Things to Do in Denver When You're Almost Dead
Chapter 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Romantic, Cheating, Oral Sex, Pregnancy, Slow,

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A quiet self-effacing college history professor encounters the woman of his dreams during a plane flight from Hell. The girl he secretly loved throughout High School that never noticed that he existed! Does their belated relationship stand a chance twenty years later?

I'm always arriving for my plane flights too early, hours before it's even possible to check-in. I'd like to blame my parents who were always late for everything. Sometimes adolescent rebellion can be a good thing. Mom and dad will both be at least an hour late to their own funerals. Their friends call it 'Simpson Standard Time', i.e. being about an hour late for everything - I just call it bloody annoying! I haven't been an adolescent for a long time but my teenaged personal rebellion of being early instead has been long ingrained into habit.

This particular trip I was an extra hour early and for a good reason. I had tickets for the 3:30 p.m. flight to San Francisco, but I'd heard news about an especially bad storm front that was about to start pounding the west coast and I wanted to see if I could bump my flight up earlier to avoid the worst of it, which was expected later on tonight.

No dice. Everything earlier was booked up solid and then some. The ticket counters were mobbed with angry and annoyed customers all trying to change their flights and most of the airlines were now cancelling or postponing their later flights to the entire west coast. My 3:30 p.m. flight on Southwest was still scheduled on the boards, as was a later 6 p.m. flight, but everything else heading west that was later than that was now showing 'Cancelled'.

The storm was supposed to be a nasty one. Some sort of Pacific 'perfect storm' with the remnants of an unseasonably late hurricane in the Sea of Cortez moving hot tropical air inland due north and about to hit a cold Canadian air mass heading south, while a wet Pacific El Nino storm hurried eastward to catch up with them.

Uck ... this was going to be a nasty storm. Unfortunately, I really needed to be in Santa Barbara on Wednesday or else I'd have auctioned off my ticket to one of these desperate folks in a heartbeat and gone home to wait it out. My plan was to fly to San Francisco tonight, Sunday, get a car and drive down to Santa Cruz to visit my sister there on Monday and Tuesday, before driving the rest of the way down to Santa Barbara Tuesday evening. A good plan that even left me with extra available travel time in the case of an emergency ... like the worst fall storm in at least ten years, if not forty.

Lots of other travelers also had this same thought about getting out earlier today, and right before boarding was scheduled to start at 3:10 p.m. it was announced that this flight was rather badly overbooked and the flight attendants were looking for volunteers to be bumped from this flight in return for a $100 voucher for our next flight. They weren't getting many willing participants.

Oh, Hell Yes! Having been flat busted broke about 99% of my life, I've refined the fine art of pinching a nickel until it squeaks like a quarter, at the very least. Perfect storm or not, I marched right up and with my best middle eastern rug merchant poker face, offered to exchange my boarding pass for this flight in return for a guaranteed front row seat on the 6 p.m. flight ... and a $200 voucher. They agreed in a heartbeat, and handed me a boarding pass number #3 for the last flight out tonight.

The beauty of an early boarding pass number on Southwest is you get to pick your own seat. In my case, being nearly 6'4" in height, I love to grab the seats next to the emergency doors either up at the very front of the plane, or about half-way down. They are literally the only seats in the plane were I can stretch the full length of my legs out and be comfortable. Also the front reverse facing seats are usually saved for the flight attendants, and it never hurts one little bit to get the chance to be extra nice to them, for the extra drinks and peanuts if nothing else.

So, a few minutes later I watched my scheduled flight taxi away from the gate and off to the runway. Thirty seconds later, the woman of my dreams came barreling down the concourse to our gate, hoping against all odds to grow wings to make the flight that she had just missed. There was a good bit of loud squawking, but the beauty got the idea into her head rather quickly that not even an act of Congress was going to bring that plane back to the boarding gate, and emergency or not she was going to have to wait for the 6:00 p.m. flight. She took the news so well and was polite enough about her disappointment that after checking her ticket one of the gate crew gave her the next boarding pass for that flight, #4.

Mollified, the gorgeous creature sat herself down in one of the few remaining available seats — alas not next to me, and pounded away frantically on her laptop for the next two hours, oblivious to the rest of the world.

I knew that I had seen her before. Everything about her seemed familiar, as if we had been old lost friends.

I'm terrible with names, but I rarely forget a face. When I'm teaching I have to have a chart with student names and locations in front of me and by the time I've learned even half of the names the semester is usually over. Once, I was embarrassed to discover, I couldn't even remember the name of a student who had taken three different classes with me. That's pretty bad indeed.

In this case, I was certain that I knew the face ... but from where?

My best guess was that she was a former student I'd crossed paths with ... but from where? I had taught at several colleges and universities, but on a temporary non-tenure basis as a very junior professor. Barely better than being an unpaid graduate student. The problem with this theory was that she was a bit too old, appearing to be in her late 30's, or about my own age. Perhaps she was another junior professor that I had vaguely remembered from one of these colleges?

As busy as she appeared to be, it didn't look like I was going to get the chance to ask her. Even if she had the next boarding pass after mine, with nearly the entire plane to choose from, I doubted that she would pick the seat next to mine. Most normal folks hated to sit directly facing someone else on a plane, even if it was only the flight crew.

Surprisingly, when our flight was finally called for boarding a few hours later, she did indeed take the seat right next to me. I had taken the front window seat and she had immediately taken that aisle seat, kicked off her heels and stretched her legs out. I guess she had flown enough to know that these were the good seats too.

She wasn't really in the mood for conversation, but I gave it a try as our plane began to taxi off from the gate.

"This sounds contrived, but I really think I know you from somewhere. Were you ever at the University of Houston, University of Texas, University of South Carolina, University of Chicago, Rutgers or Oxford?"

"Nope. None of the above." With that her eyes and her attention went right back to her laptop computer until one of the air crew across from us gently reminded her to turn it off for take-off.

Hmmmm. Still I could have sworn I'd seen her at school. Academic conference maybe? I gave it one last try.

"Are you in academia in any way? Have I met you at a conference? Battle, Kalamazoo or Haskins?" These were the three big ones for medieval historians, the Battle Conference, held near Battle Abbey in Great Britain, the site of the famous Battle of Hastings, the University of Wisconsin-Kalamazoo conference, and the Charles Homer Haskins Society meetings in the US - first in Houston, then hosted at Cornell, now at Georgetown.

"Huh? Umm, no ... sorry." This time her lovely head disappeared into a trade magazine, something to do with either public relations or marketing. Not my sort of circle at all.

I gave it up as a lost cause and left her in peace all of the way to Phoenix, the next scheduled stop. I hadn't been very successful in my romantic life, especially in recent years and it looked like my overall feeling of malaise was still holding me weathered in, just like that storm on the west coast. This was one reason I was looking forward to this trip; a fresh start to my life in more ways than one.

While sitting on the tarmac in Phoenix virtually forever, I got a first good impression of the storm that we were about to fly into. It was pitch black outside the plane windows and the rain was beating down on us like a drum. Our stop here should have been for only about thirty minutes but we stayed parked at the gate for over an hour and half.

This is an instance where sitting next to the cabin crew paid off. They had heard that the airport here was about to close up operations for the night, until the storm had passed and that the FAA was thinking about grounding all air traffic scheduled to pass over the Rockies. Eventually someone somewhere gave us the 'go' signal and we were granted permission to take off and continue the flight at least as far as Denver, the next and last scheduled stop before San Francisco. Whomever made the decision to let us go needs to have their head examined ... we just about didn't make it there.

I'd been on very bad plane flights before. Heck, I'd flown MAC (Military Airlift Command) in my younger and more foolish days. The worst plane flight of my life was still the one when I was flying on Christmas Day on an Air Force C-130 turbo-prop plane over the South China Sea from Korea to Okinawa. We started off the flight at Osan AB with four engines and landed two hours later at Kadena AB with just one working. The crew chief didn't even blink, let alone break a sweat, when he opened up the back tail gate and started kicking out cargo pallets into the sea, not fifty feet below us to reduce weight.

"Happens all of the time — Don't worry about it!" He told us poor grunts sitting in the webbed seating down the sides. Right ... Sure thing. Not! We all kissed the ground when we landed while the air boys in blue just kind of laughed at us. Wankers...

This flight was almost as bad. We only lost one engine, but our 737 only had two to begin with, and by 'lost' I mean it completely ripped off of the wing mountings to bounce off some cactus down below in the desert somewhere. In defense of the poor schmucks that do maintenance for the airline, probably no engine bolts are strong enough to survive a sudden five thousand foot near freefall plunge followed by another abrupt hurricane force wind blast that nearly flattened us suddenly sideways. It was probably a miracle that the wing stayed on. By the time the captain got us anywhere near stabilized on a mostly level course I swear the plane had done at least two 360 degree rolls while being tossed up, down and sideways.

Needless to say, the scheduled hot coffee service was postponed indefinitely.

My pretty seatmate was scared quite out of her mind and spent most of the next hour clinging on to me for dear life. I didn't blame her; most of the other women on that flight were screaming bloody murder, including some of the men as well ... and even one or two of the cabin crew. I had seen worse, so in comparison I was a relative rock of moral support. Besides, I had at long last figured out exactly who she was and was more than delighted to have her clinging on my arm.

The final clue I needed was when the turbulence first started to get rough, shortly after takeoff in Phoenix. She had started to dig into her tote bag for something a bit more light hearted than current marketing strategies to soothe her nerves and pulled out an old High School yearbook. It was 'our' school, and from our graduation year. At last I remembered her, and I indeed knew her well, but this wasn't quite the time to compare reminiscences.

Kathy Monarché had been the golden girl of our graduating class, figuratively and literally. She was tall, athletically thin and had golden yellow hair she usually wore in a ponytail just past her shoulders. She loved the sun and the outdoors and had a deep tan that even a California surfer would have been proud of. Her family wasn't rich, but she was the absolute darling of the affluent kids' clique and she belonged to every top social club worth being in. Still, she didn't keep her nose held high like most of those girls did and she mixed well with all of the other school cliques, from the jocks to even the nerds.

I was very definitely one of the nerds. My family barely had two dimes to rub together so I didn't hang out with the rich kids, which were at least half of the population of our school. The way our school was zoned, we incorporated two of the wealthiest regions of the city, and a tiny slice of a poorer area known for being the 'artsy' district of town. At the end of the boulevard from our school was a famous country club, so it was joked with some truth that this was the only street in the world with a country club at both ends.

She was voted the Junior Queen and then the next year won Homecoming Queen in a landslide vote, followed by election as Class President. She didn't quite make Valedictorian too, but her grades were quite good enough for the honor roll and she received some nice scholarship offers. She was going to do very well in life.

We never dated, or even ever had a class together. We were both on the school tennis team and played a few matches of mixed doubles together, the spring of our Senior year three or four times, and her book locker was just across the hallway from mine. We said "Hi" a lot, and that was about all. She was my primary masturbatory fantasy for a good many years.

She held the same steady boyfriend throughout her Junior and Senior years, a goofy but good natured kid by the name of Jeff. Everyone liked him too since he could make fun of himself and he didn't hold grudges. He was no rocket scientist and hung out mostly with the jocks, and he even had a slight reputation for being a stoner and hung out with that crowd as well, but having a good disposition covers a great many other weakness. He was voted the Homecoming King to escort Kathy and everyone, including me, said that they were the absolute perfect couple. I never saw either of them after graduation but I assumed that they either went off to college together or got married, maybe both.

Today there was no wedding ring on Kathy's finger, but there was a white band of skin where a ring had been for a very long time until relatively recently. Divorced or very recently separated, I assumed. That was nice, so was I.

I looked at her again with an increased interest as the storm grew worse and she moved increasingly closer to me. It looked like we were all going to die ... and right when I had discovered a reason to enjoy living again!

I'd gotten a late start on my schooling. Like Kathy's lover Jeff, I had always been a bit of a slacker and I didn't exactly hit the ground running after graduation. I went to the local city university for two semesters but partied and bummed around in the student center and the library far more than I ever bothered to attend actual classes. I just wasn't very motivated and hadn't found a subject that interested me.

Finding my meager savings gone and my scholastic career now under academic suspension, I did the only reasonable alternative. I marched down to the military recruiting station at our local shopping mall and began to comparison shop educational programs. The winner was of course the Army, which offered a fairly obscene educational bonus program and savings plan if I'd sign up for 11X career path Infantry. A hard way to put myself through school, but it was more money than I could earn and save at home probably. I signed the paperwork, mountains of it, and I was off to basic in less than two weeks.

My four year military career was ok, but being infantry I got to see a few of the uglier places of the world, specifically the DMZ between North and South Korea, where I spent a year and half, followed by another two years on Okinawa waiting for that urgent message to send us back to Korea if the shooting started once again. Both places were broiling hot in summer and freezing in winter and I wasn't at all unhappy to return home to stay. The Army had offered me an option to get my degree and go immediately to Officer Candidate School, but I'd seen enough of this particular ass-end of the world. I wasn't all that great of a soldier and thought that I'd make an even worse officer. I told them no thanks.

Besides, I'd finally found a subject that interested me, History. I'd been poor my whole life so the idea of living off of a teacher's salary didn't frighten me. I left the life of an Army barracks for a student dorm, and found it an immense upgrade.

I plowed through with my BA at the University of Texas and received an offer to attend graduate school at the University of South Carolina to get my MA, which had an extremely well regarded History program. Off then to Chicago for a few years, where I got my Doctorate, still off of the Army's nickel. Then Rutgers, which also had an excellent History department, invited me to teach there for a few years. I had not been offered tenure yet when I received an offer to visit Oxford on a fellowship for two years. The opportunity to do research at the Bodleian Library was worth the airfare alone. The teaching went well and my book research went even better and I was actually quite sad to return home. I was much happier lost in a book than dealing with people, and especially women. I was lost in a malaise that I just couldn't shake; I wasn't really living, I was just existing and going through the motions.

Now I had a tenure opportunity at UC-Santa Barbara with the offer of the prestigious C. Warren Hollister chair of Medieval History. Assuming I'd ever make it to California at all, alive or in more or less one piece.

By the time we set down in Denver, everyone's final nerve had been quite shot. Even I was feeling about half-past dead myself and Kathy was still clinging to me white knuckled in shock with her eyes mashed as tightly shut as they would go. We were quite awhile taxiing to the gate while emergency crews met us at the end of the runway to look over the damage and kept us there for a good half hour in the pouring sleet and rain before clearing us to continue to the terminal.

"Well Kathy," I murmured, "that was a bit different from old times together at Mirabeau."

With that she abruptly pulled away from my cradling arms and sat upright in her seat.

"How did you know my name? I've never met you before and we were certainly never together in High School. What fucking sick game are you trying to pull?"

I sighed. Ok, her nerves were shot and I was going to have to win her over fast before she started to scream about me being a stalker. No one would appreciate that very much after the ordeal we'd all had.

"Mirabeau High, 1976-1978, Houston, at the other end of the Mirabeau Oaks Country Club. You were in the choral group, all of the social clubs, won Homecoming Queen, played tennis and performed in all of the school plays ... oh you were good in The Fantastik's by the way, and spent your weekends tanning on the beach in Galveston with Jeff. How is he doing by the way? I didn't see him, or you, at the ten year reunion."

That silenced her good and her mouth hung open nearly as big as the ripped out engine mount under the wing of our plane. This last weekend had been our twentieth year school reunion, and undoubtedly the reason she was in Houston and carrying our old yearbook. I had not attended ... just didn't feel the need to go.

Sure I was a Dr. now, a PhD rather than an MD, but still that had to count as a 'success' in the win or fail at life column. I almost went, but in the end I decided there was no one I really missed or wanted to see. I took my mom and dad out to dinner that night instead.

"I ... I ... don't remember you at all. What's your name?" She went scrambling for her yearbook again to look me up.

"Sorry, you're going to have to guess it now." I quipped. "My feelings are completely hurt that one of my favorite people doesn't remember me in the slightest. I'm cut to the bone ... utterly devastated." I put on my best pout.

She scrambled through the pages of the Senior Class like a woman possessed, calling out names, but I could tell that she was just guessing. In the end it turned into a game of twenty questions.

"Nope, I'm not Scott Raddey. Yes, I did take Saunders for English my Sophomore and Junior years, but not in the same section with you. He died of cancer the summer before our Senior year. No, I never took a drama class. I was an extra in Lil' Abner, but that was just a terrible mistake that I didn't repeat." And so on.

By the time our plane finally did taxi to the gate poor Kathy was in a panic and her last bit of patience was exhausted. I decided to take a little pity on her before the plane unloaded and I'd likely not ever see her again.

"Ok, big hint. We played tennis together a lot that last spring and I had a locker nearly directly opposite yours for two years." That got her brain going once again.

"You're Max Simpson! But, but ... you were so short then! You look so completely different now — I'd have never recognized you!"

"Stuff happens. I grew later ... a lot!" I had been a short little guy in those days and never started my full growth spurt until after school when I grew at least a foot in the next five years. I also had longish red hair that was well onto my shoulders in those days. Nowadays I keep it cut short and can't stand it if it even touches my ears for some reason. How times change!

"Oh My God!" She squeaked and spent the next five minutes while we were parked at the end of the runway looking up my name in the back index and finding every single photo of me in the book. Sure enough the face matched ... if nothing much else.

My bona-fides proven, we spent the next few minutes while our plane finally finished taxiing to our terminal gate hastily catching up on the last twenty years.

"I'm a Professor of Medieval History," I told her, "specializing in English economics and trade from the Dark Ages to the Fourteenth Century. I recently published book on this topic, written while I was at Oxford. It is considered a masterpiece and sold dozens of copies, but it's also a sure-fire cure for insomnia. Maritally, I'm a two-time loser. My first wife ran off about ten years ago with the husband of her best friend. My last wife three years ago saved everyone time by just running off with her best friend instead. Frankly, of the two experiences, getting left for another woman did hurt my masculinity a bit more."

"Ouch!" She replied in genuine sympathy.

"Jeff and I married but soon divorced. We were both too young and not ready for it. I don't think Jeff has still ever grown up enough to be really ready for it. He's been divorced three times but is doing ok now and has three children with his fourth wife. I remarried about ten years ago to a wonderful man, but we're having ... issues right now. We're very separated — we'll probably divorce, but it's not definite ... we just don't know. We've been apart for nearly a year and neither one of us have filed the paperwork for a divorce yet. We're still friendly and do dinner with benefits sometimes but the core problems remain unresolved."

The main core problem apparently was that Kathy was a workaholic. She was a very highly paid and senior VP for a big Hollywood entertainment media company and spent much of her life on the road. Her husband Rick was ready for her to settle down and start a family but Kathy didn't want to give up either the fat income or the fun of dealing with her famous Hollywood 'A'-list clients. She had to admit that her biological clock was ticking rather loudly and it was getting to be 'now or never' time for having children.

In a way it was just like High School all over again. Kathy had been the smart and pretty hanger-on to the rich and privileged kids at school. Today twenty years later, the routine hadn't changed much, if at all. Sure she made a good living, but it was completely dependent upon 'her betters', other richer and more powerful people. I mentioned this to her as a joke, but I really ought to have thought this through and just kept my mouth shut. She nearly slapped me, but caught herself and turned away from me. She didn't utter a word or even look at me until our plane had docked and the cabin staff unlocked the door for us to egress.

Kathy was the first passenger out the door and she didn't even look at me as she left.

Yeah, I should have kept my fool mouth shut. What I had said had been the truth, and for many women that is the last thing that they ever want to hear.

Now I was in Denver and feeling completely dead in both body and soul, alone, and trapped once again in my malaise.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Romantic / Cheating / Oral Sex / Pregnancy / Slow /