This is the second section of the fourth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
“Come on stop moaning we’re almost there” said Laurence
“Bally slow queue” grumbled Tom staring at the line stretching out in front of them at the boarding gate to the Great Contrafibularity.
“Hey did you hear something” asked Tom
“Yes of course, we’re in a departure lounge; it’s full of people talking”
“No I’m sure I just heard someone shout your name”
“Didn’t hear anything”
“Hey Laurence” came a woman’s voice
“Yep” said Tom turning around trying to locate the source “definitely someone after you.”
“Huh?” Laurence turned round and waved in recognition at a woman pushing her way through the crowd
“Who’s she?” asked Tom
Laurence waved at her in what appeared to Tom’s eye to be an almost restrained manner “an old friend”
“You’re right there” said Tom scrutinizing the woman as she approached, “How old is she? sixty? Seventy?”
“A gentleman never asks a lady’s age” replied Laurence looking sternly at Tom
“How do you know her?”
“Long story anyway, don’t be rude, she’s almost here.” said Laurence.
Now she was closer Tom took a moment to have a close look at her, if anything his first assessment of her age was a little generous, but it was hard to tell with all the plastic surgery going on these days.
“Sorry, sorry” she apologised as she pushed through the last of the people in a crowd, “God, an advantage of old age is supposed to be people get out of your way, anyway hello.” she said as she flung her arms around Laurence and gave him what looked to Tom like quite a passionate kiss.
“Haven’t seen you in ages” said Laurence making eye gestures in the direction of Tom, “How have you been Jane?” he continued “Here let me introduce you to my companion, Tom”
“Oh” exclaimed Jane “Sorry, new friend of yours?”
“Something like that” said Laurence looking almost embarrassed.
“Something very much like that” replied Tom pumping her hand in a handshake “unsocial blighter can be really difficult, anyway pleased to meet you”
“Oh ignore Laurence he’s like that” said Jane turning back to Laurence, “Hey you look so much better, a right little young man.”
“So how do you know Laurence” asked Tom trying to butt back into the conversation
“Oh well we go way back” started Jane.
“Friend of the family” interrupted Laurence
“Friend?” asked Jane “of the family yes” she said recovering herself
Tom eyed the two of them up and down “Anything I should know here, there’s something going on.”
“Nope” replied Laurence “she’s an old family friend who’s looked out for me for some time, it’s just she wasn’t able to come to Earth” Laurence paused “recently”
“No” said Jane quickly “Joints not up to the trip to Earth anymore.”
“Come on” interrupted Laurence “They want to see our cards”
Jane turned to Tom “And don’t screw up your face like that” she hefted her handbag “and hold this for me will you, I’m not as young as I was.”
“You’re loving this aren’t you?” said Laurence
“Don’t know what you’re talking about” she said turning away to face the customs man.