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I saw Toni sprawled in a chair reading a paperback as I reached the boarding gate for my Denver to New York flight. At first glance, her size made me classify her as a teenybopper, possibly even a pre-teenybopper. But my subconscious told me that something was wrong with that picture and she deserved a closer look.
As the distance between us closed I observed all the feminine curves of a grown woman twice the age I'd initially attributed to her. What threw me off was her petite size. She was certainly less than five feet and could stretch out full length across the middle row of seats on a wide body airplane. Given the few people in the boarding area and that our flight was the last eastbound one for the day, it was possible that she might actually do just that.
The paperback romance novel in her hand was close to being finished. I don't know romance novel brands very well but the picture on the cover of it suggested that it was one of more racy ones. Lots of women like romances, and I've nothing against female porn.
Boarding call was early and caught me still eating a yogurt I'd just grabbed from the double price vendor on the concourse. Toni was in the second boarding group, as was I, and I wondered how near out seats might be. I hung back to finish my snack watching Toni wind her way up to the gate agent where she was pulled aside for a "random" search.
The security people have a table surrounded by a curtain set aside for going over passengers and their belongings. There were gaps in a curtain strung around the table and I saw most of what went on there. Toni plopped her backpack on the table and the security guy gave it a cursory glance. Then he turned his attention to wanding Toni, making her stand with arms in the air and feet spread apart. I thought she looked sexy in that position, and he probably did too.
A woman probably should have searched Toni, but there was only one security person working. He didn't have anyone to watch his behavior and he did a couple of inappropriate things. Toni was wearing a blouse and skirt. Her bust was large enough to stress a couple of the buttons so there were small gaps where the guy could see through to her bra. He stood on her left side and leaned over to get the best view he could.
When the wand went off as it passed over Toni's boobs he gave a lecherous smile. The wire in her under-wire bra was what set it off, but this crude idiot started tracing around Toni's breasts with the wand and even used it to lift them from underneath. I'm sure he imagined his hands feeling what the wand touched. I wished his boss were there.
Toni took it like a real trouper. She wore an air of calmness like nothing in the world could ever disturb her. Her face showed no sign of distaste for her offensive treatment. She just killed the guy with graciousness, making his crass acts stand our even more in contrast to her serenity. Toni was a class act.
I had just finished my yogurt when he turned her loose. She went straight down the jet way while I became the last person in the boarding line. Inside the plane I got most of the way down the aisle before I spotted her seated in the very last row at the window. I was 99% confident that no one in the lightly loaded plane was assigned the seat next to her or they've have been in it already, so I abandoned my pre-assigned seat to park myself beside her.
Toni set her book aside and smiled a greeting as I stowed my carry-on in the bin above our seats.
"Do you mind that we're sitting beside each other on an almost empty plane?" I asked as I moved to sit down.
"No. My book won't last near long enough to get to New York. I'm not against having some good conversation if you get bored."
"I can always move if you don't want me around any more. Just speak up." I tried to be more gentleman than wolf.
"My name's Toni. What's yours?"
"I'm Mike. It's nice to met you."
"Not that I'm complaining, Mike, but I am a bit curious. With nobody sitting in the 5 rows ahead of this one, how did you end up being assigned the seat next to mine?"
I lied, like a dog on a rug. "Well, the back of the airplane's the safest place to be, so I ask for it when I got my boarding passes. I guess the next seat number up in the computer was the one after yours so that's the one I got."
"That's how I picked this seat," she said. "I'm nervous about flying. I haven't flown much and I'm just fascinating to watch everything going on at the airport. But I just can't help remembering about the plane crash stories I've read."
If she was so fascinated, why was she reading a book in the lounge instead of watching out the window? It looked to me like the mating ritual game might be starting up. I pilot light aircraft from time to time, so I decided to play that card. It's generally a pretty good one.
"I've flown a lot, and it's safer than driving," I announced with authority. In fact, I'm a pilot myself. I have full confidence in my brothers up in the cockpit".
"You're shitting me. No way. First you sit beside me and now you're a pilot. That's a little too much, Mike."
It seemed Toni was an experienced player and decided that I couldn't be real. So she called my bluff, and I laid down a couple of cards.
"No, honest." I pulled out my wallet and handed her my AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) card, and then my EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) card.
"I'll be a sorry girl." Toni folded for this round. "Sometimes things just seem too good to be true. Every guy who ever gave me a line like that was blowing smoke at me. I apologize, Mike."
"So you've always wanted to sit beside a pilot?" I nonchalantly continued, wondering what all I could rake in from the pot.
"Yes, but in the cockpit, where I can see what's going on" Toni said. "It makes me nervous to just be handled like a piece of freight."
"Well, find me in Santa Fe or Albuquerque and we will go flying together." I hadn't finished putting my wallet away yet so I pulled out a card and handed it to her. Toni studied it for a minute and then slipped it into her backpack.
"Airport security can be a bitch," I told her. "I noticed that you got spot checked and they handled you like you were a piece of freight."
"I was not happy to be pulled aside for that check at the gate. And I really wish there had been two people working there." There was a trace of unpleasantness in her voice.
"I just happened to see a bit through the corner gaps in the curtain. If you want to file a complaint, I'd be happy to tell what I saw."
"I'll live. Life it too short to go after every rat, and I've had worse experiences before."
"I'm sorry you've been bothered so much. Most security people are dumb, but not stupid like he was. You probably disappointed him by not reacting, I bet."
"I knew what he was doing, and I didn't want to play the game with him. So I just let myself be exhibitionistic and imagined people were watching me but I couldn't let on that I knew they were." Toni laughed. "Only it seems there really were people watching!"
"That's fine with me. You be an exhibitionist and I'll be a voyeur." Toni was nice and laughed again at my joke.
I kept the conversation going. "I'm always thinking about various combinations of things and all the possible things that could happen. If they were serious, they would have taken your bra. Wear the right kind of under-wire and a girl could smuggle something that could work like a stiletto, or even a garrote."
"My favorite has always been a pen." Tony replied. "Some have very sharp points. Put something in the ink and a scratch could be deadly."
"I like the way your mind works, Toni. I bet you're always looking for new ideas and new things to try."
"Thank you. That's part of what makes life fun," she said. "So tell me please, Mike, what all is going on out there?"
I tilted my head down and looked across her ample chest to see out the windows. A plane was just coming into the next gate. There was lace around the cups on her bra and her skin was smooth and inviting to the touch. My mind had split to run on dual tracks.
The normal crews descended on the plane like they needed to make a quick turn around. I pointed out the cargo containers, the fuelers, the caterer's truck rising up on scissors to reach the back door of the plane, and I ignored the mechanic poking inside the well. I talked about how the airport operated and what the pilots had to do and kept her interest as the tug pushed us back and we taxied out way out to the runway.
For reasons unknown to me, we didn't have to wait at all to start our roll. Toni grabbed my arm and held tight as we accelerated down the runway. When we lifted off she relaxed for the two seconds before the gear started to come up. When it locked in place she jumped a bit and squeezed down hard again. I didn't think she really would want to go flying in a small plane given her reactions to our jumbo jet.
"Relax, dear. It's all over now. That was just the landing gear being put away. We're a couple of thousand feet up now and climbing nicely. We made it just fine. Breath easy now."
Tony relaxed but still held on loosely to my arm.
"Thank you Mike. It feels good to have someone beside me when these go-buggies start rumbling up or down the runway."
I let my arm rest in her lap with its natural weight pushing her skirt down a bit between her legs. I got bold and cupped my hand over the top of her knee. I wanted to start tracing with my fingers but I refrained. Toni made no effort to move it as we sat quietly for a few moments.
.... There is more of this story ...