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Story - The Cancelled Flight
Mon Jul 30, 2018 23:56

Flight cancelled. Not a great way to end a four-day work trip. I just wanted to get home to my apartment and see my dog. But there were no more flights out that evening, so the airline booked me in a hotel. It wasn’t the nicest hotel by any stretch of the imagination, but it was close to the airport and besides, all I needed was a bed for the evening.

Frustrated and stressed out, I boarded the shuttle and checked in. It was getting fairly late, but I was pretty wound up, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep immediately. I flipped through some channels but didn’t find anything interesting, so I called down to the front desk to ask whether the hotel had a fitness center. I was told that they did, and that it was on the end of the hall on the second floor.

So I unpacked my workout clothes and changed. I also slipped on my ankle support brace on my left foot, since I was still recovering from a mid-grade sprain two months ago. At this point I could run and exercise pretty normally, but I still wanted to protect it since it wasn’t quite back to full strength.

When I found the fitness center, I wasn’t very impressed, but it had the basics—a treadmill, a bike, an elliptical machine, and some medicine balls. I turned on the TV and found a talk show that I could tolerate, stretched for about five minutes, and turned on the treadmill. I figured I’d run a couple of miles, do some pushups, and call it a night.

About ten minutes into my run, a woman came into the gym. She appeared a little older than I am—maybe early 30s. She was fit and pretty attractive. I don’t think she’d turn my head if she passed me on the street, but I did notice that she had very athletic legs which were covered to the calves by exercise leggings.

We both said hello to each other. “Your flight get cancelled too?” she asked. “Yeah,” I said. “So frustrating.” “Totally,” she said. “Second time this month I’ve been at this hotel.” “Wow,” I said. “I’ll hope this is my last stay here. It’s not exactly the Four Seasons.” She chuckled.

“No rush at all,” she said, “but will you be on the treadmill for a while?”

“I was planning on maybe about ten more minutes,” I said, “but I’m happy to stop now if you need it.”

“No, no, that’s completely fine. I’ll just use the elliptical until you’re done. No hurry at all. Take your time.”

“Okay, you sure?” I asked.

“Of course. You were here first.”

“Alright, well, I won’t be long.”

“Seriously, take your time.” She hopped onto the elliptical and started it up.

I handed her the remote control. “Please watch whatever you want,” I said. “I really don’t need to watch this.”
“You sure?” she said.

“Absolutely. I couldn’t really find anything else.”
“Okay—thanks,” she said. She stopped the elliptical while she channel-surfed. She landed on a reality show that was just horrible, but I figured I could put up with anything for a few minutes.

“Sorry,” she said. “I know it’s terrible, but I can’t help it.”

“No problem,” I said. “Fine by me.”

She started the elliptical up again and we both exercised for a few minutes without speaking. Every now and again I would sneak a glance at her legs, and although I don’t think she noticed, I think that she might have been shooting me a few glances as well when I wasn’t looking. That was flattering, but I didn’t read much into it.
When a commercial break came on, I told her that I only had a couple more minutes left.

“Okay, thanks. Really, though, no rush.”

A few minutes later, I slowed the treadmill down to a walk and cooled off for a minute or two. Then I turned it off and told her that I was done and that I’d wipe it down for her. “Okay, great. Thanks,” she said. She kept pumping on the elliptical.

I stepped off the treadmill and grabbed one of the wipes from the dispenser. Before I wiped it off, I took a moment to stretch and rotate my ankle, which was a little sore.

“You have a bad ankle?” she asked out of the blue.
“Sort of. I sprained it playing basketball a couple months back. It’s better, but still gets a little sore.”

“Yeah, I hurt my knee when I was in high school and it still gives me fits sometimes,” she said.

“How’d you do that?” I asked. I didn’t mind talking about anything that had to do with her legs.

“Honestly I just jumped and landed wrong. I’m a total klutz, apparently. I didn’t tear anything but it took a while to recover.”

“Well, we’re all clumsy sometimes, I guess. Glad it wasn’t too serious.”

I got onto the treadmill and wiped it down. “All yours.”
“Thanks so much.”

I walked over to the water dispenser and poured a cup of water as she powered the elliptical down. I chugged the first cup and refilled it.

“Well, have a great night,” I said, “and good luck with your flight tomorrow.”

“Thanks, you too,” she said.

I chugged the second cup and was about to throw it in the trash can when I heard a thud and turned around just in time to see her crumpling to the ground.

“Oh, SHIT,” she yelled. “Dammit, oh my God!”

“Oh no, are you okay?” I asked as I went over to you.”

She immediately grabbed her left foot. “Ow, ow, holy shit.”

“What happened?”

“I—I—stepped wrong. Holy shit.”

“Your knee?”

“No, no, my ankle. I can’t believe this. It hurts so bad.”

“Oh, no. Okay, okay. Here, sit up.” I grabbed her hand and helped her out of the fetal position.

“I can’t believe this,” she said, still clutching her ankle. “Dammit!”

She looked at me helplessly.

“Okay,” I said, “we need to get some ice on it. Why don’t you wait here and I’ll run and get some.”

“You sure?” she said. “I’m so sorry—this is so embarrassing.”

“Of course—no problem. I’ll be back in a minute.”

“Can you hand me my phone?” she asked. I grabbed it from the elliptical and gave it to her.

“Be right back.”

I ran up the stairs to my room and grabbed a bag and filled it up from the ice machine on my floor. Then I ran back down to the second floor and let myself back into the fitness center. She was holding her ankle with one hand and her phone in the other.

“—anyway, the guy is here with the ice…no, I’ll figure out how to get to the airport….I don’t know if it’s broken…don’t be mad at me, it’s not like I did this on purpose….okay, whatever, bye.”

She hung up the phone. “That was my boyfriend. He’s acting like this is my fault.”

I could see tears in her eyes.

“We’ll figure it out,” I said. “Do you want to try to walk to your room, or do you want to get some ice on it in here first?”

“I don’t know,” she said, her voice cracking.

“Okay,” I said, “let’s just wait here for a few minutes and we’ll take it one step at a time.”

“I can’t tell whether it’s broken or not,” she said. “It still hurts so much.”

“Well, let’s take a look. I know a thing or two about ankles.” She managed a small laugh.

She stuck out her left leg and leaned back. I slowly unlaced her shoe, lifted up her foot, and slowly slipped it off to reveal a dark ankle sock with pink and yellow stripes. She grimaced a little. My insides stirred more than a little.

We could tell that it had already swelled up a little bit, but not severely.

“Where does it hurt?” I asked.

“I can’t really tell exactly. Sort of all over.”
With her sock still on, I started to touch different places on her foot—above the ankle, directly on the ankle, just below the ankle. I savored the sweatiness of her sock.

“How much can you move it?”

She lifted her foot and slowly started making circles. She didn’t seem to have too much range of motion, but it was enough that I was pretty sure it wasn’t broken.
“I don’t think you broke it,” I said. “That’s actually more than I could do right after I sprained mine. But you’ve definitely got at least a minor sprain, because it’s definitely swelling up. Here, let’s get the ice on it.”

I pulled a medicine ball off the rack and slipped it under her foot to elevate it and placed the ice pack over her ankle. “Lean back a little,” I told her, “so that it’s elevated as much as we can.”

She leaned back onto her elbows and sighed. “Thank you so much,” she said. “I’m so sorry about this.”

“Don’t be sorry,” I said. “I’m just glad I was here when it happened.”

“Me too. You’re a lifesaver. By the way, my name’s Callie.”

We both chuckled. “I’m Scott.”

“Well, nice to meet you, Scott. God, this is embarrassing.”

“Trust me, it’s not as embarrassing as doing this in front all your friends on the basketball court. They almost had to carry me to my car, and one of them had to drive me home. Now that was embarrassing.”

“I’ll bet you’ll never hear the end of that,” she said.
“Pretty much, yeah.”

There were a few seconds of awkward silence, and I could see her trying to move her ankle around a little.

“Feeling any better?”

“Maybe a little. I think the shock has worn off a little bit, and the ice is numbing it a little.”

“Good. And hopefully it will bring the swelling down a little bit.”

Suddenly her face flinched and her eyes opened wide. “Oh crap,” she said. “Okay, this is really embarrassing.”


“So I have a toe ring on this foot, and I’m worried it might get stuck.”

“Ha,” I chuckled. “Want to go ahead and get it off?”

“Probably a good idea.”

“Okay.” She started to lean up, but before she had a chance to get very far, I held her foot. “I’ll get it.”
“You sure?”

“Yep, let’s keep the ice on there.”

“Okay…” she gave me a little bit of a smirk and a quizzical look, but I reached underneath the icepack and peeled off her sock.

Her foot was soft and perfectly arched. Her toes had no polish on them and despite a little wear and tear, they were lovely. Her toes were just a little plump but were fairly long, and her second toe was slightly larger than her big one.

Sure enough, there was a toe ring on the second toe, and I began to twist it off carefully. Her foot was still just sweaty enough to make it come off relatively easily.

“Wow, thanks,” she said. “That would have been bad.”

I handed her the ring. “Yeah, definitely.”

“And sorry again about all this. I bet the last thing you wanted to do tonight was deal with someone’s ugly feet.” Little did she know.

“Oh, come on. They’re not ugly. Just part of the job.”

“If you say so,” she shrugged.

“God, my boyfriend can be such a jerk sometimes,” she said, changing the subject. “All he cares about is going to this party tomorrow night. He was mad that my flight got cancelled and then mad about this. He barely asked if I was okay.”

“Well, not sure what to tell you about that,” I said. “I’m just the ankle doctor tonight.”

She laughed.

“Fair enough.”

“Okay,” I said, “so at some point we’re going to need to see how well you can walk on this and get you back to your room, right?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“And also, we need to find a bandage or something for you. Maybe the hotel has something. If not, I can at least give you my brace, which I know is gross but at least it’s something.”

“Okay, well that’s really nice of you. You sure you don’t need it?”

“No, I’ll be fine, as long as you don’t mind.”

“Not a problem. You’ve already touched my feet, so I guess it’ll be my turn to touch yours, so to speak.”

I laughed. I didn’t think my insides could churn more than they were, but they did.

“Alright, so let’s get you up.” She grabbed my hands and hopped up using her right foot. She slowly put her left foot down as I moved to her left side and put my arm around her. She put her arm around me to use me as support.

She stood on her left foot and we took a couple of slow steps. She could put weight on it, although it was obviously uncomfortable for her.
“Take your time,” I said.

“Okay. It definitely hurts, but I can put some pressure on it.”

We walked through the door of the gym, and out into the hallway. I was carrying her shoe and sock as well as the ice bag and her water bottle, phone, and room key.
Two steps into the hallway she stopped and let out a little moan. “Ugh. I put too much weight on it there,” she said. “Need to take it real slow.”

“Now that we know you can walk on it, want to just hop? It’ll be quicker.”


We hopped down the hallway to the elevator. I asked her what room she was staying in, and it turns out we were on opposite ends of the same floor. She was in 502 and I was 521.

The elevator opened and there was an older lady who, from the smell of it, had just come in from a smoke break.

“You okay?” she asked.

“Yeah, just hurt my ankle. Thanks.”

“Oh no. Do you all need any help?”

“No,” said Callie, “we’re fine, but thanks.”

We got off on the fifth floor and I helped her hop to room 502. I helped her onto her bed and put a pillow underneath her ankle and put the ice back on it.

“I’m going to go downstairs and see if they have an ace bandage or something. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Okay, thanks so much. Don’t forget the key.”

I handed her the remote control and left. I explained to the attendant at the front desk that my friend had injured her ankle in the gym and asked whether they had any bandages. She went into the back, and when she came back she said that they didn’t. She said they did have some crutches and a wheelchair, though, if those would help. I thanked her and told her that I’d let her know and got back on the elevator.

When I let myself back into Callie’s room, she was back on the phone, apparently with the boyfriend again.
“…I can’t walk by myself…no, asshole, it really hurts…look, I’ll do whatever I can, but I probably need to go to the doctor when I get back…I don’t know how I’ll get through the airport, but I’ll figure it out…okay, fine, talk to you in the morning.”

She hung up the phone and sighed.

“Mr. Sensitive, huh?” I said.

“Don’t get me started.”

“Okay, well, no bandages in the hotel. They do have crutches and a wheelchair, so I’m sure we can use those in the morning, and I would imagine that if we let the airline know what’s happened, they can help you get through the airport.”

“I hope so.”

“So in the meantime, the brace will at least help a little bit. You want me to run it through the laundry?”
“No, no, it’s fine. But another embarrassing thing—I need to go to the bathroom.”

“Ha, no problem. Let me help you up.”

I helped her up and she hopped to the bathroom and closed the room. I could hear the toilet flush and the sink running, and she came out a moment later.

“Thanks. God this is crazy.”

I helped her to the bed again and noticed that the ice had melted a lot, so I emptied it into her sink.
When I came out, she had turned off the TV and had her ankle propped up on the pillow.

“Okay, I’ll be right back,” I said.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to run down to my room and take this brace off and get you another bag of ice.”

“Hold on,” she said awkwardly.


“Well, do you mind taking my other shoe off? I’m feeling lazy.”

“Ha. No problem.” This was amazing.

I unlaced her right shoe and pulled it off. I looked down at her foot and then we made eye contact for what felt like an hour but was only a second her two. She gave me a knowing nod.

I peeled her sock off, and just like with her injured foot, the shape and condition of her right foot made me bulge.

“Scott,” she said.


“How’s your ankle feeling?”

“It’s, uh---”

“It’s sore, right?” She was looking straight at me. I wasn’t certain what she was asking, but I knew what the right answer was.

“Um, yeah, pretty sore.”

“That’s what I thought. Come here.” She patted the bed.
I slowly walked to the other side of the bed and laid down. She crawled to the foot of the bed, careful not to bend her injured ankle.

She unlaced my left shoe and pulled it off. I was completely aroused, but also a little self-conscious about how sweaty my own foot must feel. I didn’t know where thi

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