51: A Cup Of Tea Solves Everything

The lift doors open. Garry strides out, Rosalyn still in his arms. Her shoes clang against the sides on the way out, but she is unconcerned. Garry plops her down on Bob’s desk. She makes a sound like a disturbed goose. It is part-honk, part-squeal. Garry freezes on the spot. He imagines his heart slowly deflating. But then Rosalyn lifts one buttock and pulls a paper knife out from underneath her, and lowers herself back down, smiling. The paper knife is not sharp. It looks like it has been used for cutting something other than paper. And it doesn’t smell right. The smell reminds her of something she can’t quite place. Rosalyn uses the very tip of her index finger to push the weird-smelling paper knife as far away from her as she can. She smiles again at Garry. He smiles back. His heart is fine. His heart is going to be okay.

Bob stands behind Garry. He is flanked by Borrower Who Eats Scotch Eggs At The Computer and Borrower Who Borrows Black Lace Books But Always Puts A War Book On Top. (Who is he trying to kid?) Bob seems to have shrunk. His usually puffed-out chest is not puffed-out at all. The two Borrowers are looking to him for directions, but he is not meeting their eyes. Bob is looking around the room. Bob is staring at the floor.

‘Oi,’ says Garry, ‘get them out of here. This is a Staff Only area.’

Bob nods and sweeps the two Borrowers back out to the front desk. They rejoin the queue. They scratch their heads.

‘Now let’s get you a cup of tea,’ Garry says softly. Rosalyn gazes after him as he heads off towards the kitchen.

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