Trying to hold a car seat and an umbrella while the rain pelted horizontally thanks to the increasingly strong wind proved too much for Harold. The umbrella collapsed in on itself like a spider doing a backflip. He turned his back to the wind and ducked into the passenger side of the van, dumping the contorted struts and vinyl into the gutter to free his hand.
“There's a two hundred pound fine for littering.” Gillian held their toddler to her chest, Lucy's tousled curls poking out from the vee at her neck. “Can you afford that because I can't.”
“I'll pick it up in a moment.” Harold lifted his arm and looked at her beneath it. Lucy giggled at his upside-down face. “Why don't they make car seats simpler to install.”
“Because then they wouldn't be secure.” Gillian pulled him out of the way and with one hand still supporting Lucy, threaded the seat belt through the fasteners. She stood to drop Lucy through the front of the raincoat and buckled her in. “There. It just takes a bit of persuasion. So simple even a man could do it.”
“But I am a--”
“I mean a real man.” Gillian patted his rain-soaked bottom. “Don't worry, Harold. You have other strengths. I won't trade you in for a newer model.” She went around the front of the van and climbed in the driver's seat. “Not yet, anyway.”
“Hey! I was going to drive.”
“And have me sit in the back?” Gillian twisted to look into the interior. “There are boxes of books to sit on. You'll be quite comfortable.” She turned back, frowning. “Though why you have a mannequin dressed in fishnets I don't know.”