“I don’t know what you mean,” Kelly stammered.
Josh’s gaze was hard now, not the kind man who’d just made love to her. He was pissed off, even though he knew he didn’t really have any right to be. Sex with Kelly was the best he’d ever had, something that made him want to go back for more again and again, but he couldn’t. Not if she was lying to him.
“Is your name even Kelly? I know you’re not a history teacher. So who are you?”
“How do you know that?”
“I’m trained to detect when people are lying. You’ve been lying to me this whole time,” Josh nearly yelled at her. He yanked his clothes back on, needing the barrier between them. Kelly remained on the bed, naked with her skin still flushed from their love making. Josh wanted nothing more than to climb back over her and give her a repeat performance, but he needed the truth.
“What kind of writer is trained in detecting liars?” Kelly asked quietly, a piercing gaze directed at Josh. “Unless you’ve been lying too.”
Josh clenched his fists. He was pissed. More than he’d been in a long time. He wanted to punch something, but would never consider hitting a woman. He ached for a punching bag, but knew he’d just have to get over the anger on his own. He’d had enough practice.
“You first,” Josh said through clenched teeth.
Kelly seemed to be considering his request, like she was going to answer him. He thought for sure he’d lost her. Kelly slid from the bed and picked up her discarded clothing. She slowly redressed, her back to Josh as though she didn’t want him to see her. With his current attitude, he didn’t really blame her, although it did hurt.
When she was completely covered she sat back down on the bed and tucked her feet underneath her. All of a sudden she looked small and scared. Josh wanted to wrap his arms around her and tell her she didn’t have to tell him anything, but he needed to hear what she was hiding from him.
“I’m a pilot. Or at least I was. About a year ago I was flying one of my first solo flights. I’d bought my own plane and was going out for a day trip, taking my parents to visit my brother’s family. Something happened, I’m still not even sure what it was, and the plane started to drop. It was like everything just gave out at the same time and the plane fell like a rock from the sky.”
Kelly took a deep breath and looked past him out the window to the Gulf of Mexico outside. Josh couldn’t breathe, he just waited.
“I tried everything to get it going again, but nothing worked. The back end of the plane hit the ground first and took most of the impact. We all ended up trapped and since we were a bit out of the way, it took a while for emergency crews to get to us. My mom died while we were waiting for the crews to get there and my dad died a while later. I had a broken leg and a few cracked ribs, but otherwise I was fine. I’m even cleared to fly again, but today was the first day I’ve gotten on a plane since the accident.”
Kelly finally slid her gaze to Josh and he saw her tears glistening against her cheeks.
“The investigation said I wasn’t to blame, but I was. I killed my parents. I’ve been living off whatever I could find to do over the last year. I sold my house and have been staying with friends or sleeping in my car. We sold my parents’ house but I gave all the money to my brother. He and I haven’t spoken. My parents had always told me they wanted their ashes scattered here, which is why I’m in Florida. The box over there has their ashes and one night I planned to go out to the beach and set them free.”
“Why did you tell me you were a history teacher?” Josh finally managed to ask. He couldn’t imagine the pain she was going through and he knew he wanted to be there for her, but he had to understand.
“The last job I took was substitute teaching for a history teacher. It wasn’t a total lie.”
Josh rubbed his chin, digesting everything Kelly told him. He believed her. He could see the pain in her eyes and hear it in her voice. She was still hurting, and probably felt alone. He wanted to help her, bring back the vibrant loving woman who’d just moments before moaned his name as she came. He wanted to be the man who made her feel that way every day for the rest of her life.
Josh moved toward her and she jumped up off the bed. She crossed the room deliberately and started picking up her bags. “Where… Where are you going?”
“I’m leaving. Sorry I put so much on you. I haven’t had anyone to talk to in a while. Thanks for the ride out here.”
Panic gripped Josh’s throat as her words sunk in. She was going to leave him? Just like that? After her admission. “Please don’t go.”
“You pity me. You feel bad for me. I’m not up for charity. I appreciate the ride, and the amazing sex, but I’m not here for you to feel bad for me.”
“I feel badly for you. You’ve suffered, more than most could understand. But that doesn’t mean I want you to leave. I feel like I’m losing my mind watching you pick up your stuff. I can’t have you walk out of my life. I’ll never get over losing you.”
“What the hell are you talking about? You don’t even know me.”
“Oh, but I feel like it. I never believed in love at first sight, I knew it was a crock. But I’ve been falling in love with you every second since I saw you this morning. Maybe it won’t work out between us, but I can’t let you walk out and not find out. Please, Kelly, stay.”
Kelly looked at him, as though she were weighing her options. “I don’t know you. I know you lied and you’ve admitted it, but you haven’t told me who you really are.”
“I’ll tell you, if you stay. Please, Kelly, give us a chance. Stay.”
Josh poured every emotion he possessed into his gaze. He wanted her to see how much he desired her, but also how much he wanted to know her, to love her. He was telling the truth when he said he was falling for her. He’d seen too many people regret not saying it to let the moment pass by. He wasn’t going to let her out of his life, and he knew she could see his sincerity in his eyes.
“Okay,” she finally said, setting her things down. “I’ll stay.”
I hope you enjoyed Flying High. Next week a whole new short story will begin!