Ellie cringed as she felt just how wet the fabric on her bottom was, and realised that whilst the patch at the front was quite inconspicuous, it must have been immediately obvious to anybody behind her that she had wet her pants quite spectacularly! No wonder her Dad had known, it was a wonder that nobody else had noticed, or at least she hoped they hadn’t. What if somebody from her school had seen? She’d never, ever live down being the girl who wet herself aged 13.
Doing her best to remain positive, excited a the prospect of more rides and a little longer at the park, as well as getting wet to disguise her shame, Ellie ran into the arcade and found her brothers, along with Jack, Tom and Lesley, all happily feeding 2p coins into the pusher machines, hoping to win more money…or maybe even a prize. So far, Tom seemed to be doing the best, his cup of coins was overflowing and even as Ellie approached him more came tumbling down the chute.
“Wow, well done Tom! You’re going to be rich at that rate!” Ellie called cheerfully, smiling and waving.
“Hey Ellie! Yeah, look how much money I’ve won already! Where’ve you been? You looked upset when we came in.” His excitement was tinged with concern for his new friend, Tom was a sensitive soul and he didn’t like anybody to feel sad.
“Ah don’t worry matey, I’m fine. Just needed to have a little chat with my Dad, that’s all. Let me go and get some change, and I bet I can beat you.”
Tom was keen to take up the challenge, and held out his tub of coins to the older girl. “Here, take some of these, I’ve got loads.” And he timed a generous amount into her outstretched hands, smiling sweetly as he did. “You won’t beat me though.” And then he laughed mischievously, before turning his attentions back to the machine and feeding in yet more money.
His guess proved to be correct, and before too long Ellie was all out of coins whilst his tub was overflowing once more. Ellie wasn’t sure what his secret was, but it was clearly working. Alongside the money he’d won, he’d also accumulated quite a collection of prizes – things like keyrings and small figures, as well as a couple of lollipops. Glancing around, Ellie could see that none of the others had won much, if anything, so Tom clearly had the magic touch.
By the time everybody else was out of money, with Lesley and Graham resolute that they would not be changing any more for anybody, having spent a small fortune, only Tom was left counting his riches, which amounted to close to ten pounds. He was absolutely delighted, and whilst he tried to share the spoils with the others, everybody agreed that it was his and refused to take any, so he had to settle for divvying up the prizes instead. Ellie gratefully accepted a lolly, and sucked happily on it as the group made their way back out into the now-setting sunlight, determined to eek the last hour or so out of their day out.
“Who fancies one last big splash?” Graham suggested, winking at Lesley and smiling as the boys and Ellie all shrieked in excitement. They’d thought that the adults would insist on heading home, so the prospect of another ride had them all hyped up, and a water ride too really was the icing on the cake! Ellie of course knew why her Dad had suggested this, and couldn’t have been more grateful that he was helping her to cover up her accident so that the boys wouldn’t know what had happened.
“Come on then! They’ll all be closing soon, so we’ll have to hurry. How about the log flume?”
They made a frantic dash over to the flume, and were delighted to find no queue, probably because they’d arrived literally a minute or two before the ride was due to close for the evening. “Quick, kids” Lesley shouted, “Run!”.
Reaching the start of the ride, Graham and Lesley stood to one side as the boys and Ellie took their seats. The ride operator checked they were all securely strapped in, and then turned to the adults. “You two not having a go?”
Shaking their heads, they both held up their wrists to show that they only had ‘spectator’ wrist bands, so they wouldn’t be allowed to join the kids, much to their disappointment as the log flume did look great fun, and was a ride they both remembered from their childhood.
“Oh come on, it’s the last ride of the day, and my boss buggered off home hours ago, so nobody’s going to know. Jump in, I won’t tell if you don’t.”
Turning to each other and giggling like naughty school children, Lesley and Graham ducked under the barrier and hopped into the ride, sitting side by side in the row behind the kids and thanking the operator profusely for their unexpected treat to end the day. They were the only people on the ride, so the man promised to make it go extra fast and warned them that they were going to be soaked by the time they got off. Then, before anybody could protest, he laughed loudly and pressed the large red button which set it in motion.
He hadn’t been wrong, and by the time they disembarked again all 7 of them were absolutely dripping wet from head to toe. Ellie’s wet pants certainly didn’t matter any more, in fact nobody would have been able to tell no matter how closely they looked, because she had water literally running down her legs.
“You did that on purpose!” They shouted jovially to the ride operator, laughing as they thanked him again, and the boys each giving him a high five on the way past, delighted to see their parents joining in the fun and ending up as drenched as they were. For the first time, despite the outrageous cost, Graham even agreed to buy a copy of the ride photo, as it was a cracking shot of them all with their hands in the air, grinning and laughing as torrents of water fell onto them from above, perfectly capturing their delight and the wonderful day they had shared.
“Time to head home, do you reckon?” Graham asked Lesley, as they did their best to shake off as much of the excess water as they could, although it really was no use – they were soaked to the skin, and only a hot shower and a towel would help.
“I reckon so. Thanks, Graham, for a truly lovely day. I’m not sure poor Ellie would agree after what happened to her, but I’m so glad that ride broke down the way it did, otherwise our paths would probably never have crossed, and I don’t know about you but I’m sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed today quite as much without your company, and the kids of course.” She took his hand, and gave it a gentle squeeze as the said this, before playfully flicking a handful of water at him.
In return, Graham reached an arm above her head and squeezed his sleeve, sending a trickle of water dripping down her face and causing her to squeal, before leaning in and planting the gentlest of kisses, this time on her lips.
“Get a room you too, will you!” Ellie laughed, pretending to be horrified and disgusted, but secretly absolutely delighted by what she had just witnessed. “Honestly, you’re like a pair of love struck teenagers…shoudn’t that be my job?!”
Blushing, Graham and Lesley looked at each other and smiled, then burst out laughing, linking arms as they shepherded the kids towards the exit, both keen to get home and out of their wet clothes.3
Audio Version of Chapter