Chapter 8: Reunited
It was a good thing that Aileron always kept his Albatross in a state of readiness. Even so, when he took off from the small airfield he had to push the turbofan engine to it’s limit. Undoubtedly, he woke some people up as he thundered down the short runway and climbed into the inky night sky.
As soon as he had some air beneath his wings he turned and headed straight toward Elise’s hometown. Keeping a watchful eye on the sky around him, and communicating periodically with Air Traffic Control, Aileron skillfully avoided other aircraft and flew the most direct route he could safely manage.
Even though he was managing an almost straight line to the airport he wanted to land at, the flight was going to take nearly an hour. Aileron tried to keep himself calm by focusing on his flying. He didn’t use the autopilot, and even made the extra effort to use the stars to navigate. It was all he could do to avoid going nuts with worry. After what seemed like an eternity, he was finally on approach to the airport.
The L-139 touched down softly on the end of a long runway. Aileron slowed the Albatross to only fifteen MPH, turning onto a taxiway. He had never been to that airport before, and he didn’t really have a place to keep his Albatross while he went to meet Elise. He did, however, have a lot of money with him. Living as he had, he learned that if you had enough money, you could make pretty much anything happen. So, boldly, he taxied the L-139 right up to a large hanger belonging to a commuter company. Drawing a lot of attention as he did so, Aileron stopped the L-139 next to a Learjet and shut off the engine. Once the aircraft was secured, he opened up the canopy and hopped out.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” a black man wearing coveralls and holding a wrench said as he jogged over from where he had been working on a Cessna Caravan.
“Parking,” Aileron stated.
“You can’t park here, this space belongs to APS,” the man replied.
“Look, I don’t have a lot of time here. What do you say we make a deal?”
“What?” the man said incredulously.
“I’ll give you…” Aileron took a moment to pull out some money from his pocket and count it, “a thousand bucks if you’ll keep this aircraft here for just a few hours.” The man eyed Aileron suspiciously, then looked at the money, then looked around to see if anyone else was watching.
“Make it two grand and you got a deal,” he said in a low voice. A wide grin spread across Aileron’s face.
“Tell you what, here’s twenty-five hundred. Make sure no one messes with her, okay?”
“You got a deal, pal,” the man said, discreetly taking the money and pocketing it.
“Where can I rent a car?” Aileron asked.
“Hello?” a girl’s voice answered. Though it was stern, it was also soft and calming, and Aileron immediately recognized it.
“Lina, it’s me,” he replied as he carefully drove down the road in a brand new Ford Mustang. It had taken the use of a false ID stating that he was 25 years old to rent the car. It earned him some suspicious looks, but in the end he had managed to procure the vehicle.
“Sir, I recently made contact with Miss Laraway. She is unharmed.”
“Oh thank God,” Aileron said with a heavy sigh. So relieved was he that he veered off the road and almost hit a dog. “Whoa,” he started, swerving away from the clueless canine.
“Sir, are you okay?”
“Yeah, just not so great at driving these ‘land vehicles’,” Aileron replied with a heavy emphasis.
“What is your position?” Lina asked.
“Just left the airport. Where can I meet you?” he asked. Lina then gave him extremely detailed directions. In fact, they were far too detailed. In lieu of a notepad, Aileron tried his best to memorize the complex instructions. Lina talked for a full two minutes.
“…then when you make the second left turn you will notice three buildings, two of which have optimum vantage points for snipers. Rest assured that I have placed sensors in these locations and check them on a regular basis.”
“Thanks Lina. Always one step ahead, aren’t you?” Aileron replied rather dryly.
“Thank you, sir,” Lina said in dead earnest.
“Okay, I’ll be there in just a few minutes. Take care of Elise for me, okay?”
“She is in good hands, sir,” Lina replied.
After a few minutes of driving, Aileron was pulling affront the building that Lina was currently residing in. It was a nondescript apartment building that was a couple of miles away from a school that Lina was attending as part of her assignment. Aileron parked in front of the building, shut off the engine and immediately got out of the car. Locking the door with the remote key chain, Aileron left the cherry red Mustang and headed into the apartment building. As he approached the door, he heard the electronic lock release. Lina was probably watching him through a surveillance camera. Pulling the heavy door open, Aileron headed in, up two flights of stairs, and down a hall. Stopping affront apartment number 304, he anxiously knocked on the door. A moment later he heard four locks being unlatched, then the door swung open. Lina was standing there, submachinegun at the ready. She looked both ways down the hall, then up at Aileron.
“Come in, sir,” she said, standing aside so Aileron could enter. As soon as he walked in, he immediately spotted Elise sitting on the couch in the living room. She looked profoundly melancholy, and was staring at the floor in front of her, seemingly in thought. She looked over, and when she saw Aileron, her eyes lit up like the full moon. She bolted up and immediately ran toward him.
“Aile!” she said as she leaped into his arms. Caught off guard, Aileron nearly toppled over when Elise ran into him, but he managed to catch her in his arms as she wrapped hers around him. Until that night, he didn’t know just how hard Elise could squeeze.
“Elise,” Aileron said, sighing heavily in relief. It was almost as if he had been holding his breath up until this point. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“I am now,” Elise replied, burying her face in Aileron’s chest.
“Hey… what are you wearing?” Aileron asked as he looked Elise over. Normally she only dressed in skirts and dresses, but tonight she was wearing khaki colored cargo pants and a pale blue sweater. It was the first time Aileron had seen her in pants.
“Her clothes were dirty,” Lina said, “so I gave her some of mine.”
“Oh, I see,” Aileron said. Lina was a bit bigger than Elise, so her clothing fit her a bit loosely. That was a good thing, though, because the baggy pants helped hide Elise’s diaper.
“Lina’s taken good care of me,” Elise said. “She even bought me some more diapers at the pharmacy,” she giggled, “I think the cashier was more embarrassed than I was when Lina approached him so seriously.”
Aileron looked over at Lina with a smile.
“You’re probably the world’s hardest person to embarrass, Lina. I can’t even picture you blushing.”
“Sir?” Lina asked.
“Call me Aile, for crying out loud, Lina. I’m not even part of Aegis anymore, remember?”
“Yes, sir,” Lina said. Aileron let out an exasperated sigh.
“And I thought we were past this already…” he muttered.
They stayed a while. Apparently, Lina liked tea and had all sorts. Elise and Aileron talked as she prepared some for them.
“So, what happened?” Aileron asked in a concerned voice. Elise sighed.
“I told father I didn’t want the operation. He was really mad.”
“I don’t understand,” Aileron said. “It was your choice all along, wasn’t it?”
“He tried to make me go through with it and that’s when I got mad. I… I actually yelled at him. I told him that I hate him.”
“I can’t even picture you yelling like that,” Aileron replied.
“I never argued with him before, but it was clear that he only wanted me to get cured for himself. He has always been embarrassed of me, his diaper wearing daughter. All I ever wanted was him to love me, but I guess he’s just incapable of that.”
“Well, I love you with all of my heart, Elise. You can always count on me to be there for you.”
“I know. You got here so fast, too.”
“I used one of my fleet of airplanes,” Aileron smirked. “The L-139 I bought earlier in the month. Let me tell you, when I heard you were in trouble I never wanted to fly more badly in all my life.”
“I’m glad you came for me,” Elise said, then sighed, “but now what am I going to do?”
“Father paid for everything. Without the money, I can’t stay at Lighthouse much longer. I mean… I have nothing now.”
“That’s not true, you have me,” Aileron said.
“I know, but I couldn’t ask you to…”
“Look, Elise,” Aileron interrupted her, “I love you. What’s mine is yours, babe. I can cover the tuition and whatever else you need. I may have to start working again, but that just means I get to spend whole weekends flying Wraith around. Money won’t be a problem. As long as I can keep you by my side, I’ll do anything.”
“I know you will… thank you,” Elise said in a grateful, though somber, voice. Lina came walking from the kitchen, carrying two cups of tea.
“Here you are,” Lina said, setting the tea down on the coffee table affront the couch in the living room.
“Wow, Lina, you’re a pretty good hostess,” Aileron said.
“Will you be staying the night?” Lina asked.
“That’s a tempting offer, Lina, but unfortunately I don’t think I can leave my Albatross that long. We’ll have to go pretty soon, actually.”
“I see,” Lina replied, returning to the kitchen. She came back a moment later with a cup of tea for herself and sat down in an armchair. They chatted a while about various things. Lina explained her assignment, which was to guard a wealthy boy. The boy had apparently refused to go to boarding school and instead opted for a public high school. His parents had let him, but were worried enough to hire a bodyguard for when he was on campus. It was kind of overkill, but since the school had a history for violence, it made enough sense. Lina also asked how things were going at Lighthouse.
“Good,” Aileron replied. “It’s just not a party without you or Kat, though,” Aileron replied.
“Speaking of Katrina,” Lina replied. “She recently came to visit. She made a very strange request of me. She wanted me to…”
“Wait, Lina,” Aileron said, stopping her. “I think I know what you’re gonna say.”
“She wanted me to…”
“Shh!” Aileron shushed her.
“Aile?” Lina corrected.
“Understood,” Lina said.
“Tell me, though, Lina,” Aileron said as his curiosity got the better of him. “Did you?”
“I did. Though I don’t understand, because she wasn’t injured or anything of the sort.”
“Aile?” Elise curiously asked. Aileron gulped.
“I’ll explain later, babe,” Aileron said. Elise just looked at him, confused, but nodded.
About an hour later they had to leave. Elise gathered up the supplies that Lina had bought for her and put them in Aileron’s backpack.
“Thanks so much for your help, Lina. I owe you big time,” Aileron said as they headed for the door.
“It was nothing sir. Please don’t mention it.”
“Seriously, Lina. I don’t know what would’ve happened if you hadn’t been there for us. Thank you,” Aileron said. Lina was about so say something, but then unexpectedly, Aileron hugged her. Caught entirely off guard, Lina’s body became very stiff. Aileron just hugged her tighter, resting his chin on her neck.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
“Y…you’re welcome,” Lina replied.
“Ready, Elise?” Aileron asked after releasing Lina.
“Yeah. Thanks again, Lina,” Elise said with a heartfelt smile.
“You are welcome,” Lina said to Elise. “Please be safe.”
“We will,” Elise promised.
“Take care, Lina. See you soon I hope,” Aileron said.
Lina watched Aileron and Elise through the cameras she had set up around the building. Aileron opened the door to the car for Elise, then once she was in he walked around the front of the Mustang and got in the driver’s side. A moment later they drove off screen. Lina felt strange. Ever since Aileron had suddenly hugged her she felt a sort of warmth that she had never known. Also, even despite what Aileron had said earlier, she had very much so blushed when she felt his strong arms around her. It was like the gesture had unlocked something deep within her, and a lot of feelings she didn’t quite understand were coming to the surface. However, Lina didn’t know what to do with them, so instead she just concentrated on writing the week’s mission report. But the warmth didn’t fade for a long time.
Aileron was pleased to see that the deal he made with the man was still in effect by the time they got to the airport. After turning in the rental car, he and Elise made their way to where the Albatross was patiently waiting. Before they could return, Aileron had to buy some fuel. It was easy enough as the plane took the same kind of jet fuel as most commuters. Several hundred dollars of Jet-A fuel later, the Albatross was ready to sortie. They had to borrow a short ladder to get into the aircraft. Aileron, with his years of experience, didn’t need it, but Elise wasn’t an aviator. At least not yet. Once Elise was sitting in the back seat, Aileron went over a few safety procedures and whatnot. Basically, it was similar to the conversation they had the first time Elise went up in Wraith, only since it was mostly recap, it was much shorter and less severe. After that, Aileron handed Elise a helmet, which had a built-in headset, and helped her get strapped in. After she was situated, Aileron double checked to make sure the ejection seat was armed, then returned the ladder to where they found it and climbed into the front seat of his aircraft. Going through the engine-on checklist, he brought the Honeywell turbofan to life.
Elise had been mostly quiet through the whole ordeal. Even as Aileron taxied the Albatross toward the runway, she didn’t say a single thing. Aileron began to wonder if her mike was hooked up properly.
“Elise, you okay?” he asked.
“Mm hmm,” she replied softly. Aileron glanced back toward her, but couldn’t see much.
The tower instructed them to hold short of runway 3 left. Aileron sat and patiently waited for his takeoff clearance.
“I’m sorry things turned out like this,” Aileron said. They were set up with hot mikes, meaning that they would hear anything the other said. It was almost like being right next to each other. Every sound one made wouldn’t be missed by the other.
“It’s not your fault,” Elise replied.
“I know, it’s just…”
“Albatross 107 you’re clear for takeoff on runway 3 left,” the tower interrupted him. He keyed the radio.
“Roger tower,” Aileron replied, adding power. Carefully, he taxied onto and lined up with the runway. Coming to a full stop, Aileron took a look around. He didn’t notice any dangers, and was already cleared to take off. He didn’t need to worry about doing a maximum effort take off either, because this runway was much longer than the one he had taken off from. So, slowly adding power, he watched the speedometer as the aircraft gradually increased in speed. As it was her first time in an Albatross, Elise was surprised at how slow they were accelerating.
“This is different,” she said without really thinking.
“Slower than what we’re used to, huh?” Aileron said with a chuckle.
“Yeah,” Elise replied. In a few moments, they were ascending into the sky. Aileron contacted the tower one more time, and then they were free to fly to their destination.
It was a fairly clear night. The moon was looming in the distance as the Albatross soared a few hundred feet over some low clouds. Aileron kept his eyes open, continually scanning the horizon for any threats to their safety, but his mind was a long way off.
“Aile,” Elise said after a few minutes in the air.
“What’s up, babe?” Aileron replied.
“Thank you for coming for me.”
“My pleasure,” Aileron replied.
“So, where are we going now?” Elise asked.
“Our ultimate destination is the school. This aircraft has a home at a small airfield near Lighthouse, but we don’t actually have to be back on campus until Sunday night.”
“What’s wrong?” Aileron asked.
“I… I don’t want to go back to school yet.”
“Because if we go back to the campus, then we can’t be together,” Elise said. “I just want to be by you.”
“Yeah,” Aileron replied while nodding his head. “Well, if that’s how you feel then we can divert to somewhere else for a couple days.”
“We can?” Elise asked.
“Yeah,” Aileron replied. “With the fuel we have we could easily divert to Lang’s airfield.”
“Okay,” Elise said. “If you want to.”
“Yeah, let’s do it,” Aileron said with a smile.
A couple hours later they were on approach. Aileron had already contacted the tower and got approval to land. It was nice to be home, Aileron thought to himself. The landing was one of practiced grace, and before long the Albatross was sitting next to the large hanger where Wraith and the other high speed aircraft were kept.
“Are you hungry?” Aileron asked as they walked toward the apartment building near the hangers.
“Not really,” Elise said with a shrug, “you?”
“Nah,” Aileron replied. “Ate dinner with Arnold and Rachael. Heh, you should have seen the look on Arnold’s face when I told him I was leaving.”
“What did you tell him?” Elise asked.
“Just that you were in trouble, and that I’d explain someday.”
“I hope so. I don’t like lying to my friends.”
“So,” Aileron changed the subject, “what do you want to do?”
“Anything, so long as you’re there,” Elise said with a smile.
“That can be arranged,” Aileron replied. He looked at his watch. It was already well passed midnight. To accentuate his point, he yawned.
“Tired?” Elise asked.
“Yeah, it was a long day today. Arnold wanted to race again. I swear that kid is just too fast. It’s not natural.”
“If you’re saying that, he must’ve won,” Elise said with a smile.
“Yeah…” Aileron said in defeat. “What can I say? He’s a fast runner. I will smoke him in air-to-air combat, though.”
“Let’s go to sleep, Aile,” Elise suggested. “I’m really tired too. It was a hard night.”
“Yeah…” Aileron agreed somberly.
“It’s cold,” Elise said, hugging herself as she sat down on the edge of Aileron’s bed.
“Yeah, the insulation is sub par. I’ll keep you warm, though.”
“Promise?” Elise asked with a smile.
“Promise,” Aileron affirmed. He took off his jacket and threw it over the back of a chair, then bent down to take off his shoes. Elise did likewise, then just let herself fall backward onto the bed.
“Mmm, so tired,” she said, curling into the fetal position. Aileron kicked off his other shoe.
“Mind if I join ya there?”
“Please,” Elise said. She rolled over to the other side of the bed, and with a shiver resumed her curled up position, though this time facing away from Aileron. As she curled up, he could hear her diaper crinkling under the cargo pants. Also, when she laid like that he could see the outline of the thickly padded diaper when the material was pulled taut. Aileron smiled, walked toward the bed, and sat down. He turned and with his right hand patted Elise’s bottom.
“Hey,” Elise asked, “what are you doing back there?”
“I can see your diaper when you lay like that. It’s pretty loud when you move around, too.”
“Lina picked them out herself,” Elise said with a little laugh. “At least it probably won’t leak very easily.”
“This is true,” Aileron said. “Speaking of which…?”
“I’m fine right now. Besides, it’s too cold to change. It wasn’t this cold last time,” she complained.
“I know, babe. Last time I was living here though. I’ve been at Lighthouse for a while and the heater hasn’t been used since the semester started. It gets pretty cold in these parts, especially at night.”
“So, about that promise?”
“You said you’d keep me warm,” Elise meekly reminded him.
“Oh, yeah,” Aileron replied. He grabbed a blanket from the foot of the bed and laid down. As soon as he was supine, Elise rolled over and snuggled up against him. Aileron spread the blanket over them and got an arm around Elise, pulling her close to him. Reaching over, he clicked off the lamp. Since the last time he and Elise had been here, Aileron had installed a small night light for Elise’s sake.
“Thanks for that,” Elise said when she noticed it.
“No problem, babe,” Aileron said, then sighed; it felt really good to be lying next to her again. Slowly, his eyes closed and he began to drift off to sleep. He was quite tired, and sleep was welcomed.
But it seemed that Elise had other plans.
Just as Aileron was losing consciousness, Elise moved. She pushed herself up, brushing her hair out of her face with one hand. Aileron’s eyes opened again, and he saw Elise’s face hovering over his own.
“Babe?” Aileron said, but before he got a response Elise lowered herself down and kissed him right on his lips. His eyes went wide with surprise, but he soon gave himself over and returned the gesture. After a moment, Elise pulled away. Aileron took a deep breath and smiled up at her as she looked down on him. Only, the look that she gave him was something he had never seen from her. She looked almost troubled, but there was a strange glint in her eyes. Aileron was about to ask what was the matter, when Elise suddenly got up on her knees. She shifted her weight as she lifted one of her legs over him and came to a rest on his abdomen, straddling him.
“Elise…” Aileron began to say, but she bent forward and again kissed him, silencing his attempt at conversation.
Aileron’s heart was racing.
What is she doing? Aileron asked himself as he felt his eyes involuntarily close as she kissed him somewhat forcibly.
Are we really ready for this? Is this what she really wants?
Elise again broke off. She let herself down onto his chest and hugged him tightly. Her whole body pressed against his, Aileron could feel her unsteady breathing and rapid heartbeat. He could also feel her warmth, and the bulk of her diaper pressed against his lap. It was warm, and soft. His body was beginning to react against his will. Elise raised her head and tenderly kissed his neck, then she rose up and placed a hand on his forehead, lovingly running her fingers through his hair. Aileron’s self-control was close to relenting; it wasn’t that he wanted things to go like this under the circumstances, but it was just that Elise’s advances were seriously eroding his will to resist. Her gentle, yet aggressive touch and the warmth of her closeness, it was too much for him to handle. Then, suddenly, he felt something wet hit his face. Then again, another drop of warm water wet his cheek, sliding down his face like a tear.
A tear… she’s crying?
“Elise?” Aileron asked, looking up at her. In the low light, it was nearly impossible to see her features. However, he could see tears glistening as they fell from her chin onto his face, neck and chest. She sobbed.
“Aile…” she said, her voice broken. She brought a hand up to her face and covered her eyes, fighting her emotions. Unsure of what to say or do, Aileron lifted a hand to her cheek, caressing it lightly. The feelings from before had been completely replaced by concern when that first tear landed upon his face. Without warning, Elise suddenly grasped his hand with both of hers. Holding his hand against her cheek, Elise collapsed into pained wails. Startled, Aileron reached forward with his other arm and coaxed her down into his embrace.
“Elise… it’s okay… everything is okay,” he said softly as he held her closely.
“A…a…” she tried to talk through her sobs, but couldn’t even manage to say his name. Aileron was genuinely afraid. He had seen her cry a number of times, but never like this. It was as if she was in unimaginable pain, and even his loving embrace couldn’t comfort her. In all his life, he had never felt so helpless as he did then.
“Elise…” he said her name. He wasn’t sure what else to say. And he was again startled, but this time by the sound of his own breaking voice.
Damn it, now I’m crying, Aileron lamented internally. Elise clung to him tightly as she cried her heart out. As the minutes went on, and only the sounds of their overflowing emotions filled the otherwise silent room, Elise’s sobs became weaker and weaker, until she finally cried herself right to sleep. Aileron managed to calm down when her breathing became steady, and just held her while looking up at his ceiling.
Now that he thought about it, Elise had just been too calm ever since they met up earlier in the evening. A lot had happened to her and she had been merely down about it. Aileron sighed. He should have realized that she was hurting inside. Her arousal, and advances, were probably just the only way she could express such strong emotions. Or maybe she just had a longing desire to feel even closer to him than before. She would be relying on him now, after all. In any case, she was probably just as confused as he was.
A little while passed. Elise, deprived of energy, soundly slept atop him. Aileron held her as he deeply contemplated what had happened, and what was to come. Eventually he joined her in a deep slumber that lasted until the late morning.