Fly With Me
Chapter 10: Halfway ThereAnd that's how it went down." I lean back in my chair and smirk at the bald man in front of me.
The man is rather portly and his knees crick as he stands. "You've only gotten halfway through, Ms. Sprile." He shoots a disdainful glance in my direction and sighs. "But I suppose that is enough for one day." Suddenly, a small smile is playing about the corners of his lips and he pauses at the doorway. "Would you care to see Mr. Nickson?"
I'm unsure of whether or not I actually want to see him, but find myself nodding anyways. "Yes, I would."
The man reaches his hand out and gestures for me to follow him. Carefully, I stand up--I am a little stiff from sitting for so long--and follow him out of the small room and down a long corridor whose ceiling is lined with bright, white fluorescent lights. It is not that long of a walk as the room where Brandon was being questioned is just down the hall. Quickly, I step through a narrow doorway into a room similar to the one that I had been in. Brandon is sitting at the small, metal table, his hands folded in his lap.
"Hey." I breathe out, moving to the table and sitting in the chair across from his.
"Hey," he replies. He looks tired, and I wonder if they were asking him the same questions they asked me.
We sit in comfortable silence for a few minutes, just reveling in being in the same room with someone we know. After nine hours of talking to a complete stranger about the past few weeks' events, I am tired out and--at this point--just want to pass out.
"So what did they ask you?" I ask finally, leaning back in my chair so that I'm balancing on only two of the four legs.
"Where I was. If I was in danger. How well you treated me when you had kidnapped me." Brandon smiles and looks at me. "Your standards of living for your captives are much higher than they're used to."
We laugh together and the sound rings throughout the room, filling the enclosed space with the pleasant noise. Neither of us know if we're still being watched or not, but in this moment it doesn't even matter.
The laughter scratches at the back of my throat, and my guffaws suddenly turn into a coughing fit. I double over, my eyes squeeze shut, and I feel like my body is trying to hack up one of my lungs. I press my fist against my mouth in hopes that it will muffle the awful sound that I'm emitting. Finally, the fit is over. Slowly, I draw my hand away from my mouth--just in case my body decides to spasm like that again--and see small flecks of red dotting its side. I frown down at the small drops, and use my other hand to wipe them away carelessly.
"Are you alright?" the boy across from me asks tentatively. He is half out of his seat, as if he is prepared to rush to my side to give me assistance if I need it.
I clear my throat quickly and nod, "Yeah, absolutely. Just a little tickle in my throat." I grin widely at him, hoping to reassure him of my healthy state. "Everyone gets little coughing fits now and then, right?"
"Well," just from the way Brandon pushes his glasses back up his nose, I can tell that a random fact is about to be spewed. "It's not unusual for such a thing to occur... Oh, about twenty-five times a day--about once every hour in the day." A sudden light appears in his eyes as he continues, "Coughing is actually the expulsion of unwanted debris and pathogens from the lungs. It's not a tickle in your throat. The unwanted materials are expelled at speeds up to--" He notices the flat look I'm giving him, and finishes his sentence much more quietly than he began. "six hundred miles per hour..." He grins sheepishly and shrugs. "Everyone gets little nerd moments now and then, right?"
I laugh at his mimicry of what I had said just moments before. "Well, it's not an unusual thing to occur..." I don't finish the sentence, but wink at him playfully, and we find ourselves laughing together again.
All too soon, the next day rolls around and Brandon and I are separated to be questioned again. It's the same bald man as before, but this time he doesn't have his folder with him.
"What? You don't need my background info this time?" I'm more comfortable now than I was yesterday, but my nerves are still a little... off.
"Please cut the smart-mouthing, Ms. Sprile," the bald man sighs. "We can end this entire messed up affair today if you would just cooperate."
I frown but settle back in my chair and begin, "Where was I?" Bald-y sends me a dirty look, and I can't help but smirk at how much I'm bothering him. "Oh, right. 'Calypso, you have some explaining to do.' "
Brandon and Mrs. Nickson's accusing eyes on me were extremely unnerving. Mrs. N's green-blue eyes were piercing through her small glasses, and, although I couldn't see Brandon's eyes on me, I could most definitely feel them.
"I, uh, I..." My heart was pounding erratically in my chest, and my palms were beginning to sweat. Slowly, I turned to face Brandon head-on. "You weren't supposed to find out this way." I stole a glance over at Mrs. Nickson. "And neither were you."
"Then how were we supposed to find out?" Brandon's voice was sour and his tone biting.
My mouth went kind of dry, and I had to dry my hands off on my pajama pants. "You, uh.. You weren't supposed to find out, actually." Ashamed, I looked down at my hands, and started to twiddle my thumbs. "No one was."
Taking a deep breath, Brandon's mom leaned towards me and looked me dead in the eye. "What happened, Calypso?"
Sighing, I looked down at my hands because I couldn't meet their eyes. "I was young and stupid... and..." I swallowed heavily, and ran my fingers through my hair. "...drunk. It was my birthday and I went out with some friends. My parents were kind of protective, so when I didn't come home... they--they drove out looking for me." A million different emotions were swirling through me, and moisture began to prick at the corners of my eyes. "I didn't mean to make them swerve into the tree... it just sort of... happened."
The silence in the room was thick, and I found it hard to breathe--whether it was from the uncomfortably heavy atmosphere or the rush of emotions stuck in my throat, I didn't know. Unconsciously, I started to trace the tattoo of a dove on my wrist, and Brandon noticed.
"That's why you got that tattoo," he murmured, his sudden understanding evident in his voice. "To remember her by..."
"In some cultures the dove is a symbol of rebirth." I didn't expound upon that statement, but when I looked up, the two of them were nodding as if they understood what I was saying.
"Now, what about this whole kidnapping business?" Mrs. Nickson's eyebrows were raised up high on her forehead. "It's obvious that you did not kidnap my son."
"Er, I, uh, I guess I should explain this one, Ma." Brandon glanced over at me quickly before continuing. "I... I hit Calypso in the back with the door to the men's room."
Brandon's mother looked absolutely befuddled. "You did what?"
"I hit Calypso with a door," he repeated. "So she pulled me into the women's restroom."
"You hit her with a door... so she pulled you into a restroom..." Mrs. Nickson spoke slowly, as if she were trying to grasp the entire concept. "Is that..." She trailed off, as if she had thought better of what she was going to say. "Then what happened?"
"Then she drove me back here," Brandon replied, shrugging. He had completely left out the part where I had convinced him that the mob was after me and I had forced him to stay in the same hotel room as me. For that, I was grateful.
His mom's mouth turned down into a frown, "Then why do they think that you kidnapped her?" A light flashed in her eyes. "And what's this about a 'falling out' in Pennsylvania?"
"It's just a really big misunderstanding, Mom." Brandon sighed, pulled of his glasses, and rubbed his closed eyes with his hand before returning his glasses to their usual position on his face. "We were arguing about something really stupid. I was just being grumpy." He shot me a small smile, and I couldn't help but smile back. He had totally just painted me in a much better light than I deserved to be in.
The older woman leaned back in the kitchen chair she was sitting in and looked at the two of us intensely. "And you two aren't lying to me at all?"
"No, ma'am." I promised, at the same time that Brandon said, "Nope."
"Well then." She folded her hands together in her lap. "What are you going to do about clearing all this mess up?"
I grimaced. "I'm not quite sure about that one yet." I ran my fingers through the snarled mess of my hair for the second time in the past twenty minutes. "Turn myself in, maybe?"
I sat up straighter, now realizing that that was exactly what I had to do. "Yeah, actually. That's what I'm going to do." I stood up and began to walk towards the guest room the Nicksons had provided for me.
"Where are you going?" Brandon called out from the kitchen.
"I need to get dressed. I don't really want to be arrested while I'm in my pajamas."