It’s Always Complicated
A small crowd of men wearing gun holsters ran past Josie and Alex, followed by three uniformed TSA agents.
“I wonder what that’s about?” Alex marveled, his eyes tracking the fracas. He and Josie had come to the Portland, Maine airport to pick up her mother, Marlene, and Aunt Cathy, Uncle Mike and her new Uncle Calvin. All the Ohio relatives were here for her and Alex’s wedding.
A cold wave of dread washed over her. They were running toward the baggage claim for the airline her entire family was on.
“I’ll bet it’s my mother,” she groaned, leaning against him for support. His strong arm wrapped around her shoulders and gave her the comfort she needed. Too bad he couldn’t give her a second backbone made of steel.
If he could, she knew, he would. The thought made her smile.
“I’m sure it’s nothing,” he said, giving her a squeeze. She looked up at him. Way up, given the enormous height difference between the two of them. His warm, brown eyes met hers and for an instant, she wondered if he might be right. That eternally positive outlook he had was a bit infectious.
A rotund security guard huffed and puffed, running past them, holding what looked like a spare uniform. He was talking into a walkie-talkie.
“Naked?” Huff huff. “She’s naked? What size?” Huff huff.
Alex’s kind eyes filled with alarm. It was both charming and horrifying. Josie couldn’t quite decide which impression she enjoyed more. There was a kind of schadenfreude in realizing she was right. His idealism was sweet, but sometimes she needed him to be more of a realist.
And Marlene served up an entire buffet of realism.
“Mile High Club again?” the guard asked, pausing to catch his breath. Josie watched him with a morbid fascination.
“You don’t really think it’s your mom in there, Josie,” Alex said. He caressed her shoulder absent-mindedly, watching the guard. “I mean—”
“Two men in one bathroom with a naked woman?” the guard barked into his walkie-talkie, eyebrows hitting the brim of his hat.
Josie snorted, the sense of dread spreading.
“How could it be anyone else?”
“That sounds more like something Darla would do,” Alex said. “You sure she’s still in Boston and not on this flight?”
Just as Josie was about to reply, the commotion got louder.
“MARLENE!” Josie heard the sense of outrage in her Aunt Cathy’s voice. The airport was small, but not that small. Cathy’s voice could carry. “WHAT IN THE HELL HAPPENED TO YOUR CLOTHES?”