Authors: Ann M. Martin
Baby-Sitters On Board
Ann M. Martin
We're here! We're actually here!" I cried. "I can't believe it!" "Haven't you ever been in an airport before, Kristy?" asked my friend Dawn. Dawn Schafer has taken lots of plane trips.
"Of course I've been in an airport. But I've never been on a plane. Oh, I am so excited!" "Kristy! Slow down," called my mother. She was standing at the entrance to the airport, struggling with suitcases and tote bags and plane tickets. "Don't get too far ahead. We have to stay together." I slowed to a stop. At that moment, I would have done anything anyone told me to do. That was how grateful I was that I was finally going to get on a plane and take a trip — first a cruise through the Bahamas, and then on to Disney World for three wonderful days.
Mom and Dawn and I weren't the only ones going on the trip. If you can believe it, I was traveling with twenty-one other people — my entire family, my friends in the Baby-sitters Club, and all the Pikes.
This is what had happened: Mr. Pike, who is the father of a big family that the members of the Baby-sitters Club take care of pretty often, won a contest at the company he works for. Everyone was trying to name some new product. And the company picked the name Mr. Pike thought up. Guess what his prize was — an all expenses-paid vacation for him and his whole family. The company booked them on a special group trip — a four-day cruise through the Bahama Islands and then three days at Disney World in Florida. But this is the really exciting part. Mrs. Pike called our club to ask if Mary Anne Spier and Stacey McGill would like to go along as mother's helpers. (There are eight Pike kids.) She asked Mary Anne and Stacey because they'd been mother's helpers when the Pikes took a two-week trip to the Jersey shore. When my stepfather, Watson, heard about that, and then found out that I had never ever been anywhere (except in western Connecticut, visiting my cousin Robin, which was no big deal since I live in Stoneybrook, in eastern Connecticut), he did some quick planning. The next thing I knew my whole family — Mom, Watson, my big brothers Sam and Charlie, my younger brother David Michael, my little stepsister and stepbrother, Karen and Andrew, and I (Kristy Thomas) were going on the trip. And so were Claudia Kishi and Dawn Schafer, the remaining club members! They were going as our guests. Watson said he couldn't leave any members of the Baby-sitters Club behind.
The trip was truly a dream come true. A plane to Florida, then off on a cruise and three days at Disney World. . . . The Baby-sitters Club never had it so good.
"Now boarding at Gate Fifty-two — Flight Seven Twenty-eight. Repeat, Flight Seven Twenty-eight." "Thaf s us!" I cried. "Isn't that us, Mom? Watson?" "Yes, yes. It's us, honey," my mother replied. "Does everyone have everything?" "I think you should say, 'Does everyone have everybody?' " spoke up David Michael. I laughed. I knew just what he meant.
Seated in a group of uncomfortable airport chairs were Mom, Watson, Sam and Charlie (they're seventeen and fifteen), seven-year-old David Michael, four-year-old Andrew, six-year-old Karen, and Dawn and Claudia. Nearby were the Pikes — eleven-year-old Mallory, the ten-year-old triplets (Adam, Byron, and Jordan), nine-year-old Vanessa, eight-year-old Nicky, seven-year-old Margo, and five-year-old Claire, plus Mr. and Mrs. Pike, and Stacey and Mary Anne.
I began to feel nervous. I hoped we could all stay together without too much trouble.
"Okay," said Watson, standing up. "Stay with me now, because I've got your plane tickets. Make sure you remember your knapsacks and cameras and purses." I patted my knapsack. I could feel my camera inside. It was brand-new. Watson had bought it for me the week before. I couldn't wait to start using it. All my friends had brought their cameras along, too. None of us wanted to forget anything we saw.
"Tell me again where our suitcases went," said Andrew worriedly.
"We checked them," I told him. "Don't worry. Someone will put them on the plane for us. We'll get them after we land in Florida." "Okay," said Andrew, but he still looked concerned.
I took Andrew and Karen by the hand then, and followed Watson to a woman in a uniform who checked the tickets, then smiled, and let us all walk by. We entered a long tunnel.
"Where are we?" I asked Dawn and Claudia. They were right behind me.
"We're in the walkway to the plane," Dawn replied. "I've been on dozens of these." "It smells funny in here," said Karen, holding her nose. "Like coffee, only worse." When we reached the plane, a flight attendant looked at the batch of tickets in Watson's hand again. Then we stepped inside.
"Hey, Andrew! David Michael! Karen! Look in there," I cried, pointing. "Thaf s the cock-pit." "What's a crockpit?" asked Andrew.
"Cocfcpit," Karen told him witheringly. "It's where the pilot sits, right, Kristy?" "It's where the pilot controls the plane," said David Michael. "See all those instruments?" he added importantly.
"Maybe," said the flight attendant to Andrew, Karen, and David Michael, "you could look around the cockpit and meet the pilot later." "Really?" exclaimed David Michael.
The man nodded. "You might even earn your flying wings," he said mysteriously.
"But at the moment," said Watson, who was way ahead of us down an aisle of the plane, "you're holding up traffic. So come find your seats." "Whoa," I said, as I took off after Watson and Mom. "I didn't know planes were this big. They look so skinny from the outside." Rows of nine seats were arranged across the plane, with two aisles separating them. Two seats, five seats, then two more seats. Dawn and Claudia and I sat in the middle five seats with Sam and Charlie. It would have been more fun to sit with Stacey and Mary Anne, but they were busy with the Pikes.
I buckled my seat belt. Then I looked through the stuff in the pocket on the back of the seat in front of me. Emergency instructions, boring magazine, barf bag. . . . Ew! "Hey!" I exclaimed a few minutes later. "We're moving!" And suddenly the plane was in the air and the flight had begun.
"Hey, Kristy! Look!" David Michael, who was sitting behind me, poked something between my seat and Dawn's. "It's a barf bag!" he exclaimed gleefully.
"Oh, no. Look at that," said Claudia, pointing across the aisle. "Margo Pike is using hers. Ew, ew, ew." "Poor Margo," added Dawn. "Stacey said she gets carsick. I guess she gets airsick, too." Soon lunch was served. Karen and Andrew nearly became hysterical with excitement. "Look at all this great stuff!" Karen cried. "Salt packages, pepper packages, sugar packages, Handi-Towlettes. Even salad dressing! We better save everything, Andrew. You never know when we might need it." "Take my stuff," I told her, handing my packets back to them.
"And mine," added Dawn, Claudia, Sam, and Charlie.
"Thanks!" said Karen. "But where are we going to put it all?" "Put it in a barf bag," said Dawn. "That's what my brother Jeff always does." After lunch, the flight attendant kept his V" promise. He took Karen, Andrew, David Michael, and three of the Pike kids (including Margo, who had recovered) up to the cockpit to look around.
While they were gone, I got an idea. I called to Mary Anne and Stacey. "Hey, can you guys come here? Just for a few minutes?" Stacey looked around. Mallory and Vanessa were reading and the triplets were leaning over their seats, talking to their parents. "I guess so," she replied. "Everything seems to be under control." Stacey and Mary Anne unbuckled their seat belts and walked unsteadily across the aisle.
"Whaf s up?" Mary Anne asked me.
"I was just thinking. Since all five of us are on this trip, we should hold club meetings every day. Just short ones. You know, so we can keep track of what the kids are up to." "Sure," agreed Claudia. "Thaf s a good idea." "One more thing," I went on. "It was awfully nice of Watson and Mom and the Pikes to take us on this trip — I mean, even if two of us are along as baby-sitters and sort of have to work for it." "I'll say it was nice," said Dawn.
"So maybe we should think of something nice to do for them. Some special kind of thank-you. Maybe from all the kids on the trip." "Yes," said Mary Anne. "Definitely." "It has to be a really good idea," I said firmly.
"We'll think of something," Stacey assured me. "We've got a week to do it. Don't worry." At that moment, Karen, Andrew, David Michael, and the Pikes returned. They walked proudly down the aisle with little gold pins in the shape of wings attached to their shirts.
"I think this means we're junior pilots now, Daddy," said Karen as she climbed back into her seat.
"That's very impressive," Watson replied seriously.
Mary Anne and Stacey went back to the Pike kids.
The flight continued. David Michael accidentally pressed his flight attendant call button three times. (The stewardess smiled the first two times, but by the third time she looked cross.) I took Karen to one of the tiny bathrooms at the back of the plane, which was an adventure for both of us. There was barely room for two people in it, and for the longest time we couldn't figure out how to lock the door. When we were ready to leave, we couldn't figure out how to unlock it. I nearly had a heart attack. I was never so relieved as when we got back to our seats.
At last the pilot announced that we would be landing in five minutes. I checked my seat belt six times. Karen squealed with excitement. Nicky Pike, who was sitting by a window, exclaimed, "Awesome!" Margo Pike threw up.
When the plane landed, I turned to my friends. "We are here! We're in Florida! Oh, I am so, so excited!" I cried.
c H A P T 'E| R / / A / 777 _____ X / 2 I '11 tell you something. I have done a lot of traveling. When I was little, I lived on the West Coast and all my grandparents lived on the East Coast. Now my parents are divorced and I live in Connecticut with my mom and brother, but my dad still lives in California. All in all, I've flown back and forth across the country eleven times.
But I had never been on a cruise ship. In fact, I'd never even seen one, unless you counted the Love Boat, or the ship the Ricardos and Mertzes went to Europe on in an I Love Lucy show I once saw.
The Ocean Princess was bigger than anything I'd expected. Sure, the Love Boat looked big when it was photographed from the air, but I really was not prepared for the gigantic ship I stood before with my friends and Kristy's family and the Pikes.
"Amazing," I murmured. I brushed my long hair back from my face so I could see better.
The Ocean Princess just seemed to go on and on and on. And up and up and up. I couldn't wait to get off the dock and on the ship. But crowds of people were trying to board it, and everyone had to wait their turn.
"It says here," said Mary Anne, who was standing next to me holding a pamphlet about the ship, "that there are swimming pools on board — " "Pools?" I interrupted. "More than one?" "Yup," replied Mary Anne. She was squinting in the bright sunlight. "Boy, I hope I don't get sunburned. Anyway, there are pools, a beauty parlor, a barbershop, a cafe, a disco, stores, and restaurants. Hey, there's even a health spa!" "I don't believe it," I exclaimed. I was so impressed that I pulled my camera out of my purse and snapped two pictures of the docked ship.
The crowd inched forward. When we were halfway up the gangplank I turned around and looked behind me. A stream of excited passengers was waiting to board the ship. "I hope all these people are nice," I whispered to Kristy with a giggle, "because they're going on to Disney World with us. We have to live with them for a week!" "More important," said Kristy, "you and Claudia and I are going to be sharing a room for a week." "We'll be bunkies, like at camp," I said.
"I hope you don't mind a mess," said Kristy. "I'm not the neatest person in the world." "No kidding," I replied. Kristy's locker at school was famous. It was one of the ones in which you might find a four-month-old lunch. Her room was always a wreck. And she never wore a dress if she could help it. Just jeans and sneakers and stuff.
"Really," said Kristy. "I hope it won't bother you, since you're kind of, um, neat." "Spotless," I said quickly.
"Well, it's only for a week," said Kristy. "How bad can it be?" "Right," I said. "We'll both have to do a little compromising, that's all." A little compromising might have worked just fine ... if our cabin hadn't been so tiny.
"If s — it's just like a hotel, isn't it?" I said brightly.
"A sort of a minuscule hotel," added Kristy.
"Yeah, I hope there's room for all my stuff," said Claudia. Claudia had brought along more suitcases than anyone else on the trip. She dumped them on a bed, opened them, and began hanging things up in the closet.
"Leave some room for us!" I exclaimed. I glanced at Kristy, but Kristy wasn't paying attention.
"This room is little, but it's cute," she said.
"Two bunk beds, two dressers, a desk, four little chairs. Hey! Everything's bolted to the floor!" "Oh, wow!" I cried. "I guess thafs in case the ship starts rolling around. Gosh, look at all this great free stuff. They even left mints on our pillows!" I opened the door to the bathroom. "And in here is soap. Oh, and little bottles of shampoo." "Look at this!" called Kristy. "Four new decks of playing cards — with the Ocean Princess on the backs." Kristy removed the cellophane from around the cards and dropped it on the floor. I picked it up and threw it in a wastebasket.
Kristy changed her shirt and slung the dirty one over a chair. I folded it and placed it on Kristy's suitcase.
Kristy folded her arms across her chest. "Are you going to do this all week?" she asked me.
"Maybe," I replied.
Kristy crossed her eyes at me, and we both started laughing.
A low, booming sound filled the air.
"Hey, that's the ship's whistle!" I cried. "We're leaving! Lef s go watch!" "But I'm not unpacked yet," said Claudia.
"Forget it," I told her. "You don't want to miss this. Believe me." We dashed out of our cabin and found Mary Anne, Stacey, Karen Brewer, and five of the Pikes in the narrow hallway. We all ran outside to the nearest deck railing.
A crowd stood on the dock below, waving to the people on the ship. "Good-bye! Goodbye!" we called, even though we didn't know anyone.
The people on the dock were waving and calling out things like "Bon voyage!" and "Have a great trip!" and "See you in a week!" One woman shouted, "Jimmy, don't you dare forget to change your underwear!" And another woman was silently waving a handkerchief. Tears glistened in her eyes.
Then someone behind me tossed out a streamer, which unrolled as it went over the side of the ship. Someone else threw a handful of confetti. Then more and more until it was snowing little colored pieces of paper. It was noisy and confusing and exciting.