Long Way Home (Chapter One, page 1 of 17)


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Heathrow Airport was not where Alexis wanted to be two weeks before Christmas. As she wheeled her Louis Vuitton suitcases behind her, she failed to appreciate the festive decorations and smiling travelers. Instead, she scowled at the perky and chatty students who were undoubtedly pleased to be returning home for a few weeks of parental attention and a much-needed cash infusion. Alexis was grateful that her student days were far behind her.

She wore what she considered to be appropriate travel clothes, a crisp, navy blue suit with sensible heels. For her, suits were like armor that she donned before going into battle. They also boosted her efficiency because she didn't waste time thinking about what to wear in the mornings. Every minute counted when you billed clients in six minute blocks. Alexis had a specific suit for each day of the working week and even the hangers were labeled and arranged by day. Since this was not a business trip, however, she'd only brought the suit on her back for the initial battle that, right now, she didn't want to contemplate.

Alexis stepped up to the first class counter with her American passport ready and was greeted by a plucky young airline representative.

"Good afternoon," the young woman said with a broad smile. "Would you like to place your bags on the scale, please?"

Alexis didn't return the smile. She placed her bags one after the other on the conveyer while the young woman busily typed Alexis's information into the system.

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