Jean Sifton

The scandalous stewardess

CHAPTER ONE

The Bahamian island of Eleuthera is a saber-shaped spit of glistening white coral sand in the crystalline waters of the Caribbean sea. One can get there by boat or by plane. It was on such a shuttle flight from Nassau that Davie Knight sat and breathlessly looked out of the narrow window on December 20th. The sixteen year old kept knotting a silk scarf between her hands, a gesture which could not escape the watchful notice of the striking older blonde woman who sat next to her. The twin-engine plane was small and claustrophobic. There was nothing but a sparkling expanse of transparent blue sea below them. Perhaps she's frightened, the woman was thinking to herself as she surveyed the luscious fresh-faced teen, whose long, glossy sable brown hair hung past her pert up- thrust young breasts that were demurely hidden behind a navy blue cardigan sweater. An emblem sewn to tile sweater pocket identified the girl as a student at one of the chic New York City parochial schools for rich girls.

The young girl's large hazel eyes had an apprehensive look, and from time to time, she would bite her full, sensuous lower lip. Color flushed the girl's smooth cheeks, though she wore no makeup. Nor did she need any. Hers were the vital and strikingly delineated features of the natural beauty.

By contrast, the older blonde woman next to her had artfully used the best cosmetics to embellish her sophisticated good looks. Subtle blue eye shadow and contrasting deep blue liner, plus a generous application of rich black mascara added depth and intensity to her bright blue eyes. Blusher and bronzes augmented an unexplainable sun tan in the middle of winter, a sun tan which was apparent on the woman's smooth thighs and arms when she removed her lightweight jacket. A clinging beige knit mini-dress did little to hide her ample braless breasts, whose firm nipples showed pointedly under the fabric.

The blonde studied the preoccupied teenager for a long moment, looking intently at her face, and then up and down the length of her body, almost the way a man would. Her eyes narrowed, and she involuntarily flicked her tongue out to lick her coral lips salaciously. Then the moment passed, and her expression became one of friendly concern as she gently tugged at the teenager's sleeve and said, 'Excuse me.'

She waited until the startled girl turned to her. She's nervous as hell, the blonde thought. With a warm and reassuring smile, the woman asked, 'I didn't mean to startle you, but I was wondering if I could answer any questions or just be of help. I've flown this hop so many times.'

Davie's eyes widened. She seemed reassured. 'You have?' she asked breathlessly.

'Oh yes. I'm a stewie. But this time I'm deadheading. This is my vacation. Are you on a school holiday… all by yourself?' she probed.

'Well, sort of. My father is meeting me though I'll be staying with him.'

The blonde concealed her momentary disappointment. 'Oh, how nice. Does he have a house on Eleuthera?'

'Actually, it's a resort. French Leave.'

The blonde brightened visibly. 'What a coincidence! That's where I'll be staying, too! So Peter Knight is your father!'

'You know Daddy?' the girl asked with surprise.

'Not personally, of course. But this is my third visit to French Leave. I absolutely love it. There's no place quite like it, don't you think? And your father is in a class by himself, too. He has to be one of the most attractive men in the world. Matter of fact, you look a lot like him. You certainly have his eyes, and his coloring, and the same kind of mouth… full and well-shaped.' (She had almost said 'sensual' but thought better of it. Down girl, she had reminded herself. Not yet. Not yet.)

Davie blushed, 'Everyone says that Daddy and I look alike. It makes my mother furious. You'd never know I was her daughter at all!' Davie giggled mischievously. She was obviously delighted by the affront to her mother which the blonde quickly picked up on. She pressed her inquiry.

'It's a good thing your mother isn't here right now, isn't it?' the blonde said with a between-us-girls look on her face. She punctuated it with a broad, sparkling smite, which put Davie further at ease.

'Wow! You can say that again!' Davie agreed, answering the smile with eyes heavenward in an expression of relief. 'It's a good thing she isn't here for a lot of reasons!'

'But will she be meeting you, with your father?' the blonde inquired casually.

'Good grief, no! She's back in New York, in her precious little world of tea parties, shopping sprees and charity balls. Yeeehhhck!' Davie said emphatically. 'My parents have been divorced for three years.'

'I'm sorry to hear that, uh…'

'Davie.'

'What a beautiful name. It suits you perfectly,' the blonde cooed. 'I'm Trish Byers, Davie.'

'Happy to meet you, Miss Byers. Everybody calls me Davie. Everyone except my mother…'

'Oh please – please call me Trish. You make me feel a hundred and fifty years old when you say Miss Byers!'

'I'm sorry… Trish I didn't mean that at all. You're beautiful. It's just that at school they make us call everyone over twenty Miss or Mister. Force of habit, you know,' Davie answered shyly.

'Well that's one habit you can break right now – at least while you're on vacation. We'll be in paradise in about twenty minutes. Then it's off with the school clothes and into the bikini for you! You do have a bikini, don't you?'

'Yes! Mummy sent me off with some square one-piece suit I wouldn't be caught dead in. That's typical of her. But the first thing I did when I got off the plane at Nassau was run to the neatest shop and buy myself a skimpy little hot pink number that's just a lot of strings crocheted together. Mummy would have a stroke if she knew!' Davie giggled girlishly again.

Trish grinned back in a conspiratorial way. 'Good for you, honey it sounds as though 'mummy' is a little straight laced.'

Davie threw back her hands and brought them down on her thighs emphatically. 'Ohhh! You wouldn't believe it! She is the most super uptight, most hypocritical person in the whole world! She makes my life so miserable.'

'But she is letting you come all the way to Eleuthera by yourself for Christmas. That doesn't seem like something an uptight mother would do,' Trish ventured.

'Because she had to. The judge made her do it. She would never have let me see my father otherwise. She didn't want me to see him ever again!' said Davie, and a look of distress crossed her lovely face.

'How long has it been, honey?'

'Three years! I was thirteen when Daddy left. I cried for a whole month. Mummy hated me for that, and it made her hate him more. She thought I'd forget about him and that he'd forget about me. But it didn't work that way. At least, I haven't forgotten him.'

Trish reached over and placed a warm hand on the teen's knee and patted it consolingly. Now she knew the reason for the scarf knotting and the fidgeting at the window. It wasn't the plane ride, it was Daddy Davie she was worried about. Three years is a long time to be separated from anyone.

'It's going to be fine, just fine, Davie. After a few hours, it'll seem like your dad never went away. You're going to love French Leave. Everything is so beautiful, and everyone is so relaxed. You won't want to go back.'

'Do you really think so, Trish? I mean, about Dad and me? I know I won't want to go back I never want to go back to that… that bitch!'

Trish raised a carefully plucked eyebrow. 'That's a pretty strong word, Davie. Is it ready that bad?'

'I hate her,' Davie said levelly. 'She's made me go to that horrible school all these years – that ghetto for nice girls from good families, quote unquote. It's a prison. And she won't let me go out with boys or have parties at home. Yet she has parties! I'm not supposed to know what goes on. We have this huge place, a condominium.

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