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Isabelle smiled at him,”Yeah, window shopping can be really interesting. Never know what you’ll find.”
It got a little quieter when they got out of the food court area and toward the shops selling other things. Something about food courts seemed to make them pretty loud. She nibbled on some more of her popcorn while they made their way through the thinning crowds. While they walked she decided to keep the conversation going,”Sounds like you’re all set, is Christmas a big event with your family?”
That was a guess, but Isabelle figured with him saying ‘Christmas reunion’ it meant there was probably a pretty big gathering with lots of extended family. Like a great-aunt. Isabelle didn’t even really know any of her great-aunts that well, and certainly didn’t see them at Christmas every year.
As for which store to go on, Isabelle was walking, but not paying much attention. The convenience store type places with last minute travel stuff didn’t seem fun. When she saw a souvenir place that looked a little small she started wandering toward it without thinking much about it.
"No, I've bought everything already. Except for Great-Aunt Betty's, but I don't think she's coming to the Christmas reunion this year," Jeremy replied. He kicked at the nonexistant dust on the ground. He looked up and smiled at Isabelle, then, to relieve the tension. "I just like looking at things, you know? Some of the shops are really interesting."
“That might be fun.” Better than aimlessly wandering around the crowded airport waiting for news about their flights. So far there hadn’t been anymore updates, maybe the people running the show were trying to get more information themselves.
Isabelle started to wander around, in no particular hurry and just scanning for a spot to sit. She thought she saw one spot, but then realized it wasn’t empty, a woman was just bent over tying a sleepy, cranky looking toddlers shoe. “Thinking of some last minute gift for someone back home?”
The question wasn’t entirely serious, she said it with a smile, it was more meant to keep up the conversation. Especially since she was having no luck finding a seat. The popcorn was good though, there was never really a bad time for chocolate. Popcorn was also thankfully easy to eat on the go, unlike the plate of typical breakfast food she saw one man wandering with, also looking for a table.
Jeremy followed Isabelle to the seating area. Nearly all of the seats were taken, save for a few here and there that looked like they were being saved for other people. Jeremy shoved a few pieces of popcorn in his mouth. They were really sweet, but not too sweet; just enough of a shock to keep one feeling awake this early in the morning.
Jeremy swallowed as Isabelle was talking. "Sounds great," he replied. "We could go check out the souvinier shops if we can't find anywhere to sit with a table."
He waited patiently for Isabelle to choose a direction. Though he had only been hanging out with the lady for a little while, he had already figured out that he liked it when she led the way, and she probably liked leading. Jeremy wasn't really the leading type, preferring to follow whenever he got the chance. It was easier that way, he figured.
The small size did look like plenty for breakfast. Isabelle placed her order for chocolate covered kettle corn, and watched the cashier get her popcorn. If she thought it was odd for people to be ordering sweet popcorn this early in the morning she gave no sign of it and just served the popcorn and took payment. Isabelle fished her wallet from her bag, paid by card, and tucked it all back away before taking her popcorn. The cashier didn’t seem very interested in conversation, and Isabelle could understand why. She looked ready to head home, and really hoped the snow wouldn’t keep her stuck here too.
With her popcorn in hand she joined Jeremy and looked around the crowded few tables in what she’d call a food court. The restaurants and stranded travelers made it way more packed than it was meant to be. There was nowhere to sit that she could see.
“So, since we can’t sit want to walk around? Maybe we’ll get lucky and find a spot.” It would take luck here. Or maybe they would find an out of the way spot.
Jeremy chuckled at Isabelle's answer. "Yeah," he said. "Popcorn is great."
They stood in silence for a few moments while they waited for it to be their turn for popcorn. Isabelle asked if he wanted to go first.
"Sure," Jeremy replied tentatively. "Could I get some zebra popcorn, please?"
"What size," asked the cashier tiredly.
"Uh, a small?" Jeremy answered, staring at the three sizes sitting out in front of them.
She took Isabelle's order too.
"Coming right up," said the lady. She turned and began packing popcorn into a small sized container that actually seemed a bit large by Jeremy's standards. Scoop from the tub, into the container. Over and over until it was full. And then again for Isabelle's popcorn.
The small costed just under ten dollars. Jeremy took his wallet from his pocket and handed the cashier his card.
“More fun to have a name like that.” Isabelle responded with a smile. The line moved along, and Isabelle took a little step forward. It would be their turn next. “With the stripes and all. So I’ll get the chocolate covered kettle corn, and we can have dessert popcorn for breakfast. If we have to be up this early we might as well have a nice treat, right?”
The next hurdle would be finding someplace to sit. She glanced around the seating area with tables. It was packed, of course. The man ahead got his popcorn and it was their turn. Finding a seat would wait until they got their popcorn. She looked at Jeremy and motioned to the cashier, a young woman who looked tired but still tried to smile. She was probably near the end of a long overnight shift. Isabelle asked,“Did you want to order first?”
Isabelle got up and started walking towards the popcorn stand. Jeremy followed her, puppylike. He found it a bit odd that he was following her to a place that he had suggested, but not odd enough to mention it. They were walking side by side, after all, Jeremy only trailing a bit behind her, and she did make a good point about the eggs.
"Eggs are nasty," muttered Jeremy in response to the lady--Isabelle. Her name was Isabelle. Jeremy wrote the name down mentally so he wouldn't forget. "Why would anyone want to eat unborn, unfertilized life? It's like eating a baby, before it's a baby..." Jeremy trailed off, realizing he was talking much too softly to be heard over the general din of the busy airport.
It didn't take them very long to reach the popcorn stand, which was just as wonderfully gaudy as Jeremy had remebered it. The side of the stand was emblazoned with big, swirling letters that proudly declared "Gourmet Popcorn." There were only a couple people in line ahead of them: a mother, holding a sleeping infant while another child clung to her skirt, and an older man with a striking amount of facial hair.
The distant sound of a dog barking caught Jeremy's attention. The dog only barked a few times before it was cut off, and Jeremy looked over his shoulder to see if he could see what had happened to the poor thing. Isabelle decided that then was a good time to comment on popcorn.
"Chocolate sounds good." Jeremy's eyes flicked about the different flavors before quickly settling on one. Caramel corn with stripes of chocolate. "I'll probably have the zebra popcorn." He paused for a moment, thinking. "That's a great name for it, don't you think?" he said, turning to Isabelle.
Isabelle couldn’t help but laugh a little, her hand immediately going to her mouth in a loose fist like she was thinking about stifling it. “You know, popcorn for breakfast might be fun. We might as well try it. Besides, the wait for popcorn should be pretty short compared to some other stuff. Everyone is going to want eggs.”
Besides, stranded in an airport wasn’t really a normal morning anyway. She hoped this wasn’t too normal anyway, or going home while she was in school would be really frustrating. Isabelle started toward the direction Jeremy had waved, which was the same way most of the food places were. Of course they weren’t the only people who wanted food now, but like she thought the busiest places were the ones serving more traditional breakfast food. There were long lines for things like sausage, eggs, bacon, and of course coffee.
She joined the end of the line of the popcorn stand, which was doing some decent business but the wait wouldn’t be crazy. Long enough to peruse the menu of popcorn, which was longer than she expected. “Wow, that’s a lot of different types of popcorn. Chocolate covered kettle corn? That sounds like a dessert. Might be fun. What do you think, savory or sweet? Or a bit of both?”
Isabelle directed the question at Jeremy. Apparently they were going to have popcorn for breakfast together in an airport. It was an odd turn of events, she supposed, but she didn’t mind the company.
Jeremy took her outstreched hand and shook it, instantly more comfortable.
[+indigo "I'm Jeremy,"] Jeremy replied. [+indigo "I was thinking of maybe getting some popcorn--I saw a stand over that way."] Jeremy waved a hand in the general direction of which he remebered the popcorn stand. [+indigo "It said it was gourmet popcorn, which sounded interesting--oh wait, it's morning isn't it? So, breakfast time, I guess. I don't know, what do you want to eat?"
Apparently he wasn’t interested in getting his phone fully charged. Either way was fine with her. Isabelle took her phone charger back and nodded to accept the invitation. It really was better than sitting here doing nothing,”Sure. Might as well get some breakfast.”
It felt too early for breakfast. Isabelle unplugged her cord and coiled it back up before she tucked it in a little pouch that went into her purse. Her purse had everything she needed for the trip, and just in general. She liked to be prepared. Isabelle was the sort of person who could procure a package of tissues from her magical bag when someone started crying or sneezed.
She stood up and offered her hand to shake. This was actually a good opportunity, which made her pretty happy,”I’m Isabelle, by the way. Nice to meet you. Did you have anything in particular in mind to eat? Or just whatever seems the least busy?”
They wouldn’t be the only people having the brilliant idea to grab a bite to eat while they waited for word on the flights. The restaurants in the airport were probably going to be packed.
[+indigo "That makes the both of us then,"] Jeremy replied, almost more to himself than to the girl. He tried turning on his phone again, and lo and behold, it actually turned on. Jeremy impatiently waited for it to finish booting up.
Once it was properly on, Jeremy went straight to the texting app, or whatever it was called. If this were a normal situation where it wasn't super early, and he wasn't sitting next to a strange girl, using her charger to charge his phone, he would have called his parents. Neither of them were very good with technology, and Jeremy found texting too much of a hassle. He always had so much to say, and he couldn't type very fast. Because he had already determined that texting was stupid and time-consuming, he didn't know speech-to-text was a thing. Not that that would do him any good in this scenario anyways.
Jeremy's sister was more likely to check her phone out of the four of them, so he decided to text her. [i [+indigo My flight was cancelled. They don't know when it will be back up yet. Don't worry about picking me up. Tell mom and dad when you get up. Thanks.]]
Tara was undoubtedly still sleeping, so he knew she wouldn't be responding anytime soon. He had given her enough information to deal with. After messing about a bit longer on his phone, he unplugged it from the cord and handed it back to the lady. He waited for her to take it, then asked, just a bit nervously, [+indigo "Do you wanna go get some food or something? It'll probably be a while before the flights get back up, and sitting here doing nothing for hours doesn't sound very entertaining."]
Isabelle’s smile widened while he chatted about the weather a bit. If she had to guess, she’d say he was a little nervous. Probably about the whole delay mess and having to ask a stranger about their cell phone charger. He seemed pretty nice. There were some guys that came across as creepy right away, and those guys she would have politely distanced herself from. Instead she made an attempt at continuing the small talk.
“I know, right? I’m not really used to snow.” Not sure what else to say for now, and guessing he’d be more interested in trying to get his phone on and send his message, she checked her message to her dad one last time and hit send. There, at least now her dad shouldn’t worry when he got up to come get her from the airport.
She glanced at the guy borrowing her phone charger to charge his totally dead phone before she looked at the screen on the wall with flight information. As if that would tell her anything besides that her flight was delayed. No one knew when they could leave. She realized she didn’t even know the guys name, she’d completely forgotten to ask. Would it be weird to ask now?
[+indigo "Yes, thanks,"] Jeremy breathed, a huge grin gracing his face. He sat himself down in the chair next to the lady. She was nice, really nice; by the way she answered the question, Jeremy could tell. He liked her already. After a bit of fiddling with the charger and his phone, he realized he had the thing turned upside down. He righted it as he continued the converstation. [+indigo "Yeah, it's crazy, isn't it? We have people whose job it is to tell us the weather, but we still get it wrong half the time. Most of the time it doesn't matter, but...well, I don't know much about snow, but it seems to matter quite a lot."] Jeremy paused for a moment to look at his phone. It wouldn't let him turn it on yet. He wished it would hurry up. He didn't know much about this lady, and even though he thought she was nice, he knew there were people out there who just pretended to be nice because it was what was expected. Maybe she was actually really annoyed that he asked to use her charger, but said yes anyways because it was the polite thing to do.
Or, maybe she was just a nice person who liked being helpful and was not at all concerned with the fact he was sitting right next to her, using her charger to charge his phone. Yes. Jeremy liked this possibility. This is what he decided he would believe until proven otherwise. Though he didn't know he decided it, really.
Isabelle Lamb was ready to spend another quiet Christmas at home. It would also be the first time seeing her dad since she left for college. She was a little worried about how he was doing all by himself. She talked to him pretty regularly, but she still got concerned about how he was eating and if he was cleaning the house. Isabelle had taken care of a lot of those chores when it had just been the two of them.
There were also a lot of old friends wanting to meet up over the holiday break. Isabelle had a lot of friends she talked to pretty regularly. She was often the first one they went to when something went wrong. A fight, a breakup, bad grades, or just complaining about stepping in gum. Problems big and small had people coming to her for comfort.
Hardly anyone was up this early though, unless they had flights to catch at ungodly hours too. For once her phone was pretty quiet, instead of buzzing with notifications every few seconds. As if on cue she yawned during the announcement that it was five thirty in the morning. It wasn’t like she could sleep even if she wanted to. Besides the fact that she was waiting on her flight to California, the airport was packed with other travelers. It was loud and busy, despite the fact that most people she looked at seemed about as tired as she felt, or worse.
Her phone battery wasn’t low, exactly, but Isabelle didn’t like to let it get below fifty percent. When she pulled it out to check if she’d missed any messages it was at sixty-two. That was close enough that she wanted to charge it a little while she still could. She’d deliberately chosen a seat near an outlet, and who knew when she’d next get a chance to charge her phone once they boarded. Of course she had her charger, and with her phone plugged in she was scrolling through social media for any updates she’d missed.
Somewhere in that seemingly endless scrolling there was another announcement that had her sitting in shock. [i Canceled]? Being from someplace warm like California the idea of canceling anything over snow was always something that happened somewhere else. She didn’t even live in the mountains, and that was generally the closest any snow related stuff happened. But here she was with her flight home canceled due to snow. Her dad would be at the airport waiting for her.
He might still be asleep, so she didn’t want to call. Instead she opted to text him about the delay, and promise to keep him updated. It was all she could do. It wasn’t like anyone at the airport could get flights un-canceled while the storm was still going on.
She flinched at the sound of another announcement, this time for some flight that wasn’t hers, to board. Probably the last one that could beat the storm. Bad luck that it wasn’t hers. She readjusted to sit more comfortably in her seat, not that the seats were very comfortable in any position. How people slept in them was beyond her.
Just when she was nearly done editing her message to her dad so he wouldn’t worry when he saw it someone came up and started talking to her. A guy about her age, she guessed. All she could do after several seconds of him talking was smile. It wasn’t like she’d never been approached by a stranger before who wanted to strike up a conversation, people tended to use words like ‘approachable’ to describe her. Besides, he obviously found the situation a little awkward and she didn’t want to make him feel more awkward.
“Sure,” Isabelle didn’t even have to stop and think. Of course she’d help someone out, especially if it was as simple as letting them use her phone charger,”No problem. Need to let someone know not to rush to pick you up, right? I think the snowstorm caught us all by surprise.”
She didn’t even bother to check her battery level before unplugging her phone and offering him the cable. It wasn’t like hers was anywhere close to dying, she’d be able to send her dad the message and have battery to spare while his charged a bit.
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