All The Highs
2017 was a good year for me.
Joshua and I had been together for just over two years and still felt like the honeymoon period. For two people who were not in any way looking for a relationship when we met, I'd have to say it's going really well. He was pragmatic, did nothing by halves and flown me off my very grounded feet. In every sense of the word. I also felt very sure of him.
He must also have felt sure of me as he asked me to move in with him at the start of the year. Although he did make it clear he couldn't see himself getting married again. I reminded him, I was a rubbish cooked and hated cleaning. His response was simple.
'If I wanted a housekeeper, I'd get one.'
Another reason for 2017 being a great year was, I'd just landed a dream job with a private jet company and was genuinely looking forward to the start of that.
Joshua's twin sister, Julia and I were getting on remarkably well. She said I was the twin sister; she didn't have.
Not so much of a high was the relationship between Joshua's mother, Eleanor and myself, there always seemed to be this unsavoury edge in her dealings with me.
Nevertheless, Joshua and I topped off 2017 buying a rental flat near Heathrow, refurbished it and had taken on our first tenants. Two pilots, who were starting with a low-cost airline out of the airport.
'Hun, what's going on in there?' Knocking on the door.
'Rearranging a few things.'
'Would you like some help? And why is the door locked?' Trying the door handle.
'Okay but you've been in and out of this room all morning.'
Had we not opened all our Christmas presents in the wee hours, I would have guessed it was a surprise gift, but we had.
I turn to Julia, who's sitting very comfortably on our living room couch in the porcelain-white, comfy cashmere lounge set to the luxe grey one I'm wearing. There's a matching longline cardigan that goes with it. Mine was currently hung over the back of the chair. Her mani-pedi is a cherry-red, while I got mine decked in a Thulian pink. A Christmas treat to ourselves, except she's gone one step further and topped hers off with a Santa Claus hat. A sated grin on her face.
'You slept in this room this morning; I know you know whats going on?'
'Your guess is as good as mine hun.'
Joshua and Julia have their differences; but the bond between those two, never to be underestimated. As closely knit as the two parts of a kinky twist.
She innocently taps the space on the couch next to her, for me to come and sit. I do so because truth be known I'm tired from only two hours sleep. And no, it's not what your thinking. We stayed up, all three of us after our friends left, watching Netflix, playing games, opening presents, chatting and laughing. Only crowning our pillows after realising the BBC Breakfast team was gracing the tv screen in the kitchen.
I pick up a flute and the bottle Julia is drinking from, out of the ice bucket. I study the 'Non-Alcoholic' label, and I recall she hadn't drunk much, if anything all night. I turn to her, with one slightly raised eyebrow, the no-alcohol caption aimed in her direction.
'Hun, are you pregnant?'
She pauses for a bit, undoubtedly caught off guard by the question.
'Oh Gawd No. Do you want to send Eleanor to hell and an early grave?'
'We both sputter into a laugh.'
'Can you imagine her face when I tell her that? You know how orthodox she is about that stuff.'
I pour myself a glass of her choice of non-alcoholic sparkle, and we cheer Eleanor just as Joshua opens the door of the spare room. I want to leap to my feet and catch him as he opens the door, but Julia must have sensed it, as she quickly shouts to Joshua.
Just then Joshua swaggered out the room. The sleeves of his white shirt rolled three-quarters of the way up and tucked neatly into one of his most worn jeans. The pair of mahogany double-monks and matching belt (one of my Christmas gifts to him last night) now on the catwalk.
We had just slept next to each other, yet it was as if I was seeing him for the first time. My lips take on a mind of their own, pucker and suck in, at the hot stuff standing before me. He looked damn fine.
Not only was he dressed, but wheeling our matching pair of Samsonite carryons. His overnight bag perched on one, a deep blue blazer draped on the other.
My eyes are now like dessert saucers as he tells me to get my shoe on.
It must have been the bubbles or the quick cadence my pulse had taken on; I no longer had control over the air that went in or out my lungs. I lurch forward spluttering, doing my best to keep the juice in the glass and save the carpet from a cold bath.
'Oh gosh Josh, you've killed her!' Julia chuckles to Joshua as she gives me a solid thump on my upper back. But if Julia's thump was to save me from asphyxiation, I was now closer to dying from the pain of it.
I soon crawled back into the world of the living sufficiently conscious to ask.
'Where are we going?'
'Your Shoe.' Was all he said.
I glance up at the clock on the wall and it's coming up to nine in the morning.
Baby, it's Christmas Day, where are we going?
'Em, at this pace, Captain Tan may have to come and get us, instead of us going to meet him. Get a pair of heels on please.'
'Seriously? And can I wear this?' Pulling the drawstrings of my joggers.
'Em, even if I draped you in crocus bag, you'd still shine a light on all around you.'
He had a flourish when it came to words, something else I admired about him.
Somehow I was glued to the couch, leaving Julia to get up, leave the room and later return with a pair of dark grey heels belonging to me. My eyes skip from the heels Julia is pointing in my direction, to her and then to Joshua. No one said anything, not even the heels. Defeated, I put them on and pick up my matching cardigan.
Joshua had surprised me with last-minute trips before, but I'd always done the packing. Finding out we were travelling a few minutes before leaving and bags already packed, was the eighth wonder in my world.
Julia was also shoving her feet into a pair of trainers. It was clear the joke, surprise, holy grail whatever it was, was on me, so I said nothing more. We file out the door shortly after like the uneven containers of a cargo train—a carryon, Joshua, the other carryon, me, and Julia, who locked the door.
Joshua didn't have his flight bag, which meant he wasn't flying the plane back either.
He placed the cases in the car's trunk while Julia plopped herself in the back seat, and I sat in the front. Joshua jumped in behind the wheel and keyed the ignition into a song and choreography. The engine beats the same time as the horns of Mayer Hawthorne's 'Time for Love' bleats through the speakers and Julia and I add back up vocals to his 'Loving you in the day' Still takes my breath away.' Joshua looks over at me knowingly and I give him a slow, sexy smile.
Quietly gushing to know he has been playing the song, as its currently my jam on repeat. As in, I put in on and play it nonstop for hours and hours. You get the picture.
We are racing over to Heathrow; a route I've done many times bringing Joshua's car back. His authority behind the vehicle's wheel as poetic as his command of his plane's yoke, as confident as his handle on my body. But then after two years together, there weren't many things that he didn't have a command on. In truth, I didn't know of any. Just his presence alone was commanding.
We come up behind a less fast-moving car in the outer lane, Joshua flashes the driver ahead, and they move over to the middle lane in their own time.
'Josh, does Eleanor know she'll not be seeing you today?'
'Yes, she does!'
'What did she say?'
'What could she say?' His response was quick.
'She wasn't upset her favourite son and child was off with a woman other than herself on Christmas Day?'
Joshua scoffed at the word 'favourite.'
I look over at him, his eyes on the road as he geared down for a bit of traffic up ahead because now, I too am a little surprised.
We catch up with the slow-moving traffic, Joshua looks over at me and then to Julia. Turns back to the motorway and visibly inhales, tucking the front of his shirt to sit straight like an iron board cover over his torso.
Its a running joke that where Eleanor is concerned, Joshua often chooses his mother.
'Despite what you two think, Julia, our mother, doesn't always get her way, it only appears that way. Its called negotiating.'
'So, Josh, what did you give up?' Julia jokes.
Julia and I laugh.
Honestly, those two, chalk and cheese one moment and then macaroni and cheese the next. And there are no prizes for guessing which one remained the constant.
The traffic clears, and we are again racing to the airport, ignoring his twin sisters jest.
He opens his left palm and sweeps it over for me to place mine in. It is one of his ways of quietly reassuring me. I put my right hand in his and he squeezes it. I look over at him, holding him with my eyes before looking back to the road.
Being Christmas Day, the motorway is less of an unofficial parking lot and more of, well, a motorway, so that Joshua was now gearing down for the turnoff for Heathrow. Except he does not drive to his airlines' terminal but heads to another. I'm no longer interested in where we are going only that I'm going with him, and that wherever it is, it is warm. Plus there wasn't a coat between the two of us.
He pulls up in front of Terminal 2. Jumps out, swiftly comes around to my side of the car and opens the doors for Julia and myself. Hands the keys to Julia and is getting the luggage cases out.
Julia hugs me, wishes me a 'Merry Christmas' and a safe flight and does the same to Joshua. And for some reason, only known to myself, I start bawling my eyes out. Julia catches the river streaming down my face and blurts out.
'Em, whats with the emotions are YOU pregnant?'
Joshua was lifting the second case out, it slips in his hands. He stops what he is doing, his focus now on me. I see he has a look of concern on his face, so I shake my head.
'I hate goodbyes!' I blubber.
'Aww Em, I'm going to miss you too!'
'Thank you' was all I could muster as I tried to smile through the tears.
'Well let's face it, I couldn't leave the packing of your wardrobe to him now, could I? Orange top, green shorts, ooph...'
I could see Julia visualising it, a look of mock displeasure across her face as she quickly shakes the thought out of her head, but she had me smiling again.
As Julia got in behind the wheel, Joshua knocked on the front passenger window. She rolled the glass down.
'Julia', he said, 'you are not a Formula One driver, and neither is this an F1 car, DO NOT DRIVE IT THAT WAY.
'Okay!' Giving Joshua the two-fingered Polish salute before accelerating.
I chuckled knowing full well; she only did it to wind him up. (Joshua was sensitive when it came to his wheels and this one was brand new.)
Except for the wonderfully decorated fir tree in the open square; the Christmas decorations hanging inside; a handful of passengers standing outside having a cigarette and wishing each other Merry Christmas, you'd be forgiven for forgetting it was Christmas Day. Or that you were at Heathrow.
He locked the luggage cases by their handles so that they rode back to back and in unison. His left hand in the small of my back steering me towards the airline's first-class check-in desk. He takes my handbag out of his overnight luggage bag and passes it to me. It is the last purse I used, and I am hoping, everything I need is in it. I am still looking through my purse when I hear the Passenger Service Agent declare we have an hour to take-off.
Whisked off to the lounge, but we only have time for a coffee and I take a sip of Joshua's bubbly before boarding on the upper deck.
Courteously we are ushered to our seats, except it wasn't just seats that greeted us and I wasn't ready for what I saw. The attendant says this and that, Joshua is paying attention as he usually does, but my ears have taken on a noise-cancelling all of their own. My arms are crossed on my midriff, while Joshua is casually stroking his left hand down my spine. It feels good, sensual, but had my eyes not averted my concentration; his handy work would have taken its full effect.
She leaves, and Joshua ushers me in, and I plop onto the chair. The one that swivels in-front of the tv; next to the side table away from the concealed bed and partition that goes down to make it a double bed. For a room on a plane, I could swing an amur tiger.
'Okay, hun!' I said, giving him the side-eye, still in shock after another once over of the suite.
He picks up the glasses of champagne, and we toast us.
'Someone owed me a favour.'
'A favour.' I repeated after him. 'Did you save their life?'
'Something like that.'
'Is there anyone else that owes you a similar favour?'
He smiles, takes my glass, puts it down alongside his, takes both my hands and pulls me back onto my heels. I pucker up to him, my arms go up around his neck, he secures me around my back with his authoritative arms, and we kiss, long and lingering.
'Merry Christmas!' He says when we finally let each other up.
A little later, we are airborne and eating breakfast, or was it lunch? Well, whatever it was, we had just eaten deserved a blue ribbon. But now having eaten, the lack of sleep was knocking on my body's door. I suppose Joshua felt the same, as he picked up the two sets of airlines' PJs and led us down the aisle to the changing room.
I argue we could have changed where we were, but he quarantines my words with his lips. It was some fifteen minutes later when we emerged from there. I try having a quick look around to see who would have noticed we were there for some time. There only appeared to be another two individuals on our deck. Joshua detected what I was up to, and in his mellowed out calm voice looked over at me.
'You're still not allowed to scream!'
I smile broadly in surprise, and because I can't smile and walk at the same time, stopped walking. He, however, had not, and as he was holding my hand, I almost stumble forward in the slightly-big-for-me bed slippers I was now wearing. He glanced over at me as I immediately caught back up with him, that knowing look on his face.
We got back to find the remnants of our meals taken away; soft lights and the bed, made. Whoever designed this must be a member of that particular club or innate understanding of what the club members desired.
Joshua closed the door behind him, lifted me onto his hips, and I lock my legs either side of him. Quickly putting my right palm up to prevent my head from connecting with the plane's ceiling.
We kissed. Each one becoming more desperate not like two people who'd just spent ten minutes out of fifteen in a changing room doing so. But I liked it. I liked it so much I was gusting for air. I responded with mouthsful of hotly tongued kisses, and he spun me up against the door, causing it to shudder.
'Joshua!' I gasped.
'Hmmm!' He groaned.
His mouth had come down between my two mounds and his palms hot and firm moulded them. I feel the full effects of his landing gear come up to play against my aching parts, and I let out a little whimper.
We were both still fully clothed, but I felt naked. It must have been the altitude or maybe the air sparked, coupled with the excitement of knowing other passengers were just a few feet away, and I felt reckless.
He licks possessively on the gun powdered tip he's holding between his right forefinger and thumb. Rippling his tongue across my chest and over to the other, he bites down and sure enough, I spark, sending me up to thirty-two thousand feet. He could hear the bang coming as my whimper went to a whisper to...
'Not yet' He rasped.
But he'd already set me off in the changing room. He quickly found my mouth, slipped his tongue inside it, but it was too late. I bit down on his tongue, saving the other passengers from a figurative bang and keeping the sensual one all to us. I sink my fingers into his flesh, burying my head in his chest, quivering.
I catch up with my heart rate and can speak.
'Oh my Gawd, Joshua, the things you do to me.'
'Em, only the things you deserve.'
I smile up at him, happy but disbelieving at how lucky; I'd become over the last two years.
'And another thing.' Walking me still on his hips over to the bed.
'Yes!' Beaming at him.
'That was your introduction to the Mile High Club.'
I stare up at him as he abandons me on the bed, knees either side of his thighs as he pulls my pyjama bottoms off and starts ripping his pyjama shirt off.
'What makes you think, I'm not already a member?'
His arms and shirt stop mid-air. I feel his aura grapple for composure. He finishes removing his shirt and looks down at me.
'Em, are you a member of the Mile High Club?'
'Joshua, is this where I ask you if you are prepared for the answer to the question you've just raised?'
'No, this is where you hopefully tell me you are not.'
'Because I was hoping this was something we both experience together for the first time.'
'Are you saying you are NOT a member of the Mile High Club?' I asked, intrigued.
'No, Lemara, I am not.'
'Josh-u-a. Everest. Hart. you've surprised me.'
'So come on, are you?' His torso tense.
I pull my legs up to roll onto the bed and escape the question. I get onto all fours to scramble away. But he's quick and catches my ankles as I do so and I fall flat on my face in giggles.
'Joshua!' I shrieked, as loudly as was sensible, remembering there were passengers just outside.
'Josh! I kick out, but he is much stronger than I am, and I get nowhere.
Instead, he crosses my ankles, bends my feet back to my bum, holding them there and lays down facing me on the bed.
'Who was your lover?'
I sense a tinge of envy. It brought out a side of Joshua; I'd never before witnessed. I wanted to see how far I could push those self-restrained buttons of his. In my failure to answer he pulls my intimates off my bottom and halfway down my thighs, trapping my ankles in the footholes of them.
I was laughing so much my stomach hurt.
'Joshua. Let me up please.'
'Not until you answer.' He looks at the time. 'And there's some ten hours remaining before we land in Singapore. So we have all day'
'Joshua, are you prepared for the answer?' A mocked-up serious look on my face.
He paused, knowing that he uses the said line when I ask him an overly deep question. The right side of my underwear rips and he relaxes his hold and sets me free. I move over to the other side of the bed, discarding my torn underwear along the way. I get under the duvet and prop my head onto the pillow, releasing the scrunchy of its duties, of keeping my now dishevelled hair imprisoned in a bun. He props himself up against the headrest, puts on the tv and is quiet. I sense his emotions may be slightly bruised. Yet he sweeps his right hand over my forehead and tenderly brushes my hair out. Massaging my scalp with his fingertips as he does so. I feel myself falling off from the calming sensation.
'No.' I finally respond in a low voice before I fall off to sleep.
'What's a No?' Looking over at me.
'No, I am not a member of the Mile High Club.'
His finger hair brushing pauses ever so briefly and then resumes.
I must have fallen asleep, but I don't know for how long.
I roused sometime later to feel the cool bareness of Joshua's body sans pyjamas against mine. The scent of that fragrance he'd made all his own, intensified in the darkness of the suite.
My arousal sparked. His tongue stroke the inside of my mouth. Like his thrust levers, he raises my knees, stirring them forward on either side of his body, settling himself. I gasp as I become the holster of his full gunmetal pressing up against me. I go all warm, moist as his yoke eased forward into the aching he'd created earlier, and his distinguishable honeyed voice gusted through.
'Welcome to the Mile High Club Em!'