Scene: O’Hare International Airport, Terminal 2, near TSA security checkpoint.
Amid the typical hustle and bustle of airline passengers headed for their gates or arriving from their destinations and headed out the door into the bright sunshine, TSA workers and Chicago’s finest patrolling the corridors, airline workers on lunch break, and maintenance personnel emptying trash cans, stands a man named Steve. He appears to be waiting for someone. He alternately looks at his phone, scans the TSA security line, and the Delta check-in area, wanders toward the windows that look out onto the street where departing travelers are dropped off by loved ones or taxi and limousine drivers. He casually wanders about the waiting area for a minute or two.
Suddenly, Steve spies an attractive redhead arriving by car outside and he walks hurriedly out of direct line of sight, not wanting to be seen by the woman, but also not wanting to attract unwanted attention from the TSA or the policewoman to his left.
Out on the street, a woman arrives. Her name is Patricia. She is — as always — impeccably dressed. She walks assuredly through the doorway into the terminal. It’s evident she’s played this game before. She is a frequent flyer; it’s evident in her walk and her demeanor.
As Patricia walks toward the security checkpoint, Steve approaches Patricia from behind.
Steve: Did you need any assistance with your carry-on, Madam?
Patricia (recognizing the voice, but surprised by the polite intrusion, turns, with a surprised but controlled expression on her face): What are you doing here?
Steve (smiling and reaching for Patricia’s carry-on bag): Just proving that I’ll do what it takes. I promised you we could make this work. I just thought this would be a simple way to demonstrate.
Patricia: I don’t have much time.
Steve: I know. It doesn’t matter. I just wanted to see your pretty face. (Pausing and then adding abruptly) And make a point.
Patricia (with a sideways glance and a broad smile): You’ve done that! What are you doing here?
Steve just smiles back at her.
Patricia: You didn’t have to do this. My God, what if you would have missed me?
Steve (smiling, almost giggling): It was worth the risk. (Then seriously) You’re worth it.
Now it’s Patricia’s turn to simply return a smile.
Steve: I’ve checked the departure board. Flight is on time. You leave in 25 minutes.
Patricia: Thank you.
Steve: Now, before you get into that line and schmooze the handsome guy over there in the Delta Priority Check-in line, I ask the young lady’s permission to accompany me in this direction. (He motions toward the stairway.)
Patricia: I only have 20 minutes.
Steve: I only want five. It’ll take you five minutes, max, to get through security, and it wouldn’t take you ten minutes to get to the gate if you crawled there on your hands and knees. That leaves you five, maybe ten minutes before your flight leaves. You’ll be one of the last to board. Just the way you like it.
Patricia: You do pay attention to detail, don’t you?
Steve: You know it. Now come on! I’ve only got four and a half minutes left.
Patricia: Okay. Lead on.
Steve takes Patricia by the hand and leads her toward the stairway. The two walk about 20 feet, between a pillar and the windows. The view of most of the travelers and others present is obstructed from this position.
Steve wheels 180 degrees to face Patricia. He moves very close to her face and asks in a whispered voice…
Steve: Do you know any nice restaurants near the airport?
Patricia is surprised by the odd question. It prompts a smile.
Patricia: Around O’Hare?
Steve (still whispering, moving closer to Patricia): … or perhaps you can tell me if there’s a nice airport in northwestern Indiana…
Patricia has heard enough. She wraps both arms around Steve’s neck. Steve has Patricia’s carry-on over his left shoulder. He pulls Patricia as close as he can with his right arm. The couple share a tender kiss.
… it lingers for a long while. The couple unlock their lips and each share a satisfying sigh. A smile slowly spreads across each of their faces.
Patricia: Well, this is quite the bon voyage.
Steve: I told you. You’re worth it.
Patricia: That is a really stupid line.
Steve: Hey, gimme a break. I worked hard planning the rest of this. That’s the best I’ve got right now.
Patricia grabs him by the neck and pulls him close for another kiss. There is more passion in this kiss. When their lips separate, there is less smile and more intensity in their gaze at each other.
Patricia: Thanks for carrying my bag.
Steve: Thanks for the kiss. My five minutes is up.
Patricia: Walk me to security?
Steve: With pleasure.
Patricia and Steve embrace one last time. Then Patricia fixes the hair in front of her face. Not that it needs it, perhaps just a perfunctory exercise to make sure she looks professional. The pair separate, maintain a professional distance, and walk toward the TSA checkpoint.
– End, Part I –