Stewardesses were a dime a dozen, but Franka was something else. It wasn't often that Auggie allowed the Mile High Club to join him on solid ground; in fact, Franka was the first. Halfway through the flight to Istanbul, the man in the window seat beside him fell into a coma-quality sleep, and Franka crept up and sat in the empty aisle seat to his right.
"It's me," she whispered, touching his arm as she took a seat. "I brought snacks."
She shared two bags of party mix, a tiny bottle of rum, two plastic cups, and several hours' worth of engaging conversation. Later, she snuck him into "the lav," where they made out like a couple of teenagers.
"Don't you have work to do?" he asked, nuzzling her neck.
"Probably," she whispered. "Who cares?"
For the first time in a long time, Auggie actually waited for assistance after the flight. He hadn't flown alone in awhile and no matter what a pain in the ass the assistance was, it was just too much of a pain to stumble forward with the herd. This time, it was Franka offering the assistance, and he found he didn't mind quite so much.
"Your hotel room or mine?" she asked as they stepped into the airport and walked arm-in-arm toward baggage claim.
"Whatever's closer," he responded.
She was a surprisingly good sport about jazz, though that wasn't her original plan for her time in Istanbul.
"You've been here before, I assume?" she asked, popping a bite of simit into her mouth.
"Oh, yeah," he said, reclining slightly against a pile of pillows. "This is my city."
Franka laughed. "Your city?"
"I know this place inside and out, and I am here for the jazz."
"Well, I made plans to meet a friend and her husband for coffee," she said, rising and opening her suitcase. "You go nerd out at the festival, and I'll meet you back here a little later."
They went their separate ways in style. Auggie loved Istanbul- he'd visited or resided in countless cities over the past fifteen years, but this place had his heart. Ten years ago, it was the sights. Today, it was the sounds.
He'd never intended to bring a beautiful stranger into the most personal mission of his career, but there they were. Franka had returned to the hotel in search of a little afternoon delight, and she'd saddled herself with a man hellbent on avenging everything that once mattered most to him. She was intelligent. She knew there were things he wouldn't... couldn't tell her. She gathered that he wasn't a music journalist. And to her credit, she ran with it. This stranger gave up her weekend in Istanbul to be his eyes on a dangerous mission for which she would receive neither credit nor thanks.
And when the weekend was over, she parted ways as amicably as anyone in her position possibly could. But she knew he'd never call, and he knew she wouldn't want him to. She was sexy, brilliant and selfless in a way he once thought he'd never find. But this wasn't her battle. She deserved better than the spy life and, he realized with a sinking feeling, she deserved better than Auggie Anderson.