THE GIRL AND I MEANDER through the terminal in search of a souvenir worthy of her best friend, but that isn't too expensive, of course. We bypass the higher-end stores like Burberry because she says, and I quote, "If I wouldn't buy it for myself, I'm not gonna buy it for Bex. Besides, she complained last time I bought her clothes."
"Bex, that's your best friend's name?" I ask as we walk past another restaurant., slipping through a small family arguing over where they want to eat.
She nods absentmindedly and scans the area for potential souvenir prospects. "Yeah, short for Rebecca, which she hates to be called." Suddenly she stops, making me run into her for the second time today, just less catastrophic this time. I grab her waist to keep her from falling as she lets out another cute shriek of surprise.
"Sorry," I mumble as she turned her head to glance me, the corners of her lips turned up pleasantly.
"S'fine." Then she gasps and turns around completely to face me, pulling out of my grasp so that my hands fall back down to my sides. Giving me a brilliant smile, she holds out her hand and says, "I never even told you my name! Theodora James, at your service. But you can call me Thea. And what is your name, overly-kind-even-though-it's-rather-nice sir?"
I chuckle and accept her hand, shaking firmly. "My name's Tom."
"Does Tom have a last name?" She raises her eyebrows and drops her hand into her pocket. Her chocolate-brown eyes stare into mine easily, compelling me to tell her more than just my last name.
I wrench my gaze from hers and look off towards the end of the terminal, my hand reaching for the back of my neck out of habit. "Um, Holland? Tom Holland." I glance back up to see her eyes narrowed in concentration, her lips mouthing the words I've just said.
"Tom Holland," she muses aloud, scratching her chin and inclining her head. "I feel like I should know that name but for some reason—maybe—" her face lights up and my eyes widen, thinking she has figured it out, but the smile is gone as soon as it came. "No, never mind. I'll figure it out," she promises, pointing a finger at me. Then she turns on her heel and starts down the hall again, grabbing my hand and towing me behind her. "Come on. Let's check out one of those keychain and t-shirt stores."
I try to ignore the way my hand feels wrapped in hers, the warmth it sends across my palm, as my feet stumble underneath me, moving of their own volition. As we practically ran across the tiled floor, I realize I had left Harrison alone without letting him know I was going on an adventure with the girl I toppled. I tell myself I'll text him when she finds somewhere to shop around—bringing my count of people I need to contact up to two. "Let's try here," she announces, bringing my attention to her smiling face as she points to a sign that reads Glorious Britain and boast about having every quintessentially British thing that a tourist could possibly want.
I follow a few paces behind her as she wanders through the sparsely populated aisles, smoothing her fingers over the plush stuffed animals and laughing at the Corgi ones wearing little crowns on their heads. I shove my hands in my pockets as she shows me item after item, chattering about I think Bex would like this or Bex would absolutely hate this. After scouring almost the entire store, she stops and gives me a shy smile. "Hey, you know, you don't have to follow me around if you don't want to—not that I don't like having you here. I would be all alone if you weren't. And it's great that both our flights were delayed, I mean, cause now I'm not alone, but, yeah, if you want I can find Bex a souvenir on my own." She shrugs and turns away towards a tower of magnets, fingering one painted with the most touristy places in the city.