This is my first attempt at a novella which I intend to publish in eight parts. The story revolves around the characters you have been introduced to in my previous stories. I hope you enjoy them!
Disclaimer : I'm a huge KPop fan and you will come across names and photographs of KPop idols in most of my stories. They are my muse and inspiration in so many ways. The incidents and characters are fictional and have no resemblance to any K pop idol in any manner.
If there's one thing I'm really scared of, it's .... flying! Honestly I can spend a week travelling on the train, but one hour of flying in an aeroplane gives me the jitters! Every time I sit inside an airplane I start thinking about it crashing..... I always wish that if that ever happens, death should be instantaneous!
Well, that wasn't a very cheerful start to my story, but then I'm not really feeling very cheerful right now, anyway!
I'm flying 😱! I'm sitting inside an aeroplane clutching at the armrests so tightly that my knuckles are white! I guess so is my face, with fear! So, please bear with me while I deal with the 'take off'!
My eyes were tightly shut and I could feel my nails digging into my palm. " Just a few moments more.... You'll be ok.... Hang on!" I was chanting these words to myself like a mantra.
Finally, I felt the aeroplane level out at cruising altitude and I finally felt comfortable. I opened my eyes and rubbed my hands looking at the red marks on my palms.
Sitting in the first row, I could see the air hostesses bustling about, getting ready to serve the passengers. I had booked the aisle seat with extra payment because I wanted to be closest to the washroom and the exit!
Relieved, I closed my eyes and leant my head back , taking deep breaths. My eyes shot open as I felt a warm hand on my right hand, accompanied by a deep male voice," Ma'am, are you alright?"
Looking at me curiously, with concern on his handsome face, was a flight steward who owned the warm hand and the deep voice. I blinked trying to focus and said to him," Oh yeah, I'm feeling alright now... I'm not so good with flights! I hate flying! Can you please give me a glass of lemonade, or water, please? Thank you."
The warm hand was withdrawn but a deep velvety voice said," Of course, Ma'am. Just a minute please."
He was back within a minute with a glass of lemonade and I read his nameplate- Liam.
"Thank you Liam! I'm Leslie!" I said to him as I took the glass and thanked him.
He smiled and said," Nice to know you, Leslie! My best friend's name was also Leslie! Please let me know if you need any thing...."
"Was? Does he mean that his friend passed away? Or does he mean they aren't friends anymore? Well, I can always ask him later," I thought as I watched Liam walking away towards the other passengers. I was thinking about how beautiful his smile is, how it makes his blue eyes twinkle and how that smile adds to his drop dead gorgeous looks!
I rang the bell again and a pretty airhostess came to my seat. I requested for another glass of lemonade. The moment she came with the glass, I gulped down the sweet liquid and made my way to the washroom. The sudden movement made me dizzy and I lost my balance. But I didn't fall, because two strong arms held me up. I turned around to thank the person with the twinkling blue eyes, beautiful smile, warm hands, velvety voice and strong arms!!
"Thank you again, Liam!" I said and quickly got inside the washroom. As I walked back to my seat, the turbulence outside made the plane unsteady but I managed to reach my seat without further drama. But I did feel someone watching every step I took.
The flight would soon be landing but my destination is further away. Alas, my ordeal began again as soon as the flight started its descent.
When the flight landed, Liam came with 2 glasses of lemonade and gave them to me, flashing his heart stopping smile. As he came back to collect the glasses, he gave me a slip of paper with his phone no on it. I looked back at him dumbfounded! Was he trying to flirt with me now?
Liam- I have a break for 2 days before the next flight and will be meeting my parents. It would be wonderful to see you again, Leslie! We are from the same city. Do call me. I will look forward to it!
He winked and left me staring into space. It was time for the flight to take off again. Finally, after about 30 minutes we reached our final destination. I waited till everyone de-boarded the flight. As I walked towards the exit, I smiled and thanked the crew, Liam included.
I was relieved to be on terra firma after about 5 hours in flight! The air was cool and crisp as it had rained just before we landed. I pulled my coat closer to my body and walked towards the baggage belt, picking up a luggage trolley on the way.
Finally, after another half an hour in a cab, I was home!
Home sweet home! I unlocked the door and the musty smell hit me. I quickly opened all the windows and switched on all the fans to freshen up the stale air. I carefully shut the the main door and went to the kitchen to make myself some lemon tea. The flight had left me feeling queasy, although I felt much better now. I put my hands back in my warm pockets and found the paper with Liam's phone number on it. The very thought of Liam made me feel warm and cozy. I smiled as I recalled the only positive memories from the flight.
The next few hours were a blur as I was busy cooking and cleaning. I slept like a log after dinner, knowing that the next day was a Sunday! No pressure to get up early!
I'm a 'lazy Sunday' kind of person. So, I languidly stretched out my sleepy limbs on the bed and felt happy to see a bright sunny morning. What if I just spend the entire day in bed? Well, mom isn't around to wake me up on Sundays anymore! The very thought of Mom sobered me up and I got out of bed.
My mom had passed away a year back after battling with breast cancer for almost 5 years. I was with her every day of those 5 years when she was hospitalised off and on for treatment. She had almost started getting better when a relapse worsened her health and her chances of full recovery.
Munching on a buttered toast and sipping on coffee, I read through the newspaper when a news report caught my eye. There was a photograph of Liam with an old couple above a news item- " Old couple found dead by son"
According to the report,' Liam had found the dead bodies of his parents when he reached home yesterday. His neighbors helped him to inform the police and an investigation headed by the well known Detective Jeon was underway. Since Liam had a valid and strong alibi, he was not under immediate suspicion. Further details regarding the double murder are awaited as police suspects foul play'.
Leslie quickly showered and changed, wrote down the address from the newspaper and booked a cab. In about 40 minutes, she was standing outside Liam's apartment building, watching the place crawling with cops. As she reached Liam's flat, she saw the well known handsome detective in his trademark black ninja ensemble and wondered how young and capable he was. It was a known fact that Detective Jeon was always sent to investigate cases which were complicated and required 'out of the box' thinking. Time and again he had proved why he was respected and appreciated by his peers, colleagues and even competitors!
Leslie spotted Liam, holding onto Detective Jeon and crying. She slowly walked towards them, which made both the men look at her.
Leslie- Liam, I am so sorry.... I just don't know what to say.... If there's any way I can help, let me know.....
Liam let go of Jeon and held Leslie's hands, crying.
Liam- Thank you Leslie.... It's nice of you to come..... I definitely didn't imagine we would meet like this!
Leslie- Me neither... Liam,if you need someone to talk to or use as a punching bag, I'm here!
As Liam nodded his head, I noticed Detective Jeon watching me like a hawk. So, I turned towards him and introduced myself as Liam's friend. Of course, the genius wasn't impressed! Liam's brief account of how we met didn't convince him either.
Jeon- Ma'am, it's my job to suspect everyone. So, don't take it personally! Please.... I have known Liam and his parents since I was a child. They adopted me and brought me up like their own child.
What!!! The famous detective is Liam's brother? Now that's something the media will really blow out of proportion!