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I get to travel to all of these cool places and meet so many interesting people from all sorts of backgrounds. It’s been great.

“Prepare for takeoff,” the pilot says over the loudspeaker as we line up on the runway.

I glance back into the cabin and no one is paying any attention. They’re all focused on their card game. Two people are standing up for fuck’s sake.

I shake my head as I turn back to the window. Wait! What happened to Mr. Brambilla’s son? The hot one?

He must have gotten off the plane. I haven’t seen him since the others arrived. Too bad. He seemed like the only nice one out of the bunch.

I’m still dreaming of those sexy green eyes and big arms as the plane rockets down the runway and lifts into the air.

When we’re leveled off and flying at the right altitude, the seatbelt sign comes off.

I get up and get to work, making drinks and preparing snacks for these rude pompous neanderthals.

The thick heavy smell of cigar smoke hits my nose and it makes me so angry that I see red. I grab an empty desert plate and charge into the back. Mr. Brambilla has a big fat cigar between his leathery lips.

“No smoking on the plane,” I say as I thrust the plate in front of his face. “Put it out. Now.”

His big droopy eyes slowly make their way to my face as everyone else holds their breath. He just stares at me, trying to intimidate me into backing down.

I won’t. I’m in charge of safety on the airplane and I take my duties seriously.

“It’s an FAA regulation. It’s the law.”

They all burst out laughing, except for Mr. Brambilla. He’s still staring me down, trying to intimidate me into submitting.

“This is my plane,” he says in a deep scratchy voice. “I’m the law in here.”

I huff out a breath, spin on my heels, and march right up to the cockpit door. I knock on it hard.

“What?” the co-pilot says as he opens the door.

“They’re smoking on the plane!” I say, brimming with indignation. “Tell them to put it out or you’ll turn around.”

He scoffs. “That’s Mr. Brambilla! He can do whatever he wants.”

“It’s against FAA regulations!”

“Regulations don’t apply to Mr. Salvatore Brambilla.”

“You didn’t tell him he couldn’t smoke, did you?” thin ugly mustache asks as he whips his head around. He sees my face dropping and then slams his palm onto the yoke. “Goddamit, just give them whatever they want and keep your damn mouth shut. Stop making trouble.”

The door slams in my face.

Stop making trouble?! Me? I’m making trouble?!

I clenched my jaw and squeeze my hands into fists. I hate these people! No wonder Tracy called in sick!

I storm into the galley, fix their damn drinks, and then walk back into the cabin with the glasses clinking on a tray. I’ll give them their stupid orders, but I’m not smiling. Not anymore!

No one even looks at me as I serve the drinks, trying to fit them on the table between all the cards, chips, and fat stacks of cash. Is that… blood? One of the hundred dollar bills in the pile is stained red.

“Thanks, sweetheart,” one of the older guys says as I place his scotch in front of him. His hand slides up the back of my thigh and a cringy shiver rakes up my body like a thousand baby spiders crawling up my skin.

I grab his wrist, yank his hand off, and quickly move away. Someone chuckles as I hurry into the back.

“Oh!” I say, gasping in shock when I see Salvatore Brambilla’s hot son leaning against the counter. He looks just as incredible as the first time I saw him. “I thought you got off the plane.”

He shakes his head as he keeps his eyes on the entrance to the galley.

“Where have you been?” I ask as I put my tray down. “You weren’t in the cabin.”

“Don’t worry about that,” he whispers in a smooth voice. “I just needed some space from my father.”

I can see why…

“How many are they back there anyway?”

“I don’t know,” I say, counting in my head. “Seven.”

He nods. “Have you done the security announcement?”

“No,” I say, feeling my anger returning. “They’d just ignore me.” Or, make fun of me the entire time. I can see it now. ‘Hey sweetheart, if we’re floating in the ocean, can I grab your buoys?’

“You should go do it.”

He sees my hesitation.

“It’s the law. And it’s your job.”

Shit, he’s right. Ahh! Fuck!

I walk out and steel my nerves as I grab the inflatable life vest.

“Excuse me,” I say in a firm voice. “It’s time for the safety announcement. Can you please stop playing for a moment and listen closely?”

They all ignore me.

“Excuse me,” I snap, losing all patience. “Put the cards down.”

They all turn and glare at me. I swallow hard as I hold my shoulders back and my chin in the air. I won’t be intimidated by thugs. I won’t.

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