The line at the deli counter had shortened considerably since he first arrived, so he decided he may as well grab something to eat. He still had a five-hour flight ahead of him, and from experience, he knew, unless you were in first class, the in-flight food sucked ass.
The dark haired girl who stepped in line just before him nearly knocked over her very expensive looking carryon as she rolled it along too hastily. Her other hand was at her ear, where she held her phone. Brandon didn’t know much about bag brands, but he could tell just by looking at it, it was expensive. Everything about her said expensive from her long leather coat to her high-heeled sleek city boots to the equally expensive purse that hung on her shoulder. The sunglasses that sat on top of her head alone probably cost more than his airline ticket. She even smelled expensive.
“No, Daddy, I’m fine.” Her bracelets jingled as she reached out for a tray. “I have a car service picking me up at the airport, and I’m all set up in a condo when I get there. Don’t worry.” Brandon stared at the side of her face dryly. It figured the princess was well looked out for. “Yes, I’m meeting abuelita at Flemings for dinner tonight if I make it on time. My connector flight was delayed. I’m in D.C. right now.”
Grabbing a tray, Brandon glanced around at the choices of chips he had to throw on it, trying to ignore the girl’s annoying conversation with Daddy. She struggled to push the tray along while pulling her carryon and holding her phone at the same time. Cradling the phone between her shoulder and her chin, she looked up at the lady behind the counter who was waiting to take her order. “I’ll have a chicken salad with no tomatoes or egg with light thousand island dressing and a Coke Zero.”
“The salads are premade.” The bored-looking lady held out a premade salad in a plastic container. “We only have regular thousand and Diet Pepsi.”
“No, I already told Mom I’d look into buying a car when I got there.” Princess glanced up at the lady behind the counter and held up a finger. “You can’t just give me your car, and besides I don’t drive stick shift.” She glanced back at Brandon and offered an apologetic smile for holding up the line. “Daddy, let me call you back. I’m in line right now. Okay. Okay.” She smiled at the lady behind the counter then at Brandon again.
Brandon stared at her unsmiling, taking in the small details of daddy’s little princess. The lip gloss that she wore was barely there but enough to accentuate her already plump lips. They were subtle and flawless, as were her well-manicured French-tipped nails. She had dark features: dark, thick, shiny, near-black hair that flowed down halfway to her elbow and dark lashes that draped over those big brown eyes. The fact that this grown woman was standing here talking to an obviously overbearing daddy and that she referred to her grandmother in Spanish brought back the annoying reminder of . . .
“Yes, I promise,” she said, finally sounding as impatient as Brandon was beginning to feel. “Okay, bye, bye. I love you too.”
She hung up, smiling crookedly at Brandon, who again offered no smile in return. Turning back to the lady behind the counter, she waved the salad away and glanced around. “Is there some place here I can get a salad made?”
The lady behind the counter pressed her lips together, taking the salad back. “You can try Gordon’s,” the lady said, and with that, she was done with the princess, moving on to Brandon. “What’ll it be?”
Brandon put in his order for a turkey sub and an iced tea, not noticing which direction the princess had gone. He ate quietly, sitting on the floor near a window overlooking the runway, his back against the wall.
He was over being bitter about having to transfer back to a place he’d vowed he never return to. San Diego was a huge city, and the truth was just as in South Carolina where he’d been a DI for the past four years, he’d be spending most of his time on the base anyway. Whatever time he spent off the base he’d be sure to steer clear of La Jolla.
“Well, I was just gonna go back to the same gym I always went to.”
Brandon glanced up to see the princess on her phone again, standing in front of a seat in one of the nearest rows of seats to him. He studied her for a moment as she removed her coat, revealing the rest of her long high-heeled boots. They went all the way up past her knees. What she wore under them—skin hugging leggings and a gray sweater that draped over her round but tight little ass and hips—said a lot about how much time she must spend at the gym.
As his eyes made it all the way up to the scarf around her neck and back to the full lips that had caught his eyes the first time, he noticed she was watching him watch her. The expression on her face was an amused one. Brandon was anything but amused. Her lips curved into a smile, and he looked away. Pulling himself up, he gathered his trash. He threw his military bag over his shoulder and walked away, annoyed that he’d given the pampered princess yet another reason to feel better about herself, as if a girl like her didn’t already have enough reasons to feel superior to those around her.