The taxi driver nods his head and starts up the car. Shayne doesn’t say a word to me, but I know he is still looking at me. I can sense it. His gaze. It’s burning a hole in the side of my face and I know he isn’t going to look away until I look at him. Slowly letting out a sigh I slightly turn my head to look at him. Just like I sensed it there he was staring at me hard. Looking at me up and down as if he is trying to figure out what I am up to.
Honestly it really shouldn’t be that surprising. How else would we get to where we need to go for our trip from Miami? I know he didn’t think we be sitting here in a taxi for who knows how long! I continue to look at him and slightly murmur what are you looking at. His eyes are searching mine for an answer, but I can tell he is getting frustrated not knowing the answer. I just shake my head and ask him what is on his mind.
He ends up asking me and I nod. He then starts asking a whole bunch of questions at once. Such as: How did you get the tickets? Where are we going? How did you know where to go? And many more. They are shooting at me all at once and I try to answer them as much as possible.
“I bought the tickets online. We are going to Illinois, I researched where they sold the envelope that the letter my mother wrote came in and it was in some place in Illinois so we are going to start there to see if it leads us somewhere. Anywhere. I just hope this isn’t a dud and actually brings us closer than we already are.”
He says as if I didn’t answer all his questions, which I know, I didn’t, but I wasn’t going to answer everything in a taxicab with a stranger. He looks as me questioning and I look over to the taxi driver and mouth not here. He nods and looks out the window admiring the view outside. I decided to do the same.
While looking through the window I start to think more of what is to come and what s going to happen. However, that ends as quickly as it started for while looking out the window I see us pass a huge forest and it makes me start to think back to my dream and I want to avoid that as much as possible.
Hearing the taxi driver tell us that we are almost there I start to think about getting to actual Illinois, which brings on a new fear. I have been so sheltered in Mrs. Taylor’s orphanage I have never been on an actual airplane. On top of all that I used to watch documentaries on airplanes failing and crashes that actually happened. I can feel the nerves start to pick up but I don’t even realize that I was bouncing my knee until Shayne put his hand there to stop it. I look over at him and bit my bottom lip to keep it from trembling.
He asks me with concern all on his face. I try and use my hand and wave it off as nothing when I see that my hands are actually shaking too. I start to panic thinking that I was about to have one of my episodes in this taxi cab with a stranger who probably already thinks I’m well this whole thing is weird. Once I calm myself knowing that this isn’t one of my episodes just purely me being nervous and terrified. I give him my best fake smile and reply.
"What? Oh- oh, oh oh nothing."
Of course my voice would fail me now. Well if he believed the smile he sure isn’t going to believe me with my voice sounding like that. That confident fake smile just became a small nervous one especially when he brings his hand over to mine and grabs it comfortingly.
"Alice c'mon tell me. What's wrong? You look nervous."
"It's going to sound stupid."
"Als, c'mon I would never make fun of you, or laugh at you, or ever think you were stupid. Just tell me."
"I'm scared. For the plane ride. I've never even left Miami. I barely leave the orphanage, what if it crashes or something crashes into it. Or what if we fall out. I’ve seen many documentaries so I know it could happen. I mean what if it happens to us and I would never get to meet my mom or get to know myself better. See I told you it would sound stupid, I mean-"
I start to ramble nervously but when I see his face I slowly bring myself to stop until he cuts me off completely.
"Alice, Alice, calm down you don't sound stupid. I understand."
"No you've been on tons of planes, probably even private jets."
I tell him with my arms crossed over my chest. I mean how can he understand he probably isn’t afraid of anything. If he was his parents probably just bought something to make him feel better which is why he has such great sense of style. Probably got a new outfit every time he was scared. Oh what am I saying it was obvious from his reaction that when I brought up his parents that they don’t get along. Shayne is also not that snobby of a person, besides his smirks, to get all that as a kid. Speaking of his snobby smirk he gives me one now.
"Well yes, but I'm scared of other things."
He tells me and I let out what sounds like a puff of air and look at him challenging.
He takes a second to think of it and they excitedly says one, which completely contradicts the whole being scared of something bit.
"Like... Ooh! I'm afraid of snakes."
"I thought you loved animals."
I questioned and he looks at me as if I’m crazy. He then goes on about how snakes are not animals and never will be considered an animal in his book when in reality they are totally animals. I end up just giggling at him while the taxi driver announces that we are here. I immediately feel the nerves start to come back as I see us slowly approaching the airport. There are many planes taking off and I just fear that one won’t make it. I really hope that it is just a fear and not like my dreams where I can foresee the future because if so I do not want to get on a plane.
So caught up in my fears I didn’t even realize Shayne already got out of the car with both of our bags next to him with my door wide open. He is just standing there looking at me and waiting for me to get out the car. I turn towards the taxi driver and pay him for our ride. Once I get out the cab and shut the door he speeds off and now I officially know that there is no turning back from here. I can feel my body start to tense and I know that I won’t be moving anytime soon.
Or so I thought.
However, when I felt someone sneak their hand in mine I quickly look down towards them. Looking from that person’s hand to their face I see its Shayne looking at me with a bright smile insuring me that everything will be fine. Not wanting him to let go of my hand I grip it tighter and nod my head saying a soft let’s go. We walked into the airport, bags trailing behind us and headed for security. Looking at my phone I see that its only 1:30 and our flight doesn’t leave until 2:30. Telling this information I ask Shayne if he wants to look around at some of the shops for entertainment and stuff.
He nods telling me that we should probably find some sleeping pills for me so I can sleep through the flight. I shut that down as quickly as it came for I rather be awake and nervous then asleep having one of my nightmares and scaring everyone else on board. Shayne nods at what I said and told me that he forgot about my nightmares and the screaming of his name at night. I shove him a little for bringing that up and he just laughs at me and puts his hands up in surrender.
We walk around and look at all the stores and everything. While looking around I feel myself start to ease up and get more comfortable with the idea of flying. Once we get to this one shop I see this U-shaped pillow that has two portable speakers at the side. Getting excited and wanting to get that for Shayne I yell for him.
"Shay look at this."
He turns and looks at me with his eyebrow raised. I then realized that I called him Shay instead of Shayne. Not only does that sound more like a girl’s name it is the first time I gave him some sort of nickname. Like how he calls me Als. He slowly walks over to me while mouthing Shay. Immediately I feel the warmth spread all throughout my body before it claims its spot to rest on my cheeks and make me look even more embarrassed then I feel.
I open my mouth and start to apologize but before I can get a word out he tells me not to worry about it and that he likes the nickname. That in return makes me blush even more since he likes it when I call him Shay and now we both have cute little nicknames for each other. He notices my blush and starts to joke around motioning to around his cheeks telling me that I have a little something on my cheek. I immediately hit him with the U-pillow I had in my hand and tell him to shut up and look at what I found.
He starts to inspect the pillow and smiles. He starts telling me how cool it is and that it might help with my nervousness on flying. He said we could probably play my favorite song that keeps me at ease and be able to get through the flight no problem. I nod at him and tell him that I was going to buy except he takes it out of my hand and shakes his head telling me that I have spent enough of my money and that he is going to buy it for me. I try to tell him that he doesn’t have to buy it, but he just shakes his head and replies.
"Too late. Besides I’m rich remember? Let me show it off."
He says walking to the register. I sit there and watch from a distance. Of course the cashier is a girl and is trying to flirt with Shayne and just like Samantha failing miserably. The only difference is this time she isn’t even scanning anything. She is just sitting there flirting with Shayne. I can tell he is getting annoyed and our flight is about to leave.
I sit there and debate on what I can do. I ended up doing the first thing that popped into my head. I slowly walk over to the counter put on the biggest smile on my face and wrap my arms around Shayne’s torso once I get up there. Looking at him I decided to pretend I didn’t see the cashier yet.
“Hey babe did you buy it yet? The plane is boarding soon!”
Shayne looks down at me with a raised eyebrow. I just motion with my eyes to the cashier and that confuses him even more. I just prayed that he got the hint soon so this wouldn’t look stupid like I’m some overly jealous friend because that is not the case at all. I am not jealous and will never be jealous. Shayne finally caught on. Took him long enough.
“No she was just ringing it up.”
He says and I then look over to the cashier and smile. Nodding my head I tell him that I will wait for him at the front of the store. He nods and I let go of him starting to walk away. Of course I looked back at the cashier and see the irritated look on her face when she “realized” Shayne wasn’t single. She finally starts to scan the items and I turn back to look towards our gate that is announcing they are boarding. Looking at my clock I see it’s just on time.
Raising my head up from my phone chose to be a mistake for all of a sudden I got light headed. Bringing my hand to my forehead I feel that my head is starting to burn up. Oh no it’s happening. It cannot be happening. Not in the middle of the airport. I start to feel all the symptoms. The lightheadedness, the warming up of my body, and the tightening of my chest as if I could barely breathe. I feel myself start to hyperventilate and my eyes start to see stars.
Or so I thought was stars, but the longer I felt like this the longer I started to see they were flashes of pictures.
One of a lady in a window.
One of a puff of air.
One of the envelopes.
Then last but not least one of Shayne.
Thinking it was the real Shayne I reached out and tried to grab on to him and ended up feeling nothing but air. Luckily my hand landed on a table or I would have fell face first. I don’t know what is happening to me and I don’t understand why it is happening right now. All I know is that I cannot breathe and I know I’m going to faint at some point in time. My eyes are probably the pale blue shade and I probably look as if I seen a ghost, but I pray that it will all be over soon.
Luckily it was, but not because I fainted or felt a really sharp pain that brings me to my knees like usual. No this one stops right as I feel someone put their hands on my waist. Everything that I was just feeling a second ago went away and felt as if they never happened. Bringing my hand down from my forehead I turn to see Shayne looking at me with a smile. He starts to ask me what was that about with the cashier when he sees my face. That happy go lucky look transformed into one of worry and concern.
“Alice what happened?”
“Nothing I just got light-headed for a minute that’s all don’t worry.”
It wasn’t a lie of course it wasn’t the whole truth either, but luckily for me Shayne either believed it or decided not to push it. With a quick nod of his head he throws his arm around me and gives me a look.
“So babe, what’s next?”
I just shake my head at him and throw his arm out from around my shoulder telling him to come on that we had a flight to catch. He just nodded taking my hand and walking towards the gate.
"Flight 47 to Laurenceville, IL now boarding. All passengers please proceed to gate 19."
They announce and we stood up from the bench we were waiting on. We start to walk over to the line where the lady takes our tickets. While there Shayne is whispering sweet nothings in my ear to keep me from freaking out. I’ll admit it was working until we got up to the lady and she took my ticket. She gave me a sweet smile and told me to enjoy my flight. I could feel myself nod, but I have no memory of doing it for all I could remember was looking down that long stretch of a hallway and just thinking of all the bad possibilities that could happen.
After everything I gone through and everything I probably will go through on this journey a flight should be the least of my worries but at the moment it’s one of my biggest worry. I can’t move no matter how much my brain is telling me to move I can’t. I can hear the people behind me starting to get irritated and to be honest I could care less. I can sense the ticket lady looking at me urging me to go, but at the same time telling me to take my time. Give her a thanking smile I look back over to the hallway ready to take my first step, however when I go to lift my foot it feels like as if someone has glued it to its spot.
Come on Alice you can do this. For Christ sakes you can see the future you would have seen if this plane was going down or not. After telling myself that I feel myself start to gain a little more confidence, but that falters as soon as I hear a guy yell for me to hurry up or he is going to drag me there himself. I was about to say something, but Shayne beat me to it.
“Shut up! She is deathly afraid of flying and this is her first time on a plane! She has already been through enough. Don’t need to add jerks like you to her list!”
He yells and the guy doesn’t say anything back. Shayne then leans down and tells me that it will be okay. That he is right behind me and will still be behind me as I walk. Nodding I finally take my first step towards the hallway. Of course not before turning around and flipping the guy off. I can hear Shayne laughing behind me when we both wall to the plane.
"Attention passengers. The plane will be taking off in five minutes, please put on your seatbelts."
I thought I could do it without freaking out but I couldn’t. I could feel myself start to hyperventilate and internally freak out even more. Shayne spoke softly in my ear while rubbing my shoulder. He started to take out the U pillow thing and place it around my neck. Telling me to get comfortable and put a song on that will keep me calm. Nodding my head at him I grab my IPod and pick my song. The song Believe from The Polar Express the instrumental version keeps me calm and reminds me of the Christmases at the orphanage. I could feel myself start to relax and when Shayne put his arm around me pulling me close to him I knew that I would be able to get through this flight. Giving him a small smile I try and relax into his arms.
"Attention passengers. We are now ready for takeoff. Please confirm that your seatbelts are secure."
Shayne looks over to me and I give him confirmation that my seatbelt is securely fastened and at the complete tightness it could be at. There is no way I was not going to put this seatbelt on. It’s the only thing I know for a fact will keep me a little bit safer if something were to happen. Once all the flight attendants checked everyone’s seatbelts they did the safety demonstration videos and presentation. Once that was finished you could hear the pilot’s voice over the intercom telling the attendants to have a seat and prepare for takeoff.
Looking over to my side I see Shayne has his eyes closed. Most likely starting to fall asleep. He is so adorable when he sleeps. His facial features look so peaceful as if he doesn’t have a care in the world. His dirty blondish-brownish hair slightly covers his eyes and his mouth is parted slightly letting out small breaths of air. So engrossed in looking at Shayne I didn’t even realize that we already took off. Smiling to myself that I got through that I was able to slightly lay my head on Shayne’s and close my eyes. Not actually falling asleep because we know what would happen then. While in that comfortable state I start to picture my life as if it was normal. Not having to worry about trying to find my mother and definitely not having to deal with all these random episodes, but then I think about it. If my life wasn’t how it is now I wouldn’t have met some of my best friends now and I also wouldn’t have met Shayne. So I guess in a way I’m thankful for what my mom did and for how my life is. I just wish it was a whole lot more painless.
I look over at Shayne and see that he is kind of tossing in his sleep I wonder what he is dreaming about. Deciding to see if I can get any info out I start to talk to him in his sleep. I don’t get much except that he is dreaming about his family and it is obviously not a good thing with the way his face is scrunching up and everything. I hope that one day he decides to open up to me and tell me what is going on, but I will not push him like he did not push me.
"Attention passengers, we are experiencing some minor turbulences. Please put on your seatbelts, but do not worry this is a usual circumstance."
The nerves start to rebuild and this time I don’t have Shayne to calm me down. Not wanting to wake him from his sleep I just slightly slip my hand into his and squeeze every time there is a slight bump and rumble. To my luck Shayne doesn’t wake up and I can continue to squeeze his hand without the guilt of accidentally waking him up. I don’t know what it is with the feeling of his hand in mine that calms me so much, but it does and I’m glad that he doesn’t pull away when I do grab his hand.
A couple of minutes later the bumps start to stop and we are flying normal again. Thank goodness because I don’t know how much more I could handle. Looking at Shayne and I’s intertwined hands I don’t want to let go but if he wakes up that might be weird. Of course with my luck I feel him start to shift meaning he is waking. I decided to pretend I was asleep, so it looks like it just happened in our sleep. However, I only squint my eyes so to others it looks like I’m sleeping, but in reality I’m not and I’m looking straight at them.
I watch Shayne as he awakes from his slumber and turn towards me. He slightly smiles at my sleeping form. Probably believing that I’m finally not nervous about the plane and that I’m actually having a peaceful sleep for once. Which makes me believe that he might start to get suspicious, so I slightly toss and mumble his name a few times. Looking at him I see he shakes his head and then looks down to our hands. He just smiles and starts to lean towards me.
He quietly calls my name as if he is trying to wake me. Which is what I do. I “wake up” and start to rub my eyes as if I’ve been asleep for a while. Looking at him I fake a yawn and give him a small smile with a reply of yes to him calling my name.
"I'm going to go to the bathroom."
He says unbuckling his seatbelt and standing up. Wait what? No what if the bumping thing with the plane starts to happen again. He obviously could see the fear in my eyes because he tells me that it will be fine and that he will be right back. He also jokes saying that if I’m that scared I can join him to the bathroom. Standing up on this deathtrap yeah right. I just mumble for him to hurry up and then change the song on my iPod. I also open up an app on his phone and start to play on it until he gets back. However, while he is gone his phone beeps signaling that he has a new text message. He must have got that app where you can text on Wi-Fi because I know you can’t text on planes. However, that wasn’t what I was concerned about at the time. Nope it was the message and the person who sent the message.
He got a text from his dad asking him where was he. That they called all the schools he was supposedly was supposed to visit but all of them said he was never there. This makes me start to wonder even more what his relationship with his parents is and whether or not I should be concerned with his safety.
Says the girl who is bringing him on a trip where who knows what dangers could happen. Shaking my head I decided to go back to the game and continue it. Just in time to because Shayne comes back telling me that it wasn’t so bad and that he told me everything would be fine. I just nod my head and hand him his phone. He looks at me then his phone then back at me asking what I was doing on his phone. I tell him that I was just playing a game however I did mention that he got a text from his dad.
He tenses. I assure him that I didn’t go through his messages that it just popped up while I was playing the game. I see his body physically relax as if realizing that I must have thought that tense was for me going through his phone. HE reassures me that its fine and I can play on his phone whenever I want no problem. I just nod at him and go back to my iPod. Sneaking glances at Shayne though I see him read the message and tense again. Knowing that this wasn’t about me I grab his hand and tell him that I’m here if he wants to talk. He relaxes and thanks me for that. I smile at him and he goes back to his phone. Most likely to reply to his dad or delete the message as if he never even got it. Either way it’s none of my business yet anyway.
"Attention passengers. We have reached our destination. Please retrieve your bags from the overhead compartments and proceed to the exit to my right in an orderly fashion. Have a nice day and thank you for choosing our airlines."
I whisper and he just laughs. We both got our bags from the compartment above, and left the plane. We decided that while we wait for our luggages that we would get some food because we were both starving. We walked over to a small food court next to the waiting area. Once we got our food we headed back toward the baggage claim and waited for our suitcases. When we finally got them we looked for a cab and headed to the hotel. I couldn’t wait for us to get to the hotel. I didn’t sleep a wink in the plane afraid for one of my nightmares to happen and I’m extremely tired.
Shayne must have noticed this for he told me to get some sleep on the way to the hotel room since it’s kind of far from the airport and that he would wake me when we get there. I nodded telling him to wake me up if he hears any noises come out from me because I do not want to scare the taxi driver. He nods and I place my head on the window and feel myself drifting to sleep.
What felt like a couple minutes later, I feel myself being slightly shaken. Coming back to my senses I realized that it was Shayne and that he was telling me that we are at the hotel. I nod at him and start to get out the cab. Shayne informed me that he already paid the driver and got the bags out of the car. Giving him a grateful smile I grab my bags and we make our way inside the hotel.
Once we get inside our mouths drop. The hotel may look like a dump on the outside looks completely gorgeous on the inside. On the ceiling there are many different styles of art and paintings. The floor is a nice granite tile and the walls are this pretty light green color. I felt like we were in one of those fancy hotels you see in the movies, when in reality we were at the cheapest hotel I could find.
Of course though with the beauty on the inside of this hotel something has to be wrong with it and of course it is the cashier lady’s attitude and them screwing up with my room. We walk up to the lady and without even looking up she just asks for my name. I tell her my full name with a shiver and a chuckle from Shayne next to me. I give him a slight glare and he puts his hands up in surrender while sticking his tongue out at me. Shaking my head I turn my attention back to the lady.
"Ah yes Estrella. We have you booked in room 235. A queen room.”
I asked the woman and without even looking up she tells me yes and starts to list all the advantages of having a queen room. I told her that there had to be a mistake that I booked a twin room with two beds and she replies still not looking up with a slight attitude in her voice.
"My greatest apologies miss, but we are fully booked. There is a volleyball tournament in town and this is the only room available."
I try everything in my power to get an extra bed so Shayne doesn’t have to sleep on the couch in the room, but everything I ask for they don’t have or it’s being upgraded. I turn to Shayne with attitude written all over my face and he assures me that he will sleep on the couch it was fine. I told him that there was no way that I dragged him on this trip and is making him sleep on the couch. He then argues back with me that I didn’t drag him on the trip he came willingly and that he will sleep on a couch it is no problem. We basically had a mini argument in front of the lady until we both agreed on something.
We would share the bed.
Of course after coming to that agreement both of faces turned red and we can already feel the awkward tension brewing between. I turn back towards the lady and tell her that we will take the room. Of course with her nothing has changed without looking up and with fake enthusiasm she replies to us and hands us our keys to the room. We both murmur a small thanks and headed up to our room. When we get there we aren’t as impressed as when we walked into the actual hotel room. She made the room, even with her fake enthusiasm; sound a lot better than it looked. Not really in the mood to care I told Shayne that I was going to shower and he replied with an okay and that he was going to find out if there was free breakfast. Shaking my head at him I laugh and reply with an of course you are. He just smiles and tells me to get in the shower.
Heading into the bathroom I decided that I wasn’t going to wash my hair at the moment that I would do that in the morning. Instead I just quickly got in and got out. Getting dressed in the pjs I brought with me to the bathroom and walk out of the bathroom. Once I get out I see Shayne lift his head from the phone and look at me.
"You look tired."
"Yeah, well it's been a long day"
I reply and he nods. Saying that hopefully tomorrow goes well. Agreeing with him I tell him that I pray we will find out some more clues on my mother but I won’t be disappointed if we don’t because let’s be honest. It’s not like we will find exactly what we are looking for tomorrow. He nods and we both get into bed. This is weird sharing a bed. I’ve only shared a bed with Adri when we would have sleepovers in each other’s rooms. We both lie down when suddenly a burst of thunder happens. Immediately I flinch.
Of course it thunderstorms here. Another thing I don’t like. I can already tell it’s not going to be a good night sleep with the thunder and how overly hot it is in this room. In this bed honestly with the extra body heat. I try to ignore it and get comfortable when another boom of thunder comes through the room. Letting out a small scream I snuggle in closer to the warmth of what I was guessing to be Shayne. However, when I got close I felt no fabric just skin. He must be shirtless. I actually thank god that it is nighttime and dark so he doesn’t see the blush on my face again. I feel him turn towards me.
He ends up asking me if I’m okay and I tell him honestly. No I am not okay. I assume he nods, but what he does next I didn’t expect. He puts his arm around me and pulls me closer to him where my head is now laying on his bare chest. He tells me that it will be okay and he will protect me through the night. I can tell without being able to see him that he is smirking.
“Wipe that smirk off your face Moore”
I tell him and he chuckles. For once I actually get a good night sleep.