When flight attendant Hailey Lane learns the rest of her trip has been cancelled and she can fly straight home to spend her birthday with her boyfriend Michael, she's thrilled. Her early arrival will allow for some additional date night prep time, a definite bonus as she's convinced Michael is about to propose. But when she walks through the door, the surprise that awaits her is not at all what she expected. And as she grabs her bags and flees the scene one thing is clear-her entire future has just been rerouted. So Hailey does the only thing she can: she sets out on a worldwide trip to fix a broken heart. And thanks to free flight passes and long layovers in exotic locales, she finds herself with more options than she could have ever imagined...
From New York to Paris, from Puerto Rico to Greece, Alyson Noel takes us on a trip filled with mojitos at every layover, outrageous passengers in every seat, and a cute guy at every gate, as Hailey tries to write her own happy ending.
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St. Martin's Griffin
December 26, 2006
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Excerpt from Fly Me to the Moon by Alyson Noel
So there I was, awkwardly reaching for the USA Today left outside my hotel room, determined to ignore the fact that my black, opaque, control-top pantyhose were seriously impairing my ability to breathe, when I heard the muffled sound of the phone ringing from the other side of the door.
Now, on any other day, I would have just grabbed the newspaper and made a mad dash for the elevator, since a ringing phone at 3:55 a.m. can only mean one thing: that some overbearing, micromanaging, type-A Flight Attendant in Charge is trying to track me even though I still have thirty-two perfectly good seconds before I actually have to be in the hotel lobby.
But today was different. Not only was I a full five minutes ahead of schedule, not only was it my twenty-eighth birthday, but I also knew that by the end of the day I would be engaged to Michael, my boyfriend-slash-roommate of the last four years.
It had all started the day before I left on this trip. I was cleaning the bedroom and singing along to the latest U2 CD, and just as Bono and I shouted "Uno, dos, tres . . . Catorce!" my right hip slammed into Michael's flight bag, sending it soaring off the dresser and crashing to the ground.
Now I admit, up until that very moment his bag had never held much interest. I'd always thought of it as a briefcase, or a man purse--something completely benign but totally off limits. But as I stared at the wreckage spilled all around me, I instinctively dropped to my knees and examined each artifact as though it were the gateway to a secret world I never knew existed.
Oh sure, there were all the predictable items, like well-used navigational maps, half-eaten protein bars, his company photo ID, and a big yellow flashlight to be used in case of emergency. But there were also a few surprises, like the brand-new tube of Rogaine that landed next to the half-empty bottle of Levitra that was covering the red plastic card from a video store that obviously didn't cater to families.
And just as I lifted his bulky, FAA-mandated flight manual I discovered a small, robin's-egg blue box with a crisp white ribbon tied snugly around it.
My breath grew shallow, my heart beat faster, and my hands were actually trembling as I lifted that tiny box to my ear, shaking it ever so slightly as I imagined Michael kneeling before me, eyes misty with emotion, asking me to be his wife. . . .
And I was almost positive I would say yes.
So, anticipating an early-morning birthday greeting from my almost fiance, I frantically slid the key card back into the lock, hurdled over the mound of soggy white towels I'd left piled on the bathroom floor, and grabbed the receiver conveniently located next to the toilet. Before I could even get to hello, a disembodied, Southern-accented male voice said, "Hailey Lane? This is Bob in scheduling." And the fourteen words that followed were the ones that flight attendants around the globe live to hear: "The rest of your trip has been canceled. You are scheduled to deadhead home."
But even though I was expecting something great doesn't mean I wasn't skeptical. "Come on, Clay, quit fucking around. I'm on my way down," I said, peering in the mirror and smoothing my out-of-control auburn curls while checking my teeth for lipstick tracks.
"Ms. Lane, let me remind you that all scheduling calls are recorded," said the unamused voice on the other end.
"This isn't Clay?" I whispered, my breath caught in my throat.
"You are scheduled to deadhead on flight 001, nonstop from San Diego to Newark," he continued, in a crisp, no-nonsense tone. "You will arrive at fifteen hundred."
"Are you serious? You mean I don't have to fly to Salt Lake, Atlanta, and Cincinnati before I get there?" I asked, still not totally convinced I wasn't dreaming.
"I still need to contact the rest of your crew," he said, beginning to sound annoyed.
"Okay, okay. Just one more question: Can I deviate?" I asked, fingers frantically reaching for my flight schedule book, trying to spin this into an even better deal for me. "Let's see, there's a nonstop landing in La Guardia an hour earlier. Can you put me on that instead?"
He sighed. "Your employment date?"
"Three, twenty-five, ninety-nine," I told him, listening to the distant sound of his fingers tapping on the keyboard.
"Really? Oh my God, thanks Bob! I mean really, thanks. You have no idea how much this means to me! It's my birthday, you know, and, hello?" I said, staring at the receiver, listening to the steady hum of the dial tone.
Tucking the newspaper under my arm, I dragged my roll-aboard all the way down the hall to Clay's room, where I knocked twice, paused, and then knocked twice more, which had been our secret code for the last six years, even though it was kind of lame and all too easy to crack.