by Carole Mortenson



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Jo was not looking forward to another large crowd of people she knew would be at Sydney International Airport . She had never flown international before and had thought Los Angeles International Airport was the only big airport where she would be stopping before she got to Melbourne . Changing planes in Sydney would bring another kind of challenge. She hoped there would be enough time between connecting flights so she wouldn't have to rush. And she hoped they wouldn't lose her luggage when changing planes. She'd heard horror stories about lost luggage and missed flights.

But she didn't want to focus on that now. She wanted to just sit back, enjoy the flight and take in everything that United Airlines had to offer.

Then she realized she didn't really care if she didn't have a window seat. They had taken off from Los Angeles at 1 a.m. and would be landing at 7:30 a.m. in Sydney the next day—almost 17 hours later—crossing the International Date Line. The flight would be entirely in the nighttime hours, and there would be nothing to see out the window but the black, dark, vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean . She couldn't think of anything more boring.

She settled into the small pillow provided by the airlines and before she realized it, she dropped off to sleep. Her last thoughts were of Paige and the wise words a fellow yoga instructor gave her when she confided in her concerning Paige before she left: "Just let it go." She determined to do exactly that, forgetting Paige for three weeks and focusing wholly on the trip ahead.

* * * * * *

Jo had barely closed her eyes when all the lights in the cabin came on and a flight attendant announced they would be serving dinner . She looked at her watch. It was three-thirty in the morning! She'd been sleeping for only an hour. The flight attendants began handing out wet warm cloths so they could wash their hands before eating. Jo looked over at Carly, who had also been sleeping, and shook her awake so she wouldn't miss out on the meal. Carly wasn't too pleased about waking up for dinner. She'd been sleeping soundly and was in the middle of a dream.

"What the hell is this stuff?" she asked when a food tray was set in front of her. "I don't know if I can eat this or not." She screwed up her face as she took the lids off the individual containers.

Jo had no qualms about eating. She was hungry, and this was the only food they were going to get around here. It was a long way to Australia . She thought the airlines were breaking them in to Aussie time, so they wouldn't get so jet-lagged. When they landed in Sydney , at least their meals would be on time—even though their bodies might not. Still, whoever heard of eating dinner at 3 a.m.? Unless you were on the night shift and just getting home from work.

She watched Carly pick at her food, taking a bite here and there, but not really enjoying it. Then she hungrily dug into her own food: meatless lasagna, a green salad and a roll with butter. Even the cheese and crackers tasted good to her. And she thought the orange cheese cake was delicious! She had a Diet Pepsi to go with her food, but then rounded it all off with a cup of coffee. After all, it was early morning, and coffee is what her body told her it needed! It wasn't too long before her body also indicated that it needed to find a restroom, and it would be a hassle to get out of her seat and climb over Carly.

But when you have to go, you have to go, she thought. I can see this is going to be a really long trip.

But Carly also had to get up, and Jo soon worked out a routine for using the restroom. When Carly got up now and then to walk up and down the aisle to exercise her replaced hip, Jo would get up at the same time and use the restroom if she needed to. One flight attendant told Carly she shouldn't be out of her seat so often. Carly proceeded to give her a mouthful, saying she had to, because of doctor's orders. The flight attendant backed down after Carly's menacing tone. She didn't want to cause other passengers around them to be stressed out by pushing flight regulations so much onto this unwilling woman that it caused a commotion. So she basically left her alone and kept an eye on her while she walked around in case they had some unexpected turbulence and needed to buckle up.

Sleep overcame both Jo and Carly after they ate and were settled in their seats again. Several hours later a flight attendant came around again and brought them lunch. Jo had three cups of coffee with her chicken/cheese sandwich and chips. Again—just what she needed. As an added bonus, all the passengers were given a small cellophane-wrapped package of Christmas cookies sprinkled with red and green sugar crystals. Jo saved the pack of jelly beans that came with the meal to snack on later.

After she ate, she tried to make herself more comfortable, but the large lady seated to her left had slumped down in her seat. Part of her posterior was in Jo's seat. Jo tried to push her away, but that made the woman slump all the more. Finally, Jo pushed extra hard with her pillow between her hand and the woman's rump. The woman roused up and went to the restroom. While she was gone, Jo stuffed her airlines blanket between the seats so the woman couldn't slump in her direction again and would be forced to stay in her own seat when she came back to sit down. Or slump in the other direction.

"Jo, what have you thought of the trip so far?" Carly asked.

A few more hours had passed, and they had come approximately 5000 miles. According to the map shown on the screen in front of them, there were 2500 miles to go. They were cruising at 34,000 feet and were about to cross the International Date Line. Carly had been remarkably quiet when she wasn't sleeping. And so far she had slept most of the trip. A blessing in disguise, Jo thought.

"Actually, I feel like I'm in an Alaskan winter," Jo replied. "Twenty-four hours of darkness, no sun. This is definitely a night flight. And it gives you the sense of traveling at night and sleeping, and then waking up, and voila! It's morning again. How are you doing?"

"I don't like to fly," Carly responded. "But you know that. And the noise of the jet engines has given me a headache supreme ! Plus, I don't care for what they serve to eat. I've heard of airplane fare, and now I've experienced it first-hand. Yuck! And God, I'm so cramped in this seat!"

This woman sure complains a lot, Jo thought. I wonder if she's a whiner when she's not on a plane. But maybe it's just her hip that is bothering her, and she's not really like this all the time.

Because Jo was a yoga teacher, she thought maybe talking to Carly about yoga would help her to lighten up and not be so negative about everything.

"I know they show exercises on the screen up there that you can do to avoid getting blood clots in your legs during a long flight. But it just isn't enough for me. So I put my legs straight up on the seat ahead of me, and then I drape my leg over my tray table sometimes, just to get my legs elevated. It's quite relaxing. People probably think I'm crazy, but I don't care."

She looked over at Carly, who had gone back to reading a magazine and really wasn't listening. Then she thought she'd probably made a mistake talking about yoga, since Carly wouldn't be able to do what she did on the plane—not only because of her height, but because of her hip surgery. She wouldn't have been able to wrap a long leg around the tray table, or fold up like an accordion. Jo was rather short at five foot, five inches, and it was easy for her. She suddenly felt sorry for Carly.

They were an hour and a half away from landing in Sydney when a flight attendant brought breakfast.

It's two o'clock yesterday afternoon back home, Jo reflected . I don't mind the breakfast, though, because sometimes I have pancakes for dinner at home. And these pancakes are delicious—wrapped around a fruit filling. I can't cook this well. No matter what Carly says about airplane fare, I haven't found a thing wrong with it!

All the passengers had been required to fill out declaration cards before they landed, even if they were going on to other destinations. Carly would hand over her customs card in Sydney and meet her girlfriend Shannon there. Jo was going on to Melbourne and wouldn't use her customs card until she arrived in Melbourne .

"I hope Shannon has booked a nice place for us to stay," Carly remarked as they left the plane. "I need somewhere to stretch out. My hip is killing me!"

"Lucky you. You're at your destination. I still have some miles to go," Jo said.

They parted company, conveying their "good lucks" to each other—each hoping the other would have a great vacation.

Jo followed the group of people who were going to International Transit and connect to another flight. Her thoughts were now fast-forwarding to meeting her pen-pal in Melbourne .

Carly followed other passengers to the luggage carousel to meet Shannon .



Carly wound her way through the crowd of people, struggling with her carry-on. She had lagged behind the group of passengers she'd been following and had become separated from them, so didn't know where she was going. She asked directions twice before she found the baggage carousel.

She swore she would never fly again! It had not been a good flight for her. Besides having a headache and not having the kind of food she was used to eating, her hip was still giving her fits. She had been able to walk around the aisle of the plane a bit, but it didn't seem to be enough. She couldn't stretch herself properly. She thought with envy over Jo being able to do yoga sitting in her seat.

So she was in an ill mood when she grabbed her two pieces of luggage off the carousel and put them on a trolley. Then she had to wait around until a canine attached by a leash to a security person came and sniffed her bags to see if she had brought anything illegal with her into the country—like drugs or fresh fruit.

This is ridiculous, she thought. There can't be that many people who do things like that! Now where the hell is Shannon ? She looked around in despair as the cargo area emptied of people, and still no Shannon .

Where the hell is Shannon ? she reiterated. I guess I better call her at the hotel. And there isn't even anywhere to sit down around here!

She kicked herself because she had forgotten to bring her cell phone. She finally found a public telephone hanging on the wall next to an escalator and dialed the hotel where Shannon was supposed to be staying. The hotel operator told her Shannon had checked out some time earlier, but had left a message for her to come to the hotel. There was a room reserved for her, and Shannon would contact her as soon as she could.

Carly hung up the phone and then pulled a piece of her luggage off the trolley and sat down on it. Oh, God, what have I gotten into now? Shannon told me she'd meet me when my flight landed, and she's not here. Who knows where she is! I knew I shouldn't have come. I just knew it. I should have known better when Shannon said I'd enjoy getting away for a while. I think a trip up to Yosemite or somewhere close to home would have been enough for me! Why couldn't she get a plush assignment like that?

Now, how do I get to the hotel? I'm on the other side of the world, and I've heard they even drive cars on the wrong side of the street here! Probably when they say 'west,' they mean 'east'—if everything else is backwards. I heard that water even swirls down the bathtub drain in the opposite direction!

* * * * * *

Jo found her way to International Transit, noticing everything around her. It was the most fabulous airport she had ever been in. It seemed so clean and so— enterprising —the only word she could come up with at the moment. They told her at the transit gate that she couldn't come into the waiting area for another half hour. So Jo checked her watch, hitched her backpack up more securely on her shoulders and began walking around the terminal—taking care she didn't wander too far and get lost.

She was amazed at the variety of the stores in the terminal. They were 'duty-free' stores, as their movable, free-standing signs announced. Since Jo had never flown international before, she had no idea what ‘duty-free' was. But she was sure it held no significance for her, and she had no inclination to ask anyone about it.

One of the stores was 'hawking' liquors! Right there in the airport! An open-sided liquor store had been set up in one large area. A woman with a microphone in her hand was walking back and forth in front of the display and talking about all the 'special' prices on the liquors they had. What a strange thing to do, Jo thought.

I really need to brush my hair and respray it, she decided. And I need to brush my teeth, too. After fifteen hours on the plane, she felt unkempt. When she reached Melbourne , she wanted her hosts to have a good first impression of her.

She finally found a restroom after searching in three different directions. There were some other women in there that evidently had the same idea in mind of sprucing up. She stood appraising herself in the mirror and thought how awful she looked! But there was not much she could do about it. She noted the fine lines beginning to show in the corners of her eyes and in her cheeks and corners of her mouth when she smiled. She had forgotten to bring that special makeup cream that would cover aging lines. Oh, well—

She rubbed her face down with water on a paper towel, and then put on a fresh application of Chap Stick and brushed her hair with the small hairbrush she carried in her jacket pocket. They were calling her flight number as she hurriedly dug down in her back pack to reach her cosmetic bag. She quickly gave her teeth a once-over and sprayed her hair, looking with dismay one more time at the fine lines in the corners of her eyes. They probably just show up more because I'm so tired, she rationalized.

She stuffed her cosmetic bag back in her backpack, hitched up her cargo pants, and tucked in her form-fitting, short-sleeved shirt under her light jacket. She expertly buckled up her backpack securely and hoisted it once again over her shoulders. On the way to the transit gate, she stuck a piece of gum in her mouth so she would at least have the feeling of freshness, even if she didn't look like it. She noticed a few passengers looked outwardly in worse shape than she did, so felt a little better after that.

She started to walk past a store that displayed cosmetics, candies, magazines and assorted goodies to entice travelers. But then she turned in to browse—thinking she could spare five minutes. They just might have the aging makeup cream she used. No such luck. She stopped at the magazine racks to see what different kinds were there and spotted an international lesbian magazine called Diva. She was going to buy it, but there were a lot of people lined up at the counter waiting to be checked out, so she went on to the transit gate. She didn't want to miss her flight.

After she got through the gate and was sitting in the waiting area, she thought to her herself, I don't have any Australian money yet! I'm not in the U.S. anymore! It's a good thing I never tried to buy anything. How would I have paid for it? I really am a foreign traveler, aren't I?

As it turned out, a flight from San Francisco , which was connecting with this flight, was late getting into Sydney , so they had to wait an extra hour before they could board the plane. But since all of the passengers had been checked in at the International Transit gate and were already inside the waiting area, they were not allowed to leave and come back in an hour.

What a waste of time, Jo thought. I could have browsed through more of the stores.

The additional hour passed quickly, though, as Jo busied herself with reading up on some material she had taken from a book called Lesbian Guide to Australia before she left home. She saw there were a lot of lesbian bookstores, bars/clubs and hotels/motels in Melbourne and surrounding towns.

She looked up from time to time and noticed the waiting room was filling with passengers. This is probably going to be another overloaded plane. I don't know if I'm up for more crowding into a seat that's too small! God, I hope they got my luggage transferred all right!

She decided to quit worrying about things—she had always been a worry-wart—and enjoy the trip to Melbourne . She was looking forward to finally meeting Rosalie and Alfred in person.



"Excuse me," a woman said to Jo. "I need to get to the window seat. Do you mind?"

The woman was trying to stuff her carry-on—her camera rolling bag—into the overhead bin. A camera was dangling around her neck. And her Aussie hat kept getting in the way.

Jo had absent-mindedly stepped onto the Boeing 747 when they called for passengers to board and had wearily sat down in Row 29. She was in the middle of three seats and would have a person sitting on each side of her, making her a little cramped. But at least she could partially see out the side window. And it was the ocean side, so she would see some of the coastline as they flew the hour and a half to Melbourne .

She had just closed her eyes for a minute when the woman spoke to her. She looked up and said, "Of course not. Let me get up and move out of here so you can slide in." She unbuckled her seat belt, moved to the aisle and waited while the woman struggled with her carry-on.

"Here, let me help you," Jo said, realizing the woman was a few inches shorter than she was. She reached her hands up and pushed the carry-on into the bin. The woman took off her hat and stuffed it in there, too. Then she said, "Thank you," and squeezed past Jo to her seat.

Jo sat back down, taken aback by the warm body that had briefly touched the front of her as the woman brushed past. She had also inadvertently placed her hand on the woman's hip as she slid into the window seat.

Has it been that long, Jo thought, when just the touch of a woman sends me into a tailspin? She stopped to reason. Carly never had that effect on me, and we brushed against each other numerous times on the flight from L.A. Why would this woman bother me?

She tried not to pay much attention to her fellow passenger, except to note that she immediately started taking pictures with her camera out the side window as they sat waiting to taxi out onto the runway.

It seemed no one was going to fill the aisle seat, so Jo lifted the arm between the seats and moved over closer to the aisle to give herself, as well as the other woman, a little more room. She hoped this woman wasn't afraid of flying like Carly was! But she seemed quite at ease as she snapped her pictures.

The flight attendants stood up and gave their usual spiel about safety concerns on the plane, what to do in emergencies, and where the toilets were. Then the seat belt light came on, and they went up and down the aisles to make sure everyone's seat belt was secured as the plane readied for takeoff. Jo was glad for the spaciousness of her seating arrangement and stuck her leg out in the aisle to test the 'stretch.' "Ahhh," she sighed.

The woman next to her said, "Is this your first trip to Australia ?"

Jo looked surprisingly at her and replied, "Yes. Does it show?"

"Well, I kind of guessed it was from the way you were stretching out. Did you just fly in from L.A. or San Francisco ? This is a connecting flight from those places as well as a regular flight out of Sydney ."

"I just arrived from Los Angeles . It feels so good to stretch out. You wouldn't believe all the yoga I was doing in my seat all the way from L.A. so I wouldn't get cramped up!"

The woman laughed at that. "I got here two days ago, and I've had time to work out my kinks by walking around the city a bit. I flew into Sydney from L.A. , too, and was supposed to spend a couple more days here with my girlfriend. But the people I work for said I had to go on to Melbourne right now , as they were going to be shooting sooner than they thought." She held up her camera. "So here I am, off again! Had to leave my girlfriend stranded temporarily, I'm afraid. I just hope she understands. But she'll catch up to me."

A thought abruptly broke through to Jo's memory as she pictured Carly talking about coming to Sydney to meet her girlfriend who was in the photography business. She turned in her seat to face the woman and asked, "Your name wouldn't be Shannon , by any chance, would it?"

The woman looked at her, eyebrows raised in surprise. "Why, yes. How would you know that?"

"And your girlfriend's name is Carly?"

"Yes!" She gazed at Jo, becoming even more curious.

"Carly was on the same flight as me," Jo explained. "We sat next to each other. When we got off the plane, I went on to International Transit, and she went to pick up her luggage. She was going to meet you there at the carousel."

"You mean Carly was on the flight that just arrived in Sydney ? The one you were on?"

"Yeah," Jo said.

"Oh, God, I was so flustered and in a hurry that I forgot what flight she was coming in on. I thought it was this afternoon! My client was adamant that I not miss this flight, and I was almost late as it was. I thought I wasn't going to be able to meet her, so I left a message at the hotel for her to check in there and that I'd contact her as soon as I could. But this flight was delayed an hour and I could have met her and still made it—if I had remembered she was coming in this morning, of course. Did she seem upset?"

"You mean about meeting you? I don't know. When we got off the plane, we went in different directions, so I didn't see her after that. But on the plane she said something about how this was the vacation of a lifetime. She didn't like the plane trip. Did you know she was afraid to fly? And she complained she had a headache and couldn't eat the food they served. She'd just had a hip replacement, you know, and it was really bothering her."

"I had no idea she was afraid of flying, or I wouldn't have asked her to go with me. Funny she didn't say anything. But we've never really flown anywhere together—always driven. So she wouldn't have had any reason to tell me about her fear of flying—even though we've been girlfriends for years. One of her well-hidden secrets, I guess. But she can complain more than any woman I've ever known."

That's for sure! Jo thought. I got tired of it all the time. I'm glad the flight wasn't any longer!

"Well," Shannon continued, "I'll have to wait till I get to Melbourne and call her from there. Thanks for the info. And thanks for putting up with my 'cantankerous' Carly, which is what I call her."

Jo smiled at the nickname. "You're welcome," she said, as Shannon turned back to her camera. I guess Carly is the whiney type all the time, not just because her hip was hurting.

Shannon seemed involved with her camera after that, so Jo didn't pursue any further conversation. She thought to herself, This is becoming more interesting by the minute. First I meet Carly on the plane to Sydney, who was going to meet her girlfriend Shannon there. And now I meet Shannon on the plane trip to Melbourne without her girlfriend Carly. Funny I hadn't noticed Shannon in the waiting area. She's really attractive. I usually don't miss things like that. I must really be tired. Or maybe I was just too engrossed in looking over my lesbian literature.

Shannon set aside the conversation about Carly for the moment and started to preview pictures she'd taken earlier with her camera. She began thinking about what happened on the first day she arrived in Sydney . Things seemed to be going haywire before her assignment ever started. She should have been forewarned that Mr. Jeff Bannister had his own agenda, and she would just have to follow suit.



Several hours had passed after Davie dropped Shannon off at her hotel and she had fallen across the bed after her bath. The phone jangled her out of a deep sleep. She fuzzily mumbled "Hello" into the mouthpiece, not quite awake from the aftereffects of the wine. Fortunately, her headache was gone.

"G'day, Shannon. This is Davie . How are you feeling now?"

"Hi, Davie . I'm doing great! Is Mr. Bannister going to meet with me soon?"

"I'm not sure when Mr. Bannister is going to meet with you, Shannon. I just know it's not today, and probably not tomorrow."

Actually, I don't know that at all. Mr. Bannister hasn't told me when he'll meet with Shannon ! He just said it might be a week or longer before we start shooting, but nothing about when he was going to meet her. I had to tell her something, so she wouldn't seem to be entirely in the dark—like I am. I'm supposed to call him this afternoon.

"Okay," Shannon said. She sounded disappointed. "Well, if I'm going to be here a week or longer, anyway—"

Davie continued. "There are plenty of things to see in Sydney . If you'd like some company, I could arrange for some sightseeing—" His voice trailed off when Shannon interrupted.

"That's all right, Davie . I'll be fine. I'll probably just look around and see this beautiful city by myself this evening. And I heard they have a great walking tour of The Rocks that I'd like to do tomorrow. My friend wouldn't be able to walk that much, so I can do that by myself. But I have an idea. Since Mr. Bannister isn't going to meet with me today, why don't you pick me up this afternoon and take me to see what your studio looks like, anyway?"

"Well, that would be all right, except we don't have a studio in Sydney . It's in Melbourne ."

"Oh...really?" Shannon didn't know how to respond. This revelation was a surprise. Why couldn't she have just flown straight on to Melbourne , if that's where the studio was, instead of spending a week or longer in Sydney ? Of course, that wouldn't have worked now , since Carly was on her way to Sydney . And she was told Mr. Bannister would definitely meet with her in Sydney .

"But I thought Mr. Bannister was going to meet me here in Sydney . If the studio is in Melbourne —"

Davie changed the subject quickly. "You really would like to have some company, wouldn't you?" he asked, desperate to draw Shannon away from the direction the conversation was headed. "At least for your first night here?"

He didn't want to take a chance on messing things up. He didn't know what Mr. Bannister's plans were, or why his boss was coming to Sydney instead of having Shannon come to Melbourne and didn't want to just make something up.

"That's not necessary, Davie . I'll be fine by myself." I've been to Sydney before, and I love the city. There's no reason to have anyone accompany me. I'm not going to be out too late, anyway.

"No worries. I'll pick you up myself around 7, and we'll go out to dinner. There's a good place I know of where we can eat. It isn't far from the hotel, and they have excellent cuisine." The hundred dollars in his pocket from winnings at a casino in Sydney where he'd gambled for a few hours after he dropped Shannon off at her hotel earlier begged to be spent.

"Well, if you insist," Shannon said. I'm not that acquainted with good eating places, so why not take him up on the offer?

After they hung up, Shannon thought Davie seemed like a nice young man— very young. But he was also a man . Why couldn't a woman have met her at the airport? Was it only men who worked for Scenic Visions? She would have liked to get in a little night life while she was here. She knew Sydney was one of the swingiest cities in Australia with all kinds of events taking place. Especially during the height of the summer tourist season—and Christmas on top of that. She would like to go to one of the lesbian clubs, for which Sydney was famous, and she and Carly would probably do that. But she didn't dare take a man with her this evening, especially one who worked for the client who hired her. Finding another single woman to dance with would certainly be something to help her wind down. She wasn't tired at all now, since she'd had that long nap. Maybe she could shake Davie after dinner and take off by herself.

* * * * * *

"Did you have any problem getting her settled in, Davie ?" Jeff Bannister asked, speaking from his photography studio in Melbourne . It was late afternoon when his young assistant called.

"No, sir," Davie replied. "She's kind of tired from her trip, but I left her to have a good rest when I dropped her off at her hotel this morning. I'm sure she's definitely not that tired anymore. I spoke with her just before I called you. I said I'd pick her up at 7 this evening and we'd go out to eat. She said she felt great. She's older than I expected."

"I'm sure she'll be fine," Jeff Bannister said. "And don't let her age belie her abilities with a camera."

"Tomorrow she wants to visit The Rocks ," Davie told him. "Said she wants to go on a walking tour."

"You should probably accompany her, Davie . The Rocks is kind of a tourist trap. All sorts of things could happen. You need to keep an eye on her."

"Well, even though she's a professional photographer over here on assignment, I guess you could say she is kind of a tourist—being an American and not from around here."

"Don't let anything happen to her, Davie . In fact, don't let her out of your sight!" Mr. Bannister emphasized.

"No worries, Mr. Bannister," Davie assured him.

"Does she have any concerns that she spoke of?"

"She's a little worried," Davie answered, "because she's expecting a friend of hers—her name is Carly—to fly in here day after tomorrow. They were going to spend a couple of days in Sydney and then go on to Melbourne together. She didn't know what she was going to do about that now, as she didn't plan on spending a week or longer in Sydney . I told her not to worry about expenses—that she would be reimbursed. But I don't know what she thought about that, either."

"That was good thinking, Davie ," Mr. Bannister said to his protégé. "Of course I'll pay any additional expenses she racks up for herself. But not for her friend."

"So when are you coming to meet with her?" Davie asked anxiously. "I told her it wouldn't be today and probably not tomorrow. I had to tell her something, and didn't know what else to say. She was already asking."

“Don't worry about it, Davie . Sometimes we have to hedge on the truth a little and make up something. I have to wrap up some things here in Melbourne before I can get there. It's turning out to be a long drawn-out affair. I was thinking I might be able to fly out there day after tomorrow."

"So can I tell her that you'll meet with her day after tomorrow?"

"Well, I'm not sure when I'll be there now, Davie ," Mr. Bannister said. "I didn't count on a friend meeting her, so I may have to change my plans. Don't say anything yet." Damn, he thought to himself. I don't need anyone to screw up my plans at this late stage of the game. I'll have to try and avoid any problem before it happens.

"Call me back in the morning from your hotel before you leave to go walking with Ms. Brooks, and I'll let you know more about what's going to happen. And Davie ," he continued, "good work."

"Thank you, Mr. Bannister," Davie said, standing a little taller because of the compliment. It was not often he received praise from his boss. " Shannon will probably want to get an early start, but I'll call you before I pick her up." Without waiting for a reply, Davie hung up the phone.

Davie was not pleased with his conversation with Jeff Bannister. He had known him for about a year. Mr. Bannister had taken him under his wing and started teaching him the photography business. But he was not prepared to lie, like he had done today— all day long , from the time he had picked her up at the airport. Hedge on the truth? He felt uncomfortable—even though he was bolstered up by Mr. Bannister's praise. He felt his deceased father would have turned over in his grave, as Davie had not been raised to tell an untruth about anything. Not even a few little white lies. The fact that his boss had verified Davie 's assumption that he would pay for Shannon 's additional expenses did not distract from his lying about everything else!

He looked at his watch and thought he would have time for a short nap and then take a quick shower and put on clean clothes before he took Shannon out to dinner. He was sure she would love the excellent seafood they served at the fancy restaurant he frequented when he was in Sydney .

To be continued...

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