Nardella stepped off the plane, sniffing the air. Wet. . .the air smelled so wet she swore she’d never feel dry again. Nothing smelled like the dry arid sands of her homeland. Shielding her eyes, she squinted and tried to focus on the growing crowd inside the terminal. He would be there. Amongst the humans waiting to gawk at them and shove their camera flashes in her, and the others on the plane, face demanding a word or nuance from them. Noises behind her interrupted her thoughts.
“Come on move your arse.” A deep English accented voice rumbled near her. She didn’t need to turn to know who fussed.
“I’ll move Anthony, when I am ready. Not before.” Nardella hunched her shoulders acting as though she adjusted the straps of her loaded backpack. “This isn’t going to be easy for any of us.”
Anthony’s snort and chuckle usually didn’t bother her. She’d gotten use to his off kilter sense of humor and odd ways. Today it rake her where she least needed it, deep in the pit of her queasy stomach. Why was she so bloody nervous? So jittery and ready to snap out at those she traveled with. It made no sense.
“Look Nardella, if he is here, you can’t escape the fact that he’s working with us. Soon or later you’re gonna have to face him.” Anthony touched her arm.
Nardella turned slightly toward Anthony. “I know that Anthony. I just wish. . .”
Cheers erupted from the throng pouring out the open terminal doors. Two burly armed guards moved through the crowd stopping at the edge of the staircase leading up to the plane. Several moments passed as they stood still, their hands at their sides as though they expected some response.
She wasn’t acknowledging them. If anyone else wanted to, they could go for it. She’d rather push her way through them or go around before she’d greet him or any of his staff. Nardella inhaled and counted. On five, the guards moved apart.
“What’s the hold up?” A feminine voice sounded behind Anthony. “Are we here or is this another diplomatic stop for some cockamamie reason?”
Nardella couldn’t help but smile. Patrice didn’t hide her feelings. She spoke her mind. “Hold on my friend,” Nardella called over her shoulder. “It seems we’re getting some kind of official welcome.”
“Bloody hell,” Anthony cursed. “It’s bad enough I’ve got to wear this blue glop they’ve perfected to keep sun off me. Now they want to officially welcome us. Keeerist, I itch and my eyes are burning. How much more do we have to take?”
Nardella reached back squeezing Anthony’s hand. Her own trepidation calmed some as Anthony squeezed back. Patrice’s giggles and cough reminded Nardella of the trio’s connectedness. Each of them knew the other’s thoughts and shared memories. Their progenitor’s explanation echoed through Nardella’s subconscious. United you are stronger than individually. Each of your unique special traits allows you to work alone and survive. Together your synergy is greater than the sum of the whole. None can break you as long as your shared link and telepathy remains intact.
A human male in a suit and tie began ascending the stairs. He paused midway as though he waited for a signal or some sign. Nardella glanced over his shoulder back toward the tarmac and the growing multitude. Had he sent another to greet them? Just like she remembered him. Too blasted busy to be bothered with anything other than his . . .
“Ma’am,” the suited man called out coming up two more steps. “Mr. Liken will be here…”
“Percy, I’m here.” A tall olive toned male moved up to the steps. “Come work this damn group of qwakers back into the terminal and allow me to handle my business.”
The suited male worked his way back down the stairs. He faced the Latin male standing between the guards. Percy nodded and mouthed something before pointing to her. Nardella bit her lip and reached out to Anthony and Patrice telepathically. He had to show up. Make sure his presence and our arrival connected us with him. Always looking out for his interests. Why can’t Mateo do things quietly? Blast his were shifting soul!
Anthony’s snicker and Patrice’s soft uh-huh made Nardella grin. The last time they’d worked with Mateo, he’d taken control and assumed leadership. He never asked or questioned, he just did. Did what he thought was best and decided. Very little teamwork if anyone asked her opinion. Though Nardella knew Mateo cared very little what the outsiders, as he referred to humans, thought or made of his actions, she wondered if his pard let him lead in the same autocratic way. She doubted it.
“Go on gal. He’s waiting. At least, he’s being respectful,” Anthony’s flat tone and emphasis on respectful tickled Nardella.
“Do I have to?” Nardella drew out have to and added a childish tone to her voice. “Gee Mister Anthony, I do believe he bites.”
Patrice’s laughter flowed around Anthony. “Look I don’t care if he does as long as he doesn’t leave marks. I gotta pee! So much damn moisture in the air and my kidneys are screaming.”
“Sorry my love. I forget sometimes. Being a douser isn’t always easy.” Anthony moved sideways, motioning Patrice forward. “Go in front of me. In fact, you go first and tell Mateo to move or you’ll piss on em.”
“Oh great! That will really make the headlines!” Nardella choked back her laughter. “Mateo Liken, Alpha of the Golden Jaguar clan, pissed on by arriving dignitaries. Go for it Patrice.”
“Like hell I will. I’m not waiting for you two.” Patrice nudged Nardella aside and bounded down the stairs. As she reached the tarmac, she motioned Mateo to her. His wide grin and nod indicated he understood Patrice’s foot stomping and hand signals. Percy escorted her through the crowd accompanied by one of the guards.
“Go on, I’m behind you.” Anthony’s slight shove unnerved Nardella. “We can’t leave Patrice to fend the crowds by herself.”
Nardella took a deep breath and exhaled. Taking the stairs slowly, she flashed images of her home and its earth tones through her mind. She willed her calm to well up and engulf her allowing no one to know deep inside the uneasiness she felt the closer she got to Mateo, her ex-lover.____________________________________________________________________
I hope you enjoyed the flash piece and let your imagination take on the next steps in the story. I know my muse will be cooking up some hot things for Nardella and Mateo, not to mention Anthony and Patrice as well. Enjoy a good book or two this weekend. Remember to snuggle up with your loved ones and let your imagination take flight.
Smiles and a few knowing winks,