Guess who is on the bus with Mister Protagonist?
Sometimes the back story sneaks into a work and has to pruned. This section will be in the Deleted Scenes section of the footnotes to my work in progress. For ten trivia points, who is riding to London with Duncan as he prepares for his job interview?
He was eager for the trip and arrived early at the Digbeth Coach Station, jumping from the number thirteen city bus, and running down Station street to be sure he would be first in line for a ticket to London. The Midland Red bus lurked with its diesel engine idling for warmth in the exhaust stinking warren of tunnels, and Duncan, third to board, took a window seat where he leant against the frame, his mind pacing back and forth over his presentation. The single-decker coach filled rapidly, and a family took up the open seats around him: the father in front, mother behind, and their daughter seated beside him.
~She’s about fourteen. She’ll be a looker once her zits clear up,~ he examined her discretely as she leafed through that week’s Melody Maker.
The peculiar triangulation didn’t bother the family, and they carried on a loud conversation both around and over Duncan. He decided to feign sleep rather than try to read as they rumbled south on the M1 motorway. He couldn’t avoid their words, and learnt that they wanted to rent a smaller and cheaper flat but better situated, generally more practical than the present one. The parents told their daughter she had blossomed recently in spite of some unspecified troubles which had made her cheeks pale, into a beautiful and voluptuous young woman. Duncan found the word “voluptuous” a strange one to use directly to a child. He cocked an eye open three millimeters, and saw that she had gone on with her reading, an article about a new Irish band’s album that was either called U2 by Boy, or Boy by U2.
A blue and white sign for the Hemel Hempstead exit flew by, and his personal soap opera grew more silent. Through his shrewdly hooded lids, Duncan took in the understanding that passed between the parents in their glances and now sparse phrases; they thought that the time was at hand to seek out a good honest man for the daughter. Their coach pulled into the London terminus, and he thought he caught a smile, a confirmation of their new dreams and good intentions, when the daughter stood up first and stretched her supple body.