:Waist-Deep In Walmart: Chapter Twenty-Three

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“I’m never going back. I’m staying here forever,” I declared, shakily stepping off the plane and onto the gangway that led to the airport terminal. “Either that or I’m hitch-hiking back.”

            Anthony laughed, keeping an arm securely wrapped around my shoulder. “I can’t believe you screamed as the plane took off.”

            “She’s such a chicken,” my brother muttered. “We only hit a bump.”

            “It was my first time on a plane!” I defended myself, ready to whack both boys in the face with my carry-ons.

            Caroline chuckled. “You’ll grow to like it, Ellie.”

            “Never.”

            “Come on, come on,” Anthony urged, pressing his arm into my back so I’d start walking. “My parents are waiting. Let’s go meet this.”

            Butterflies appeared in my stomach and I suddenly felt panicky. “What if they don’t like me? Will that ruin your plan?”

            “Probably.”

            My feet froze. “Oh my God. What if you have to stay here?”

            “I won’t,” Anthony assured me, pausing as other passengers squeezed by us. “Now come on, we’re blocking the path.”

            Sighing, I followed him, Julius, Caroline, and my brother out of the gangway. The airplane ride had already left my nerves on end and drained me. All I wanted to do was take a nap. Meeting Anthony’s parents was going to be a challenge. Especially since first impressions met a lot. And there was a chance they could force Anthony to stay down here, hundreds of miles away from me. My heart lurched at the thought. Not when we were finally together. I refused to let that happen.

            After about fifteen minutes of wandering around the gigantic airplane terminal (and dragging Julius away from all the expensive, but delicious looking food stands), we finally came across a small group of people holding signs like they did in the movies. Anthony tensed beside me and I glanced up to see a grin spreading across his face. “You ready, Ellie?” he inquired.

            “For what?”

            He pointed at a couple holding a sign together. The sign read Anthony Quinn and Co. “Those are my parents.”

            My stomach dropped into my gut. For the moment, the pair hadn’t noticed us. I took this as a chance to study them. Anthony’s Mom was a slender, kind looking woman with a pretty face. Anthony hadn’t been lying when he mentioned his parents appeared younger than they actually were. To me, his mom seemed like she was maybe late twenties. His father also appeared to be around that age. Both of his parents shared his chestnut colored hair— his father having the tiny curls that appeared in his when he was sweaty. Anthony also shared his father’s emerald eyes, while his mother had light brown orbs.

            Light brown orbs that landed directly on my face.

            I went rigid. I was so not ready for this.

            “Mom!” Anthony hollered, forcing me forward. “Dad! Hey!”

            “Anthony!” his mom cried happily, rushing forward and throwing her arms around both of us. “And Ellie! It’s so nice to meet you!”

            Surprised, it took me a moment to respond. “Uh, nice to meet you too.” Cursing myself, I realized I should’ve asked Anthony what his parents names were.

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