- XLI -

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We step in to the all too familiar airport in Los Angeles. Familiar to me, that is. It's only Kaia's second time here.

On the ride over I had noticed that Kaia was looking sadly out of the window. I knew she was really sad to be leaving. But it was bittersweet for her because she'd never been away from Lia so long.

Directly in front of the entrance were the check-in and bag drop-off counters. We dragged our cases behind us and got in line. It was late in the night so the line wasn't too bad.

We'd spent our last day packing up, in the pool and we'd stopped into a shopping mall before we came to the airport. Kaia was interested in seeing the stores that aren't in the UK and I just poked around at some stuff. We left the shopping centre with a few bags each.

We strike up conversation while we wait in the line. We talk about the weather mostly. What is it with Brits? We could go on forever talking about weather. After a seemingly short conversation about the forecast (in California and Britain), it was our turn in line.

We step up to the counter and we are greeted by a darker skinned lady with a bright smile.

"Hello," she says in a thick southern American accent. "Can I have your boarding passes please?"

I hand her the two slips of paper. She taps a few buttons on her keyboard and scans them in a small machine.

She hands them back and I put them back into my bag.

"And you two are off to London, is that correct?" she asks.

"Yep," I smile.

"Perfect," she taps a few more buttons. "Could you please put your first bag on the scale?"

I follow her instructions and put one of our cases onto the metal platform. The case is weighed and a paper tag is wrapped around the handle so it's recognizable later on. The process is repeated for the rest of our cases and we head off towards security.

The security line was much longer than the check-in line so we had a bit more time to chat.

"Did you enjoy your vacation?" I ask Kaia, draping an arm around shoulder.

She looks up at me with a sad smile. "Yeah," she says. "Sad to leave, though. I really enjoyed it."

"Yeah," I say, nodding in agreement. "Bet you'll be glad to see your friends again, though. Every time I come out here I miss the boys and my other friends. And my family..." I'm gonna shut up before this gets depressing.

"Of course!" she says. "It's just... It was such an amazing trip and I would do it over again in a heartbeat."

"I hope I can bring you back again, someday," I say with a wide smile.

"I look forward to it," she beams back.

"We'll go for longer," I say, closing my eyes and picturing the future vacation in my head. "At least two weeks. And we'll go to as many amusement parks as we can. We'll go to the best restaurants. We'll go the beach again. It'll be perfect..."

"That sounds amazing," she says, also with her eyes closed. (I had opened my eyes).

We continue talking about the next trip we would take right up until we are next in the line. We slip off our shoes and everything metal on or in our clothes and put them in the plastic bins. The bins slide forward on the small conveyer belt.

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