“Oh boys, I’m so glad you’re both ok. You’re not hurt, are you?” Lesley was clearly in a blind panic, and had worked herself up into such a state whilst the boys had been stuck on the ride. She seemed oblivious to the fact that they hadn’t been bothered in the slightest, and in actual fact had rather enjoyed getting to know Ellie.
“Muuuuum! Relax, stop stressing, we’re absolutely fine. Honestly, you worry too much!” Jack rolled his eyes at his mum is exasperation. “We were just enjoying the view, and the company, weren’t we Tom”.
Tom giggled, agreeing with his friend, but not wanting to appear cheeky to Mrs Daniels.
“Company?” Lesley looked at little confused for a moment, then she remembered. “Ah, yes, that girl who got off with you, who was she? Did she look after you both whilst you were stuck?”
“Her name is Ellie, Mum. When we got to the front of the queue, the lady wouldn’t let us get on the ride on our own because we’re too young, even though we’re tall enough to ride! Ellie was there with her family, but only 3 could fit in each pod, so her Dad took her two little brothers, and Ellie came on with us. She was great. And guess what, she goes to Lucy’s new school too, so she’s going to look out for her in September and say hi!”
Lesley smiled, pleased that somebody had been there to take care of the boys, and then glanced around to see whether she could spot Ellie and her family, wanting to thank her properly. “Is she still here Jack, can you see her? I’d like to let her know how much I appreciate her looking out for you both.”
“She…erm…well, she was a little upset when we got off Mum, and I think she went with her Dad to go and get changed.”
Lesley looked questioningly over at her Son – she’d seen the girl climbing out of the capsule ahead of the to boys, and vaguely recalled her rushing towards somebody, but in truth she’d been completely distracted by making sure Jack and Tom were ok, so she hadn’t paid too much attention, and hadn’t noticed Ellie’s tears…nor her jeans.
Jack blushed a little, not really wanting to recount Ellie’s shame to his Mum, as he’d seen how embarrassed she’d been when they’d gotten off the ride. Tom noticed his friends discomfort, and stepped in with a brief, sensitive explanation.
“Poor Ellie needed the toilet, Mrs Daniels, and we were stuck up there for too long, so she couldn’t hold on. That’s why she was so upset when we got off, and why she needed to go and get changed.:
With a dawning realisation, Lesley gasped “Oh, the poor dear! She must have been so embarrassed. Not that it was her fault, of course, I don’t suppose there was anything she could do. But to have an accident so publicly like that, and at her age, bless her. I hope she’s ok. And I really hope you two didn’t make her feel bad about what happened?”
Both boys felt affronted at the very suggestion! “No, Mum, of course we didn’t! We’re not mean like that, and Ellie was nice to us. I hope she’s ok too.”
Tom again nodded emphatically in agreement with Jack, possibly a little more so as he remembered just how close he’d come to needing a change of pants in the queue earlier, and blushing slightly at the memory.
Having said goodbye to the boys, Ellie had wanted to get away from the crowd of people around the ride as quickly as she could, not wanting anybody to see her wet jeans, not that she could really do anything to hide them. She strode purposefully ahead of her Dad, in the direction of the nearest toilets, and paused just a moment outside the door whilst he and her brothers caught up.
“Dad, can you find me something to wear, please? I can’t walk around like this…” She gestured to her obviously soaked jeans, blushing bright red as she did so. “Anything, please, I don’t care what it is so long as nobody can see what’s happened. If anybody from school is here and notices, I’m finished!”
Graham nodded sympathetically, appreciating his daughters plight, and wishing he’d had the foresight to bring a change of clothes for her as he had for the two younger boys. “Ok love, let me go and see if they have anything at the gift shop…I don’t know whether they will, but I’ll try. Can you keep an eye on the boys whilst I’m gone please? Maybe if they stand in front of you it will be a bit less obvious?”
Ellie agreed, it was better than having to walk to the shop herself with everybody staring, although she just knew that her brothers were going to ask her a million questions, and she really didn’t feel like she could cope with that right now.
“Ellie?” The eldest boy asked.
“Hmmm?” She couldn’t just ignore him because she knew he’d never give in until she answered, but she hoped that it was clear she didn’t want to talk.
“Why did you wet your pants? I thought you were a big girl, not a baby.”
And with that, Ellie crumbled again, screaming at him to shut up, and descending into fresh racking sobs, which only served to draw more attention to her from the passing throngs of people.
“Are you ok sweetie?” A strange, comforting voice came to her ears. She vaguely recognised it, but couldn’t pinpoint why. And she had no desire to look up, preferring to keep her face buried in her hands where nobody could see her tears.3
Audio Version of Chapter