I straightened brusquely. My hands choked the arms of my seat. Every nerve in me echoed a tension my mind didn’t remember. Seconds passed before I noticed Casey’s hand on my shoulder and the surprised expression of both my travelling companions. Rebecca spoke but my understanding lagged a bit.
“Where the hell were you?” She asked abruptly. The roughness covered fear. I didn’t hold her tone against her.
“I don’t know.” I almost stuttered. “What was in my mind?”
“Darkness,” Casey cut in. “You went from nervous wreck to empty and then awful.”
“What was that?” Rebecca pressed so hard against the back of her seat, I wouldn’t be surprised if it broke. Her fright nurtured mine and uncontrolled tears pearled on the corner of my eyes.
“I can’t remember. I just have this sinking feeling. Please calm down.” The words rushed out in an almost panicked manner. The non-readers across the aisle were nervous, Casey paled and Rebecca fumed to avoid her fear. All on top of my own feelings. I was in emotional overload.
Rebecca breathed deep and forced herself to calm. Casey followed suit. It helped. Once their pressure was gone, I reined in mine. Collecting myself made the whole thing seem a lot less dramatic. I just had to keep the fire in the haystack under wraps.
“I think you dived,” Casey commented.
My eyes widened in response.
“No one can dive an in and out so quickly. Even with the chair to help.” I recognized her tone. Though she demolished Casey’s statement, she would mull it over for some time.
“I might be off the floor but I’m not dumb. Why don’t you offer up an explanation? You know what we felt.” The tension was rising again. I didn’t want it to.
Rebecca opened her mouth but decided against answering. She shrugged in my direction instead. No use to turn against each other. I needed calm. She picked my thoughts right out of my head and relaxed her stance. Casey did to.
“How many psychics have gone through a dive like my last one and got out of it sane?”
“Not many we know of.” Casey admitted.
“Who knows what scars can reveal themselves in the coming days?”
“No one.” Rebecca murmured.
“I’ve been burnt by the Ocean. I’ll heal. Please just be there to help.”
They nodded in approbation. They would discuss it telepathically for a few hours. As long as they kept me out of it, I didn’t mind. I didn’t know what happened and I didn’t want to.
The non-readers had some exotic bits of in-flight memorabilia. Rebecca and Casey had something to chew on besides each other. We should land in New York soon. I had an upcoming and corporeal ordeal coming my way armed with microphones and questions.
The abstract could wait.
I dropped to my bed with nerves wrapped around my neck. Rebecca settled her luggage by hers and sat.
“Anything I can do to help?”
“Short to standing in for me on that God forsaken stage, I don’t think so, Becky.”
“I won’t be far. And if one of them gets to annoying, I’ll pretend to think he has a gun.”
“As if a telepath could use that excuse to tackle someone.”
“Right. I’ll find something else.”
A knock at the door drove Rebecca up. She opened it on Casey then entered the bathroom to empty our toilet bags. Casey stopped by my knees at the end of my bed.
“How is my future evening news star?”
He grabbed behind my knees and pulled me. Then, he bent to grab my armpits and forced me into a sitting position. As soon as he let go, I began to fall back again.
“Oh no, you don’t,” he scolded. He knelt to meet my eyes and held me straight by the shoulders.
“Now, I have nothing against babysitting you after an exhausting dive. But this isn’t nearly has scary or demanding. You have to trust me on that.”
“She’s not used to trust guys with mostly downstairs brains.” Rebecca yelled from the bathroom. The comment was uncalled for.
“Say it out loud,” Casey said, eyeing me intently. He had been reading my mind without permission! “Out loud!”
I glared at him.
“That was uncalled for Becky,” I yelled toward the bathroom. “And you shouldn’t be reading my mind without asking,” I told Casey.
“You gave me the permission in the plane.”
Rebecca poked her head out of the bathroom. “Did she just spoke her mind?”
“Yes, she did! I’m a miracle-worker!”
“Don’t sound the victory just yet, Casey. She already did that with us sometimes.”
“What is this all about?” Uneasiness tainted my tone.
Casey sighed. Rebecca walked out of the bathroom and sat by my side.
“Honey, you are an assertive woman on the inside,” Rebecca started. “Strong-willed, intelligent, nice analytic mind…”
“You need to let it come out of your mouth more often,” Casey completed.
I eyed them both. I couldn’t believe they were teaming up on me.
“Out loud!” They choired.
I rose to my feet and made my way to an open space.
“I’m not like that. I don’t want to share what’s in my mind with just about anybody.” My glasses slid down my nose and I pushed them back in place with annoyance. “I can’t believe you’re pulling an intervention!”
“You share it when you dive…” Casey took my recently abandoned place on the bed.
“Or in a hive mind…”
“Just do it when people are not plugged straight on your brain, too.”
“Well, it’s not how I am.” I crossed my arms to mark my words.
Casey and Rebecca exchanged a look.
“I think she’s confronting us.”
“And said something to that effect. Out loud.”
They turned to me and began applauding. I deflated as quickly as I had burst. I sat on the ground, surrendering. Rebecca walked pass to return to the bathroom and planted a kiss on the top of my head.
“It’s for your own good, sweetie.”
“I doubt it.”
Casey knelt in front of me and cupped my chin to pull my face upward.
“It’s precisely the skill you need to get through that conference.” He planted his kiss on my forehead.