I heard the electric doors slide open accompanied by a rush of cool air from outside. The breeze washed away the canned air scent around the terminal and brought with it the rattle of a trolley over the tiles. I looked up and burst into a smile.
A tall boy in shirt and shades entered the terminal, his hair almost artfully messy, a confident swing in his stride. He looked cool and collected, he looked fashionably late. The effect was kinda ruined when the brakes on his luggage trolley jammed and he winded himself on the handlebar. I just couldn't help falling into minor hysterics yet again. Wow I was so high this morning. I'd surely suffer a comedown sooner or later. Oh well, no reason not to revel in the moment. I bounced over to him waving and grinning.
"Smooth, Sparxy," I teased. He flicked his shades off and gave me a withering stare which quickly was replaced by a smile. I hugged him and hustled him over to the others waiting by the check-in desk.
"Mels, there's no need to push me, I can walk in a straight line you know."
"Sparxy, if I let you walk on your own you won't get there for another hour or so. Why the hell are you so late? Actually you can discuss the timing issues with Ethan, he's been having a heart attack waiting for you."
"Oh please don't subject me to that. Anything but that Melanie." He smirked at my threat. "Though seriously it wasn't my fault. My alarm didn't wake me up, I had it set and everything, I just-"
"Yeah, yeah, save it for the judge."
"It's about time, Mr. Sparx." Erica hugged him in greeting. "You look even worse than I do in the mornings, and that's no mean feat. Did you pull an all-nighter or something?"
"Something like that."
"Something? Something?" Ethan cut in. "What something could have detained you for-"
"Ethan, Ethan it's okay, I don't want to know how many milliseconds behind schedule I am, I'm here now aren't I?"
"That's past the point really, Gayl-mmff!"
"Don't you dare." Sparx had his hand clamped over Ethan's mouth in the blink of an eye. "Don't you even think it."
"Sorry Sparx, couldn't resist."
"If there's gonna be one rule on this thing it's that nobody and I mean nobody is gonna use my first name."
"Oh, it's going to be a long year for you Sparxy," I laughed.
He got funny looks from every single person who checked his passport on the way through the airport. The look on his face was priceless. Ethan didn't miss out taking a picture. I really did feel sorry for him a bit, I mean what were his parents thinking? I sent a silent prayer of thanks that my parents had been more kindly in their naming sense.
Departures lounge was getting busy when we got there. We queued for breakfast, got snacks and drinks (sweets and bottles of water), and shopped. I got into a debate with Erica about a lovely bag she'd found. I mean, sure it was absolutely gorgeous but the price tag would eat up half the spending money for the entire year. Even the designer label shouldn't be worth that much. We perused the magazines in WHSmith. Erica and I oggled some pin-ups in the film section, Sparxy and Ethan amused themselves with some sort of gaming publication. We accused Ethan of being a pervert and attempting to buy a porn magazine. I have never seen someone turn so red in my entire life. Erica and I were falling about laughing and had to be ushered out by a severely embarrassed Ethan and Sparx before we made too much of a scene.
Before long our flight number was called out over the intercom. "Bing Bong. First call for boarding, flight BM237 to gate nine." More queuing, more flustered mothers and screaming babies, more foreign accents and exotic strangers (whom Erica had no problem checking out while waiting in line.) More funny looks for Sparxy (he really is going to get that at every airport we go to.) Finally we were through. Climbing the stairs onto the plane that would take us off on our odyssey. As I buckled up in my chair next to Erica I could hardly contain myself. I babbled non stop to her about how great this and that would be and where we'd stay and how we'd get there and what we'd do and the things we'd see and oh just everything. It was a while before I realised she was asleep. That shut me up. The flight attendants indicated the emergency exits and safety procedures (life jackets underneath your seat, inflate like so.) I had one last look out the window as we taxied down the runway. I felt the rush as the plane's engines fired up and we started moving forwards. Faster and faster, tearing along, until we lifted and took off into the morning sky. We were off. I looked at my boarding pass. First stop, Charles de Gaulle, Paris.