The Bermuda Files

4. New York, New York

The minute Layton, Opal, Cassie, Holly and Angela entered the QANTAS lounge at Melbourne airport, Opal told them to reserve a table while she went to the bathroom. Opal found her friends hiding in a table in a secluded corner of the lounge. Layton took one look at Opal and rolled his eyes.

"What?" asked Opal, sitting down and smoothing her dress, black, of course.

"Why have you changed clothes?" asked Cassie. "I thought you were happy in your other clothes."

"We've got a long flight to New York plus five hours stopover in LA airport," Opal said. "I'm not wearing jeans and a t-shirt for the whole time. Plus it's going to be cold in New York. A dress and stockings is going to keep me much warmer."

"And where are your shoes?" asked Angela. "Don't tell me I've converted you."

"You sort of have," Opal admitted holding up a pair of black boots. "And before you ask, no you can't take yours off yet. Wait until we're on the plane. Then you can take them off." Angela pouted but perked up when Layton mentioned food.

"I'm off to the food counter," he said, standing up. "Anyone want something?"

"I'll go to the soft drinks counter," Opal said. "We can have a celebratory meal. Who wants what? Lemonade? Fanta? Oh, and Cassie? While I'm gone, could you keep an eye on Holly and Angie for me?"

Cassie nodded and she and the others put in orders for various fizzy drinks. Opal and Layton went their separate ways. Layton returned with a tray laden with several plates of food. He had found pizza, chips, cheese and biscuits. Opal returned soon after with five glasses of lemonade.

"For Narnia and for Aslan," Cassie cried.

"Bottoms up," Angela and Holly said in unison.

Opal and Layton sighed. This was going to be a long wait for the flight.

oOoOoOoOo

Two hours later...

Opal checked the departures board for the twentieth time in the past half an hour and drank half of her latte in one. Both the coffee and the departures board were mostly excuses to preserve her sanity rather than actual necessities but she tried to pretend that they were needed.

It was mostly her fault. Opal had made a big mistake in directing Holly and Angela to the soft drinks machine as the two had gone completely hyper. It was a deadly combination of red lemonade, coffee, sweets and excitement.

Opal was unbelievably relieved when she found their flight and saw that its status was 'go to gate'. She dashed back to her friends.

"Come on guys," Opal said pulling her boots on.

"Is it time?" asked Holly excitedly.

"It says to go to the gate," Opal answered, consolidating her hand luggage and pulling out their boarding passes. "Now are we sure we have everything? Warm clothes for when we get there, passports, sustenance for the flight, headphones, stuff to do on the plane, etc?"

There was a general affirmative from the group as they got ready to leave. Angela found her shoes in Layton's backpack and glared automatically at Holly. Holly was innocent, of that particular crime at least, and so Angela turned her death stare on Layton, Cassie and Opal in turn... At least until she remembered that she had put her shoes in Layton's bag so she wouldn't forget them.

Opal rolled her eyes and let the two permanently hyper girls (a.k.a Holly and Angela) run on ahead to the gate with Cassie sprinting along behind them trying to keep them in check. Opal and Layton found the three of them at the ticket-scanning station desperately rifling through their pockets and bags for their tickets while the attendant waited patiently.

"You idiots," Layton sighed walking up to his friends. "You do remember that Opal has the tickets right?"

Holly, Angela and Cassie looked guilty. Opal handed out their tickets and they all went through to plane.

"Apologies for the delay, sir," Opal said sweetly to the attendant, shooting a glare at Holly and Angela's retreating backs as she had her ticket scanned.

"Not a problem, miss," the attendant said, privately wondering why five teenagers were travelling together, in business class no less, minus adult supervision. Opal spotted Holly trying to do a handstand in the middle of the corridor and bolted off to stop her. Holly and Angela soon found themselves being frog-marched down the corridor to the plane. Layton and Cassie were already upstairs in the business class section waiting for the others.

Twenty minutes and much trying to keep Holly and Angela calm later, the doors of the A380 closed. Holly and Angela had been ordered firmly to take the middle seats as this kept them under the watchful eyes of Opal and Layton who were sitting on either side.

"Strap yourselves in, you two,' Layton said sternly.

"And make sure that all electronic devices are switched off and in aeroplane mode," Opal cautioned. "And keep them that way until we get to New York."

"Please make sure your seatbelt is done up low and tight," Cassie said, attempting to imitate the safety demonstration. "And please make sure all electronic devices are switched off and stowed."

All five of them giggled while Angela switched her phone off. Holly went through all her pockets until she realised that she didn't have her phone.

"Oh gods," Opal said as the plane taxied out onto the runway. "Well you'll just have to do without."

"Hang on a sec," Cassie said. "I seem to have two phones." She held up a phone that was suspiciously similar to Holly's.

"Cassie," growled Layton who was sitting next to her.

"What?" asked Cassie handing the phone to Holly who turned it off. "I didn't steal it!"

"Sure you di... Angela," Opal sighed as she saw that Angela was trying not to giggle. "That was not funny."

"Yes it was," Angela said. Opal rolled her eyes at Cassie and Layton.

The plane reached the runway, and several minutes later the five friends were in the air.

"Well that's it," Cassie said. "No turning back now."

Los Angeles Airport, thirteen hours later...

"Well that was the single most boring thirteen hours of my life," Layton moaned.

"Agreed," Cassie sighed. "I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe about five times."

"Again, Cass?" Opal asked, yanking her suitcase off the conveyor belt. "You've read it about ten billion times already!"

"She can't help it if she's obsessed with Narnia," Angie defended her friend. "You're obsessed with Sherlock, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, The Avengers and Thor. I'm obsessed with Doctor Who, slightly."

"No, you're obsessed with fanfiction. And Holly's obsessed with noses for some reason."

"Still we're all obsessed with something."

"I'm not!" Layton called from over by the rest of the baggage.

"Wolfie, you are a complete Potterhead and you know it," Opal called back. "So much so that we're stopping off in Orlando on the way to Miami."

"What's in Orlando?"

"You say that like you haven't wanted to visit Disney World and Harry Potter World since the latter first appeared."

"Oh my god are you kidding me?"

"No, I've booked five tickets to Disney World and Universal Studios. We're going to both."

"You know that it was a bad idea to reveal that to him," Angie observed, diving forward and grabbing hold of Holly's arm to stop her from climbing onto the conveyor belt.

"Yeah, I know," Opal sighed, retrieving Holly's bag for her. "But for now, we've got another plane to catch."

New York Airport, eight hours, and many, many, many cups of coffee, later...

Layton, Cassie, Holly, Opal and Angela stepped onto New York soil.

"Right," said Holly. "We collect our bags this way." She marched off in the wrong direction.

"Holly," Opal sighed. "It's that way," she said, pointing the right way.

"I knew that," said Holly turning and marching off in the right direction.

"Oh dear," Layton sighed. "What are we going to do with her?"

"I don't know," Opal said resignedly. "But we'd better hurry up or we'll lose Captain Sense-Of-Direction and who knows where she'll end up!"

The other four dashed after Holly and caught up with her at the baggage carousel. Opal instructed Layton to keep a firm grip on Holly's arm. This was so that the immature, and overly hyper, teenager wouldn't try and climb onto the baggage carousel like she had tried to in LA. Opal, Cassie and Angela retrieved the luggage and the five of them left the arrivals hall to find a taxi.

About an hour later...

Opal, Holly, Cassie, Angela and Layton finally entered the lobby of the hotel they were going to be staying at. It had taken almost an hour to find a taxi big enough for the five of them and take that taxi through New York's evening rush hour traffic to the hotel. Unfortunately for her friends, Opal was running on caffeine and sleep-deprivation and this, combined with the incredibly slow pace they were moving at, made her irritable and restless.

Layton and Cassie were forced to check in while Opal, Holly and Angela lugged in the baggage. This was solely so that the three of them would have something to do which did not involve dashing around and around the hotel lobby and losing all of their dignity.

Once Layton and Cassie had checked in and acquired the room keys, the five friends caught the lift upstairs to their respective bedrooms. Opal had booked each of them a separate room and, once they reached the right floor, the five of them separated, but only after Opal gave Angela and Holly strict instructions not to do anything ridiculous.

Layton yawned. 'What say we all meet in Opal's room and get room service to bring us dinner?' he said.

'Sounds good,' Cassie said, trying not to yawn as well. 'I really can't be bothered exploring New York tonight.'

'Me neither,' Angela said, even though she was still rather hyper. 'Opal, which one was your room again?'

'603,' Opal answered, checking the number on the room key. 'Meet there in fifteen minutes?'

Her friends agreed that this sounded like a good idea and wandered off to find their rooms.

Twenty minutes later...

Opal jerked awake at the sound of a knock on her door. She slid off her bed and opened the door, admitting Layton, Cassie and Angela (who was trying to do a handstand in the hallway).

'You took your time opening the door,' Layton observed. 'We were knocking for a good five minutes before you answered.'

'I did the impossible,' Opal yawned, running a brush through her hair. 'I fell asleep after having six cups of coffee on the flight and in Los Angeles.'

'You what!' Cassie cried, genuinely startled.

Opal nodded. 'Wait... Where's Holly?'

Angela shrugged. 'Dunno,' she said. 'We'd better go look for her though. Olympus only knows what she might be up too.'

'You have been reading waaaaaaaaaaay too much Percy Jackson. If we go to the Empire State Building, I will make SURE that you don't ask to go to the six hundredth floor. Now come on. We'd better go looking for Holly.'

The four of them left Opal's hotel room and locked the door behind them. They walked along several deserted corridors until they found Holly's room. After knocking on the door very loudly and calling her name even louder, Opal produced the spare key to Holly's room from her pocket and opened the door. The four friends quickly ascertained that Holly was absent and left the room, locking the door behind them.

'Right,' said Layton. 'If I were Holly, where would I hide?'

'On top of the lift?' suggested Angela.

'She'd dress as a bell boy and take people's bags to the wrong rooms?' a put in Cassie.

'Anywhere ridiculously inaccessible to anyone but her?' Opal suggested.

'Well we'll just have to look everywhere then,' said Layton. 'We should split up. Keep phones on and off silent.'

'Layton, you come with me and we'll check the dining room and the bottom five floors,' Opal said.

'You do that,' Cassie agreed. 'Angie and I will check the room floors.'

'I've got a better idea,' Angela said. 'If you give me the key, Opal, I can wait here in case she comes back.'

'Good idea,' Opal agreed, handing her friend the spare key. 'If she comes back, text me and Cass.'

'Meet back here in half an hour unless someone finds Holly before that and calls or texts,' Layton added.

He and Opal walked off and caught a lift to the bottom floor. Both of them were very quiet and listened for any sounds of anyone on top of the lift. However, there were no suspicious noises so the two entered the lobby and decided to split up again.

Opal sent Layton to check the places that girls weren't supposed to go (i.e. the gentlemen's restroom) just in case, while Opal went straight to the front desk and asked if anyone had seen a sixteen-year-old girl around. The answer was no, so Opal moaned internally and checked the dining room. Holly wasn't there either. Fifteen minutes later, Opal and Layton met up again in the lobby. Neither had found any trace of her, Layton had even resorted to subtly checking if any of the bell boys were Holly in disguise, so they moved up a floor and checked every place they could think of.

Opal was about to get back into the lift to go back to meet Cassie and Angela when she heard the theme music from Sherlock playing. It took her a moment to realise that this was because it was her ringtone and her phone was ringing.

Stupid jetlag, she thought, fumbling in her pocket for the phone. 'Hello?'

'I've found her,' said Layton's voice.

'Excellent. Where are you?'

'Fourth floor, swimming pool of all places. Meet back at your room in five?'

'Sure. I'll tell Angie and Cass. Over and out.'

Somewhat torn between relief and annoyance, Opal alerted the other two searchers and returned to her room. Angie and Cassie were already waiting and they didn't have to wait long for Layton walked down the corridor leading a contrite Holly.

Opal opened the door and the five of them filed in. Angela and Holly appropriated the sofa while Layton and Cassie perched in armchairs with Opal sitting on her bed.

'So where were you, Holly?' she asked.

'I found her in the gentlemen's restroom,' Layton said, glaring at Holly. 'Goodness knows why. And what she was doing in there I am NOT brave enough to ask.'

'Neither am I,' Cassie agreed, before Holly, who was bouncing in her place on the sofa, could respond, 'Let's just order dinner.'

Opal looked around the room for the room service menu and eventually found it underneath the telephone. She glanced at it and frowned. 'I can't make head or tail of it,' she said, puzzled. Cassie helpfully turned the menu the right way up. 'Oh...'

'You definitely need to sleep,' Layton observed.

'Wake me when the food gets here won't you?' Opal yawned. She paused. 'No wait. Sleep's dangerous with you lot around isn't it.'

Holly and Angela laughed maniacally. 'Yep,' they chorused.

Opal sighed and rang for room service.

oOoOoOo

An hour later, the five friends had finished their room service dinner and were sent back to their rooms by Opal.

Phase One - Execute And Escape - of the plan complete, Opal thought happily, collapsing onto her bed. Phase Two - Explore And Travel begins tomorrow.

With these thoughts, she quickly fell asleep.

A Note From QueenKoboi

So the lot of them have finally made it to New York. Of course it won't all be plain sailing to Miami. No. That would be far too easy! I am much meaner to my characters than that.

Sorry I posted this late. I was going to post before I went to America but one thing led to another and I didn't manage to get it up. Sorry...

See you all in the next chapter! ... Which still needs to get written...