I dropped into my first class seat. My stress caught up with me and the speed of the plane would not distance it. I couldn’t be saved. I was soon to leave my beloved D.C. on a flight bound for hell.
My muscles tensed as the vision of dozens of demonic journalists brandishing microphones as pitchforks poked the sore spots of my brains. Their nature commanded that they tortured me with questions, burned me with prejudices and made me blush on national television. I didn’t want to step on that thin ice.
My travel bag on the seat beside me left its position so quickly I jumped. Casey pulled it over his head to stash it in the compartment. He looked down at me with a crooked smile.
“You’re like a child who needs protection and reassurance. It’s cute.”
I released my nerve in an unexpected punch to his hipbone. He twisted a little under the shock and almost caught my half-stashed luggage on the head.
“Careful with that! It’s fragile.”
I heard him laugh softly but my gaze had already moved to the window. It was a friendly punch but it was uncalled for. I am not a violent person. If my nerves were already getting the better of me, I would have a heart attack before I reached the stage.
The compartment closed and a muffled thump signalled me that Casey had sat. I felt his breath on my neck a few seconds before he murmured.
“You know, there are more pleasant ways to relax those nerves. Ouch!”
I turned around to see him massaging his shoulder. Rebecca had punched him more strongly than I ever could.
“Please keep your thoughts to yourself. You’re broadcasting your disturbing imagery loud and clear.”
“As if you weren’t use to it from all the non-readers.”
“True but they seldom think of my partner with such vivid details.”
“Alright then. Are those thoughts more appropriate?”
“Yes and no. She hates petunias.”
Rebecca walked to her seat in front of us and Casey turned a puzzled face to me.
“They mean anger and resentment.”
“Damn. I should have stuck with roses.”
“You think about me like that often?”
“I am not answering that.”
“Yes.” Rebecca’s intervention was received with a glare from Casey.
“But he’s a man so it doesn’t mean much, she added.”
I looked at both of them wondering if it was the truth or what Casey had silently asked her to say. Every time we went through that type of exchange it ended on an ambiguous note that I, non-telepath, couldn’t understand. So I stuck with what I knew; Casey never actively courted me and until he did he could think what he wanted.
At least, the joust had drawn my mind off my grim future for a moment. I jittered as the stress coursed through my system. I stared at the airport strip as it sped in front of my eyes. I slowed my breath and concentrated on keeping my nerves in check.
Casey’s warm hand covered mine and he pumped his relaxed, “Sunday on the beach” feeling into my veins.
“I’ll make sure it all goes right, he thought.”
“Or I’ll beat him to a pulp, Rebecca broadcasted through him with a fake seriousness.”
The three of us laughed and the non-readers across the aisle looked at us funny.
When we reached the travelling height, Casey surveyed my face, hair and hands, then he closed his eyes to call the office
“I’ll need a hair dresser, a make-up artist and a manicurist at the hotel where we’ll be staying, I heard through the still existent connection of our hands. Do we know where that’ll be yet?”
“No but I’ll keep you posted as soon as I can.”
He broke off the connection with the public relation’s secretary.
“Do I really need all that, I asked out loud?” I wanted to calm the uneasiness of our neighbours. Like a fair share of the non-reader population, they were suspicious of us, afraid we’d pick their bank account information out of their brain and steal their money or something along those lines. It was easier for them when we communicated “normally”.
“Yes, Casey answered. You don’t want to look bland.”
“My girl isn’t bland!”
“In person, she isn’t but under the artificial light and the camera lens, there will be a few problem areas.”
“Namely, I wondered?”
“You’re pale skin will make you look like we pulled you out of a basement. Your hair has this savage quality that can steal the show. Your eyes deserve to stand out more and your hands to show refinement.”
“So you’ll plastic-coat her to make her look more human?”
“It’s one way to put it.”
They bickered for a moment. My gaze caressed the clouds. If I didn’t resemble myself for the conference, it might hide my nervousness. Anyway, no amount of complaining would change Casey’s mind, I knew it as well as he knew I wouldn’t object being a Barbie doll. It was the least of my worries.
“It’s for the best, Becky. You might not be the girly-girl type but Cass is.”
I smirked. He was right though I wasn’t sure I could find this free beauty session pleasurable since it led to armies of demonic journalists.
“I agree. Some of them are quite hellish, Casey responded to my thought.”
I gently pulled my hand from under his. I needed some time alone in my mind. Cutting off our connection made my stress rush back in place. I had to deal with it. Casey wouldn’t hold my hand throughout the conference.
I rolled on my side to watch outside and closed myself to the rest of the world. I willed the stress out of my system as I dived in the skies’ calm blues. A hand poked me and I turned to see Rebecca stretched over her seat, a Ipod intently directed at me. I grabbed it, set the headphones on my ears and pressed play.
It wasn’t Rebecca’s music. It was what she kept for me. The Indian mantra filled my head and soothed past pains and present tensions. The words meant nothing to her but she knew it would help my spirit soar.
Sarveshaam shantir bhavatu.
May peace be unto all.