You can call it Home

Chapter 18

“Flight 401 to Miami is now boarding…” The nearly unintelligible and nasally voice droned through the intercom of the airport, grabbing my attention instantly and making my sigh in relief. The moment I’d been waiting for for ages was here, and my excitement and nervousness were causing World War Three in my head right now. On one hand I was excited to be in Miami, to meet Callie’s family and have a great time, but on the other hand I knew how badly this could go and it scared the crap out of me.

Arizona was also just as nervous as I was. Although she got on well with Carlos, she hadn’t seen Lucia since the day before her and Callie’s wedding, so things would be reasonably awkward. Also flying was obviously still an issue, and even before we got on the plane I could see how antsy she was getting. I don’t think Callie was as nervous as we were, but if she was, she was just way better at handling it than us. Sofia, on the other hand, wasn’t nervous at all and had spent ages talking about how she and Carmen (Aria and her husband James’ daughter) were going to have lots of fun.

“You ready?” Arizona asked as we stood up, each with a hand luggage bag each.

“As I’ll ever be. You?” I replied confidently, not missing the fact that her hands were slightly shaking and she kept casting apprehensive looks towards the other planes that we could see through the window. I knew this was a big deal for her- from what she’d told me, she’d only been on one plane since the crash, and she had nearly freaked out and left.

“No other choice.” She smiled; I could tell she was trying to be positive. I nodded and set off towards the direction of the gates, following Sofia who was dancing ahead of us. It didn’t take long for the security guards to check and stamp our boarding passes, and the ever so cheerful flight attendants greeted us on the plane.

“Look, Sofia, there’s the outside of the plane. You have to touch it for good luck.” I told Sofia and she did so, sticking her hand out to touch it. She stood there in amazement for a second before turning back to me and leading the way onto the plane. She’d never been on a plane before, and she had so many questions about so many things. I smiled at the flight attendants as we walked passed and headed to our seats. When we got there I found that was in the middle aisle in the middle seat next to Sofia who was on the aisle seat, and Callie and Arizona were directly opposite us. I noticed that Arizona was deliberately taking her time with the hand luggage and seemed to be talking to herself.

“Why are there screens?” Sofia asked as she studied the screens that were built into the back of each chair. It was a relatively short flight, only five hours, but it was long enough to get bored. I spent time explaining to Sofia what they were and how we couldn’t use them until we took off. I didn’t even notice that the plane had started moving until the stewardess started going through the usual safety precautions. I wasn’t sure why I listened to them, because I didn’t even know how much of it I would remember if we were to crash. ‘It’s surprising the things you remember in moments like that.’ Sarah always told me.

Take off went completely smoothly and Sofia loved it, leaning over to see out of the windows. I looked over at Callie and Arizona and smiled. Arizona seemed to be clinging to Callie’s arm for dear life and had her head on Callie’s shoulder with her eyes shut. She seemed okay.

The flight went smoothly without many issues- about halfway through Sofia decided that she was bored and wanted to be in Miami already which caused her to be in a bit of a mood, but as soon as the attendant came round with the lunch tray she perked right back up. It wasn’t long after that that the pilot was announcing our landing, an before we knew it we were touching down in Miami, more than ready to get off of this plane.

“We made it!” Arizona exclaimed in relief and excitement as we walked through the arrivals gate, having already collected our luggage. We had a bit of an issue when Callie and Arizona’s hadn’t showed up, and we were about to do something when we noticed it coming towards us on the carousel.

As we walked through the gate we were met with the surprise of Callie’s family, a lot of them, standing there holding signs that said ‘welcome to Miami’ and stuff like that. As soon as they saw us they cheered. It was quite cool, actually, and I almost forgot that I had never met these people before.

Introductions were done quickly. There wasn’t much said before we head out to the car, and the whole car journey I spent in silence, listening to what everyone else was talking about, which was mostly catching up with each other. It wasn’t long before we reached what used to be Callie’s home, and when I saw it my jaw dropped. It was a freaking mansion! Callie had mentioned that her dad owned a chain of hotels so that they were pretty rich, but I didn’t expect this rich!

It took a while for people to actually start talking to me. I could tell it was weird for them, it was weird for me, but once we got talking everything was okay. I made a friend in Callie’s cousin, Elliot, who was the same age as me. He was incredibly funny and always had a sarcastic comment to share. We spent most of the day in the playroom, having been asked by many members of the family to keep an eye on the kids. Callie, as it turned out, had a lot of family, every single one of whom seemed to show up here for Christmas every year. The place was full to the brim but it was cheerful.

When I’d lived with David and Sarah, Christmases were quiet occasions; we hardly celebrated them at all. We woke up normally, exchanged presents, had a normal dinner and went to bed. I hated it. I was what Clara described as a ‘Christmas Maniac’ because I loved Christmas. Although we never really decorated at home, I’d always go over to Olivia’s and make sure that her house looked like Christmas throw-up, and last year at Christmas with Callie and Arizona I hadn’t held back in the slightest.

“Do you ever miss them?” Elliot asked me as we sat in the corner and watched the kids trying to re-enact the Nativity play. I knew he was referring to David and Sarah, and it took me a while to come up with a good answer. I mean, sure, a part of me missed them, but the bigger part of me knew that if I’d stayed I would have been unhappy, and that I deserved people who accepted me.

“I guess sometimes.” I sighed. “Like there are just random times where I’ll remember something they said, or something they’d do that made me smile, and I’ll miss them. But then at other times, like when I was with Grace and broke up with her, or now I have Clara, I just remember what they would’ve done if I’d still lived with them. What they did do.” I said. “And when I spend time with Sofia I find myself missing them less, or when Callie and I have to stop Arizona stressing over something irrational, I realise that this is my family now, and I love them.” I finished, only half caring about how cringe worthy that was.

“Yeah, I guess.” He smiled, just as Lucia shouted through the house to announce that dinner was ready. It was complete and utter chaos in the kitchen and dining room- kids and adults everywhere, people carrying plates and bowls and all sorts of dishes filled with food, trying desperately to make it through the crowd without it ending in disaster. People were shouting to be heard and I found myself closing my eyes to try to drown it out, but after a minute I gave up and adjusted to the craziness that was the Torres family Christmas.

“So, you survived the first day.” Callie laughed sometime after dinner, when we were all scattered around the house doing different things. I was supposed to be sitting with Sofia watching Home Alone, but she had lost interest a while ago and had went off to find Carmen.. It was my favourite Christmas movie.

“Yup! Everyone’s really nice.” I laughed.

“What were you expecting? Horrible, mean judgemental people?” She laughed and I shook my head.

“Nope. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it turned out fine.”

“Have you heard from Clara?” She asked.

“Yeah, she texted me earlier. Her brother’s driving her nutso.”

The rest of the night was uneventful, apart from a few moods from kids and broke decorations. This place was so pretty- it was like a Christmas movie. A massive Christmas tree stood in the corner of the living room, decorated perfectly with handmade decorations, topped with a beautiful angel. Tinsel lined all of the railings on the stairs, and several fake white reindeer stood outside on the lawn, accompanied by fairy lights. The thing that stood out the most, though, was even when nobody was baking, it always smelled like banana bread.

I was staying in a room with Sofia, who had spent the day running around and worn herself out, which caused her to fall asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. It had taken a while to convince all of the kids to go to sleep, because they didn’t want to be separated. It was only with the promise that they would see each other first thing the next morning that they finally retreated to their rooms.

I decided to text Clara, since I hadn’t heard from her since this afternoon.

I have survived my first day. Send me an award. – P x

*Hands many awards* Go you! You get back on the 29th, yeah?- C x

I do.- P x

My mom’s parents are having a massive New Year’s party, you’re invited. You can bring Callie, Arizona and Sofia too. – C x

I’ll have to check with them but it should be okay. – P x

Okay. I have to go, everyone’s driving me crazy. I’ll see you. – C x

Okay. Good luck, try to refrain from murdering anyone. - P x

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