Emily stared blankly at Olivia, her mouth agape.
“You know I’m only kidding, Em.” Olivia laughed and grabbed Emily’s hand, tugging her toward the back of the jet.
Trying to keep up, Emily sighed and shook her head. “What are you doing, nut job? You’re not coming with me. Or is this something else you’ve decided on a whim?”
“This is Blake Industries’ new jet, and if you think I’m stepping foot off it before I see every inch, you’re just as flighty as I thought.” Olivia halted and snorted. “I just made a joke. Flighty, flight, fly, flying. Get it?”
“Yes. I get it, Liv. Wanna know what I’ve decided on a whim?”
Olivia tilted her head, her eyes wide. “You’re not changing your mind, are you? I said I was kidding around, Em. You know I’m your biggest fan right now. I know this is scary for you—the whole flying thing and Gavin possibly not taking you back—but you have to do this. The pilot doesn’t look drunk, well, not too drunk, so it’s pretty safe to say you’re in good hands. Besides, if you don’t go, you’ll never find out what could’ve happened with you and Gavin. You’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”
Emily placed her hands on Olivia’s shoulders. “I’m not changing my mind, Olivia, but I’ve decided you’re no longer allowed to drink cappuccino.” Emily dropped her arms and smiled. “For someone who practically vibrates after one cup, two cups and you look like you’ve been smoking crack.”
“Oh. Right. My mother tells me the same, minus the whole smoking crack part.” Olivia reached for the back cabin door. “She usually says I look like I’ve committed a murder.”
“What are you doing? We can’t just go in there.”
Olivia whipped her head around. “Why not?”
“Because it’s Gavin and Colton’s private cabin.”
“Big deal.” Olivia shrugged and pushed open the door. “Like I said, I want the grand tour before I get off.”
Emily shook her head and watched Olivia disappear into the cabin. When the engines roared to life, she squeezed her eyes closed and clawed the tops of leather seats on either side of her. The vibrating sound immediately ignited her sickened fear of flying. She shivered. With a trembling breath and heart bouncing against her ribs, Emily mentally flipped through her one and only reason for being there.
Swallowing down her instinct to get the hell off the jet, Emily steadied herself, wiped away the sweat gathering on the back of her neck, and took two tentative steps forward. She tried to breathe deeply through her nose as she took another step, her fingernails nearly puncturing the cold leather. Grabbing the smooth, mahogany doorframe of the cabin, Emily peered in and found Olivia sprawled out on a king-sized bed, her lazy smile showing she was comfortable.
“You need to get up,” Emily stated. She shakily made her way across the room.
Smile faltering, Olivia sat up and pursed her lips. “You’re seriously no fun.”
“I know.” Emily frowned and rushed a hand through her hair. Her eyes darted around the room and landed on a blue Yankees cap hanging on a hook next to the minibar. Momentarily, she froze. Ignoring both her fear of flying and Olivia’s bitching about something as she slipped off the bed, Emily stared at the cap before moving toward it. Lifting her hand, she gently grazed her fingertips against it, her heart heavy with memories of Gavin’s smile shining in the sun as they sat at the game just a few months before.
As if the cap had seared her skin, Emily dropped her hand, hot tears blurring her vision. Backing away, she once again resisted the urge to flee. Run. So used to running from everything, the habit consumed her, but it faded as a slow smile curled her lips. She closed her eyes, a tear slipping down her cheek, and allowed Gavin’s sweet, dimpled smile to wash over her. Allowed it to propel her into the unknown of what was to be of their future. If anything at all.
Emily felt a hand on her shoulder, and she swept away her tears, not wanting Olivia to see she’d been crying. Quickly, she turned around and made her way past Olivia.
“Are you okay?” Olivia asked, following her out into the aisle.
Slipping into one of the seats, Emily rested her head against the window. “I’m fine.”
Arms crossed, Olivia arched a skeptical brow. “You know, you’re really not a good liar.”
“Yeah. My mother used to tell me that,” Emily whispered, facing Olivia.
With a weary smile, Olivia leaned over the cream leather seat. She cupped Emily’s chin in her hand. “Right here, right now, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. Everything’s going to be fine. I know you don’t believe me, but I think I have some kind of psychic thing going on. It’s going to be bucketloads of babies in a nasty green minivan with Mr. Gavin Fuckable Blake. You’ll see.” Olivia popped a kiss on top of Emily’s head, straightened, and walked away. “Text me the second you land!” she called out as she exited the jet.
After declining a beverage and a snack from the flight attendant, Emily closed her eyes and tried to concentrate on that baby-filled minivan. Gavin’s face flashed through her thoughts, bringing with it a flutter of anxiety and hope as she felt the jet rolling forward. The sound of her rapid heartbeat was devoured by the screaming engines. She calculated the flight from New York to Playa del Carmen at four hours and fifteen minutes, after which she knew her life would be forever changed, more so than it already had. Gripping the sides of the seat, palms sweaty, Emily Cooper found herself in a very different situation than the last time she was en route to a new destination, a new beginning. Sighing, she watched the city’s steel giants disappear beneath the blanket of clouds. Her heart sank as she inwardly prayed that what she was doing would indeed change her life.
This time for the better…
This time no longer afraid…
This time fighting for the man fate slated her to be with…
After an hour of standing in line to clear customs, Emily made her way through the crowded airport, her black suitcase rolling behind her. She weaved through a mixed array of tourists of every ethnic background as her nerves steadily built with each step. This was it. She was here, and there was no turning back. She only prayed that when she left, she’d have Gavin at her side.
However, it wasn’t something she was expecting.
Upon emerging from the packed building, her flesh hit with heat, she squinted in the bright sun. She searched for the driver Colton’s secretary told her would be waiting. Through the mass confusion of vendors peddling handmade blankets, dolls, and T-shirts, Emily’s gaze landed on a short, dark-haired man holding a sign with her last name on it.
Approaching him, she smiled and flashed her passport. “Hello, I’m Emily Cooper.”
“Yes. Yes. Hello, Señorita Cooper.” Reaching for Emily’s luggage, the man returned the smile and led her toward a black limousine parked among several collectivos in the busy streets. “Is this your first time in Playa del Carmen?” He opened the door for her.
Emily slid in, welcoming the air-conditioning. “Thank you. Yes, it is.”
After closing her door, he placed her belongings in the trunk, rounded the vehicle, and settled into the driver’s seat. Twisting the mirror slightly, he stared into it as he spoke. “Well, welcome. Our town is beautiful. My name is Javier. I make sure to give you nice tour on the way to your hotel. Si?”