The Wager(7)

By: Rachel van Dyken


Jake yawned. “I’m waiting.”

“I’ll—”

“So it happened like this.” Jake turned to the air marshal and cleared his throat, but for some reason it wouldn’t clear. His mouth suddenly felt like he was swallowing cotton. “Thar…” His tongue felt huge. “Thar, I—”

“Holy crap!” Char yelled and kicked in her seat. “Um, Jake, um, Mister Air Marshal guy—”

“Randall. The name is Randall.” The guy held out his hand, then realizing Char was still zip-tied, chuckled. Jake was completely blocked from his view. Weird; it was almost like he was having trouble breathing? Maybe it was the altitude? He tried swallowing again. Shit. It was getting harder to breathe. What the hell?

“Jake!” Char yelled louder this time, and kicked the air marshal next to him. “Look, Randall? We’ve got a problem. You’re about five seconds away from having a death on your hands.”

“Dweath!” Jake croaked. Holy freaking shit, was Char going to murder him? Was the plane crashing? Well, it wasn’t as if he had anything to live for now that his grandmother had threatened career suicide if he didn’t straighten up. It was either death by her or apparently another scorned woman. He’d take his chances with Char any day over an irritated eighty-six year old with enough lipstick to outline his lifeless body for the police.

He could see the newspaper article now. Jake Titus, millionaire bad boy, cut off from entire family, dies in a plane crash with peanut crumbs on his face. Not that they would find the peanut crumbs, considering his body would probably be incinerated and… When had his life gotten so depressing?

He blamed his brother’s impending marriage. Everything had gone downhill since his brother had proposed to Jakes childhood best friend.

“Pardon?” The air Marshal stiffened, jolting Jake from his morose daydream—or nightmare, however one wanted to look at it.

“Look!” Char nodded her head in Jake’s direction. So was this how he was going to die? By Char’s hand—a woman scorned. Well, technically it would be by the air marshal’s disturbingly soft peanut-feeding hands. How the hell had he ended up starring in his own TV melodrama?

“Sir, calm down.” The air marshall’s eyes widened as he stood and hit his head on the ceiling, cursed and then ran away up the aisle. Jake’s eyes followed him. Damn, what was his problem? Was he really that concerned about Jake’s impending death?

“So…” Char’s eyes narrowed. “You allergic to anything, Jake?”

“Ha ha!” he croaked. “Yeah, right. What, you gonna poison me? Sorry, babe, I’m kind of on the right fide of pwerfection.”

Char’s bow-shaped mouth dipped into a scowl.“Yeah, there went my apology.”

“For what?” Jake straightened in his seat. Maybe if he moved around he could breathe easier?

With a muffled curse Char shrugged and looked away.

Was it hot in this airplane? What the hell was happening with his mouth? His hands had begun to itch something fierce. He looked down and froze, staring at his hands.

His very swollen, Mickey Mouse hands.

“HOLY SHWIT!” He jerked violently against the seat. “My wands, my wands!”

“Wands?” A lady turned around and stared at them both.

Char nodded solemnly. “Please excuse my friend. He’s under the impression he’s the tooth fairy.”

Full-on panic set in as it got harder and harder to breathe. Was he having an allergic reaction or was he just freaking out? Nothing like this had ever happened to him before. He looked up the aisle and noticed his grandma was strutting down it with some sort of object in her hands. Great. Now he was going to get knifed by his own grandma. Would flying experiences never be normal for him?

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