The next few days were a blur. While Javi was at work, Kepa and Maite continued to explore downtown and the beach. They went for a few short hikes in the local parks. However, they most enjoyed the evenings, when Javi was back and Julie joined them. One night, they watched a movie together; another, they played board games. It was nice to just get to know them better, and Maite was grateful for the down time.
Soon, it was time to fly back to Bilbao. Maite had been able to get their flights changed so that they were leaving out of Santa Barbara. They had returned their rental car and Javi and Julie had picked them up to take them to the airport. Javi had parked his car and was leading them into the departures area.
“Wow!” said Maite. “It’s even smaller than Bilbao’s airport!”
Javi chuckled. “LAX is pretty close and, since you have to stop somewhere if you leave here anyways, a lot of people just drive to Los Angeles. It’s almost faster, with the extra security and all.”
“But those lines!” exclaimed Julie. “They are horrendous down there!”
Maite and Kepa got their boarding passes and checked their luggage.
“Thanks so much, for everything!” said Maite as she gave Javi a big hug. “I can’t wait to return the hospitality.”
“We look forward to showing off the Basque Country to you,” said Kepa as he similarly embraced Julie.
“I look forward to it!” said Julie.
Maite and Kepa waved as they headed toward security.
“See you soon!” exclaimed Maite.
The flight back home, though long, was uneventful. Maite couldn’t believe how much she had wanted normalcy and boring, after so many months in that boarding house. After watching both Blas and Kepa die. After being chased by de Lancre. She put on her headphones and plugged into some random movie.
It took almost a full twenty-four hours, but finally they were home.
“Glad I don’t have to do that very often,” said Kepa, looking over at Maite as they waited to get off the plane.
“Agreed,” sighed Maite, “but if I do get the position at Berkeley, I guess I’ll be doing it more often.”
“We’ll be doing it, you mean,” added Kepa.
Maite squeezed his hand. “Bai, guk.” She smiled.
They got off the plane. They grabbed their suitcases off of the carousel and passed through the doors into the spacious arrival hall. Kepa had left his car in the long-term parking, as they didn’t want to deal with the public transit system after such a long flight. Maite was relieved they had thought ahead. The last thing she wanted to do was deal with buses and trains.
They were about to head down the escalator to the exit and parking when Maite exclaimed “Begira! Look!” She was pointing at the end of the hall.
Kepa looked over and saw another bright white light, floating in the air.
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