Miss Cindy, AviatrixbyGrey Eagle 286©
John Murphy was sitting in a plush office; he was very impressed by the size and furnishings. The secretary who had greeted him when he entered was very lovely to watch as she went about her tasks. She had offered him coffee when she had seated him in a comfortable chair but he had declined. Now he followed her gaze as she looked at the clock on the wall. It was four minutes to ten. He glanced again at the note in his hand. It read:
Thanks again for saving my life; Betty would have killed me if we missed her family reunion one more time. This is a special student. Meet at the O'Brien Foods Company Offices on Silver Springs Blvd. Monday at 10:00AM, ask to see 'the O'Brien'.
John heard a door open and a group of smiling men and women exited an office and departed through different doors. The doors shut behind them. He saw the secretary pick up a phone and speak into it. She stood and walked to him and said, "The boss will see you now." She led him into a large beautifully furnished office. She smiled and pointed to a comfortable chair in an informal group of several chairs around a coffee table. "Please make yourself comfortable, it will only be a moment."
After a moment he faintly heard a toilet flush. A minute later a door opened and one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen entered the room and walked toward him. There was a faint smile on her lovely face as she held out her delicate hand. John stood and took her hand, he held her hand for perhaps a second or two longer than necessary, his scrutiny caused a surge of desire to course through her body. She said, "Please sit, I apologize for keeping you waiting so long, I had a few things I needed to accomplish before I am free. My name is Cinderella Estella O'Brien, and you must be John P. Murphy."
John couldn't keep a huge smile from his face. "What may I call you?"
She stared at him, "Call me Cindy, or by my initials, CEO, please don't be embarrassed, but I absolutely MUST take your picture." She thought, 'God, he is handsome and he is staring at me.' She dashed to her desk and pulled a digital camera from her purse. She held the camera up and the flash startled him. She looked at the picture on the camera display and grinned. Her smile tingled right down to his toes. She was truly beautiful, she wore a gunmetal gray pinstriped suit that appeared to be hand tailored to her body. She wore a fitted red blouse and matching open toed sling backed high heeled shoes. The skirt was two inches above her knee. Her hair was golden with reddish traces and was pulled back in a long ponytail. He was mesmerized. He noticed she wasn't wearing a ring on her left ring finger.
She said, "Please come look so you don't think I am crazy." He walked to the desk and looked at a nice picture on the camera display. It was of John smiling. She moved the camera and he was startled to see on her desk, another picture of him smiling, mounted in a sliver frame.
"How did you do that?"
"I didn't do anything but take your picture. The picture on the desk is an old one of my father. No wonder I thought you were the most handsome man I had ever seen. The resemblance is simply amazing. Wait until my mother sees you, she will not believe it."
Cindy saw his eyes widen again, He pointed at a picture beside the one of her father, "That HAS to be your mother."
"Yes, it sure is, we look a lot alike don't we, we are often mistaken for sisters." She took his hand and led him back to their seats, "I am sorry for the interruption, let me explain my situation. I made a bet with my friend, Jason; that I could learn to fly as fast as he had. He soloed after eighteen hours of instruction. I have had ten hours of instruction from your friend Charlie and I am totally lost. My friend is out of the country for two more weeks. I know you are a licensed and certified instructor, and Charlie said that you are the best instructor he has ever seen. I need your help and I am prepared to pay you very well for your assistance."
John smiled, "I'll take the job if you agree to several conditions. This will have to be a concerted effort. We have to study and fly constantly until I say you are ready. We will be working long hours. I need to know a few things first, Number one, what position do you hold in this company?"
"I am not an employee, I own the company. I founded it and built it to what it is today."
John grinned, "Do you drive a car?"
"Yes, of course I do."
"One more thing, do you like to kiss, do you love it?"
Cindy covered her face and giggled. John looked startled, "What? What did I say?"
"You asked me if I liked to kiss, if I loved it."
"Oh my God, talk about a Freudian slip! I thought I asked if you liked to fly."
"Yes, I love to fly but Charlie keeps me on edge so I don't get to savor the experience the way I want to, and I do like to kiss too."
"Girl, we best not go there or your boyfriend will win the bet."
She looked at him seriously, "I don't believe you will ever let that happen."
"OK Cindy, when can we start?"
"Right now, I am yours until I solo."
"You do need to change into flight gear don't you."
"Oh Damn! I didn't bring any today; I didn't think we would start so soon."
"Don't worry about it. What do you usually wear?"
"I usually wear shorts or jeans and a top with flat sandals or shoes."
"I'm sorry, that will never do. If your car will be safe here we can take a Taxi to Ocala Airport. We can get in a few hours today. We can get you some pilot's flight gear while we are at the airport. I think new pilots need to wear something that invokes a feeling of belonging in the aircraft, OK?"
"Yes Sir!" She grabbed her purse and marched toward the door in an exaggerated manner. John grinned and followed her out the door. This was going to be a lot of fun or he was sadly mistaken.
As they exited her office she told the secretary to call a cab for them. When they got to the street she took his arm and firmly held it. He could feel the soft warmth of her breast against his arm. He tore his mind from how that felt and formulated a plan for determining her progress toward solo flight. Twenty hours was about average for solo flight. He himself had taken 21 hours before his instructor let him solo. His instructor later told him that he could have soloed at 15 hours but because John had never made a single mistake the instructor didn't know if he was able to detect a deviation from normal and correct a mistake. Things don't always happen as expected in an aircraft and the ability to recognize and correct the situation is essential for a pilot.
As they rode to the airport John carefully questioned Cindy about how she did a pre-flight check of an aircraft prior to flight. Her answers were exactly right. He asked her about the function of the primary controls and what aerodynamic principles caused the controls to function. He asked her to describe the various instruments on the instrument panel and to explain their functions. He asked her to explain the starting procedure with the engine in the Cessna 172 Aircraft. Every answer was perfect, except that she forgot to mention yelling "CLEAR" prior to starting the engine. When they reached the Ocala Aviation Services building John led her to the pilot's clothing section.
He picked out a pink jump suit and a pink ball cap. She took them from him and looked at them. She laughed delightedly when she saw they were the right sizes. She picked another set in a pastel blue and hurried off to try them on. She returned wearing the pink flight suit and carrying her business suit, still wearing her high heels. He led her to the ladies shoe section and handed her a pair of soft leather ankle boots with a rubber sole in Ladies' size 6 1/2. She slipped them on and the fit was perfect. She laughed and shook her head, "Boy, you are sure good at guessing women's sizes."
John laughed, "I worked in a shop like this once and learned to judge the sizes pretty well. I am no good at dresses and lingerie though." He turned to the clerk, "Put it all on my tab please Billy."
The young man grinned widely, "Yes Sir, Mister Murphy. Have a nice flight."
John carried the packages and led her to the line shack, he signed a chit and they were taken by golf cart to his plane. She watched as he strapped all the packages and her purse in the rear seats. He grinned, "It is your plane, get us in the air and head north northeast."
Cindy smiled and began her careful inspection of the spotless Cessna. When she finally turned to him he was a little disappointed until she smiled and said, "I'm too short to get the fuel caps, shall I get the little step ladder or will you lift me up?"
John returned her smile and effortlessly lifted her to check one tank then the other. When he gently put her down after the last tank she grinned, "Boy, you are really strong. Hummmm!" John stopped her as she waited for him to enter the aircraft's door.
"Cindy that was a perfect walk around inspection; now I want you to climb aboard and get us in the air, OK? Can you do it?"
"I think so."
She entered the plane and strapped herself in, put on her headset, and adjusted the boom microphone, then looked to see if he was ready. He saw her slowly check the position of all of the engine switches, then turn the maim fuel switch on, she reached for the ignition key and he said "STOP. How many times have you started the engine?"
She looked at him and he saw a tear run down her cheek.
He took her small right hand in his big left hand. "Is this your first time in the left seat?" She nodded. He shook his head, "Honey, you have been short changed. The only problem you have is a bad, or totally incompetent instructor. I can't believe Charlie was teaching you. The way you grasp things you should be way advanced from where you are. Are you sure your boyfriend wasn't paying him off so he could win?"
Cindy stared at John. He watched as her beautiful sweet face turned grim. "That NNNO GOOD SON OF A BBBBich! I think you are right. He was too damned sure of himself. He recommended Charlie."
John gently squeezed her small hand, "What did you bet him that he would cheat that way."
"My body! He bet his new Corvette! He will never get to touch me now. I will win if we have to work day and night. And I hate his damned Vette. I never really felt he was my boyfriend. He told everybody he was my boyfriend."
"Honey, if that is the prize, I will get you soloed in one more day and get you your Private Pilots License before he gets back."
Cindy turned and looked at him. "We have been dating for about two months and I have never felt what I need to feel about someone before I go all the way with them. The only thing that really interested me about him was his learning to fly. He teased me into the bet. I was ready to dump him. Just because his father owns half of Florida he thinks he is God's gift to women. I don't think he has ever succeeded at anything on his own. Can we get out of the damn plane and trade places so you can show me how to start this freakin' engine."
John unstrapped and got out, Cindy climbed out, he pulled her to his chest and held her firmly. He whispered. "Baby, simmer down, we can beat him easy, just calm down and relax. Cry if you need to, I am here for you." She lifted her head and looked into his eyes, her lips parted and he pressed his lips gently to hers. She felt a shiver run through his body. She leaned back, she stared at him, "WOW! What was that? Did you feel it?"
"Yes! I sure did. Let me get you in the plane, I want you to win your bet more than I can remember ever wanting anything."
Cindy grinned, "Hmm! I have a double reason to win now!"
John looked at her, "Don't play us against one another or I am out of the game,"
She stood erect in front him, her blue eyes flashing, "John, he will never hear one word about you from me. Your deal with me has nothing to do with him. He will never win."
"OK girl, calm down, don't get your Irish up. Here is my plan, we will fly during daylight hours between dawn and dusk, every chance we get. At night we have ground school. To do this you need to move in with me. NO! Don't assume anything, I have my own airstrip, it has very little traffic right now. I have several houses and apartments there. You may sleep where you want to sleep. Where you sleep has no effect at all on how hard we work. We will probably be too tired to fool around anyway."
Cindy grinned, John felt the tingle run through his body and he thought, 'There is no way in Hell I could ever be too tired to make love to you, girl. Never. Never. Never.'
She said. "Show me how to start this damned thing and we are on our way."
John climbed in the left seat and had Cindy get in the back seat and lean over his shoulder to watch as he talked her through starting the engine. He shut the engine off and put her back in the pilot's seat, got in the co-pilot's seat and watched her start it up. He shut his door and latched it. She heard him say, in her headset, "Call for clearance to taxi for takeoff."
She looked at him, shrugged her shoulders, then reached down and turned on the COM radio. He heard the transmitter key and her sweet voice said, "Ocala Tower, this is –ah—Cessna 3606 Charlie at the FBO requesting taxi for takeoff, over." She felt a warm glow settle over her when he smiled and gave her a 'thumbs up'.
"Zero six Charlie is cleared to taxi to runway three six. Hold short. Pressure is 29.93, wind from 320 at four knots, clear skies, visibility unlimited. Ocala Tower, out."
Cindy repeated the clearance then taxied out and stopped short of the runway. John watched as she slowly and perfectly performed the engine run up. She looked at him. He winked and leaned back in his seat, crossing his arms. Cindy called for takeoff clearance. She was cleared for takeoff and given instructions for the transponder settings. She checked for other traffic and rolled out on the runway. She slowly applied the power, correcting the start of a turn with the rudder and at the proper speed eased back on the control wheel and lifted the nose wheel slightly off the runway then felt the small plane soar into the sky. Cindy climbed to 2500 feet then throttled back to cruise speed. She looked at John and started a gentle turn to the right. He reached up and pointed to the GPS on the panel. A notation across the top of the screen said, 'Murphy Ranch Strip'. A blue line on the map screen led to a red circle. A note below the destination said 'Heading 021. Dist. 22 NM. Time 00 hr 13 min.' John watched as the plane banked to the right and leveled the wings on a heading of 025, banked slightly to the left and steadied on 016. John looked at Cindy and caught her glancing at him. He slowly raised his right eyebrow and his microphone clicked and he softly said, "Darlin', you were right the first time. The strip at the ranch is north and south. Ease back to a heading of 025 and you will intercept the centerline of the runway about a mile out. When we are 5 miles out descend slowly to one thousand feet, then, start to slow to approach speed. Try to be at 1000 feet a mile out and at approach speed. Then reduce your power and set up your landing attitude, shoot for being at 500 feet a half mile out, keep flying the aircraft right into the ground on the center-line of the runway using your throttle to adjust your air speed and your speed of decent. Shoot a touch-and-go." The landing and subsequent takeoff put a big grin on his face and he told her make a full stop landing the next time around. A few minutes later John sat Cindy at a picnic table near a hanger and got two cans from a soft drink machine and handed her a Coke. He smiled, "Honey, ya did damn good. Do you think you can do all that without me in the plane?" Cindy grinned and nodded her head.
John stared at her, then nodded, "OK. If you believe that, then go do it. Shoot a few touch-and-goes and we'll see how you do." Cindy's eyes grew wide, she placed a small hand on each side of his face, she kissed him on the lips firmly, then turned and ran for the Cessna. It took her a few minutes to get strapped in and ready to go. The start was flawless and John saw her talking on the radio as she taxied out toward the takeoff end of the strip. The engine snarled as she shoved the throttle forward and the small plane surged down the grass strip. He saw a slight swerve when she saw the 172 start to turn from the result of the sudden addition of power and the turn was corrected with use of the rudder. Then she was in the air, droning off into the distance.
Fear swept over his body, was he wrong? Could she really do this? Sweat broke out across his brow, his fists were tightly clinched. He instantly reviewed everything he knew about her abilities as a pilot. He knew she was ready but that didn't lessen the fear that gripped him.
A tall thin man approached him, "Mr. John, are you OK?, Ya look scared to death."
"Oh! Hi Mike. Yeah! I'm sweatin' out a solo flight."
"Boss, I've seen ya watch a hunnert solos ah reckon, but ah never seen ya sweat one like this."
"Mike, it has never been this girl before! Oh! Here she comes in for a landing. She looks good. Yes! Yes! Yeah! Wow! She greased that one on! That is as good as you can do it. I'm goin' up to the house. Please help her tie the plane down and bring her up when she is though."
Mike watched John walk away as the Cessna flew off again. He smiled, he said to himself, 'Bossman, you sho nuff been hooked by thet gal. Ah known ya, boy and man, ah seen most of them gals you have dated before and iffen she is prettier than them, she hasta really be sump'en else.' Thirty minutes later Mike helped Cindy out of the plane and got her things from the back seat. She looked at him, "Where is Mister Murphy?"
"Ma'am, My name is Mike. Mr. John asked me to bring you up to the house when you were done."
"Do you mean he didn't even watch me?"
"No Ma'am, that man sweated bullets watchin' yer first landin'. I seen him watch a gang of people solo. Never seen tears run down his cheeks before when it was a perfect landin'. Never seen him dance a little jig before either. The man really cares about every student, but not like this." Then Mike said, "Please Ma'am, don't tell him I said all that, it'll embarrass him."
"Have you known Mr. John for very long?"
"Yes'um, known him since I was a lil' pup. Best man I ever met, bar none. His word is solid gold."
Cindy smiled, "Mike, I think I knew all of that the first time I ever met him. Oh! Is this his house, it looks like a huge old cracker style ranch house?"
"You're right about that, Ma'am, this old house been rebuilt three or four times. Gets better each time too! This way please." Mike carried her things into a large room and put them on a chair, He pointed across the room where John stood with his back to them.
Cindy saw he was working at a kitchen counter. She said, "Hi! I made it."
John turned with a huge smile on his face. Cindy smiled when she noticed that John had a perfect view of the airstrip through the window in front of him, all he had to do was lift his eyes.
"I saw that, you were just about perfect. I loved it. I'm fixin' us a salad for lunch. You look great in that little pink jump suit. Hope ya like shrimp salad."
"Love it, can I help?"
"Yeah! There are some glasses on the counter bedside you. There's an ice dispenser on the refrigerator door. Sweet tea is in that pitcher, most anything else you want is in th' refrigerator. Pour me some tea an' fix what you want. We'll eat in that booth over there."
Cindy was seated when he placed the salads on the table. He placed a tray bearing 8 or 9 different dressings in Mason jars on the table. "These are all fresh homemade dressings, chose your own poison."