I awoke with a jerk as the plane touched down on the landing strip, realizing that I had in fact dosed off despite my jumbled thoughts and nervousness. I quickly grabbed my carryon bag as soon as the fasten seat belt sign was switched off with a dinge, and I was informed of the current weather in Portland, courtesy of the same flight attendant with the nasal voice. Hmm not raining. Surprising. So far so good. As I walked ahead of the crowd streaming off the plane (first class has more perks then just alcohol. Although that is a pretty big one), I repeated a little mantra (chant? prayer?) in my head that I made up just a few moments before that was basically just a combination of you can do this, you are not stupid, well not really, this will be good for you, and circling back to you can do this, with an occasional damn it thrown in. I reached luggage claim, fingers crossed that my one small (huge, but come on. Do you have any idea how many shoes I have?) bag hadn’t gotten lost somewhere across the great Midwest. By some miracle of god it managed to show up on the little spinny thing fine and dandy, and I grabbed (lugged) it off the conveyer belt and skipped off to by the largest coffee available, and then headed out the main doors.
And it was there, in front of PDX that I realized one very important thing: I had no fucking place to go. Good one Ari. Really thought this one through. And as I sat there mentally kicking myself in the face, and trying not to actually scream at the sunlight streaming into my tired eyes (I have a bit of a vampire complex. There is a reason I am moving to Oregon, the land of rain, rain, and more rain. Plus, the whole two hours of sleep thing wasn’t exactly helping) that I did what anyone would do, I flipped through my contacts and called my best friend. Ex-best friend. Whatever.
My phone hovered over the name Jacob Summers for a while, before I clicked the cool screen, and watched it connect. I listened to the phone ring for a substantial amount of time, but right when I was about to just hang up, I heard the click of him answering and a groggy voice say “hello?”
Shit it was nine am on a Saturday.
Who is awake at that hour? That’s right, fucking no one.
Focus Ari, focus.
“Uh, hi. This is, um, this is Ari. Hi.”
I heard a ruffling and then his voice once again.
“Ari? Ari Russo?”
“Um, yep, that would be me, the one and only,” I cringed internally but stumbled on, “um this might be kind of weird, actually its really, really, weird, and honestly I don’t even know what I’m thinking or if I am even thinking, it’s kind of hard to tell anymore, I really haven’t had that much sleep, which is probably why I am talking so much. Oh my god, I probably woke you up and it is Saturday, and I mean WHO does that and…”
“Ari! ARI! Breathe. For fucks sake, you’re gonna pass out.”
“Um, right. Sorry. I mean…anyways, I’m at PDX and I don’t actually have anywhere to go and it’s kind of cold, so um, I was just uh, just uh wondering if you could, um, you know…” I trailed off, praying that the damage hadn’t already been done.
“Come and get you?” he laughed, “Yeah, of course. I’ll be there in fifteen. Don’t move. Please don’t move. I know how easily you get lost.”
I made a sound of indignation in my throat, but smiled anyways. “Um, thanks. See you?”
I patiently waited at the curb for a grand total of three minutes before I got bored and cold and decided that wandering off for a few moments couldn’t hurt. I examined my surrounding closely so that I would remember where I was, and grabbed my purse leaving my luggage next to a friendly looking check in guy who looked at me like I was actually crazy. I mean, yeah, leaving my luggage alone probably wasn’t the best idea, but the airport was empty and there is no way in hell I am dragging it with me. Totally worth the risk.
It was a good 15 minutes later that I glanced at my phone, glanced out the window, saw a ridiculously expensive car idling at the curb, grabbed my latte (number three proved to be a tad bit better) and sprinted outside. I grabbed (dragged) my luggage, smiled at the skeptical check in guy who was still looking at me with a look of shock and amusement, and ran over to the car, stopping abruptly a few feet from it. I stood there for a few moments just staring at the tinted windows of the all black Maserati GranTurismo (I had a bit of obsession with sports cars. There are only a few things rick kids can waste there money on. Cars is the main one), finally realizing that the position I was in might look a bit odd from inside and outside the car, I quickly made a move towards the minuscule trunk that was already open and somehow (it’s a miracle really) managed to squeeze, push, and shove all my luggage in. I ruffled my hair, examined myself in the shiny surface of the car’s trunk, and made my way to the passenger side door, taking big breathes to try and calm down.
I slid into the large buckets seats made of perfect black leather and stared straight out the windshield, not daring to make eye contact with the eyes that were currently boring into the side of my head.
“I thought I told you not to wander off”
My head snapped up at the sound of his low voice and soft chuckle, finally making myself look over at the boy who had once held my heart, even though he had been unaware of it. Jacob Summers was perfect. Down to his perfectly tan skin and bright green eyes, not mention his perfectly chiseled body and strong jaw line. There was actually nothing wrong with him. And on top of that, Jacob had this charisma about him. His personality was literally magnetic. He drew people to him like a moth to a flame (pardon the cliché metaphor). Plus, he had swag. I’m serious. It does it exist. And Jacob Summers has it. Between his diamond studded ears and intricately tattooed biceps, not to mention new J’s and ever present snapback, he was walking, talking sex. No way around it. I studied his face. The stubble on his chin was new (holy fuck) and his hair lacked his used-to-be-trade-mark patterns shaved in the sides (thank god). He was bigger and broader and older. I sucked in my breath.
“Jake” I breathed out.
“How ya been, Russo?”
“Not bad, Summers. I got bored. What took so damn long?” I smiled over at him.
His face turned slightly pink and he glanced around nervously.
“Well, ummm, uh…” he trailed off.
“Oh. Girl. Right. Of course.” I chuckled awkwardly. “Sorry, if I um, you know, ruined anything…”
“Oh. No, no. your fine. I really needed a reason to get her out anyways. Chipmunk voice. God I hate that.” He stared into space for a few seconds, but then seemed to snap out of it. “I must have been really wasted”.
I just smiled and nodded. Looking out the window I realized we had been driving this entire time and I began to notice familiar sights around me. However, when we pulled up outside a swanky high-rise and Jake put the Maserati into park, I looked over at him in confusion.
“Um, why are we here?”
“I live here” he stated simply, unbuckling his seat belt and removing the keys from the engine.
“You LIVE here?!?” I screeched, opening my door as well and getting out. He glance over at me across the hood of the car and then handed the keys to the valet.
I just stared at him in shock. I mean, yeah, he had always had money. But to live in this place? You needed money money. Like member of one direction money. Or Donald Trump. I don’t know. Just a lot.
“Let me guess, you live in the penthouse.” I said with a bit of a sigh and a smirk.
He chuckled again and nodded.
“Good guess”. He went around the trunk and began pulling my luggage out and I quickly joined him, grabbing as much as I could while clutching my phone and coffee.
“So, if you don’t mind me asking, how’d you manage to afford this place? You can’t be that loaded”. I laughed. He looked down on me.
“Actually, I am.”
He began walking towards the revolving glass doors.
“My dad died” he said over his shoulder.
“Oh shit. I’m so sorry. God I feel like such an ass.”
“Don’t worry about it.”