Love is in the Air. Devon Vaughn Archer

Love is in the Air - Devon Vaughn Archer

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I’m not hung up on her,” he said, noticing that their shoulders were touching. “That’s water under the bridge, as far as clichés go. And in answer to your other question, no, there’s no one waiting for me in Houston.”

      Holly tried to gauge if there was anything between the lines regarding his availability. Or was he, like her, just living his life while keeping his options open? “Is that by design? Or have you just not found anyone you want to be with?”

      “Probably a little of both,” he answered honestly.

      “Well, good luck either way,” she said, lifting her glass to his.

      “Back at you.” He touched his glass to hers and tasted his drink.

      No sooner had Anderson set down his glass than they hit a patch of turbulence that caused the airplane to drop sharply. Holly fell over onto his chest and grabbed hold of him for dear life. Instinctively, he held her in his arms, enjoying the feel of her soft, supple body. The sweet scent of her hair was pleasing to his nostrils. He imagined them together making love in all the wrong places. And even the right ones.

      “It’s okay,” he told her tenderly. “We’re not going down.”

      At that moment, the plane corrected itself and all seemed calm again. Holly, who had seen her life flash before her eyes, realized she was still clinging to Anderson and he seemed in no hurry to release his strong arms from around her.

      She sucked in a deep breath, feeling embarrassed that she had let her guard down in a moment of panic. Apparently it was just a false alarm and she would live to see another day. Hopefully many more days.

      “I think you can let go of me now,” she said.

      “No problem.” Anderson reluctantly removed his arms. “Just didn’t want to do so till I was absolutely sure we were past the danger zone.”

      Holly leaned back in her seat, wondering what had come over her. Had he been merely a convenient shoulder to lean on? Or was it more about the man himself that made her feel safe in his arms?

      She refused to read more into it than it was. Especially since she suspected he was the type that was used to coming to the rescue of damsels in distress, even if he wasn’t currently involved with anyone.

      “Didn’t mean to fall onto you like that,” she said self-consciously.

      “It wasn’t your fault. When you get turbulence like that, none of us can control what happens. I promise not to hold it against you.”

      “Thank you.” He was definitely a perfect gentleman in trying to comfort her, something she didn’t take lightly these days. “Guess we should be landing soon.”

      “Looks like it.” In truth, Anderson hated to see the journey come to an end, rough patches and all. He hoped it didn’t mean their new acquaintanceship had to end, too.

      * * *

      The plane made a picture-perfect landing at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and Holly breathed a sigh of relief. Once she stepped into the terminal, she was prepared to put the bumpy ride behind her. She suspected it wouldn’t be as easy to forget Anderson.

      “I guess this is where we say our goodbyes,” he told her as she was about to retrieve her checked luggage.

      “I guess it is,” she said, forcing herself to smile.

      “Actually, it doesn’t have to be.” Anderson looked down at her. “Maybe we can get together sometime for dinner or whatever.”

      Holly met his eyes. “You mean like a date?”

      “Yeah, a date would be nice.” He grinned, hoping it would be enough to win her over for now.

      She really had no good reason to say no, other than her normal caution whenever she met anyone new.

      “I’m really pretty busy right now...” she began. “But maybe we can get together sometime. Do you have a business card?”

      “Of course.” Anderson removed a card from his wallet and handed it to her, deciding against pressing his luck at this point. “It has my office and cell phone numbers, along with my email address.”

      Holly glanced at it, spotting the name Anderson Gunn above his title. She loved the name—it was suave and fit the man. “Thank you.” She slipped her hand into her purse and pulled out one of her own business cards. Handing it to him, she said, “If I don’t pick up, feel free to leave a message.”

      “I’ll do that,” he promised.

      She smiled. “Well, I’d better let you get on your way. I’m sure we’ll see each other again.”

      Anderson beamed. “Goodbye, then, Holly.”

      “Goodbye, Anderson.” She watched him walk away and, strangely enough, was already beginning to miss his companionship.

      * * *

      On a sunny afternoon, Holly drove her Subaru Impreza down Interstate 45 toward her father’s house, wanting to stop in and say hello before heading to her place. She tried to check in on him as much as possible since her mother died. A proud man, he did his best to try to appear strong and unaffected by much, but she knew he was still hurting after losing his one and only true love.

      Will I ever find that type of connection with anyone? she wondered. Or was that something too hard to come by today?

      Her mind turned to Anderson. They had gotten off to a rocky start, but seemed to make a connection along the way. But could it go anywhere? Would he actually call her? Should she call him?

      Holly turned onto South Wayside Drive and a little later made a right on Wildwood Way. A few houses down, she pulled into the driveway of the redbrick bungalow where she’d grown up. Her father was sitting in his favorite Adirondack chair on the porch, a beer can in his hand.

      Robert Kendall was a semiretired dentist. He took part in the free outdoor dental-care clinics offered to low-income residents of the city several times a year. The rest of the time, he enjoyed sports, working on projects around the house and taking long walks.

      Holly got out of the car and smiled. “Hey, Dad.”

      “Hey.” His sable eyes crinkled as he smiled.

      She stepped onto the porch and gave him a hug.

      “How was your trip?”

      “Good.” She was sure Stuart had already phoned and given him the scoop. “Not counting the turbulence, which was pretty bad a couple of times.”

      “That’s just nature’s way of letting you know who’s boss.”

      Holly chuckled. “That’s one way of putting it.”

      “And how are my little granddaughters doing?” Robert asked.

      “Full of energy,” Holly said. “Why don’t you come with me next time and you can see for yourself just how much they’ve grown.”

      He took a swig of the beer and shook his head. “They’re welcome here anytime. Maybe you should remind your brother of that.”

      She frowned. “He has a life there, Dad. He can’t just leave it behind anytime.”

      “You seem to do that just fine.”

      “Maybe I wouldn’t if I had to chase two seven-year-olds around all the time.”

      “He never should’ve married that gal,” Robert said glumly. “She was never good enough for him. Abandoning her daughters like that is unforgivable.”

      Holly agreed, but there was no point rehashing old news. “The important thing is that Stuart stepped up as a father. Now maybe you should, too, and go visit him and your granddaughters more often.”

      “Point taken.” He drank more beer. “Can I get you something?”


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