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Strangers At The Airport

Title: Strangers At The Airport
Characters: Shannon, Jacob.
Pairing: Shannon/Jacob
Rating: PG
Warnings: Spoilers for The Incident, and deleted Abandoned flashback. Also, it's an alternate ending to Shannon's section in The Man In The Blue Suit , but still makes sense without having read that.
Summary: For aurilly, who requested Jacob and also secret crushes. Shannon has an encounter with a stranger at the airport on her arrival in France.

Great, thought Shannon as she glanced around her. She’d just spent fifteen hours on a plane, stuck next to the baby who’d screamed all the way there, and Philippe couldn’t even manage to meet her flight?

Oh, he’d sounded very apologetic when he’d had her paged at the airport to explain that he was going to be delayed. Some sort of family emergency, apparently. Dominique probably broke a nail, Shannon thought uncharitably, suppressing the thought that spoke with Boone’s voice, pointing out that it wouldn’t be out of character for Shannon herself to pull something like that, which was ridiculous.

Almost as ridiculous as the situation Shannon found herself in now. She hadn’t even wanted this job, for Christ’s sake. It wasn’t that long since she and Nora had giggled together about what a perv Philippe was, and speculated about what really happened to Mademoiselle Lisa, the previous au pair. She still couldn’t quite believe she was stuck here, instead of in New York for the internship.

“Damn it,” she muttered as she attempted to lift her bag again, although she had no real idea of where she was going to wait for Philippe.

“Are you sure you’re okay with that?” came a voice from behind her. Shannon turned around to see the attractive-looking man who had helped her earlier at baggage reclaim.

“Oh. Uh, hello again.” Shannon mumbled, feeling oddly tongue-tied all of a sudden. “This thing’s heavier than I remembered. My brother took care of it when I checked in at LAX.”

“That would be Boone?” the stranger asked, taking hold of one of the handles of Shannon’s bag, his fingers brushing against hers slightly as he did so.

“Great.” Shannon muttered. “You heard me talking to myself earlier.”, referring to a moment at baggage reclaim where she’d heard Boone’s voice in her head reminding her of what exactly she was taking on with the new job.

The man smiled. “Don’t worry about it. So, are you sure you’re okay? Are you meeting anybody here?”

Shannon scowled. “I was supposed to be. I’m starting a new job as an au pair here, and the father was meant to be meeting me, but he’s late.” But looking at this stranger now, part of Shannon no longer cared that Philippe was late, felt that it wouldn’t much matter if he didn’t come at all.

The man looked at her. “He’s just abandoned you here on your own?”

“He said he’d try and get here as soon as he could,” Shannon replied.

The man shook his head. “Let me get you a drink or something, keep you company while you’re waiting.”

“Don’t you have a plane to catch?” Shannon asked, before mentally kicking herself. Here was this guy offering to keep her company, and Shannon was asking if he had to be somewhere else? Real smart, Shannon.

“I have some time to kill,” the man replied, before holding out his hand. “I don’t believe we’ve introduced ourselves. My name is Jacob.”

Shannon took his hand, shook it. “Shannon.” No wedding ring, she noticed automatically, then shook her head. Get a grip, Shannon. What does it matter? You’re never going to see him after today anyway. He’s gonna be flying off to who knows where, while you’re stuck in Diaper Hell for who knows how long.

“So, uh, what brings you to France?” Shannon asked, cringing at the unoriginal line, but finding herself unusually tongue-tied and not knowing what else to say.

“Oh, I’m just catching up with a few friends,” Jacob replied. “I’ve been to England, and I’m heading out now to Los Angeles.” They were approaching the food court now. “So, uh, what can I get you?”

“Coffee would be great, thanks.” As Jacob went to join the line, Shannon hastily whipped her mirror from her pocket, checked her make-up, quickly tidied her hair. She glanced up again, hoping Jacob hadn’t noticed, but he was still in the line.

“Sorry about that,” Jacob said when he eventually returned. “That woman was holding up the line. Sounds like she thought she’d been short-changed.”

Shannon rolled her eyes, taking a sip of her coffee.

“Are you okay?” Jacob asked. “You looked a little sad for a moment there.”

“I was just thinking about the first time I ever had coffee. I’d taken a sip from my dad’s cup when he wasn’t looking, and it had tasted so bitter, I just spat it out again. Dad saw the funny side, but his wife looked pretty disgusted.”

Jacob laughed.

“Dad died a few weeks ago,” Shannon continued, wondering why she’d suddenly started confiding so much in this stranger who she was probably never going to see again.

Jacob reached out, took her hand in both of his. “I’m so sorry, Shannon.”

As their eyes met, Shannon leaned in towards Jacob, but was suddenly interrupted by an announcement over the tannoy stating that there was a telephone call for her.

“Great,” Shannon muttered. “Probably Philippe saying he’s going to be even later.”

But even as she walked away, part of Shannon reflected that it was probably for the best, after all why would someone like Jacob ever be interested in her anyway? Sabrina had always made it clear that she considered Shannon useless, but it had only been since her father’s wake that Shannon had suspected Boone felt that way too. Why should Jacob be any different?

She listened to what Philippe was saying on the other end of the line, then replaced the receiver without saying anything.

“Great,” Shannon snapped when she returned to Jacob. “Philippe’s not coming. Some stupid family thing. He’s just told me to make my own way to his house. Like I even know where that is.”

“You have an address, surely?” Jacob asked.

“Well, yeah, but I don’t know how to get to it, and I don’t have the fare on me.”

Jacob got to his feet, took the handle of Shannon’s bag again. “Come on, I’ll put you in a cab before I catch my flight. I think the least Philippe can do is pay the fare.”

Shannon smiled as she took the other handle of the bag. She looked at Jacob as he lifted her bag into the trunk of the cab, not really knowing what to say. “Uh, have a good time with your friends,” she said eventually.

“Thank you,” Jacob smiled. “And I wish you all the best for your new job.”

Shannon watched Jacob for a long time as he walked back into the airport, as the cab took her towards her new life.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 26th, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC)
I really liked this! Also, frankly, how can you not get a crush on Jacob? ;]
Aug. 27th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm convinced Jacob met more characters than we saw him meet, glad you liked!
Aug. 27th, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
I really liked this :) It explains what she was doing in France (other than drinking), and ties in with her backstory really well. Good job!
Aug. 27th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks, this was fun to write!
Aug. 27th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
Oh, I love this! It's got everything I love: a fantastic Shannon POV full of defensive snark, Jacob being calm and weirdly ADORABLE (I love him so much it kills me), and the usual ambiguous overtones of one of his visits. I love how he's cagey about where he's been and where he's going. She has no idea. Their whole conversation was love, and I like that you picked this day (when she's going off to start her French life).

Thank you so much! I truly enjoyed this. :)
Aug. 27th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
When I wrote the other one, as I remember it was Eko's day that was hardest to pick! But anyway, glad you liked this one!
Aug. 27th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
Ooooh - excellent chance meeting! I really like the characterisation in this.
Aug. 29th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you, pleased you enjoyed this one!
Sep. 4th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
Ack, I'm so late coming to this, but wanted to say that this is a pitch-perfect Shannon POV. The back-and-forth between her and Jacob is so great, and I loved the ending.
Sep. 4th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you, glad you enjoyed this one!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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