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Twenty-Two

Ava

 To be completely honest, I was paying absolutely no attention to where we were going. I hadn’t been on a plane since I was four, and the airport was completely foreign to me. ****, the whole concept was weird. There was a distinct smell of bleach, but I wasn’t sure why because the whole place wasn’t very sanitary. Don’t even get me started on the bathroom- and, for the women at least, there was an out-the-door line! It was completely maddening.

           Anyway, Jace pretty much just steered me around. But can you blame me? I mean, it’s not like I didn’t have a lot to think about.

           Jace, Roman, Alex… What do I do about that?

            I weighed my options. Well, if Roman had never interfered, I probably would’ve ended up with Alex eventually- maybe? But what if he just kissed me because he was jealous of Jace? At least he doesn’t know about Roman. And Jace caught me kissing Roman once; what would he do if he found out about my kiss with Alex? But Roman’s so mysterious… And Alex has always defended me, even when I told him I didn’t need his help. Jace comforted me when I was in a strange place, kidnapped. I came to a simple conclusion- I am so screwed.

           We handed the woman at a large desk our boarding passes, and she waved us on. Alex isn’t here. As soon as I took my seat, I thought, Maybe there were no more seats left… Or something came up… Or-

           I cut myself short when I heard a familiar voice, “Yeah, I know. It’s printed, okay? Thank you.” I turned around in my chair, twisting so that I was facing the plane’s entrance. In walked Alex, carry-on in hand.

           I gasped. Jace turned around, alert. Tears stung my eyes, and Jace mumbled, “We have to get off this plane.”

           “But Alex is-“

           “That’s my point.”

           “Jace, what’s wrong? Alex is here. It’s all going to be okay.”

           “No, it won’t. I don’t think you understand the issues regarding your safety. We’re not staying in a five-star hotel. We’re planning to live in the wilderness, with another pack,” he grumbled.

           “Oh, Jace, I can’t-“ I mumbled, slumping in my chair and admitting defeat.

           “No, just sneak past him quietly.”

            Woah woah woah. “Wait just a freakin’ second,” I said.

Jace

           Oh, god, she was ******. Ava said, “I don’t have any idea who the **** you think you are, or who you think you’re talking to, but you cannot just tell me that I can’t see one of my friends anymore.” She invited him. She told him where we were going, and she told him everything. Everything. What if she told him about her… abilities? Or about the pack?

Ava

           I screamed, “Alex-“ just as Jace’s hand slapped onto my face. The sound echoed, and my eyes widened. Tears leaked out of the corners of my eyes, the world becoming a blurry version of itself as I let a single sob loose.

           “Jace, you better let the **** go right now,” I said, voice muffled but calm.

           Slowly, he brought his hand back. I stood up and turned to leave. I felt a grasp on my arm, and I swatted his hand away.

           “Passengers, please take your seats. Notice the glowing sign ahead that tells you to buckle your seatbelts. Please do so and prepare for takeoff.” The loud voice rang out through the intercom.

           I fell down in my seat, not wanting to cause a scene- I’d been kidnapped after all, and I couldn’t bring attention to myself, but…

           Our flight attendant approached. I know in the movies, it’s always a young girl, but it was a guy. He wasn’t the most good-looking, but I was counting on the fact that he looked nice enough.

           He said, “Miss, could you sit down?”

           I glanced up at him, my blue eyes wide. “I’m having issues with… this guy. He’s bothering me. Is there any way I can be moved somewhere else?” I glanced around the plane.

           Alex caught my eyes from where he was sitting. He cleared his throat. “Sir, she can sit next to me. There’s a perfectly empty seat, and I’m more than willing,” he said.

           The flight attendant looked at me. “Is that okay with you? I think there’s an empty first-class seat up-“

           I laughed and shook my head. “No, thank you very much. I’m sure I’ll be fine sitting with that young man over there.”

           “Okay, miss,” he said, nodding to the seat. “Go right ahead.”

Roman

   I was more worried than I wanted- or should’ve- been. “But Joseph, what if Jace and Ava were kidnapped, or if-“ I was cut off by the sound of my phone ringing in my pocket.

           Joseph laughed. “That’s them right now, telling us that there was a ten minute delay. There flight was supposed to land at three-thirty. It’s only aquarter to four.”

           I shook my head and hit answer. “Jace, where the **** are you?”

           “I can’t find Ava anywhere.”

            I am going to kill him if she gets hurt. “Well go and find her,” I snapped.

           “Roman, I’ve looked everywhere. ****, I paid someone twenty dollars to go look in the woman’s room, but the person ran in the other direction. **** kids.”

           I shook my head. “Fine. I’ll come find her. Anything else I need to know?” I demanded, scooping up the keys to my rental Mercedes.

Jace

           I fell down onto a bench and sighed, resting my hand on my head. How am I going to find her? Will she ever forgive me?

Ava

           Alex pulled the suitcases out of the back of the ****** car we’d rented. He approached the ranch. Personally, I thought the house looked like it was falling apart. In places, some of the roof was ripped off. There were missing shutters, and there was no vegetation to speak off. The screen door’s handle was broken off.

           Alex knocked on the door. I braced myself. After all, Alex and his father never had gotten along- and he hadn’t seen his dad since he was seven.

           A man called from inside in a scratchy voice, “Who the **** is-“

           “Dad, please,” Alex said, shaking his head.

           He pushed open the door, revealing the sight of his father in a white t-shirt with stains, holding a beer in his hands. I couldn’t help noticing the discarded bottles and cans around the room. The room drowned me in a stench of cigarette smoke.

Alex

            Home sweet home, I thought, the odor of liquor and cigarettes overwhelming me. Dad’s here, as an added bonus. But wait, there’s more. Ava and I have to sleep outside in a tent because- surprise, surprise- there’s no room. I am the world’s worst bo-friend ever. Friend. Worst friend ever. I should’ve gotten her a nice hotel room, overlooking some exotic garden or something. I just wanted to be better. No, scratch that. I wanted to be the best.  

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