“Where's the shuttle?” Adam asked.
“It's parked about eight blocks north,” the doorman answered over his shoulder without making eye contact. “You'll have to walk to it.”
Adam couldn't argue. The only traffic he expected to see pass by on the street would be an Ark.
The doorman turned to offer his umbrella and hesitated, his attention drawn to someone exiting the hotel behind Adam. “I'm sorry,” he began as he held it up. “It's the last one.”
“Me, too,” Adam said. “The shuttle is eight blocks that way,” he added gesturing with his free hand.
“Oh my,” she responded with a pout.
“The water's too deep for it to come any closer,” the doorman repeated for her benefit.
“We'll be drenched,” she observed.
“We can share it,” Adam suggested.
The woman looked at him with suspicion.
“The umbrella,” Adam explained.
“Oh,” she responded forming her lips into a matching shape that Adam wanted to kiss.
Adam shook his head to clear away the impulse and reached for the woman's luggage. She had three pieces. A large sample case on wheels, an overnight bag, and a carry-on as well as her purse. “Here, you hold the umbrella and I'll take the bags,” Adam offered.
She hesitated, then smiled, and Adam began assembling their combined luggage into one manageable load with two bags stacked on her sample case, her carry-on under his arm, and his in his hand. The doorman opened the umbrella and handed it to her, and the couple dove into the maelstrom, shoulder-to-shoulder.
To be more accurate, her shoulder was pressed against his upper arm, just above the elbow when they set out. She glanced up at him to smile away her nervousness and Adam was enchanted.
The enchantment lasted little more than one block until she began to drift away and Adam's left side became saturated. In the next block, the rain hammering on the canopy seemed to overtax her strength and Adam had to duck to keep his head out of the rain, however the rest of him was completely exposed to the elements.
The awkward posture that he was forced into to keep his head under the umbrella caused him to drop her carry-on from under his arm in the middle of the fourth block. She stood aside and worried over her things getting wet as Adam retrieved it and rearranged his load. He was mildly embarrassed at having dropped it until he saw her scowl.
By the time they reached the shuttle, Adam was trailing his relatively dry companion and the umbrella by three paces, and was thoroughly soaked. His disposition wasn't mollified when she folded the umbrella and jumped aboard leaving Adam standing in the rain to hand their luggage to the driver who stacked them on the rack behind his seat.
When Adam boarded the shuttle he looked for a seat where he could sit without wetting anyone next to him. However, everyone else had the same idea and he was forced to stand or share his misery with anyone unlucky enough to be seated next to him. His companion from the hotel used her body to make it clear that she wasn't inclined to share a dry seat anymore than the umbrella. Adam stood in the aisle, hanging onto a strap, and dripping into a growing pool at his feet.
One last passenger jumped aboard and the blond patted the seat next to herself in a welcoming gesture. The man smiled and nodded as he sat beside her. She returned his smile and he laid his left arm behind her to hide his wedding band.
“Luke,” he introduced himself. “Lucius, actually.”
The blond smiled in response. “Lilith,” she replied.
Adam almost chuckled aloud, but was distracted by a tug from behind on his raincoat. He turned and found another young woman looking up with a wan smile and patting the seat beside her. “Please, sit,” she said. “You look like you've had a rough time.”
“I don't want to get you wet,” Adam replied.
She laughed, “I'm already wet.”
Adam sat taking care to avoid rubbing up against her, but the attempt was futile. The seats were narrow and the shuttle lurched as its driver fought the traffic and the weather to the airport.
“She's a real heart-breaker,” the woman observed with a nod in the direction of the blond.
Adam glanced at his seat mate and saw her grin. Was she laughing at him? Probably, and he joined her laughing at himself.