Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chapter 1 continues...Richard and Hayden Carter

This is my last connecting flight.  I’m huffing and puffing my lungs out from running, trying to catch a train to the final terminal.  The airport is intimidating to me.  Most people enjoy the thrill of traveling, especially on an airplane.  I don’t.  I hate flying.  In fact, this is only my second time in my entire life.  I have this awful and almost debilitating fear of heights.  I can’t understand it or how I developed it but it’s the most god-awful feeling.  
The airline had overbooked the economy seats by the time I checked in.  Their mistake puts me in first class status.  Not too shabby for my first international flight if you can call it that.  I gratefully take my seat and buckle in.  The captain announces overhead that we will be taxiing off the runway in five minutes.  The total flying time, before we arrive at our final destination, will be four hours and fifteen minutes.  I deliberately mute everything else after that announcement and put my headphones on.   
The aircraft picks up speed with anticipated bumps and shakes to make its ascension.  I can feel the cabin pressure slowly increasing inside my ears, muting and altering my hearing.  I swallow hard several times against the nervous lump in my throat to relieve them.  My hands grip the armrests so tightly that my veins are raised and my knuckles are ghostly white.  I close my eyes and hold my breath briefly.  Thank God the takeoff is acceptably smooth.  I’m relieved and somewhat relaxed.  I can finally release my death grip over the armrests.
I focus all my attention outside the tiny window of the turboprop aircraft and watch everything grow smaller and smaller as we climb to higher altitudes.  I needed some kind of a distraction to overcome my fear.   It doesn’t work so I turn my attention to the TV monitor in front of me.  My thumb runs back and forth along my newly acquired gold necklace, moving the jade lotus with it.  Rather than seeing what is actually on the screen, I see images of my mom, two best friends and me hugging and crying on my front porch.  I insisted on taking a cab to the airport because it would’ve been much harder for me to watch them walk away.  What will I do without them?  They’ve been my cornerstone, my source for strength and encouragement. 
Tears accumulate in the reservoirs of my eyes until they overflow down my cheeks.  I discreetly use the edge of my sweatshirt sleeve to wipe them away.  A white cotton handkerchief is waved in front of me.  It’s a friendly gesture from the passenger sitting next to me.  I quietly thank him, feeling slightly embarrassed.  His handkerchief is heavily scented with the masculine musk of his cologne.  I couldn’t refrain from inhaling it as I sheepishly wipe the tears from my eyes.  I had blocked everything and everyone out during the take-off due to my fear of flying.  I never even notice this man sitting to the right of me.  He introduces himself with a flattering handsome smile.  “I’m Richard Stevens, a first year medical student.”  I shake his hand and quickly draw mine back to protectively place it on my lap.

I’ve never allowed myself time for dating or to be a normal teenager.  My gawky picture is listed under ‘Nerd’ in my yearbook.  I immersed myself in books rather than boys.  I was only popular when students needed answers for their homework.  Luckily two amazing girls, Emma and Isabella, accepted my anti-social handicap and became my best friends.   They’ve guided me through my hormonal high school years with as much fun as I would allow myself to have.  They’re solely responsible for my much improved physical appearance for these past few years.  I’ve been forced to accept their hand-me downs since I was and even now a complete failure with fashion and makeup.  As I run my fingers across my eyebrow, I can still trace the soreness there.  Emma held me down while Isabella plucked my unruly eyebrows last night.
 “We couldn’t be your true best friends if we allow you go to a beautiful tropical island looking like a hairy Sasquatch disaster,” they both chuckled teasingly.  Since I’m an only child, I love them like they’re my sisters.  I had no one else but my mother.  I already miss them terribly, I cry to myself.
My mother couldn’t fathom the thought of me graduating without one precious high school memory.  She forced me to attend my senior prom. I chose my biology lab partner, Hayden Carter.  We’ve known each other since kindergarten.  I’ve always had a sibling connection with him.  He was the only boy I felt comfortable being with, a safe choice for me to create some memories for my mother.  Hayden had light brown hair, clearest blue eyes, no muscle tone, and was scrawny and tall.  He was by no means hot looking but made up for it with intelligence, sweetness and consideration. 
Hayden drove up my driveway in his father’s Audi SUV.  He was on pins and needles waiting with my mom for me to come downstairs.  By his enthralled expression, I could assume he was completely amazed by my transformation.  His admiring blue eyes never left my sight…not even to blink, it seemed.  Isabella did an incredible job with my makeover.  My thick brown waves were loosely pinned up.  She used neutral earthy tones on my face.  I could hardly recognize myself in the mirror.  My mom worked countless hours on my one of a kind prom dress.  Emma picked the design out of a bridal catalog and my mom modified it to fit my personality.  It was a one shoulder floor length dress made of shimmery pink material with hand sewn embellished Swarovski crystals and sequence.
He nervously placed an ivory colored cymbidium orchid corsage on my wrist while his eyes remained locked on my face. 
“Wow, Lil, you’re really beautiful…I have never seen you look this pretty….Oh shit.  I didn’t mean to say that.  It’s just I’ve never seen you with makeup and your hair styled before.” 
“Thanks Hayden, you look quite dashing in your tux too.”  I gave him a reassuring smile.
My mother snapped a hundred pictures of us and then sent us off to prom to make some high school memories. 
After prom, Hayden drove me to an old abandoned drive-in movie parking lot.  He asked for permission to kiss me.  I didn’t see any harm in it so why not?  We unsuccessfully made-out to almost third base in the backseat of his father’s SUV.  He laid on top of me and grinded his pelvis against mine.  We’re both completely inexperienced and didn’t quite know what to do.  I can’t say it was enjoyable for me.  As soon as he exposed my breasts and cupped his hands around them, he came prematurely inside his tuxedo pants.   We never made it to home-based which was fine with me.  I pictured my first time to be with a man of my Hollywood ending dreams.  Call me old-fashion. 
He was horribly embarrassed and apologized incessantly.  “Don’t worry about it!  I’m sure it happens to a lot of guys, even Christian, the school’s most popular jock.” I tried my best to console him.   We spent the rest of the evening staring quietly into an enormously bright full moon on the hood of his SUV and shared our future plans after graduation.  It was actually nice to casually hang out with a guy friend.  He drove me home around midnight.  Right before I stepped out of his SUV, he apologized for the last one hundred and fifty sixth time.  I gave him a friendly peck on his cheek and thanked him for an amusing evening.  It was my first inexperience and last kiss with a boy.

***Pictures are shared via Pinterest.  The model/actor is not affiliated with this fictional story.***