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The Upgrade
By Fayne


The young investment banker sat down in Seat 2B with satisfaction. First Class to London. This is living. Nodding briefly to the older gentleman sitting in the window seat next to him, he gazed around the cabin.

Whoa, what do we have here? A beautiful blond woman, impeccably dressed in a finely tailored skirt suit, came down the aisle.

Please, please, the banker pleaded to the airline gods. Yes. The woman sat in Seat 2C, directly across the aisle from him. The window seat next to her, 2D, was vacant. Hmm, maybe he could pretend that he had claustrophobia and that he needed to be able to see out. He was about to offer to help the blonde stow her carry-on but the flight attendant beat him to it. The woman thanked the attendant with a smile that caused the banker's heart to jump a little.

The attendant offered beverages. The banker was going to have champagne but noticed that the woman only ordered an orange juice. She probably didn't like drinkers, he decided, opting for sparkling water instead. He certainly didn't want to scare the beauty or have her think he was some kind of lush.

The banker's hopes rose as more passengers arrived and Seat 2D remained vacant. Then the flight attendant approached the woman and spoke to her. The banker could barely hear but caught the word that caused every full-paying First Class passenger to shudder—upgrade. They weren't going to let some riff-raff from Coach sit next to this goddess, were they?

The blonde nodded to the flight attendant. A few minutes later the curtain that separated First Class from the masses opened and a creature, dressed in jeans, an untucked flannel shirt, and dingy tennis shoes, with brunette hair tied into an approximation of a pony tail, strode up the aisle. She glared rudely at the blonde goddess, who demurely rose and allowed her to get into the window seat. No words were exchanged.

The plane took off. The flight attendant offered more beverages. The blonde took champagne this time, chatting with the attendant about the vintage while examining the color and the texture of the bubbles in the glass. Her seatmate got a beer, declining a glass altogether. The brunette made an odd sucking sound every time she took a swig from the bottle. The banker found it disgusting.

A meal was served. The blonde goddess unwrapped her silverware delicately and ate slowly, apparently savoring every bite. Her flannel-clad seatmate scarfed down the food with one hand while reading a motorcycle magazine with the other. She got salad dressing on the pages. She ignored the blonde completely.

After the meal, the movie started. It was a moronic comedy: Police Academy IV or some such drivel. The banker refused headphones as did the blonde. However the brunette took them with alacrity and soon started guffawing at the idiocy on the screen.

The banker began chatting with the goddess across the aisle. They exchanged names and backgrounds. She was going to London for shopping and sightseeing. Staying at the Savoy, of course. Then a trip to the Lake District. Just a chance to relax in the countryside.

The banker told her about his business, the deal he was on, his hopes for a promotion. The time flew by. She was an amazing listener. He was more than a little in love by the time movie ended and they dimmed the cabin lights.

The blonde got up to use the lavatory. When she returned she had changed her jacket and skirt for a silk top and pants and had brushed her hair into a flattering but more casual style for the evening's rest. Flannel Woman, as the banker had internally named the brunette seat mate, used the facilities as well. When she came back, rudely forcing the blonde to get up again, she pulled down a leather jacket from the overhead bin, reclined her seat to its lowest position and simply pulled the jacket over her head. A little while later, snores could be heard. The banker exchanged a sympathetic glance with the blonde. He hoped that she wouldn't be disturbed by this cretin. The blonde assured him that she had eyeshades and earplugs.

The inhabitants of Aisle 2 slept. A few hours later, the lights were brought up. The goddess returned to the lavatory and re-emerged in her elegant suit with make-up freshly applied. To the banker's eyes she looked more beautiful than ever. Flannel Woman pulled her jacket off her head, yawned, and cracked her knuckles, apparently the extent of her morning ablutions.

A light breakfast was served. The goddess chatted with the attendant about the croissant and jam. Apparently they were almost as good as someone named Mrs. Garrett used to make. The seatmate, evidently still a little sleepy, merely slurped on her coffee.

The plane approached England. It became a little turbulent and seatbelts were required. The banker looked over to the blonde to offer comfort. He started. Although he couldn't get a clear view, it almost appeared that the blonde and Flannel Woman were holding hands. It must be an illusion, he decided.

The plane landed. The banker quickly jumped up and retrieved the blonde's carry-on from the overhead bin. She thanked him with a charming smile. The brunette seatmate glared at him balefully.

The banker exited the plane and retrieved his bags. He managed to get behind the blonde in the customs line. Oddly enough Flannel Woman was there too. The three of them cleared customs. The blond deposited her suitcase on the ground and moved off to make a phone call. Flannel Woman picked up the bag and transferred it to a luggage cart.

"Hey," the banker cried. "What do you think you are doing? That's not yours."

"Excuse me?" the brunette replied coldly.

"I said that's not yours. It belongs to Miss Warner. She was sitting next to you."

"I know who Miss Warner is, buddy," Flannel Woman said with irritation. "The question is: do you know who I am?"

"I am sure I have no idea," the banker said haughtily.

"I am the love of her fucking life," the former occupant of Seat 2D replied.

The End

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