The airport officials were standing behind their desks, watching hundreds and thousands of people mill past on their Friday morning. The sounds of their conversations were all blending together to become a loud murmur. It was the same as every day; adults on business trips, bored-looking teenagers being shipped across the country, and screaming ones that refused to go on planes—
“NO, I WON’T GET ON THE PLANE! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME! GET MR. DELMAS TO DRIVE ME BACK!” The voice resounded off the walls, making it sound fifty times as loud as the officials were sure it was. A crowd of teens were walking close to him, and a blonde woman was trying to force the screaming boy into the airport.
“Excuse me, ma’am, do you need help?” Officer Felipe Fortescue asked, coming up to the blonde.
The blonde, who, incidentally, was Yolanda, said “Yes, thank you very much.”
Officer Fortescue took Jeremie and grabbed him by the shoulders. “What is it?”
“I DON’T WANNA GO ON THE PLAAAAANE, IT’S GONNA CRASH AND WE’LL ALL DIE!!!”
“Listen to me, kid,” he said. “These planes are safe. You won’t crash; I guarantee it. We’ve just done test runs and all the planes are working fine. Now, if you can’t behave yourself, I’ll have to put you in the restraining cabin.”
“The…restraining cabin?” Jeremie sniffed, temporarily calm. “There’s really such thing?”
“Yes,” Officer Fortescue said, obviously lying. “We can put you in there and it’s completely dark for the entire plane ride. And then you won’t have to see anything. Now, are you going to calm down and get on the plane like a normal person? Or are you going to have to be put in the restraining cabin?”
“I’ll be good,” Jeremie promised.
“All right.” He released Jeremie’s shoulders and turned to Yolanda. “He should be fine now.”
“Stop talking about me like I’m not right here!” Jeremie said, annoyed at having to be normal and not be scared of the planes anymore.
“Yeah, I don’t know what I would’ve done if it wasn’t for you,” Yolanda said, batting her eyes and ignoring Jeremie’s remark.
Jeremie looked up at the two adults with a look of frustration on his face from being ignored.
“Well, you had him covered pretty well,” the officer said.
“Eww…everyone, let’s go,” Tara said, pushing the crowd of Kadic teens forward so they wouldn’t have to see icky adult romance. Knowing your school nurse can have a crush is pretty much the equivalent of finding out that your parents had sex with each other to have you…or if that doesn’t freak you out, that they still do have sex.
“Aw, but I wanna see Yolanda get engaged!” our favorite idiot, Theo, said.
“Theo Gauthier, please just remain with the group,” Yolanda said, not taking her eyes from Officer Fortescue.
Theo “humph”-ed. “Yeah, whatever.” I bet everyone forgot about poor Theo, huh? I didn’t even know his last name until I looked on Wikipedia.
“It’s okay Theo, I love you,” Tara said, hugging him. He just looked like he needed a hug. Theo turned pink. “Thanks, Tara.”
Nothing much happened until they were in line waiting for the plane to board. “You all have your passports, right?” Mr. Delmas asked.
Everyone except Tara held up their passport.
“Tara, what about you?”
“It’s my home country, I don’t need a passport,” she said.
“You need one to leave this country,” Yolanda said.
“Relax, I have it.” She took the passport out of her purse and held it up, rolling her eyes. “You guys are so paranoid. I have my passport, okay?”
“You never know,” Yumi said. “Last time you ended up dropping it in between the seat and the door when you were on your way back to Kadic from summer vacation.”
“I told you never to MENTION THAT!!” Tara yelled. She chased Yumi around with a mallet. “Bring it on, geisha girl!!”
Yeah, as you can tell, Tara has a serious problem with Yumi.
While those two were forming an unlikely friendship, the intercom crackled to life and said, “Begin boarding the plane, please.”
“People, people!!” Yolanda yelled. “Can we please settle down and get on the plane? Look at your boarding passes and get onto the correct seat which is marked in the center of the pass.” Hey, if the nurse thing ends up not working out, I can always go into flight attendant business.
Tara and Yumi continued their lovely dance of friendship.
“TARA ANDERSON AND YUMI ISHIYAMA, DISCONTINUE THAT AND GET OVER HERE!!”
Tara and Yumi stopped in mid-step and looked at Yolanda in shock. Who knew she could yell like that? Who knew she could actually assert herself?
“Yeah, I said it. Get over here and stop the bickering.”
Tara and Yumi sadly walked over.
“Bonjour, passengers, this is your captain speaking. Please watch the flight attendants for a brief announcement on how to apply the oxygen masks in case of an emergency.” The intercom died and the four flight attendants who were lined up in the aisle, in different parts so everyone could look at the nearest ones, started motioning how to put on the oxygen masks and how to escape as a video played along with the audio.
“In…case…of…an…emergency?” Jeremie said slowly. He slowly started panicking. Sissi, who was sitting next to him, sighed and said “We’re over the wing; we’re at the safest part.”
“Actually, the wings aren’t the safest part,” Aelita said, popping her head over the top of her seat, which was in front of Jeremie’s. “The tail is. You know how in crashes you can always see the tail still there. And they have the black box in the back…you know, where they keep the flight records? The tail has to be safe so the black box doesn’t get destroyed.”
Jeremie looked in the back to see if there were any empty seats he could sit in. His panicked eyes searched but the seats were all filled up.
Tara, who was sitting next to Aelita, punched her in the shoulder.
“Oww!” Aelita said, rubbing her arm and looking down at Tara. Since Tara was still sitting faced forward in her seat, Jeremie and Sissi couldn’t see her. So it looked like Aelita just got hit with nothing and was looking down at the seat, annoyed.
“You shouldn’t have said that,” Tara hissed. “He’s going to panic now.”
“Well,” Aelita continued. “The wings are safe too. Like, if there was a fire? The carbon monoxide wouldn’t be as serious if you got out of the wing exit right away…which you’re next to.” She pointed. “And if we were going into a dive or something.”
“We don’t have parachutes,” Jeremie said.
“Well…you never know. I bet one day a plane will dive and someone will jump out the wing exit and they’ll land on a nice fluffy pasture of sheep.”
Tara rolled her eyes. “Stuff doesn’t happen like that.”
“Look who’s talking about ‘he’s going to panic now’,” Aelita said. “Anyway…we’re safe. Don’t worry, Jeremie.” She sat back down and started texting again, now that she had charged her phone in the airport.
“Merci, and we hope you enjoy your flight with us,” the captain said, and the flight attendants went back into the back room.
“See, we’re going to be fine,” Aelita added from her seat.
“The movie playing today will be Nimh’s Island.” It looked like the captain wasn’t done speaking after all.
Everyone cheered. That was like the newest movie in France, and they had finally translated it from English to French. Of course, Tara could understand it both ways, but whatever.
Jeremie was immediately drawn into the movie. Sissi looked at him once or twice to see why he was so quiet. What she saw was Jeremie staring at the TV with a look of adoration. Sissi tapped his headphones once to see if he would respond. Which he didn’t.
“Aelita, something’s wrong with Jeremie,” she said, not really caring but not wanting him to do something weird that would get them all killed. You never knew when he started looking like that.
Aelita popped up and looked at him. “Oh, that’s just the look he gets whenever he sees something he really loves.”
Tara popped up too. “Hey, that’s the look he gets when he sees you,” she said.
Aelita's face turned pink.
“Flight attendants, prepare for takeoff.” Everyone settled back and got ready for the plane to start barreling down the runway. The engines fired up and it started going at a little less than biking speed. It slowly picked up and then started going down the runway. Before long, they were shooting down it. Jeremie didn’t seem to notice it until it was going as fast as it could and they still had half the runway to go. He looked outside and saw the trees and the buildings and the cars going past and he gripped the seat so hard his knuckles turned white.
“We’re going really fast! Are we supposed to go this fast?”
“YES!” Sissi yelled. “Okay? We are supposed to be going this fast!”
“Is she lying?” Jeremie asked William, who was across the aisle from him.
“Huh? Oh…no,” he said, and then went back to absently staring at the seat in front of him.
“I feel bad for William,” Sissi said.
“Because he has to hang out with Tara the entire time,” she explained. “And anyone hanging out with Tara has to get tired of it sometime.”
Tara spoke from her seat without turning around. “Sissi, do you want your head to remain connected to your body?”
“That would be nice,” Sissi said.
“Then SHUT UP.”