Life After You

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Chapter 25

“I hate airplanes.” I huffed, crossing my arms over my chest.

“Liv, you love airplanes.” Riley deadpanned as we moved down the line of security at the airport.

Riley, Tori and I are flying home to Nevada for Christmas break. My dad is going to pick us up from the Nevada airport and bring us home and I am excited to see him. I finally got rid of that ridiculous wheel chair and my ankle feels perfectly fine now. There is still a little bit of pain whenever I twist it a certain way, but for the most part it is back to normal. At least I can walk again.

My stomach is completely healed. The burns only left behind minimal scarring that I am taking care of with creams and cocoa butter. The cocoa butter also helps with the stretch marks beginning to form around my stomach, because I don’t want big ugly ones left behind after the baby is born.

“Since when do I love airplanes?” I questioned.

“Since the first time we rode on one back in elementary school to visit some family in New York, remember? You were so amazed by being so high up in the sky that you begged mom to let you have the window seat the entire way there and the entire way back.” Riley laughed.

I smiled at the memory of our big family trip to New York. My mom did let me have the window seat for the entire plane ride there and back, even though Riley begged her to let him have a turn. My dad made Riley feel better by giving him candy, so he finally shut up after that.

“Well, I hate them now.” I glared, feeling nervous about being up so high. “What if we crash and burn?” I sighed.

“Gee, thanks for the image.” Tori muttered beside me. This is only her fourth time flying and she absolutely hates it.

“Way to go Olivia; let’s scare Tori even more than she already is.” Riley sighed, putting a protective arm around his girlfriend.

“Whatever... it’s something to think about.” I frowned while putting my arm underneath my bulging stomach. Hardly any of my clothes fit me anymore. I only wear loose fitting pants or leggings and oversized tops or sweaters. Everyone tells me I’m crazy for wearing sweaters in Florida, but I honestly love how comfortable they are, especially to sleep in.

“Next!” The airport security guard yelled towards us.

Riley went first, placing all of his belongings into the grey tub and then stepping through the metal detector. When he was cleared to go forward, he grabbed his belongings out of the tub and waited for Tori and I.

Tori did the same as Riley and walked through the metal detector with no problems.

When it was my turn, I placed my belongings into the grey tub and stepped through the metal detector. As I made my way through the metal detector, the beeping went off.

“Hold on mam. We need to check you for any foreign objects. Please step to the side here.” The security guard motioned for me to step in front of him away from the ongoing security line.

I rolled my eyes and stepped in front of the other security guard as he instructed me to spread my legs apart and hold my arms out straight.

As he used the metal detector scanner, the beeping started up again when he moved the wand around my butt.

“Do you have any weird piercings we should know about?” Tori said from behind the security guard with a smirk.

“No!” I felt my cheeks redden. “Absolutely not!”

“Here, let me try again.” The security guard said, bringing the wand back up and hovering it over my body.

The beeping noise sounded again, and this time I became very annoyed.

I immediately brought my arms down and began patting at my pants.

I felt a lump in my back pocket and slowly reached my hand inside.

When I pulled out my apartment key, I sheepishly smiled and handed it to the security guard.

“Whoops?” I rose my arms with a slight grin.

The security guard didn’t see the humor in anything as he glared while instructing me to walk through the big metal detector again after putting my apartment key into the grey tub with the rest of my belongings.

After walking through the metal detector undetected, I was finally able to grab my belongings and follow Riley and Tori through the airport towards our gate.

“Well, that was exciting.” I groaned, pulling my carry-on bag with me as we sat down on the small chairs near the gate. We sat and waited for the call to board, and while doing so I realized that I was missing something.

I began frantically searching my bag and my pockets, but it was nowhere to be found.

“No... no no no!” I began crying. “This can’t be happening!”

“What? What is it!” Tori shouted, suddenly alarmed at my crying and frantic behavior.

“M-My necklace, w-with Landon’s ring on it... and the locket... I can’t find it!” I cried, tears beginning to form around my eyes.

“Don’t panic Liv!” Riley said. “Let’s check your bag one more time and make sure to reach deep down into your pockets.”

“I did that already!” I sighed.

I began looking around the floor, hoping I only dropped it nearby. When it didn’t turn up, I really started to panic.

“Has anyone seen a gold necklace with a decent sized engagement ring attached to it? Oh and a heart shaped locket!” I began yelling at random strangers.

Nobody seemed to care, let alone listen to me. My hormones were raging and I couldn’t tell if I were more mad or sad. I decided to retrace my steps as I walked back to the airport security the same way I walked over to the gate.

Tori and Riley stayed by the gate to continue searching, even though it will be a lost cause. If they haven’t found it by now, they aren’t going to.

I finally reached the security guard and sighed when I still came up empty handed.

“Excuse me Sir?” I asked.

The security guard whom wanded me earlier turned around and sighed. “Yes?”

“I lost my necklace. It has an engagement ring and heart-shaped locket attached to it. Have you seen it anywhere over here?”

“No.” He simply answered.

“Are you sure?” I began looking around on the ground.

“Yes, I am sure. Hey guys, have you seen a necklace with a ring and locket?” The security guard asked the other guards who all shook their heads no.

“Ugh, it has to be here somewhere!” I sighed.

“Sorry, but it isn’t here. Go check the airport lost and found, maybe someone brought it there.” The security guard offered.

“Thanks.” I mumbled as I began walking towards the front of the airport.

At this rate, we are going to miss our flight.

I ran a hand over my face and went up to the airport worker.

“Hi, I need to see the lost and found please.” I stated.

“Sure, follow me.” The middle-aged woman with bleach blonde hair brought me over to a small room near the other side of the airport. It felt like I had been walking around for hours and it’s only been twenty minutes. My feet were beginning to hurt.

“Here we are. Go ahead and look around.” She smiled.

“Thank you so much!” I smiled, hopeful that someone may have brought it here.

I began searching box after box and when the necklace didn’t turn up, I began to whimper. Tears rimmed my eyes and I knew I would soon have to accept that the necklace is gone.

My engagement ring from Landon... and the beautiful locket from Tori – Gone. Just like that. That engagement ring is the last thing I ever got from Landon, and I will probably never see it again. Whoever has it must be very happy, I am sure that ring is worth a decent chunk of change.

I wiped my eyes after searching the last box and slowly began walking back towards the gate with Tori and Riley. I was still crying profusely when Tori spotted me.

She ran up to me and immediately threw her arms around me.

“It’s gone Tor... it’s gone!” I cried.

“Aw, Liv. I’m sure it will turn up soon!” She frowned against me.

“I am so sorry. You must have spent a fortune on that locket. Oh and the ring from Landon, he must be so angry with me.” I sighed while looking up into the ceiling.

“I am sure he will understand. Things happen Liv. It isn’t your fault.” Tori tried to sooth.

“Yes it is! The necklace was my responsibility and I just lost it.” I cried some more.

Riley came over and joined in on the hug. “You’ll be okay sis. They called to board the plane though, so we have to go...” Riley frowned.

“Okay...” I sighed, walking over to my carry-on bag and picking it up.

Riley, Tori and I went over to the opening of the hallway leading to the plane and handed the woman our tickets. Once we were on the plane and in our seats, I leaned against the window that Riley let me have yet again, and cried while looking out at all of the other planes parked around the one we were sitting on.

After everyone took their seats and fastened their seat belts, the plane engine roared to life.

I suddenly became anxious as I gripped Tori’s hand who sat beside me. Riley sat beside her on the end near the aisle.

“You’re going to be fine, Liv. We all are. I promise we will find your necklace too.” Tori squeezed my hand reassuringly.

I weakly smiled over at her, and then set my gaze back out of the window.

“Good morning passengers, my name is Thomas and I will be your pilot for the day. Please make sure all electronic devices are switched off or in airplane mode, as we prepare for take-off. Please fasten your seatbelts and keep them on until we are in the air. Once the light goes off, you are able to get up and use the bathroom if need be. Our destination to Nevada will take approximately three to four hours. If you need any refreshments, please wait for the flight attendants to come around with their carts. Thank you for choosing Southwest airlines, and let’s have a pleasant flight!”

Once the pilot made his announcements, the chatter amongst everyone began.

“Thomas better not kill us all.” Riley joked, causing Tori and I to send him a death-chilling glare.

“Sheesh.” He mumbled while slowly looking away from us.

Suddenly, the plane started moving and I felt myself squeezing Tori’s hand even tighter.

A few moments later, we were finally up in the air. As the plane slowly rose higher and higher, I slowly began feeling my ears start to build with pressure. I reached into my pocket, pulled out my pack of gum, and started chewing on it to help my ears pop. I gave a piece to Riley and Tori and they began chewing as well.

The pressure in your ears does hurt so the quicker you get your ears to pop, the better.

After a few minutes of chewing, one by one, we each got our ears to pop and I laughed at the sighs of relief from all three of us.

“I can hear again!” Tori cheered.

“Me too!” Riley cheered with her.

“That’s why I bought the gum.” I laughed.

“Hey, can I have a piece?” The guy behind me asked while tapping on my shoulder.

I turned around and my eyes slightly widened at the scary looking man. I slowly reached behind me and handed him a piece of gum, careful not to actually touch him. From the brief second I looked at him, I saw dark circles under his eyes, rips in his clothing and his beard looked like it hadn’t been trimmed in years. He didn’t smell the greatest either and I almost wondered how he could afford a plane ticket to Nevada, let alone a piece of gum. I shook my head of my thoughts and decided it wasn’t okay to judge someone just solely based on their looks.

“Thanks!” He slightly smiled before popping the piece of gum into his mouth and leaning his head back as he shut his eyes and began chewing.

“Welcome.” I softly said before turning back around and giving Tori a look to which she tried not to laugh.

“Olivia, what did mom used to say about talking to strangers?” Riley whispered teasingly.

“Kind of hard not to do when he’s sitting right behind me.” I whispered back with an eye roll.

Noticing that the light went off, allowing us to be able to take our seat belts off, I did so and slowly stood up. “Need to pee.”

“Want me to go with?” Tori asked.

“I got it.” I smiled.

I carefully slid past Tori and Riley and began walking down the aisle towards the bathroom at the back of the plane. When I made it, I locked the door behind me and did my business. Surprisingly the bathroom wasn’t all that small, so I was happy I didn’t have to maneuver my way around thanks to my growing belly. After flushing the toilet, which made a weird sound by the way, I turned towards the small sink and began washing my hands.

The soap smelt amazing and I almost wanted to pocket the soap bottle to take home with me. It was a mixture of lavender and vanilla. At least, that is what it smelled like to me.

After rinsing my hands and drying them, I brought them to my face to inhale the delicious scent once more. Man, pregnancy makes me weird.

I turned around and opened the bathroom door, but when I went to walk out and back to my seat, I bumped into something tall and the smell of him instantly met my nostrils. It is the man I gave a piece of gum to.

“Oh, I’m so s-sorry!” I gasped. I immediately stepped away from him and tried going around him but he stopped me by moving and staying in front of me.

“Can I help you?” I said louder, causing a few nearby heads to turn.

“Yes actually.” He began reaching for his pocket and my instincts told me to get away from him. Lord knows what he is going to pull out of his pocket.

What if it’s a knife to kill me with? Or a napkin covered with anthrax?

Okay, don’t overreact.

I tried discreetly moving around him again, but he reached out and latched onto my arm keeping me in place.

“Riley...” I said a little loud, and Riley instantly turned around to see if I was okay. When he saw the strange man standing in front of me and holding onto my arm, he immediately got up and raced over to us.

“Hey! Let go of my sister!” Riley yelled, shoving the old man aside. In the process, he let go of my arm and Riley accidently caused the old man to slam into the wall.

The old man huffed and then began rummaging through his pocket again.

What the hell is in there?

Just as Riley was about to pull me away from the old man, he suddenly spoke.

“Wait!”

I stopped and turned to face him just as I saw something gold and shiny in his hand.

He slowly brought his arm up and opened his hand revealing.... My necklace!

“Oh my God!” I yelled, happily taking it out of his hand and clutching it against my chest for dear life.

“Thank you so much!” I yelled, practically knocking him over as I slammed into his arms for a hug. At that moment, I didn’t care what this man looked like or how bad he smelled. He found my necklace and was nice enough to give it back to me. He seemed as though he didn’t have a lot of money, and he could have easily kept this and pawned it or something. He didn’t though, instead he returned it to me and it is people like this man who really make me happy to live in this world.

“You have no idea how much this means to me.” I could feel tears starting to form as I clasped the necklace back around my neck.

“I saw you crying earlier and when I looked down on the ground beside my feet, I noticed it. I picked it up and was going to give it to you right then, but when I stood back up you were already gone. I figured you went looking for it, but I knew you would be back for the flight so I held onto it.” He slightly smiled.

“Please, how can I repay you?” I asked, willing to give this man just about anything.

“I um... I lost my wallet earlier, and I am terribly thirsty.” He frowned. “Luckily I had my ID in my jacket pocket with my plane ticket or I wouldn’t have been able to board the plane. I only had a couple bucks in the wallet anyway, so I am not too worried about that. I’ve got family meeting me in Nevada who will help me.”

“Follow me back to our seats, I will be happy to buy you a drink and some lunch.” I smiled.

We went back to our seats and I pressed my call button to signal a flight attendant.

“Hello miss, how can I help you?” She smiled.

“I need two sodas and a water bottle please, but it’s for this man right behind me. Also bring him a turkey sandwich and some potato chips, he’s hungry.” I pointed to the man who sat behind me and he had a huge smile on his face now. “I’m sorry; I never got your name?” I asked turning to look at him.

His smile never faltered as he proudly stated his name.

“My name is Landon.”

My heart sunk to my feet and I sucked in a very tight breath.

“L-Landon?”

The older man smiled with a nod, and I slowly turned back around facing forward in my seat.

Landon.

Landon found my necklace.

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