“Flight 307 with non-stop service to Washington DC is now boarding first class and gold members at gate 9C.”
“That’s us,” the adults echoed after consulting their tickets quickly.
“Let’s get this over with,” Liz said already heading toward the gate.
“I wanna sit by Josh,” Tommy screamed.
“You got it buddy,” JC responded.
“Great!” Liz said under her breath, “That leaves me with the curly wonder, just wonderful!”
They lined up in the terminal so the stewardess could check the tickets then walked onto the airport walkway to load the plane. Liz’s parents took two seats, her and uncle took another two, JC and Tommy took another two, and Liz slipped into the window seat leaving Justin sitting down right beside her.
Taking the time to buckle her lap belt, she slid back into her seat and closed her eyes. The silence was awkward and filled the air.
“How’s the view over there?” Justin asked.
“Oh, just fine. Lots of planes, lots of carts, lots of suitcases, the normal.”
“Not much of a talker, huh?” Justin joked.
“Not today at least, I’m gonna get some shut eye. Watch out for crazed fans.”
“I always do, sweet dreams,” Justin said sweetly. Liz curled up in the seat and Justin settled in for a very long flight.
An hour into the flight Liz begat to shiver, reacting Justin climbed out of his seat and opened the overhead compartment. Fighting a piece of carry-on luggage Justin surfaced with a blanket. Unfolding the blanket he gently laid it to cover Liz. Stirring a little, she clasped the blanket tighter around her before letting out a single sigh and returning to sleep.
Seeing movement in the seat in front of him, Justin whispered, “JC, you awake up there?”
“Wide awake buddy, you the only one back there?”
“I sure am, we lost your cousin about two minutes into the flight. It sounded pretty lively up there for awhile.”
“Yeah well Tommy had to tell me everything that happened since the last time I saw him. But I think he stayed up a little too late since he fell asleep about twenty minutes ago.”
“Poor boy, his sister must have too. Hard to believe she’s the same person. She’s so innocent when she’s asleep but I get nothing but an unwelcome vibe whenever I try to talk to her. I must have done something she really didn’t like,” Justin said arching his head around JC’s seat.
“I don’t think she’s exactly mad at you, kinda resentful towards you and more mad at me. I think its since I haven’t seen her in like four months and now I thin that you coming is gonna ruin any chances to hang out with her cousin,” JC responded.
“Yeah right like I would ever do that.”
“She doesn’t know you, you only meet like what an hour ago? Give her some time.”
“Plenty of time that’s for sure its gonna be a long trip otherwise.”
“Let’s try to get some sleep its gonna be a long night of relatives,” JC chuckled.
“And their all yours,” Justin added.
Justin had finally managed to convince himself to get some shut eye for about five minutes when their captain took to the air waves announcing,
“Ladies and gentlemen we are approaching Washington DC and will be landing in about five minutes. Please observe the fasten seat belt signs and crew please prepare for landing.”
‘Great,’ Justin thought as he stretched a little to loosen his stiffened muscles.
Liz stirred a little and sat up yawning. ‘I don’t remember getting this blanket,’ Liz thought to herself as she looked up noticing Justin watching her.
“Morning sunshine,” Justin remarked.
“It’s not morning, its like 10 o’clock at night,” Liz said looking at her watch.
“Technicality,” Justin said laughing, “ you getting excited about seeing all your family again?”
“Yeah I guess. I haven’t really seen anybody since the move to Nashville. I don’t know how you guys do what you do. Never being in the same place for two days at a time or not getting to see family and friends for weeks. How do you do it?” she asked.
“ You get used to it after awhile, it was rough at first when I started with the group, I was only 14. But most times my mom had to come along since I was a minor so I had her there with me then. Now its harder missing John and Steve grow up. Dad calls a lot, Mom too, and John learned to e-mail and write a lot earlier that anyone expected,” Justin replied.
“That’s cute, are you close to your family?”
“Very even though my parents divorced they are still on very good terms and are the best support system that I could have ever asked for,” Justin retorted.
“I can’t even begin to imagine, just the thought of college scares me.”
“You’ll do fine Liz,” Justin answered.
“Thanks,” Liz said simply.
“Justin! Oh my gosh, Justin! I’m your biggest fan, can I have an autograph?” a girl’s screams filled the cabin.
“Sure,” Justin answered turning to the girl who looked to be about thirteen and signing a cocktail napkin.
“Meet you outside,” Liz said sliding under Justin’s arm stretched across the seat already engulfed in a conversation with a fan. As she looked down the aisle Liz noticed her family had already left the plane. ‘Man Liz,’ she thought, ‘where have you been? You didn’t even hear the plane land.’ Glancing behind her she caught a glimpse of Justin, ‘Talking. I was just talking.’
JC watched his cousin walk from the gate fully expecting to see his friend follow somewhere behind but no such luck.
“Where’s Justin?” JC asked his cousin.
“Left him with his fan club on the plane. Who’s there?” Liz replied.
“Grandma, Angela, and Heather made it here early. Grandpa’s at home and Tyler’s supposed to come in on a flight sometime early tomorrow,” JC started to say.
“LIZ!” Tommy began to scream taking off across the airport terminal.
“What Tom?” Liz questioned her approaching brother.
“We’re here Liz, Come On! Your too slow! Grandma’s here, and Angie and Heather, their all waiting on you!” Tommy replied pulling Liz across terminal to her waiting family.
“Liz is that you?” Liz’s Grandmother asked seeing her approaching, “Honey you’ve blossomed overnight. One minute your ten the next you almost eighteen. Come here let me get a look at you.”
“Geez Grandma I haven’t changed that much. You’d thought I’d turned into Cindy Crawford overnight or something? I might have grown a few inches or cut my hair that’s all,” Liz responded.
“Nonsense Liz lets get you home where you belong. Now where did we loose Josh to?” her Grandmother stated.
“Think he went to fetch Justin from his adoring fans, its rough being a star,” Liz commented moving closer to her other family members.
A few hugs and a “hi” or two later Justin strolled off the walkway with JC shortly in toe herding him all the way.
“Maybe we should have brought security, if I’d known everywhere you go would be so fan crazy. Might have even left you at home,” JC commented to Justin as the two of them approached the group of smiling faces. “Justin this is my family, my Grandma, you remember my sister Heather, and my cousin Angie standing over by Liz.”
“Nice to me you’s,” echoed around as they headed for the baggage claim.
Somehow they managed to fit all these people into two cars departing from the airport. Only a quick twenty minute drive from there to Grandma’s house.
Relieved to stretch their legs they all piled out of the cars and carried their things inside. Being so late the only logical thing to do was divvy up rooms for the night. Four rooms waited and were easily taken, each of the parents took one and the rest fell to boys and girls. Heather, Angie, and Liz in one and JC, Justin, and the soon to arrive Tyler in another while Tommy seemed to float somewhere between the two. The night seemed uneventful as they all said their good-nights and went to sleep.
[ Chapter 4 | Index ]