Love is in the Air. Devon Vaughn Archer
a wave of his hand. “Don’t worry about it. I’m cool with the aisle seat.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive. It’s easier for my long legs to get up and flex.” He also liked the idea of her being effectively stuck on the inside so there was no escaping him. After tossing his bag in the overhead bin, he slid into the seat next to her. Suddenly the normally dull flight to Houston had gotten a lot more intriguing.
The flight was a bit bumpy, which made Holly a little nervous. Not to say that she was a fearful flier, but they were 30,000 feet in the air and she didn’t take anything for granted.
Somehow she felt comforted by Anderson’s masculine presence, as though it was his job to make sure nothing bad happened to her. It was a silly thought, especially considering that his close proximity also made her a little nervous. She usually felt that way whenever she was attracted to a man. Since it had been a while since she could say that, she hadn’t decided yet if that was a good or bad thing.
“Weekend morning anchor, huh?” Anderson commented, nursing a scotch on the rocks as he watched Holly sip some red wine.
“That’s me.” She wondered if he viewed that as a lesser position than anchoring the weekday noon news, which her good friend, Blythe Cramer, co-anchored with veteran newscaster Allan Kennedy.
“I have to be honest in saying that you’re even more beautiful in person—and that’s not a line.”
“Thank you,” Holly said, though still not sure if he was getting carried away with her looks. “But I’m not on television as an actress. I’m a serious journalist.”
“And you do your job very well,” he said, although he didn’t get to see her often enough on his big-screen television. That would have to change. “There is one thing I’ve always been curious about when watching newscasters—”
“Hmm...do I really want to know?” she asked, half joking.
“When you’re reporting all that bad news with murders, car accidents, robberies and the like, do you take that home with you or leave it at the job?”
Holly stared at him for a beat before offering a response. “Both,” she said diplomatically. “Of course, you wouldn’t be human if you could talk about such things and simply shut it off once you leave the desk. But, on the other hand, if you let it all get to you too much it would probably drive you crazy. Meaning you shouldn’t be in broadcast journalism.”
“Well-thought-out answer,” Anderson said, impressed.
“Just telling you how I feel.” She looked at him. “Do you take your work home, figuratively speaking?”
“I used to much more than I do now,” he responded thoughtfully. “These days I try to keep my business and personal life as separate as possible, which isn’t always easy.”
“So what happened to make you change?” Holly realized the question was delving further into his life than he may have cared to go. In which case, he would simply tell her it was off-limits. And that would be that. But since he had opened the line of questioning, she had every right to counter.
“It’s a long story,” Anderson said.
Holly refused to let him off the hook that easily. “Well, I’m not going anywhere, and since we still have more than two hours of flight time left...”
Anderson chuckled. He understood that if he was curious about her that it only stood to reason that she felt the same about him. After tasting his drink, he turned to her and said, “Fair enough. Back in the day, which was not so long ago, I was a hard-driving, overly ambitious attorney thinking only about my bank account and myself. It played havoc on my personal life and damn near everything else. I finally got smart and decided to try to turn things around. So I changed careers, mellowed out and am the better for it today.”
“Good for you,” Holly said.
“You’ll get no argument from me there.”
Holly smiled, but she was still curious about the man. She suspected that his past life also involved a woman, probably a wife.
Sensing that she wanted more, Anderson decided to give it to her. “It cost me a good relationship.”
“I’m sorry,” she said softly.
“Yeah, so am I. But it happens and we move on.”
“Is it really that simple?”
“Sometimes it has to be,” he said. “We can’t go back. We can only deal with the aftermath and try to avoid past mistakes.”
“Yes, I suppose you’re right.” Holly thought about her own past mistakes where it concerned men. It mainly came down to expecting too much and often receiving too little, which made for a bad mix. She wondered if it might be different were she involved with someone like Anderson. Or was he still damaged goods that she would do well to avoid at all costs?
“So, is there a man waiting for you back in Houston?” Anderson asked, throwing caution to the wind. “Husband, boyfriend, or whatever?” He found it hard to imagine someone like her could be available, but it was worth a try.
“No husband or boyfriend,” Holly told him succinctly.
He lifted a brow in surprise. “Is there a story there or...”
“I’m not gay, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“I wasn’t,” he assured her.
“I’ve dated, of course,” she said. “And I know this sounds like a cliché, but I just haven’t found the right man.” She couldn’t believe she was opening up to this stranger about her love life. Or lack of. But, then again, why not? They would probably never see each other again after the flight. On the plane, though, the close proximity sort of bonded them temporarily.
“That’s too bad.” Not really, he thought. He didn’t doubt that such a man existed. She just needed to find him.
“Believe me, I’m not complaining,” Holly felt compelled to say. “I’m happy with my life. Besides, these days I’m too busy with work and doing things with my family and friends to be bothered.”
Anderson chuckled. “Bothered? Is it really such an imposition on your life to be involved with someone who cares for you?”
Her brows lowered. “I never said it was an imposition.”
“You might as well have.”
She sighed. “Look, there’s more to life than being defined by a relationship. That’s all I’m saying. If it happens, it happens. But I won’t spend my life looking for something that may never be there. Not when I have so much else to focus on.”
“I understand,” Anderson said.
“Do you?” Holly asked pointedly.
“Yeah, I do.”
She took his word for it, having been judged—or misjudged—all her life in one respect or another. In high school she had been considered too curvy to make the cheerleading squad, but she had made it her goal to prove them wrong. And in college she was thought to be a long shot to be class president. But she had showed them. Even as a journalist she was once thought to be too attractive to be taken seriously. So she had taken on a tough job as a foreign correspondent in Asia and earned her stripes, just to prove them all wrong.
If she ever did hook up with someone, he would have to be able to deal with her independence and career. Not all men could handle that. She wondered which cloth Anderson was cut from in that respect.
“Is there someone waiting for you in Houston?” she asked him. Might as well find out now, for better or worse. “Or are you still hung up on that relationship that fell flat?”