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.Rachel shuffles to Rayna and snatches the remote from her.Turning off the television, she says, “I think we should take a trip.”“I have school,” I say.“My guidance counselor is already breathing down my neck about my attendance.Besides, I’m tired of traveling.” Understatement of the century.“I don’t want to go anywhere in case Toraf—in case anyone comes back for me,” Rayna protests.“Then why are you begging to go to school with me?”She shrugs.“Rachel would come get me if they came back.But if we all leave, then there’ll be no one to come get me.”Rachel crosses her arms.“Well, here’s the thing, my little queens.I’m going nuts sitting here waiting to see what happens and I think you are, too.Besides, tomorrow’s Friday and it just so happens that they’ve invented these things called airplanes that can take you anywhere in no time flat.”Rayna perks up.“You mean we get to fly somewhere?”“Where?” I whine.“I’m not exactly in the mood for Disney World and I doubt your foot could—”“I think it’s high time I met Dr.Milligan,” Rachel says, raising her chin slightly.“I could use a day or two of room service and at the very least, Dr.Milligan could take a look at Rayna’s throat.”“Really? We can fly there?” Rayna looks at me, her eyes full of all kinds of excited.“I’ve been in the water and been on land, but I’ve never flown before.”I remember the effect flying had on Galen—projectile puking, anyone?—and I’m not really in the mood to be cleaning up Rayna’s brand of upchuck.Still, she has this desperate look about her that I can’t find it in my heart to ignore.“Fine.” I sigh.“You can have the window seat.”Rayna claps like a seal as Rachel walks back to the kitchen.“I’ll book the flights for tomorrow after you get home from school.No layovers though.I’m not walking all over the airport with a bum leg.”Rayna bites her lip.“What if someone comes back for us while we’re gone?”“Toraf has a cell phone here and knows how to use it, sweetie,” Rachel calls over her shoulder.“No sweat.”* * *Rayna does not get sick on planes.Also, Rayna does not stop talking on planes.By the time we land at Okaloosa Regional Airport, I’m wondering if I’ve spoken as many words in my entire life as she did on the plane.With no layovers, it was the longest forty-five minutes of my whole freaking existence.I can tell Rachel’s nerves are also fringed.She orders an SUV limo—Rachel never does anything small—to pick us up and insists that Rayna try the complimentary champagne.I’m fairly certain it’s the first alcoholic beverage Rayna’s ever had, and by the time we reach the hotel on the beach, I’m all the way certain.As Rayna snores in the seat across from me, Rachel checks us into the hotel and has our bags taken to our room.“Do you want to head over to the Gulfarium now?” she asks.“Or, uh, rest up a bit and wait for Rayna to wake up?”This is an important decision.Personally, I’m not tired at all and would love to see a liquored-up Rayna negotiate the stairs at the Gulfarium.But I’d feel a certain guilt if she hit her hard head on a wooden rail or something and then we’d have to pay the Gulfarium for the damages her thick skull would surely cause.Plus, I’d have to suffer a reproving look from Dr.Milligan, which might actually hurt my feelings because he reminds me a bit of my dad.So, I decide to do the right thing.“Let’s rest for a while and let her snap out of it.I’ll call Dr.Milligan and let him know we’ve checked in.”Two hours later, Sleeping Beast wakes up and we head to see Dr.Milligan.Rayna is particularly grouchy when hungover—can you even get hungover from drinking champagne?—so she’s not terribly inclined to be nice to the security guard who lets us in.She mutters something under her breath—thank God she doesn’t have a real voice—and pushes past him like the spoiled Royalty she is.I’m just about aggravated beyond redemption—until we see Dr.Milligan in a new exhibit of stingrays.He coos and murmurs as if they’re a litter of puppies in the tank begging to play with him.When he notices our arrival he smiles, and it feels like a coconut slushy on a sweltering day and it almost makes up for the crap I’ve been put through these past few days.Dr.Milligan looks past me and smiles twice as wide.“You must be the famous Rachel, who Galen speaks so highly of.”Rachel laughs.No, the woman giggles and she all but waltzes with an air cast up to Dr.Milligan and extends her hand to him.“Famous? Or infamous?”That’s when Rayna and I exchange eye rolls.If this isn’t insta-attraction, I don’t know what is.And why, why, why I think of it this way I’m not sure, but since Dr.Milligan sort of reminds me of my dad, then this insta-googly-eye thing reminds me of Grom and my mother and how they were drawn to each other like magnets.So in a way, it’s like my dad—only it’s not really my dad, of course—has found someone else to keep him company.And I don’t know how I feel about it [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]