Grounded in Toronto Ch. 01-02

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, merchandise, companies, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. All characters are 18 years or older when in sexual situations.



Flying is definitely an exercise in masochism. You know you are going to be hurt, yet you go back time and time again for more punishment. The true proof of the proposition? If you fly enough so that you really hate yourself the airline rewards you with – – a free flight.

I travel for a living. I’m a representative for a large pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland so I’m on the road more often than not. For the most part everyone has their travel routine. The more experienced flyers will barely acknowledge their seat mate and the last thing they are looking for is five hours of tedious conversation. I’m one of those people. I not an ass, really. I just travel so much I can’t treat every flight as a cocktail party. Yet one “everything went wrong” flight last summer changed my life and changed it for the better.

Chapter One

I had just finished a tour of Canadian cities, starting in Vancouver in mid-May, then Calgary, Edmonton and finishing up in Toronto in early June. I was at the Toronto airport awaiting my flight to London. It was scheduled to board in 45 minutes, and that was when I got the first hint that something was amiss.

“For those passengers on Flight 1932 with nonstop service to London, we have a mechanical issue that has delayed the departure for one hour.”

There was a collective groan from the crowded waiting area, followed by smartphones lighting up like a Christmas tree ceremony. I was one of them, texting my new boyfriend in London that I might be delayed. My radar was up. The mysterious “mechanical issue” could easily morph into a “flight cancelled” announcement. I checked my favorite travel site for alternatives and discovered, not surprisingly, that there were no other non-stops to London until the following day, and that was with the carrier I was on.

I then surveyed my clothing alternatives. There were none. Since I had packed for a three week trip I brought a large suitcase and my briefcase. I had of course already checked my suitcase and my briefcase held only the papers from the meeting I attended earlier that day and my laptop. I was wearing the outfit I had worn to my meeting, a presentation to a major Toronto-based medical network, which was designed to show that I was professional but also attractive. Most of the clients in attendance were middle aged men and they appreciated both the quality of my presentation and my impeccably tailored business suit where the skirt was perhaps an inch too short and the silk blouse was unbuttoned perhaps one button too many. I’ve been told that I’m attractive, and I did nothing to dissuade that impression with my chestnut brown hair tastefully flowing down my back and my beige pumps with 4 inch heels.

My feet were aching, as the waiting area was packed to overflowing and there was not a seat to be had. I decided to kick off my heels and sit on a large expanse of carpeted waiting area amidst a sea of roller bags. As I was drawing off a bottle of water two other people joined me on the floor, a college aged woman with a backpack and a business woman like myself.

The business woman was deep into her phone so the college aged woman spoke up first. Looking at me she broke the ice by asking “Why are you going to London?” I couldn’t really refuse the conversation as we were not in “airplane mode” so I answered truthfully. “I just met a guy last month from London and I’m going back there to see him.” I studied her face. She was a cute blond, her hair in pigtails, with a college sweatshirt (presumably her alma mater), ragged jeans that actually reached that state from constant wear and not from a factory, and hiking boots.

She continued, “I’m going to London for the first time on vacation. I’m from Detroit. What do you do for fun in London?” I decided to draw the line right then and there. I’ve actually been to London a dozen times and have a long list of things I’d do on a vacation, foremost the British Museum and the Egyptian antiquities collection. But it was a long day and I was tired. I lied. “I’m visiting London for the first time myself so I’m not sure what to recommend.”

The business woman, who I thought had lost herself in her phone, unexpectedly joined the conversation. “I’d start at the British Museum. It’s an amazing experience for someone as young as you. Most tourists will rush to see the Rosetta Stone but for me there’s no question I’d start with the Egyptian antiquities collection. It’s the best in the world.” I was startled to hear what I was just thinking. The woman, who appeared to be in her early 40’s, so about ten years older than me, was striking in appearance. She was perfectly casino oyna coiffed with her honey blond hair in an elaborate chignon. She was wearing what appeared to be a St. John’s matching jacket and skirt and a cream colored silk blouse. She had a pair of Stuart Weitzman black pumps, my favorites as well, sitting next to her bare feet. The business woman and the college woman got into an extended conversation where I was a bystander due to my feigned ignorance, ranging from the Churchill War Rooms, Harrods (and whether it was really worth the trip – – it is) and a weekend in the Cotswolds. A good 45 minutes passed and then there was the blessed announcement that they would begin boarding.

I put on my uncomfortable shoes, even more so with my feet swelling from my extended stay on the floor, and headed to the first class boarding line. I was excited to see that the business woman queued up behind me while the college aged woman went to the back of the coach line. Before I entered the jetway I was given a box with wine in it. I had almost forgotten I bought a couple bottles of wine at the duty free shop for my celebration with my new boyfriend. Box in hand, I walked down the jetway and made the left turn to the first class cabin and snagged my favorite seat, seat 1A on the window with no one in front of me. I stashed the box in the overhead compartment and was busy unpacking my briefcase when the business woman sat in seat 1B.

“I guess we are seatmates now as well.” She extended her right hand to me. “Eleanor Burton.”

I took her hand in mine. “Camille Durand.”

“So Camille. I know it’s customary to bury our noses in our Kindles, but since we’ve already informally met perhaps we can chat for a bit.” I put down my Kindle and focused on her face. She had a beautiful disarming smile framed by an oval face.

“So tell me the truth about what you like in London. For someone who flies in first class and has a boyfriend in London this can’t be your first trip there. My guess is you didn’t want to get into an extended discussion with that delightful young girl.”

“Guilty as charged. I was going to second your recommendation. I try to get to the antiquities exhibit every chance I get when I’m in London.

“I saw you stored a box with wine in it. I hope you won’t view this as an impertinent question but what did you purchase?”

I told her that I loved to visit Napa and Sonoma and I’ve acquired a taste beyond my means. I bought a bottle of Shafer One Point Five and a bottle of Darioush, both lush cabernets. Her eyes lit up at my mention of these wines. “I must confess my weakness for California Cabernets. When I’m in England it’s heresy to admit this, as everyone there prefers Bordeaux blends and turns their nose up at the upstart California wines.

We then engaged in a discussion of our favorite restaurants and hotels in wine country, only to have our spirited discussion interrupted by an announcement on the PA. When I heard the click of the PA turning on I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

“Sorry folks. The mechanical issue has reared its ugly head again on the restart of the engines. I’m afraid we’re going to have to requisition a part from our parts depot in Newark so it’s going to be at least six hours before this plane gets off the ground. The airline will put you all up in a hotel. The gate agent will be giving everyone a $20 voucher for food in the terminal. You should claim your bags at baggage claim and bring them back tomorrow or else recheck them again tonight at the counter.”

Eleanor and I looked at each other with the resigned look we each had on the numerous times we had gotten the bad news on a flight delay. This one was particularly bad. My only consolation was that I had someone to commiserate with.

Eleanor’s eyes brightened as she had an epiphany. “Let’s skip the crummy food at the terminal. Let’s go to my room and I’ll spring for room service and you can open up one of your yummy bottles of wine.”

I extended my hand to her. “Deal.”

We collected our belongings and deboarded the plane and headed to baggage claim. We collected our checked luggage and made our way to the terminal buses that would take us to the chain hotel located on the airport grounds. Fortunately we were one of the first people off the bus at the hotel and were able to secure our room keys within minutes of arrival at the hotel. The hotel itself was forgettable, with the usually lobby accoutrements and the bustle of stranded passengers and flight crews all jockeying for seats at the lobby bar. Eleanor and I went up to our respective rooms and I promised to be at her room in thirty minutes.

I decided to take a shower first and then change into more casual clothes. It was a blessed relief to kick off my heels and strip off my work clothes. I went into the shower, first savoring the hot spray and then drifting off to reflect on my dinner with Eleanor. I’m not a lesbian, I’ve never had an experience with a woman, yet something inside me told slot oyna me that this dinner might become a memorable experience with the “what” a complete mystery to me. I used the tiny bar of hotel soap to create a rich lather in my hands and worked the tiny bubbles into my breasts. I’ve always viewed my breasts as an attractive part of my body and the shower was a good opportunity to appreciate the smooth texture of my skin, the pebbly texture of the areola, and the firmness of my erect nipples. The erotic dance of my hands on my body was a welcome diversion from the travel trauma of the day. My hands went lower, taking stock in my flat belly and the well-manicured pubic patch below. I shaved my legs again for good measure even though I couldn’t feel the presence of any stubble.

I stayed in an extra couple minutes just to enjoy the feel of the water sheeting off my body, then I stepped out of the shower stall to feel the bracing cold of the bathroom floor. But even that cold shock and the thin hotel towels didn’t detract from the renewal I felt from the shower. Refreshed, I went to my suitcase and picked out my comfort clothes, a pink polo shirt, well-worn jeans and a pair of canvas tennis shoes. I did pick out one of my better bra and panty sets even though at the time I did it I didn’t know why I was doing it.

Chapter Two

I’d travelled hundreds of thousands of miles and yet there was always something new to experience. This was a first for me, having dinner in a strange hotel with a woman I just met who was sitting next to me on an airplane. I grabbed the box with the two bottles of wine, my room key and my purse. I exited the room and walked to the elevator, not looking back but listening for the familiar “click” of the self-closing room door and telling myself, “What the fuck, this is going to be interesting.”

I got to Eleanor’s floor and looked at the signage on the wall to figure out which direction I should go. I walked down the floral patterned carpeting, noticing the chips in the molding and the small tears in the wallpaper. I wasn’t expecting a luxury accommodation and I certainly didn’t get one. I knocked on Eleanor’s door and within moments she opened it. If eyes could sparkle hers did at that moment. Her aquamarine eyes and her perfectly complementary eye shadow completely disengaged me and I practically tripped over my own feet walking into her room.

Eleanor was most gracious in ignoring my clumsiness and invited me to sit down in one of the two guest chairs in her room. Her hair was still in a chignon fit for a wedding but she had also dialed down to a white cotton button down shirt, jeans and leather sandals. Her manner of dress, movements and speech all spoke to a refined upbringing.

She took the seat on the other side of a small round table and handed me the room service menu. “I’ve already picked out what I want. Let me know what you’d like.” I reached over to my box and pulled out both bottles and set them on the table. “And likewise, I’ve put two bottles of wine on the table, pick out the one you want.”

I scanned the menu quickly and there were two obvious choices. “I’ll take the garden salad with the vinaigrette dressing and the filet, medium rare.”

Eleanor’s eyes brightened up, if that was possible. “My choices exactly. It’s the only way to enjoy these magnificent bottles.” Eleanor reached for the Darioush. “I prefer this 2013 vintage to the 2011 vintage of the Shafer” she noted. It was the same advice I’d received from the salesperson at the duty-free store.

I offered up the hotel wine opener. Eleanor hefted the substantial bottle and then used the cutter to trim the foil cap and proceeded to expertly insert the corkscrew and pull out the cork in an easy swift motion. I requisitioned two wine glasses from her small hospitality bar and she filled them halfway. I won’t bore you with my tasting notes but the nose was, apropos of the evening, seductive. And the wine? Mouth filling, velvety and simply yummy. I felt guilty my new boyfriend wouldn’t be able to sample this wine but I was sure he would have approved its appropriation under these emergency circumstances.

We sat in silence as we savored the wine. Under the soft light of the floor lamp I took the time to again study Eleanor. I was captivated by her fine, lustrous hair in an elegant hairdo, the finely chiseled features of her face, her full lips and those sparkling eyes. Her make-up was flawless, as she must have spent the 30 minute intermission fixing her make-up and her hair.

She broke the silence with a question about my trip to London. I told her about my new boyfriend, the circumstances of how we met, and my plans for the visit. She listened in rapt attention as we both hit the bottom of our first glass of wine, and without asking she refilled both of them. Then the expected question from me to her about her trip to London. She was meeting with her publisher. She was a relatively well-known fiction author with an audience centered on the lesbian community. canlı casino siteleri She had just drafted another novel and was going to discuss the right person to edit the work.

My mind went to a full stop. I suspected something might come of this evening but now the possibilities were clearly in front of me. Eleanor was truly beautiful woman and as far as I could tell a lovely person. Was I prepared to move forward and see how the evening unfolded? Perhaps it was the wine, her perfume, or my “throw caution to the wind” attitude, but I couldn’t help myself when I asked the inevitable. “Are you in a relationship now?”

“It’s funny you should ask. I live in Los Angeles and I could have handled this discussion about my book on the phone. It wouldn’t have been as been as complete a discussion but I wouldn’t have had to have flown halfway across the world. But I just got out of a long-term relationship with a professional photographer, and I happened to be in Toronto on business, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to get away from Los Angeles, handle my meeting with my publisher in person, and then spend a week or so wandering around London and the surrounding areas to get a fresh start.”

I completely understood. “That makes sense to me. So would have I heard of your former partner? What was her name?”

Eleanor laughed. I wasn’t expecting that. Did I say something terribly wrong? She could see the concern on my face.

“My former partner’s name is Nathaniel Axelrod.”

Now I felt like a complete idiot. “I . . . uh . . . I’m sorry . . . “

Eleanor commuted my sentence to social manners purgatory. “Don’t be embarrassed. People assume that since I write women’s literature that I’m a lesbian. Well I have dated women but I have also dated men. Nathaniel was a wonderful person to be with but our relationship got stale. Unspoken words, long silences, have you been through the death spiral of a relationship?”

It was my turn to laugh, both from the relief of receiving dispensation from Eleanor for my gaffe, and from my own history with men. “More times than I can count. The flame always burns bright at the beginning but the level of the connection just isn’t as deep as one would hope and after you burn through the sexual excitement and the obvious areas of common interest. The real test of a relationship is after those areas are played out and new connections need to be formed. I just ended a long-term relationship a few months ago, hence the new boyfriend.”

By the time we finished this interchange the second glass of wine had vanished. Eleanor poured us a third, and dinner hadn’t even arrived.

Eleanor leaned forward slightly and took my hand in hers. She looked me in the eyes and my heart started to melt. “It doesn’t mean we can’t surrender to serendipity. I hardly know you, but I feel I’ve known you for a long time. And I find you incredibly attractive.”

I should have been thinking about my response, but my eyes wandered to her breasts, as she leaned forward her shirt opened slightly and her lacy bra and the tops of her breasts were clearly in view.

Eleanor broke the silence again. “Camille, I think you’re staring at my breasts. I’m flattered.”

That’s twice within a few minutes that I lost track of my manners. I was startled and knocked over my glass of wine. The glass fortunately didn’t break and it wasn’t full, but there was enough in the glass to spray Eleanor and spoil her shirt.

“Now Camille, if I didn’t know any better I would think you were trying to seduce me. Spilling wine on my shirt so I’ll take it off is a pretty standard move, wouldn’t you think?”

She started to unbutton her wine splattered white shirt slowly and seductively. I was mesmerized by her delicate movements as she handled each button. “Camille, I haven’t called our order in yet and I think that dinner can wait, don’t you?”

She cast the shirt to the floor and I was staring at her full breasts, partially covered by her lacy white bra. I nodded my head “yes.”

“I presume you haven’t had any experience with women. Did you want me to tell you what to do?”

Suddenly I became shy. I nodded “yes” demurely. Eleanor found it to be endearing. She got up out of her chair and led me to the bed. We both sat down on it and took off our shoes. My heart was pounding in my chest.

“Relax Camille. We can take this slow and we can stop anytime you want. We pretty much have all the time in the world. Let’s start by touching each other’s faces.”

Eleanor started by touching her fingertips to my forehead and then slowly moving down my face, feeling my nose and then my lips. I reciprocated and also lightly touched her forehead, then her nose and her lips. I didn’t expect it to be sensual but the tracing of the face with the fingertips was thrilling, especially when she parted her lips and I put my index finger in her mouth, feeling the warm wetness within and the texture of her tongue. She pulled up on the bottom of my polo shirt and I helped her by lifting up my arms. As she pulled my shirt off I was glad I decided to wear one of my nicer bra and panty sets. She gracefully unhooked my bra in the back and I rolled my shoulders as she slipped the straps off my arms.

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