At this point I felt I must try and calm things down. “How about we just have the window open a tiny bit? We’ve just had to run to catch this train. In a few minutes we’ll feel much better and we can close it then. Would that be OK?”
“I suppose so.”
“Anyway, let’s get those formal introductions over with. I’m Charlie Nicholson; This is my sister, Angela; And our mother, Pat.”
“Oh. Well in that case, I suppose it’s only fair to say that I’m Cathy Alperin.” She seemed rather shy now the hostilities had abated.
“Pleased to meet you, Angela.” I held out my hand; she took it and smiled a little.
It was probably too forward, but I couldn’t help myself: “Forgive me, I’ve got to ask, ‘Formally introduced’?” I have a tendency to speak a little before I’ve weighed all the possible consequences. Sometimes it gets me into trouble. Fortunately not this time.
“I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist the ‘introduced’ thing. I thought it might somehow bring things to a halt. Silly really!”
“Well, it seems to have worked.”