Lisa was full of the best of intentions as she ventured back out to the garden, with tools in hand and her sights set on the pesky weeds which kept taking over her flowerbeds. Work always seemed to occupy her free time these days, and on the very rare occasion that she did have an our or two spare, it was inevitably raining, so a warm and dry summers evening was the perfect opportunity to get back on top of things.
Reaching the patio, however, her eyes fell upon the bottle of wine from earlier, with what looked like possibly just one small glass left, and her current favourite novel was face down on the table next to it. Oh so tempting, she thought to herself. Of course, the lure proved too great, and she soon found herself lying on the lounger, glass of wine next to her and engrossed once more in her riveting story.
“The weeds can wait.” She said to nobody in particular, stretching out and soaking up the last of the early evening sunshine.
“I quite agree!” Came a most unexpected voice, with a chuckle “It would have been rude to leave that last drop of vino too, Lise, wouldn’t it.”
Sitting up with a start, and rolling over to face the source of the unexpected disturbance, Lisa noticed her next door neighbour’s head poking above the top of the fence, which was quite a surprise given the fence was at least a foot taller than Judy was! Registering her friendly neighbours surprise, and suddenly appreciating just how random the scene must look, she raised her hand in explanation, showing the paintbrush that she was holding. “Thought I’d make the most of the dry night to touch up the fence…but on reflection I think you’ve got the better idea! Enjoy” And with a wave, Judy disappeared, presumably back down her ladder, and no doubt to go in search of her own glass of wine.
Settling back into her book, Lisa was disturbed again a few minutes later, this time by a commotion coming from inside the house. The kids movie had evidently finished, and the sound which greeted her closely resembled that made by a herd of elephants stampeding, as they made their way up the stairs to get changed and ready to shatter her peace entirely.
Daniel again disappeared into Lisa’s bedroom, where he had left his bag earlier, and began hunting through it hoping to find something suitable to wear, as he knew he’d never get away with wearing just his undies as he had often done in the past when it was only family present. No, the girls would rib him mercilessly if he did that. Why hadn’t he thought to bring some proper swimming trunks! As he dug through the contents of his bag, his hands fell upon the running shorts he’d hastily thrown in as a potential cover should he need to shower the next morning. They’d do, he thought to himself in relief. It would spoil his idea for the next morning though, and even if he did wake up dry and didn’t need to create a cover story, he’d kinda thought that he may go for a run anyway, just to keep up with his training. Ah well, one day off wouldn’t hurt, and the hot tub was bound to be lots more fun!
He quickly pulled on the shorts, keeping his undies on underneath to preserve his modesty, and resolved to be a lot more careful about what he was drinking when he went back downstairs to join the others, as he realised it was getting quite late in the day now, and by wearing this running gear now he was taking away one of his potential defences, so couldn’t afford to take any risks. The other girls all seemed fine, but he was particularly worried about anything happening and Danielle finding out, as she did seem to have a bit of a mean streak in her, and he knew she was a massive gossip, so anything embarrassing like that would be spread around the school in seconds.
On the landing, the real source of the stampede like sound effects turned out to be Emily and Laura, who had both realised at the end of the movie just how desperately they needed to use the toilet. This time, it was Em who had been fastest in reaching the goal, leaving Laura jumping around on the landing and leaving the whole world under no illusion as to what the matter was, as both hands were firmly planted between her legs in a most un-ladylike pose, shouting at the top of her voice that she was going to pee all over the carpet in about 30 seconds if Em didn’t hurry up and let her get in there.
Through the open landing window, Lisa heard most of this, and simply shook her head in bemusement. Honestly, didn’t the kids realise that it had been a DVD they’d been watching, and it was perfectly possible to pause it for a few minutes at any time – so there was no excuse for a frantic dash to the loo, and even less for making such a scene. Rolling her eyes, she wondered for a moment whether perhaps the leggings and pants she’d retrieved from the laundry earlier may belong to whichever girl was shouting from the landing. Quite possibly, she decided, and she’d definitely be keeping an eye on things, just in case.
As Emily opened the bathroom door, having finished what she needed to do, Laura practically knocked her flying as the launched herself at the toilet, throwing her dress up in the air and seating herself not a moment too soon. The look of relief on her face was clear, and she wasn’t even all that bothered that Em was still standing there listening to her performance.
“Whew, that was far too close! I thought I was going to wee all over the floor, Em. Honestly, you could have let me go first, you knew for at least the last half hour how badly I needed to go.”
“Sorry Laura, but I was bursting too! It would have been me dancing around if I’d let you go first, and I’m not sure I could have lasted. There’d have been a big mess, and Mum would have gone mad….Erm, Laura, aren’t you wearing underwear?”
The young girl still sat on the toilet suddenly blanched, and reached a hand up under her dress in horror. “Oh my GOD! I was in such a rush, I just sat down and wee’d. Oh no, I forgot to pull my undies down!” And she looked close to tears, obviously embarrassed, and perhaps even more so that her friend had witnessed all of this.
Laughing, Em grinned mischievously. “Don’t worry, we’re getting changed for the tub now anyway. Trust you though, honestly!”
Having reassured her friend that nobody else need know, the two girls made their way back into Emily’s bedroom, where they found the others in various states of undress. Lucy had already changed into her black swimming costume and Becky was grappling with the fastening on her polka dot bikini, before eventually asking Lucy to help hook it together.
Katie had begun to get undressed, but then realised having searched through the bag that her Mum had packed for her that she didn’t have a cossie to wear, and was feeling disappointed at the thought of missing out, as she to was having similar thoughts to Daniel in the next room, that there was no way she’d get away with wearing just her underwear, even though that’s probably exactly what she’d have done at home.
“Erm, Em I don’t suppose you’ve got a costume I can borrow, have you? Mum packed my bag, and she’s not put one in. I know I’m a bit smaller than you, well a lot smaller really, but maybe an old one or something?”
“What size do you need Katie? I’ll have a look, it may be a bit babyish though, as the only ones I’ve really kept are for my little cousins when they visit.”
Blushing, Katie murmured “About 8 to 9 or something.” She hated that she was still so small, and was often mistaken for a much younger girl, especially when compared to some of the others who were really tall and well developed for their age.
Having rummaged through the drawers of her dresser, Em retrieved a bright pink one-piece swimming costume, which appeared to have a ruffle around the waist and a large cartoon character printed across the chest, and tossed it over to Katie with an apologetic look on her face. “I’m sorry Katie, this is the only one that’s anything like that size. It’s a bit…well, I’ve not worn it for about 4 years now, but maybe it’s better than nothing?”
Holding out the costume, Katie pulled a face and very nearly threw it back, but the lure of the hot tub was too great, and so reluctantly she pulled it on, making a point of warning the others that if any photos of her dressed like that EVER appeared ANYWHERE online, then she’d never speak to them again.
“Aww, you look cute, baby Katie.” Lucy cooed, earning her a not so playful punch in the arm for her trouble, which she took as fair warning to stop the teasing.
Throughout this exchange, and most unusually, Danielle had not said a word. She was sat, perched on the end of Emily’s bed, and looked ghostly white. She’d changed into her own costume, a sparkly bikini in a grown up style, but had passed up the opportunity to comment on Katie’s attire, and also on Laura and Emily’s toilet dash, both of which she’d usually have ribbed them mercilessly about. The movie had really shaken her, but there was no way she’d ever admit to being scared to her friends. Instead, she just kept quiet, hoping the intense worry and dark fears would leave her soon.
In their own excitement, the rest of the girls didn’t seem to really pick up on this, and once they’d all finished getting changed Danielle joined them in heading down to the garden for the fun to begin, although she didn’t really feel in the mood, doing her best to go through the motions and paint a smile on her face, when deep down inside she was trembling.3
Audio Version of Chapter