The next day found Indy bundled up in travel clothes and waiting with her cases at St Pancras outside the Eurostar check in, Howard by her side. Indy kept her fingers tightly round Gus' collar; she didn't like stations. Too many people rushing and looking harassed and unhappy. And she was nervous; if Lindsey was too busy to pick her up, who would it be? And would they even be able to talk to her? The journey would be horrible if she had to spend it feeling self-conscious and small.
"This is not fair on you," Howard signed to her. He was in grumble-mode this morning. "I don't care how good an opportunity it is, it feels like you're just being slotted into your brother's schedule and I don't like it. There aren't even any other children on this tour. I question its suitability."
Indy decided not to reply. She scanned the crowds and then caught sight of the top of a familiar head. Simon stepped into view, waving. When he was near enough he lifted her off her feet into a hug. Indy hugged him back tightly.
"Hello chick!" He put her back on her feet. His hair was tousled and he looked a little rough, as though he might not have had enough sleep, but he was smiling. As ever, his signing was rather messy, but Indy had known him so long that it didn't bother her. "How's things?"
"I didn't think you were coming," Indy signed. "I thought you'd have to stay with Lindy and I'd get someone I didn't know."
Simon gave her a mock-reproving look. "C'mon. Your brother wouldn't let some random take charge of you and neither would I. 'Course it's me."
"What about Lindy? You never like leaving him."
"Blah!" Simon made a face. "Lin'll be fine, much as it pains me to admit it. The security team are keeping an eye on him and though they can't do it as well as I can, 'least he'll be outta trouble. They know if anything happens I'll be after them." Simon nodded at Howard. "Morning. I'll take over from here."
Howard looked at Indy. "Are you sure about this?"
She nodded. Howard sighed and gave her a hug. "Have a good time. Keep that brother of yours in check, and send me a text so I know you've arrived safely. Here's something for the journey."
He handed her a magazine and a packet of fruit gums and with a few final words departed. Simon watched him leave
"Howard's in a wonderful mood as usual. Was it okay with him?"
Indy shrugged. She wished Simon wouldn't assume she felt the same way about Howard that he did. Simon took Indy's hand and picked up her big case with the other as if it weighted no more than a handbag. Gus trotted alongside them, attracting smiles from passing travellers. Indy was always glad Gus stole the attention; sometimes people were a bit funny when they saw her out and about with Simon. Indy wasn't sure why they got suspicious glances she would have thought it was fairly obvious that Simon was a bodyguard. He was tall and broad and didn't often smile, and if he thought anyone meant either Lindsey or Indy ill, he was on it in a shot.
Check in went smoothly (Lindsey had fixed things up so they could walk straight through) and before long they were in their special compartment, Indy and Simon side by side and Gus sitting opposite. Indy reached across and fondled the dog's ears, just the way she knew he liked it. Gus' tail thumped on seat in appreciation.
Simon brushed her arm, and she turned her attention to him. "Got everything you need, chick?" He signed. "I'm gonna get some shuteye. Last night was a late one. Your brother got an impromptu guitar lesson that lasted well into the night. He's not gonna be the next Slash, that's for sure. He makes a rubbish rocker, though you can't knock his enthusiasm."
Indy shook her head. "I'm worried."
"About what?" He was instantly on the alert. "Has someone upset you?"
"I'm worried about the people on this tour. Lindy just says everyone's lovely and I'll be really welcome but he doesn't see what other people see when they look at me. And he's a dancer. He's at home with performers. I don't do anything. I won't be."
"His law skills are being used more than his dance shoes."
"He's so beautiful when he dances," Indy felt wistful for a moment. She would love to be able to move with the grace and elegance her brother did, but musicality was hard to pull off when you couldn't hear the beat. "He could have been on stage if he wanted."
"Yeah, well, beautiful or not, Lin's got the law bug," Indy noticed that Simon was blushing a little. "Be a shame to waste that great brain of his, eh?"
Indy shrugged. She didn't really understand why her brother loved his job as a barrister so much, but she was happy that it made him happy. "Simon, what are the people like? Really."
Simon hesitated. "Okay. I mean, you'll do fine. I managed to piss some of them off, so I'm not exactly Mr Popular."
Indy wondered what Simon could have done to annoy the tour people. Perhaps they'd taken his sulkiness at face value. She and Lindsey knew that Simon was shy and uncomfortable in his own skin and cripplingly awkward with new people, but it was easy for other people to form an unfavourable impression from the bad-tempered demeanour he defaulted to. Feeling suddenly sorry for Simon, Indy took his gloved hand and squeezed it.
"You've got me and Lindy and Gus."
Simon smiled briefly. "Aw, don't worry about me. I'll get by. Luckily I get to spend time with the security team. They're more my cuppa tea than the glitz'n'glam crew. There's one bloke in particular
ah, never mind about that. It's cool."
Indy wondered who Simon was referring to, but she decided not to push him. If Simon had got friendly with someone on security, she'd soon pick up on who when she was there. "Do you think they'll want me around? Or will I be in the way?"
"Indy," Simon's eyes took on an almost tender look most people never saw on him. "They will love you. Seriously. The guys will go mushy and protective big brother on you, and the girls will think you're cute. You have nothing to worry about."
Yes, but I don't just want to be "cute", Indy thought. She'd spent a lot of her life being petted and cooed over and sometimes she wished people could see past that and realise she was a person too. But she was probably hoping for too much and it wasn't like Simon could do anything to help. She let him lean back in his seat and close his eyes. In a few hours she'd be there, and then she'd find out how things really were.