We walk up the street. It takes me a moment to realise that they're holding hands and doing something that isn't a million miles away from giggling. At 5'6"-ish he's no goliath, but still looks huge in comparison, with his big barrel chest and huge shoulders. Dad, like me, can slim down as much as he damn well pleases, but will still be built like a brick shithouse.
It occurs to me that she's like George, my littlest (and youngest) sister, and a bit like me, too. In fact, if you drew a line between George and me, and converted a little of the height into age, then you'd get Tink (she's 33). It occurs to me that this line of reasoning is too disturbing to follow. I crush it.
We go to the pub. I chat to Tink. It's not hard, she's nice enough, though unsurprisingly she doesn't have much to say. I can chat casually about my social life, but I suspect that recently her life has mostly been a giddy whirl of going out with my Dad, staying in with my Dad, and having sex with my Dad, and she's understandarbly reticent. Not to mention vaguely freaked by the fact that her new boyfriend has a daughter almost as old as she is. Dad takes a phone call from his Director. He's always been a bit of a show off.
We chat a bit more. It emerges that she was training to be a teacher, but never really got to grips with it. It occurs to me that this makes her kind of like my little sister Vic, the daughter my Dad used to beat up the most. It occurs to me that this thought is also entirely too disturbing. I dispose of it.
Tink struggles through a huge Tuna melt. Dad lightly bullies her. She faintly ribs him. He accuses her of bullying him. They both laugh. Ordinary flirting, I tell myself, new couple, ordinary flirting. That's all it is.
We chat some more. I show them my bruised elbow. Tink offers up her nose, slightly swollen across the bridge from a Karate chop gone astray. We talk accidents, always a safe topic for cyclists and sporty types.
They have to go, Tink has Karate tonight. Just as well, I'd worked my way round all the acceptable conversational topics twice, now. I walk them to the bus. She seems nice enough, but I can't help worrying. She's so little. I can't help feeling a bit scared for her, a bit protective, as if I'd left a little sister with him, all over again.
Of course it's just an echo reopened, old problems resurfacing and she's a responsible adult (probably) and knows martial arts (which might help) and anyway he's changed now (or so Vic keeps insisting) and it's anyway none of my bastard business, none of my business at all.
It could have been worse. I could have fancied her. (I wonder if she's thinking the same?)
*sigh* Ballet and fairies, chasing little ghosties, monsters to publish and toys to download, and would I like to start this enhanced CD? No, just give me music, please.