He missed the old days, before security tightened up, when you could meet a flight at the gate, watch the passengers emerge from the jetway.
It just isn’t the same down here, he thought, looking at the luggage spewing out of the chute onto the conveyor belt below.
He watched the travelers pouring down the escalator. His eyes searched out her face, but his body called out to her first—a tightening in his fingertips, a rush of electric current in his cells.
Her dark hair swung, an unruly curtain hiding her profile. He knew her by the way she clutched her phone, the way her fingers on the cross-body strap of her bag betrayed tension.
She looked out over the clusters of people around the carousel; her gaze scanned without settling on him.
Could he be wrong? Was that not her?
She stepped off the escalator, combing back her thick hair and shifting her bag from hip to back. She saw him.
He wasn’t aware of going to her, only of the relief of having her in his arms. He wrapped her in everything he’d wanted for the moment. They swayed, clinging silently to each other while the crowd flowed around them.
She’d always described herself as a burrower, and he smiled against her hair as she tucked her face into the collar of his shirt.
When he couldn’t stand it any more, he drew back. He framed her face in his hands and studied her. Half a heartbeat to understand her face, the other half to align it with memory. Heartbeats slowed, a bass line thrumming between them.
They were close enough to draw breath from one another, twined and entranced, but he hesitated.
Her eyes, green- and brown-flecked kaleidoscopes, mirrored the fierce joy racing through him, but he hesitated.
Sometimes I wish I could just wrinkle up the continent to be with you.
“I’m getting on a plane,” she’d said. “You’ll be there, won’t you?”
The inexplicable cord that bound them snapped tight and drew him to where they now stood, close enough for him to count the pale freckles under her eyes.
No more hesitation.
He pressed his lips to the corner of her smile, caught the peony scent of her perfume when her wrist brushed his cheek. Her fingernails traced the hairline behind his ear and she sighed into him.
Even as one kiss ended another began, neither one willing to relinquish the other’s long-desired mouth until the noise of the terminal began to seep through.
He pulled away, leaving one last chaste kiss on her cheek. She looked up, met the eye of a passing commuter and blushed furiously.
“Hi,” she said.
“Hi,” he replied.
I’m also linking this up with Trifecta‘s open writing challenge for July.