team vaduz

Cabin Pressure Week, Day 3: Continuation

The flight deck door closed behind the departing princess, leaving the pilots to stare in wonderment.

“Well!” Douglas exclaimed, expelling the word like a punch in the air.

Martin looked utterly dazed. “Did she just…”

Apparently she had. “Oh, yes!” Douglas said, impressed. “Congratulations, Martin. You’ve got yourself… a bobsled.”

Martin’s grin seemed almost too big for his face. It was nice to see that on him, as if years of association with Arthur Shappey had finally rubbed off. A few seconds later, his eyes focused slightly, and he almost visibly bristled. “Not yet. I thought we were counting exes onto the teams. At least let’s see if Duxford… happens, before you count her as that.”

Douglas raised a hand in surrender. “All right, all right. I wasn’t implying anything like that. Feel free to hold off on completing your team for as long as you see fit.”

“Sorry. Just a bit flustered, I suppose…”

“That’s fair enough,” said Douglas, grinning all over again. “Martin Crieff and a Princess! Who would have thought.”

Martin still looked offended, but now he was only putting it on. He couldn’t even keep it up for long, chuckling along with Douglas. “I know. Well, I would ask for advice, but… does she outrank all of your marathon runners?”

Douglas considered. “Probably. Yes, I think the highest I’ve ever gone is Duke.”

Martin raised his eyebrows. “Duke of what?”

“That would be telling.”

“Douglas! You can’t just say something like that and not give the story.”

Douglas sat back, a smug look on his face. “I rather think I can. But anyway… to return to the mention of advice. I don’t think you should play it any differently than any other date, really. I mean, she hasn’t said yes to Duxford Air Museum with a penniless pilot - sorry, the alliteration was too good to miss - but she hasn’t said yes because she thinks you’re what’s expected of a prince consort, has she? She’s said yes because she likes you.”

“Do you think?”

“Well, maybe ‘taken a liking’ is a better phrase. She doesn’t properly know you yet, after all.”

Martin hummed in agreement. “This could be a disaster,” he murmured.

“Yes,” said Douglas, “And if it is, I look forward to hearing about it.”

“Thanks.”

“You know what I mean. But it might not be a disaster at all. At the very least, you’ll be well and truly in your comfort zone.”

“Well, there is that.”

“And you could even forego the medals this time, which would make moving around much easier.”

Martin giggled, despite himself, and looked down at his ‘decorations’. “Yeah, they can probably stay at home.”

“Can I look at those ones she gave you? What on earth are they, really?”

Martin removed them and handed them over. “I think that one’s a Swiss franc, and the little wobbly stick is… I have no idea. The Star one looks like an actual medal.”

“Maybe it is.”

“Mmmm. Maybe.”

Douglas handed the medals back. “Well, here’s to a successful Duxford outing, anyway. You never know, I might get out the old metalwork kit and make you a ‘Dated a Princess’ medal to add to your collection.”

Martin laughed. “I wouldn’t put it past you.”

“Oh, you should never put anything past me. Don’t even try.”