AUGUST 4TH: Get ready! Today, we’re boarding the plane that will take us to London. The athletes will get a private plane that will take us from Washington, D.C. to London. Bring everything you’ll need for competition, along with your iPod and a good book, because it’s going to be a long trip.
The airport was freaking hectic. Not only was it jam-packed with American Olympic athletes and all of their teary-eyed parents and supporters, but there was also quite a bit of paparazzi here. I guess the whole pap part didn’t really affect me, considering I was pretty under-the-radar still, but it was definitely really annoying when I ended up in line next to Jordan Wieber, and was practically blinded by all the flashbulbs going off.
“Damn, I’m gonna be seeing spots for the rest of the day!” I said, rubbing my eyes.
Mom clucked her tongue. “Don’t say damn, dear. Now where’s your father? I swear he was just here. He has some of your luggage and oh dear you’re leaving soon. Where is that man?”
“Mom, MOM.” I said, grabbing her strong shoulders. “Calm down. Everything is going to be ok, just chill, alright?”
She let out a frazzled sigh, which was followed by a sigh of relief as she spotted my father. “Thank goodness you’re finally here. I was worried sick you wouldn’t make it back in time and our baby would have to go to London without half of her luggage! Where were you?”
“Honey, I was in the bathroom, what was I supposed to do, piss on myself?” he said, partly exasperated, but mostly joking.
“Oh for Christ’s sake that’s disgusting. Well at least you’re here now. Now give your daughter her luggage already, Bob.”
Man, I was going to miss their bickering. Not.
Dad handed me my rolling suitcase, and gave me a peck on the cheek. “Well kiddo, this is it. Won’t get to see you much at all during the games, so I just wanted to say that I am /so/ extremely proud of you. You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life-“
My mom interjected, saying “I thought I was the best thing that ever happened to you!” in that gotta-love-her, obnoxious tone.
“Ok, you’re /one/ of the best things that’s ever happened to me, Renee. You’ve become everything that I wanted to be growing up; an Olympic athlete! I just want to let you know, it doesn’t matter what happens when you get off that plane. Know that no matter how you perform, I’m going to be proud. No matter what.”
I gave him one of my signature Renee hugs. He was the best dad ever.
I gave my mom a hug, as well.
“Just to add onto what your father said, honey…” she whispered in my ear, “you know, I’ll be proud of you no matter what, yadda yadda yadda, but a medal would be nice.”
I rolled my eyes. Typical mom. I wanted to go off on her, but instead I just smiled. I didn’t see the point in starting a fight I couldn’t win.
And with that, I boarded the plane.
I weaved through the aisles of the plushy, private plane, looking for a friendly face to plop my behind next to. I saw plenty of familiar faces, but only familiar because I was a sports news junkie and I kept up with just about every sport and nearly every famous athlete. I finally decided to take an empty set of seats, sitting down near the window. Unlike most people, I enjoyed sitting by the windows on flights. I liked looking at the clouds and trying to compare their shapes to various animals.
Don’t judge, I’m still fifteen and I can act like a kid if I want to.
I was starting to get nervous when minutes passed and nobody came to sit next to me. Did I stink or something? I discreetly smelled my armpits (and by discreetly I mean I lifted up my arm and sniffed it. Ok, so maybe not so discreetly). Nope, they were powdery fresh. Then why did nobody-
“Hey, anybody sitting here?” I heard a male voice ask. I looked up and felt my stomach flip. Several times. Like one of the gymnasts sitting behind me would on the balance beam. The guy had piercing green eyes, tousled hair, and unmistakable chiseled features. I recognized those chiseled features.
“Oh my God! You’re Will Gust! You’re like, a track legend, dude. Of course you can sit next to me!” I squeaked, moving my red Adidas airline bag out of the seat next to me.
“Wow, thanks.” He said, sliding into the seat. He glanced at my shirt, and then did a double take.
“Is that a Flash Gordon t-shirt?”
I gasped. “Yes! Have you read the comics?”
“Have I read them? Hell yeah! I’ve read every single issue I could get my hands on!”
My stomach did another gold medal worthy flip series. “Oh my gosh, finally, someone on this plane I can nerd out with!” I said, tilting my head back and laughing.
He laughed too, a deep chuckle that sent my heart racing.
“Did you know they’re making a new movie?”
“Yeah, and Channing Tatum is gonna play Flash!” I said. “I’m so pumped.”
“Wow, you know your stuff.” He nodded in approval. I just smiled to myself.
“So Santiago, what are you? A gymnast?” he inquired, leaning closer to me.
“A gymnast? Seriously? My arm muscles are big, but not that big! And I think you already know what I do.” I said, raising my eyebrows.
“And what makes you think that, Renee?”
“Because I never told you my name, genius.” I said, smirking.
He laughed again, his eyes crinkling at the sides. “Dammit! I’ve been caught. You’re right. I’ve had my eye on you. You’re young, but you’ve got a lot of potential as a sprinter.”
“Young?” I screeched. “You’re only four years older than me, don’t treat me like a puppy dog. You were my age in Beijing.” I said, punching his toned arm. It was like we were best friends already. Although, I had to say, I didn’t feel very “friendly” with him. More like oh-my-god-let-me-make-out-with-youish. Damn his defined jaw. But more so, damn my youth that made him see me as a child.
“You know Renee, I can see us becoming friends. That is, if you agree to stop punching me. You’re pretty strong for a girl.”
I laughed and nodded, but on the inside, I was throwing a hissy fit.
Being friend-zoned? Yeah, it sucked.
Ok, sorry, that was pretty long ,wasn’t it? Well, let me know what you think! I’m making Renee out to be really quirky, and I have to admit I’m having fun writing her.