We rose slowly at first then gained more height as we lifted over the other balloons. We paid for a half hour flight. Just long enough to grab some great pictures. Abbe was interested in all the balloons, where as I was more interested in the pilot, Nick. We chatted the whole half hour and I made sure I even got a few pictures in my camera. It didn't matter... Abbe and I always shared our pictures anyway. She took one of me and Nick, and he took a few of us two girls. He made us promise to send him copies and gave us his e-mail address after he landed the balloon. We were safe on the ground and I breathed a sigh of relief.
When Abbe and I got home the first thing we did was turn on the computer so we could upload our pictures. We were so excited. I had done some video when we were up in the balloon and Nick was the dreamiest sight of all. I wasn't sure if he would respond to my e-mail but I did promise to send him some pictures so I did. We printed out a few of our favorite photographs and I posted a few on Facebook. The one of Nick and I got hung on my bulletin board as well as the one of me and Abbe. And then I waited for a response.
Nick e-mailed me back that night and thanked me for the pictures. He even asked me out on a date. I said yes, of course. I e-mailed him my phone number and he called me right away. We made plans to meet the next night at his balloon. He wanted to take me up on a night ride. "You won't be sorry... the world's a nicer place in my beautiful balloon," he said. I reminded him of my fear of heights and we both laughed. He assured me I was safe. "Don't forget your camera" were the last words he said to me as he ended the call.
The next day my stomach was all in knots. I still didn't know whether Nick was playing me for a fool or was really interested in me. I've met guys like him before at other events... out for one night stands and more notches on their belts of women conquered. It was hard to trust sometimes, but I couldn't let that stop me. "At least I'll get a free ride." I giggled to myself.
Night time came quickly and Abbe gave me a kiss on the cheek as I walked to the door. "Remember big sis... I'll be home if you need me. If the date turns out to be a dud... just call me!" She gave me her stern 'mother' look and I nodded ok as I hurried out the door.
It took me a while to find a parking spot. I was surprised the fair grounds were so busy. I never thought night ballooning was that popular. The sky glowed a deep yellow with fires from all the colorful balloons. Night ballooning was more spectacular than day time ballooning. I could tell already and I was glad I had said yes to the date. This was going to be a magical journey for me, I was sure of it.
I found Nick waiting for me with open arms. He gave me a kiss on the cheek and helped me into the gondola. He seemed happy to see me and he could tell I was nervous. "You will see... the world? It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon. You don't even notice the height at night," he was trying to be comforting and supportive but I was still scared. "Oh... good... I see you remembered to bring your camera," he said as I handed him my bag. He made sure I was settled and handed me a glass of champagne and we toasted to a calm journey.
"Ready???" He asked? "For we can fly in the night sky when you are ready."
"I'm ready... up up and away!" My heart was pounding so hard I thought everyone could hear it.
Within a few moments we were lifting off the ground. We arose slowly and smoothly and I watched as the other balloons got smaller and smaller. He hummed as he worked and it made me think that we can sing a song and sail along the silver sky and no one would even be able to hear us. That was good because I wasn't a good singer. But I could hum a good tune... so I joined his song.
"Don't forget to take some pictures for your sister," Nick reminded me. I had totally forgotten about my camera. The world was breathtaking up here in the sky. We took pictures of each other and he took some over the edge so I didn't have to look down.
We talked about... everything... from the weather to religion to politics. He was quite a knowledgeable gentleman. He had been all over the world with his balloon. He told me of a trip he was making to Provence, France next month. He made it sound so exciting. I didn't want the night to end.