The morning seemed to go so fast. Peter and Bridget brought them breakfast in bed. After they ate they loaded their suitcases into the rental. They would leave it at the airport. Anne had called the previous day to find out if that was okay.
There were more tears than they imagined. Isabel gave them a picture she had drawn of them to take home. Ann said she would frame it. Matilda, Graeme and the kids went with them to the airport to say goodbye. They left after Anne had checked Ann and herself in.
They were in the waiting area at the Launceston airport. Ann took a few more photos of the scene outside the airport. Then their flight was called. They made their way through customs and down stairs to the departure lounge. Anne smiled at Ann whose eyes were red from all the tears she had shed. ‘You’ll see them again and sooner probably than what you can imagine.’
Do you know something I don’t?’ Ann asked. ‘No Adney. I don’t.’
Their flight left on time. It was good to be going home, Ann thought as she looked out the window and saw Tasmania disappear into the distance. It was still hard to believe they had spent three weeks on this island at the bottom of the world. Or was it?
The sky was clear. They could see Bass Strait. It looked wild and windy down there. An hour and a half later they were landing at Sydney airport. They checked in for their next flight. Anne checked their luggage at Sydney airport through to Heathrow. When they arrived at Heathrow they were staying overnight at a hotel near the airport and travelling home the next day.
Ann had sent Elizabeth a text message before the flight took off to tell her they would be staying at Heathrow overnight and be home in Halifax by 1PM the following day. Ann had turned off her phone as the plane began taxing down the runway. Anne was chatting in her ear telling Ann what they would do when they returned home. So, they were in the air and the plane was levelling before Ann realised they had left the ground.
She was constantly amazed by the way Anne could calm and relax her. Anne seemed to know what to do and how to do it. Ann slept from Sydney to Singapore. She was woken by Anne who said they were deplaning for about an hour or two while the plane was refuelled. They sat in the departure lounge. Ann bought them a drink and something to eat. Ann rested her head on Anne’s shoulder. Anne wondered why she was so quiet until she heard little snores. Ann had fallen asleep. They were called to board the plane again. Anne nudged Ann who opened her eyes. She was surprised that she had fallen asleep. ‘How long was I asleep?’ She asked Anne. ‘Not long. Let’s get you back on board then you can go back to sleep. Okay!’
The flight between Singapore and London was uneventful. Ann slept most of the way. She would wake up often to see if Anne was still sitting next to her. Then sleep again. They arrived at Heathrow airport just over 14 hours after they left Sydney. Anne had booked their hotel room for the night.
They stayed at the London Heathrow Marriot Hotel. The room was spacious and even though Ann had slept for most of their flight she was exhausted. Anne called down for room service to bring them up tea at around 6PM. They flight landed at around 3PM.
Ann slept for the next two hours. When she woke Anne was watching tv. It was so good to relax after such a long flight. The meal Anne had ordered from room service arrived on the dot of six. Anne was so happy she gave the waiter a huge tip. Ann smiled. She didn’t know her wife was so generous.
While they ate tea the news on BBC1 played in the background. It didn’t seem as though anything drastic had happened while they were away just the usual array of whinging opposition politicians complaining about what the government wasn’t doing or was doing and the English weather. ‘Well, it’s not too bad. Is it?’ Ann asked. Anne decided to call her aunt to say they had arrived back in England in one piece. When she turned on her phone there were lots of messages and many of those messages were from Mariana Lawton. ‘I think I need to get another bloody phone number. Then maybe Mariana will leave me alone.’ Anne said angrily. ‘Hand me your phone, Anne.’ Anne handed Ann her phone. Ann had had enough of Mariana trying to inveigle herself into their lives. ‘What are you going to do, Ann?’
‘I have no idea but I am fed up with her trying to stuff up what we have, dearest.’ Anne leaned over and watched Ann type something then deleting it. She did that a few times until she knew what she wanted to say. Mariana, this is Ann Walker. You might think that I am only a bit of a fling for Anne but you need to remember we are married which trumps whatever you had with her. I just wish you would realise this and leave Anne and I alone. We will get in touch with you later. Okay!!
Anne read the message and smiled. ‘I just hope this works. Anne’s phone was silent for a beat then a message came through. You don’t know Anne like I do. Mariana’s message said. Ann replied with. No, I think I know her better than what you do. I have accepted Anne as she is and you will never do that..
Anne and Ann watched the three bubbles float up and down as Mariana replied to her message. They read it together. Okay if you say so. They both wondered what that meant and Anne wasn’t game enough to ask and Ann knew Anne better than Mariana thought.
Anne called her aunt who answered on the first ring. ‘Hi Anne how are you and where are you?’ Aunt Anne asked panting. She had been waiting for Anne to call her but dozed off and was pulled awake when her phone buzzed next to her. ‘We are great Aunt. Just had to deal with Mariana but I think she won’t be bothering us again. We are in London staying at the London Heathrow Marriot Hotel. It’s posh. Well, it should be for the price. We will be home tomorrow to see you and the rest of the family.’
‘How is little Ann? Put me on speakerphone so I can chat with both of you.’ Anne did as her Aunt asked her. ‘Hi little Ann. How are you doing?’
‘Hi Aunt I am doing fine. Anne let me sleep for most of the flight and then I slept for a while when we arrived here. She is a good wife. Isn’t she?’ Anne could hear her aunt chuckle. ‘What did she do to deserve such an amazing wife, little Ann? You do praise her up a lot.’ Aunt Anne said. ‘Oh I will always praise her because she is so good to me.’ Ann said confidently. ‘She dealt with Eliza Priestley when she called while we were on our honeymoon. Then she switched off my phone. I’m not game enough to turn it back on.’ Anne blushed. Ann really did see her. She whispered thank you in Ann’s ear.
They talked with Aunt Anne until Ann started to yawn. ‘I think I need to get my wife into bed. She has had a very long day. We will see you sometime tomorrow, Aunt.’ Anne said. ‘Goodnight girls.’
‘Goodnight Aunt.’ Anne and Ann said in unison. Then Anne disconnected the call. ‘Do you want to check your phone, Adney?’ Ann shook her head. ‘Can we leave it to later? I would prefer not to know what is on my phone right now.’
‘What if your sister is trying to get hold of you?’ Anne said sincerely. ‘Can I use your phone to call her?’ Anne nodded and passed her phone to Ann. She dialled her sister’s number. Elizabeth answered on the first ring. ‘Hi Anne I have been trying to call Ann. Why isn’t she answering her phone?’
‘Hi Liz I haven’t turned it on yet. I don’t want to know who has been calling to badger me about not calling Aunt Ann.’
‘I know they called me constantly to see if you had called. I told them you had turned off your phone. Thanks for calling me. How are you?’
‘We are doing great.’ Anne said when Ann put her sister on speakerphone. ‘Thank you Anne. Where are you?’
‘At the London Heathrow Marriot Hotel we will be home tomorrow.’ Ann said. ‘Great.’ Elizabeth said. ‘How you are getting home?’ Ann looked at Anne. They hadn’t thought about that. ‘I guess we will hire a car.’ Anne said. ‘Or get the train home. Then I suppose get an uber to Shibden. Why?’
‘We were coming down to Halifax for a few days to see you and Ann. You could get the train and let us know when you arrive there and we could pick you up and take you home to Shibden. What do you think Annie?’ Ann looked at her wife. Anne nodded. ‘Yes please.’ Ann said. ‘We will call you when we get into Halifax. If it isn’t too late we could go out for a meal together. Is that okay?’ Ann said to both her wife and her sister. Anne nodded and Elizabeth said. ‘Yes, but it will only be me. George will be busy and Martha will look after the kids.’
‘Fabulous. Then we will call you. What time do you think you will be in Halifax?’ Ann asked. ‘Around 11AM. George has a meeting at one and wants to rest for awhile before. Anyway, I will see you tomorrow. Bye!”
‘Bye, Liz. See you tomorrow.’ They said in unison.