Then I saw two small figures sitting on the huge piling that blocked the bridge. I poked my wife, but she had already seen. They were sitting close together, but not touching. Then, as they heard the van approach, they turned around to look, and one of them gestured at the other. When the latter didn't respond quickly enough, Ron (for that's who it was) shoved him with both hands, hard, and he went flying off the piling and vanished.
I hoped he was okay, but there was no further sign of him as Ron quickly got up and climbed over the piling to greet us.
"Mom! Dad!" she called, running over to us as we got out of the van. She hugged each of us, then we introduced her to Claudia and Erika. She greeted them politely, shaking their hands (she even wiped her hand on her jeans before offering it), and saying how nice it was to meet them. My employer and I could barely keep a straight face at this uncharacteristic politeness. But obviously in her mind she'd been caught doing something wrong, so now she was on her best behavior.
I wondered if this young man had been the one who had received the ketchup hair treatment. If so, I admired his resolve. He was going to need it.
Claudia and Jan smoked while the rest of us unpacked the van and stacked the luggage by the barricade. I realized that, though Ron and Christy were both helping, Ron never addressed her. If she had a question, she spoke only to me or to Erika. For some reason, her temporary bout of politeness didn't extend to Christy. It wasn't until later that I found out why.
Then, the luggage unloaded, the driver paid (and tipped handsomely, since he'd helped a lot with the luggage), and the van gone, I turned to Christy and said, "On your way home, can you snag a runner and get a couple of luggage carts–"
"Are you in a hurry?" she asked.
I shrugged. "Not really."
"Then I'll come back with the van," she said. She got on her motorcycle and roared off. Claudia, Erika, and Jan were talking and smoking, and I went and sat next to Ron, who had resumed her seat on the piling.