Chapter 4 - Danica
As I wait for my flight to New York to board, I am scrolling through my Twitter notifications. Some of the authors I follow are going to be in Serbia, and I am really looking forward to meeting them. I am also looking forward to meeting some of my international readers. I have had readers from all over the world contact me about my novels. Aching Heart, surprisingly, is still new to them. People are reading, but I haven’t received much feedback, nothing like that email from Aldrich.
Aldrich. What a wonderfully unique name. I suspect he is a young man and from somewhere foreign. He said English was not his first language. He wrote so well though and his vocabulary makes Gram look like an amateur, and Gram speaks, like, Victorian English. No accent or anything, just extremely fancy words. Aldrich seems to be a very sweet guy. His email was very respectful and to the point. He had one mission and he accomplished it. I didn’t have to reply; it wouldn’t have been necessary, but I do like responding to my readers. Some of them continue the conversation for another email or two and then back off; there’s only send the one email. Every single reader is different.
To be brutally honest, I sometimes expect to make a few friends from my readers, but that is not usually the case. Not to mention, I also have to be careful who I choose to be my friends. Some would probably call me picky, but Charlie and Danny are my only friends now.
My flight number is announced and I start to gather my things so I can head over to the gate. As I am about to slip my phone into my purse, it pings an alert. I glance at it and nearly drop everything I am carrying from excitement. I am such a goodie-two-shoes sometimes. Aldrich emailed me back. I smile to myself but decide to wait until I am on the plane before I read the email.
An hour into my flight, I pull out my laptop and turn it on. Once the system is running, I open my email and grin as I click on Aldrich’s email. My smile slowly grows, but then at the end of the email, it disappears. I read the email again, more revealed in the second read.
March 28, 2016
Subject: Re: Re: Aching Heart
Thank you for your kind words. I hope it is alright that I send you this reply. I suppose the proper explanation is that I tend to prefer having the last word whether it be through message or verbal conversation with the exception of my father. I respect him and never rebut him.
I have so many questions about ‘Aching Heart,’ but I held back from asking them in my last email. I did not think you would have the time to respond the way you did. Had you merely read my email, I would have been satisfied, but since you have graciously bestowed upon me your time, I think I will take advantage of the opportunity to inquire further.
If it is alright, I would like to send one email for each question. This way, you can focus on one question and not feel rushed to end each message. If this is not something you wish to do, I understand. Simply tell me so.
I had best be on my way. My father will be wondering why it is taking me so long to walk out the front door. Also, I would have replied the moment I saw your response. However, due to an odd turn of events, I was detained and could not reply until now.
Until we speak again,
My mind immediately starts creating plausible scenarios for Aldrich’s detainment. Whenever I hear the word ‘detain’ or ‘detainment,’ I always think of actual detainment. Like . . . did he get arrested? I raise an eyebrow at my laptop screen but shake my head. No need to let my imagination take over.
I spend the next half hour typing my reply to Aldrich. I don’t want to come across as nosy or push him into telling me what happened. I am just curious, and I’m a total worry-wart. It doesn’t matter who the person is. If someone gets hurt, I worry. If someone is not smiling, I worry. If someone is falsely accused, I worry.
In the middle of writing my reply, my Skype app alerts me that Danny is online. I smile to myself but don’t message him. If he wants to talk, he can message me. I’ve got an email to finish right now. I assume Danny doesn’t want to talk to me too quickly because he IMs me a silly-face emoji a moment later. I laugh softly to myself and send a reply.
Danica93: Danny ol’ boy! What gives?
DMontoya9892: I’m seriously bugging out over here! Charlie wanted to visit your Gram and Gramps tomorrow, but you’re not going to be there.
Danica93: Aww, missing my suga’ already? I knew you loved me, Danny.
DMontoya9892: That’s right; I do love you, Danica. You’re the puppy I never wanted.
Danica93: At least, I’m cute to look at. :p
DMontoya9892: Cute, like a chinchilla, fo shore.
Danica93: Shut up, Montoya. Now what’s really up?
DMontoya9892: Not much, just wanted to say hi when I saw you online. How’s the flight going?
Danica93: It’s going. I might try to catch a nap after answering some emails.
DMontoya9892: I’m guessing you won’t have much time for sleep during your tour, huh?
Danica93: Nope, with a loud P. I will be traveling so much. I will have some down time in between cities and transport. But my ‘vacation time’ won’t be until after my last stop in Serbia. I am so excited about that.
DMontoya9892: You’ll take lots of pictures and send them to me, won’t you?
Danica93: Duh! They will even be on my IG. You’re following me, right?
DMontoya9892: I’m your #1, worst stalker, remember?
Danica93: Haha! Yeah, I do. Remind me to block you when I get home. JK
DMontoya9892: You’ll never block me. If you did, you wouldn’t have anyone to flirt with.
Danica93: Oh Danny! You’ve found me out . . . I guess you’ll just have to marry me, huh?
DMontoya9892: Okay, I’m going now! Bye!
Danica93: You don’t want to tell your fiance that you love her?
DMontoya9892: Shut up, Ben!
Danica93: Oh, I get to be the Super Geek? Thanks, Barry!
DMontoya9892: Okay, I’m going now. Bye!
I laugh as I minimize the Skype app and return to my email. Never a dull moment with that one. I don’t think I will ever get tired of teasing Danny like that. It doesn’t matter how far I go, nothing changes. As I wrap up what remains of my reply to Aldrich, I start to wonder if he will write me again.
“I would really like for you to write me back,” I whisper to my screen as I press ‘Send’.
For some reason, I have been holding my breath. I exhale and move onto other things.
JFK is crowded. I have another flight to London in about an hour. Basically I have to wait in the airport until it’s time to board. I sit in the luggage claim area, my suitcases stacked beside me, as I scroll through my phone. I have nothing else to do except update my social media followers on my trip. However, I’ve already run out of updates. Now I’m just looking through my phone at anything and everything. I decide to bother my brother, seeing that it’s nearly midnight for me and he might be just sitting down to watch a game or something.
Me: Hey bub! There’s a really sexy hunk nearby . . .
Me: We talked for a while . . .
Me: I’m meeting him in London when I arrive . . .
Sending so many texts at once always gets on my brother’s nerves, but because of the topic I chose, he’s going to reply right away. I need a healthy dose of my overprotective brother right now.
Charlie: Sis, you better not be meeting him. A stranger?
Charlie: Danica, be smart about this.
Charlie: Stop ignoring me!
I pretend to ignore his texts at first, just to pull his leg. But then as his texts become more frantic, I start to laugh.
Me: Dude! Calm down. Do you really think I would do something like that? I’m messing with you.
Charlie: Danica, you are positively the most annoying little brat on the face of the planet.
Me: But you still love me! LOL
Charlie: Yeah, surprisingly, I do. Are you that bored? Where are you really?
Me: JFK. Waiting for next flight. I needed my brother.
Charlie: So you decided to bug me . . . Okay. Gotcha.
Charlie: Missing you over here. I’m with the Old Ones.
Me: Seriously! I’m missing your vacation . . . Not cool!
Charlie: Silly, you’ll be back before you know it. You can always cut your final stop short and come back. I’ll be here.
Me: I know . . . but you know.
Charlie: Yeah . . . Gram and Gramps were singing in Italian. They were cooking together.
I smile at my screen. New writing inspo!
Me: I miss them. Tell them I said hey.
Charlie: I will. I luvva you, wittle sis. Text me when you land in London.
Me: I will and I luvva you too.
I sigh as I put my phone away. I glance around, looking at the sleeping people and those awake heading to their flights. A little girl and her mother curl up a few chairs down the row from me. The woman looks to be about my age if not a little older. I watch as she tells her daughter a story to help her fall asleep. I smile softly. The exchange is touching and something I know I can work into my next novel.