5. Arrivals

“All human life can be found in an airport.”

~David Walliams

I woke up abruptly. The heat was already insufferable. I could still feel my sweat on the sheets. I tried to find where Jim was inside the bedroom but I didn’t manage to do so. I was either too upset from last night’s dream or the light wasn’t bright enough for me to see my best friend clearly. How could I anyway, since I was wearing my contacts?

I sat on my bed and started thinking how unashamed my subconscious was. I’d got used by now watching Michael to be the protagonist in my dreams. Or actually nightmares. But Aaron? I didn’t want to see him when I was awake, let alone when I was sleeping. The only logical explanation was that I got affected by his e-mails and my mind was trying to find a way to work through them.

But it was still very early in the morning and I wasn’t wide awake yet. I got out of my bedroom and went towards the bathroom. There were noises downstairs, so I claimed that Jim, my dad and Anna were already taking breakfast. Jim was practically a member of our extended family.

I took a quick shower and got downstairs and straight in the kitchen. But I only found my dad and Anna inside. The three cups of coffee, though, gave Jim away.

“Good morning Leda!” Anna said and smiled at me. “Let me get you some coffee,” she went on.

“Thanks Anna. I think I need some,” I replied while I was moving towards my dad and kissing him on the cheek.

“I’ll make you breakfast. I don’t you dare deny like Jim did!” Anna told me.

“No Anna, I won’t. But you don’t have to worry about Jim. He eats everything. He could literally eat us, too. But he doesn’t want to feel obliged to you all the time,” I answered. Anna simply rolled her eyes and I knew what she was thinking. That’s rubbish.

In a few minutes, she had filled the table with fruits, waffles, bread, honey, two different jars of marmalade, cereal and milk. Everything seemed so yummy! She filled a bowl with cereal and milk and brought it to me. I took a sip of my coffee. My father’s words, though, did a better job than the caffeine.

“Anna, when will Aaron come at last? Zoe and Anthony arrive today. I hope your son won’t get us by surprise like he did last time,” my dad said, quite seriously. All I did was try to hide that I was choking on some coffee.

“As far as I know, he’ll be here in three days. That’s what he told me the last time we spoke,” Anna said.

“Leda did you happen to speak to Aaron?” my dad asked immediately. Dear Gerard Anagnostou never used indirect methods to get an answer.

“No dad. I just spoke with Eugene and he told me that he’ll arrive today with Cleo. They’ll take a cab to come home from the airport,” I replied as blankly as possible.

“Oh no, they won’t. Gerard you’ll go to pick them up!” Anna said instantly.

But before my dad could answer, his phone rang.

“Hello… Yes, of course… Don’t mention it… I’ll see you soon,” I heard my father say and I thought… Shit!

“What’s up Gerard?” Anna asked.

“I have to go to the university. Apparently Eugene and Cleo will have to take a cab,” my dad said. “Or perhaps you could go and pick them up, Leda. Unless you have something else to do…” he continued warily.

“No dad, I don’t. I’ll pick them from the airport,” I replied calmly and I took even me by surprise. I was just hoping that Eugene’s and Aaron’s flights wouldn’t arrive the same time.

“So it’s settled. I have to go girls. I’ll see you in the afternoon,” my father said in a hurry.

Suddenly, the lovely breakfast Anna had made for us all didn’t seem so appealing anymore. Not even the waffles seemed tasty at this very moment. But since I didn’t want to upset her and cause a few quite awkward questions that would be addressed to me, I ate my cereals reluctantly and hurried back into my bedroom in order to get dressed and leave for the airport. However, as I was stepping out of the kitchen, Anna got me.

“Leda, you didn’t finish your breakfast. You’ll be starving again at the end of the day!” Anna told me in her mothering way.

“I don’t have much time Anna. It’s a long trip to the airport. And I also have to call Eugene to tell him that I’ll pick him up,” I replied quickly, without waiting for her response.

As I was going up to my bedroom, I had already thought of at least two different ways to avoid picking up of my brother; the one was better than the other. First, I could assert that I had forgotten my tennis practice. Second, and possibly much more believable, I could claim that I had had some sort of fight with Eugene because he didn’t want to cause any trouble at home, so he and Cleo had taken a taxi while I was still on the road. Nonetheless, in order to feel safe, I texted a quick message to my brother, asking him the time of his arrival and telling him that I would be the one to bring them both home.

I started getting dressed quickly while only one thought was crossing my mind. What were the chances?

The airport of our city wasn’t huge but still the chances of meeting somebody by accident were quite few, since so many flights were flying in and out every day. That thought calmed me a lot, and as I stared at my reflection in the mirror, I felt quite satisfied. The day was already hot and the temperature would increase even more so I was prepared for that, wearing a flowing, maxi dress, with rips at both sides, which was leaving the back exposed. I got my hair up in a ponytail, took the car keys and my cell phone and went downstairs.

I said goodbye to Anna and as I was getting out of the house, I saw Eugene’s response at my phone. Apart from a small scolding, he had written that he just got into the plane and that he and Cleo would land in about forty-five minutes. Perfect, I thought, as I was getting in the car and I was exiting the house yard. It was half past ten and I would need at least half an hour to reach my destination, especially because of the season. Most people would try to escape and go to the nearest beach. After all, August had always been the month that most employees had their time off and even if the centre of the city was almost empty, nobody could say the same for the beaches around it.

I was heading towards the beltway, with the music at the maximum. The windows of the car were open and the hot, August air was hitting my face. My concentration on driving was extremely stress-relieving and I almost believed that I would endure the next hours. Aaron and I would have to find a way to survive in the same house. It didn’t really bother me that we would be under the same roof, since that would only happen during the evening, thanks to my full, summer schedule.

The truly bothering fact was that I would have to endure him tonight at his welcoming dinner. Of course, I would try to avoid him from that point onwards. However, until I was psychologically ready, I didn’t want to come face to face with him at the airport and pretend to be the charitable “sister” –if we could actually say that we were siblings- in front of our biological siblings and their partners.

I had almost reached the airport, when my concentration in order to avoid the clumsy drivers and to remain calm was distracted from the sound of my smart phone, informing me I had a new message. Since I didn’t want to put myself in danger while I was still driving, I decided to read my message when I would have parked at last.

Eugene’s flight would land in fifteen minutes, so I waited patiently inside the car. I reached for my cell phone to see who had sent me a message that early and the device fell off my hand and landed between the pedals when I saw who was the sender. Him… He really had the nerve to send me messages, even after our conversation on the phone. I didn’t even bother to read his message. I simply erased it and blocked his number. I was putting an end to a very big chapter of my life and I was really proud of myself. I would never allow that person again to play with my feelings and self-esteem.

Feeling a little angry because of Michael’s cheek, I didn’t pay attention to my phone’s buzzing, which was now informing me that I got a new e-mail. So I got out of the car and started walking securely towards the entrance of the airport. Even though that recent event had disturbed me, I wouldn’t let it, under any circumstances, make me feel blue and destroy the reunion with my brother.

Moving towards the information board, I realized that Eugene and Cleo’s flight would land in five minutes. So I went to the bar that was just outside the airport to get coffee, since I hadn’t enjoyed the one I had at home. And that was the moment when I saw them. Two extremely tall, black-haired men and a blonde, gorgeous woman beside them. Zoe, Anthony and Aaron. That scared the wits out of me!

And then I remembered the e-mail I had got earlier. And I realized… I checked my e-mail app and there it was!

From: Aaron Preston

Subject: I can see you.

To: Leda Anagnostou

Date: 8/9/14, 11:17 am

Apparently nothing has changed. So, come and welcome me!

A.P.

© Victoria Moschou. All Rights Reserved 2016-2017.

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