Tuesday, June 15, 2010

39. Prepare for Landing

"Flight attendants, please prepare for landing."
My stomach dropped and I gripped the armrests for comfort. I closed my eyes and tried to breath in through my nose, out through my mouth. Not sure if that was supposed to be comforting, but I was willing to try anything at that point. Maybe I needed some heavy liquor. My seat mate glanced at me cautiously. After 7 hours of sitting next to each other she hadn't said one word to me, but right at that point, in the midst of my pre-landing freakout, she decided to make conversation.
"So, is London home?" She asked with a heavy German accent.
I opened one eye and glanced at her. I could tell from the look on her face that she thought I was scared of flying. Little did she know I was an expert traveler, I just wasn't an expert go-meet-your-potential-Prince-Charming-er.
"Nope. Visiting a friend." Please don't ask me more. I can't talk about it right now. I will vomit all over you, Miss German Lady.
"Oh, fun! Been a while since you've seen her?"
"Yup, almost a year." I didn't bother correcting her. I closed my eyes again and continued with my deep breathing. In. Out. In. Out.
My eyes shot open as we touched down on the runway. This was it. I was on the ground at Heathrow Airport, moments away from seeing Cayden. My breathing quickened until it was nearing hyperventilation. I needed to get off the plane, stat.
The captain's voice came over the loud speaker.
"So, we're experiencing a little trouble with the jet bridge. So hang tight a few moments."
My hands were getting sweaty. I wiped them on the sides of my seat and stared out the window.
Ten minutes must have passed before the captain's voice filled the plane again.
"No luck with the jet bridge, so we're going to exit the plane to the right, go down the stairs to exit to the outside, and then they'll show you the way to get into the building."
Oh this was perfect. Remember how I said I fit 13 outfits into a carry on? OK, so I fit it all in one carry on and one "personal belonging," which was actually a huge tote filled with two pair of boots, my laptop, my purse, my toiletries, straightener, Wheat Thins, and a change of clothes. In an attempt to zip it shut before I got on the plane, the zipper busted, so I was positive my belongings were scattered throughout the cabin. So now I was going to have to shoulder my 30-pound busted bag and drag my 40-pound roller bag down some sketchy portable stairs, where I was then ushered into a hallway leading to three flights of stairs taking me to the terminal. By the time I reached the top, my sweaty hands were the least of my concerns. I could feel my hair sticking to my forehead. My shoulder was staring to cramp. So I decided to stop at the restroom (which they refer to as "toilets" over there) to change my clothes and freshen up. I took one look at myself in the mirror and cringed. This was going to take a lot of work. But it was 95 degrees in the bathroom. I changed into a white v-neck t-shirt and felt it stick to my back at which point I'm sure it went see-through. I draped my new cute scarf around my neck and stood back to look at myself in the full-length mirror. I changed into my knee-high gray boots and decided that was as good as it was going to get. Then I dabbed on a fresh coat of lip gloss and headed back into the hallway to follow the signs to arrivals.
I strolled down the first hallway and turned the corner. At the far end of the next hallway a sign read "arrivals" and pointed to the right. I got to the end of that hallway and turned right only to find another seemingly endless hallway with a similar arrivals sign at the end. This continued three or four more times. I kicked myself for wearing high-heeled boots. My toes were going numb. Those pit stains I feared earlier were inevitable. I was also sure I had a sweat stripe where my shoulder bag was cutting off my circulation. I thought about giving up. Just sitting in the middle of the hallway until someone found me. Where were those annoying over-sized beeping golf carts when you needed them? I finally made it to arrivals where I had to stand in line to get to the immigration desk. People seemed to be moving through quickly, so I started getting nervous again thinking about how I was minutes away from seeing him.
It was my turn.
"Where are you traveling from?" "Who are you visiting?" "Where did you meet him?" "How many times have you seen him?" "Wait, you have met him, right?" "What does he do?" "Where does he live?" "How much money did you bring?" "Do you have access to other money here?"
She started repeating questions so often that I started to doubt my answers. Was I really from Texas? Did I actually meet Cayden, or was this all just a dream? I looked around me and realized I was the last person there. I was the only one getting the third degree. I bet it was my nervous sweat and his Pakistani last name. Perfect.
Finally, I was free to go. I followed the signs to customs and remembered him saying he'd be on the other side of the doors once I went through customs. I stopped before the door and took a deep breath, decided there was nothing I could do to fix anything about my disheveled appearance, and stepped through the door.
I scanned the room, making eye contact with every male until I found Cayden.
Didn't see him on the right, or the left.
Then I saw him. Right in front of me. My stomach tightened, my cheeks suddenly felt hotter than they already were. I had to remind my legs to keep moving to walk toward him. He looked so much different in person. He always said he wasn't photogenic, but until I saw him in real life again, I didn't believe him. His dark brown hair looked styled, yet messy. He looked bulkier than I remembered, with his t-shirt stretched across his chest. His eyes met mine and I smiled. He looked away. Shit, what if that wasn't him? What if that was some random guy and Cayden had actually left because I made him wait too long. No, I was sure that was him. He was so beautiful. He looked at me again as I got closer. I smiled. He looked away. Left foot in front of right foot in front of left foot in front of right foot. From three feet away he finally held my gaze and looked at me, curiously. Then I could see it click in his head: The panting, exhausted, sweaty Cuban girl beelining toward him was Whitney.
He opened his arms to me and closed me in on a hug. My skin tingled everywhere he touched me. Goosebumps popped up on my arms. As I pulled away I said,"Dude, your airport sucks."
I had imagined a million scenarios of what it would be like to see Cayden again, and not one of them included the line "Dude, your airport sucks." He laughed as he took my overflowing bag off my shoulder.
"What makes you say that?"
There it was, that accent. My insides turned to Jell-o. I explained the broken jetway, the 5-mile hike through the airport, the overly intrusive employee at the immigration desk.
"You poor thing!" He said as he stopped to buy me a bottled water.
"So, you didn't recognize me at all, did you?" I asked after chugging half of it.
"I had no idea you were so damn tall! And I've never seen your hair like that."
OK, so maybe the boots were a bad idea. I was about 5'11" with the boots on, and in his defense, I had cut 14 inches off my hair since the last time I'd seen him. When he met me it was long and curly, and this time it was short and straight. I now understood his confusion.
"But you look great!" He said, genuinely. I wanted to kiss him, assure him that I was still the same Whitney he met a year ago. He reached down and held my hand as he led me to the subway (or as they call it, the underground or the tube). My hand felt so comfortable in his. It just fit.
The whole ride to his place he had his arm around me, holding me close to him as we talked.
"I can't believe you're really here. I've been counting down for this, and now it's really happening," he said as he pulled me against him tighter. I smiled and laid my head back on his shoulder. We talked about my flight, the subway system, our plans for tomorrow, but the whole time I was thinking about that picture, about seeing him without his clothes on.
The train could not get there soon enough.
We transfered to another train and fell back into place, his arm around me, my head on his shoulder. I looked at our reflection in the window across from our seat. We looked like we belonged together. We just fit.
"Well, this is our stop," he said as he grabbed my bags with one hand, my hand with his other.
We stepped out into the cool air and the first thing I saw was a sprawling castle. This was it. I was in London. In front of a castle. Holding hands with my Prince Charming.

Then we walked 10 minutes to his non-castle apartment.


After a quick shower, I slipped into my leopard print bra and panties and wrapped my towel around me. Nothing feels better than a warm shower after a long day of traveling. I walked back into his room, shutting the door behind me. He walked toward me and put his hands on my hips, his grasp strong through the towel.
"Ah, see? There's the short Whitney I remember."
At 5'8" I was hardly short, but he did have to lean down to kiss me. I tilted my head to meet his kiss. It was soft and sweet, but at the same time it had a longing to it, a hunger. I'd been waiting for this moment for almost a year. I put my hands on the back of his neck and pulled him in closer for a harder kiss. At that, his hand let go of my hip and traveled toward the tuck of my towel. It dropped to the ground and he took a step back.
"Ah, leopard print? Nice." Then he pulled me toward the bed. I wanted the lights off, but first I wanted to see him without his shirt. I slipped my hands under his shirt and felt what I had imagined: a slim waist and a toned six-pack with my name on it. (OK, so maybe my name wasn't there, but a girl can pretend).
"This has to go," I said as I lifted his shirt up to his chest. I pulled it off over his head and stared at his chest.
"I think your boobs are bigger than mine," I said as I cupped one of his pecs with one hand and one of my boobs with my other. It was a close call.
He laughed and shook his head as he came in for another kiss.
I pulled away to say, "Oh, I still have my No Denim in Bed rule. I'm just sayin."
He didn't stop me as I unbuttoned and unzipped his pants. Finally we were in bed together, mostly naked, with our hands exploring everything we'd been missing for the past year. I kissed his smooth chest as he rounded second base. I ran my nails down the sides of his thighs as I rounded third.
"Should I get a condom?"
I looked up to meet his eyes.
"Oh god yes."
Yes, yes, yes, yes! YES!


  1. Hooray! Though this does make me dread going to the airport on Fri.

  2. I think your posts are making all of your readers fall in love with Cayden and his abs

  3. First meetings with possible LDR's never go as planned. Mine was fantastically awkward, but after that everything felt like heaven!

    So happy for you!!! and I agree with Emily's statement. :-P

  4. Carolina- I'm glad I'm not the only one!

    And yes, his abs make me drool.

  5. New reader here! I'm from the states, living in London, and I cracked up when I read 'your airport sucks' yes it does! LOL.

    best of luck to you both! xxxxx