Tempt (Take It Off)(6)

By: Cambria Hebert

“Want to help?” Nash called from his seat.

“I don’t know how to fly.”

He motioned for the empty seat beside him. I moved over cautiously, gingerly perching on the edge. He laughed. “Isn’t the view awesome?”

“It really is!”

“Want to steer?”

I shook my head. I wasn’t about to try and steer. I’d probably manage to hit a bird or something.

He lifted his hands off all the controls. “Look! No hands!”

“Stop that!” I yelled, unable to cover up my smile.

“Come here,” he said, motioning with his chin.

I moved around so I was standing right beside him. He hooked me around the waist and pulled, causing me to tumble right into his lap. I gave a little shriek and he laughed. “Put your hands over mine,” he instructed.

I hesitated and then I reached up. Flying a plane was something I never thought I would do. Flying a plane while sitting in the lap of some hot guy? That thought never even crossed my mind.

I liked it.

I wrapped my hands around his, both of us gripping the controls. “Nice and easy,” he murmured right next to my ear. “She practically drives herself.”

My eyes momentarily fluttered closed. His warm breath brushing across my ear made me feel like I just had a thirty-minute massage. My body felt heavy and languid and I actually had to make a conscious effort to support my own weight and not give it all to him.

After a few minutes of flying together, he slipped his hands out from beneath mine and I was left to fly alone. I gave a squeal of excitement. “I’m flying!”

His laugh vibrated my ear and his arms fell loosely around my waist. If I leaned back, I would be encircled in his body…

The plane jerked a little and his hands came back up over mine. “Whoa,” he said. “Easy.”

“I think I better leave the flying to you.”

I moved off his lap, returning to the vacant seat beside him. We flew in silence for a while. The scenery mesmerized me.

But then the clouds started to turn a darker color. They were no longer fluffy and white. Instead, they glowed a sort of electric gray color, and I swore I saw some lightning flashing here and there.

“What’s happening?” I asked him, unease filling my body.

He was looking out the window with a confused look on his face. “It wasn’t supposed to rain today.”

“Rain?” Were we flying into bad weather?

He nodded. “You should go back and buckle up.”

“Is everything okay?” I needed to know.

“Everything’s fine.” He assured me, but not before I caught the hesitation in his tone.

I did as he asked, heading back toward my seat. Just as I got there, we seemed to hit a pocket of turbulence and I fell over in the aisle, bumping my shoulder on the seat. I scrambled back up, sitting down and fumbling to fasten the belt around my waist.

At the moment, it seemed silly. Like a strip of fabric around my waist was really going to help me if this plane decided to plunge out of the sky. But I left it there anyway, thinking it couldn’t hurt. Plus, in some ways, it was a comfort. It made me feel safer, even if I wasn’t.

After a few minutes, the plane evened out and the flight grew smooth again. I let out a shaky breath and relaxed my stiffened muscles. I rolled my head to the side and glanced out the tiny oval window and into the sky.

It was dark.

The once-fluffy clouds now looked angry and dirty.

The plane seemed to tilt then and then rapidly righted once more. My stomach rolled. Turbulence rocked us again, and it felt as if we dropped about ten feet in a span of one second. I swallowed back the panic clawing at my throat.

Everything’s fine.

It’s just a storm.

I repeated that mantra over and over again until I lost track of time. The plane still struggled through the air and Nash didn’t say a word. I didn’t dare ask him what was happening. I didn’t want to take away any of his concentration.

And then it started to rain. Huge, fat drops of water plastered against the little window and soaked the plane.

Over the sound of the pounding rain, I heard a muffled curse.

That’s when I knew we were in trouble.

I scrabbled with the seatbelt, finally getting it undone, and raced toward the front. I felt like I was in some sort of carnival funhouse—the kind with a tilting floor that made it impossible to walk straight.

“Nash!” I yelled, rushing forward.

“Go back to your seat, Ava,” he yelled, not looking away from the windshield. “I’ve got this under control.”

I admired his confidence. I admired how assured he was. It almost made me feel better. Almost. But then I looked at the sweeping view before us.

It looked like we were flying right into the mouth of some kind of swirling, angry beast. I knew the wind was fierce because of the speed the uber-dark clouds scattering across the sky. The rain still pelted the plane, falling in heavy sheets so fast the tiny windshield wipers could barely keep up.