It was two in the morning and the airport was at fever pitch. My stomach toppled over as I scanned the crowds. The humid air closed my throat. I wanted to wipe the damp flannel feel away but there was no escape.
What was I going to say to Tom? His blond head almost glowed in the sea of dark ones. I wasn’t ready for this. His big smiled welcomed me. Had I just imagined the fight we had before I left? I could see no signs of the scares I knew I had inflicted before I left. Surely he should still have wounds. I cut him with words I knew I could never take back.
I pushed through the human masses around me to find myself in his arms. The scent of soap and spice greeted me as he pulled me tight. Even if I had wanted to pull back I couldn’t. His arms had me locked.
His voice sent a shiver down my spine as his breath tickled just behind my ear. I couldn’t be reacting physically to a man I had told I hated could I?
“Hi.” I tried to pull back so I could see his eyes. Were they light or dark blue? Was he calm or agitated? Without seeing them I wouldn’t know. He had a poker face to most people but I could read his eyes.
“Let’s grab a taxi.” He wrapped his arm around my shoulder and steered me towards the queue.
“You didn’t drive?” He loved his Porsche why didn’t he take it?
“No, one of the bridges is closed so I thought this would be easier.” He still wasn’t looking at me.
“How was Julia?”
“Good. You had a fun few days then?”
“Yes.” I pinched myself. We were talking like our old selves as if things hadn’t been said but they had and I couldn’t forget them. Could he? I doubted it.
“Did you see much of Harry?”
“No, he was working all hours as usual.”
“How were the kids?” He led me forward.
“Great. Asking after Oliver. How is he?”
“Good but missing you like me, I guess.”
“Look, Tom, your acting as if things are okay.” I pulled away from him and bumped in an older Indian woman in the queue. I mumbled my apologies as she scowled at me.
“They are okay.”
“You have got to be kidding me.” I swung round to face him.
“No.” He studied the crowd avoiding my eyes.
“What about what we said before I left.”
“Let’s just forget that. We were both too angry. Heat of the moment and all.”
“I can’t forget. How can you?”
“I can forget because I want to.” He turned towards me. His eyes were deep blue. “Look this isn’t the place to talk about this.”
I nodded. He had a point there. People were watching us closely including the large Russian man. He was on his phone again with his free hand flying wildly. The action stuck me as more Italian than Russian.
“Who are you looking at?” Tom pushed me into the waiting taxi as we reached the front of the line.
“Oh, that large man was on the flight with me. He was in the loo with a woman during the worst turbulence I have ever experienced."
“He was in the loo with a woman?” Tom’s eyebrow rose.
“Yeah, I know but I saw them come out together.”
“He’s big enough to fill the space on his own. Was she was tiny?”
“Yes.” I could see the workings going on in his head. Would it lead him to disgust or lust? I was repulsed by the thought but I didn’t need him to go all horny on me. I should have kept my mouth shut but I wasn’t good at that.
“Sounds like an interesting flight.”
“What I heard made it more so.”
“Oh, what was that?”
The taxi driver’s eyes pleaded with me to reveal all and realized that I didn’t want to share this with him. I knew his mind was working on the two in the loo.
“I’ll tell you later.” Tom threw me a look but I cast my eyes toward the front and he nodded. I couldn’t help but see how bloody handsome Tom was. Some of the boyish charm I had fallen for all those years ago still appeared when he smiled but there were now lines around his eyes and a few grey hair had started to dilute the blond.
“What are all the flags up for?” I asked.
“The president is visiting.”
“Isn’t he here already?”
“Not the UAE one but the US one.” Tom cocked his head at me. I was always getting things wrong according to him.
“He’s visiting here?”
“Yes, where have you been?”
“Jakarta. No mention of it there but then I didn’t watch much telly while I was there.”
“No you where shopping with Julia no doubt.”
“Actually no, I was asking about divorce.” Once the words were out of my mouth I bit my tongue. Why had I said that? I know it was the truth but I didn’t need to say it. It was his jab about the shopping. I looked at Tom’s face and he aged in front of me. Here he was pretending that nothing had happened and I couldn’t leave things alone. What the hell was wrong with me?