I have, since the day I first rode one, always been afraid of planes. And that's saying something. I kinda dumped all those other useless emotions behind and let myself progress without them. Things like Hopelessness and, as I said, most of my fears. Still, a few remain. One being planes. And don't assume I'm afraid of heights, because I'm not. It's just something about sitting in those death machines that makes me feel nauseous.
That being said, you can probably guess the trip to Australia wasn't a fun one for me. The takeoff is really the hardest part. So is the landing. In between isn't any more relaxing, but it's better knowing we're flying straight forward instead of up (stalling) or down (accidental crash). But although I did vomit several times within the first hour of the flight, I am proud to say that I have improved since the plane ride to Jersey.
"I'll take the window seat," Kieth sighed as we filed into the narrow lanes between the rows of seats. Shuffling down and flopping into our seats, we exchanged a look of frustration and started getting comfortable. "If Ren went through all the effort to buy tickets and take care of hotels just to get us on his side, why couldn't he have just gotten us one of those fancy spots, where they give you champagne and shit?" I muttered just as Eden sat down in the chair in front of us. "Guys," he whined, "don't make me sit alone!"
"For fuck's sake, Eden, it's just a plane ride," I groaned.
"But I'll be all alone for fifteen hours!"
"But if you keep complaining, you'll be all alone for a lot longer than that," I said, kicking my foot hard against the back of his seat. Jerking forward, he stuck out his tongue at me and spun around, finally shutting up for once. Kieth glanced at me and pretended not to notice how hard I was squeezing his hand. Over the intercom, I heard a flight attendant give instructions to turn off electronics and buckle ourselves. Soon, the plane was inching forward, and very soon after that, we started to lift off into the air.
The entire time, I gripped onto Kieth's hand until his circulation was cut off and my knuckles turned white. Whenever he tried to get the feeling back, I tugged on his arm and made him sit still again. Luckily, Eden had fallen asleep. Even I started to drift off after the first two hours. Then suddenly I woke up and Kieth was prodding my shoulder. "It's time to get off," he whispered with a smile.
Eden bumped into me as we were just about to step outside for our first glance at Sydney, Australia.
"You enjoy your nap?" he said, grinning like he'd just dissed me.
"I guess," I replied, shrugged.
"Really? I thought you were the one who was so convinced we were going to die, yet you still slept?"
I rolled my eyes. "Drop it, dickface."
"So did Ren tell you where we were going to meet up?" Kieth had a map almost as big as me spread out in front of his face, his eyes scanning over it with a determined look. "He'll find us at the hotel," I said, watching Eden drop pebbles into the harbors. "Why?" He looked up and shrugged. "Duckies might be hungry."
Ren's choice of hotels made up for the crappy airplane seats. I could have spent the entire trip wandering the Shangri-La Hotel, even just staring at the beautiful lobby. "This must have costed a million dollars!" Kieth yelled as we reached the indoor pool. "Can we go in, Nameless? Please?" The two boys glanced at me with the most adorable puppy eyes ever, I'm surprised I shook my head. "We came here to find Lily, not laze around. You can go in later." Eden nodded slowly and sighed. "How long do you think it will take to find her?"
"I dunno, Ren told me she works at a zoo or something. I don't think it will be that hard to find her."
"And kidnap her," Eden pointed out matter-of-factly.
I groaned, "Sure, whatever."
Our room didn't disappoint, either, not that I thought it would. Ren thought of it all. He even got a room with three beds and an extra bathroom. I still don't know how he pulled that off, or if he'd been watching us for a while. How would he even know about our bed and bathroom problem?
After we unpacked, I left the boys in the room, trying to figure out which channel Cartoon Network was on, and took a step outside for some quiet, so maybe I could think straight. "Uh...Miss...Name...less?" I turned around and saw a young man in a uniform squinting at a slip of paper in his hand. "Is that...you?" Cautiously, I nodded and took a step forward and peered around him. Parked around the corner was a shiny black Camaro Convertible. "Uh...your rental car?" he said timidly as I stared at the vehicle, then looked back at him in disbelief. "Mine?" I asked, still shocked when he nodded.
"Eden!" I screamed, bursting into the room and pinning him against the bed. "You rented a car?!"
"No," he said slowly, looking up at me like I was crazy.
"Then who did?..." I glanced over at Kieth.
"It was probably Ren," Eden said simply as he slid out from underneath me.
"Oh...you're probably right." I chuckled. "I dunno why I didn't think of that."
The awkward man had our rental car parked as close to the building as he could get it, stepping out and scratching the back of his head once he saw us walking across the parking lot towards him. "Here you are...uh...ma'am," he said. I smiled and thanked him as kindly as I could, then sidestepped around him and started to open the driver's side door when I heard him ask, "Are you sure you're old enough to drive? M-ma'am?" I glanced back at him and grinned, holding up a license. He was reassured, and let us drive through without having to run him over.
Where did the license come from? Ren put it in the envelope along with the tickets and passports and other necessities of travel, which I didn't question. From that moment on I was legally (hehe) twenty-one years of age. "He could have just made you eighteen or seventeen, or something closer to your real age," Eden said as I swerved along the road (this was my first time driving). "Twenty-one is the legal drinking age," Kieth pointed out with a grin. "But, yeah. You should probably let Eden drive now. You know...since he knows how."
Eden at the wheel, we pulled over a short while later, sitting in our seats and staring up at the Taronga Zoo's metal sign. 'Welcome to Taronga Zoo.' Slamming shut my door behind me, I headed in towards the entrance, passing through the ticket booths to purchase our tickets. Then we were inside, and I was hardly able to keep Eden in my sight. "Monkeys!" he shouted. "Elephants! Ohmigosh, it's a giraffe! Look, Nameless, look at it's neck! Hiiiii, Melmaaann!"
"Look, Eden, Dippin' Dots!"
He fell for it seven times.
"Nameless, I got a text from Ren," he said suddenly as we reached the Cafe Plaza. "He says to find your sister at the lion exhibit." Following Ren's instructions, we headed down, Eden bouncing excitedly around when we reached our destination. "Lions! Rawr!" I couldn't help but laugh. He was like an obnoxious little kid, Zoo sticker, visor, and all.
"Nameless. The eagle has landed." I glanced at Kieth, who was staring intensely at something inside the den. I followed his gaze, my eyes landing on the figure of a young woman, probably in her early twenties, with wheat-colored hair like mine and tanned skin, like mine. She looked up at us and smiled, unknowing, and I realized by the color of her eyes that she was really my sister. I can't say all the memories and regrets were flooding through me at that exact moment, because all I was focused on was getting what I left Haven for.
And I got it. Kieth watched out for me while I followed Lily down the path behind the lion dens, leading to the bear exhibit. Luckily, not many people were down that way when I figured I had her in the right spot. I didn't need to be wary of security cameras, I could probably hack into them and clear the tapes later, anyway. And tasing her was kinda fun.