8 - Private jets and regrets

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  "We're not who we used to be, we're just two ghosts standing in the place of you and me."  

Standing in the entrance of the plane, I can't help feeling like the unpopular kid looking for a seat on the school bus. 

I've only flown once before - a two hour flight to visit my Grandparents in Brisbane - but it didn't look like this. Then it was a packed Jet Star flight; passengers fighting for overhead luggage space and having to lean across each other when paying for the overpriced snacks and drinks. This is something entirely different.

It's almost like a lounge. There are seats. Except they're plush leather recliners, and the walkway between them is wide enough for three people. Some are even arranged so that they're facing one another.

It's clear Harry's crew travel on these often because they've already all migrated towards seats as if they've been labelled specifically for them. Harry's stormed ahead, taking up an entire four-seater for himself, and quite honestly, I'm not sure where I'm supposed to go.

"Juni!" He calls. He sounds the way he did when the video call connected eight years ago - excited. "Come sit here."

I tighten my grip on my duffel bag and drift towards him. Adam winks as I pass but the dark-haired girl with the drumming fingers swats at his arm as if he's being a nuisance, and he shrugs as if to say - what? I do feel a bit rude - gatecrashing their trip without having been introduced to half of them - but I'm so aware of the fact that I'm about to be sat with Harry for a good hour and a half, up in the air where he can't run away, that I can't really bring myself to care. 

He smiles timidly when I reach him. He's sprawled out across two of the chairs, rolling his mobile phone around in his hands, and gestures for me to sit opposite. I drop my bag into one of the seats and settle into the other. 

This feels really awkward

He suddenly swings his legs around so that he's sitting upright and in only the one chair. I haven't got a clue why until an air steward starts delivering the pre-flight safety briefing behind me. I pull my eyes away from Harry's face and turn to face her at the front of the plane, now standing where I'd been awkwardly lurking only minutes ago. 

Catching sight of all the others paying close attention, I can't help thinking that this is ridiculously surreal. Never had I thought that showing up to Harry's concert would result in me being jetted off to Sydney like some roadie. It seems like an awfully extravagant way to tell me the truth and it keeps nagging at my mind that he probably thinks this'll soften the blow of whatever explanation he's going to give. 

I just want him to come out with it already. 

The air steward has fallen silent and disappeared from sight, and I realise that I've missed the whole demonstration. The pilot is crackling in the speaker overhead we'll be taking off shortly, due to arrive in Sydney at seven thirty-five, we hope you have a comfortable flight and I turn back to my estranged penpal. He's still sat upright and watching me intently.  

"So." I say and fasten my seat belt. Harry does the same, except his eyes don't leave my face, and it reminds me of how he was looking at me in the private lounge when addressing the air steward. 

The plane moves, taxiing onto the runway, and I lean back into my seat. My heart is pounding frantically and my mouth is bone dry. I really need Harry to just spit it out or I'm worried I'm going to end up pulling my hair out of my scalp. This has been drawn across almost three days already, and somehow those three days have been worse than the last eight years. 

"So." Harry repeats and gnaws on his lower lip. He's nervous. 

"Please just tell me, Harry." I sigh. The plane is shuddering as it picks up speed and suddenly, with a single pop of my ears, we're airborne.

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