The two women had the private airfield’s lounge to themselves once everyone else boarded the aircraft. The group had left quietly, every face somber. They realized the potential executions they faced, and the knowledge had been like a pall cast over them.
As loved ones disappeared into the blameless blue sky, both Lena and Marta blinked unselfconscious tears from their eyes. Marta caught all of hers in her handkerchief, not allowing her makeup to be smudged or smeared.
The elder woman summed up their shared feelings in a few words. “Damn it. I thought they’d never have to deal with that bitch again.”
Lena looked down from her superior seven inches and saw the bald fear in her aunt’s expression. It ramped up the feeling of dread that had kept her awake all night. “I should be with them. Maybe I’m not up on my training, but they need every person they could get. I shouldn’t have let them talk me out of going.”
She said it despite knowing her aunt would echo her parents’ arguments as to why she shouldn’t be on her way to North Carolina. Marta surprised her.
“Yeah, I think you should have gone too. They do need you at their side. But Alex and Colwyn are one stubborn pair when they think they’re right.” Marta huffed. Fright, anger, and hope took turns, chasing across her face. She abruptly swiveled on her high, patent leather heel and marched out of the waiting area.
Lena followed her aunt out through the TSA gate and towards the just opening airport grill. Her long legs didn’t take much effort in catching up to her hurrying relative.
She took a sniff as they neared the building’s greasy spoon, just now emitting breakfast smells. Lena told the other woman, “Man, I need coffee. An Alex Lasham-sized cup, better known as a silo.” She inhaled deeply of the fresh-brewed scent.
Marta waved at the grill dismissively. “Forget this place. I’ll buy you some good stuff. Breakfast too.”
“I don’t think I can eat.” Lena’s stomach churned at the mere thought of food.
“Me neither.” Marta pasted a big, bright, and utterly fake smile on her pretty face. “Let’s go shopping instead. We deserve whole new wardrobes, shoes, and purses. Hell, we need jewelry.”
Lena managed to laugh at that. Aunt Marta believed in mall therapy all right. Uncle Jacob would return home to find his wife’s credit cards maxed out, and maybe his too.
If he comes home at all. The unwelcome thought took away the brief burst of humor.