Cath thought about ringing Milly. She had been disappointed to miss out on the job at Milly's work. She hadn't even known if she was going to take it but she sure as hell thought she was talented enough to get it.
It was the backpacker holding a saucer with a slice of carrot cake on it out to her. She nodded and reached out for the plate, dropping her phone into her lap. No more worrying about what could have been, She would take the opportunities in front of her and cake seemed just fine. In fact... Her eyes followed the backpacker guy as he walked back to grab a beer. He was looking pretty nice from this position.
Cath had given up on men after the slow sinking of her last relationship with Nathan. Nothing amazing had gone wrong, just a gentle slipping apart like two boats on the sea and before she knew it, they had anchored too far apart to come back. She knew it had partly been her fault - working long hours, but that was her and if he couldn't accept that then...
Past opportunities - Cath pulled herself back to the present. Then it was the past; a flight, another lounge, a flight, another airport.
Finally she was there in North Carolina, watching the luggage go round and round the carousel and waiting for hers to appear. Hearing new accents and smells all around her. Her brain sluggishly trying to keep up. The bags were thinning out. She kept watching - expecting, willing it to appear. Her brain was ready just to grab any and make the best of it.
It didn't come. Everyone had moved away and only two of them remained staring at the empty carousel squeaking its way around. Then it stopped. There was no ignoring it. Her luggage was not coming.
"It's over here." The stranger, also missing luggage, guided her towards the lost luggage counter. Then they were taken to the lost luggage. That woke her up and fast. An area the size of a tennis court was roped off and patiently waiting inside was row after row of bags. None of them looked like hers, but the stranger's was there. Cath felt glad. Weird how you could barely meet someone and still feel emotionally attached. She waved him goodbye as she filled out the paperwork, got given $50 for some clothes and a wee blue bag of mystery toiletries. The lady at the counter looked as tired and she felt. It seemed her lost luggage was just another in a long day. How could so many bags get lost? Surely it wasn't that hard but it didn't seem a good time to ask. Then Cath went to find hotel shuttle, hoping it hadn't gone while she was busy sorting out her bags. It was pulling away. With, what felt like the final scrap of energy she had, Cath ran waving her arms, not caring about first impressions, just hoping that damn shuttle would stop. She'd seen the distance to the hotel on google earth and she didn't want to walk. The shuttle and her were closing on each other - would he stop and then she saw the man looking like a policeman with a gun.
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