Laila stared at the screen on the back of the seat in front of her. The red blinking dot told her they were somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean and the only thing she would be able to see out her window were the stars. Sterling was by her side, his hand resting on her leg, his thoughts deep in whatever book he was reading. She turned and smiled at him. He was wearing his glasses and looked absolutely gorgeous. She sighed and closed her eyes, her head leaning back against the seat.
This semester was going to be amazing. She, along with Piper, would be studying in Paris, five months abroad without restrictions and with the leniency of teachers who knew the students were there to learn more than what was taught in the classrooms. Sterling would be in London, what was only a short train ride away, and she could see him almost as often as she liked. Not that it wouldn’t be difficult to be away from him during the week, but they had made the decision together knowing that their interests lay in separate cities.
“What are you smiling about?” She heard Sterling whisper as he placed a kiss just below her ear.
“Just excited, that’s all,” she answered, opening her eyes.
“Why don’t you try and sleep? We’ve got a long ways to go still.”
“I’m surprised anyone on this plane can sleep with your brother’s snoring.”
Sterling snorted a laugh. Even over the loud hum of the engine, he could hear Alistair from four rows back and could only imagine how Piper was feeling right now. “It’s only this bad when he’s trying to sleep sitting up,” Sterling defended his brother.
“I don’t know how Piper deals with it at all.”
Sterling grinned at his girlfriend. “Will you still love me when I’m old and fat and snore throughout the night?”
Laila raised her eyebrows and pretended to think about her answer. “Hmmm, definitely not. I’ll leave you and take all your money for child support.”
Sterling laughed at her sarcasm but felt that warm sensation inside whenever Laila spoke about their future. Child support? He couldn’t wait to have children with her. A baby, his baby to be specific, would look so perfect in her arms. She was going to make a great mother one day and a wonderful wife.
But it wasn’t time for children yet. That was still many years away. He eyed Laila with a slight hunger as he thought about what they would have to do in order to conceive a child. No, it was a bad idea for Laila to get pregnant, but he was always in the mood for a little practice. His hand slid from Laila’s knee up to her thigh and he gave her a rough but loving squeeze. She smiled back, probably thinking he was just being affectionate, and Sterling winked at her.
“No,” Laila said almost immediately as she picked up on Sterling’s hint.
“What?” He smiled at her suggestively.
“Don’t look at me like that!” She blushed a deep shade of red and diverted her eyes downward.
Sterling’s hand crept higher up her leg and he leaned in to kiss her neck, knowing that he was just going to embarrass her even more. “Beautiful, don’t you love me?”
“Don’t you dare try to guilt trip me into having sex with you right now!” she whispered, trying to act insulted but failing miserably.
Sterling feigned offense. “I would never! But you can’t tell me you aren’t thinking about it.” His hand slid past her hip and moved quickly up to her breast.
“Stop!” Laila laughed, pushing his hand away and glancing around to see if any other passengers had been witness to Sterling’s offensive behavior.
“All right,” Sterling conceded with a devilish grin. “I’m just going to get up and go to that first bathroom up there. I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
“No you won’t!” Laila said, pushing him as he stood up to leave.
She laughed again as Sterling looked at his watch and tapped the face. “Two minutes,” he mouthed to her before turning and walking slowly up the aisle. She watched him until he had reached the lavatory door and then grinned as he glanced over his shoulder to make sure she was still looking. With another quick and knowing wink, he disappeared into the cramped restroom and Laila sat back in her chair, smiling to herself.
He had to know she wasn’t going to follow him in there. She just wasn’t the type of girl to do that sort of thing, no matter how gorgeous her boyfriend looked or how turned on she was. It would be indecent, inconsiderate to the other passengers, not to mention uncomfortable. She almost laughed out loud as she imagined the position Sterling would try to get her in. But even the ridiculousness of the imagined act made her blush.
She glanced around the plane at the sleeping faces of the other passengers, some with their heads resting at uncomfortable angles on their neighbor’s shoulder, others with their mouths open as they dreamt. Very few overhead lights were on and no one was even standing up to stretch their legs. She craned her neck and looked toward the front of the aisle where the flight attendant was dozing, her head leaning back against the wall, her arms crossed at her chest and her eyes closed. No one would even notice if she got up and joined Sterling, would they?
Making her decision against her better judgment, Laila quickly unbuckled her seatbelt and slid out of her chair. She walked quickly up to the lavatory but was stopped by a familiar voice.
Laila turned to see Piper smiling up at her, Alistair’s head on her shoulder, a book open in her lap. “Couldn’t sleep. I guess I drank too much water.”
Piper raised her eyebrows and shook her head at her roommate. “How incredibly inconvenient.”
“Isn’t it?” Laila laughed and blushed. “Looks like you’re having some trouble sleeping yourself.”
Piper rolled her eyes and nudged her boyfriend who groaned a little but kept on snoring. “He’s out cold. I don’t get how he doesn’t wake himself up with all that noise.”
Laila laughed again and then looked toward the bathroom. “Good luck with that. I’ll see you two when we land.”
“Enjoy the in-flight entertainment,” Piper called after her as she walked the rest of the way to meet Sterling. Piper smiled, slightly amused that Laila would try something like this, slightly shocked that Sterling had been able to convince her to do it. She knew Laila hadn’t come up with the idea on her own.
Piper turned her head so she could look at Alistair. Between the two brothers, he was decidedly the one more likely to try and join the mile high club, but was now clearly feeling the effects of his Nyquil. He had been so sick that Piper almost begged him to cancel his flight, knowing he would be miserable the entire way. But Alistair had insisted, saying that if he was going to lose her for an entire semester, he was going to at least make the most of it and fly to Paris so they could spend the last few days together before school started.
Piper didn’t know what she was going to do without him for five months. Of course, going to different schools, they didn’t see each other every day or even every weekend. It was how their relationship started, and even though neither party was happy about it, it worked for them. But being across the ocean from him was going to be insanely difficult. She wouldn’t be able to drive up to Harvard on a whim. They would have to schedule times to call each other. She had asked Alistair to come with her, at least join a program in England or Germany, but he had declined, announcing he was going to overload on classes so he could finish school in three years and move to Connecticut to be with her. Piper loved that idea.
She leaned her head back and closed her eyes, Alistair’s loud snoring keeping a small smile on her face. She would have a great time this semester and she knew Alistair would come to visit as often as he could. In less than a year he would graduate, they could move in together, and never have to spend another day apart.