Eden Darry © 2016
All Rights Reserved
Gray Davis settled back into her seat and sighed. She closed her eyes, shutting out the low, excited hum of the passengers around her. She had been waiting for this holiday for months. Last year, she finally qualified as a GP and taken up a position in a busy surgery in West London. Gray loved her job, but lately it seemed like she hadn’t done anything except work. When the weekends came, she was too exhausted to go out with her friends. As a result, her love life was pretty barren as well. Gray’s best friend, Julia, finally staged an intervention. One Sunday morning, she had forced her way into Gray’s flat with an armload of travel brochures.
“Gray, I’m not leaving until you book one of these.”
Gray picked up the first one on the stack. “Sapphic Cruises? No chance.”
Julia simply sat down on Gray’s sofa, smiled sweetly, and leaned back with her hands behind her head. “Pick something, or I will beat you to death with the entire stack. I got on the tube with those. They’re bloody heavy.”
“I don’t need a holiday. I’m fine.” Gray plonked down on the sofa opposite Julia. She knew she was acting like a moody teenager.
“Gray, nobody has seen you in months. You haven’t had a girlfriend in what, three years? You’ve probably closed up down there.”
Gray laughed at the serious look on her friend’s face. “That’s not possible. Besides, I don’t want a girlfriend. I don’t even have time for a goldfish.”
“That’s what I’m saying!” Julia leaned forward and clasped her friend’s hands gently. “I know your career is important to you, but you have to slow down, Gray. Take some time to come out with us once in a while. And,” she gestured at the brochures, “book a fucking holiday.”
Defeated, Gray sat back and perused the glossy covers, shuffling them like a deck of large cards. She was exhausted. She’d been working non-stop for months at the new practice, hoping that by putting in the hours, it wouldn’t be too long before she was made a partner.
She’d been working towards this for such a long time. Being a partner would mean sharing in the surgery’s profits, as well as the added responsibility of hiring and managing staff. Not to mention the even longer hours. Maybe she did need a trip.
Gray stopped when one brochure caught her eye. On the front, a group of smiling women were holding hands as a blazing sun set behind them over a sparkling clear sea. She sensed Julia looking expectantly at her. “Why are they all LGBT travel brochures?”
“I told you. You need a break, and you need to give your vagina a spring cleaning. Two birds, one stone.”
Gray snorted with laughter and opened it.
So, here she was, on a plane, waiting for it to take her off to an island in the Caribbean. She glanced at the two empty seats next to her and then up the aisle where a couple more people made their way down, she wondered if she might get lucky enough to have all three seats to herself. Grinning, she closed her eyes and leaned back again.
Gray willed her mind to shut down and relax, even though it kept returning to work. Julia was right, she did need a holiday. The practice manager wasn’t thrilled at the idea of her taking time off. When Gray told her, she pursed her lips as if she were sucking a lemon and said, “You’ve only been here five minutes, and you want time off already?”
Gray tried not to let her thoughts run away with her. She was good at inventing disaster scenarios. Her biggest fear since booking was when she came back and they told her they’d picked another doctor for the partner position. It was unlikely, and if it did happen, there were plenty of other places she could work—even go in as a partner without the probationary period this surgery required. Even so, it didn’t stop her worrying. She liked it there, and it had a good reputation.
She wished she hadn’t let Julia badger her into it if she was going to spend the whole two weeks stressing about her job.
Gray must have drifted off, because she woke suddenly as someone huffed down into the seat beside her. She felt a strong leg press against hers and a sharp elbow in her side.
“Oh shit, sorry.”
Gray opened her eyes and sat up, annoyed. Typical that she would be sat next to the person who thought they deserved more space than everyone else. “Can’t you be a bit more careful? You’re right over on my side.”
“Sorry, sorry. These seats are so small. Once we take off, I’ll move into the aisle seat, I promise.”
Gray turned to look at the woman next to her, about to ask that she at least move her leg, when she stopped, unable to speak. Oh my God, she’s gorgeous. The woman was tall and muscular. Her thick brown hair was cut short and framed a face with cheekbones most models would die for. Her full mouth widened into a cocky grin that said stare away, I’m used to it.
It was the grin that helped Gray find her voice. Out of all the seats on the plane, she was the one stuck next to the lesbian Lothario. Refusing to give her the satisfaction, Gray flicked her eyes over the handsome woman dismissively. “Thank you.” Turning away, she felt the woman put a gentle hand on her arm. It tingled in the place where they touched. Gray smelled something citrusy and fresh as she leaned close.
“I’m Beau Pickford, by the way. What’s your name?”
She thought about making up a name for the hell of it. Beau Pickford was still pressed against her, and it was annoying. Although, in all fairness, the seats were small. “Gray Davis.”