A Different Person

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"Mr

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"Mr. Menendez, your secretary sent us instructions that your preference is single malt scotch, Spanish beer and Voss water. Would you care for any of those, or may I bring you something else?"

I look up from my computer at the flight attendant, barely registering the words. I've been thinking about nothing but Justine, and why she's in the hospital.

The attendant smiles down at me. She's a brunette wearing a conservative black pantsuit. I haven't flown this corporate jet company, and so far, I'm impressed with their professionalism.

And the fact they'd made a plane available for a trans-atlantic flight within twelve hours of my request.

"Water, please."

"Certainly, Mr. Menendez. And for the lunch, I would like to confirm that your preference is the Greek salad?"

"Yes. Greek salad, no bread." My requests seem insignificant and strangely banal at a time like this.

"Of course, Mr. Menendez." She turns and walks to the front of the plane, a sway in her hips along the way. Perhaps when I was younger, and first single, I would have flirted with a pretty flight attendant like her to take my mind off Justine's rejection.

Now, there's no allure to those games. Now, there's only a need to see Justine and find out what the hell is wrong with her.

And ask her to marry me.

I navigate around the computer screen, clicking the trackpad with my thumb. I've had a dull headache since I woke up – if I ever slept.

A window pops up on the screen, and it's David in an encrypted chat.

Bro. What's going on?

I'm coming back early. Justine's in the hospital. Have you heard anything?

The flight attendant returns with the water, and sets it on the table in front of me, along with a small bowl of almonds. She shoots me a little smile. I nod and thank her, and she disappears.

No, I haven't heard anything. Damn. Let me send our guys a text. What do you know? Who told you?

Caroline, the older lady that I've known, since Justine and I were together all those years ago. Caroline says it's not serious, but I need to come right away.

Jesus. That's cryptic. I'm sorry, man.

Yeah, me too. The guys didn't say anything about her, did they?

I'm trying to get them. But they haven't mentioned anything unusual there. They might not know. They've gotten kind of a frosty reception at the paper since you left. They don'tthink Justine likes them.

So they've told me.

They weren't planning to be at the meeting where Justine told the staff about the building sale. She didn't want them there. Said something about how they would seem like vultures to the staff.

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