Charlie inhaled deeply as soon as the carriage doors opened. The hot air rushed down his throat, drying everything.
The late afternoon sun was flickering through the tops of the eucalyptus trees that lined the car park. He was happy to be walking home rather than getting into a car that'd be over fifty degrees.
He swiped his card, heard the bip, but stopped. Amazed.
Daisy was sitting by the gate, her tail suddenly wagging. Dust was swishing with each movement.
'Daisy,' he said. She didn't have a collar on, so he was sure she hadn't been walked here by one of the kids.
He bent down to pat her head. She raised her front paws onto his shoulders, almost pushing him off balance.
The other passengers, uninterested in the reunion, squeezed past the pair.
Daisy happily walked with Charlie. He'd taken off his belt as a make-shift lead.
Home, Daisy rushed into the air-conditioned home and immediately over to the water bottle. Shrieks of joy came from Annie, who immediately remonstrated with the family dog of her absence.
Charlie put his bag down and entered the kitchen. Maddie was wiping her hands clean when she saw him.
'We've been looking for her all afternoon,' she said. 'Where was she?'
'Waiting for me at the station.'
Maddie's eyebrows scrunched in confusion. 'But how?'
'I've got no idea. I've asked Daisy all the questions, like how did she know I was at the station, how did she cross the highway, and how did she get out?'
'And what did she say?' Annie asked in her still-believing-in-Santa way.
'She's claiming the fifth.'
'What's that?' Annie asked.
'Daisy's going to keep it a secret.'