That was probably a good thing. After the hot imaginary sex we’d had, I wasn’t sure if I could keep from blushing when we came face to face.
The Wright corporate jet was as over the top and impressive as its owner. Pristine white on the outside with the bright red Wright Enterprises logo on the tail; expensive leathers and exotic woods on the inside.
There were eight passenger seats, four on each side of the plane. The seats were configured in sets of two that faced inward to a small table between them.
I buckled in across from Bob for the three-hour trip to Tucson. Henry Costas sat across from Stan. Juliette took the seat directly behind Stan and spent most of the trip hovering over them like an over-eager stewardess. Irving put on a pair of dark sunglasses and would probably sleep the entire way.
After the fastest and smoothest take-off I’ve ever experienced (it was literally like being inside a bullet fired into the air), I opened my laptop to review the itinerary for the week. I looked around the cabin. Still no sign of Tanner. I wondered if he’d changed his mind about joining us in Tucson.
A few minutes into the flight, a man’s deep voice crackled over the speakers mounted in the ceiling above our heads. “Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Wright Enterprises flight number 69 with nonstop service from Chicago, Illinois to Tucson, Arizona.”
I smiled. There was something vaguely familiar about the pilot’s voice.
“There are blue skies ahead and we should arrive in Tucson in approximately three hours, twelve minutes, and sixty-nine seconds.”
Bob frowned at me and pointed at the speaker above his head. “Is that Tanner Wright’s voice?”
“The aircraft we are flying today is a brand-spanking new Gulfstream G650 with a price tag of seventy-two-million dollars and sixty-nine cents. The Gulfstream G650 will comfortably accommodate eight passengers and four crew members, can travel up to 7,000 nautical miles nonstop at a max speed of 0.925 Mach, making it the fastest private jet money can buy. I mean, that’s really fucking fast, people.”
I rolled my eyes at Bob. “Yep. The great one himself.”
“So, ladies and gents, on behalf of the real captain and your flight crew, I hope you enjoy your flight and if there’s anything you need, please don’t hesitate to ask.” The speaker was silent for a moment, then he added, “Oh, over and under, I mean over and over, I mean, ah fuck it, you know what I mean.”
I did my best to appear unimpressed, but I was grinning like the Cheshire Cat on the inside. Tanner may have been an obnoxious douchebag billionaire, but he was growing on me. Just a little.
A moment later, the cockpit door sprang open and Tanner appeared with a satisfied grin on his face. He was wearing his usual jeans and a t-shirt, but had added a black sports jacket and a pilot’s cap. He was still wearing the ratty tennis shoes and no socks.
He came through the cabin like a whirlwind, greeting everyone, asking if he could take our drink orders, asking is we needed our membership card to the mile-high club validated. When his little show was over, he set the pilot’s cap on Bob’s head and asked if he might borrow his seat.
Bob was as thick as mud when it came to taking subtle hints. He adjusted the cap on his bald head to ride low over his eyes, but didn’t take it off. He peered up at Tanner with a look of confusion on his face. “I’m sorry, you want to borrow my seat?”
“If you don’t mind, Captain sir,” Tanner said, snapping a salute and clicking his heels together. “There’s another seat over there across from the gentleman who appears to be dead or sleeping very soundly.”
Bob craned his head to look at Irving, then looked up at Tanner and forced a smile. “Sure, I mean, all the seats are the same. Right?”
“That they are,” Tanner said, taking Bob’s hand and tugging him out of the seat. He patted Bob on the back and pointed at the seat across from Irving. “So, since they’re all the same, you won’t mind taking that one.”
I watched as Tanner made a show of escorting Bob to the other seat. He called over one of the flight attendants who stood like sentinels at the back of the plane and asked her to please take good care of his best pal, Bob.
The flight attendant, a gorgeous redhead that looked as if she’d just fallen out of a magazine, put a hand on Bob’s shoulder and promised to take good care of him. Bob gazed up at her like a pound puppy falling in love with its new owner.
I glanced around the cabin. All eyes were on me. Costas and Stan sported matching frowns. If Juliette’s eyes were lasers, they would have already burned through my head.
Fuck them, I thought.
I have not done anything wrong or inappropriate. I am not going to let these people diminish my worth.