~Baby, I like It~
'I'm craving for an English roast!'
Flight 2544 from London Heathrow Terminal Five to New York International Airport was finally boarding. I clutched my boarding pass tightly in my hand as I made my way to Gate 24. I handed my boarding pass to the Lady in Red and got in the plane.
My breath became uneven, almost heavy, a bead of sweat trickled down my forehead and I felt quite faint. Sitting down in an economy class leather-semi-comfortable-chair gave me a second to none relief. It was too bad I didn't bring painkillers or something. I took off my red hoodie to stop myself from sweating. No wonder I felt faint.
When a cabin crew passed me I asked if I could get a glass of water.
She said "I'll be right back."
This is my first time going out of the country on my own, at sixteen years of age with no parent or guardian accompanying me. The reason I've no parent with me because they're dead.
Both of them.
It was an incidental death, really; a car crash; It could happen to anyone and my parents were no exception. But hey, out of all people it just had to be my parents, doesn't it? I blinked a few times to hold back the tears. Thinking about them made me want to go on my knees and cry long and hard. Besides, that's the last thing I want. I gulped the lump in my throat and coughed.
I would not cry. I've had enough of crying. For the sake of my family's pride I had to be strong and live the life they wanted me to live. And besides, crying in public, no way! It'd be too...anyway
My dad Francis was a Newspaper Editor from The Sun and my mum Sarah was a stay-at-home mum. They were both proud parents. I guess you could say they were 'laid-back'. Francis was kind of like my ye-old-best-friend-type-of-dad. And my mum was my personal Agony aunt. There weren't any rules or restrictions around the house. As I was their only child, I could do whatever I wanted as long as I clear up after myself. My parents may have been laid back but I wasn't born spoilt.
I heard from my very, very distant relative of my father's from Scotland that his brother, my Uncle Whatshisname (I couldn't remember what his name was. Something P...Paul...Paige...Pat?) immigrated to America in the early-mid 80's to live the so-called American dream. And so he went and pursued his dream, and he got it.
I took that as a sign of hope.
When I got hold of his number, I didn't dawdle about, and immediately called him. I told him the news about my parents. He didn't once interrupt me while I talked. I guessed it was because he was silently crying at the other end. Probably. He asked me about my situation 'right-now' and I said I was living off of the money they left me and still went to school.
Then being the ideal Uncle he was, he invited me to live with him in America with his wife and son. He had retorted me with his obvious questions, quite rhetorical really. "Now tell me Emma what you will do when the money eventually runs out? How are you going to feed yourself?"
I had replied "I'll get a –"
Uncle Whatshisname didn't let me finished. "Of course you'll get a job. But will that be enough? You're young with no guardian guiding you. And if you get desperate..." he stopped.
I knew exactly what he was going to say my silence proved him he'd won our little banter. Then finally, to stop further arguments I said what he'd expected me to say. "OK. Point proven. So when do I go?"
The same cabin crew came back with my glass water with packet of peanuts. Wow, a bonus. I smiled and thanked her, and I took a refreshing sip. I hadn't realised my throat was so parched that I drank half the glass.
Welcome to British Airways. The captain's voice boomed.
I sighed and mumbled "Stupid speakers making me jump..."
Your pilot today is Leonard Watt, co-pilot Jonah Gerard. We will be flying approximately fourty-thousand metres expecting very little turbulence. Time now is twelve-oh-seven p.m. Weather today is twenty three degrees, bright and warm. We are expecting to arrive in New York at four-ten Eastern Standard Time. The seatbelt sign is on so please fasten your seatbelts. Now sit back and relax.
Another cabin crew took my glass away advising me to put my seatbelt on. I nodded sheepishly and prop my seatbelt hastily. Fortunately, there was no one that sat next me. It gave me space to dump my brown bag and provided some leg room. The plane moved fast, pushing me hard against the back of the chair. It thwarted up and up until we were no longer on the ground.
My ears began to pop.
A dark-skinned woman across my right advised that swallowing helps, so I did just that.
TV was the only entertainment I had. Throughout the journey I watched movies I've heard but never had a chance to watch, I listened to music when I felt bored of movies and looked out of my plane window. All I could see was clouds, blue sky, sea, and an odd jet speeding up leaving a straight line of cloud smoke. In my opinion, plane food was ugh. Came snack time, I didn't savour my spaghetti— as I normally would if it was home cooked—and decided to scrap it. I wasn't really hungry anyway. Even the luscious looking chocolate cake sitting there waiting to be eaten did anything but persuade my appetite.
My fatigue finally gave out. I was listening to Debussy Arabesque piano solo 1 before everything went black.
Arriving to New York International Airport was big, modern, plush and busy.
I quickly admired the very grandeur of the airport before heading to Gate 1. Thank the Lord I went to the toilet before I came down.
I passed the horde of people trying to get to my connecting flight to Virginia attempting not to be pushed around. I couldn't afford to waste time since my flight was leaving in approximately twenty minutes. Sprinting, I ended up knocking down a two year old toddler backwards, his dummy off his mouth. He began to cry. The mother was giving me the daggers, and I gave a hasty 'sorry' before I continued to run any further.
Going through a multiple security checks, I was finally at Gate 1. I did the same process to my boarding pass but this time the middle-aged-man grinned and said in his New Yorkan accent "Have a nice flight to Virginia!"
Situated at the front of the one hundred and fifty something passenger plane, an old lady wearing a crème short sleeve top and below the knee black skirt, slightly greying hair, natural tan wrinkled skin from old age sat beside me. We made some small talk: me coming from England to live with my uncle and his family; her visiting her daughter because it will be her birthday.
The old lady—named Dora—was a lovely lady. She was very friendly and didn't question me. She didn't pry why I wouldn't talk about my parents and why I'm travelling alone when I evaded the question. She just nodded her head and said "I understand."
See? Lovely and understanding.
The two and a bit hour flight from New York to Richmond Airport Virginia had ended. I bade good bye to Dora and took off to get my plain black suitcase in the Arrival Baggage. Then I walked to the Arrivals area and hoped to decipher what my Uncle Whatshisname would look like. I waited for about five minutes, and no one approached me. My Uncle didn't exactly send me a picture of him so I had no idea what he looks like.
Silly me eh?
I sat down to the nearest bench and fumbled with my phone.
Right, here goes the legend Snake game! I got to keep myself entertained right?
I swear I spent ten minutes playing it! Trapped in this little screen of fun, I didn't realise that a young man—a good looking teenager—sat next to me and was rather amused by my reaction. He was blonde and blue eyed, chiselled jaw with a high pair of cheekbones, slight tan from the sun and a subtle pinkish colour of a mouth which was grinning towards me. He wore a tight shirt that showed the contours of his body and three-quarter lengths, and a pair of Nike trainers.
"You're Emma Raleigh right?" He said it ever so casually in his Virginian twang that I was scared to think for the worst. Giving him a blank face to mask my fear, I weighed the options. A) He could be a good looking guy who just happens to know name. But how is it possible he also knew my surname too? B) He's secretly a paedophile using his dashing good looks to get his prey or C) any of the above plus a rapist too.
I let out a breath and decided to take the risk. Maybe he's flirting? Two can play a game! "And you are...?" I replied. I hoped strongly that didn't come out as a croak.
He chuckled. God, he was breathtaking. I don't remember meeting a very fit-looking boy since Year 9. Face it England, boys aren't very fit there. "I'm Drave Raleigh. And if I'm right you're my cousin because dad asked me to pick you up and I was running late...by the way I like your accent."
Wait, rewind for a sec.
Did he say cousin?
"Cousin?" I questioned and added "Thanks."
He raised an eyebrow. He looked to me as if he were to say: what did you think I was here for? But whatever he was thinking at the time, he didn't say aloud. Instead he said. "Yeah, cousin, we have the same last names. Raleigh."
And to think that this good looking boy could be my Virginia romance! Huh, surprise, surprise. The boy's related to me! For all I know he's taken and thinks the girl talking to him is slightly weird.
"Uh yeah, Raleigh" I said dumbly. Way to play it cool Emma, well done! "By the way, uh how did you know I was the cousin you're looking for?"
"You sent my dad a picture." He replied.
"Ah," Figures. He isn't a smoking hot paedophilic person after all.
"So is that all you got?" Drave eyed my medium sized suitcase. "It doesn't look like much." He uttered.
Once I nodded, he got up and took it, and began to walk to what I think is where the car park was. He placed my suitcase at the back of his Aston Martin DB9 (hey, my dad Francis was very knowledgeable to cars!) car and opened the passenger seat for me. "Ladies first,"
"Thanks." I said politely and hopped in.
Drave was a maniac driver! He drove as fast as the speed of light, only halting for the traffic lights. And once they turn green again, he'd zoom past the other cars like a person desperate for a pee. I looked at him alarmingly but he waved it off telling me to "relax" and "calm down, I've got this covered" and "It's fine, get used to it." But frantically, my head was telling me to get off this ridiculously fast car to save dear life. How could I calm down?!
Ten minutes of agony in the car, I got out and collapsed on the hard pavement. I was so glad to be back on ground again! Hallelujah! I tilted my head sideways and saw my cousin (it's really weird to call him cousin...) Drave laughing at me. It didn't matter what the hell I looked like because I wasn't embarrassed one bit. I gave him a hard glare and was up to my feet in moments.
"By the way," I said "What's your dad's name?"
He carried my suitcase in a gentlemanly manner. Throw him a three-piece suit and the ladies will be swooned! "Patrick." As if reading my mind he added "And my mom's name is Annabelle."
Uncle Patrick (no need to call him Whatshisname anymore!) resided at Lakeview Avenue Street in Richmond, quiet suburban area five or six miles away from Fairmont Park. He lives at an open detached kind of 'Queen Anne' house. The house shape is asymmetrical with intersecting roof lines, turrets, bay windows, a front porch, patterned shingles and a decorative trim. It's homely? Anyway compared to my house back in England, this one is massive!
When Drave opened the door, I was greeted with irony. The facade outside the house was antique while the inside was totally modern and up to date. The front room was floored with wood with a shaped LED leaf lamp. Sat on the carved wooden table was a digital frame and ornaments. Drave led me to the living room where a man with brown hair and a beard, plump wearing nothing but shorts and t-shirt was holding a woman, blonde with a bob haircut and sun dress smiled at us.
No, not us but at me.
The plump man—Uncle Patrick—stood up "Welcome to Virginia Emma! I hope my son didn't scare you from his driving too much." I was sort of glad he still retained his accent just a bit. Drave stood just near the door, covering his mouth probably stopping himself from laughing.
"Uh, thank you. He didn't really scare me, I guess." I said giving Drave a glance. "Your house is um..." I looked around "Modern."
"Thank you dear," he replied. "Let me introduce you to my wife, your Aunty Annabelle." He gestured to the woman wearing a sun dress.
I gave a small wave and smiled. That's right Emma, keep smiling! My voice inside my head told me.
"Oh heck, don't be stranger hon. Come 'ere and give your Aunty a hug." Aunty Annabelle said. I was surprised by her welcoming attitude that I didn't hesitate to hug her. In the background, I heard Drave's muffled smirking.
"Now now Drave." Uncle said in a warning tone. "Let's all be nice!"
"Don't mind him, hon." Aunty Annabelle said gently. "I'm guessing you're tired and hungry. Drave will show you to your room—" she glared at Drave which somehow made me feel better as he grunted in return. "Oh, and before you go Emma, tell me what you want for dinner. We can get takeaways if you want."
I bit my lip. My American relatives turned out to be friendlier than I thought. In fact, too friendly in my case. They literally radiated friendliness! In response, I said "I really don't mind."
"C'mon hon." Uncle Patrick insisted. "It's your choice. Don't be shy."
I sighed lightly to myself "OK. If you don't mind...I'm craving for an English roast..." Since I missed it, why not something from home? But I didn't say it aloud.
I looked at my Uncle and he looked at me then looked at his wife. I caught Drave was in a state of confusion. Aunty Annabelle finally looked at me and said, almost sheepish "Well, I'm not good at cooking it but hey, I'll try!"
"But really..." I trailed off, biting my lip. "You don't have to."
"Worry not Emma," Uncle Patrick reassured me. "It's fine."
"OK." I nodded.
"Here's um, your room." Drave announced.
Insert grand music here: Ta-da!
We entered a medium sized room. The thing that shocked me the most was everything was so blue: the walls, the bed, the dresser, and the curtains. On a wall facing the bed was my own personal plasma TV. Beside the dresser were a wooden desk and an office chair complete with an Apple Mac Laptop. My jaw dropped in awe. So much for modernists! I have my own TV! I have my own laptop! He placed my suitcase on top of the bed. Then drew the bright blue curtains. I hovered closer to the window seeing the garden view of the house. It was amazingly big and well-trimmed.
"Thanks Drave." I said and patted his arm. Wow, feel those fit biceps!
My cousin rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah...If you'll follow me I'll show you the bathroom..."
I learnt that Drave's room was across the corridor to mine and the bathroom was next to his room. "So we share a bathroom?" I asked him.
"Yup." He said.
"How inconvenient..."I muttered.
After the 'bathroom and Drave tour', Drave led me back to my room. "OK, I'll leave you get settled. And if you need anything, just give me a shout. I'm right across the hall."
As soon as he shut the door, I swiftly unzipped my suitcase and started putting clothes in my blue dresser. I didn't bring much so it didn't take long for me to finish. I logged in to Facebook on my new laptop and updated my status: I'm finally in Virginia! My laptop proved its worth to me when I noticed it has a built in webcam. I took a picture of me and uploaded it as my new profile picture. Minutes later, my best friend Tanya was IM-ing me.
"How is Virginia babes?" Tanya wrote "Missing you already."
"I'll tell you in a sec." I typed back. "Put your webcam on."
She sent me an invite link and moments later, I could see my red-headed best friend on the screen talking to me.
"How's it going Emms?" She said. She smiled, using her genuine smile. Gosh, I miss that girl already.
"Uh, just tired. I literally just came here."
"Oh I can see that Emms. You look like hell m'dear."
"Thanks, Tannie, appreciate the comment. Now how's England without me?"
"Boring. It's no fun without you. You left me on my own here with that girl Sarah."
I made a puppy dog face. "I'm sorry Tannie. Anyway, how about Josh? Are you still going out?"
Tanya looked really...sad?
"Uh, I'm sorry. I didn't know...Hey Tannie, just forget I asked OK?"
"No, it's fine." I could see my best friend on the brink of crying. "I really thought he liked me! Then yesterday he said....he said it's over."
I said the first thing that came to my head. "What an idiot. He made a mistake of calling it off. He can't see how beautiful you are."
Tanya sniffed, "Thank you Emms."
I smiled. "It's OK."
A second later, Tanya's eyes went wide; all too wide. Her jaw dropped as if she'd just seen the most gorgeous thing ever.
"Uh, Tan? Are you still with me?"
Tanya nodded. "Turn around Emms."
"Why?" I asked in confused. What is she on about right now?
"Just flipping turn around will you, woman!" She screamed at me.
"Alright," I screamed back. The moment I turned around, Drave's face was inches away from mine. He leant closer as if he were going to kiss me. My heart suddenly thudded, rapidly jumping against my chest. I knew I was blushing furiously. I went stiff. Drave's mouth conjured into a small naughty smile on his lips and leant even closer, however this time not on my face but towards the webcam.
And here I thought he was going to do something else!
"Who's this hot girl in the screen?" He asked me but faced Tanya.
"My best friend,"
"Neat." He said "Hey, my name's Drave. What's yours?"
Oh em gee. He's flirting with my best friend! My cousin is FLIRTING with MY best friend!
I glared behind Drave and looked sympathetically at my friend. Tanya looks as if she's about to faint! I mouthed 'Sorry'.
"Well, she's quiet." Drave turned around.
Then my best friend fainted. Oh gosh she fainted. I yanked Drave away from the screen and looked at Tanya. "Tannie?! Tannie?! Are you all right?"
"Yeah, she's fine!" Drave replied sarcastically. "It's not like she fainted or anything!"
authors note: hey everyone! this is my second story and I hope you like it! all names, places, situation etc. are all my ideas. by no means it can be copied, plagiarized, printed. etc.
(C) little tiny thing. So what did you think? Was it worth reading? comments are welcome!