It wasn't airports Callie had an issue with. Or planes, or even travelling. It was doing those things alone.
She was antsy as she sat in her seat on the plane, anxiously awaiting take off, her knees bouncing up and down. A voice spoke up across the aisle and Callie's head turned in that direction, eyes wide.
"Nervous about flying?"
The voice belonged to a guy (a handsome guy), with a crooked half smile and dark brown hair. He was looking at her with his eyebrows raised just a little, and she realised with a start that he was waiting for her to answer him and not just stare back.
"Not so much nervous as impatient." She said in reply, allowing a small smile of her own.
He laughed, turning to face forwards again. "I know what you mean about that." He said.
Their brief conversation was then cut short by the air hostesses and the safety demonstration and Callie managed to stop her knees from bouncing, but she couldn't help but chew on her thumbnail.
She didn't know how she'd be able to sit through this flight without going absolutely bat shit crazy. She couldn't focus on anything long enough to distract herself from the excited gnawing at the pit of her stomach. Anticipation filled her. She just wanted to get there and get off this plane.
It took five and a half hours, but eventually, the plane landed and she was able to get out of the cramped, uncomfortable plane. As she stood up, so did the guy opposite her, and he flashed a grin. "Welcome to New York City."
Callie laughed and issued her thanks before picking up her hand luggage; a backpack which was mostly empty other than to hold a book, her phone and a few magazines.
She'd flown into JFK so she wasn't in the middle of bustling Manhattan, but she could just about see the sky scrapers lining the sky if she looked out the window of the little bus which brought them from the plane to the airport. Oh wow. The sight made it all feel a little surreal as opposed to the opposite. She was really here! After all this time!
If she'd been excited before then she was about to burst with it now. It didn't take long to get her luggage - she only had one bag anyway - and soon she was making her way out through the arrivals doorway.
Her heart was pounding so hard in her chest that she was surprised it hadn't leapt right out yet, and she scanned the crowd looking desperately for a familiar face.
She couldn't see him anywhere. Her suitcase started to feel a little heavier, her heart sinking.
Then, across the way, she could see someone running, sprinting towards the arrivals lounge, and her heart rate started to pick up. It was him! Of course it was him. Of course he was late, that was so unbelievably typical of him, wasn't it? All of a sudden she was running too, because she couldn't physically wait another minute to be with him.
Her suitcase kept whacking her ankles, but that was the furthest thing from her mind as she reached him, and Peter picked her up immediately, spinning her around, and they were both laughing.
It had been two years since Peter had finished high school and left California. He was going to college somewhere here in New York, and they'd tried at the whole long distance thing even though they'd only been together a few months before he'd left. It was hard. It was really hard. Two days was a long time to be without each other, never mind two years, but they'd skyped and texted twenty four seven. There'd been a few tough patches and rocky parts, but they'd made it through the other end and finally, they were together again.
They'd seen each other at every chance Peter got to come back home, but this time was different, because now it wasn't just a visit.
He had an apartment here, with a nice view of the city and a cramped bathroom and an old couch, but that was more than enough for Callie. He had a double bed, at least, but she would have slept on the ground as long as it meant she got to stay with him.
It was really weird, she thought, how you don't realise how much you depend on someone, even someone you are so sure you don't like, until they're gone from your life all of a sudden.
But the thing was she did like Peter. In fact, she liked him an awful lot. She liked everything about him, even the things that annoyed her. She liked everything he stood for, everything he did and everything he thought.
She might have loved him more than anything else she knew, maybe, just a little bit, but that was a story for another day.
When Peter put her back down on the ground again, they both laughed a little breathlessly, and she couldn't break that green gaze no matter how much she may have wanted to. The corners of his lips tugged upwards in a smile and he took her chin between his thumb and finger and tilted her head up so that he could kiss her.
Okay, so maybe she didn't just love him a little bit. But again, that was another day's story.
She went back with him that day, to the shabby little fifth floor apartment that she grew to call home, for the next five years. Peter proposed after two.
She'd once told him that she never wanted to get married, that she thought it could only end in divorce and a broken heart. He'd told her that someday she'd meet the person who'd change her mind about that. He'd been right, and she said yes, and at twenty two they got married.
Peter's parents couldn't understand it, neither did most of their friends. They were so young, they had so much ahead of them! Why now? But for Peter, it wasn't about losing his freedom, it was about winning it back. They still went out drinking until 4am. They still did things they shouldn't. It just meant that he was secure in knowing that he could come home to her every day for the rest of his life, be it good, bad or somewhere in the middle.
They were married three years when Callie found out she was pregnant. She was working in an art gallery. He had gotten a promotion. They decided it was time to move. They were going to need a bigger place with the baby on the way. So they did, they found a slightly bigger apartment, in a slightly more residential area. They were still unpacking boxes when Callie went into labour, and although it was all a bit stressful, she wouldn't have wished for things in her life to go any other way.
Adam Collins was born on the 16th of August. His sister Kate was born two years later.
Callie and Peter didn't have it easy. They fought a lot. Peter lost his job when the kids were 5 and 7, and it was left to Callie to support the family selling art work and working in the gallery. At that point, they started arguing. They were serious arguments, not the petty ones they were used to. They weren't happy. They found themselves in debt. But they had a guardian angel looking out for them. Peter got a new job, one that paid better than his last one, and things slowly started to fall back into place.
Kate was in her senior year of High School, and had been accepted to USC in the fall, when Callie approached Peter with the idea. Adam was in college, living on campus in Columbia, having received a scholarship for English. Gavin had already said Kate could stay with him when she started college.
Peter'd told her once, more so in passing than anything else, how much he wanted to go travelling. He didn't want an itinerary and plans and everything organised to a T. He wanted to throw caution to the wind. He just wanted to see as much of the world as he could.
He'd wanted to go before he'd started college, but had never gotten the chance. At forty five, he was long out of college now, but Callie saw no reason why they shouldn't. So they did. Kate went to California that August. Adam stayed in New York, and Callie and Peter left and did what they did best.
They did what they'd been doing all their lives since that day in the kitchen with Gavin.
They took things day by day, and just did what felt right.