Falling for the Flyboy(2)By: Trish Milburn
A surge of anticipation helped Amanda shake off her fatigue. She looked at herself in the mirror. The nervousness that had plagued her for two days returned full force. While David had been away, she’d come to an important decision. Even though he said they should postpone having children a bit longer, she was tired of waiting. She loved David with every fiber of her being, and she wanted to have his children — and sooner rather than later. She hoped her current attire helped convince him to change his mind.
After taking a deep breath in a vain attempt to calm her nerves, Amanda grit her teeth against the persistent throbbing in her ankle and slowly made her way back to the waiting area. She was halfway across the quiet corridor when a thunderous boom shook the floor and rattled the bottles in the bar on the opposite side of the corridor.
Before the thought could fully form, she heard cries from down toward the gates. In the next moment, the security agent was on his feet and talking into a walkie-talkie. The other people awaiting the arrival of passengers rushed toward the checkpoint, demanding to know what was going on. The entire atmosphere inside the airport changed, the air vibrating with something horrible.
Oh, dear God.
Forgetting her injured ankle, she rushed forward only to be stopped by another security agent who’d seemed to materialize out of thin air.
“You can’t go past here, ma’am.”
“What’s going on? What was that boom?”
“Ma’am, if you’ll just step back.”
Beyond the security guy, another man in a dark suit jacket appeared, then a woman with look on her face that said she was trying to hide bad news and wasn’t quite succeeding.
Around her, people must have gotten the same feeling because they started crying. Amanda could barely hear them over the sudden roaring in her ears. She saw suit jacket guy’s mouth moving, but she couldn’t make out the words. Some instinct deep inside her said she didn’t want to hear them.
Hot tears stung her eyes as she stumbled, praying this was a nightmare but knowing in the deepest part of her heart that she was very much awake. Her hand touched the wall but didn’t prevent her knees from buckling as her head spun and the edge of her vision turned black. As black as the hole yawning in her center, threatening to swallow her. She slipped into it, hoping she’d find David there safe and sound. Whole. Smiling at her. Pulling her into his arms…
“It’s only a part-time position,” Amanda said. Working with someone even a few hours a week was going to take some getting used to after two years of living and working alone.
Janet Thompson, Cedar Bend School’s guidance counselor, responded with a wide smile. “Honey, around here even part-time is enough to make people believe in miracles. So, what exactly is involved?”
“Well, mainly helping me keep track of the online orders and packaging shipments,” Amanda said, still amazed that her business crafting gift items from cast-off cloth had blossomed to the point where she needed help.
Janet leaned back in her chair and held up her right index finger. “I have the perfect student for you. Tilly Reed. She’s a hardworking, intelligent girl, and like virtually everyone else around here she needs the money. When do you want to set up the interview?”
Amanda hadn’t planned a formal interview, choosing instead to depend on the guidance counselor’s knowledge of the students and her good judgment.
“Whatever’s convenient for Tilly. She can stop by my place after school one day this week,” she said.
With her mission accomplished, Amanda was eager to return home and get back to work. She had a mound of orders to fill, not to mention that since her move to rural North Dakota she’d wrapped herself in the state’s quiet, beautiful solitude. No noise, no traffic, no airplanes.
Amanda rose and pulled her purse onto her shoulder. She reached across the desk and shook Janet’s hand. “Thanks for your help.”
“You’re welcome. And thank you for thinking of hiring one of the students. So many of them want to work and can’t find a job.”
Amanda tried to focus on the hours of sewing ahead of her as she left Janet’s office. She kept her gaze down, not wanting to experience again the sharp pang of longing she had when she’d entered the school barely half an hour earlier. She ached at the thought of the children she and David would never have, would never send to a school like this one. As she stepped into the hallway, she ran straight into what felt like a brick wall. She stumbled backward, causing her athletic shoes to squeak on the tile floor, but quickly regained her balance.