’t really matter how she convinced him, Nicole was just glad she did and that Dana included her in the adventure.
However, before agreeing to take the job, Nicole did try to find out all she could about the elusive Davis Chatham. She was able to gather some gossip and basic information from the internet like the fact he was a self-made billionaire and that he basically owned holdings in practically everything. But, his bread and butter were in the technology sector; specifically defense technology. His reputation for being a ruthless bastard definitely preceded him. Nicole thought, to some degree, you’d have to be pretty ruthless to make it to his level of success.
Mr. Chatham was divorced. She wondered if that ruthlessness was the reason behind it. It had been a very messy divorce and he was quoted as saying he was going to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life. It was probably natural for anyone to feel that way after a divorce. However, it had been several years ago. So far, he had succeeded in not getting married again and from being in a committed relationship. Every time he was photographed out it was with a different drop dead gorgeous woman on his arm.
Nicole took a seat while she was waiting to board the plane. Her nerves were a bit jittery. She hated flying with a passion and was going to need something to get her through the eighteen hour flight. When the hostess came by to ask if she’d like any refreshments she seriously considered it. However, Nicole politely thanked her but declined. She’d wait until she was on the plane. In the meantime, she decided to text Dana to let her know she’d made it to the airport safely. Somewhere in the background she’d heard the hostess say “Mr. Chatham, I have your drink.” The guy the hostess had been addressing didn’t even bother to look up and acknowledge her. He just nodded and continued to work on his laptop. She placed his drink on the table and left.
Nicole sent Dana a text “Hey...made it to the airport. Just waiting to board. Was Davis Chatham supposed to be on this flight?”
Dana text back “Glad you made it. Heard weather’s really bad and no Davis is not supposed to be on the flight.”
Nicole text “Well, someone just referred to a gentleman here as ‘Mr. Chatham’. Do you have a pic? I can’t find a good one on the internet.”
After a few moments, Dana sent Nicole a picture of Mr. Chatham. Sure enough, it was the man sitting not three chairs away from her. The pictures she’d seen of him on the internet and in the papers just didn’t do him justice. Nicole could only get a side profile but from what she could see Davis Chatham was incredibly handsome. He had a strong jaw and full lips. His hair was so thick and not a strand was out of place. He had olive colored skin and broad shoulders. She now understood why he was always pictured with some supermodel or actress.
Nicole sent Dana another text “That’s him. He’s on this flight. What should I do? Should I introduce myself?”
Dana text her back “He knows you are flying on his plane so you might as well thank him for the ride. I’ve only met him a few times, but sometimes he can come across a little rough. However, he is a really nice guy.”
“I’ve read a lot of things about Mr. Chatham but being a nice guy wasn’t ever mentioned. I’m a little nervous, but I’ll introduce myself and let you know how it goes.”
Nicole got up from her seat and walked over to Davis. “Excuse me, Mr. Chatham? I’m Nicole Donleavy. I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to fly to Fiji on your plane.”
Davis never looked up from his laptop and never even acknowledged her presence.
She’d been accused of having a very soft voice so maybe he hadn’t heard her. Nicole cleared her throat “Mr. Chatham?” Before she could utter another word Davis responded.
“I’m really busy Ms. Donleavy.”
His response was extremely rude and uncalled for. But, she got the message loud and clear. He wanted to be left alone and probably thought she was some type of groupie. Considering he was the person who would be signing her paychecks, Nicole thought better of giving him a lesson in proper etiquette. She walked back over to her seat, picked up her cell phone, and text Dana “He…is an asshole.” Moments after she pressed the send button the flight attendant announced they were ready to board the plane.
Davis was sitting in the airport with his lawyer, accountant, and bodyguard. The weather had been pretty bad all day. He hoped his flight wasn’t cancelled because of it. Davis needed to get to Fiji and meet with his VP’s as soon as possible. He’d finally received the report from the independent auditing firm he’d hired. It was disturbing to say the least. There were some major discrepancies when compared to his internal audit. If substantiated, his technology was being stolen. Not just stolen but being used by rogue militia groups who were using his technology in unauthorized weaponry. If true, Chatham Industries could be unknowingly involved in international arms trafficking. And, someone from Chatham Industries was helping them.
Davis closed his eyes for just a moment and pinched the bridge of his nose trying to ease some of the pressure from a massive headache. There was so much to do and so little time. Add to it, his sister Jane had assigned him to babysitting duties for her friend, Dana Lasso. Wasn’t it enough that he was financing her pet project? If he didn’t check in on her Jane would probably kill him. She kept trying to play matchmaker so he’d met Dana a few times. She was attractive but no more interested in him than he was in her. If Davis remembered correctly when he talked to Dana yesterday, she’d mentioned a young woman was supposed to be traveling with them…Nicole something or other. That must have been her trying to get his attention. Davis knew he’d been rude but he just didn’t have the time or the patience to be indulgent. All he knew was that it was a good thing she made it in time for the flight. Had she been late, he wasn’t going to delay the flight for her. She would have needed to find another way to Fiji.
Davis had been in such deep thought that the flight attendant needed to gently touch his shoulder to get his attention. “Mr. Chatham, you may board the plane now.”
Davis took a couple of aspirin once he boarded the plane. He would try to rest his eyes for just a few minutes. He heard movement next to his chair and someone sat down next to him with a drink in their hand. The ice cubes clinking against the glass only served to aggravate his headache. He didn’t even bother to open his eyes.
“You know you were pretty rude to that young lady.”
“Phillip, I don’t need a lecture. My head is killing me, I’m dealing with a potential crisis, and I don’t have the patience to deal with Jane’s pet projects right now. She’s lucky I’m even letting her on my plane.”
Phillip leaned over to make sure that Davis was the only one who heard him, “She’s a beautiful young woman.”
Davis didn’t even open his eyes “I hadn’t noticed but aren’t they all? There seems to always be an endless supply of beautiful women all looking for the same thing.”
Phillip took a sip of his drink “You’re a jaded man, Davis. Not all women are the same.”
“If I’m jaded it’s because I’ve reason to be. I haven’t met a woman yet prove me wrong.”
“I’ve known you a long time and as your friend I’m telling you that you haven’t really given anyone a real chance since Anne.”
Davis bristled at the mention of his ex-wife’s name before enunciating each word very slowly “I…don’t...want...to...discuss...Anne.”
Phillip put out both hands as if he was surrendering “Okay, okay. I just don’t think every woman should have to suffer because of her. There I said it and now I’m done with it.”
Phillip knew that Davis was in one of those restless moods. The best thing to do when he was like that was to give him space. So, he got up from his seat and took a seat closer to the sleeping beauty.
Davis was angry at himself that Anne could still stir up such emotion in him. He’d never failed at anything in his life. But he’d failed so thoroughly in his marriage that he vowed to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life. Anne had ruined him for anyone else.
The few women he spent time with knew where he stood from the start. Davis made sure they were well aware that there was no future in it for them. To make sure his intentions were completely clear, his lawyers explained it to them when they signed the prerequisite confidentiality agreement. If they didn’t sign it, he’d move on. But, if they signed the paperwork, Davis would lavish them with gifts, trips and his precious time when it was convenient for him. In exchange, they were to be available to him and only him at a moment’s notice. But, when it was over it was over. And, he hadn’t met any woman who’d come close to making him change his mind. These days, women were only good for two reasons, arm candy and a good screw.