From last time ...
"You be careful, Sarah. Don't take on more than you can handle."
"I'll be careful, Sarge. And Sarge? Thanks to you and Jake, I can handle a lot."
And now ...
She sat back in the seat as the plane revved its engines and hurtled down the runway. The shuttle flight to Vegas was much shorter than the eight hours it took by bus, but still, it gave her time to think.
Her thoughts went back to the phone conversation she'd had with Ma, day before yesterday. How Ma's voice had been so distorted and garbled, and then suddenly came through loud and clear when she said Jake was dead. She fought back the feeling like someone was stepping on her chest. She fought back the tears that wanted to come, but they burned behind her eyelids and came anyway.
She remembered the frenetic pace of things for those few weeks she and Jake had worked together; the training, the desert, the Jeep, the motel. She remembered the day and night of passion they had shared together, and how she had looked forward to more, until Sully and Chico screwed it all up. She thought about Sully and Chico, how she had killed them, how she never thought she could but then, when the time came, it happened. And the second shot was easier than the first.
And then she remembered what brought her to the desert gun shop in the first place. She thought of The Kid, and how Sully had murdered him while she hid and watched. And how she had vowed revenge.
And she thought of these months that had gone by since she'd killed Sully and Chico. She thought of all the sleepless nights, how she was so afraid, at first, of every knock at the door, every ringing of the phone.
These thoughts and more ran through her head in a random confusion, without sequence or order, but they kept coming and coming and nothing she did seemed to stop them - they were raging on her nerves and she needed to make it stop.
"Can I get you something to drink, Ma'am?"
"Yes, please. Thank you. A coffee would be so nice right now."
"Right away, Ma'am. Cream and Sugar?"
"No. Black is fine. Just black."
Ma'am? She wondered that the Stew had called her "Ma'am". What kind of crap is that? It had only been about three years since she had flown and served coffee on this very same airline. Same run, in fact. Ma'am. Who does she think she is?
"Her's your coffee, Ma'am."
"Oh, thank you. Just what I needed. Have you been flying long?"
"Just started this year. My boyfriend says these old DC-3's are headed for the junk pile before long. It's going to be jet planes. He says, in a couple of years you won't even find a prop job flying for an airline. He's been buying stock in some company ... Boing? No. Boeing. That's it. Boeing. He says they're going to make him rich."
"Well, I wish him luck. And you, too."
Sarah sat back and sipped on her coffee, thankful for the distraction offered by the Stewardess and her chatter. She thought she might have something there, about Boeing, that is. She'd have to look into that when she got back to San Francisco. For now, though, she'd sip her coffee.
And wonder about tomorrow.