I'm sure that most people could never imagine meeting a being of magic on a cross Atlantic flight, sitting beside one all that time, not saying a word to each other until almost all the way across the ocean, but I did.
"I hate turbulence," I complained, having spilled a few drops of my mixed drink over my lap, and some on my book. "I wish they'd serve Martini's in tumblers," I said, while thinking how much I hated Air France.
The man in first class, next to me, chuckled, slightly, and smiled when I quickly glanced his way. He was lovely to the ninth degree and his smile was more beautiful than the rings of Saturn. That smile could have change the course of history had he and I ruled some ancient land forgotten in time as supposedly, Helen of Troy's face had launched a thousand ships.
"Well, here's to a calm hour, then," he said, tinkling the tip of my glass with his in a wondrous salute, looking at me as if I were a lover of his, and reverently but quickly, downed his yellow drink of what I knew must be whiskey, after he took in the fragrance of it as if he were a true Irishman. Secretly, I suspected he might be a bit drunk.
He said his name was, "Antuer," which sounded a lot like Andrew when spoken with a refined Belgian accent, which he had, the first time I heard him say it, which hadn't occurred yet. He sat tall in his seat but tilted it back a little, calling for the flight attendant with the push of a silent button, overhead, that lit up green at the touch.
I found myself staring at him, how beautiful he really was with such fair, almost pure white, skin that you see from time to time in people, and flawless as the bright whiteness of a far off comet, and almost as untouchable for lovely things such as he and myself, could never really meet, or get to know one another, intimately, I always believed up to that point. His mouth, too, had such vivid red-orange lips that they seemed perfect in form and color, to me, not having looked his direction before these first few moments, for I am a bit shy when it comes to meeting strangers, looking on their faces, and especially in making eye contact. But I could not help but think they were the most exquisite in elegance between medium-fullness and full. I could kiss them, I knew, indefinitely, almost imagining their warmth upon my sensitive neck, his hot breath raising the follicles in goosebumps, but where those thoughts came from, I couldn't say. I don't normally gawk over anyone like that; as I was certain they wouldn't be interested in someone like myself. As I said, he was one of those beautiful individuals you simply do not see that often, so, I reasoned, I was merely getting my eye-full of him.
"It isn't polite to stare so deeply, Anna," he said, surprising and frightening my old self with his knowing my first name. I didn't think too deeply on that as there are a number of ways anyone can learn another's name in an airport, such as; overhearing a phone conversation; being nearby as you spoke to the ticket agent; at any of the pre-flight shop counters; or upon loading at the gate.
I looked away without his eyes making contact with mine, as they were restfully closed, thank goodness. But again, mine returned to his dark long lashes, the curvature of his eye brow, the loveliness of his black hair, and strength of his beautiful jawline and throbbing neck, whereupon, surprisingly again, I found my eyes staying with his, when opened, which happened quite suddenly, though they didn't look my way immediately, staring off into a distance only he knew about and leaving me to guess at his thoughts while continuing my appreciation of his beauty. "It's perfectly alright, though," he said, and told me his name, then.
When he finally glanced in my direction, with only his green upon green eyes, at first, then with his head rolling slowly towards me—he smiled, once again. His brightly colored lips had to have the most beautiful smile I had ever witnessed, I had to conclude. A description of engaging or friendly wouldn't do it justice. It had an immediate effect on me and I smiled back, feeling welcomed and appreciated. His eyes were honestly as green as back-lit emeralds, I noted, and his pure white teeth like freshly carved ivory. I'd love to run my tongue over them, I recall thinking, wickedly, which otherwise would have freaked me out. I had never been so forward or bold, or daring in any kiss with a boy or man before that, so I just bathed in the new feelings of courage, of my surprising thoughts I was indulging in, wherever they were emerging from.
"It's calmer, now, isn't it?" he said.
And it was calm. How did that happen? I wondered.
"We should toast more often," he said, as a flight attendant appeared. He asked for a double whiskey in French, something I knew, and the attendant disappeared like the flap of a raven's wing in her near black uniform.
"You're coming back from Munich, I see," he almost asked, still reclined, but it was more of a statement.
"Now how would you know that?" I asked.
"Your parfume. It's from a small shop off of Tittle Street, there, I'm familiar with. The Florence, the shop is called--I believe, if I remember correctly. The fragrance, Demur, is only sold from it and has a very limited quantity made by an old woman who is eighty-two years old, now. When she passes on, the recipe will be lost to history, of how it is made. She has no one, you see. It should sell for thousands of Euros more than it does, for it is a lovely fragrance, as you know. You were fortunate to have found some in stock. It's quite rare."
"You know a lot about parfumes? Do you deal with it in a professional capacity?"
"Oh! No! No I don't. It's just a coincidence that I happened into that shop, some time in the past. If what the keeper there, Mademoiselle Le Quinn, told me is true, that is the limit of my knowledge. What were you in Munich for?"
"License Agreements with Mercedes. The finalized papers. Detail things, mostly. You know Mademoiselle Le Quinn?"
"From a few years ago, yes. She is a lovely person, is she not? What kind of agreements were these, you had signed?"
"Licenses to manufacture certain technologies. There are a lot of things European car makers are behind on and they often get licensing from other car makers like from here the U.S.A, or Asia, though they always seem to come up with better products for the effort they put into marketing the entire package."
"You must work for Chrysler."
"Now how did you know that?"
"They're quite sophisticated, even though the U.S market doesn't quite appreciate how good they are at designs and applied technologies. I own a few of their cars. In fact, I deal with them exclusively."
"Well. Good for you. I guess I work for you, then, don't I?"
"In a round about way, yes, we could say that," he said, smiling that wonderful smile of his just as the attendant returned with his drink. He tinkled the edge of my drink with his once more and we both laughed.
The hour passed in pleasantness and he asked me about my hobby of astronomy, and even though he asked many questions over a variety of things, I felt Antuer knew many bits about me already, however he made me work to recall and remember all he asked about. That was good, though, as it kept our conversation crisp and alert. Everything we spoke of was about me and even though I tried to learn about him, and his responses were fascinating to my interest of him, and intellectual, he always seemed to circle around to me again. I didn't mind, honestly, as he was a wonderful conversationalist. That is, until he suddenly spoke something that terrified me. I don't know if that was his intent or not, but it certainly heightened my awareness, as I look back on those next few moments.
"Anna?" he asked, sitting up quickly, looking worried, without looking my way, now, reaching for his smart phone and texting faster than I've ever seen anyone text before, and then, dropping his phone to the floor. "Do you want to stay alive?"
"What?" It was a question of surprise. What was he talking about?
"The plane is flying through a sixty mile high storm. We are going to be hit by lightning, on our starboard side, on this wing. It will rip the wing off the outside of the engine. This plane is going to crash. Everyone you see is going to die," he whispered. I wanted to ask but he told me. "I know this because I can sense things before they happen. If you come with me, you will live." He reached across from me and buckled me up in a blur, as well as himself.
I stared at him, unbelieving what I had just heard. And then the plane suddenly dipped to the right with an explosive noise that I was certain, damaged my hearing. There were screams and cries of fear all around. The turbulence we had experienced before was nothing to the violent vibrational bucking and spinning us as it was occurring with the plane, rotating head over heels. It was out of control and the increased wind speed as the plane plummeted downward could be heard ripping past our window, outside. Antuer was right. We were all going to die.
"No, not everyone Anna. We will live," he said, seemingly to hear my thoughts. But now I was screaming uncontrollably, too, as the plane spun and dipped into a steeper dive. Most people and the luggage fell forwards, not being secured like we were.
Then, not understanding anything, Antuer unbuckled himself and stood over me, saying, "Hold onto me, Anna, with all your strength," then releasing my safety belt, took me in his arms in a flash of motion and wrapped my thighs around his waist and held me like a lover. My head was on the side of his and I saw him push away the bulkhead with a motion that blew it outward and with it, we both exploded into the cold screaming wind. I briefly heard the torment of the jet engines and saw the flash of flames but then there was nothing but cold and wind, wind that ripped away our clothing, every stitch, and the incomprehensibly quick movement took my breath away, I know, because I soon passed out, sensing the last thing of rain drops hitting me. They almost ripped through my skin as if I'd been in the sweeping path of a tornado. I couldn't breathe and then there was oblivion.
When I came to I felt warmth, his warmth. It filled me inside and out, comforting me, making me feel secure and cared after for he was still holding me. I felt a warm breeze, too, flowing over my nakedness. I felt shocked and frightened but Antuer was grasping very tight. But where were we? I wondered. All was black and I figured we had landed somewhere, but, why were we like this, floating in the air?