Ty and Avonna meet on a flight to Minnesota and quickly form a connection, conversing for the duration of the flight. When Ty's girlfriend suddenly ends their relationship during the trip, Ty is left feeling lost and alone in an unfamiliar city. In her time of need, she turns to Avonna, who comes over to provide comfort.
Gradually, as they spend more time together, Ty and Avonna develop a strong bond. However, Ty's biggest fear remains that it might be too late for them as Veya still lingers in the picture. Amidst all this confusion, Avonna helps Ty through her pain.
The speakers in the airport blasted that another flight was ready to board. This time, it was our flight, but my girlfriend hadn't gotten back from getting us Starbucks some gates down. I examined the many people coming and going. My heart leaped as I spotted her making her way back to me. Her platinum blonde hair in a perfectly coiffed ponytail, and her casual attire still looking picture-perfect.
We'd both been working non-stop; me on business trips, and her on her projects. I think we were both looking forward to a break, if only for a few days. We'd spend it smoking in bed with the fireplace burning for no reason, or out exploring Minnesota's many offerings. Whichever we chose, I just wanted uninterrupted time with her.
"Let's get going. It's time to board the flight, sexy," I informed her, kissing her as we made it to our gate.
She sighed heavily and shook her head slowly as she scrolled through her phone with a dull expression. “Babe, I still can’t believe I let you convince me to leave our cozy city to go on vacation to boring ass…" she muttered, her voice heavy with disbelief.
I planted a couple of kisses on her cheek. "Honey, it's going to be great. I swear."
I grabbed our Starbucks while she gathered her MacBook and carry-on suitcase. I prayed neither of us would end up working on this trip. I know I had been distant lately, and she was tense. I’ll see to it that we both relax.
Veya approached the boarding door first, handing our tickets to the agent. Usually, she is the one to plan everything. This time, I did everything on my own, down to booking an Airbnb. Veya can be very selective, so I hoped my choice would fit her taste because I ensured it fit my budget.
Once we reached the end of the jet bridge, I smiled, revealing my dimple. The way the flight attendant greeted everyone at the door reminded me of an elegant ball. The way she spoke was classy, and her uniform was tailored to perfection. The plane was a large twin-engine aircraft with a silver body and red and grey pinstripe pattern. The Delta logo was set in. There was a sweet aroma of freshly baked cookies with a hint of floral perfume.
We were walking past about four rows of first-class seats when suddenly, Veya stopped in front of me, glancing at her boarding pass.
“Looks like my seat is right here, honey,” Veya said in excitement.
I crossed my arms and raised an eyebrow. “You upgraded our seats and didn’t tell me?”
Veya pushed her carry-on into the overhead. “Well, I used my frequent flyer miles to upgrade us both, but there were no seats together. At least we both get first-class seats for free, right?”
Confused, I took a look at the ticket. Seat 10A. My seat was in the last row of the first class. “Why would you rather sit in first class than together?”
“I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Babe, we're together all the time. You complain about being on a budget, so this was me helping out."
Shocked, I was speechless for someone who usually has a lot to say. Irritation surged through me as Veya acted like her need for luxury was more important than my need for companionship. Sitting in first class is more important to her than spending time together. Furious, I glared at her silently instead of voicing what I had to say. We hadn’t been close in a while, and I had been looking forward to holding hands and watching a movie. Not her sitting in a separate seat.
Other passengers behind were starting to look impatient. I moved towards my seat knowing there was no point in trying to work this out now. I couldn’t help but be bothered now by how the vacation started.
Once I took my seat, the line started to move again. I saw a woman behind glaring at Veya with a look of disdain. Her lips moved rapidly as she said something to her, though I couldn't make out the words. Typically, I would feel a sense of outrage, but she must've heard and considered what I am. Who the fuck does that? I thought to myself, brow furrowing in perplexity as I wondered why she would come on a trip with her partner and not want to sit with me. The same woman was now entering my row. Her eyes met mine as she smiled and nodded an apology before struggling to shove her suitcase into the overhead compartment.
"Looks like you've got me in your row. I'll do my best to shut up," she joked, her smile widening even more as she attempted to break my somber mood.
Satisfying the mystery woman, I smiled in response, the dimples in my cheeks creasing as I did so. She lightly slid into the seat, trying her best to avoid touching me, but her arm still brushed against mine for a second.
“I rarely get a seat but a window, but when I noticed this time, it was too late,” she said, her voice low before extending her hand. “Avonna.”
I took her hand in mine, smile finally widening. “Ty Aire,” I replied.
“Is Minnesota home for you?” she questioned.
I shook my head. “Nah, only going to visit, but it will be like my first time.”
She let out a small sigh. "Fortunately for you, it is a beautiful place. You're in for a treat, if you know what I mean. I may be one-sided on this since I grew up out there."
My smile broadened even more, causing her own to mirror it, revealing that she too had dimples. Only on one side of her rounded face though. This woman was way too fine not to have a nigga.
"Well, Ms. Local, I’d love to hear more,” I invited. “My girlfriend and I are going to stay near Minneapolis, check out the mall, Voyageurs National Park, Minnehaha, and Split Rock Lighthouse. The Minnesota zoo is fun too, right?
"You won't be disappointed with any of those tourist attractions. I promise you," she marveled at the thought. "As I mentioned though, I might be one-sided since that's home."
I giggled at her trying to play it cool. “I’m sure you’re right. I read reviews, and theirs were all pretty good.”
“I’d suggest going all the way to Gooseberry Falls State Park. That’s if your girl would be interested. She doesn’t seem like the type,” Avonna shadily added. “I was behind you while getting on."
My face turned from a smile to raised eyebrows. I didn’t feel Veya was any of her concern. “She’s not, but I love the outdoors,” I started, deciding to now keep it short.
“All I am saying is I overheard the situation, and I offered my seat to her. She declined.” Avonna cut her eyes from me to the seat.
I shrugged. “Arveya likes lavish, and I prefer modest.”
“Not to sound like the bitch that I am, but girllll save that logical bull shit for someone else. I don’t care about the money or who I have to bully. If I’m on a flight with my partner, we sit together, period., Avonna offered her unasked-for opinion.
I honestly felt what she said and felt away that Veya didn’t accept the offer for us to sit together. I know I haven’t been the best girlfriend, but I prayed she hadn’t found comfort in someone else already. Maybe she preferred the distance I put between us. I would probably regret this but sometimes talking to strangers helps.
“A relationship takes two, right? I can’t put all the blame on her,” I admitted, looking out the window. “I act as if I don’t mind the distance between us all the time knowing I do. I’m a little passive-aggressive at times.”
“I still feel like you’re being logical, and it’s simple to me. Regardless of differences, your partner should have wanted to sit with you,” Avonna disagreed. "There's a lot my opinionated ass wants to say, but you're a stranger, and it's not my business."
“Where do you stay out there, Ms. One-sided? What do you do for fun?” I inquired, trying to change the subject.
"Well, like your woman up there, I'm bougie. I live in Minneapolis of course, but often out in Rochester at my family home. I own a high-rise condo in my city courtesy of the rents. It isn’t too far from where you’re staying.”
“Okay, that is dope, real dope. What kind of work do you do?” Avonna looked at me funny. "That is if you don't mind me asking." I chuckled, throwing my hands up a little.
“Baby, I'm a jack of all trades, expert in none, but I get better every day. I would say that being a traveling make-up artist funds my life the most. I just got off tour with a singer. What about you?”
"I like to call myself a serial entrepreneur. I'll get it by any means necessary, but I’m a technical engineer, so that keeps me away from home and on the go."
“Engineering, huh? So, that means you’re a smart ass? Always thinking about some shit?”
If I couldn’t sit next to my woman, I wouldn’t have to sit through the flight with someone annoying me. Although I couldn’t get Veya off my mind, my seatmate distracted me from possibly causing the scene I wanted to. I took a good look at her and noticed she had a few visible tattoos which made me wonder about the ones not visible.
The flight attendants began speaking before I could respond to Avonna. We looked out the window watching the plane start towards the t runway. This is my favorite part of the flight; when the wheels catch speed then go off in the air. I didn’t think Avonna felt the same way. She had her eyes closed and was doing breathing exercises.
“You good, ma?” I incited.
“Not, really. I hate the takeoff.” She opened her eyes, peeked at me then out the window again. “After we're in the air, I’ll be straight.”
I held out my hand, amazing myself a little. Never was I this friendly. Avonna seemed to hesitate initially but ended up putting her hand in mine. A slight smile appeared on her face.
The plane started to accelerate, causing Avonna to squeeze my hand. I put my body back in takeoff position, my thumb stroking the back of Avonna’s hand. Shortly after, I could feel the plane leveling, and Avonna dropped my hand.
I had been watching Thor: Ragnarok when suddenly, we started experiencing some turbulence. Avonna awakened; her face had been resting comfortably on my shoulder.
“Amyr?” she murmured.
“Nope, not Amyr,” I dryly responded.
Without hesitation, she swiftly sat up, pulling away from my shoulder and rubbing her eyes. "Damn, I don't usually get good sleep on a plane. I didn't mean to use your body as my pillow.
Inside, I wished all this time that it was my girlfriend resting her head on my shoulder. “It’s all good. I think I’m doing just fine as a pillow. Now, Amyr is it you said? On the other hand, you might not think so.”
“Ms. In a Relationship, if you wanted to know my relationship status, you could’ve just asked.” She yawned. “I only said that bitch name because she was in my dream. I’m single and ain’t no stud worthy of all this right now. Can’t find someone not always mad I’m on the road.”
I pressed pause on Thor, throwing my head in her direction. “You fuck with bitches?”
Avonna gave me a toothy smug grin. "Well, duh. What… did you think I liked niggas?"
“Nah, I figured you were a tired woman who didn't mind sleeping on strangers with someone at home waiting for you.”
"Well, you got two of the three assumptions right. Do you know what I was thinking about you? You are very tolerant and nice to my running mouth.”
I couldn’t stop the smile from forming on my face. “You know what, ma, thank you for being outgoing. I had prepared myself to be on this flight with an attitude this entire time but sitting next to you has been enjoyable.”
“I don’t think anyone has ever thanked my ass for being outgoing,” Avonna commented. “I'm glad it didn’t get on your nerves too much, though. And I’m glad I could change your mood. Nobody wants to sit next to negative energy for hours.”
“What can I say, the cliché, I’m different. Outgoing people are interesting to me because I'm shy.” I realized I was flirting now and had been for a little while. I consider myself someone who liked playing with fire knowing I shouldn’t have been doing it. There was no feeling of guilt that I could find in me. Avonna looked down, reached under the seat in front of her, and pulled out a bag of THC gummies.
“You fuck with these?” she asked.
I grabbed my backpack and pulled out some mini weed brownies I had bought for Veya and me. “Hell yeah, I do. How about we both share?” I offered.
We exchanged snacks and even offered the woman in the row seat some. Of course, she accepted. Who is turning down weed these days? Sitting in first class came with snacks but nothing like your own. When I sat back in my seat, I saw Avonna cutting her eyes at me and smiling.
“How did someone like you end up with a woman like that? I’m sorry, but I ain’t over the seat for you.”
I could tell Avonna was more genuine than nosey, but Veya was still my woman, so I felt the need to defend her.
“She isn’t that bad. As I said before, I'm distant all the time. This seat was her way of showing me she didn’t mind it anymore. I must learn I can’t force people to want to do things on my time.”
I could feel my eyebrows frowning unwittingly. Avonna was egging the situation on. I had been trying to let it go all flight. When it does boil down to it though, I would've sat by her if things were reversed. I wouldn't have chosen to sit with strangers. I must admit, things from the outside do look a little shitty.
Before we could continue, the speakers came on with the pilot letting us know we were almost there. Things were feeling awkward now between us, so I faced Avonna, smirking.
“Would you mind if I reached out to you if I have more questions about where to go and what to do out there?” I inquired.
“Totally would love that.” We switched phones. “You’re going to have fun. I don’t think you can go wrong with Minnesota.”
“Thank you. We 'e supposed to be here for a week, including the 4th of July.”
“What made you decide to even come this time of year? Most people come in the winter for the snow and shit.”
“We just needed to get away, and I chose somewhere we'd both never been. I also have some family here. You think we're still going to have a good time?”
Avonna shook her head up and down. “Summer is my favorite time of year out here. We experience the least amount of cold all year. It rains a lot, so you may need to be prepared for that.
As we filed off the plane into the airport, I grabbed Avonna’s shoulder. “It was delightful meeting you. I’ll be sure to use your number if I have some questions.”
She smiled hard at me, the dimple on her cheek showing. “Have a wonderful trip, and I like that we met as well.”
I nodded, taking my hand off her shoulder and walking to where Veya stood. She was on the phone already. I could feel Avonna’s eyes still watching me. It’s as if she felt a way about giving me back to my girlfriend. I couldn’t help but feel my relationship was being judged based on one lousy interaction between us. We have a lot of good moments together too. She was the one who would be going home to no one.
“You want something besides water from out of here?” I asked Veya.
I stopped at a small shop inside the airport so I could grab us some water. My smile grew as I saw the people walking by, curious to know where they were going. It faded slightly when I saw Avonna again, shaking her head at Veya ignoring me and still near the front of the shop in a full-blown conversation on the phone.
As disappointed as I was about spending the entire flight apart from each other, I told myself to cut Veya some slack. I know better than anyone it isn’t easy to step away from your job for a week at a time. She likely needed the last couple of hours to wrap everything up while she was away. Maybe once she is off the phone, I will get her attention for the rest of the trip.
When we made it to the rental car place, Veya got off the phone. "I'm so sorry, baby. I've been trying to ensure everything goes smoothly while I am away."
“It’s cool, ma. I'm jet lagged. You mind if we just go to our room and order in?” I asked.
Veya frowned. "I thought you said we'd go to various restaurants out here? Let's stop at the room and change, then go out to eat. There's a restaurant I want to try."
I had been excited to spend time with one another alone, but I wanted to make Veya happy. After all, this was her trip too.
"Okay," I agreed.
An hour later, I wished I hadn't agreed. The restaurant we walked into had a 360-degree look at the city from our patio seats. I could tell it would be expensive because of the décor, waitstaff, and clientele. After we were seated, I prepared myself for the prices on the menu. I try not to make money such a big deal, but just because I have it doesn't mean I want to spend it like Veya. Unsurprisingly, most appetizers were more than thirty dollars, and entrees started at fifty, peaking at around eighty.
“I knew this wouldn’t have been your first pick because of how much you complain about spending unnecessary money,” Veya spoke, scanning the menu. "But, babe, we're on vacation, and you know I love seafood, which they're known for."
I gave her a half smile. "I understand, and you’re right. It’s all good, Veya."
Before Veya, I was doing fine living in modest apartments with roommates, grabbing take-out, and getting brunch together on off days. Veya's taste is a lot more expensive. I didn’t think it would take a toll on us. When we decided to move in together, we had to find a whole new condo because mine wasn’t good enough for her. Everything has been a blur since.
“If it makes you feel better, we can split an appetizer if you want," Veya suggested.
“Not sure what difference that will make, but yeah, we can do that.”
Veya took my hand in hers. "I love you, Ty. I'm looking forward to this trip and spending more time with you."
I force a smile. "I love you too."
Veya’s phone dinged, and she gave her attention to it. As she read the message, I used the opportunity to look around the restaurant and process the situation. I tried to understand the difference between the first night of our trip and the money conversations I had with Veya. She used to know how to budget, but now she cares less about how money is spent.
When we moved in together, I thought things would balance out. I also thought we would both have the same mindset when it came to money habits. I used to be good at saving, but now I try to not think about it. Our conversations about money usually lead to arguments because I am more conservative with the way I handle our finances while Veya often chooses the more expensive option.
My train of thought is cut short when Veya glanced up from her phone, giving me a sincere look. “I know I have a habit of spending on the more expensive stuff, but I am trying to be better. That is why I suggested splitting the appetizer. I hope you can understand that even if I don’t always think of our finances first.”
I took her hand in mine and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “I know, Veya. We both have different mindsets.