My flight in to Mile High Airport was uneventful, but I knew something was afoot when I got her first text message.
The last e-mails exchanged before my flight from Houston were a series of mundane notes about scheduling from my nephew. I guess his car had the best four-wheel-drive so he was nominated to come down from the mountain to pick me up.
When I turned my phone back on after the flight, however, several messages appeared from an address that I didn't recognize. I thought that skigirl24 was just spam that had slipped through my company's filter. I was about to delete them but my thumb slipped, and instead of deleting the last one I opened it.
It simply read "But remember, you can't tell Brian about this….”
I stopped in the middle of the airport terminal and scrolled quickly to the older messages. Each one was short and to the point.
“Hi uncle Jon! Brain is stuck at work so I will leave meeting you at the airport. He gave me your flight information so I will be outside of baggage claim #3 by 3:30 PM”
A few minutes later another message had been sent
“Your brother Andrew just showed me a picture of you so that I would recognize you at the airport. What a hottie. Are you sure you are really 44?”
15 minutes later, another message had been sent.
“Andrew pulled out the scrapbook and showed me more pictures. This vacation is going to be funner than I thought.”
Two minutes later, another message.
“You remind me of someone very special.“
I adjusted my watch for the Mountain time zone and made my way to baggage claim #3. Since my plane was a few minutes early, it was only 2:50 PM so I had some time to kill. I looked at the time stamp on the last message and saw that she had sent it just 10 minutes before I landed.
Feeling risky, I wrote her back and asked, "How will I recognize you?”
Making my way down the airport concourse I stepped into the nearest magazine shop and purchased a bag of peanut M&M's and the latest copy of Penthouse Forum. Being at my brother’s house for a week was going to be challenging, so a little entertainment was in order.
I pocketed the change and used that moment for a quick status check. I realized that reading skigirl24’s text messages and buying a magazine had started to make me hard. I thought about my brother’s house and the outdoor spa that he installed last year and smiled, looking forward to some private time with my magazine and some powerful water jets.
My luggage appeared on the revolving carousel at 3:25 PM. I grabbed my two bags and stood in line for the outgoing security check. As I was handing my luggage claim tickets to the obviously bored gate agent, my cell phone vibrated and gave the chirp that let me know a text message had arrived.
It was from her. "I will be the one in the skirt that is way too short for Colorado in winter."
I hardened a bit more.
I didn't know if my brother's son was married, engaged, or just dating this girl, but I had gotten the impression from family phone calls that it was getting serious. I made a mental note to myself that I should talk to my brother more than every three months. His kids were getting older things were changing quickly and I felt out of touch.
My winter coat was in the outside pocket of my bag so I pulled it out and slipped it on as I stepped to the curb of baggage claim #3. It was 3:35 PM.
A dark blue and very dirty Nissan Rogue pulled up to the curb. It caught my eye because I knew that it was not out on the market yet so the driver must have connections to a dealership. I was looking at the front grill and mentally comparing it to other cars in its class when she walked around the front and looked at me.
“SkiGirl24?” I responded, and extended my hand.
"It's Cassie in real life," she said as she stepped toward me gently slapping my hand out of the way to give me a hug, "you are family, and I am a hugger, so a handshake just won't do."
"Your description is right," I said, trying not to stare too much at her bare legs and boots, "you must be freezing in that outfit."
"Hopefully I won't be in it for long." She said with a giggle. "Boy, did that come out wrong or what?"
She walked to the back of the car and popped open the hatch and I tossed in my bags. I closed it once again and she was standing there staring at me, her short skirt moving softly in the chilly breeze, her long blond hair covering and uncovering her face. She brushed her hair out of her face, tucking it behind her left ear, and looked at me with a wistful smile.
"This is going to be weird."