The silver Mondeo pulls up steadily outside the entrance to Gatwick alongside several taxis who sound their horns grumpily. It’s only just gone half nine and already there is a lot of chaos outside the terminal with tired travellers and anxious fliers filing into the airport for check-in.
Frank recognises Peter and points him out to Dennis. Similarly to Frank, Peter is also wearing a light grey business suit, with a grey tie and white shirt; their uniform, in a way. Frank sighs quietly as Dennis turns off the engine.
Suddenly, Dennis turns in his driving seat to face Frank. “Frank, I’m going to be frank- no pun intended- I don’t like the idea of you going on this trip. I know you go on loads of business trips all the time, but I have a bad feeling about this one. You’re not in a good mental state right now… I just worry about you.”
Frank stares impassively at Dennis for a moment, absorbing what he’s just said before he slowly exhales. “I’ll be back before you know it. It’s only a week. I’ll be fine. I appreciate your concern, but really. I’ll be okay. Thank you.”
Dennis frowns deeply in response. “If you ever need me, you call me straight away. I’ll have my mobile on me all day and I’ll be available around the clock. Do not hesitate to call. I’m here for you; you know that, right?”
Frank laughs and rolls his eyes. “You’ve always taken good care of me, brother. I’ll call you when I arrive at the hotel. I promise you, this week is going to be boring; lots of paperwork and meetings and-”
“-Cocktails and hot single ladies.” Dennis finishes. Franks glares at him but decides to let it go. “Get out there, come on. You have nothing to lose…”
“Except my job, Den.”
“You’re on holiday!” Dennis exclaims, widening his eyes for emphasis.
Frank scowls in response. “It’s a business trip…”
“Same thing! Here. Take my sunglasses. They’ve got special lenses that tint in the sunlight so that people can’t see where you’re looking.”
“I’m pretty sure that they’re designed to keep the sun out of your eyes rather than be used for goggling at ladies. That’s why they’re called sun-glasses not pedo-glasses.” Frank says rolling his eyes at his older brother before examining the lenses and whistling. “Wow, these are state of the art new technology. They must have cost you a lot.”
Dennis waves his hand dismissively. “It’s fine; I can afford it. Peter looks more twitchy than normal today.”
“For God sake, Dennis. Everything is fine.” Frank raises a hand to wave goodbye to his brother.
Unexpectedly, Dennis reaches over and embraces his brother tightly. “I’m going to miss you, bro.”
Frank gives him a confused but comforting squeeze. “I’ll be home before you know it. I’ll call you when I arrive at the hotel.”
Dennis releases him and Frank pretends not to notice the tears in his eyes. What’s with him today? He bites the insides of his cheeks to prevent himself from being visibly affected by his brother’s out of character emotion. Giving him a final nod, he opens the door and steps out.
Frank inhales the cool mid-morning breeze and composes himself. Everything is fine. He removes his large black suitcase from the trunk of the car and swings his laptop bag over a shoulder. Peter notices him and starts to make his way over as Frank walks alongside to the driver window on the pavement.
“Call me, Frank. Honestly, I’ll worry a lot if you don’t.” Dennis says through the open window of the car.
Frank nods back at him. “I will. You should go, you’re not supposed to park here. I promise I’ll call you when we arrive in the hotel. Relax. I hope your meeting goes well.”
“Hey, was beginning to think you weren’t going to show.” Peter smiles warmly at Frank as he stands beside him with his luggage. He nods at Dennis and frowns, looking around. “Are you allowed to park in the taxi lane?”
Dennis grins up at Peter as he starts up the ignition. “No. I’m not. But technically, I just dropped my little brother off at the airport, so I guess that makes me a taxi now.” Peter’s jaw drops slightly and Dennis’s grin widens. “Call me, Frank.”
Peter and Frank watch silently as Dennis drives manically down the taxi lane, once again causing more angry car-horns being sounded. Franks shakes his head sadly. And he worries about me.