Chapter 2: Come Fly With Me
June 30, five months later
"Lotte, hast du deinen Pulli gepackt? Viellicht wird es kalt!" (Lotte, did you pack your sweater? It might get cold!)
My mother was running about the house in her traditional pre-trip panic. Every time we went anywhere, she was always convinced that I had forgotten something. This time was no exception. I rolled my eyes as I answered her.
"Mein Gott, Mutti, es ist Sommer! Auf keinen Fall wird es kalt." (My God, Mom, it's summer! There's no way it'll be cold.)
"Du wirst doch sehen!" (You'll see!) she shouted back to me as she ran up the stairs. "Eines Tages wird es kalt! Dann wirst du die Pnumonie bekommen, und ich werde nur ‚Ich habe es dir gesagt' sagen!" (One day it'll be cold! Then you'll catch pneumonia, and I'll just say 'I told you so'!)
As the champion of all worrywarts, my mother firmly believed in the "better safe than sorry" theory and applied it to all she did in life, including bossing me around. I ignored her and continued to wait with my luggage by the front door, tapping my foot impatiently. If she didn't cut out all this nonsense, I was going to miss my plane.
Finally, convinced that I had indeed packed all my underwear, my mother rushed back down the stairs, and we carried my luggage out to the car, where my dad was patiently waiting.
Shoving my bags in the trunk, I ran around to the door of the car and hopped into the front seat before my mother could get there. I needed to have control of the radio, otherwise I would be constantly dictating volume and station changes from the backseat.
My mother climbed somewhat resentfully into the back, closing her door behind her and buckling her seatbelt, and my dad pulled out of the driveway, narrowly missing the stone wall at the front of our garden. I immediately flipped on the radio to a classic rock station. With an annoyed look, dad flipped it to a classical station. I growled. The daily war had begun.
It wasn't a particularly long drive from our house in the suburbs north of Boston to Logan Airport, but it seemed to take forever. My dad, from whom I inherited my stubbornness, refused to give up control of the radio. I wasn't about to back down, so we continued to flip the station back and forth the entire way into the city until my mother started wailing that we were giving her a headache. We ended up just shutting the damn thing off.
As we pulled up at the British Airways drop-off curb, I noted with annoyance a familiar figure dragging his luggage towards the door. My mother, of course, jumped out to help him, ignoring the fact that her own daughter also had luggage to deal with.
"Kurt!" she shouted, scooping him up in a gigantic hug. "How are you? Excited, yes?"
Beaming, he answered her, but not in a voice loud enough for me to hear. He shot a look my way and smirked. I glared in reply and pulled my bags out of the trunk. Kurt leaned in and whispered something into my mother's ear and she giggled, saying something in reply in which I distinctly heard my name. That pissed me off. I hated it when she talked about me behind my back, especially to people that I had a decided distaste for. Granted, there weren't that many of those people, but it's not like that really mattered. I trudged over to them with my duffel bag, my dad following behind me with my other suitcase.
"Kurt," I acknowledged gravely with a nod.
"Lotte," he replied with a smirk. He seemed to find my hatred of him somewhat amusing.
"Oh, look at them, Heinrich!" my mother exclaimed, beaming. "About to go on their first trip together! Are they not adorable? Come, we must take a picture!"
Forcing us to put our luggage down, she shoved Kurt and I together while my dad got out the camera, evidently enjoying my torture.
"Alright," he said, looking through the viewfinder. "Now get a little closer." Kurt and I edged uneasily towards each other. "Yes, that's good."
"Wait!" my mother interrupted. "Kurt, mein Schatz, put your arm around her. It will be so adorable!"
Completely outraged, I shot her the nastiest look ever. Kurt happily slung his arm around my shoulders, delighted to be able to bother me. Trying my hardest not to wince, I smiled as dad took the picture, then immediately ducked out from under Kurt's arm.
"No need to be so hasty, there," he said to me in an undertone. "I'm quite hurt, actually, that you don't enjoy spending time in my arms. It completely ruins my plans for the trip." He smirked.
Waiting until I was sure my parents weren't looking, I gave him the finger, and we proceeded to bring our luggage inside the terminal.
A number of people from our choir were already in the check-in line. I kissed my parents goodbye and joined them. Kurt followed, but not before my mother had given him a big smooch on the cheek and some Bavarian cookies for the plane ride.
"Your mother is so nice," said Kurt, putting his bags down on the floor as we waited in line. "How is it that you're such a bitch to me?"
I had to chuckle at his directness. "Oh, Kurt," I said with a sigh. "Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why do birds fly? It's just the way the world works. It's just the natural order of things: you and I don't like each other."
"Who says?" he asked with a grin. I thought I had explained things fairly clearly, but he evidently thought otherwise.
"Everyone we know," I answered. "It's obvious."
By this point, we had reached the check-in counter. I placed my bags on the scale and was very thankful to see that they were not overweight. The lady behind the counter put stickers on them and dropped them onto the conveyer belt behind her. Showing her my ticket and passport, I left and started toward the gate.
I got through security without any problems. Kurt, however, didn't. Much to my amusement, he had to be patted down because his belt kept setting off the metal detector, and he was too idiotic to realize it. I had a good laugh as he was "frisked" by armed personnel. Finally convinced that he wasn't a terrorist, they let him go.
At the gate, I saw Eden sitting in one of the chairs, reading a magazine, and dropping my bags, I ran up to hug her.
"Eden!" I shouted.
"Lotte!" she replied, jumping up and running to meet me, her red hair flying out behind her.
"It's been weeks, pal," I said as we embraced. "How was Maine?"
"Fantastic," she answered, beaming. "I think we really got some useful work done."
Eden, being the angel that she was, had just returned from a two-week mission trip with her church to clean up some areas along the Maine coast. The place she was in was so rural that she hadn't had any cell service, so we hadn't spoken since she left.
"Any hot guys on the trip?" I asked, waggling my eyebrows at her suggestively.
She giggled. "Oh, Lotte," she said, acting as though it was the hundredth time she'd told me. "What is it with you and boys, eh?"
We both laughed.
"Besides," she continued. "Even though the guys at my church are wonderful and I love them to death, they just don't do it for me in that sense, you know? Not that there's anything wrong with them, of course."
I nodded. I was sure Eden would consider it rather mean of me to think so, but the guys at her church were decidedly unattractive. Well, all except for one, but he was twenty-five and married, and neither Eden nor I chased after married men. We weren't that sketchy.
Something to my left caught my eye. One of the guys in our group was sitting by the window, gazing rather intently at Eden, and completely ignoring his friends, who were trying to get his attention.
"Eden," I said quietly, making sure not to turn completely to look at the boy. "There's a guy staring at you over there." I indicated where I meant with a subtle eye-flick, and Eden stole a glance.
"Isn't he in the tenor section?" she asked.
"Yeah, I think so," I replied, pretending to look elsewhere. Eden didn't bother with that. She just looked.
"He's cute," she said.
I looked back at him. He had thankfully resumed talking with his friends and was not looking our way. He had light brown curly hair, baby blue eyes, and a very pleasant face that suggested a generally sunny disposition.
"Yeah, he is," I agreed. "You'd make a cute couple." I nudged her with my elbow.
"Cut it out," she protested, blushing furiously and giving me a little shove. "I haven't even met him yet."
"So go meet him," I said, as though it were completely obvious.
"I can't just go up to him and start talking!" she replied, looking completely shocked at my suggestion.
"Why not?" I asked. "You're a friendly person, Eden. People expect that kind of thing from you. You don't exactly hide the fact that you love every human being."
"I know," she said. "But I'd be too embarrassed."
"Suit yourself," I replied with a shrug.
"Hey, is this a two-person party, or can I join in?" asked someone behind me.
I turned around with a huge smile. "Jane!" I said, scooping up my friend in a hug. She wrapped her small arms around me in response and gave me a squeeze, then proceeded to give Eden an equally affectionate hug, her almond-shaped brown eyes glinting with excitement.
"It's been ages, guys, how are you?" she asked.
"Wonderful, thanks," said Eden, beaming.
"Alright, I suppose," I added.
"Just 'alright'?" asked Jane skeptically. "Come on, dude, we're about to go to London! There's no way you can be just 'alright.'"
I smiled. "Fine, I'm very alright."
Eden chuckled at Jane's exasperated frown.
"Say what you will, Lotte," said Jane. "This trip is going to kick some serious ass."
"Pray tell me," I said with a fake aristocratic flourish. "Just whose ass will it be kicking?"
Both of my friends burst into laughter at my ridiculous question. I must say, I did have my moments of humor.
"Maybe we'll luck out and it'll be Georgiana," laughed Jane in an undertone. "She could really use a good ass-kicking."
"I bet you'd love to give it to her, wouldn't you Jane?" I joked.
"Damn straight," she answered, nodding vehemently. I had to smile at Jane's rebellious nature. Her parents, both immigrants from Taiwan, were a tad on the strict side, so Jane had a wild streak that she loved to unleash just to piss them off. It wasn't her style to be subservient.
"Oh you guys," protested Eden. "You shouldn't say things like that. Georgiana isn't that bad. I mean, I know she's a bit…"
"Bitchy," I interrupted.
"Conceited," suggested Jane.
"Enough, you guys! I get the idea," said Eden, waving her hands about for us to stop. "She's still human, you know."
I wasn't so sure of that. I looked over towards the seats near the gate entrance where our object of scorn was seated, evidently complaining about something to her groupies. A look of disdain was plastered upon her delicately sculpted face, her brown eyes languid with boredom. Her blonde hair looked puffy as usual, and her long legs ended in a pair of designer heels. She yawned dramatically and I let out a quiet snort of laughter.
Along with Kurt, Georgiana Bancroft was one of those few people that I just plain did not like. The only daughter of the richest family in town, she had been more or less raised by her nanny, as both of her parents were high-powered business moguls. Inattentive as they were, they sure did buy her way too much shit for her own good. I had known Georgiana since I moved to my town, and I'd never known her to be anything other than materialistic and snobby. I was fairly certain that she also had a particular distaste for me, although I wasn't quite sure why.
A clapping noise suddenly pervaded the waiting area around the gate. Mr. Faulkner stood up on a chair so that we could all see him.
"People, people, settle please," he said, unnecessarily. We were all already paying attention to him. It was impossible not to be. His shirt was tucked into his underwear, which was highly visible. He was wearing tighty-whities. There were scattered snickers from among the students.
"We're going to be getting on the plane in a minute or two," he continued, oblivious to the fact that he was being silently laughed at. "I've got all your tickets up here. Nate has arranged the seating in alphabetical order to make things easier."
It was typical that Nate would do something like that. He was the choir's president and completely devoted to it.
"As I read off your names, come get your tickets, please," said Mr. Faulkner. "Anderson, Beth; Andrews, Michelle; Arden, Giles; Bancroft, Georgiana ("That ought to be interesting," I commented to Eden and Jane. "Georgiana and Giles will be making out the entire plane ride if they're going to be next to each other."); Buckley, Will; Calhoun, Bryn; Chang, Jane; Davies, Lauren ("Oh man," muttered Jane. "She'll be complaining to me the entire time."); Eaton, Conner; Evers, Adam; Frost, Chris; Garrison, Rachel; Gibson, Stephanie; Harper, Brian; Harris, Carey ("Poor Brian," I said. "Carey's such a homophobic jock. He'll be bashing him the entire time."); Ives, Grant; Jensen, Eden; Kelly, Brigid; Kramer, Otto; Leisch, Lotte; Matthews, Kurt…"
My brain froze. I couldn't believe what I had just heard. How could I have forgotten that "Leisch" and "Matthews" were so close together? More importantly, how could my luck possibly be so horrible? I couldn't imagine anything I'd rather do less than sit for eight hours in a confined space with Kurt Matthews. Fate absolutely loathed me.
As I made my way down the narrow aisle of the plane, trying not to think about my own problems and avoiding tripping over luggage that people had carelessly left on the floor (and not under the seats in front of them, those naughty passengers), I noted the various skirmishes going on between members of my choir. Georgiana was noisily attempting to convince Michelle Andrews to switch seats with her so that she could be next to her beloved boyfriend, Giles. Carey Harris was squishing himself as near to the window as he could get in obvious distaste for the flamboyant Brian Harper, who looked rather hurt and self-conscious by this action. Further toward the back of the plane, poor Sara Richards, a bit of a bookworm, was wedged in between Devin Parker and John Rockwell, the biggest slut and man-whore in the school, respectively. She looked rather uncomfortable as the two of them flirted shamelessly across her as though she wasn't there. Various choir members and other passengers were still attempting to shove their luggage into the overhead bins, some with limited success.
Finally arriving at my seat, I was rather displeased to find that I had the one in the middle. Otto Kramer was already slumped against the window, looking rather sleepy. A faint, fairly distinctive aroma emanated from him. "Great," I thought. "Just great. The moron's stoned out of his mind."
Stuffing my backpack rather resentfully under the seat in front of me (which happened to be Eden's), I sat down. Noticing my presence five seconds or so after he should have, Otto gave me a nod. I returned the gesture.
As the object of my disdain ambled up the aisle, he noticed me and grinned. That grin of his was the most sadistic thing in the world. The thought of being able to torture me for the entire night must have made Kurt positively giddy with excitement. I wasn't going to get any sleep, I could just sense it. Why did virtually all flights to Europe have to be red-eye?
"Hey," said Kurt as he sat down. "What's up?"
"Nothing," I mumbled resentfully.
"Oh really?" he asked, his eyebrows rising in fake curiosity. "Well, I'm sorry to hear that you lead such a boring existence. Ever thought of spicing it up?" He nudged me.
I glared at him. He knew I hated it when he acted like a lecher. He did it on purpose, just to piss me off. It worked, too. "Not with you, Matthews" I growled.
Kurt chuckled halfheartedly. "Now Lotte," he said. "That's not a very nice thing to say. It could really bruise my ego."
"Your ego needs a good bruising, Kurt." I was on the road to losing my temper. "You think you're all that, and it's really annoying."
"I'm not half as bad as Conner Eaton," he replied, jerking his head towards the front of the plane (Conner was a few rows in front of us).
I sighed. He was right on that point. Conner basically thought that he ruled the entire world and that we were all somehow his adoring subjects. "Yeah, I guess," I muttered dejectedly.
"See, I'm not that bad," said Kurt with a disgustingly sappy smile.
I rolled my eyes and turned away from him, preferring to gaze upon the snoozing Otto than into Kurt's glinting hazel eyes. I couldn't handle those eyes of his.
Kurt's eyes had always fascinated me, ever since I'd met him. They were incredibly expressive, yet it was nearly impossible to tell which emotion they conveyed at any given time. The only two I could recognize were happiness and sadness, for there was a spark of life that was ignited with the former and extinguished with the latter. All other emotions were impossible for me to decipher. I really did love his eyes, I just hated the rest of him.
"Hey, Lotte," Eden said quietly from the seat in front of me. "How are you doing back there?"
I moved my head closer to the gap between the seats in her row to hear her better. "Alright, I guess. It's going to be a long night, though."
"Hang in there, pal." She stuck her hand between the two seats to squeeze mine. "I'll be here if you need me, ok?"
"Thanks, hun," I replied gratefully, a genuine smile gracing my lips that Eden was unfortunately not able to see.
Leaning back in my seat, I stole a glance at Kurt. He had taken out The Great Gatsby and was reading it with great interest. The book looked slightly rumpled, as though he had read it many times before. I resisted the urge to comment on how much I adored that book (and indeed most books by F. Scott Fitzgerald), realizing that this would inevitably start a conversation. I didn't want to converse with Kurt if I didn't have to. Nonetheless, it did slightly impress me that he shared my taste in literature.
My attempt to not start a conversation was in vain. Kurt found a passage that he evidently liked and chuckled out loud, commenting on how great it was, then turned to me and asked, "Have you ever read The Great Gatsby?"
"Yes…" I said hesitantly.
"Do you like it?" he asked.
I couldn't lie. I had issues with that. "It's one of my favorites," I said resignedly.
Kurt beamed. "Same," he said. "I sometimes feel that I can really relate to Gatsby, you know? It's the whole thing about always watching the green lantern at the end of Daisy's dock, always hoping for something that's out of your reach." He muttered something, squinting back at the pages of the book.
I was fairly shocked for two reasons. One: I had written my English term paper on the symbolism of that same green lantern, and I was amazed and slightly annoyed that Kurt had uncovered the metaphor that I thought was my own discovery (although I was sure that some literary critic somewhere had figured it out). Two: I was actually having a civil, even intellectual conversation with Kurt Matthews. It was like some kind of parallel universe, and it was starting to really freak me out.
"Yeah, that's a good metaphor," I said quietly, looking down at my hands and attempting to give the impression that I had no further desire to converse.
Kurt, however, didn't get the message. His annoying side surfaced again as he continued to talk to me. "There's not really anyone in the book quite like you, though. You're too smart to be Tom, too honest to be Nick, and too loyal to be Daisy." He somehow made these compliments sound like insults.
"Kurt," I replied. "Because you've labeled me as 'honest,' I'm going to tell you quite honestly to please leave me alone. I want to actually get some sleep tonight."
Despite my frankness, Kurt grinned impishly. "As you wish," he said, quoting The Princess Bride, then turned his attention back to his book.
I was fairly surprised that he had given up on bothering me so easily, and I was at first proud of myself for getting him to leave me alone. But then I figured that I'd probably be hearing from him again before the night was out. Wrinkling my nose in annoyance at this thought, I settled back into my seat as the airplane TV monitors flickered on to show us that safety video. You know, the one with the really bad animation that tells you how to buckle a seatbelt, just in case you haven't been in a car since they were invented.
With the video still going, the airplane started to back out of the gate and taxi along toward the runway. It paused at the end of the stretch of black tarmac, readying its engines for the initial blast. I tensed in my seat with excitement and anticipation. This was my favorite part of the ride. It always sent my stomach for a loop, as though I was speeding down a large hill of a roller coaster. I absolutely loved that feeling.
Suddenly, the airplane lurched forward and began to speed at full blast down the runway, pushing us all back into our seats with the force of the motion. I felt the wheels leave the ground, and we were suddenly airborne, climbing higher and higher into the sky and soaring above Boston. "This is it," I thought. "We're on our way!"
I must have nodded off at some point above the Atlantic Ocean, when the plane had leveled off and was traveling fairly smoothly. Unsure of how long I'd slept for, I drifted in and out of consciousness, keeping my eyes closed and attempting to go fully back to sleep. Everything was rather peaceful, and I wanted some shut-eye so I'd be fresh in the morning when we reached London. I smiled to myself at the thought of how much fun it was going to be.
Although not entirely sure of the current state of my body and sleeping position, I was vaguely aware that my head was resting on something quite comfortable.
"Mmm," I thought drowsily to myself. "This thing is soft." I snuggled deeper into whatever it was. It snuggled back.
Content with my position, I began to dose off again, relishing in the softness and warmth of my makeshift pillow. The pillow, however, began to stroke my hair. I liked this at first, since it felt quite soothing. However, it eventually occurred to me that in order for my pillow to be stroking my hair, it had to have hands, and therefore had to be a person.
My eyes popped open, and I sprang back up into a sitting position. Kurt, who was evidently my pillow, looked startled. I looked at him with wide eyes for a minute before muttering an embarrassed apology.
"It's alright," he said, grinning. "I actually like you better when you're asleep. You're a lot less argumentative. You should be asleep more often."
I gave him a look, then decided to get out my iPod. I stuck the headphones into my ears, then hit shuffle. "Codo," an Austrian pop song from the 1980's, came on. Pleased with the selection, I placed my iPod on my lap, closed my eyes, and settled back into my seat. I smiled as the familiar chorus filled my ears:
"Und ich düse, düse, düse, düse im Sauseschritt
Und bring' die Liebe mit
Vom meinem Himmelsritt.
Denn die Liebe, Liebe, Liebe, LIEBE, DIE MACHT VIEL SPAß..."
I jumped and yanked the headphones out of my ears as the music suddenly became incredibly loud. Quickly shutting off my iPod, I glared daggers at Kurt, who was laughing his ass off. He had evidently reached over and turned up the volume when I wasn't paying attention.
"Oh man," he laughed. "You should have seen your face. It was priceless!"
I smacked him upside the head. "Jerk," I growled. "Why do you have to torture me all the time?"
"You just make it so easy," he said, beaming. "And I'm not going to deny that it's pretty damn amusing."
"For you, maybe," I muttered.
Kurt leaned back in his seat and stretched his long, toned body to the extent that he was able in such a confined space.
"Anyway, Lotte," he said. "If you didn't hate me so much, maybe I wouldn't have to act like such a jerk."
"I have to hate you," I replied.
"Just cause what?"
"Just cause I always have. And you're a jerk."
"I know. You're persistent."
The string of insults kept coming. It was going to be a long night.
A/N: Hey guys! Sorry it took me so long to get this up. My life's just been kind of crazy recently, since preseason for crew is starting and finals are next week. I'm sorry for keeping you all waiting! Anyway, please review. It would really mean a lot to me to know what you guys are thinking. About the song that Lotte is listening to on the plane, go to Youtube and search for "Codo," then click the second option down. It's seriously the most bizarre music video I've ever seen, but for some reason I like the song. As a disclaimer, I don't own Frank Sinatra or his song "Come Fly With Me," The Great Gatsby (which I definitely recommend), "Codo" or D.Ö.F (the band that sings it), or iPod. On to reviews!
Hannahdoll: Definitely cackle in sadistic gleefulness. I'm not usually a sadistic person, but in this case, it's just too delicious. :-)
Jenc11: I'm glad that I've piqued your interest!
Sylvia Marri: Haha, I'm glad I got you interested in German. It's a pretty awesome language. Where do they speak Nihonggo? It sounds pretty interesting. I do speak German, by the way, though not quite fluently. I'd say that I'm almost at the point of being fluent though, and I hope to be by the time I'm in college. As to your questions, you can ask them whenever you like. I'd actually find that quite helpful, as it will tell me what things I need to establish in the next few chapters. So please ask away!
dorydafish: Wow, you're paying me some really high compliments there, and I'm completely flattered! Kurt is really adorable, he just doesn't know how to interact with Lotte properly, lol. I've learned German at school, but I am actually German by descent. My Grandfather came to America between the two World Wars. Lotte and Kurt's relationship will definitely grow over the trip, I promise. If it didn't, where would the story be? Lol. Anyway, I'm really glad that you like the story so much! Oh and by the way, if you don't update yours soon, I will seriously freak out, lol.
Gypsy Feather: I'm glad that you like my style! I'm also glad that I didn't confuse you at all. That's something I'm always afraid of doing, lol.
bellabewitched: I'm sorry I took so long to update! Anyway, I'm glad that you like it, and thanks for reviewing!
Tunny's Girlfriend: Lotte is definitely a likeable character. She has her faults, just like any of us, but she's a good person :-). I'm glad you like the story! Oh yeah, and the Beatles definitely rock!
Siren Xenophon: I'm glad I made you laugh! That really means a lot to me.
Thanks to all my reviewers! The next chapter will hopefully be up soon!