Freddie joins me on the pavement.
‘How are you getting home?’ he says.
I nod towards Beatrice. ‘Tube.’
‘Why don’t you take the bus?’ he says.
‘Errr….’ I notice he isn’t carrying his helmet. ‘You’re not cycling?’
‘Oh – no, I’m taking the bus. You should take the bus.’
‘I didn’t know there was one that went from here to mine,’ I say.
There’s a pause.
‘Well – it doesn’t – but it goes quite close!’
I laugh. ‘Right, I’m getting the tube.’
‘Then I’ll get the tube with you.’ He thinks for a moment. ‘No, I’ll get the bus. Take the bus, then I can enjoy your company! And then – I’ll walk you back to yours.’
It’s fifteen minutes in the wrong direction for him. I can feel myself blushing.
‘Hmm… that’s kind, but I think I’ll take the tube. Since it actually goes to where I live!’
And because I’m scared, and I can’t abandon Beatrice – in that order.
‘OK,’ he says. ‘Well, I’ll walk you to the station.’
I smile. ‘OK.’
We set off, Sam and Beatrice going on ahead. After a while, I take his arm. He looks surprised but glad. A beggar is sitting on the corner, and we stop whilst he searches his pockets for some change – Freddie, not the beggar. When we resume walking, he offers me his arm.
Outside the station, we kiss gently on both cheeks.
‘See you on Thursday,’ I say.
‘Look forward to it.’