Our Summer Adventure ~ Week One: The Arrival
The plane arrived twenty minutes early. Almost unheard of at LAX and Ethan braced himself for the inevitable wait for his driver. When he arrived at baggage claim, she was already there, sign in hand. ETHAN CARMICHAEL spelled out in neat block letters.
The young woman holding the sign smiled a greeting as he approached. “Mr. Carmichael? I’m Hannah James. Do you have any luggage?”
He shifted the garment bag onto his shoulder, “Just the one.”
“Please follow me.”
Before she turned Ethan caught the faintest glimpse of her eyes, deeper than denim with a hint of gold buried deep within. The impulse to touch her, to seek that feeling he’d not felt in far too long, overtook him and he shook his hand to keep from reaching out to her retreating form.
Clad all in black, from her boots to the button-down shirt she wore, she moved with a grace he admired. Long wavy blonde hair pulled into a ponytail swished across her back as she she led him to a black town car, it’s windows tinted a deep shade of obsidian that guaranteed the passenger complete privacy. He nodded his approval. At least the Company understood the need for caution.
Hannah held open the door for him, frowning when he paused before entering. She glanced at the interior of the car and then back to him. “Is something wrong?”
He slipped into the back seat, laying the garment bag carefully beside him. “Not at all. You have the address?”
“I do. If you’ll just click in, we’ll be on our way.” She closed the door to further conversation and took her seat behind the wheel. Before starting the engine, she sent a text message and Ethan wondered to whom it was addressed. After he heard the tell-tale ping of an incoming text, she started the car and drove out of the parking structure in silence.
From behind his sunglasses he studied her in the rearview mirror. Tiny diamond earrings, a gift from an admirer perhaps, glinted from her earlobes. A brush of mascara was the only make up she wore on her clear skin. The severity of her look was softened by the natural blush in her cheeks. Ethan smiled to himself. He was affecting her whether she wanted to admit it or not. At least he hadn’t lost his touch.
Hannah maneuvered the car as if she’d been born to long lines of traffic and delays. Ethan studied her as she surveyed the surrounding cars. “Do your friends call you Han?”
A slight flick of blue in the review mirror, brows pinched with irritation. “Only Luke and Leia. Why do you ask, Chewbacca?”
Despite himself he laughed. A full-belled chortle that startled the silent passenger beside him. Ethan placed a comforting hand on his garment bag. “What do you do for fun, Hannah James?”
“I drive inquisitive passengers around town.” The slightest lift to the corner of her lips encouraged him.
“That’s all? Surely you must go out. Can you recommend any clubs? I’ve never been to Los Angeles, I’d like to see some of the city while I’m here.”
She squinted at him in the mirror, her lips a tight line across her face. “I don’t go out much. Sorry. If you’d like, I can give you a list of ‘must sees’”.
Ethan stretched his legs in the tight space. “I was hoping you could be my driver for the week. Is that possible?”
Her stare in the rearview mirror intensified, her brows pinched ever closer together. “I’m sure we can arrange something.” A flick of blue to each of the side mirrors, then back to the rearview mirror.
The car filled with heat, subtle, but there nonetheless. The scent of honeysuckle infused the small space.
Ethan turned to look out the back window, catching sight of a speeding motorcyclist as he whizzed past the driver’s side of the car. Hannah gripped the wheel, her knuckles turning white. A rapid pulse beat against the delicate skin of her neck and the smell of perspiration mingled with the honeysuckle. Without drawing attention to himself, Ethan pulled his garment bag closer to his side, placing the seat belt over the bundle. If Hannah thought his actions strange, he would laugh it off, but it was better to be safe than humiliated.
The motorcyclist swerved in front of the car, forcing Hannah to slam on the brake. “Sorry about that, Mr. Carmichael.”
Ethan’s attention was attached firmly to the motorcyclist, who was slowing down despite the other cars moving at normal speed. “Please, call me Ethan.” He kept his voice affable.
The black-clad cyclist turned then and pointed a gun at the window of the car. Hannah yelled for him to get down as a pulse of hazy green light shot from the muzzle of the gun, enveloping the car with an ionized power Ethan felt to his core. The bundle beside him whimpered in pain.
“What the hell was that?” Hannah shouted at the cyclist as the car engine began to stutter and fail.
Now it’s your turn! What happens next? Does the car completely fail? Does the motorcyclist kill Hannah? Who do you think Ethan is, and why is a murderous cyclist after him? Leave your ideas in the comments and come back next week to find out if they stall out on the 405.