JFK International Airport, NYC 1900 EST
Every pass through airport security was another victory. Israeli intelligence officer Sarah Yadin tucked her American passport bearing the name Emily Rosenberg back into her carry-on bag and slipped through the line at JFK with a smile at transport security. She hung the leather bag back over her bare shoulder and stepped away from the line, pushing up the sleeves of her drooping sweater. Snow drifted in fairy spirals against the glass face of the El Al departure terminal. The warm salt air of her Tel Aviv home called to her soul.
Raised voices caught her attention. A dark-eyed Arab man stood with his arms out, bags splayed open on the ground, and at least two hand-held metal detectors waving in front of his annoyed features.
Sarah taunted him with a wink and headed for the nearest terminal café. Most of the concourse was closed due to the construction of the new terminal, but she managed to find an open Starbucks. The line wrapped around the mini café twice, and the baristas sported bags under their eyes. She was through the line and waiting for her extra hot white chocolate mocha—foam, no whip—by the time her phone buzzed in her hand.
“Emily, white chocolate mocha!” The barista called out her drink.
Sarah collected her drink and took a seat next to the Arab brooding into black coffee. She took out her encrypted phone and typed with a soft smile on her lips. Aww, they like you.
The response came with an eye rolling emoji. Rub it in.
I think she was flirting with you.
She thought I was a terrorist, Sarahleh. She was not flirting.
Well, you are very good at your job. And she was so flirting.
The Arab glowered over his paper cup.
Sarah struggled to hold in a laugh.
He brushed a shock of black hair out of his face. It will be nice to be me again.
I want to hug you.
Don’t go all gooey on me.
Sarah sipped at her overly sweet coffee and winced. As soon as we’re home—big wet kisses, little brother.
The Arab rolled dark eyes flecked with honey, but a smile cracked his lips. Think they’ll mind if we sit together?
Sarah shrugged to no one.
She pouted. Economy. Ew.
His dark eyes smirked. At least you aren’t a stewardess this time. Didn’t they ban you for spilling coffee on Oded Fehr?
Sarah snorted foamed milk. It wasn’t her fault the Israeli actor was more-than distracting, or that the trained attendants shoved her at him with a full pot and no warning. Spies could get star-struck too.
Incessant Christmas music paused long enough for her flight to be announced...