Read Mated to the Alpha Twins [by Jane Doe] Chapter 37
While the bus ride had been somewhat uncomfortable, Justin’s presence was a welcomed distraction. Anything to keep my mind from what I was leaving behind soothed my frayed nerves.
At this time of night, there were little options on flights. My options were New York, Texas and Missouri. While New York was an intriguing option, my money would b**n much faster there. The flight to Texas wasn’t until the early hours of the morning. Waiting until the sun crested the forest line and hung above the clouds wasn’t an option. The wait alone would unravel me, my nerves turning me into a mess of anxiety.
Missouri it was.
I knew little about the state, but assumed the weather would be similar to Georgia. Humidity tempered with the brilliant sun, warm but not nearly as blazing as Texas or California.
I had little issue getting a plane ticket, my duffle bag serving as a carry-on item. Every dollar I spent weighed on my mind. Instead of counting each individual purchase, I pushed the number from my thoughts.
Thalia had been silent since our last conversation, buried deep in the depths of my wandering mind. I had a feeling we wouldn’t talk for quite some time.
My stomach had been a mess of knots and fear up until I boarded the plane. Once the plane left the ground, I released a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding.
Saving money where I could, I declined the offer of first class and smushed myself as close to the window as possible. The plane wasn’t crowded, but nearly every seat was full.
An older woman sat beside me, her child on the far end. I leaned my head against the window, peering out into the darkness of the sky. I might have enjoyed this flight during the day. The thick clouds hanging in the sky, resembling large tufts of cotton. At night it was hard to make out the shapes of the clouds, only dim stars speckled the sky.
A war between my self-control and eyelids ensued as they begun to close on their own accord. Exhaustion had been unknowingly creeping up on me since first hopping into the Taxi. The adrenaline from sneaking out of the house had long wore off. With my duffle bag tucked on the floor against the wall of the plane, I succumbed to the creeping darkness.
Perfume. That was the scent that filled my nose, followed by the light scent of laundry detergent. Floral notes mixed with the crisp scent of soap. Somehow, I found this comforting. Something soft pressed against my cheek, pressed lightly against my shoulder.
“Sweetheart, the plane’s landed.” A soft voice called out, followed by another touch to my shoulder.
All at once the events of the last few hours battered my mind. I lurched away from the older woman, the one I had been using as a pillow. With sandy blonde hair tucked neatly in a bun, small lines formed around her eyes and lips. Her deep brown eyes watched me calmly, a motherly smile on her face. The child in the seat beside her was also stirring, wiping the sleep from his small eyes.
“You seemed exhausted; I didn’t have the heart to wake you.” The blonde woman spoke, a slight southern accent to her words. Her accent was light, weaving between her words in a way that brought me a shred of comfort.
“Thanks.” I cleared my throat uncomfortably, blood undoubtedly rushing to my face. I had used this woman as a pillow for the last few hours, and she had allowed it graciously.
I mustered up the courage to ask her for the time, stifling a yawn as she told me it was past three in the morning. I was grateful to stand from the plane, to exit into the warm Missouri air. Even at night the breeze was thick with warmth.
Even at three in the morning, Taxi’s and other drivers lingered outside of the airport. Most of them leaning against their car’s smoking or chatting.
While in the airport, I heard two older women chatting about a town called Higgins. I hadn’t heard much, apart from how lovely of a town it was but I had already made my decision.
I found it liberating and refreshing to choose where I wanted to live on a whim, as I had never held that kind of control before. Higgins was half an hour drive from the airport. The drive was filled with silence and the dull static filled pulsing of the Taxi driver’s radio.
I had asked him to drop me off at the nearest motel, one located in the center of town. The neon blue light flickered warily, ivy and vines working their way up most of the building. A rusted blue railing spanned most of the building, serving as a balcony to the guests staying.
The hotel office smelled of stale cigarettes and cheap air freshener, but this place was only a means to an end. All I needed was a few hours’ sleep before I set off in search of a job, and hopefully somewhere to live.
After paying a little under a hundred dollars for three nights, I sulked up to the second floor. The withered key the employee had given me rattled against my pants as I trudged up the cement stairs. The doors to each motel room were the same deep shade of blue as the railing. Some doors looked fresh, as though they had recently been painted over.
The motel room smelled much like the hotel office, a fact I forced from my mind. While the bed smelled like someone’s dust filled attic, I curled up on it blissfully. Even with the withered springs poking my back, I felt safer than I had in a long time.
For just a moment, my heart leaped in my chest. No more Frank with his drunken rants and wandering hands. No more Melissa with her manipulations and psychological torment. No more absent Father’s, talk of my future, or psychopathic ex-girlfriends.
For just a split second, before two irresistibly handsome faces popped into my mind, I was truly happy.
I had slept well into the morning, waking up to a brick of lead weighing down my stomach. I was almost positive someone had noticed my absence already. The old alarm clock on the table read 1:23p.m. I had slept well into the afternoon.
There was always a chance no one had noticed my absence. It was Saturday, and I didn’t have a shift at the restaurant until much later in the day.
I wondered if I would see my face plastered on television, big bold letters saying ‘Missing’. Would I become one of those h****r stories they tell on television? The one where they talk of serial killers, missing women, and acts of violence.
Using the tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner, I hopped into the rather filthy motel shower. After downing a bottle of water and two granola bars, I changed my clothes and left the motel room.
The two women at the airport had been right about this town, it was rather beautiful. New, crisp buildings lined the street, some painted bright colors. Plenty of small shops open, along with a bakery down at the corner. The smell of buttered rolls and frosting filled the air.
The air was thick and humid, the sun dazzling in the sky but it only added to the beauty. Lush trees and bushes danced throughout the town, clustered on streets and behind buildings. The center of town had that antique feel, a multitude of colorful shops lining the streets.
For once, hope filled my lungs and mixed with the lingering oxygen. Out of all these stores, one had to be willing to hire me. I wanted to use my real name as little as possible, working under the table was a preference not a necessity.
I walked down the street, breathing in the thick and humid air. I had changed my pants and dark sweatshirt into something more appropriate for the weather. A pair of shorts sat on my hips, followed with a white colored blouse. My only pair of fairly worn sandles sat on my feet.
Two hours passed and I had stopped in most of the shops, buying myself a coffee in the process. I had spent time speaking with someone in each shop, asking if they were looking for new employees. Many said no, while others asked for a phone number to reach me at. Many of their faces fell when I informed them, I didn’t have a phone, a weary look crossing their face as though they get many brief travelers looking for money.
While my heart dropped with each refusal, I took my time looking through each store. A sliver of pain ran through me, Tori’s face flashing to mind. She had wanted to take me shopping more than anything, insisting on buying me whatever I wanted. Part of me wished Tori were here, that she were roaming the shops by my side. With a painful sigh, I pushed those thoughts out of mind.
I had a couple shops left, but the rumbling of my stomach stopped me in my tracks. The thick scent wafting from the bakery was practically calling my name, begging for a small fraction of the money I had brought along.
The inside of the shop matched the heavenly smell. White and a light shade of pink lined the bakery, striped padded seats at each of the booths inside. Large round cakes and small pastries sat under a thick dome of glass, some of them still steaming. Notes of frosting, cinnamon, and vanilla filled the store. The scent wafted down the street, beckoning the walking crowds.
A guy and an identical looking girl stood behind the counter, each looking determined and a little frazzled. Even from my spot beside the door, I could see the small beads of sweat that clung to their foreheads. Sandy blonde hair was plastered to their foreheads, but they continued to move as though they hadn’t noticed. The sidewalks were crowded with people. I couldn’t tell if everyone lived here, or if most were tourists coming from the city. A small crowd had formed in the bakery, a long line spanning the store.
Taking deep breaths of the sugary scent, I basked in the small blissful moments where I truly felt happy and continued to ignore the growing hole in my heart.