Authors: Gina Elle
Gina Elle Publishing
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Copyright © 201
3 Gina Elle
All rights reserved.
first book for you, because of you
The power of a glance has been much abused in love stories that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other yet it is in this way that love begins and it is the only way.
The lineup is unusually long this morning. I
tilt my head around to see how many people are waiting in front of me. And that is when I spot her. Something about her has caught my eye. I can only see her profile. As she is paying, she smiles and thanks the server for the change she has just been handed. She turns and starts to walk out dragging her carryon luggage behind her with her left hand, her purse hanging over her left shoulder, and her coffee and paper Starbucks bag in her right hand. When I first see her, my jaw instinctively clenches. Damn, she is pretty. Long, straight light brown hair, hazel eyes, full lips, gorgeous smile all on top of a slender yet shapely body. In a word, she’s a knockout. I look straight at her hoping to make eye contact but she doesn’t see me. She leaves the café. Slim chance I’ll ever see her again. Like probably never.
I glance at my watch. It’s 8:30 AM. Forty-five minutes until my flight leaves O’Hare Airport for Toronto. A typical Monday morning for a business traveller like myself-wake up early, swim a few laps in the hotel pool, shower, check my emails, grab some breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and then hop on the shuttle for the airport. It’s time for an espresso before boarding my flight. The lineup is a long one so I patiently wait thinking about today’s meeting at
Wells and Fraser, the North American software company where I work. For the past four years, I’ve worked as a Senior Product Specialist trouble shooting serious flaws in the software for big top 50 companies. Logging hundreds of hours and thousands of air miles over the years doing this work has been a means of not only making an impressive income but has evolved into a lifestyle for me. This three-day trip to Chicago has been my third trip out this month. Typically, I travel two to four times a month throughout Canada and the U.S. stopping in various cities for a few days each time. The job requires both technical and personable skills. Fortunately, my strong interpersonal skills have won over many clients throughout North America, resulting in higher sales for Wells and Fraser and an even higher fortune for me. Not only have I made some serious cash on the company’s stock pre-IPO, but also since my latest contract, I am owed fifteen percent of the company’s worth on any potential sale.
Espresso in hand, I arrive at my gate prepared to sit and enjoy my coffee while catching up on the news on my
iPad. After I settle into my seat at the Gate 5 lounge and pull out my iPad, I look up for a brief second and that’s when I see her again. The beauty from the coffee shop is sitting there, about four rows away from me, facing the window. I quickly turn and read the airline sign at the desk, the one that lists the departure time and cities. There are two flights leaving from Gate 5 about thirty minutes apart. So, the longhaired beauty will either be heading to Phoenix at 8:55 AM or flying to Toronto with me at 9:25 AM. Today, I decide to alter my espresso and e-news ritual and sit and watch her instead.
Wiping her delicate mouth after each of her little bites of muffin with a rolled up napkin, my mystery woman is intriguingly alluring to watch. She sits somberly in her seat staring out the window sipping her tall size coffee. Slowly but gradually she feeds herself small chunks of muffin that she pulls off from the whole muffin sitting on her lap. In between bites, she takes a few sips of her coffee, never taking her eyes away from the window. Is she watching the outside activity on the ground floor?
The mechanics working on the airplanes? The baggage handlers lugging bags? The color of the blue sky? Actually, I have no clue what’s grabbing her attention but I know that she sure has captivated mine. Beauty with a capital B, I think.
The gorgeous Mystery Woman gets up and walks over to the trash bin. She is carrying her crumpled up paper bag and empty coffee cup. She is ready to toss them out. I check out her whole look. Khaki linen blazer, oversized grey scarf circling her neck with short light brown angelic tassels hanging downward, dark denim fitted jeans, and patent leather tan ballet flats. On her left wrist a gold watch dangles beside a few bracelets of various lengths and designs. Of course, I look for a ring on her left hand but can’t see one from where I’m sitting. She has on thin medium-sized hoop earrings that I notice because a few strands of her hair have been pulled behind her left ear. One side of her hair is pulled off her face and pinned back with a small hair clip, showing off her flawless complexion. She has a petite torso, shapely hips and long legs. She glides like a bird over to the garbage receptacle, tosses out her things and walks back to her seat gracefully. She looks so regal. I can’t take my eyes off her. This has never happened to me before.
Next, she pulls her iPad out of her bag and removes the cover. Head down, she taps away at the screen and doesn’t look up. So my fellow passengers seated around me don’t think I am a freak staring non-stop at a woman four rows away, I decide to look busy, so I turn on my iPad. I check my news, sports, and stock websites for updates. Nothing exciting to read, or maybe I’m just too distracted this morning. I pull out a copy of this morning’s USA Today paper and glance at the first page headlines. That’s when the speaker comes on and the airline counter attendant starts to bark out three or four names of passengers who need to see her at the desk. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Mystery Woman get up and walk to the desk. One of the names called was hers.
She is on my flight!
Moments later, she walks back to her seat. This time, she pulls out her iPhone and makes a call. I wonder whom she is calling? Her boyfriend? Her husband? Her girlfriend? I want to get a little closer. I need to hear her speak. As I start gathering my things, the airline attendant comes back on the speaker paging a passenger named Caroline something Damn! I didn’t catch the last name; she shouted it out too fast. And that’s when Mystery Woman gets up again, shuts off her iPhone and returns to the airline desk.
Her name is Caroline.
Time to play a bit. I type into Google “meaning of name Caroline,” on my iPad. I really am obsessing over this woman. This is totally unlike me to be so taken with a stranger. According to one website that I checked, ‘Caroline’ comes from old German meaning “free man.”
It has many different spellings. Wait . . . there’s another meaning . . . from the Scottish, meaning, “joy.” That sounds better. The name derivation website said the name Caroline has royal connotations and is often regarded as an aristocratic name.
. I did say she had a majestic look about her, didn’t I?
I’ve never met a Caroline before. Whenever I hear that name, I always think of the Neil Diamond song “Sweet Caroline.” Then again, I always think of Neil Diamond or Paul
Anka or Lionel Richie and the Commodores. You see, when I was growing up, my parents played music all the time, not just any music, but music from the 70s and early 80s used to play non-stop in our house. I’d wake up in the morning to ABBA, then listen to some Stevie Wonder, throw in the Bee Gees after lunch, a few Donna Summer tunes, some Blondie, can’t forget our daily dose of Gloria Gaynor, Rod Stewart, Creedance Clearwater Revival, too, of course.
You see, I was born in the early 80s but could have easily been born a decade before. I’m an old soul, who has a secret. Actually, I have many secrets but this one I am proud of. I not only love old school music but these songs come to me unexpectedly as I live out my day, every day. Out of nowhere, the lyrics turn up in my head at the most appropriate moments, and they stay in my head for the rest of the day. Don’t get me wrong; I’m into contemporary artists as well like Coldplay, Usher, and some
Pitbull tunes always get me going. But, my first love is for the disco era . . . the Bee Gees, Bay City Rollers, all of them. Don’t even get me started on the King of Pop; I could go on for hours. Michael Jackson’s music is the perfect balance of ideal melodies, poignant lyrics accompanied by the smoothest of vocals. My parents instilled in me a love for many things, but 70s music has to be among the top. So, it’s only fitting that now that I know Mystery Woman’s name that I refer to the beauty who is standing just a few meters away from me as Sweet Caroline.
I look up from my
iPad as Sweet Caroline makes her way back to her seat. I don’t know what’s come over me. I have this moment of crazy inspiration. Dangerously, I lift up my iPad and take a quick picture of her. I hope the woman seated next to me doesn’t hear the click of the iPad camera as I take a few more quick shots. Have I fallen completely off my rocker? What a gross invasion of privacy I’ve just committed. But, the stalker in me knows know other way. I feel like the guy you see in those old shampoo commercials where he takes one whiff of the girl’s hair and follows her everywhere she goes. Funny thing is that I haven’t gotten close enough to her yet to smell anything and I’m already love-struck.
Sweet Caroline is carrying a box on her way back to her seat. It’s a gift-wrapped box that the airline attendant just handed to her. Oddly, she doesn’t open the box or read the card attached to it. Nonchalantly, she tosses the box into her tote bag once she returns to her seat. An admirer? A boyfriend? A husband? From my experience, husbands rarely send their wives gifts of jewelry through an airport terminal. Then again, I’m not married so what do I know? Something, however, tells me that she isn’t married. An intuitive sense, I’ll call it. Then again, maybe that something is just called wishful thinking. Man, the power of optimism.
Undeterred from my original plan, I make my way over to sit as close to Sweet Caroline as I can. My idea is actually quite simple . . . stroll over casually, take a seat next to her, pull out a magazine or newspaper, pretend to read it and then after a few minutes, look up and ask her some frivolous question. Turn on the charm and I’ll have her right in the palm of my hand. Sounds like a plan. But I am so damned nervous!
I go anyways . . .
as I make my way the announcement comes on:
Paging all passengers on Air Canada flight #8131 with direct service to Toronto. This announcement is to inform all passengers of the one hour delay in departure. Departure is now scheduled for 10:25 A.M. We repeat. There will be a one-hour delay in flight #8131 to Toronto. Boarding will commence at 10:10 A.M.
The joys of business travel. I have to let Cate, my secretary, know about the delay because I’m expected in for a 1:00 P.M. meeting today. I call Cate immediately and she pushes back the 1:00 P.M. meeting to 2:30 P.M. this afternoon for me. Not an issue for me. I stayed up past midnight preparing my notes and presentation for today’s VP meeting. Apart from some fatigue I’ll likely be feeling later this afternoon, I’m pretty confident the meeting with senior management will go well, it always does.
I have been with Wells and Fraser for four years
now working my butt off in hopes of making it to the top. If my current success continues, I am told, I may make junior vice president within the year. Which is why I find myself at O’Hare airport on this sunny, warm Monday morning returning from a three-day conference in Chicago. I was sent to this conference to learn about the latest software and then report back to my superiors. And like the good soldier that I am, I dutifully comply. But, in the meantime, I need to soldier on in my quest to speak to my mystery-airport-unopened-jewelry- box toting–beauty. First, I need to find Sweet Caroline
I hang up with Cate and am ready to make my way over to Sweet Caroline. Where did she go? Why did I take my eyes off her? It was only for a few seconds, but now I lost her? The phone call to Toronto derailed my plan to go over and sit next to her. Now, it seems, I’ve temporarily lost her. With the one-hour delay, I figure I’ve plenty of time to execute my next design.
Pulling my carryon luggage behind me with my left hand, I stroll through the terminal. Perhaps, with an hour to kill, Sweet Caroline has stopped into some shops. Maybe she popped into duty-free to spritz on some perfume? What about the bookstore to pick up a novel? The magazine rack would be ideal. I could flip through a
or two, slowly inching my way over to where she might be standing thumbing through a
or an issue of
I walk excitedly into the duty free shop hoping to find my girl. I amble through the liquor displays on my way to the cosmetics and fragrances counter. Lots of shoppers are scoping the aisles but no sign of Sweet Caroline yet. I look everywhere but it appears that I have to keep looking. I exit through Door #1. Moving onward.
Next stop is the travelers’ convenience store for some drinks, candy, newspapers, and last minute souvenirs. I head for the magazine wall hoping to find Caroline. I scan the area intently, convinced I’m going to find her. Wait . . . is that her silhouette? I move closer but then the woman turns around and I am mistaken. Disappointed to say the least.
I leave the shop looking around me at all of the possible places she could have gone within the terminal. There’s the manicure booth, the electronics store, the fast food outlets in the food court, at least 3 donut stops, a bar, a couple of restaurants, a luggage and bag shop, a sunglass booth, a clothing boutique, and even a hair salon. I walk by all of them and not one sighting; my lady is not a shopper, I think to myself.
Feeling partly deflated at this point, and partly juvenile for chasing a woman around an airport, I check my watch. It’s 9:30 already. Boarding will commence in a short while so I decide to make my way back to the terminal. What has come over me this morning? I am normally very cool, calm, and collected around beautiful women. Confidence with the opposite sex has never been an issue in my life. Until today, it seems. The ringing of my iPhone in my jacket interrupts my thoughts.