"Adam, again?" Pirhana asked as they waited.
Elizabeth's hands flew up to her hair and she tugged a little on a piece of it.
"Yes. He has moved, though, and, oh," her eyes widened, "I've forgotten my hat. I had it with me when I set out this morning, and I'm almost certain I had it when I left his new place." She pursed her lips together. "Do we have time before the film, do you think? I wanted to wear it tomorrow. It is supposed to be quite windy, but, of course, no, I'm sure that I shall have time to look for it then. Your friend said that the cake here was divine?"
"We can try it after. I've not seen Adam in forever, anyway."
"Are you sure? Only I am not at all certain where I lost it and I have been all sorts of places today."
"I could use the exercise, anyway, babe; don't worry about it. We can just duck out of here."
"Going?" the hostess asked, smiling, as she approached.
"Lost hat," said Pirhana. "We'll be back."
"Thank you," returned Elizabeth, twisting around and curtsying slightly under the tinkling bell as she went back out the door, Pirhana behind her as they took the stairs back up to street level.
"It's the cloche that you've lost?" she asked when they had moved back onto the street.
"Yes," she answered. "I am going to be most vexed with myself if I do not find it."
"No chance you left it at school?"
"None. Adam told me that he liked the embroidery."
"We could call ahead?"
"Yes," she said, flustered. "I have the salon's number. If you will excuse me?"
Pirhana waved her off and settled back against an iron fence out of the thoroughfare to wait. She remembered the first time Adam had cut Elizabeth's hair. Pirhana had walked into the main room of her flat to Elizabeth sitting holding a pair of scissors, looking at them contemplatively, and surrounded by open magazines.
"Oh, hell, no." she had said, and, when Elizabeth looked up at her, her brow furrowed, "If you want a haircut we're getting you a professional, or as good as. There is no way you're cutting your own hair and I'm sure as fuck not doing it."
Adam was her brother's friend from school, and had been in training as a hairdresser and willing to give free haircuts for the practice.
Pirhana had left them alone together and had come back to find Elizabeth with rather less hair and a new friend. "Adam has been telling me about a film called Roman Holiday," she had said. "Apparently Audrey Hepburn is a princess in it and she is hounded by photogs?"
"He says that I was wearing it when I left," she said, now.
"I'll catch him later, then. Where else have you been?"
"Oh," she said, "I was at the Science Museum with Rachel today. Shall we take the tube instead of the bus?"
"Sure," said Pirhana.
"You are quite sure that you do not mind?"
"Don't worry about it. How'd she like it, anyway?" Pirhana asked as they walked.
"She is still very fond of the sections about space. We spent most of our time in those sections." Elizabeth said as they walked down the stairs into the station. “She likes the simulators."
Pirhana swiped her card and moved through the turnstile. "She still want to be an astronaut when she grows up, then?"
"Yes. Doctor Rosenberg says that this is because she knows now that she can not actually be Han Solo. Oh, we are just in time," she said, hearing the train.
They sped down the stairs and boarded a car, the doors closing on their heels. Pirhana and Elizabeth grinned a little at each other before they sat down.
The first time that Elizabeth rode the tube she had held onto a pole, but had nearly fallen over anyway, not having been able to predict the kind of jolt that the cars accelerating into motion would create. Pirhana hadn't been able to explain it to her properly; she had just told her to hold on tight, and then watched Elizabeth's eyes widen as she lurched with the car and her knuckles whitened on the pole.
Elizabeth is a bit of a ridiculous person to take the tube with, but for different reasons now than that first trip. She loves the tube now, loves the air whooshing past and through the windows in the summer, loves the shape of the trains and the whole process of it. She is very interested in public transit and knows all sorts of trivia about it.
Pirhana suspects that a bit of the way that Rachel is about space she picked up from Elizabeth's enthusiasm for public transit - that she picked out children's non-fiction books about space and spaceships from the library to match Elizabeth's histories on public transit in London and urban planning magazines and books on the science of trains.
Rachel has not shared Elizabeth's interest in the difference engine that the Science Museum houses, nor has that interest kicked off one at all connected to it. The second floor is merely between the interesting floors. (Pirhana, though, was partial to the ships on the second floor, in a casual way.)
Elizabeth's mobile chimed between Earl's Court and Gloucester Road and she pulled it out of her pocket and read the screen. "Gaurav has written that they have my hat," she said, excitedly, as she read on. "He is not working tomorrow." She frowned. "Do you think I could ask him to take it with him and meet us somewhere?"
"You can invite him along tonight, if you like," said Pirhana. The train stopped and they got out so that they could switch directions. Elizabeth tapped away at her mobile.
"He will meet us at the Ravenscourt station and walk with us to the restaurant," she said after a few minutes.
"Not busy, then," said Pirhana, smirking a little.
"No," said Elizabeth, brightly. "Of course, it is only five. He may have things that he is doing later this evening. Perhaps he is going to a club later."
"Gaurav dances?" It was an odd image.
Elizabeth pursed her lips. "I do not know. I have never asked and he has never said."
They passed an advertisement for a new wii game as they exited the tube and Pirhana nearly lost Elizabeth again. She was effected with that same kind of gravity that exists between some people and bookstores (where they curve towards them and slow down when they pass one, if they can pass one without going in) by odd things sometimes. She possessed a kind of joyous fascination with the world and wanted to know how things worked.
Pirhana had lost her shopping once, before she’d come back for good, and found her in the games section, playing a wii, full of curiosity and wonder as the shop staff watched her with the same. Elizabeth was very enthusiastic about the twenty-first century.
“There is Gaurav!” she said, spotting him. “Hello!”
“Hi,” said Pirhana.
"Hello, Pirhana, Elizabeth," he said as they approached. "I saw it in the Lost and Found as I was packing up," he said as he held out Elizabeth's hat to her. "I thought you might be looking for it."
"Thank you," she said as she inspected it, turning the cloche about in her hands before putting it on. "I was. We were. We were halfway to the Science Museum when I received your text."
"Good thing I texted then."
"Yes," she said, and smiled.
"Got big plans for your day off from the library tomorrow?" asked Pirhana, as they started off.
"I think my sister might be taking me shopping," he said, and paused briefly. "For hats."
"Do you need a hat?" asked Elizabeth.
"No. Well, I don't think so. I think that we are shopping for hats for her but that acquiring a hat for myself might be a casualty of the trip." He looked a little resigned, and amused. "What are you two up to after tonight?"
"Yoga, tomorrow. Elizabeth's skiving off on me, so I get to be fabulous without her," she said, and winked at Elizabeth.
"My friend, Emily - from school - has a recital then. I can not go to her concert later in the week, so she has invited me to see her rehearse."
"What does she play?" Gaurav asked.
"I do not know," she said. "She will be singing tomorrow."
"What does she sing?" he asked.
"She does electro-pop-jazz fusion." Elizabeth said as she walked over some paper. "Oh! But tomorrow she is singing first alto with her choral group."
"We're here," said Pirhana, who held the door open, hip cocked.
"Hello," said the hostess as they entered. "I see you found your hat," she said to Elizabeth, and smiled. Three?" she asked.
"Three," confirmed Pirhana.