Isabella made it to the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix in one flight and as soon as she got off of the plane with her carry-on luggage, she headed down to the baggage claim to get the rest of her belongings. While she waited for the luggage to get onto the carousel, she called her parents to let them know she landed and that she was safe. She then called her aunt to let her know she had arrived and was waiting for her luggage. After a brief conversation she hung up with her aunt and looked for her checked bag since they had started to come up the belt. As soon as she saw hers, she made her way next to the carousel and went to grab it, but someone else had already grabbed it for her.
“Thank you.” She politely said as she looked up. “Brian? What are you doing here?”
“Nick had this crazy idea of coming here.” Brian answered, slightly embarrassed. “It’s just Leighanne, Baylee, Nick and myself.”
“I am, for some reason, a bit uncomfortable with this.”
“Why’s that?” He asked curious of her statement.
“Well, for one thing, he’s dating Emily. It just doesn’t feel right that he pretty much just followed me to Arizona.” She stated as they walked over to where Leighanne and Baylee were waiting.
“Hi Isabella!” Baylee greeted.
“Hello Baylee.” She replied with a smile. “Hi Leighanne. Where’s Nick?” she asked.
“He’s hiding.” Baylee answered her with a small giggle.
Isabella looked down at him and then up to Brian puzzled.
“He’s not sure how you were going to react to seeing him in the airport.” Leighanne answered.
“Are you mad that we’re here?” Brian asked her.
“Not sure. I can’t stop you three from any family time you have, but Nick really shouldn’t have followed me. He has a girlfriend who I talk to on Twitter and Skype. I like Emily.”
“We’ve tried to tell him that it was a bad idea, but he just wouldn’t listen.”
Isabella looked at Leighanne and then Brian and was quiet for a little while.
“He does realize, though, that I have this entire week pretty much booked, right?”
“Yeah, we all know that, but aren’t you supposed to go to the OK Corral Monday or Tuesday?”
She looked at Brian and he grinned.
“What are you planning?”
“I’m not planning anything.” Brian replied trying to sound serious, but his lack of being able to keep a straight face gave him away. “Okay, so what if we happen to meet up with you, Rebecca and your other friend when you go there? Maybe it wouldn’t be so tense.” He suggested. “All you need to do is let us know which day you’re going without giving any clues away to your friends, and act surprised when you see us.”
Isabella contemplated that for a moment.
“That could work.” She stated. “I’ll text you sometime tomorrow. I’ll see Rebecca at the birthday party, I think. If not at her place.”
“Now that that’s all settled,” Leighanne started, “I think we should part ways. We need to find Nick and you should go to your aunt’s house.” She added. “We’ll tell Nick the plan and to act like we didn’t run into you here.” She finished.
They agreed and said their goodbyes. Isabella arranged her luggage so she could handle them better as she walked and then proceeded to the waiting area for the rental car facility’s shuttle. After getting her car she headed for I-10 East to the exit she had to take to get to her aunt’s house in Chandler. She made it to her aunt's house and was greeted by her cousin Doug, his fiancee Denise and their (rat of a) dog, Gizmo, who was a little black Chihuahua. He greeted her by growling at her.
“Shut up Gizmo!” Isabella yelled as she opened the trunk. The little dog barked at her as a reply. Isabella let him sniff her hand and then she picked him up. “You’re a putz!” She said and then put him down.
“A Caliber, again?” Doug asked as he quickly gave her a hug.
“Yeah, but at least this time it has an Arizona plate.” She joked as she heaved her suitcase out of the trunk being careful not to damage the car.
“Pack enough stuff?” Denise joked as Doug took the suitcase from Isabella. Denise then gave her a hug too.
“I always overpack just in case.” Isabella answered with a smile. “Has anyone told Anthony that I was coming? I know I never did.”
“I’m not sure. Arleen may have.”
Isabella took her smaller suitcase and book bag and headed into the house with Denise as she carried Gizmo. Doug brought her suitcase into the guest room and got his 11 year old daughter, Jessica, out from her room.
“Hey Aunt Arleen!” Isabella greeted her aunt who was bound to a wheelchair. She gave her a small hug and kissed her on the cheek. “How are you?”
“Good, how was your flight?”
“Better than last time. Apparently we hit some turbulence, but I didn’t know. I was out like a light.” She answered as Jessica came into the room.
“Isabella!” She said excitedly as she hugged her. “I’m so happy you’re here. Now we can go out to lunch.”
“We thought you’d be hungry. Kate and Anthony agreed to meet up with us wherever we decide to go.” Doug explained. “They had dinner plan, so lunch was the next choice.”
“Ah, I see.” Isabella commented. She wasn’t going to argue because she was hungry. “Let me freshen up and then we can go.” She said with Jessica still hugging her. “You kinda have to let go of me, Jess.”
Isabella brought her other bags into the room she would be staying in while at her aunt’s house. She used the bathroom to freshen up and fix her hair, and then she headed into the kitchen where everyone was waiting.
“Ready?” Doug asked her.
“I’m riding with Isabella!” Jessica yelled.
“Uh, Jess, we can all fit in one car.” Denise commented.
“It’s okay, Denise. I can drive too.” Isabella stated. “Besides I wanted to drive around. Jess can come and keep me company.”
Denise smiled and looked at Doug, who just shrugged.
“All right people, let’s go!” Arleen commented.
Doug and Denise went out through the garage while Arleen was pushed by Jessica out the front door. Isabella followed and locked up. Jessica wheeled her grandmother to Doug at the car that was parked in the driveway and then met Isabella by her car where Isabella was waiting.
“Where do you want to go?” Doug yelled to Isabella.
“Doesn’t matter. I’ll eat practically anywhere.” She yelled back.
After they got Arleen into the car, they themselves got in and Doug backed out. Isabella put her car in drive and followed him.
“So, how have you been?” Isabella asked her (second) cousin.