Off the Cretan Track chapter 45

Off the Cretan Track chapter 45

A Chapter by Repgreece

Chaos at the airport

Nick couldn’t deny that he was nervous as he unlocked the door to his hotel room, but he was prepared for Jen. Nothing was going to stop him from breaking up with her. It wouldn’t be a pretty scene; he knew that. Jen would put up a fight. But what could she actually do in the end to stop him from leaving her?

When he entered the room however, it soon became clear that she wasn’t there. The time was approaching 10am. She must have come back from the airport by now. In fact, he was surprised that she hadn’t tried to telephone him before then.

After leaving Sal’s apartment, he’d decided to do what he’d planned on telling Jen that he’d done: go for a walk. At least then he wouldn’t have been lying, and it was good to stroll down the coastal road, taking in the fresh, morning, sea air. He had felt great, despite the impending confrontation he’d have to have with Jen. He’d felt alive, relaxed, confident, as if a new and wonderful chapter was about to begin in his life.

But now he wanted it over with. He was prepared now. Where the hell was she? Pulling out his mobile phone from his pocket, he searched for her number and telephoned it.

He couldn’t believe it; she’d turned the damn thing off! It was almost as if she’d had a premonition or something and was trying to prevent him from finding her so that he could finish it between them.

Well, what the hell was he going to do now? He’d have to stay there if she was going to find him, but he couldn’t bear sitting in that room. He’d go down to the pool. He could leave a message with Maria at the desk to tell Jen where he was when she came back. A swim would be good. He could also have breakfast there, and relax on a sunbed for a while until Jen turned up.

Unfortunately, by lunchtime, there was still no sign of Jen. Nick lay on the sunbed, willing himself not to think about it. She’d just turn up soon and then he’d split up with her, simple. But by 4pm, he’d swam and sunbathed and lay there, trying not to think, for too long. She clearly wasn’t coming down to see him. Maybe she was upstairs waiting, angry with him for not being there when she’d arrived back from the airport last night.

He was however, wrong again. The room was empty. Damn her! This was torturous. He just wanted it over with.

He collapsed on the bed and lay, staring up at the ceiling. About ten minutes later, his phone rang. Thank God!

It wasn’t Jen though.

“Nick, it’s Mike here,” came the voice on the other end.

“Oh, Mike,” he said with surprise, “hi.”

“Hey listen, I’ve been thinking about this quest of yours and I’ve come up with a fantastic idea. It could be great for you too,” he said, intriguing Nick.

“Go on then, what is it?” Nick asked.

“I’ve got some people who are very interested in taking part in this quest. They are friends of mine, people with a lot of spare time on their hands, a fair amount of money, and an interest in anything different that will fill that time. This quest is perfect. They can combine travel with culture, and with a prize at the end, there is an extra incentive.”

“Right okay, but how can I help?” Nick replied.

“Well, you know about the quest, and you know the island, but most importantly, you know hotels. There are a few people who are on their way today. Now, I could try to book rooms for them, but you’d know more about the best places, and if we get more people interested, you could make great commission. You could organize trips too,” he added.

“Hold on though, I’ve already got a job, working for a friend of mine who runs a tour company. I don’t think he’d be too pleased about this,” Nick pointed out.

“Well, it will only be for a few groups of people, and only for the period of the quest. It needn’t interfere with your friend’s business. Talk to him about it,” he suggested. “See what he says.”

Nick thought about it. “I guess I could, but what do you get out of all this?” he asked.

“Friends to travel with,” Mike replied, “and of course, I’d get the whole experience for free.”

It all seemed to make sense. Maybe he would talk to Adam. There was no harm in approaching him with it. At least he wasn’t doing it behind his back.

“Okay, I’ll speak to my boss and get back to you,” he concluded.

“You’ll need to do it ASAP. There are a few already on their way,” he reminded Nick.

“How many?” Nick asked.

“I think about five managed to get a flight today,” Mike replied.

“Well okay, that’s not so bad. Even if my boss doesn’t like the idea, I can at least recommend a hotel for you to book them into.”

“Okay, but work on your boss, I could do with your help,” Mike pushed.

“I’ll do my best,” Nick assured him. “I’ll phone him now and ring you straight back.”

“Great. Good luck,” Mike answered, “Speak soon.”

Nick spoke to Adam about Mike and his ideas. As Nick suspected, he was a little dubious to begin with, but he listened to Nick with an open mind, and came to the conclusion that Nick could do the work on the understanding that it didn’t interfere with his business. If it began to do that, then Nick would have to make a choice. Nick agreed to that and thanked Adam, feeling quite excited about this whole project. Mike was thrilled too. Now Nick would have to think more about how to structure the quest, but for the time being, his priority was finding somewhere for them all to stay.

Heading for the hotel reception, he spoke to Maria about availability of rooms in that hotel. There were a few rooms free, which he could use if necessary, but Nick would rather put all the guests together in one hotel, so he went back to the room and made a few phone calls to some other hotels he knew. By seven o clock, he had made all the plans he could for now, but Jen still hadn’t appeared. Well okay, she used to have a habit of doing this kind of thing before, especially when work was involved, but it just seemed odd that she hadn’t tried to contact him or anything, and also, that she’d only just arrived back from the UK.

Right, he needed to go to the airport tonight anyway. He may well see Jen there; then he could schedule a bloody appointment with her to break up! Either way, she’d have to go back to the hotel at some point, so he’d also leave a message with Maria. He didn’t need to be at the airport for a while yet, but he’d be damned if he was going to stay there any longer, waiting around, doing nothing. He’d get ready and go now. Then he could surprise Sal and keep her company for a while. He felt excited just at the thought of that and jumped into action.

Nick dismounted his motorbike, took the keys from the ignition and popped them in the pocket of his smart, black work trousers as he headed for the airport building. It felt odd wearing airport clothes again: a white shirt, but no tie today. Besides, it was his quest and it was going to be a tieless one. He had briefly considered greeting the guests in shorts, but had decided against it, particularly since Mike had told him that the people weren’t short of money.

Strolling through the coach park, which backed onto the outside desk booths, which in turn backed onto the airport building itself, Nick was hoping to find Sal at Adam’s desk so that he could surprise her. If he had to search for her inside the building, there was always the chance he could bump into Jen first, which would ruin… well everything, including his good mood.

As luck would have it, he spotted Sal at the desk from the other side of the coach park when one of the coaches turned and left, unblocking his view. Yep, he did like that uniform of hers. It ‘hugged’ all the right bits. The snugly fitted skirt clung to her hips and bottom so very nicely. He could see that, even at a distance, from her silhouette. The cotton blouse was just as snug if he remembered correctly, and of course, being Sal, she always left a few buttons undone. Oh God, he was becoming hornier the closer he was getting to her.

Then he remembered the diary entry. Was she feeling sexy now, right this minute? How would he know? He hadn’t known before. Maybe she was feeling ‘so sexy she was going to explode’. Maybe he could help her out with that, in one of the empty offices upstairs. She was right; he was a ‘naughty boy’. Oh lord, if only she knew! Now he had to calm down though. This was the airport: a place of decorum and formality. Oh God, but that was what made it all the more exciting and sexy. This was Sal’s fault. She’d put the idea into his head. Well, okay, he’d read her secret diary, but…she was a terrible influence on him. He laughed to himself. They were as bad as each other; that was what made them so great.

Luckily, she was leaning back against the desk, staring out in the opposite direction across the airport grounds, lost in her own little world. He approached from behind her, lifting his hands and reaching out to gently cover her eyes.

“Guess who?”

She jumped and then froze.

“Errr, give me a clue,” she asked, smiling.

“Hmm, well… extraordinarily good looking, charming and multitalented.”

“Ah, Brad Pit it is then.”


She laughed and swung around.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

Oh God, just the fact that she was looking at him now suddenly hit him, and he couldn’t think. What was he doing there?

“Err, it’s a long story,” he said vaguely.

A frown flickered across her face. That was weird.

“Oh, okay,” she replied.

Oh hell, now she thought he was nuts.

“So, how’s things?” he asked. That also sounded stupid. He was digging himself a hole.

She laughed. He sounded as though he hadn’t seen her for months. “Things are fine,” she grinned, watching him for a moment before, turning again to glance out at the airport. “Actually, I’m dead bored. Just waiting for the flight to come in, but there’s a thirty minute delay.”

“Well, you should be happy with thirty minutes considering, it could be a lot worse,” he answered.

She turned to him again. Why was he there? “Yes, I know.”

Okay, she was contemplating him now, her eyes all over his face, pondering, and making him feel twice as nervous. His eyes clung to hers in response, following their movements. Right, now he had to think of something to say; the silence had been stretching on now for a fraction too long. Oh damn, look away from her or something at least, you idiot.

“I don’t remember how I got to bed last night,” she finally said softly.

“You fell asleep,” he replied, in a half whisper, still lost in her gaze.

“Yes,” she smiled, “I guessed that.”

He laughed. Okay, that was obvious. “I carried you to bed,” he added.

There was something in those words, or was it in the way he’d said them, that sounded so intimate when verbalized.

She smiled, and suddenly broke eye contact then, glancing down at the desk for a moment before looking up again.

“I hope I didn’t snore,” she said.

He shook his head. “No, you looked real cute.”

Suddenly the thought of him putting her to bed and watching her sleeping, together with his compliment, made her unexpectedly shy.

She laughed awkwardly and was relieved to see a diversion approaching, in the form of her favorite airport dog, who she’d affectionately named ‘Stumpy’ after his short, chubby legs.
“Ah my baby,” she exclaimed, crouching down and holding her arms out to him.

Nick watched in bewilderment as Sal suddenly disappeared from view behind the desk. He stepped forward and leant over the desk to see the short legged dog receiving huge amounts of attention from Sal. Sal attention: hmm, damn lucky dog!

“Hello sweetie pie,” she cooed, stroking his head and back, and belly, after he’d flopped onto the floor and rolled over for more ‘Sal’ attention. Oh, what Nick wouldn’t have given to be that dog right then.

“Have you got a new friend, Sal?” Nick asked, peeping over the counter top.

“Oh Nick,” she said, as if she’d forgotten he was there, “this is my favourite airport doggy, Stumpy. Stumpy, meet Nick.”

The dog jumped up with Sal’s prompting and ran around the desk. Nick was astounded then to suddenly find himself bombarded with the overly enthusiastic dog as he jumped up and down his legs.

“Ahh look, he loves you, Uncle Nick,” Sal giggled as the dog took a huge leap and almost knocked Nick off his feet. Nick just stood there, not knowing what to do. He never really knew what to do with animals, having not had any pets as a child.

Sal walked around the desk and began to stroke Stumpy, who was still intent on getting Nick’s attention.

“Nick, he wants you to stroke him,” Sal prompted.

“Yeah, right,” he said, reaching out a hand to pat the dog on its head.

“Not like that,” Sal said, grabbing Nick by the arm and pulling him down to the dog’s level. “Say hello properly; he really likes you.”

Sal petted the dog, showing Nick how it was done, and prompting him to also show the dog some affection.

“I really don’t know why he would like me,” Nick said.

“Dogs have great senses; he knows you are a really nice, kind person,” she replied.

On hearing that, Nick felt all soft and tingly inside. He turned his head then to look at Sal, who was crouched next to him. Her hands stilled on the dog’s fir, and she too turned her head, sensing Nick’s eyes on her.

Did she really think he was a ‘nice, kind person’? She was by far nicer and kinder than him. She was so pretty, and beautiful, and sweet, and loving, and so totally natural at being all of those things. Oh God, he suddenly realized again that this was the woman he loved, and, without warning, for one frightening moment, he was bursting to tell her… right there and then.

Why was he looking at her like that? She was being drawn in by his eyes again and it felt so strange. What was he thinking? She could never read him when he was like that. She had no idea what was going through his head, and it made her nervous…unable to think of what to say or do in those moments. He looked kind of different too, which was having an odd effect on her. He was dressed all smart. Well okay, it was his usual airport uniform, but she must have forgotten what Nick looked like in smart trousers and a shirt. And his aftershave too seemed to be more noticeable, especially since they were crouching down so close together. She broke eye contact then, as her nervousness got the better of her, and focused on the dog instead. But his hands were there too in its fur, large and manly. Why was she overly assessing everything about Nick? She’d never done that before.

“Hi Sal.”

The interruption startled her and she jumped up, looking around herself, almost as if she’d been doing something wrong.

“Oh hi,” she replied, unable to hide her lack of enthusiasm at seeing David, the ‘Locatour’ rep from her neighbouring booth. He was always hanging around Sal’s desk, bugging her, and getting in the way at the most inconvenient times.

“You got a delay again?” David asked, watching as she moved back around the desk, closely followed by Stumpy. The dog nudged David’s leg as they moved past him, and he instinctively brushed his trouser leg off, a move that Sal noted with annoyance.

She glared at him. “Yes David, thirty minutes.”

“Ah, poor you,” he replied, oblivious of her dislike as he stroked her hand, which was now resting on the desk. She pulled it away.

Who was this jerk? Nick didn’t remember him from last year. Nick made his presence felt by folding his arms across his chest and leaning back against the desk, taking up most of the space. This did little to put David off however.

“I’m just going to the snack bar Sal, do you want anything?” he asked.

Sal thought for a second. “Yes actually,” she said, with a bright, polite smile. David’s face lit up. “I’ll have a bottle of water… for Stumpy.”

David’s smile faded.

“You sure you don’t want anything else? Something to eat or drink…for you,” he stressed.

“Err,” Sal pretended to think about it. “No,” she concluded.

David left then, to Nick’s delight, looking decidedly deflated.

“Who’s he?” Nick asked.

“Oh just some Locatour rep,” she replied.

“He’s a jerk. If he pesters you too much, let me know, and I’ll have a word with him.”

Sal smiled and leant towards him across the desk. “Have you come to be my hero?”

“Well, not exactly…but I would,” he replied with a decisive nod. “Actually, I’ve been offered some work,” he announced.

“Work?” Sal answered with surprise.

“Yes, you’re not going to believe this but Mike phoned me. He’s got a load of tourists interested in the quest and he wants me to organize things. That’s why I’m here now; there are five coming on the Gatwick flight,” Nick explained.

“Oh, great, but what about working with me?” she frowned.

He smiled. “Hey look, I’ve already spoken to Adam about it, and he said that if it doesn’t interfere with our work, then he’s okay with it; I’ll do both. And anyway, I want you to get involved with the quest too. It was our quest to begin with, remember.”

Her face lit up. “Yes, I remember. Sounds good to me then.”

“Excellent,” he grinned back.

“Well, I’d better check on this flight,” Sal said, picking up her clip board and bag.

“I’ll come with you,” Nick said. “My flight won’t be that long now until it lands…assuming that it isn’t delayed as well.”

“Where are the guests staying then?” Sal asked, as they strolled towards the terminal building.

“I’ve booked them into the same hotel as Mike for the time being, but I’ll have to find somewhere else when more people arrive,” he replied.

“How are you getting them back?”

“Mike suggested just putting them all in taxis for now,” Nick answered.

As it turned out, Nick’s flight wasn’t delayed, and it ended up landing just after Sal’s delayed plane. Sal left Nick then to go and find the two other reps that were also working that evening for her, whilst Nick waited outside the arrivals door for his guests to come through, with their names at the ready. He’d asked Maria if she could print out the five surnames onto an A4 sheet of paper, which he’d attached to a clipboard so that it would be easier to find the correct people.

As Nick stood in the arrivals hall, unbeknownst to him, a familiar face was lurking amongst the crowds of people, waiting and watching him.

Soon, streams of people began pouring out of the arrivals door, firstly from Sal’s flight, and then from the Gatwick one. At first Nick was pleased with the people who approached him enthusiastically, asking about the quest and showing a lot of interest in the project. Even some other tourists were listening in, with curiosity, to the chatter between Nick and his guests. However, Nick soon became confused with the names on the list he had, as more and more people approached him. Maybe some random tourists had become confused and thought that he was their rep because there were far too many people there. He was trying his best to be polite and answer everyone’s questions, but soon he was simply being mowed down. What was worse was that the crowd around him was blocking the path of everyone else coming out of the arrivals door, causing great annoyance amoungst the other reps. How embarrassing!

“Right everyone, can I please have your attention,” Nick suddenly shouted out. “All those people who have arrived here to do the quest, booked by Mike, can we please move out of the way of the other people arriving. If you’d like to move outside then I can talk to you there. Can we all gather by the seating area opposite the taxi rank please?” he said, ushering the huge crowd through the electric doors.

The familiar face watched them go, chuckling to himself.

Outside, the crowd just seemed to get bigger and bigger, and the people got chattier and chattier, and sometimes more agitated as the odd person began to complain. Things were getting out of hand; he had to do something. Clearly when Mike had said five were arriving, he didn’t mean five people, or even five couples, he meant five groups… and big groups too! But then how the hell did he expect Nick to find enough taxis for them all? If Mike had known there would be so many people, why didn’t he ask Nick about a coach? Not only that, but he hadn’t booked anywhere near enough hotel rooms!

“Okay everyone, as I’m sure you can appreciate, there is only one of me, and many of you, so if I can ask you all to be a bit patient please. I’m going now to find your transport but it will be at least fifteen minutes, maybe more, until we will leave. If any of you would like to go and take a seat indoors and grab a drink or snack from the café, then please feel free to do so, and meet back here in fifteen minutes,” he suggested.

There were a few mumbles of protest from the crowd then, but finally, most of the people dispersed and gave Nick some much needed thinking time to sort this whole mess out!

“Nick, what on earth?” Sal said, tapping him on his shoulder.

He turned, running a hand through his hair. “I know! Bloody Mike didn’t tell me this many people were arriving tonight!”

“You’ll never get that many taxis,” she pointed out.

“I know,” he sighed. “What the hell am I going to do, Sal?”

“Oh crap. Err, well look, you’ll have to go see if you can find a free coach. Sometimes they wait around in between flights. Or they might have just finished. If you’re lucky, the company might agree to do a quick run for you, but you’ll have to offer them extra money. You’ll be okay there though, because the people were prepared to pay for taxis, so just work out how much you want to offer the coach company and then let the guests know how much they’ll have to pay. If they complain, just tell them something like it is better for them all to go together than wait around for taxis.”

“Right,” Nick took a deep breath. He could do this. He went to move then, but stopped and turned to Sal. “Sal, I know that you’re busy and everything, but do you think you could just work out the money side of it, how much I should offer and how much, say, a thirty seater coach would coast them each? It’s just that…” He breathed in deeply again, and it looked to Sal like he was close to hyperventilating.

“Don’t worry, I’ll work it out,” she said, with a supportive hand on his arm. “And I’ll calm down the crowd as much as I can when I’ve got any spare time. You just concentrate on finding that coach.”

He breathed a sigh of relief. “Thanks Sal…Oh hell, the hotel!” He exclaimed, suddenly realizing that finding the coach was only one of his major problems.

“Oh yes, okay, leave it with me; you can’t do everything all at once. Just find a coach first that will be willing to get them to resort. I’ll ask around about the hotel,” she reassured him.

Oh thank God.

“Sal,” he said, grabbing her by both arms, “I could kiss you right now. In fact, I think I will,” he said, pulling her abruptly towards him and kissing her firmly, but swiftly, on the lips before running in the opposite direction towards the coach park to find the all-important coach.

Sal lifted a hand to her mouth and giggled to herself, glancing around to see who had noticed. Nothing seemed to be amiss, apart from the fact that now she’d completely forgotten what she was supposed to be doing.

© 2012 Repgreece

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Hmm, well… extraordinarily good looking, charming and multitalented.”

“Ah, Brad Pit it is then.”
Ha, hilarious. so it seems Sal likes him too. nick has grown confident after reading her diary entry hasn't he. xD

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Added on December 29, 2012
Last Updated on December 29, 2012
Tags: love, romance, fun, summer, friends

Off The Cretan Track