Chapter 35. Familiar Face
Tom and Kaylee left the office and as soon as the door closed behind them, Kaylee spoke first.
“I don’t think that person was happy with you. She was quite upset about just filing the plan then she had cancel it.”
“She’ll recover.” Tom nodded. “Right now I have to call the exchange. Did you like the crew on the last flight?”
“Yes, what was her name.” Kaylee grumbled at her senior moment.”
“Watson?” Tom asked helpfully.
“YEAH! That’s her. Captain R. M. Watson.” Kaylee nodded her head.
“Good woman. She flew in Iraq and other places that I can’t recall. Multiple ratings. I request her a lot, the company knows my account number and gives me a list on who is available. She is the only woman on their staff that is multi-engine jet rated.” Tom described his history with the company.
“They only have one woman on staff?” Kaylee blinked, for a moment she felt that old urge to boycott.
“No, they have others,” Tom smiled as they walked, holding hand. “She is the only one rated for multi-engine jet.”
“Oh.” Kaylee laughed. “I was going to use another company if they didn’t hire women.”
“Oh no. Lettie, my NorCal Limo owner is a major investor. I would doubt that they’d make a glass ceiling. Could happen,” Tom pondered “But if Lettie found out? I’d run if I were them.”
“OH! I know Lettie! She picked me up from when we hit the birds.”
“Oh yes. That was a special favor, normally they don’t take limos off the pavement.” Tom smiled. “She is a rare one.”
“She said you helped them get a start?” Kaylee leaned her head on Tom’s shoulder for a moment while they walked.
“Not precisely. I just keep them on retainer and speed dial.” Tom said. “I direct business their way. They only have a few cars and I think only four drivers. Lettie and her cousins.”
“They have a post-grad psych major working for them. A guy named Kaikane.”
“He is. You get points for paying attention.”
“I don’t know Kaikane.”
“He knows you.”
“I get that a lot.”
“You are likeable.”
“Am not.” He argued.
“I’m going to slap you.” She growled at the lack of his self-confidence.
“Promise? We won’t have the chance for a mile-high fun time.”
“Seriously. You need to relax on yourself, you need someone to keep you…” She paused, looking for the words. “Well, not on your best you always seem at your best, but keep you from being so dark.”
“Your books will show that and if you are writing children’s stories, you need to keep them light.” Kaylee looked at him evenly with the soul of a woman who would protect the one she cared for, even from himself. “You write beautiful words like no one I know. Probably as good as any of the great writers. Even like Joyce and Steinbeck or Hemingway. But you don’t have to go all Edgar Allan Poe to do it.”
She paused and took a breath before pushing on with the thought.
“Tom,” She kissed his hand and looked into his eyes. “Don’t go back into that hole you locked yourself up into for a while.”
“What makes you think I am going back into anything?” Tom smiled. “You have given me light and passion. We are ending a contract in a way that protects you. I am not emotionally broken, I could have invested in it emotionally if I thought that you were sober and we spent some time together.”
He kissed her hand and smiled before he continued.
“Not baked, drunk and horny as you were. I can say I am fond of you, and that extends into friendship. And yes. I want you to stay, but not at the cost of a future.” His voice was soft, covering up a hidden emotion.
Kaylee thought a minute as they waited for Lettie to arrive with a limo. Tom’s speed dial rang her phone directly and he had told her of the situation.
“You are the best man I know, next to my dad.”
“I would like to meet him, someday.”
“Are you kidding? He would die to meet you. Steamland, if there is anything written by you on that series, he has it.”
“Heh, I bet he is almost my age.”
“I think you are older.”
“Oh. Um. Yikes!” Tom laughed. “He might greet me with a shotgun.”
“No, I think he’d be happy to have you in the family.” A twinkle in her eye showed her humor. “Even if you did corrupt his daughter.”
“TMI sweety.” Tom closed his eyes as if to block out the scene.
“Kidding.” Kaylee laughed.
A dark limo wheeled in. It was Lettie.
“Tom! Kaylee !” She seemed happy to see them. “It seems like we just left you both in the Sea Dragon.” She her smile was wide and bright.
“We need a ride to the Executive Airport to the private entrance.”
“Let’s go. Traffic is good, I can get you there in thirty minutes.”
“I will pay you for two hours. The plane won’t be ready until then, take us to The City to drive through the park and down the beach.”
“Hm. Tom, if I may suggest, from here? Let me take you to Half Moon Bay and then up along the coastal highway. We can pull in, then you and Kaylee can walk on the sand.”
“We…” Tom stopped for a moment as if something caught in his throat. “We are heading to Vegas to get an annulment.”
“WHAT? No…” Lettie caught herself and the professional woman came back to grips. “Sorry, Tom. But my opinion, she makes you smile. Kaylee , for a girl who was so mad at him a few days ago, you have a glorious soul that’s been touched by this gentle man.”
Motioning the couple into her limo, Lettie’s strained smile stayed frozen to her lips.
“That is all I will say on the subject. I apologize. Not my place and I’d fire anyone who did what I just did.” Lettie said. “One trip through Golden Gate Park, back to Executive. Do you have your transport taken care of?”
“Yes, thank you.” Tom smiled.
The Lettie close the door and got in the front of the stretched limousine.
“What was that all about?” Kaylee asked Tom.
“Lettie is kind of protective. But she has a point. I can switch companies if it would make you feel better.”
“No, actually, it makes me smile. Tom. Only someone special can evoke that kind of emotion in people, someone who people would stand up for. If I can come back and marry you?” Kaylee ’s eyes shined with tears. “I want to invite all your friends. From pilots, to writers, to limo drivers and everyone I can find that calls you by your first name.”
“Um. That is everyone I meet. I insist to dispense with formality. I am no better than anyone.”
“You are a great writer. Not many people can do that. PLUS!” Kaylee raised her index finger and touched the tip of his nose with it. “You do more for the fire fighters than just with your fleet of water bombers.”
“Water bombers? What… OH! Air tankers. How did you know about the tankers?” Tom blinked.
“I…” She bit her lip. “Well, I looked on your history in your computer back at the Pacific Wizard.”
“Ah. No.” A guilty laugh. “I was mad and curious and alone. You have internet on your computer at the Wizard and I logged into the guest accounts. Your name is all over the net.” Kaylee said.
“Ah. Yes.” Tom mimicked her.
“No problem. So you know about my aerial firefighting air-force that some states won’t use.” Tom smiled. “It works in most states, California is a bit more… Picky.”
“You have changed the subject. We need to talk and have this understood.”
“Well, technically, you changed the subject.” The quick mind of the writer did mental gymnastics around their conversation.
“Don’t change the changed subject.” Kaylee laughed. “The point is, you deserve more happiness than you have. And we can do it together if you and I start on a proper friendship and wedding.”
“Okay, I think we can do that. But you go take good and well care of Glenn. I’ll be your little secret.”
“Little? Little would be if you were an undergrad student of art, but you are a successful writer.” Kaylee shook her head, laughing. “AND, mister, you have two private flying yachts and your own personal air force and I don’t how many non-profit organizations that you have listed as getting support from you. So I would not call you little in any description.”
“Well, tell you what. We split the sheets on this and you decide that this accident was a good thing to happen. We’ll have that wedding for you.”
“Not for me. For you. You should be honored. My family and friends combined couldn’t fill four rows in a church. I tend towards the shy side.”
“Shy? You? Shy like a hurricane. Let me see,” Tom smiled. “You have skills in karate…”
“Yeah, that.” Tom smiled. “You like to lay naked on a beach, you are a bartender and you would not surrender in any meek way to a large man with a knife. And. If I recall he had at least a hundred pounds and a foot taller than you are and you still kicked the living poop out of him.”
“Heh!” Kaylee laughed. “Yeah, I did. It felt good, too. He wanted to hurt me, and I was in the proper mood to return the favor.”
“That is all too true, you are good.” Tom gave a quiet laugh at the memory. “I would have not ever missed that show for anything. It was fun to watch, shocking, but fun to watch.”
“You know, I might write about it someday.” He said more to himself than her.
“I would like to read that. Make me as an avenging angel.” Kaylee smiled.
“You can be sure.” Tom nodded. “I would make you that and more.”
The limousine pulled into the Golden Gate Park and drove around the green strip. Tom pointed out an archery range and a giant windmill as they drove by.
Talking happily with each other, two people enjoying their hearts and souls. Knowing that it would come to an all too soon end. They learned more about each other while Tom poured wine in glasses for the both of them and fed Kaylee dark chocolates from a crystal jar he purchased from a tiny, exclusive shop he made Lettie stop at in the Height-Ashbury district. Little more than a hole-in-the-wall near a Whole Foods store on Stanyon, he ran in and out in a minute, Tom’s wounded, but healing arm flapping painfully as he stepped hard off the curb.
It was an unplanned celebration.
Two people celebrating friendship and the strange path that brought them together.
After their second circuit of famous park, Tom leaned over to Kaylee and kissed her slowly with chocolate flavored lips from a San Francisco hidden candy-store.
“Let’s go get unmarried.” Tom whispered without conviction. “The time is now.”
“Okay.” She said, looking down into the glass of her wine, the sadness of the moment setting into her heart.
“This has been very enjoyable, Tom. You make it more difficult by being so nice.”
“You want to stay?”
“Yes. And no. I want my chance with Glenn.”
Tom stopped the conversation and toned Lettie to drive them to the airport with the phone from the back of the limousine.
“Time to go, thank you very much Lettie.”
They rode in awkward silence to the airport, the atmosphere in the limo becoming darker and increasingly tense.
“It will be okay.” Tom said, holding Kaylee ’s hand.
“Thank you.” She made a sad smile.
Together, two lovers and friends rode to the airport to fly to Las Vegas, to get “un-married”.