“Hi, Mrs Daniels.” Ellie heard her brothers chorus. Great, just great! Just what she needed, her old primary school teacher putting an appearance whilst she was sat bawling her eyes out in pee soaked jeans. Not only that, but her youngest brothers current teacher too. Could her day get any worse?
Realising that she was being incredibly rude, Ellie meekly raised her head just a little and glanced up, hoping against hope that her wet pants weren’t obvious. “Hi Miss” she croaked, immediately lowering her eyes again, before doing a double take and looking straight back up with a jolt. There, standing right next to her old teacher, were Tom and Jack, they boys she’d met on the ride. She knew they went to a different school to her brothers, so she wasn’t their teacher. How on earth did they know her?
They boys both looked wide-eyed with amazement too, how did Ellie and her brothers know their Mum? This was just too strange!
“Are you ok Ellie?” Lesley asked kindly, crouching down next to Ellie, who hurriedly tried to cover over the stains on her jeans. “Don’t worry lovey, I know, but it really doesn’t matter. Accidents happen, and it really wasn’t your fault that you were stuck for so long.”
“W…what? How did you…” Lucy shouted in amazement. “S..sorry, Miss, I didn’t meant to shout. But, erm, how?” She was flabbergasted, completely thrown, none of this made any sense. She’d even forgotten that she was upset and embarrassed now, sitting up wide eyed and trying to understand what was going on.
Laughing, Lesley realised where the confusion had come in, and did her best to explain. “I’m sorry Ellie, I hadn’t made the connection earlier because I didn’t see you clearly, but the boys you shared the ride pod with, that’s my son Jack and his friend Tom. They’ve told me about what happened darling…no no, don’t get upset again, it was only because they were so worried about you, that’s all.”
“Mum? How do you know who Ellie is?” Jack was standing looking both amazed and confused.
“Ah, sorry Jack, yes that’s another piece of the puzzle that’s missing, isn’t it. Ellie here used to go to the school the I teach at, over on the other side of town. And Sam and Ben here both still do. In fact, Sam was in my class last year, weren’t you?”
The older of Ellie’s two younger brothers nodded “Yes, Miss. I’m going to miss you in September, you were my favourite teacher!”
Her heart melting, Lesley smiled warmly at him and answered diplomatically, not being able to show any favouritism as a teacher. “Well ,that’s very nice of you to say Sam. I’m going to miss all of you too.”
All of them looked at each other, and then seemingly realising at the same time just how surreal the situation was, they all burst out laughing. Oh how they laughed, and Ellie was suddenly quite glad that she’d already wet herself, because she was laughing harder than she had earlier.
As they stood laughing together, nobody seeming able to say anything or to calm themselves down, Jack suddenly sobered up, grabbed at himself though his trousers, and made a mad dash for the toilets, grateful for the fact they were standing right outside. He’d forgotten his need to pee in all the excitement, but had very nearly found himself in the same situation as Ellie! He was relieved to have made it, and soon emerged from the toilets smiling, finding the rest of the group still trying to get themselves back together, finding the whole thing far more funny than any of them should have done.
“What’s all this then?” A deep male voice was heard approaching them. They all turned, and saw Graham making his way to where they were sitting.
Lesley managed to calm her laughter down, realising that she had to appear at least a little bit professional in front of her pupil’s father. And, recognising each other, they greeted one another in a friendly, warm manner. Lesley then quickly explained the bizarre set of circumstances which seemed to have thrown them all together, and how it had triggered the fit of laughter he had walked into.
“Well, it’s certainly been an eventful afternoon for us all, hasn’t it! Blimey, what are the chances, eh?” Graham then remembered why he’d been to the shop, and hurriedly handed the carrier bag he was holding over to Ellie. “I’m sorry love, there really wasn’t much at all that would fit you. This was all they had – but it’s got to be better than nothing. Don’t make a fuss, ok? We can head straight home so you can get sorted properly.”
“Nooo Dad, we’ve to been on half of the rides yet!” Ben sounded on the verge of tears, he didn’t want to go home. “It’s not our fault Ellie wee’d herself like a baby, why do we have to go home!”
“Benjamin! Less of that, you know better. We can always come back another time, what’s happened isn’t Ellie’s fault either don’t forget. No, I don’t want to hear you saying anything like that ever again. Think how you’d feel if somebody was being mean about something you’d not been able to help.”
Suitably chastened, Ben lowered his head, but didn’t say another word.
Ellie had taken the carrier bag, and cringing at the feeling of wet denim on her skin as she stood, she took it into the toilets, hardly daring to think what horrors it may be concealing. Once she was safely ensconced in a toilet stall, she reached inside and pulled out the garment. It was a dinosaur print nightdress! No, there was no way, she’d rather keep her wet jeans on and let everybody see that she’d had an accident than even think about wearing that! She probably looked less babyish in her wee stained jeans too, she thought ruefully.
A dark mood descending over her, she screwed it up and threw it back into the bag, storming out of the stall and slamming the door behind her as she did. Once she was back outside, she threw the bag angrily at her Dad’s feet.
“How can you think I’d even wear that Dad! No, no way, let’s just go home!” And she sat herself back down sulkily on the ground, burying her head in her hands so she didn’t have to join in the conversation.
Graham opened his mouth to reprimand her, and then thought the better of it. He knew she didn’t mean it, she was just hurting – embarrassed and ashamed, and he wished he’d been able to do something to help her. Realising that there was no way she’d wear the nightie, he murmured to the boys to stay with their sister, and then making his excuses to Lesley he set back off towards the shop to return it.
“Ellie, Love, can you keep an eye on Jack and Tom for me for a second, please? I may be able to help.” Lesley then followed Graham, catching him up and tapping him on the shoulder. “Erm, Mr Peters, I’m sorry to butt in, but if it helps at all I’ve got some spare clothes belonging to my daughter back at the car. She’s a couple of years younger than your Ellie, but quite tall for her age. I’m sure there are some leggings…and, maybe even some underwear too.”
Graham Peters turned and raised an eyebrow, causing Lesley to blush a little at the disclosure and hoping Graham hadn’t assumed anything from it. “They’re ‘just in case’, you know. But I’m sure she wouldn’t mind Ellie borrowing them. She may be a little more comfortable, and it saves spoiling the rest of your day by going home early.”
“Are you sure, Mrs Daniels? That would be great, if you really don’t mind. And I’m sure Ellie will be so very grateful! Poor thing, she must be mortified by all of this.”
Lesley nodded in agreement. “No problem at all, you sort that out at the shop and I’ll got and see what I can find. I’ll meet you back with the kids. Oh, and as we’re not at school, I guess we don’t need to be quite so formal. I’m Lesley.”
Smiling, Graham extended a hand, “Thanks Lesley, I’m Graham. And I mean that, thank you.”4
Audio Version of Chapter