Enjoy the latest installment of “Discussion of Differences.”
Anabelle went first.
“So, of course y’all know that Bill and I are getting married. We’re thinking about sometime next year. And it wouldn’t be a happy wedding without all four of you being a part of it. So, the question is, how will this affect our European adventure?”
Everyone sighed, with Bill the loudest.
Bethany spoke up next.
“No worries. Actually, your wedding is a good sign, I think. Because of the wedding, it will give all of us more time to plan this grand adventure of ours, and definitely more working time to save as much money as possible.”
Hunter nodded in agreement. So did Will. Only Lisanna looked worried.
Hunter squeezed Lisanna’s shoulder.
“What’s wrong, birdy?”
Everyone immediately said “Aww” at the nickname, which helped.
Lisanna swallowed. This was the first time she had braved to address the whole group.
“I’m just freaked out because I’m the youngest. I don’t have anything lined up yet for when I leave LT in December. That is, if I actually leave LT …”
Her voice quivered and trailed off. Hunter kissed her temple and rubbed her shoulder.
“Birdy, it’s alright – I promise. No one here expects you to have a job as soon as you leave LT. And, you will be leaving in December – We’re all sure of it. Right, guys?”
Lisanna smiled through her tear-filled eyes. She wiped at them, clearly embarrassed.
“I just want to be able to contribute. I’m so excited about this. I think this whole Europe thing, plus Bill and Anabelle getting married, are signs of hope.”
Hunter looked puzzled. “Hope?”
Lisanna nodded. “I’ve been so depressed recently. Lost, almost. That’s why I didn’t want you come down and stay with me last night. I wanted to sort out my thoughts and feelings before coming here today. It helped, but I’m worried about our relationship. What girl wants to be alone when your boyfriend is practically begging to come see you?”
Bethany and Anabelle had to quickly contain their laughter.
“Lizzy, you’re not alone! It’s completely normal. Trust us.”
Bill and Will immediately exchanged glances of pure bewilderment. At that, everyone busted out laughing.
Bethany and Anabelle tried to figure out who was going to speak first.
“It’s true though. You can look as bewildered as you want. We love you, Will and Bill, but there are days and nights where we just need some peace and quiet. Everyone needs some time alone. Everyone.”
At that, Will and Bill just shrugged their shoulders; that was the universal signal to move on.
The three girls then, at that moment, felt more united than ever. Before now, Lisanna felt somewhat left out. She was the youngest out of everyone, and not nearly as close to the rest of the group. But because of all these emotions and honesty, it seemed that everyone was going to get along just fine.
They continued to informally plan throughout the course of that Saturday. Bethany felt like the expert of the group, having traveled both over and through Europe in three different round-trips between the ages of 12 and 19. But she tried not to act like a hot shot. She wanted everyone to feel like they were equal participants. After all, this adventure could possibly turn into something more permanent.
By the end of the evening, things started to come out of their heads and onto paper. Through all the scribbles and doodles, it seemed like one thing was clear: The six wanted to traverse as much as of the continent as they possibly could. Nearly every country was listed. There weren’t reasons for everything; it was more of a wish list. The beginning was the simplest – Fly from the U.S. into one of the England airports and start the adventure there.
Amidst all the discussion, Hunter got an idea. It was something he had mentioned, albeit briefly, to Bethany on the FlixelFlaxen. He had gotten the feeling that Bethany had glossed over it though, so he figured it was worth mentioning to the entire group.
All chatter ceased and each head swiveled in his direction.
Hunter cleared his throat. “I was thinking about living arrangements – What if we stumble upon a castle?”
The only response Hunter got was the ear-to-ear grins on everyone’s faces.
As the so-called resident expert on the continent, Bethany was quickly dubbed the de facto leader of the expedition. She knew, from previous experience, that everyone was going to go a lot smoother if she started to delegate, right from the get-go.
While everyone continued to talk with subdued excitement, she began formulating this plan in her head, and drafting notes in the little pink notebook that never left her purse. She immediately designated a page for each of the six of them. She started listing qualities – Both good and bad.
Within minutes, the delegation was nearly complete. She wanted each person to be solely responsible for at least one thing, but then everything else be more of a team effort. No one could wipe the smile off her face as she jotted down notes in her looping cursive.
Since Hunter had mentioned castles, she marked him down as being charge of living arrangements – Both temporary and potentially permanent.
Since Bill had worked in a supermarket for many years prior, Bethany knew he was the expert on food and groceries.
For Will, she immediately put down everything design-wise. What Will did with that task was completely up to him; she had the ultimate confidence that he would help design the near-perfect European adventure, as well as be excellent at marketing it to the group.
Lisanna and Anabelle were the only ones left. Bethany purposely wanted to assign tasks to the boys first – They were far less complicated. She wanted to give more thought and care to the girls – Emotions and all.
Bethany started to consider their foreign language experiences at LT. She herself had suffered through Spanish, as did Hunter. Anabelle was the resident expert on all things German, so that made it a little easier. Lisanna was Hispanic, but Bethany didn’t know how fluent she truly was. She also wanted to consult Will and Bill. Everyone had to have taken at least one foreign language throughout high school and college, no matter where they attended. Fortunately, English was a shoo-in.
Anabelle had an extensive travel history, so Bethany decided to put her in charge of the overall itinerary.
The main question was Lisanna. Bethany knew better than to call her out in front of the whole group, so she wanted to take a more subtle route.
She could go through Hunter, but that wouldn’t be fair to either of them. Besides, the whole point of this idea was to get closer as a quasi-family unit, right?
Bethany ripped a page out of the notebook and feverishly scribbled a note:
I’m so happy that you’re on board with this whole adventure thing!
I want to get to know you better. I want to become good friends with you, first of all. Also, I want to find out how you can best contribute to our expedition.
Let’s chat, one-on-one, a little later, before we all part ways. I’ll give you my number too.
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂