Chapter Two — Meeting Simon (1st half of Chapter)
The flight took about an hour and a half. I held panic at bay by knitting steadily and playing with the little girl. When we landed I offered to carry the baby while the mom managed all her equipment and baggage. The little girl held onto both her mother’s skirt and my jeans pocket trustingly. The baby intermittently fussed but that didn’t bother me. We deplaned last and as we marched steadily towards the baggage claim I had a little time to look around. I believed that the baggage claim was where someone would be on the lookout for me. Killian hadn’t answered his phone the last time I called but I had left him a message saying I had the ticket and was boarding the plane. Now I was walking blind.
My great uncle lived in a small town far to the east of where I was, and renting a car and driving at night was a mix of intimidating and exhilarating thought. And he wouldn’t be in his home but at a hospital somewhere. Could I even rent a car at twenty-five years old? And then, how long had it been since I walked alone in a strange place? Maybe eight years? I could go on if I had to. Meanwhile, the baggage claim.
Airport personnel hurried past my little group. Other passengers crisscrossed the halls we walked through. I saw an old man at another gate being met by his teenage grandchild who had evidently been let through security to manage him. The luggage for my flight, which of course I didn’t need, hadn’t been brought out yet when my little entourage reached the baggage claim. An impeccably clothed blonde woman who had been at the gate when we deplaned, walked swiftly through the baggage claim ahead of us. Her eyes had flickered at my purse but passed over me, baby in my arms, with total disinterest. She turned her head and looked at everyone who came over to the baggage carousel as she continued walking.
A casually dressed man with curly light brown hair stood near the windows. He seemed to have looked up from a paper he was reading as the passengers entered. His gaze lingered on Blond Woman who didn’t as far as I could see notice him at all, and he looked very faintly surprised. He looked attentively at the rest of the passengers including my little party. He smiled involuntarily as the babe stuck his fingers into my mouth and then continued his study of the rest of the passengers.
A dark haired man entered the baggage claim through the outer doors and the little girl launched herself at him. That answered the question of whether he was Killian. The blond woman left through the same door the dark-haired man had entered. I relinquished the baby in my arms to the grateful mom, as the baggage carousel behind me started up. She introduced me to her husband. He thanked me for helping and she thanked me and the little girl gave me a kiss and then we said good-bye.
I was thinking of calling Killian again and asking him what to do or of trying the car rental. But as I looked around the blond-haired man who had evidently been watching the whole scene smiled at me. I smiled back involuntarily and then blushed and started to look away but he held up a sign.
JESSAMYN MARY ARCHER.