Can You Keep a Secret?
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'We aren't bumping any more,' I say stupidly.
'We stopped bumping quite a while ago,' says the American man.
'We're … we're not going to die.'
'We're not going to die,' he agrees.
I look at him as though for the first time — and it hits me. I've been blabbering non-stop for an hour to this complete stranger. God alone knows what I've been saying.
I think I want to get off this plane right now.
'I'm sorry,' I say awkwardly. 'You should have stopped me.'
'That would have been a little difficult.' There's a tiny smile at his lips. 'You were on a bit of a roll.'
'I'm so embarrassed!' I try to smile, but I can't even look this guy in the eye. I mean, I told him about my knickers. I told him about my G spot.
'Don't worry about it. We were all stressed out. That was some flight.' He picks up his knapsack and gets up from his seat — then looks back at me. 'Will you be OK getting back home?'
'Yes. I'll be fine. Thanks. Enjoy your visit!' I call after him, but I don't think he hears.
Slowly I gather my things together and make my way off the plane. I feel sweaty, my hair's all over the place, and my head is starting to throb.
The airport seems so bright and still and calm after the intense atmosphere of the plane. The ground seems so firm. I sit quietly on a plastic chair for a while, trying to get myself together, but as I stand up at last, I still feel dazed. I walk along in a slight blur, hardly able to believe I'm here. I'm alive. I honestly never thought I'd make it back on the ground.
'Emma!' I hear someone calling as I come out of Arrivals, but I don't look up. There are loads of Emmas in this world.
'Emma! Over here!'
I raise my head in disbelief. Is that …
No. It can't be, it can't—
He looks heart-breakingly handsome. His skin has that Scandinavian tan, and his eyes are bluer than ever, and he's running towards me. This makes no sense. What's he doing here? As we reach each other he grabs me and pulls me tight to his chest.
'Thank God,' he says huskily. 'Thank God. Are you OK?'
'Connor, what— what are you doing here?'
'I phoned the airline to ask what time you'd be landing, and they told me the plane had hit terrible turbulence. I just had to come to the airport.' He gazes down at me. 'Emma, I watched your plane land. They sent an ambulance straight out to it. Then you didn't appear. I thought …' He swallows hard. 'I don't know exactly what I thought.'
'I'm fine. I was just … trying to get myself together. Oh God, Connor, it was terrifying.' My voice is suddenly all shaky, which is ridiculous, because I'm perfectly safe now. 'At one point I honestly thought I was going to die.'
'When you didn't come through the barrier …' Connor breaks off and stares at me silently for a few seconds. 'I think I realized for the first time quite how deeply I feel about you.'
'Really?' I falter.
My heart's thumping. I think I might fall over at any moment.
'Emma, I think we should …'
Get married? My heart jumps in fear. Oh my God. He's going to ask me to marry him, right here in the airport. What am I going to say? I'm not ready to get married. But if I say no he'll stalk off in a huff. Shit. OK. What I'll say is, Gosh, Connor, I need a little time to …
'… move in together,' he finishes.
I am such a deluded moron. Obviously he wasn't going to ask me to marry him.
'What do you think?' he strokes my hair gently.
'Erm …' I rub my dry face, playing for time, unable to think straight. Move in with Connor. It kind of makes sense. Is there a reason why not? I feel all confused. Something's tugging at my brain; trying to send me a message …
And into my head slide some of the things I said on the plane. Something about never having been properly in love. Something about Connor not really understanding me.
But then … that was just drivel, wasn't it? I mean, I thought I was about to die, for God's sake. I wasn't exactly at my most lucid.
'Connor, what about your big meeting?' I say, suddenly recalling.
'I cancelled it.'
'You cancelled it?' I stare at him. 'For me?'
I feel really wobbly now. My legs are barely holding me up. I don't know if it's the aftermath of the plane journey or love.
Oh God, just look at him. He's tall and he's handsome, and he cancelled a big meeting, and he came to rescue me.
It's love. It has to be love.
'I'd love to move in with you, Connor,' I whisper, and to my utter astonishment, burst into tears.
I wake up the next morning with sunlight dazzling my eyelids and a delicious smell of coffee in the air.
'Morning!' comes Connor's voice from far above.