Angela Amman

Holiday Detour – Part Nine

holiday fictionContinued from Part Eight — or start at the very beginning with Part One!

Margot took a shallow breath and tested the idea in her brain: Vance was here, wandering the terminal, close enough that they could crash into one another like a romantic movie. A deeper breath and she might be able to wrap her head around it. Despite the way she’d been feeling about him for the past few hours — maybe the past few months if she was being honest — Margot felt relief flood her veins. Her fingers flew over her keyboard to let him know how to find her in the terminal bar.

Everything had always seemed less dire with Vance at her side, from road tripping to a bowl game their senior year to starting a business they had few qualifications to start. Even this ill-timed Chicago detour could be more like an adventure, at least it could if she forgot about the papers sitting somewhere in the belly of the plane sullenly sitting at the gate.

Adam shrugged, his smile showing the dimples she’d noticed while standing in line for coffee, a line that seemed to exist days in her past instead of mere hours. “I guess this makes me extra baggage.”

“No! Stay. We can all have dinner together,” Margot said, though she could hear the distraction in her voice as she dug through her bag to find the red lipstick she’d already turned to once that day for a boost of confidence.

“This is why married women are bad news,” he teased. “Husbands always seem to show up when you least expect them.”

“That’s not the only reason you should stay away from them,” she said. “Seriously, though, don’t feel like you have to disappear. Who knows how long we’ll be here. Besides, Vance and I are in the middle of…well…it’s complicated.” She cringed, wondering if she only wanted Adam to stay to let Vance know she wasn’t completely invisible to other men.

“No offense, Margot,” he began, his grin turning into a grimace at her words.

Margot prepared herself to be offended, as she always did when someone prefaced a comment in such a way.

“I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, but if I wanted to be in the middle of complicated marital situation, I would’ve just stayed married.”

Margot’s heart stuttered at his words, and part of her savagely wished he never would have sent her over a mini bottle of airplane wine. Her emotions were all over the place without offhand commentary from an attractive man who made divorce sound like an attractive option. Not to mention, having him quickly gulp down his beer and collect his backpack made her feel like she’d been engaged in something elicit rather than simply passing time during an unexpected situation.

She opened her mouth to try to explain her remark further, then snapped it shut. She’d spent over a year trying to explain and justify her feelings to her own husband with obviously disastrous results. She didn’t owe anything to this stranger except the beer she’d promised him she’d buy, no matter how charming he might be.

“Thank you for keeping me company,” she said instead, and the simple statement of gratitude coaxed genuine smiles out of them both.

“No problem,” he said. “Good luck with the complications, and fingers crossed that I see you on a flight later tonight.”

Before she could respond, his eyes shifted to a place over her shoulder. Margot didn’t have to swivel in her seat to know what had happened. She could smell Vance’s familiar soap, one she’d started buying for him well before she’d known she’d marry him, mingle with the overheated, fried food-infused airport air.

His hand on her shoulder felt like home, yet utterly surreal, and the hurt in his voice made her dizzy.

“Well, I can’t say this is how I pictured our unplanned reunion.”

…to be continued

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