“Look, Sean, it appears that our system may have been breached,” my old friend Aidan O’Connell told me as he recounted the issues that his Dublin hotel’s computer system were experiencing. “You know the clientèle we deal with here, any privacy issue could really hurt our bottom line. I really need your help.”

“I have plenty of security experts in Ireland and the UK that I could send,” I said as I looked out my window as the sunset reflected off of the snow-covered Chicago ground.

“I know, but I don’t trust them; I trust you,” Aidan countered.

“Not enough to have my company install a new network for you when you took over that hotel,” I smiled recalling the conversation I had with Aidan a couple months prior when he purchased the property in Dublin.

“I know,” Aidan groaned. “You were right, I thought the assholes that installed it knew what the fuck they were doing. I was obviously wrong. It was a brand fucking new network, I didn’t think it was worth the cost of a complete re-do. I was wrong, is that what you want me to say?”

“Alright,” I said hearing the tension in my old friend’s voice. “I’ll come. You know I’d never leave you hanging, but you know I hate flying so you are going to owe me big time!”

“I’ll double your normal rate, will that make you hate flying less?” Aidan asked with a chuckle.

“No, but I will take the cash,” I said with a grin.

“I figured you might,” Aidan said with just a hint of sarcasm. “I’ll even buy you a Guinness or two. Can you make it to Midway in two hours?”

“Two hours? That doesn’t give me a lot of time to pack and get to the plane, especially with having to deal with the TSA,” I groaned.

“Don’t worry about the TSA, I was able to get you a seat on a chartered Gulfstream that was already heading this way. Hell, don’t even pack, whatever you need while you’re here is on me.”

“Shit, this really must be serious,” I said. “A private jet and an unlimited expense account?”

“What can I say, I need you here pronto,” Aidan said and then added, “I never said unlimited.”

“Alright, who am I hopping a flight with?” I asked him as I quickly loaded a few of my favorite podcasts onto my Android phone.

“I’m not really sure, it was all booked through the charter company,” he said. “All I know is the flight was originally booked by some retail company and they were more than happy to share some of the costs to give you a seat on the plane. I just emailed you the info.”

“Sounds exciting, I’ll probably be stuck with some stuffed suits for 7 hours,” I said as I pulled up Aidan’s email and printed out the itinerary.

“Try to behave yourself,” Aidan chuckled.

“When have I not?” I laughed.

“More times than I care to remember right now, my friend,” Aidan said. “A car will be waiting for you at the airport, have a good flight and I’ll see you when you get here.”

“Thanks, buddy,” I said as I hung up the phone and got up from my desk. I ran up the stairs to my bedroom and found my wife, Jenny, sitting on the bed typing on her laptop. Jenny and I met in college, she is a cute brunette with amazing brown eyes and an hourglass figure.

“Who was on the phone?” she asked as she looked up from her computer screen, she was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a black sweatshirt with the Chicago Blackhawks logo across the front of it.

“That was Aidan, I guess one of his hotel’s computer systems might have been hacked and he’s being a bit paranoid about it,” I said as I grabbed a small bag from my closet.

“So where are we going, someplace warm?” Jenny asked with a smile.

“Dublin,” I replied.

“Oh, that’s all you then! Why don’t the computer systems at his hotels in Hawaii or Belize ever have problems?” she chuckled.

“Because my company installed those,” I grinned as I threw a few essentials into the bag.

“When are you leaving?” she asked me.

“Now, Aidan got me on a charter flight leaving Midway in less than two hours.”

“That doesn’t give you much time to pack,” Jenny said as she watched me change out of my shorts and t-shirt into a nice pair of jeans and a black polo shirt.

“Aidan said whatever I need when I’m there is on him, great reason for a new wardrobe!” I laughed.

“Don’t take advantage of poor Aidan,” Jenny said shaking her head in mock disgust.

“Poor and Aidan never belong in the same sentence together, besides my idea of high fashion is more Kevin Smith than Ralph Lauren,” I smiled.

“You don’t have to tell me,” she said as she rolled her eyes. “Grown men should only wear hockey jerseys out of the house if they’re going to a game.”

“I’ll call you when I can,” I said as I leaned in and gave Jenny a kiss before picking up my bag and doing a quick inventory to make sure I had my phone, charger, tablet, and laptop, as well as my penetration testing kit which featured a few fun toys that help me gain access to almost any computer network around the world if given enough time.

“Behave yourself,” she smiled.

“Why does everyone keep saying that?” I laughed before giving Jenny one last kiss. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” she smiled. “Send Aidan my regards.”

“I will,” I said as I carried my bag down the stairs, put on a pair of black Reebok sneakers and headed out to my car. The drive to the airport took about 45 minutes due to the snow that had started to fall. As I drove I mentally went over what would have to be done to test Aidan’s system once I got to Dublin.

Aidan and I first met in high school and became really close friends. We were the terrors of our all-boys Catholic high school as we knew how to get away with just about anything. Aidan truly had the gift of the gab, he could talk his way in or out of just about anything. I was the tech guy, there was no computer system or network that was out of reach. I’m not saying we didn’t earn all of our grades in high school, but I’m not saying we did either.

We both went to DePaul University in Chicago and Aidan excelled in his business classes while I continued in my tech pursuits. It was really almost a replay of high school except for the fact that we were dating much hotter girls and enjoying the freedom that such a large university gave us. We started a small website that helped students find off-campus housing our freshman year and by the time we graduated it was purchased for an ungodly sum by the company that eventually became Airbnb.

Aidan used his half to start up a small boutique hotel here in Chicago and I used mine to start a computer security company. Both of our companies have flourished over the years and both of us have expanded our operations quite a bit. Aidan has hotels across the world and has always used my company to set up and secure his networks. I almost felt bad for him that the one time he didn’t use my company it was biting him in his ass.

I arrived at the airport and drove up to the private plane terminal and stopped at the valet stand. I got out of the car, grabbed my bag and slipped the attendant a $20 as he gave me my pick-up ticket. I walked into the terminal and saw that the plane I was booked on was already there and waiting for passengers.

I walked outside to the plane and walked up the stairs to the open door. I was greeted by the pilot, a tall, stocky gentleman with salt and pepper hair who was wearing a dark suit jacket and tie. I said hello and handed him the print-out of the itinerary that Aidan had emailed me.

“Good evening, Mr. Ryan,” he said with a warm smile. “I am Captain James Leahy and I will be your pilot for this trip. Please make yourself comfortable, we should be ready to take-off in about a half-hour once all passengers have arrived.”

“Thank you,” I said as I walked into the empty plane. It was laid out into two main cabins, the front had 8 large recliner seats and the back cabin had two couches situated on the walls facing each other. In between the two main cabins was a small galley with a sink, a K-Cup coffee maker as well as a refrigerator and microwave. There were two lavatories, one up front and one at the rear of the plane.

After taking a quick look around I settled into one of the forward facing recliner seats and took my tablet out of my bag. I tossed the bag on the floor in front of me and started checking my emails. As much as I hated flying, being able to skip the TSA lines made things much easier and having unlimited legroom and a comfy chair certainly helped brighten my mood immensely.

I looked up as a smaller figure emerged from the cockpit. She was in her 20s and had to be about 5’5″ with long, dark hair and piercing emerald green eyes. She was wearing almost the same uniform as the Captain and she gave me a warm smile as she approached me.

“Hello, Mr. Ryan,” she said as she extended her hand. “I’m Lisa Jackson, your co-pilot for this flight.”

“Hello, Lisa,” I said as I took her hand and smiled. “Nice to meet you.”

“Thank you,” she said as she shook my hand and then released it. “There was no cabin crew requested for this flight so I just wanted to let you know where everything is.”

“That would be great, thank you,” I said.

“I see you have a tablet, you can connect that to the plane’s WiFi with the information in the side pocket of your seat. It is satellite based so you should have coverage throughout the whole flight. There are charging ports and power outlets under the panels on the armrests. There is a lavatory in both the front and back of the plane and there is a small galley at the rear of this cabin where you can get cold drinks or coffee and some snacks,” she smiled. “There are even a few bottles of wine if you’re in the mood.”

“Excellent, thank you,” I said.

“The cabin behind the galley is configured with two couches along each side of the aircraft. You can easily convert them into a king-sized bed if you want to sleep during the flight. We do recommend that if do lay down that you use the straps provided to make sure you don’t wind up on the ceiling in the unlikely event that we hit turbulence,” she grinned.

“That sounds like good advice,” I said as Lisa started to run through the usual safety procedures regarding a water landing and what to do if the oxygen masks deploy from the ceiling. “If you need anything at all during the flight, just press the call button on any of the panels throughout the aircraft and let me know. You can also monitor our flight’s progress on the panels as it is constantly updated with our GPS coordinates and estimated time of arrival.”

“Thank you, Lisa,” I smiled and then went back to my iPad as she disappeared into the cockpit. I grabbed the information card from the seat pocket and connected my tablet to the plane’s WiFi hotspot. Through the large circular windows I could see the snow outside was starting to come down a little bit harder. I checked the weather forecast for Dublin and saw the high temperatures were in the upper 40s which seemed like a heatwave compared to the miserable weather we’d been having in Chicago.

I scanned through my emails and answered a couple business-related requests and forwarded a few others to my assistant to take care of in my absence. I scanned the Promotions folder on my Gmail account and read the No Agenda podcast newsletter that had just arrived. There was a great comic panel about how useless Bitcoin was as an investment opportunity that made me laugh. Maybe it was a bit mean, but I forwarded it to a friend that had lost a ton betting on Bitcoin’s supposed meteoric rise.

I then opened up the latest Victoria’s Secret email ad to hit my inbox. Their ads seem to arrive twice a day like clockwork though I’m never annoyed by them. I guess it’s because their models are some of the most beautiful women on Earth and I’m a guy that enjoys seeing beautiful women. The ad was previewing their upcoming Swim special and had leggy blonde model Martha Hunt showing off a sexy little black bikini on a sun soaked beach.

I looked up as I heard a female voice with a hint of a southern accent yelling at someone. It was getting louder and louder until a tall blonde in a long black coat arrived at the entrance of the plane. She lowered her phone to her side as she greeted the pilot with a sweet smile then quickly made her way into the cabin.

“Look, get it through your head that we are fucking through!” she yelled into the phone as she tossed her large black leather purse down on the seat across the aisle from mine. “No, there are no second chances, you fucking blew it.” The tall blonde rolled her eyes as she put her phone into speaker mode and put it down on her seat. I could hear the sound of whimpering or crying as the blonde took off her coat and tossed it into an overhead compartment.

“She didn’t mean anything to me,” the weak voice pleaded as the blonde pulled her hair back into a ponytail and used a hair tie to hold it in place. She looked absolutely stunning in a form-fitting white sweater, tight blue jeans, and black leather cowboy boots.

“You should have thought of that before, I have to go now. It’s been fun, don’t call me again, ever!” she said as she hung up the call and then slipped the phone into her purse.

“We have just been cleared to taxi to the runway, please take your seats and buckle-up,” Captain Leahy’s voice said over the intercom. The blonde moved her purse to the floor in front of her and sat down and buckled her seatbelt and then turned to me with a smile. It was at that moment that I got a good look at her and realized who I was sharing my flight with.

“Hello, I’m Martha,” she said with a smile and a little hint of southern charm in her voice as she extended her hand across the aisle.

“I’m Sean, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” I smiled, trying not to sound like a kid in a candy store. Getting the chance to meet a beautiful model was one thing, having one all to myself for the long flight to Dublin was way too good to be true.

“It was about 40 degrees when they took that picture, I was absolutely miserable,” she said looking down at my tablet which still showed the Victoria’s Secret ad.

“Well, you certainly can’t tell by the expression on your face,” I said.

“That’s why we get paid the big bucks,” she laughed as the plane started to pick up speed as we roared down the runway.

“Worth every penny,” I smiled as the Gulfstream’s nose lifted off the ground and we left Chicago’s Midway Airport and soared into the winter sky. We bounced around a bit as we gained altitude but after a couple of minutes the flight smoothed out.

“So what do you do?” Martha asked.

“I’m a computer security expert,” I said as I looked into Martha’s amazing blue eyes.

“Heading to Dublin on business?”

“Yes, my buddy Aidan needs my help. His hotel’s computer system may have been hacked and he’s worried about a data breach… and I probably shouldn’t be telling you that,” I smiled.

“It’s okay,” Martha said. “What happens on the way to Dublin stays on the way to Dublin.”

“Thank you,” I said. “Have you stayed at any of the O’Connell hotels?”

“Yes! They are awesome,” Martha smiled. “But I hear they have some computer security issues.”

“Only in Dublin,” I laughed. “It’s the only hotel that he didn’t have my company install the network for them.”

“Well then, he’s learned his lesson,” Martha said with a satisfied grin.

“I certainly hope so,” I said. “Can I get you a drink?”

“I can get it,” Martha said as she jumped up and headed to the galley. I turned to watch her walk down the aisle and her fluid movements were poetry in motion. “How about a bottle of wine?” she asked as she looked through the galley.

“That would be great,” I said as Martha gathered up the bottle of wine, an opener and two glasses and headed back to her seat. She handed me the two glasses as she opened the bottle of 2012 GTS Cabernet Sauvignon and then filled the glasses as I held them. She reached down and extended the panel in front of her seat and placed the bottle on top of it. I handed her one of the glasses and raised my glass to her.

“Here’s to a great trip,” I said. Martha smiled and clinked her glass against mine before taking a sip.

“This is really good,” she smiled.

“Yes, it is,” I said as she turned her chair so it was facing mine. I did the same with my chair so the two of us were now facing each other on the big, leather chairs. “This sure beats flying coach.”

“I know, it’s easy to get spoiled,” she said as she sipped her wine. “Are you single?”

“No, I am married,” I said. “Going on 12 years.”

“You don’t wear a wedding ring?” Martha asked with a sly grin.

“No, I had one but it was lost years ago. I’ve never liked wearing rings of any sort, the wedding band made my finger tingle when I had it on so we never ended up replacing it,” I said as I finished off my glass of wine. Martha picked up the bottle and refilled my glass.

“Let me see your left hand,” she said, leaning forward. I held out my hand and she looked at it closely, she grabbed my wrist and turned my hand so she could see it from all sides. “Alright,” she said as she let go.

“What?” I asked.

“Some guys have been known to slip their ring off when a pretty girl comes around. But I don’t see any indentation or tan line or anything so I guess you’re telling the truth,” she laughed.

“Plus, when you asked if I was married I said yes,” I smiled.

“Yeah, there is that too. Sorry,” Martha sighed, “I am just getting out of a bad relationship as I’m sure you heard.”

“I got that impression, though I was trying not to eavesdrop.”

“He was crying, right? I didn’t imagine that?” she asked with a devilish grin.

“Oh, there was no doubt about that,” I said as I looked into her blue eyes.

“To sniveling exes!” Martha said as she held up her wine glass.

“To sniveling exes,” I said as I reached across the aisle and touched her glass with mine.

“What’s the secret to a successful long-term relationship?” Martha asked as she sipped on her Cabernet Sauvignon.

“I am not sure there is a secret, beyond trust and understanding,” I said.

“Both of those can be hard to come by,” Martha said a bit annoyed.

“I know, you’re right,” I said. “Plus, it can’t be easy when you are constantly traveling. And being a model must only bring a whole different set of challenges.”

“What kind of challenges?” Martha asked.

“You never know if a guy really wants to get to know you or if he just wants to get with a model as some kind of trophy or an ego boost,” I said and then took a sip of my wine.

“You’re right about that, it just forces you to look at everyone like they’re trying to get something from you until they prove that they’re not.”

“That must suck,” I said.

“It does, it really does,” Martha smiled. “Do you mind if I kick these boots off? My feet are killing me! Another perk of the glamorous modeling lifestyle.”

“Feel free,” I said as Martha kicked off her cowboy boots and stretched her long legs out across the aisle. “Would a foot rub help?”

“Yes!” Martha smiled, putting her feet up on my knees before I could even finish asking her the question. “Are you sure your wife wouldn’t mind?”

“I don’t think she’d have a problem with me helping out a damsel in distress,” I smiled. The truth was that my mind was racing at speeds even faster than the Gulfstream that was jetting me and the beautiful Victoria’s Secret model to Dublin. Like many couples, my wife and I like to play the game where we each have a list of a few celebrities that we would get a free pass on if we ever had a chance to sleep with them.

It’s a pretty uneventful game as the odds of meeting any of the people that make up the list of usually 3 or 5 celebrities are pretty high. Then the odds of actually getting someone on that list to take their clothes off for you is nearly impossible. Over the years my list has featured women like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kate Upton, Jessica Alba, and Megan Fox. Needless to say, they all escaped my grasp.