Chapter 36. Captain Watson
Without the approval from the Federal Aviation inspector to certify the jet as airworthy, the Sea Dragon was still grounded. A shrug from Tom and a few phone calls later, he sat with Kaylee, hand in hand while they rode in the limousine towards the parking lot of the charter jet service.
The jet sparkled with a coat of white paint and a stylized sun on the tail sat with the turbine blades slowly in the breeze that blew over the airport.
The muscular arms of Captain Watson were visible to Kaylee when the limo pulled up in front of the private entrance.
Lettie opened the door and let the couple out and touched Tom on the forearm.
‟You two make a good couple. Both of you are artists and compliment each other.” Lettie looked at them both. ‟If it costs me your business, I don’t care, I just had to say that.”
‟Lettie,” Kaylee smiled. ‟It is something I have to do. It’s a promise I have to keep.”
‟Lettie, you’re good.” Tom kissed her cheek. ‟You will always have my business when I am in Northern California.”
Nodding, Lettie told Tom that her number was always open and he could have any car he wanted in her inventory at any time, including a new MRAP-style limousine ready to go into service in the next few weeks.
‟That does not sound like something to take to a book-signing.” Tom laughed.
‟You’d be surprised what people think they like to ride in.” Lettie shook his hand. ‟I supply it so they don’t have to buy one or sign up for three years into the army.”
‟Thank you for your words, Lettie.” Kaylee hugged her. ‟I hope to see you again.”
‟You can find me on Google-plus. Facebook I don’t use anymore, they charge too much.” Lettie hugged tightly back.
‟Same name?” Kaylee asked.
‟Yeah. Or you can look up ‟sexy biker bitch”. That will get you to me.”
‟You bet I will.” Kaylee smiled.
Watching Lettie drive away in her limo, Tom and Kaylee walked inside, greeted by Captain Watson.
‟Hello Tom.” The tanned face of the retired military pilot smiled as the author of so many novels entered the building, followed by Kaylee .
‟And Missus Harte.” The Captain smiled warmly. The most emotion Kaylee had seen the professional pilot express.
‟Kaylee , please.” The younger woman asked.
‟Of course, Kaylee .”
‟Regina, my plans are to do business in Vegas and return by morning.” Tom said, in a matter of fact tone. He did not start with his usual small-talk.
‟Thank you, I learned it was you and where you said you wished to go. The Lear is ready to fly. I have just to file a flight plan. Kevin Nunez is my right-seat and he is on the plane now. Please see him and make yourself comfortable, I will be there in ten-minutes, we will be wheels-up in twenty.”
Kaylee and Tom nodded and walked out the door towards the Leer Jet holding hands.
‟I hear they are going to Vegas to get an annulment.” Another pilot mentioned to Watson. ‟They were talking about it when I was standing outside.”
Captain Watson stood up from the phone where she had filed the flight plan.
‟I have had worse.” She gave a heavy sigh. ‟Mister Harte is a regular customer.”
‟Don’t you know him?” The first pilot, a handsome twenty-something buzz-cut hairstyle co-pilot of mixed race.
‟Why do you use his last name?” The older cargo-pilot said. “He insists on first name.”
‟I use a formal addressing when talking in third-party conversations. It is respectful to Mister Harte and all he has done. I give him all the respect he is due, and when talking to me about others, I would expect the same.” Watson then turned on her heel and walked out.
‟Bitch.” The young cargo pilot muttered under his breath and received a punch in his shoulder by Buzz-cut.
On the jet, Captain Watson stepped into the cabin and smiled at the couple.
‟Tom, I have heard of your plans in Las Vegas. I must say that I could not disagree more with this trip.” The Captain said. “Kaylee here is the bandage to the scars on your heart and soul. You must know that I had to address that. You always have said to speak my mind, even if you don’t want to hear it.” She did not smile, but nodded in self-agreement, turned to make her way forward and sat in her seat. Captain Watson, after speaking her mind put on the headset for the radio and began her check off for startup procedures in the all glass cockpit.
One at a time, the engines spun up, giving Kaylee the thrill she had the last time of being in a race car of the sky.
‟Tom, this is exciting, I know why you like to fly. But why don’t you have something like this?”
‟Well, I don’t like to stay in one place for very long. The paparazzi start sniffing around, they have already started it with the long-range picture of us on top of the Pacific Wizard.” Tom looked out the window as they taxied to the runway. ‟When I go, I won’t tell anyone my destination. I can upload manuscripts over the internet from anywhere. There are a lot of places in the immediate area that I can put down on — not counting airports — and live there for a while.”
‟You were going to move away when I went back to school?”
‟You would have to learn how to drive a different route each time.” Tom chuckled. ‟I’m not much of an interest to those jackals at the moment, so hiding out is easy. Just moving from one place to another in the area, I have dozens of bodies of water and airports. They would spend too much time looking for me than they would be paid for.”
‟Until they’d find out about me.”
‟Then we would be fodder for the monsters of the tabloids.” Tom frowned. ‟They would hunt us to the grave like they did a princess.”
‟Oh, oh! The engines are wound up to take off!”
‟Wound up?” Tom chuckled.
‟Whatever they call it when they step on the gas pedal.”
‟Uh. There is no gas pedal.” Tom was looking at her sideways. ‟You sat up front with me in the Wizard.”
‟Well, yeah. I just wanted to make you laugh.”
‟You made me worried.” Tom laughed. ‟Early onset Alzheimer’s or some such.”
‟Well, it worked.” Kaylee blinked, the jet felt like it was a horse at a starting gate, anxious for speed. ‟Omy gawd! Here we go!”
The sleek jet began to roll with the brakes off. Gathering speed, the rakish plane with swept wings did not find the end of its acceleration like one would with a car. The faster it went, the faster it accelerated as it overcame its imprisonment of the earth and to the sky like a soul on fire.
Then, suddenly, it rotated up on its back landing gear and quit the earth while Kaylee made noises like a teapot on full boil.
‟I LOVE that!” She laughed hysterically with her eyes closed.
Tom laughed at her squeal while they gained altitude.
After several minutes, they leveled off and banked into a turn towards the southeast, towards Las Vegas.
‟I hope this is fast, my arm aches.” Tom moaned slightly.
‟How long as it been hurting?” Kaylee said, suddenly alarmed.
‟About ten-minutes. Just before we took off I think I bumped it.”
‟Tom. Damn. You cannot do this to yourself.” Kaylee touched his fingers, feeling the tips and making sure they were warm and the correct color, even if stained with the iodine-betadine ‟Bug Juice” (as one nurse called it and made her laugh.) that covered his arm.
Picking up the phone, as she learned to do on the last trip north from Ocean Bay.
‟Captain, can we see you back here, please?”
A moment later, Regina Watson appeared.
‟Yes? Tom?” She focused instantly on the pale writer.
‟It’s nothing, my arm aches a little.”
Captain Watson blinked.
‟How long?” The Captain asked.
‟A few minutes.” Tom was becoming pale from the pain.
‟Like a man.” Kaylee growled. ‟It began to hurt him right before we blasted off.”
Looking around, the Captain asked Tom.
‟What did your doctor say about flying? Maybe I should declare and emergency and put down.” She grimaced. ‟What kind of injury did you have, Tom?”
‟Nothing much, I got stuck with a shard of glass in my forearm.”
‟Say the truth. Regina, it cut his tendons and everything down to the bone. Even cut the bone.” Kaylee said. ‟But his fingers are warm and when I press on the nails, it returns to color fast.”
‟That is serious surgery for a man that makes his life with typing.” Captain Watson was sounding as serious as a sidewinder missile. ‟MISTER Harte.”
‟Kaylee , I am the all-seeing, all-knowing, unforgiving Queen of The Sky here and you will address me as Captain. But my first name, Regina, please feel free to use it when we are on land. You and I will get Tom back into shape.” Regina smiled. ‟What is causing you to go to Vegas to get divorced?”
‟Annulment.” Tom said helpfully, but then cringed when both women looked at him. ‟Crap on a cracker, sorry. I’ll just take the nearest exit.”
‟Just be quiet, Tom.” Regina said. ‟You are an injured party and not thinking clearly. This is obvious.”
‟Well, honestly.” Kaylee said quietly. ‟I have requested to get this annulled.”
‟If I may ask.” The Captain didn’t smile. “Why?”
*Does she ever smile?* Kaylee shuddered at Captain Watson’s intense air of authority.
‟This was not supposed to happen. I have someone at home I made a promise to. Tom is good enough to let me go, so all this is my fault.” Kaylee said. ‟Although I there is a lot of pressure on me to stay with Tom from all sides. Every one of his friends have stood up for him. But still, I have to keep my promise.”
‟I don’t agree.” Captain Watson said. ‟You made a promise with Tom.”
Tom raised his hand.
‟Can I say something?”
‟No!” The women answered in stereo. Then both women laughed while he cringed.
Captain R.M. Watson’s laugh was frightening, a sound like someone might make when shooting down an enemy.
‟I have a boy at home that believed me when I said I would marry him.” Kaylee explained. “When Tom and I did this, it was a kind of crazy party and I had a blackout night.”
‟Were you on drugs?” Regina looked at Tom who held up his hands.
‟Of my own hand. I like to smoke and drink. It makes party life that much more fun. I woke up married to Tom, so we never dated but the one night.”
‟Ah, okay. Princess Anna on a cane. You seriously married him on your first date? Drunk to the point of no memory of the evening?”
‟Yes.” Kaylee tried to look the Captain in her eye, but was unable.
Captain R. M. Watson was quiet for a moment.
Then she laughed.
‟I did the same thing with my first husband. Kaylee, at least you aren’t pregnant.” She pondered for a moment, pulling at her chin. ‟Are you?”
‟Not so far as we can tell.” Kaylee gave a timid laugh.
‟Okay, I understand, you started your contract with each other in the worst way. At least you are friendly to each other. With Tom hurting, I’ll pick the pace up a bit. We will make for maximum speed, it’ll save us some time.”
Nodding with a soft smile. She turned and made her way back to her seat in the front of the speeding jet.
Kaylee looked at Tom.
‟You have more friends that fight for you than any ten people, combined.” She stroked his face.
Tom smiled weakly, his arm was causing him more pain by the moment and he was not prepared to argue.
“Captain. He is getting worse.” She yelled to the cockpit. The Captain nodded as she answered.
“We just got clearance for our flight change.”
Kaylee did not think possible, but she felt the small jet accelerate.