'Ladies first,' Oscar indicated the way with his arm to let his new friend board the bus ahead of him.
There was a man at the door holding a clipboard, making sure all the right people got on the bus. 'Name, please,' he said as they approached.
'Delta Foxtrot,' said Oscar's new friend, the woman with the thick red hair, iPad, oversized handbag, and now interesting name. Delta boarded the bus, leaving Oscar standing in the cold wondering about her name.
'Sir?' the man with the clipboard asked. Oscar quickly gave his name and hurried onto the bus to catch up with Delta.
'Window or aisle?' Delta asked when he joined her half way up the bus. They'd been told the bus would be full and had each made an unspoken agreement to sit together, the way travellers who have just met often do.
'No preference,' Oscar replied honestly. He had been in a hurry to get home; now he was keen to learn more about Delta Foxtrot, woman of mystery.
'I'll take the window then,' Delta said, sliding into a seat on the right a few rows from the back. Oscar stowed his coat and briefcase in the space overhead and sat down.
'So,' he said, deciding to strike up conversation before Delta had a chance to put her earplugs back in. 'Delta Foxtrot? What an interesting—'
'Code name,' Delta finished the sentence.
'Code name? Like a secret agent?'
'Not really. It's just what I tell people.' She sat back and peered out of the window.
'Why?' Oscar wouldn't normally ask something so boldly, but the word was out of his mouth before he'd realised he was thinking it.
Delta shrugged. 'Because it's a silly name. I think my parents named me that as a dare. What's your name?'
'Oscar Thornton,' Oscar replied proudly.
'What, like Thornton's chocolate?' Here we go. This is what everyone asked.
'Yes,' he lied.