Chapter One: All Aboard the Flight of Broken Dreams
"Jasper!" my older brother Dalton called, "Jasper over here!" He flailed his arms about to catch my attention.
At that very moment, I wish I could just turn around and board a plane back to Florida. I didn't want to do this.
I turned around uneasily and saw him darting towards me. I almost didn't know who he was. He was…different. Dalton was so tall, so muscular, and so…pale. The only way I could tell it was him was because of that million-dollar smile of his.
He embraced me in a giant bear hug and kissed my forehead, "Good grief Jazzy, you're beautiful! What are you now, fourteen?" He beamed with happiness.
Dalton hadn't called me 'Jazzy' since I was about four years old. He had about eight years on me, so things weren't as tense growing up. Dalton loved me more than any brother could have. He was kind, sweet, funny, nice, and protective. I was his little princess, his little Jazzy.
But as Dalton sprouted into his teen years, he began to lash out: bringing home different girls every week, getting into drugs and alcohol, and most importantly, partying 24/7.
My parents didn't know how to react, so they did what any parents would do. They punished him: groundings, jail time, and rehab; almost anything to clean him up. But nothing worked; Dalton was still coming home wasted every day, swearing off the folks.
When Dalton was seventeen and myself nine, the line was finally crossed. Dalton totaled our parent's car and refused to pay for the damages. They had a blowout fight. I watched him leave our quaint Miami home, my young mind wondering when he'd come back.
"Sixteen. I'm sixteen, Dalton." I raised my eyes from the floor to meet his.
"Oh. I knew that. Well, let's help you with that trunk, looks awfully heavy." He picked it up without hesitation
I looked at my enormous gray trunk, in his strong arms, stuffed with about every item I owned. Even if I was just staying for the month of August, I had no idea what Manhattan was like. I needed clothing options. I had no idea what such a fast-paced city would be like.
"Jeez Jazzy, this thing weighs a ton. I guess my baby sister is quite the fashionista." He winked.
"Guess that's what you could call me." I chuckled weakly.
From that point I could tell that Dalton had changed, a lot. He was a new peppy-perky self, full of corny jokes and clean fun. Made my stomach churn a bit. I guess I could be happy he wasn't totally wasted picking me up.
As we went out into the parking lot, Dalton pulled out the keys to a shiny, red convertible.
"Nice car." I mumbled, gazing at its expensiveness.
He smiled, "You think? You should see under the hood. Beautiful."
Like I cared.
He threw my trunk in the backseat and slid into the driver's seat. I awkwardly clambered into the passenger's side and strapped myself in.
Dalton revved up the car, and the radio started to blare. I plugged my ears awkwardly and winced.
"Sorry Jazzy." Dalton fumbled to turn it off, his cheeks red.
As we sped down out of the parking lot and towards Manhattan, Dalton turned to me and smiled, "I've missed you, sis."
"I missed you too." I said shyly. I actually had missed him, until about a few months ago.
"Yvonne is so excited to meet you. She's been boasting for weeks. She's planning this party for you and invited a bunch of people." Dalton shook his head in happiness.
I groaned. That's the exact reason I had stopped missing Dalton. Yvonne.
She was Dalton's fiancée, and apparently, they're soul mates. Apparently, they had spiritual connection that bonded them as one. And apparently, they had "sewed and glued themselves into one person".
Now that just sounds painful.
I didn't even know about Yvonne until May. That was the first time Dalton had gotten had gotten in contact with us since he had left. He just left a message on the machine explaining how he was currently living in Manhattan and was engaged.
He said that he wanted me, and only me, to fly up and stay with him in the month of August so I would not only be able to attend the wedding, but get to know Yvonne as well. The wedding was August 30th. I was to fly up August 1st. He'd pay for everything. But he clearly stated he did not want my parents coming whatsoever.
At first, I was excited. I missed Dalton. I wondered about him all the time. But then it hit me that he had a new girl in his life, and I was number two. I suddenly didn't want to go. I tried to convince my parents, but they were sold on the idea that I could persuade him to let them come to his wedding.
It made me want to disappear.
"Great. That's great." I nodded and looked out the window.
I had so many questions to ask him. So many things I have wondered about for years. But I didn't have the nerve to ask. I swallowed them down because all I could think about was Yvonne.
I felt the car slow down. We had hit traffic. I'd heard about New York traffic, but never thought much of it.
It took two awkward, icebreaker question filled hours to go about four miles. I was about to jab my eyes out.
Dalton speared me with those awkward, "So how's school? Got any girlfriends? Play any sports? Got a man? How's the weather?" kind of questions. I gave him one word replies, "Fine. Yeah. Gymnastics. No. Fine."
It was endless.
When we finally to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I was exhausted. Exhausted from the packing, exhausted from the flight, exhausted from traffic, and most definitely exhausted of Dalton's prodding questions. I wanted a nap.
Dalton pulled into a parking garage right across from where he lived.
"This is it Jazzy, le home de Dalton, and Yvonne, of course. Just go inside past the lobby and into the elevator. Swipe the key and go to the top floor. Yvonne said she'd be outside, so you can't miss our place." He handed me a swipe key and then turned back to grabbing luggage.
"Thanks, Dalton." I saluted him, key in hand, and walked inside.
It was a palace. Everything looked as if it cost about $1,000. I immediately felt out of place. I rushed into the elevator, not even glancing around for another second.
I closed the door. My head was spinning. How did Dalton have this much money? I looked panel of the elevator and swiped the key. I watched a green light pop on, so I pressed the highest floor, Floor 31.
On my ride up, I paused to think of the things I could talk about with Yvonne:
1. the weather
2. my flight
5. New York
7. the wedding
9. how much I hated her
10. the summer
I had only gotten to ten by the time I heard the final 'DING!' of the
elevator. The doors opened slowly and I swallowed hard. I stepped out and looked around.
"Jasper!" a strange voice called.
I whipped around and winced.
It was her.