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Three black Range Rovers and one silver Rolls-Royce pulled up in a semi-circle around the steps of the gleaming white Gulfstream G6. In one of the Range Rovers, Tina stirred from her doze, drew in a deep breath and looked around vaguely.
‘Oh,’ she said. ‘Is it raining?’
‘Threatening to,’ said Angie.
Everyone started shrugging into their coats, gathering up scarves and hats and phones. Sasha pulled her toy octopus, Pat, out from under her arm and shoved him at Tina. She’d been sneaking around with him throughout the trip. (‘You want Pat?’ ‘No!’ followed a minute later by a whispered ‘Can I have him?’ had become routine in the Porter-Kennard household for months while Sasha navigated the confusion-infested waters of being eight-almost-nine years old.)
Tina stuffed the toy into her large handbag, glancing across at Bette, who was just staring out the window.
‘Y’okay?’ Tina asked.
‘You look like you’re plotting something.’
Bette smiled and indicated the phone in her hand. ‘I got Alice’s phone. We put them down on the hood of the car back at the castle and picked up the wrong one.’
Tina just rolled her eyes. Then they all got out of the car and went through the obligatory shivering and squinting at the sky while the plane steps were readied.
‘Funny thing, though,’ Bette said quietly in Tina’s ear. And then she pressed the home button on Alice’s phone and surreptitiously showed her the text on the lockscreen.
Can do Friday if you can do Sunday. The sender: Quentin Gray.
‘What the fuck?’ Tina said, way too loudly. Her kids all stared at her, but she didn’t notice. She took the phone from Bette’s hand, read it again, then looked around for . . . ‘Alice!’
Alice was getting out of the car she was sharing with Shane, Kit and Sonny. She looked like she was on a mission too.
‘Porter!’ She waved Bette’s phone in the air. Bette waved back, but pointed towards Tina. ‘Great,’ Alice said, reaching to swap the phone with Tina. ‘Although – word to the wise – chaise longues are so eighties . . .’
This was reference to a text Tina had sent Bette in the car before she fell asleep. Going to miss that chaise . . . We should get one for our bedroom? xx