Somewhat self-consciously, clutching the carrier bag filled with her wet clothes, Ellie made her way back over to where Lesley and the 4 boys were sitting around a picnic bench a short distance away from the toilets.
“Feel better now sweetie?”
Ellie nodded, blushing again, and took a seat perched on the end of the bench, tucking the carrier bag underneath out of sight. “Thanks again, Miss. They fit fine, and your Lucy has good taste.”
“Glad you’re all sorted love. Now, let’s say no more about it, eh?”
Ellie gratefully agreed, joining in with the boys who were excitedly talking about what they wanted to do next. Her accident behind her, she was determined to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
“Sorry, there was a queue in the shop by the time I got back there.” Graham had reappeared at the side of them, a little out of breath having jogged back, conscious that he’d left his sons for quite a long time. “They wouldn’t give me a refund, but have issued a voucher which we can use anywhere here at the park. Lesley, how would you and the boys like to join us for lunch? We can put the voucher towards it, better than wasting it.”
Before Lesley could answer, she was deafened by the sound of 4 excited boys, who were all clearly keen to stay together and get to know each other better. And even Ellie couldn’t resist a grin and chipping in with “Yay! Thanks Dad!”.
“Well, it looks like that’s settled then.” Graham chuckled, looking over to Lesley who was laughing herself. “That is, if it’s ok with you?” “Sounds lovely Graham, thank you. We’d love to join you, although I insist on paying my way, you keep the voucher and treat Ellie and the boys to something nice.”
“Well, we can argue about that when the bill comes. What do you say, one more ride for this lot and then we find somewhere?” Ever the gentleman, he had no intention of letting Lesley foot the bill, and would make sure that he took care of it before she got the chance. “Have you decided which one you want to go on next lads?”
The answer, apparently, was ‘The Swamp’, a particularly disgusting sounding ride which appeared to involve copious amounts of water and slime, as well as spinning at alarming speeds. Typical boys, he thought, but secretly he was glad they’d decided to get that one out of the way before eating.
“Come on then, Ellie you’ve got the map, so you can lead the way. Here, give me that bag, I’l shove it in my backpack out of the way.”
Ellie was pleased to get rid of the offensive carrier bag, although she felt more than a little ashamed as she handed it over to her Dad. Pulling out the map leaflet, she quickly found her bearings and then set off at a brisk pace, with the younger children following in line behind her, and Lesley and Graham taking up the rear, smiling at the sight before them.
“For a ‘moody teenager’, she’s got a way with kids, hasn’t she? You never know, maybe she’ll consider a career as a teacher in the future.”
The Swamp ride was in the furthest corner of the park, amongst all of the other water rides, and both adults noticed that almost everybody appeared to be soaked as they walked along the pathway that lead to their destination.
“Maybe your Ellie should have waited to get changed?” Lesley chuckled to Graham, as a couple of similar aged teenage boys passed them, drenched from head to toe. “She’s going to end up soaking wet I reckon, and I’m afraid I haven’t got any more clothes to fit her. Lucy’s only ever needed one change when she’s had an acc…when she’s got a bit messy.” She quickly covered, realising what had nearly been said. “The boys too, have you got something for yours to wear if they need it?”
“Haha, yeah it does look like they’re all going to end up a little soggy, doesn’t it! Fear not, I’ve got an outfit for each of the boys, and if it comes to it I suppose I could always go back and pick that nightie up from the shop, haha!” Graham rolled his eyes, causing them both to erupt into laughter a the suggestion. He’d heard Lesley’s little slip, and thought he knew what she’d been about to say, but didn’t question it, presuming she’d been talking about accidents when Lucy was much younger, a bit like the reason he carried a change for the boys.
Ellie heard the pair of them sniggering, and turned briefly, just to give them a strange look and shout back over her shoulder “Get a room, you pair, will you? Honestly!” causing more laughter and merriment.
Reaching the back of the queue for the ride, Ellie took the 4 boys through whilst Lesley and Graham found themselves a good spot to watch from the side, hoping that they wouldn’t get splashed too badly, as they definitely didn’t have a change of clothes for themselves!2
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