THE STEWARDESS

by Doreen F.

Shirley still could not believe it. She was a flight-attendant now or stewardess as they used to be called. Ever since she had been a girl she had wanted to become a stewardess. Shirley loved flying and was really interested in aviation; she had never wanted to become a pilot though. After her graduation Shirley went to college to study French and Spanish. When she had her degree she immediately sent out application letters to several airlines all over Europe. British Airways offered her a job and after a long time of hard training she was a flight-attendant. At the beginning she did not really work when being on a flight, but she was there to gain experience and help the others. Little by little she became more independent and after two months she had her first real day of work. This was really exciting.

Time passed quickly and Shirley was confident that this was the perfect job for her. She could deal really well with all sorts of problems and passengers who made a nuisance of them. Due to her irregular working schedules she was not so lucky with men, but that did not matter that much since she really loved her job and spent a lot of time on airports all over Europe. Shirley was not on long-distance flights yet since she had not been on the job long enough.

Every six months a batch of new flight-attendants started working and after a year Shirley had a young flight-attendant to look after. He was about her age and a really nice guy. She had to supervise him for nearly two months and they got kind of close. His name was Brian; he had curly black hair and looked like an Italian football player. His eyes were green and Shirley had a hard time to concentrate on work when he was around. Brian flirted with her quite obviously and Shirley enjoyed the attention she got.

It did not surprise anyone at work that after the months of supervision were over Brian asked Shirley out on a date. Shirley was flabbergasted. Their date went very well and ended with an intense kiss in the car which would have led to more had Shirley not had an early morning flight on the next day. They decided to meet again as soon as their work permitted it. Now that Brian had finished his training he was on flights all over Europe as well and they did not work together that often anymore. Still they tried to meet in the evenings, but usually both of them were tired and so they often only talked on the phone. They tried to arrange their days off so that they coincided. The few evenings they spent together turned into pleasant nights making love together. However, they did not spend too much time together because it was summer and they had to work more than usual.

After some weeks they were scheduled on flying to the same destination. They met at the airport way before departure early in the morning and enjoyed their time together. On the first flight there were not many people, but the next one was really busy. After that they had a break of half an hour which they spent kissing in the locker room. Back on the plane they had a longer flight to Athens. After the food had been served Shirley noticed that Brian had disappeared. She went to the back of the cabin and found him putting eye drops into his eyes.

"Are you okay? I was looking for you."

"Yeah, I’m fine, but the dry air is driving me nuts today."

"I didn’t notice it was drier than usual."

"Of course, you don’t, but my contact lenses are getting dry."

"I didn’t know you had contact lenses, why didn’t you tell me before?"

"I wanted, but the timing was never right."

"Never mind, but don’t spend too much time back here."

"I’ll be right back." Brian said blinking.

Shirley did not have much time to think about what Brian had just told her. She knew that you were allowed to wear glasses or contact lenses as a flight-attendant, but you must not have too many dioptres. From time to time she found herself thinking what Brian would look like in glasses and the thought turned her on. During the remaining time of the flight she found herself watching Brian and noticed that he blinked uncomfortably from time to time. Soon they landed in Athens where they had another break before their flight back home. They had a coffee in one of the airport restaurants. Brian kept blinking much more than he usually did, but since he did not say anything Shirley did not find the courage to mention it. On their way back to the aircraft Brian asked her if she wanted to spend the night at his place. Shirley did not have to think twice despite her early flight on the following day. The flight back seemed to last longer than usual and there were slight turbulences, but eventually the plane landed and they could go home.

At Brian’s flat they took off their uniforms, but before they started kissing Brian said, "Excuse me for a second, but I have to take out my contact lenses!" He went to the bathroom and returned after two minutes narrowing his eyes slightly looking for his bag. Out of the bag he pulled a pair of glasses and the moment he put them on Shirley heart missed a beat before it started beating extremely fast.

"Sorry about that, but my eyes were kind of sore today, I don’t know why", Brian told her looking her in the eyes.

"That’s no problem, you look good in glasses!" This was coming right from the heart. Brian looked irresistible wearing nothing but his boxer shorts and his glasses were light green rectangular plastic frames which looked really good on his relatively dark skin.

They moved closer and kissed and spent an unforgettable night together. Brian told her quite much about his life and Shirley told him that she really liked the way he looked in glasses and a lot more.

The night ended too soon and both of them had to get up very early. Once again they were on the same flights. Styled and dressed, Brian wearing contacts again, they arrived at the airport just in time. The morning passed incredibly fast and they did not have much time to talk to each other, but during the afternoon Shirley noticed that the contact lenses seemed to be bothering Brian again. Despite the eye drops, he had confessed last night, his eyes were really sore sometimes which led to him being in serious discomfort. Before their last flight for the day Shirley suggested Brian should take out his contact lenses and wear his glasses. He admitted that it might help and thus spent the last flight in glasses. From time to time Shirley smiled at him and when their eyes met he smiled back at her.

Shirley and Brian spent a really happy time together, but after some months they found out that despite their mutual attraction for each other there was little else, but their job they had in common and they could not stand some of the other’s habits which would make living together impossible. Both agreed that it would be best to go their separate ways, but remain friends.

Brian soon had a new girlfriend, another stewardess, which nagged Shirley a bit, but not too much. The only problem was that this new girlfriend was so jealous that she did not allow Brian to spend too much time without her or even meet his ex. They stayed in contact, though, via phone and sometimes they were scheduled on the same flight. Only then it was that Brian wore his glasses, never on any other flights but those with Shirley on board. She did not know whether he knew that she liked him a lot in glasses and he wanted to please her or whether he felt only comfortable wearing glasses in her company.

Shirley was not really sad when she heard that Brian’s relationship had ended, but she did what a good friend does and let him pour his heart out. The only part which was not quite straight to the book was that they ended up sleeping with each other. Neither of them felt guilty about it or regretted it; they went on as if nothing had happened.

On Shirley’s 25th birthday she had a little get-together with friend of hers and Brian was also invited. She was not even surprised to find him talking to her sister a lot. Her sister had gone through a break-up some months ago and Shirley had decided to introduce her to Brian. The two of them left the party quite early.

On the next day her sister called and thanked her for the invitation and told her how gorgeous Brian was and wanted to know everything about him. Shirley told her as much as she thought her sister should know about him, but left a lot for Brian to tell her as well. Of course, she had to mention how great, she thought, Brian looked in glasses. "I couldn’t agree more, he’s a real cutie. Listen, I gotta go, he’s back…erh he’s been out to buy something for breakfast. See you later, Shirl, bye!"

Shirley was really happy for her sister and for Brian and there was also a reason for her to be happy. She would now be allowed to work on long-distance flights and her first assignment was scheduled to Miami for the following day.

Shirley was really nervous; being on a long-distance flight would be quite different from the usual flights. The best part was that she would spend the whole weekend in Miami and only return on Monday.

The flight lasted quite long, but the main problem was that Shirley could not sleep on planes and she hardly knew the other crew members so there was not much to talk about. She hoped that in the not so far future Brian would go onto long-distance flights too and she would have someone to talk to, but she doubted it since he had never seemed to keen on the long-distance flights. After some time Shirley found out that the other flight-attendants were quite nice after all and they spent a great weekend in Miami. Most of them had already been there, but one of them was there for the first time as well and they did some sightseeing together. On the return flight Shirley could not sleep, so the others took turns in sleeping while she stayed awake and made sure everything was okay. Walking through the aisles Shirley noticed that more people than usual were wearing glasses, which seemed sensible according to Brian’s experience. He had told her that he would not be able to wear contact lenses on a long-distance flight and that he did not want to sleep in them either. Shirley realised that she was quite fascinated with glasses. Bored as she was she counted how many passengers were wearing glasses. She knew that some had taken them off while sleeping, but the number was quite high after all considering that their might be some who were wearing their contact lenses while sleeping. Shirley did not have much time to think about that until she came home because time had passed quickly after all and they had to serve breakfast before starting the descent.

Back home her sister called her and told her what a great weekend she and Brian had had. Shirley told her about Miami. After that she phoned Brian, who also told her about the great weekend, but was also keen to get to know everything about the long-distance flight. Shirley told him about it and asked him whether he thought that most contact lens wearers would be wearing glasses on such flights. Brian said he would, but there might be some who would not, although the majority would probably take them out. Some might take them out on the plane not having glasses with them and put them back in before arrival and the majority was likely to travel in glasses, some of them putting the lenses in before arrival as well. They talked a little more and Brian wanted to know some things about Shirley’s sister. After a while they said good bye.

Shirley had one day off and then several days of short-distance flights before she had her next long-distance flight. This time she spent most of the flight watching people, especially men, who wore glasses. It turned into some sort of obsession or was it simply a way to pass the time? She did not know for sure. This time the flight was to Chicago and she had one day to visit the city before she returned. Shirley knew that most of her colleagues had regular routes they used to fly, but since she had not been in this business so long the airline sent her wherever they needed someone. It was quite interesting for Shirley; she got to know various parts of the world and she knew that sooner or later she could choose on which routes she wanted to be.

Time passed and the relationship between her sister and Brian turned out to be quite serious – they were talking about moving together. Although Shirley felt that both of them deserved it she felt kind of lonely sometimes and wanted to have a boyfriend herself.

One weekend Brian and Shirley were on a long-distance flight to San Francisco, Brian’s first long distance flight. He was wearing glasses and Shirley once again found herself fascinated by Brian in glasses. She had seen him from time to time and quite often he was wearing glasses when he was not working, but every time she saw him like this she knew what she wanted. A man in glasses for herself. How hard could it be? There were dozens of them on every flight and even more on the long-distance, but how should she find her Mr. Right?

She spent the weekend with Brian driving down Highway Number One and having a fabulous time. One evening she confided in Brian and to her surprise he seemed to understand her very well. He even promised to help her find a boyfriend, since he was still grateful for meeting her sister.

So on their return flight Brian and Shirley looked more closely at those male passengers who wore glasses, but no one particularly caught her attention, but one who was travelling with his family. Maybe next time, she thought looking forward to coming back home. The flight took quite long and by the time they were serving dinner most people had started watching the movies. After a while Brian came over to her saying, "Let’s switch aisles when cleaning up, you’ll see why." This really surprised her, but Brian did not give anything away. So when collecting the leftovers Shirley looked at the passengers more closely. She need not have worried she could never have missed this guy. He was really handsome, short and spiky light brown hair wearing a pair of rimless glasses with silver temples. He was in the aisle seat and seemed to be quite busy watching the movie so he did not notice her until she was right beside him asking him, "Sir, could you hand me your tray, please?" "What, sorry, here you are", he said taking the tray and turning towards her. Upon handing her over the tray, he eventually looked up and he smiled. Shirley went on, but all the way to the end of the aisle she felt him looking at her. Once she turned and he noticed, but did not really try to conceal the fact that he had been watching her.

"What did I tell you? Did you notice him staring at you all the way up the aisle?"

"Thanks Brian I wouldn’t have noticed. No, he really is gorgeous. Thanks for telling me. Now I have to figure out how to proceed."

"We haven’t even reached the ocean. There should be plenty of time. Let’s just wait and see, okay?"

Shirley walked down the aisle again in order pour some glasses of orange juice and water for those passengers who wanted to drink during the flight while the others were asleep. They lights had already been turned down to a minimum and the majority of the crew had gone to their "containers" where they could sleep. When she turned around Shirley found herself looking at the gorgeous guy. His glasses were dangling from his shirt and with a smile he asked, "May we take as many of these beverages as we like?"

"Help yourself, but don’t waste our precious cups." Shirley said with an encouraging smile.

"Don’t worry. I just needed an excuse to start conversation with you."

"You’re very direct."

"Comes with the job."

"So what do you do?"

"I’m a financial analyst, sounds boring, doesn’t it? Well, in my job I have to tell people straight away what they have to do before any more harm can be done. My name’s Nicolás, that’s Spanish, my mom’s from Spain."

"So … Nicolás … where you in San Francisco for business or pleasure?"

"Business, unfortunately. It did not work out the way my boss would have wanted it. It was a complete waste of time, but my journey back might involve some pleasure … uh Miss…."

"Shirley."

"Shirley, that’s a nice name."

"Not quite as unusual as Nicolás though, I guess."

"Probably not. How long is the flight going to take?"

"I don’t know exactly, depends on the traffic, but I’d say about six hours, but why don’t you just look at the monitors, there you should get all the information."

"Could you show it to me, please?"

"Well, let me check, if everything’s alright. I’ll be right with you."

After Nicolás had left Shirley strolled up and down the aisles only to find that most people were sleeping or dozing or watching the movie. Then she went to Nicolás. He put on his glasses and when Shirley arrived she had goose bumps. She stood next to his seat leaning down to reach the buttons. "Here you can move the channels and Channel 0 is the one where you can view the map." The map appeared and after a while the display showed all the relevant data, like speed, height and approximate arrival time. "See, it’s only five and a half hours."

"Only, are you kidding? This seems really long to me."

"But you don’t have to work, do you?"

"Oh, sorry, of course, I forgot you are working right now."

"So, if you excuse me, I have things to do. I can’t be standing here too long, but if you want to talk to me you know where to find me."

As she got up, there arms touched slightly and she felt the electricity between them. Shirley resumed her worked, walking up and down the aisles from time to time preparing breakfast, chatting with some of her colleagues.

Nicolás came over to her after a while. "I needed some exercise. I just slept for a couple of minutes and now I feel even worse than before."

"Guess why I don’t sleep."

"It’s a shame I don’t have a window seat. I can’t even watch the sunrise."

"That’s a pity; it’s such a beautiful sight, but you’ll get over it."

"Yeah, I can watch you instead, that’s nearly as good."

"Really? Well, watching you is not that bad either."

"And it’s definitely better than watching the movies. The one I didn’t know and wanted to see, I’ve seen now and the others are crap."

"Write a complaint to the airline, I’m sure they won’t give a damn."

They chatted for some time until Brian approached, "Hi Shirl, I see you’re having company."

"Brian, yeah, this is Nicolás, Nicolás, this is Brian, my best friend and soon to be brother-in-law, right."

"It’s all up to your sister", Brian said with a smile.

"Look, Nicolás, it’s getting quite late or early or whatever. I’ll have to go back to work. See you at breakfast?"

"There’s nowhere I can go, is there?" He retreated to his seat.

Brian and Shirley started preparing breakfast and Shirley told him about Nicolás.

"Sounds promising. Are you going to meet him again?"

"I don’t know, we haven’t exchanged phone numbers yet. Probably he’s got a girlfriend waiting back home and only wanted to pass the time."

"Let’s wait and see. Besides, his glasses are probably stronger than mine, so if he pretends he doesn’t need them, he’s only fooling himself or trying to impress you; which is quite the wrong approach, isn’t it?"

While serving breakfast Shirley did not have much time to think about Nicolás until she reached his seat. "Coffee or tea?" "Well, I’d rather have you, no erh… tea, please."

"I’ll be the dessert, don’t you worry. Here you go."

The closer they were to arriving, there more work they had to do. Shirley glanced at Nicolás at often as she could without being too obvious. He noticed her and that was all that mattered. After the dishes had been removed Shirley noticed that Nicolás’ seat was empty. She assumed he had gone to the toilet. The plane had already started to descend slightly. The fasten seatbelt sign would be switched on any minute from now. There were minor turbulences as the plane descended through some clouds. Shirley went to see where Nicolás was. One of the lavatories was occupied. That very moment the fasten seatbelt sign was switched on accompanied by announcement by the captain, "Ladies and gentlemen there are some unfriendly looking clouds ahead of us. Please, be prepared for an unpleasant descent or even landing. It seems to be quite foggy down here. We’ll do our best to bring you home as soon as possible, but please, remain seated with your seatbelts fastened at any time."

Shirley knew this meant nothing good. It would feel like a ride on a roller coaster, if not worse. She knocked at the lavatory’s door. "Hello, I hope you heard the captain. Please return to your seat."

"Shirley, is that you?" she heard Nicolás.

"Yes, Nicolás, are your okay?"

"Yes, well, not really…" he opened the door. "I came here to put in my contact lenses, but then the plane, well … the turbulences…erh I lost one of my contact lenses. I’ve searched everywhere, but it’s vanished." He narrowed his eyes.

"Let me have a look. Wait, what’s this on you shirt?" Shirley picked it up. "I think there it is."

"Thanks a lot. I’ll just put it in and then…"

"No, Nicolás, I’m sorry, but I must ask you to return to your seat now. Those turbulences are no laughing matter, really."

"You seem to be quite serious about that."

"I am, let’s go."

Nicolás gave in and took his contact lens paraphernalia and returned to his seat. He nearly fell into his seat as the plane sank down a couple of metres. Shirley was about to close the lavatory’s door, when she saw Nicolás’ glasses lying on the counter. She took them not a second too soon before the plane dropped. As she was about to bring Nicolás his glasses, there was an announcement, "Cabin crew, take your seats." So Shirley sat down immediately next to Brian and fastened her seatbelts. They knew that there was still about half an hour to go and they knew what to expect of the rest of the flight. Hoping that not too many people would get sick during the descent, Shirley told Brian about her encounter with Nicolás and showed him the glasses which she still had. Brian put them on then replaced them with his own. "These are definitely stronger than mine, but not that much. Are you ready for the ride?"

"I hope so, last time I had this, it wasn’t funny."

"Bob’s flying, I fully trust him."

"Me too, but it’s going to be a tough landing after all. He’ll want to get home to his family." As soon as she said that the clouds seemed to be playing football with the plane as their ball. At least that it felt like that. Some people were already screaming. The overhead lockers stayed shut. Outside the windows you could see the planes wings moving up and down and the people clutched their armrests and tried to stay calm. The plane went up and down, more down than up actually and even Shirley and Brian were not so relaxed anymore, but tried not to show it. They could already smell the vomit.

After what seemed like an eternity the captain announced, "Ladies and gentlemen I hope you’re all well and I’m pleased to announce that we’ll be landing shortly. Please remain seated until the plane had reached its final parking position and the fasten seatbelt sign has been switched off."

Not too long after that the plane touched the ground smoothly and the relief of having survived these turbulences showed on the people’s faces. Their tight grips around the armrests were released and they relaxed. The cabin crew was allowed to get up and Shirley went to Nicolás to give him his glasses. "I’ve got something for you, I would have been here earlier, but it was impossible." She handed him his glasses and he put them on immediately.

"Thanks a lot, Shirley. I’ve already seen them crushed on the floor in the lavatory. You’re an angel. May I invite you for dinner?" Shirley smiled at him.

"You may. I’ll give you my phone number on the way out."

The plane had reached its parking position, but since it was a huge jet, it would take some time until everyone had disembarked. Nicolás was one of the last to leave. On his way out he handed Shirley his card and she gave him a slip of paper with her phone number waving goodbye.

Brian dropped Shirley off at her flat before he headed for his, which he was now sharing with her sister.

After a long hot bath Shirley was relieved to dress more casually than on the job. As she was drying her hair, the phone rang. It was Nicolás. "Hi, I thought you had given me the wrong number to get rid of me like you do with all of the passengers you flirt with."

"Oh, no I forgot to give you the wrong number, just kidding. I was blow-drying my hair, I hardly heard the phone."

"So do you want to have dinner with me? Tonight?"

"Sure, when and where?"

"I thought maybe my place around seven."

"Sounds great, give me your address and I’ll be there."

"Great."

Nicolás did not live far away and Shirley found his flat easily. She was slightly early, but she did not want to wait in the car so she rang the bell. Nicolás seemed delighted and buzzed her in. He lived in an old house which had been converted into several separate flats. It looked really nice. On the way to his door Shirley got really nervous. Nicolás opened the door before she could even think about knocking. "It’s so good to see you again. I’m really glad you came. Come on in!"

Shirley went inside and was taken aback. The flat looked amazing and Nicolás fitted in perfectly. He must be earning a lot, she thought. There were no women’s shoes which might be a good sign. Nicolás had rushed back to the kitchen. The only minor disappointment had been that he was not wearing glasses, but he was looking great either way and Shirley did not really mind since she knew he could not hide his glasses forever. She went around in the flat looking for clues about his life.

"Dinner’s ready!"

Shirley sat down at the table and Nicolás served what seemed to be an Asian Wok. It looked delicious and tasted great. During dinner they did not talk that much, but afterwards they sat down in the living room and got to know more about each other. Shirley had brought a bottle of wine which they were drinking. The atmosphere was really relaxed and both felt really comfortable. They were just talking about their favourite movies, when Nicolás suddenly gave a silent curse and got up. "What’s wrong?" "I’m so stupid. I’ll explain it to you in a minute", Nicolás said while leaving the room. It took more than a minute for him to come back and Shirley was wondering what was wrong. When he came back he nearly stumbled over the table. "Are you okay? What’s wrong?" Shirley asked frowning.

"I’m stupid, that’s all. I had to cut some chilli for our food and I forgot to wash my hands or whatever. Anyway there was some of it still some of it on my hand and when I touched my eye, it hurt like hell. I had to take my contact lenses out."

"I see. Are you better now?"

"Yes, I’m fine. Would you like some dessert?"

"Why not?" They went to the kitchen together. Nicolás took a bowl out of the fridge.

"I hope you like fruits."

"Of course, but everything’s okay as long as I can see you. Apropos see, why don’t you put on your glasses instead of nearly dropping your nose into the bowl?"

"You’re right this would spoil the dessert. I’ll be right back."

Shirley took their desserts to the living room and Nicolás was right behind her. They sat down and Shirley felt extremely attracted to Nicolás even more now that he was wearing glasses. They joked around feeding each other and occasionally kissing. Nicolás seemed to relax and they ended up in his bed lying next to each other. Shirley had two days off, but Nicolás had to go to work in the morning. They were both jetlagged and were having a hard time falling asleep. In the morning Shirley woke up when Nicolás’ alarm clock was ringing. It was 7.15. She yawned and turned to face Nicolás smiling about the memories of the night. Shirley gave Nicolás a kiss to wake him up. He opened his eyes and gave her a dreamy look then he squinted and smiled. "I thought this was only a dream." "A very good one, I hope." They got up and while Nicolás was in the bathroom Shirley made coffee. After a while Nicolás came into the kitchen dressed in a suit, but still wearing glasses. They had breakfast together and only before he left Nicolás went to the bathroom to put in his contact lenses. In the night he had admitted that he was not really used to wearing glasses except at home and even then he did not like them that much. Shirley had assured him that he looked great either way, but that he was really hot in glasses. At the front door they kissed goodbye and decided to meet again in the evening at Shirley’s flat.

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