Chapter 18 | Daxten

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As fun as it has been at the back of the plane, I'm itching for a drink in the first-class bar. It's much better knowing that Brando is going to join me. I can't stand being alone and I would have hated drinking by myself up there.

      I've kept all feeling at bay for so long that my internal dam has broken, and my insides are flooded with emotion. Is it the wine talking? No, it can't be. I swear I felt something before I even had a drop at the restaurant in the airport. It's connected to Brando. What did I feel?

      A spark. I felt a spark and it's ignited into a fire. It warms my chest. I can feel it in my throat. It tingles in my lips.

      I sit with a smile when I look back at Brando, who sits next to an elderly woman on the back row. He needs a minute. This is why I feel a little proud – taking off the seatbelt, standing up, taking those first steps. He was paralyzed with fear and yet he did it. He was brave. I'm not ashamed in admitting that I kinda want to be like him.

      Maybe I can. I need to stop hiding behind smoke and mirrors. Coming out was the first step. My journey doesn't end there; it's only the beginning. This is the new Daxten. I like this new Daxten.

      I'm that involved in my thoughts that, at first, I don't notice the elderly woman tap on Nick's shoulder. The exchange catches my attention.

      'Excuse me love, I was wondering if I could sit at the window there. My husband is sound asleep and I can't look out the window with his big fat head in the way.'

      'Ehm, sure, but it's night out there,' Nick replies as he looks out the window. 'You can't see a thing out there.'

      'That's the best part about it. I use my own imagination about where we are and where we're going. Oh, I could sit for hours and hours staring into the darkness.'

      Is she the woman Brando was sitting next to just a moment ago? I turn to look and see the seat next to him empty. I shoot him a questioning look by raising an eyebrow. He responds with a thumbs up.

      Brando must have enlisted the help of this woman to distract Nick. A stranger. Again, I underestimate the kindness of strangers.

      I'm about to move when I see Nick quickly turn his head at me, then back to the woman.

      'What's your name, young man?' the woman asks.

      'Nicholas Johnson, and your name ma'am?'

      'Oh, I'm no ma'am. Rebecca. I'm nowhere near old enough to be a ma'am.'

      Nicholas looks to the aisle. 'If you say so...'

      Rebecca moves into the middle seat. 'So, what's on your mind? You keep looking around this cabin like you're waiting for someone. A special someone?'

      'Special is a word for it. I thought you wanted to look out the window?'

      I'm willing to bet she moved closer to him so he wouldn't turn his head so much and see me through the crack of the seats. I look back to Brando but the seat he was previously occupying is empty. He must be in the back galley.

      That's my boy.

      'You need my attention more than the darkness outside. I can sit at the window later. To be honest, I could use someone to talk to since my husband isn't exactly able to.'

      I slide my arms into my jacket.

      'Well, I could use someone to talk to, in all honesty.'

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