Kak raised a hand to shield the glare of the morning sun. The black ink staining her fingertips hung like dark clouds in her upper periphery. She hadn’t tried to clean it off since they’d taken her prints during processing. She wasn’t going to try.
The rear fuselage door to the Beechcraft King Air B200 popped loose from its seal, swinging open and down like a loose tongue eager to lap her up. Philip smiled and waved from the doorway. Smiled and waved. As if he was flying in for the weekend and not retrieving his fiancé from her night in jail after assaulting two police officers. She didn’t bother acknowledging him. Not even when he tried to put his arm around her as she boarded. She pushed past into the small but luxurious cabin, stooping in the low headroom to see what she was dealing with.
Seating capacity accommodated eight passengers. It was divided into two groups of four seats that faced each other so that the two groups could work or socialize in flight. Only one passenger seat was occupied. A rear-facing seat in the front group. George Temple. He gave her a wink.
“You know my daughter and her timetables,” he said.
Kak took a front-facing seat in the rear group of four seats. It was as far away as she could sit and with the added benefit that the seat in front of her obscured any view of George.
Philip paused beside her. “I thought maybe we could sit together in the front,” he said.
She ignored this. He took the seat next to her.
“We’re going to sit back here and talk a bit, Grandfather,” he said, too loudly for the short distance between them.
He was nervous. Well. He should be.
“I don’t suppose there’s any alcohol on board,” Kak said.
“That’s the last thing we need,” Philip said. “I do wish we had time to go for coffee. I haven’t gotten much sleep the last few nights.”
He let this comment settle between them. She wasn’t about to engage it.
George peeked over the seat ahead of them. “I stopped having cream in my coffee in France after the war. I ever tell you?”
“About a thousand times,” Kak said.
George cowered, visibly stung.
Philip twisted in his seat to look at her.
“Sorry,” she said. “About a thousand fucking times.”
He raised a hand and began extending digits in concert with his grievances. “This charter is costing Grandfather over five thousand dollars. We’ve been worried sick. Had to pick up your rental car from the ferry lot in Ft. Myers. Just bailed you out of jail. Jail. And this is all the gratitude you can show?”
Kak was mildly relieved to see he’d exhausted the fingers on one hand and was apparently not going to employ the second.
“Well,” she said. “Thanks, George.”
“That isn’t what I meant,” Philip said.
“Then you’ll have to be more specific, won’t you?”
Philip wavered, blinked, and settled slowly back into his seat.
Kak buckled herself in. Loosely. It would all be loose and easy from here out. That’s right, boys, she thought. There’s a new Kak in town.
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