A/N: Ascribe this to post-partum dementia after A Fine Match. And yes, this was written on a plane. No, no-one looked.
"...We have reached our cruising altitude of 7,000 metres, which is 23,000 feet, and we're on our way to our destination, where we will be landing in about an hour. Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the service on board."
I do as I am told and switch on the electronic device I am now officially allowed to use again. I open my word processor and continue to work on my latest project: a sequel to that fic about those two lovely Hogwarts teachers I once wrote. Rated R.
There is a woman in the seat next to me, perhaps in her late forties, doing neck exercises. Poor lady, I think. Neck pain is a horrible thing. A flight attendant comes by and offers me a hot beverage of my choice. I accept, although I know that what your average airline offers you under the heading of tea is not a feast for the taste buds. A biscuit would be nice, I think, but biscuit class is only the first six rows.
I have just begun to let my imagination flow freely--very freely--as I notice that my neighbour is not doing gymnastics at all. Rather, she is craning her neck so as to get a good view of my screen. I try my best to ignore her and tilt the screen ever so slightly. That does not seem to bother the woman at all. She pushes up her pink specs and cranes her neck even more.
"I say, I say…" she mutters. "Daring, isn't it?"
I begin to get a little annoyed and look up. "Sorry, but do you mi…"
That sentence remains hanging in mid-air, as does my lower jaw. The specs now perch between tufts of spiky, grey hair, and I am looking into a pair of bright, yellow eyes.
"Is…is that you?" I venture timidly.
"If by 'you' you mean 'me,' then I should certainly think so," the woman said. "Pleased to meet you, Tet."
"Rolanda, can't you see this young lady is working?" asks another voice from behind me. "Leave her alone already."
"You wouldn't say that if you saw what I'm seeing."
"Rolanda! It's rude to look at other people's screens without being invited."
"No, it's not. Min, this woman is writing about us! Listen: She—that's you, mind you—leaned forward, raised her hand and tenderly ran the back of her fingers down Rolanda's left cheek. Cupping the pointed, determined chin in her hand, she slowly, very slowly brought Rolanda's face to her own... " I shrink in my seat and pretend not to be there as I listen to the woman's loud voice reciting from one of the documents on my screen, right up to: "Wrapping her arms around Rolanda's back, she pulled her close as they plunged into a long, tender kiss."
The lady behind me pokes her head over the backrest of my seat. "Well, that's quite accurate. If you disregard the fact that it wasn't in a hospital, you made the first move, and you certainly didn't bother with stroking my cheek first."
"Yes, but now listen to this!" The woman next to me props herself up on her legs, which had the effect of her voice carrying even further. She begins reading from the other open document. The sequel. Rated R.
The woman behind us tilts her head and listens attentively. As my neighbour reaches the end of a very long, very descriptive paragraph that has caught the undivided attention of quite a few fellow travellers, right up to biscuit class, she speaks again.
"We didn't do that on our first day together."
"No, we didn't, but you must admit that it sounds … rather nice."
"That may well be, but it's utterly unrealistic. I mean, who does that when it's their first time?"
"Wilhelmina and Amelia did. Well, among other things such as—"
"What? How do you know that?"
"Erm…remember the time you and Will were at this convention? Well, Amelia and I shared this delicious bottle of—"
"Rolanda, I can't believe you discuss such intimate affairs with our friends. Don't tell me you also told her about our first time!"
"Well, not that it happened in the broom closet down the corridor from your office at the Ministry, right next door to Amelia's. Although she might have guessed from my telling her that Flipsy the House Elf walked in on us and hit me over the head with a bucket because he thought I had bitten you."
The woman behind us pauses. "Will and Amelia, who'd have thought…"
"Ma'am? Wake up, we're landing!"
I give a start as someone puts a hand on my shoulder and shakes me gently. A grey-haired woman with pink sunglasses is looking at me.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have now left our cruising altitude and will be landing shortly. Please switch off all electronic devices and make sure that your seat belts are securely fastened."
"Thank you," I mutter to the woman as I save the Menopause Monthly article I had been editing before I dozed off.
"Don't mention it," the woman says.
"Oh, by the way," she adds with a last look at my screen before the computer shuts off, "I think you have a typo in there. The hormonal phenomenon among mature women is hot flash, not hot slash.'"
"Although," she mutters as the tall, raven-haired flight attendant passes us one last time, throwing us a stern look to make sure that we are properly and safely attached to our seats, "you may have a point..."