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Alexander was going through the pre-launch checklist. His dark eyes took in every detail carefully.
Delaney wanted him to take her in his arms before he left. She may never see him again, and he didn’t even know how she felt about him.
Just as he leaned in for a kiss, the buzzer started to go off.
She had been dreaming. It was morning and time for her training run.
Delaney met Alexander outside for the walk to school. There was so much to talk about, but they didn’t know what to say to each other. They were graduating this month, and her aunt and his mom were throwing a black and white party to celebrate Delaney’s inaugural launch, the launch of the first amateur spacecraft. Earhart was becoming reality.
“There’s something I need to tell you,” Alexander started. But then he changed his mind. “Never mind,” he said. “It isn’t important.”
The day of the launch party arrived. Bella Goth and Aunt Cacey had arranged for everything, and the Oasis Springs press would even have a representative present. Cacey had made sure only one member of the press would be there; she didn’t want it turning into a three-ring circus.
As the guests started to arrive, Bella asked Cacey if there had been any word from her agency about banning the amateur launch, but Cacey said, no, it seemed like Delaney would be allowed to go ahead. The agency had even sent a representative, Itzel Blount, to oversee the launch.
Alexander expressed his worry that Delaney shouldn’t be allowed to risk her life like this, and was quickly dismissed by Ms. Blount, the agency representative. In the past few months, every facet of the rocket had been checked by the space agency and determined that her amateur mission to launch into low earth orbit and circle the earth once, was a Go.
That did not stop Mortimer, Alexander’s cautious father, from voicing his own concerns to Delaney.
When he left, Delaney turned and asked Alexander straight out, “Don’t you want me to live my dream? Don’t you trust me?”
In reply, Alexander took her hands in his. He looked earnestly into her eyes.
“Come with me,” he said.
“I trust you,” he said as he leaned close to her. “I don’t want you to go.”
Delaney threw herself at Alexander.
He didn’t seem to know how to catch her; he liked things planned and orderly, and this kiss was a mess.
Alexander was still wondering what to do, when Cacey came out to check if Delaney was getting suited up soon.
Cacey went back inside, and Delaney pulled herself away from Alexander.
For a moment, they stood and looked at the ship that would carry Delaney into the upper atmosphere, to circle the earth, and then return. Then Cacey went inside to suit up.
As Cacey and Bella, and the rest of the crowd watched, Delaney came out to board her rocketship.
Cacey felt that this had to be a surreal dream; it wasn’t real. She wished that Barnaby could see this; but he had died of old age, just weeks before.
Delaney looked straight ahead, and would have boarded without looking back.
But then she remembered Bella and Cacey had told her to remember this was an epic day for the family and for Oasis Springs, so she turned and gave a farewell.
Most of the crowd backed up to the street as she prepared for lift-off. They preferred not to be incinerated.
However, the blast radius was pretty small, as Delaney had predicted, and the house was not burned up.
93 minutes later, and without incident, Laney’s feet were back on solid ground.
I’m so sad that Barnaby passed on, but he lived a long life. I didn’t get a notice from the game that he was gone, but he just stopped coming by and wasn’t available anymore to invite to the party. When I checked, he was gone.
Barnaby, I will miss you as much as Maddi!
I love this picture of Delaney, but didn’t know how to work it in to the story.