At 4:00 AM, Amber went to the guest rooms. “Wake up! Wake up! Come on ladies! Wake up!!”
Prudence, Ellowyne, and Lizette groaned. Why get up so early?
“It will give you plenty of time to shower, dry your hair, and put on some makeup. Marisol is making a wonderful breakfast and she will serve it at 5:00 AM sharp. You do not want to miss her sourdough waffles,” Amber stated. “Besides, you can sleep on the plane.”
Once they were ready, Pru, Liz, and Ellowyne dragged themselves to the breakfast table. They greeted the Stanhopes and perked up when they saw the delicious food Marisol had prepared. Her waffles alone were worth getting up so early. She put a variety of fresh fruits on the table and made mimosas. Marisol even baked some cookies, granola, and muffins to take on their trip.
After breakfast, the Stanhopes ushered the women into their limousine, and they all rode to the airport. They were staying at the same resort to be there in case anyone needed them but vowed to not intrude on the girls or interfere with their fun. Once they were settled in and the plane was cleared for takeoff, Prudence and Lizette dozed off in their seats, leaving Amber and Ellowyne awake to talk.
Amber asked, “You doing okay, Ellowyne? You’re so quiet—much quieter than usual.”
“I guess I miss Rufus,” Ellowyne admitted. “I wish he was with us but he’s helping his advisor with that statistics software. It’s what he wants to do and it should help him get admitted to graduate school. His advisor thinks he could do a PhD. So I hope he gets a lot done over break. Maybe his schedule might be somewhat normal when he’s finished.”
“You know what?” Amber whispered. “I wish Penn was here.”
Ellowyne’s mouth was agape. “Are you and Penn dating?”
“Please don’t tell Pru or Liz, but we’re seeing each other casually. We just started talking one day, after we’d all gone out for coffee and cupcakes. Then we went to a movie and a game and started hanging out. I know Liz and Pru are interested in him, too, and neither of us wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. So we’re keeping it on the down-low for now. We can’t see each other that often because he’s so busy with school. He has a full load of classes and clinicals and he has to keep up his GPA or he could get expelled from the program. If he gets more than 3 C’s, he’s out.”
“Ohmygosh,” Ellowyne said. “That kind of pressure would have to be intense.”
Amber nodded. “It’s crazy. And the worst thing is that Penn procrastinates. He does his work at the very last minute. Maybe he gets an adrenaline rush. I mean, he’s used to intense situations. When he was in the Army, he was on alert all the time. It could be the middle of the night when he’d get called in to triage patients or take care of them in a makeshift hospital. When he was finished with his tours of duty—I think he had been deployed three, maybe four times—he thought about re-enlisting but his chaplain talked him out of it. The chaplain said that Penn was becoming a combat junkie and needed to take some time to be a civilian. The Army would be there if and when he decided to make it his career. The chaplain wrote one of the letters of recommendation for Penn when he decided to go to nursing school. You know, I think the chaplain was right. Penn is a thrill-seeker and enjoys things that most cautious souls would avoid.”
“Do you remember that time we all of us went to Disneyland? Penn was the first one in line for Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain railroad, and Splash Mountain,” Ellowyne commented. “And when he was done with a ride, he’d get in line to go again. Rufus did Space Mountain and that was enough for him.”
“Hmmm. I recall that you didn’t ride very many rides. You stayed behind with Rufus.” Amber asked, “Were the two of you making out while everyone else was on the rides?”
Ellowyne grinned. “I never kiss and tell. But back to Penn! You know how he tries to convince Rufus to do stuff with him, even though Rufus is cautious and not all that interested in physical activity.”
Amber smirked, then snickered. “I guess that would depend on what the physical activity was!”
Ellowyne blushed and chuckled.
Amber went on. “I wonder what the guys will do when we’re away. Penn’s supposed to work on his paper, but he’ll probably wait until Friday to do it.”
“Rufus wants to wrap up the work he’s doing with his advisor. I hope Penn doesn’t distract him too much,” Ellowyne replied.
Eventually Amber and Ellowyne got drowsy and leaned back in their seats to take catnaps without cats.