As the playground came into view, Ellie spun around to face the boys and yelled “Last one there has to push the others on the roundabout!” squealing in delight as she took off at full speed, with all 4 boys hot on her tail. Having the longest legs, and a little bit of a head start, she of course made it first, and leapt onto the large roundabout in the middle with a triumphant grin “Yay! I win!”
The four youngsters were only seconds behind her, and collapsed into a heap on the ground beside her, panting for breath having run the fastest they could, with ruddy complexions and wide smiles dancing across their faces. Despite all of the awesome rides at the theme park, sometimes all they needed and wanted was to run around and play.
“Come on then slowcoaches, what’re you waiting for, push me as fast as you can!” Ellie laughed loudly and raucously, thoroughly enjoying the freedom to be herself without the pressure she always felt to be more grown up now that she was a teenager.
The boys laughed along with her, and in particular her two little brothers were loving having their big sister back, playing with them like she used to before she got too old. Normally she’d have been sat on the sidelines, probably messing with her phone, and ignoring them, but today she was the first one playing!
“Yay Ellie!” they shouted, all four of them grabbing the side bars and pushing has as fast as they could, until the roundabout and Ellie were just a blur, and then, as it slowed down slightly, they jumped on with her, all falling over dizzy from running around in circles. “Wooooaaaah, this is amazing!”
They played together, completely carefree for what seemed like hours, although in reality it was probably only 20 minutes or so at the most, just enough time for them all to wind up lying in a circle on the floor, absolutely exhausted.
They rested a few minutes, and then Ellie sat back up, suddenly feeling incredibly embarrassed by how she had been playing so freely, and even more so when she noticed her Dad and Lesley were sat on a bench only a few yards away, and she had no idea just how long they had been watching! Blushing a little, she stood and walked soberly over towards them and took a seat on the end of the bench.
“Looked like you guys were having fun over there! Although the boys looked a little green by the time that roundabout stopped, I’m surprised one of them wasn’t sick, especially after eating so much.” Lesley chuckled, causing Ellie’s expression to change to one of horror as she realised that the adults had been watching the whole time.
“H..how long have you been watching?” She gasped, hoping beyond hope that they’d only just arrived…although how would they have known about the roundabout? “Oh no, you didn’t see all of that did you? I was only trying to keep the boys out of mischief for a while!”
“Ellie love, relax, it’s fine, you’re allowed to have fun too you know! It was lovely watching you, and clear that all 5 of you were having a good time. Thanks for keeping an eye on them for us too, it gave me and your Dad 5 minutes to finish our drinks in peace, and to have a little chat.”
Ellie noticed for the first time that the adults were sitting, hand in hand, and she smiled at this. Maybe it was forth the bit of embarrassment after all.
“Thanks…Miss.” And, hearing the boys shouting again as they raced each other over to the swings on the far side of the play park, Ellie was unable to keep the fleeting glance of longing out of her eyes as she watched them go.
“Well, as you’re not in my school anymore, and you’re practically an adult, I think that’s enough of the ‘Miss’ stuff, please call me Lesley. And go on with you, I can see you’re dying to go and join in again! Me and your Dad will be fine, you go and have fun, pretend we’re not here if that helps. I bet you can’t get higher than Tom is on the swings!”
Laughing, Ellie didn’t need telling twice. “I bet’ya I can, Mis…Lesley!” And with that she was away, jumping onto a swing net to the others and challenging them, at the top of her voice, to try and get over the bar.
“Kids, eh! Well, teenagers at any rate. Just think, you’re still got all this to come with BOTH of yours Les.” Graham smirked, giving Lesley a knowing glance.
“Haha, very true. But you’ve still got two to go, too. And both of your lads are going to be hitting their troublesome teens at the same time don’t forget.”
With a groan, Graham grabbed his hair and pretended to pull it out in despair. “We didn’t think this through, did we, haha!”2
Audio Version of Chapter