Heaving a sigh, Sierra sat and stared out the small window on the miniature plane. She barely glanced up as a large, male body filled the empty space between her and the aisle. He struggled a moment with his tray table, flopped it down and set something on it. Sierra caught the heavenly aroma of coffee. Inhaling deeply, she smiled wishing it was hers. The covered cup toppled slightly and she grabbed it instinctively as her seat mate swore softly.
Laughing, she moved his cup to her tray and looked up for the first time. "Can I help you with something?"
"Not unless you can make the compartment bigger. There's this huge orange bag in here that feels like it's full of concrete."
"Not mine," she grinned. "I had to move across the aisle to stow mine. There should be room."
Smiling his thanks, he turned and shoved his bag in next to hers. His expensive carry-on lay side by side with her knockoff Prada.
"You two behave now," he chided the unwary luggage and slammed the compartment shut. He dropped in his seat with a grin, extending his hand. Sierra put the coffee in it and he laughed loudly.
"I wasn't asking for that back, I wanted to introduce myself. David Anders. Thanks for the help."
"Sierra McLaughlin. You're welcome."
David took the coffee with his left hand and shook with his right. His grip was sure and strong. Sierra couldn't help admiring his expressive blue eyes, shoulder length sun streaked blond hair and rolling muscles under his tanned skin. He looked like a surfer, but was dressed like a golfer in a yellow Polo shirt and white, blue and yellow Madras plaid shorts. Only his flip-flops gave him away.
"You live up here?" he asked casually as he set his coffee down.
"Yes. I'm heading to Daytona to visit my brother. I may be going to Stetson, so I'm touring the college this week too."
"I just graduated from Southern," he remarked with a flip of his hair. "I can't wait to get back home. I haven't been on my board since spring break. I'm going through withdrawal."
He laughed and stretched. His shirt slid up and his shorts down slightly, revealing an amazing set of abs. Sierra tried not to stare, but wow!
"What are you majoring in?" he asked as he took a sip of his coffee. Making a face, he slid it away from him with a curse. "Gah! Too sweet! What was I thinking? You want it? My first sip, I swear. I'm free of all major diseases and I don't backwash." He offered her the coffee.
Normally she would have declined, but she was desperate. "Sure," she took the cup. "I didn't get mine this morning. My alarm didn't go off in time. My stupid roommate reset it!"
"Ugh! Roommates bite! Mine's an idiot. Another reason I'm glad to be going home. He washed clothes last night. Which is great, only he threw his new Red Sox T-shirt in and everything turned a delicate shade of pink. This was all I had clean." He indicated his preppy clothing with disdain. "It will make my step mom happy. She thinks I dress like a slob. Which I do because it bugs her. How's the coffee?"
"Great! It's perfect. I like it extra light and sweet."
"I fixed it for you then. I like it medium on both. That's sweet enough to curl my hair!" He winked. His thick, blond hair was already curly. "So we got sidetracked," he grinned and stretched long and slow. "What's your major?" His clothing danced up and down again.
Sierra almost choked on the coffee as he exposed his fine musculature. "Abs," she mumbled. "Art," she said more loudly. "Emphasis in photography. I draw and paint too."
"Really? Cool. Do you do still lifes or what?"
"I like doing people more." She realized how that might sound and blushed, mentally kicking herself.
He glanced at her sideways and winked. "So do I. But I don't go around loudly admitting it."
Sierra giggled, trying to hide her self-consciousness behind the cup of coffee.
"I'm sorry." David said softly. "I've embarrassed you."
"Oh, no," she admitted. "I do that just fine on my own."
"So, are you a portrait photographer?" David eased away from the embarrassment without a backward glance.
Gratefully, Sierra answered him. "Not really. Portraits are fine, but I prefer capturing people in candid shots. Especially when they are doing something they love. I have some amazing shots of people rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing—oh, and surfers. I took those during spring break."
"You weren't down here during break, were you? Well, by down here, I mean Daytona. See? I'm already picturing myself at home." He chuckled and pulled his feet out of the aisle as people passed.
"Yes. I was in Daytona, Port Orange and New Smyrna taking pictures. Why?"
"It would be funny if I was in any of them."
"I have prints. Hang on to this, would you?" She handed him the coffee as she dug in her bag.
Her purse was a real Prada, a gift from her grandmother. It looked more like a pink diaper bag, but it was great for traveling.
She grabbed a small album from the bottom of the bag. "I've got to put together a portfolio tomorrow and Sunday. I go in on Monday to see the dean."
David took the pictures as she took back the coffee. He opened the book and grinned. "Great shot of the Inlet," he commented happily.
"I like to tell a story with the pictures. I took a few landscape shots when I got there."
He flipped through three more. The next picture was of four surfers in silhouette, the sun and water in front of them. One was bending over putting on his wet suit. His tight ass was nearly center of the frame. The guy to his right was profile, looking down at him. The other two were checking the waves, eyes shielded against the glare. Their boards were planted upright in the sand.
David chuckled, pointing to the ass shot. "Very nice composition. What's this part of the story?" He mimicked a female voice. "I got to the beach and saw this great ass and had to take a picture?"
Sierra grabbed for her book, but he held it away from her, out into the aisle.
"He has a bathing suit on!"
"Yeah, but still! I didn't think Stu had that good an ass. Mine's better."
"You know him?"
"Yeah. I know all of them." He pointed to each in turn from left to right. "Tom, Stu's ass, Brent and yours truly."
© 2016 Dellani Oakes