"You want one?" She held out something that looked sticky and totally unappealing, vibrantly pink and green and in the shape of a heart. New sprinkles of sugar whispered off it on to their knees.
Garry pursed his lips. He had an irresistible, immediate urge to brush off the white crystals as if they'd rot like poison through his jeans. "No thanks. I...already ate."
He stared at her. Who did she think she was, his mother? "When I got here."
"You'll need more than that," she said, bluntly. "The Delay is twelve hours now." Her tone dignified it with capital letters, like it was some kind of alien monster, some Harbinger of Armageddon, some Premonition of Global Doom.
Now she had him doing it, even in his private thoughts. For a second, he thought he might still be asleep and dreaming he was in a late night version of The Twilight Zone. But his back and his toes still hurt...so it looked like he was awake. Mournfully so.
"You should be with your parents," he said, just as bluntly.
But she didn't seem disturbed by him. She put a red and yellow heart into her mouth and wiped her sticky fingers down her T-shirt. It proved that at least the red stain wasn't blood. Garry wondered at what point he'd even considered that might be the case.
"You're grumpy," she said. "Just like Mum."
"Huh?" One thing Garry did know about kids was that if you encouraged them, they stuck like glue. Or like particularly revolting sweets. All he had to do was stifle any conversation, and then in a minute, she'd get bored of him and wander off again.
"I'll stay here for a while," she said, patting her lap with determination. A sparkling cloud of sugar floated a few inches off the fabric, then settled back down again. Garry thought some of it might have got stuck up his nose--every time he moved he could smell the cloying sweetness anew. "Mum and Dad aren't smiling. My uncle sent me to get some sweets."
Garry looked around, a little warily. Surely there'd be a couple seated somewhere close, watching their child fondly. Or there'd be a couple walking over to her, calling her back to join them. Or there'd be a couple running back and forth through the airport lounge, weeping and screaming for their lost or kidnapped child, followed by armed police.
He couldn't see anyone taking any notice of them at all.
"So where are they, your parents? They'll be worrying about you. Won't they?"