Fiddlestix, Buzzard, Blacksmith and Garwood head back to Florida in lightweight planes called flitters. Let’s hope it’s an uneventful trip.
Deacon took Fiddlestix aside, holding her close. “Remember, Hannah, I’ve got three guys to meet you down there.”
“Thanks, Deacon. The extra help will be welcome.”
He hugged her tightly, not wanting to let her go. “You take care, you hear?”
“I promise. This is the last time I’m leaving without you, Deacon. I don’t ever want to leave you again.” Her kiss held promises she intended to keep when they were reunited.
Putting on her helmet and checking her microphone, she walked over to the flitter only to find Garwood in the pilot’s seat.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Fiddlestix barely reined in her fury. “You’re not flying this bird, I am.”
“I beg to differ. I outrank you, therefore I’ll fly.”
Mute fury caused Fiddlestix’ face to go white. Anger burned behind her eyes as she stalked over to Deacon, who was busily discussing their route with the flitter commander. She tapped his shoulder, pointing at Garwood.
Deacon dog trotted to the flitter. “Hannah is pilot, Garwood. I told you could go along, but if you think you are in charge, you’re wrong.”
“I out rank her, General. She’s only a civilian. Surely you don’t expect me to take her orders, do you?” Her attempt at sweet manipulation fell flat with Deacon.
His hard glare caused her to deflate. “That’s exactly what I do expect, Captain. Hannah Braun is my fiancée, so she outranks anyone but me. She’s also an experienced Army officer, and she has a top rating of ten on the two man flitter. What’s your rating, Garwood?”
“My rating is seven, sir.” Garwood dejectedly hung her head.
She moved reluctantly, glaring at Fiddlestix the entire time. Garwood, still angry at being displaced by Fiddlestix, settled in the back of the flitter, shifting around restlessly.
“Hold yourself still,” Fiddlestix said in a calm voice.
Those who knew her, would have sensed her annoyance and ceased. Garwood gave her a withering look, followed by a haughty, superior stare and smiled. The smile did not reach her eyes. Fiddlestix turned once more to face the controls, going through her pre-flight check. Garwood continued to wiggle around.
Turning to Buzzard, Fiddlestix said, “I’ll trade you passengers.”
Buzzard eyed Amber Garwood with a malicious glint in his eyes. “Does that mean she has to get there alive?”
“Well, I suppose, if you wanted to drop her someplace over Jacksonville, that would be fine with me. But her boss is expecting her to get there, so maybe we should let her arrive in one piece.”
Buzzard snapped his fingers. “Damn, would have been so much fun to watch her land too.”
Blacksmith chuckled behind him. “But if you drop her out the back, Buzz, you can’t collect from the body bank.”
The three of them laughed happily, put the flitters into motion, and took off. Amber Garwood sat quietly, failing to be amused.
They had to fly low until they crossed the Florida border. Just south of Jacksonville, they turned east, hugging the coast. There was a landing strip south of Daytona. What had once been Port Orange was mostly a big lake thanks to the tidal wave. The landing strip of the old fly-in was maintained privately, and Fiddlestix knew the owner.
© 2011 Dellani Oakes