Strangers in Airports - Chapter 1

She paced back and forth in front of the entrance.

Standing on the opposite side of the busy walkway, he watched the indecision on her face along with the quick peeks inside.

Should she go in? She never should have let them go in there by themselves.

He smiled to himself and walked over to her. “Do you need me to go in there and get someone for you?”

Startled, she jumped and turned around to see a handsome, dark-haired, dark-eyed gentleman talking to her.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.” He apologized politely.

She shook her head. “No, it’s okay.”

“First time your son’s been in there by himself?” He asked, tilting his head toward the men’s restroom.

“The first time they’ve been in there together. I was going to go in, but- -“

“You don’t want to embarrass them,” he finished for her.

She nodded in agreement. “And,” she said, gesturing to the triple stroller behind her with identical toddler twins dressed in matching summer dresses in complimentary colors. A baby lay between them of indeterminate sex. Next to the stroller was a seven- or eight-year-old replica of the beautiful blonde standing next to the stroller in pink shorts and top.

“What are they wearing?”

Relieve flooded her face. “Oh, thank you.”

He waved off her thanks.

“My oldest is wearing blue jeans and a green dc talk t-shirt. My youngest is wearing black shorts and a black and white striped polo shirt.”

He nodded. “I’ll be right back.”

He strolled into the bathroom and was confronted with an amusing sight. The blonde’s oldest son was holding his squirming younger brother’s lower half underneath the hand dryer.

“Stop, Eric! My legs are burning!” the younger of the two brothers yelled.

“Stop whining, Thomas. Mom is going to punish us both if she sees you in these wet shorts. And the dryer isn’t even close to your legs.”

“I’m gonna tell Mom, you’re burning me.”

“I’m going to tell her you were playing in the water, again.”

Eric’s threat quieted the little one.

Time to intervene, he thought.

“Mom is going to be looking for us, if we don’t hurry up,” the eldest said.

“Excuse me, when I was walking in, I saw a blonde-haired woman pushing a triple stroller coming out of the woman’s restroom.”

“Mom,” Eric sighed, putting his brother down. “Do you think she’ll notice the wet shorts?” He felt his brother’s shorts. “They don’t feel that wet.”

The older gentleman could definitely tell the shorts were wet, but to make the boys feel better and to come out of the bathroom, he lied. “No, he looks fine.”

Eric and his brother smiled at the answer and walked out of the bathroom.

The dark-haired man followed after them.

Tommy ran to his mother, and the first thing she felt against her leg was dampness.

Eric got behind the stroller and started to push. “We should go, Mom, they’ll be calling our flight soon.”

She picked up Tommy and opened her mouth to ask why he was wet, but the mysterious man shook his head. She nodded and mouthed, “Thank you,” then took off after her children.

He watched the family merge with the crowd of hurried travelers and walked in the opposite direction

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