Having exchanged pleasantries with Lisa, and thanked her for having Lucy to stay, Lesley had sat back in the car whilst her daughter said goodbye to her friends, watching as she hugged Emily warmly and thanked her for the invitation to her birthday sleepover. Then, glancing around first to see whether her Mum was looking, she embraced the young boy who Lesley presumed must be Dan, and even gave him the gentlest of kisses on the cheek, which he returned with a cheeky peck on the very tip of her nose. They held hands for a lingering moment, before Lucy broke away and turned to walk to the car, the glint of tears visible in her eyes, and Lesley could see that Dan too appeared to be overcome with emotion.
As they drove away, Lesley didn’t say anything, giving Lucy the time and space she needed and taking her prompts from her daughter. It took a few minutes, with Lucy staring out of the window, seemingly gathering her thoughts, but eventually she turned to her mum, the watery expression replaced by a cheeky grin and couldn’t resist asking “So, Mum, tell me all about this new boyfriend of yours then! Is he fit?”
“Haha, cheeky! Ok, I’ll tell you about Graham, but then you need to fill me in about that handsome young man who you were kissing back there!”
“Well, where do I start. Graham, as you know, is Ellie’s Dad, and he also has two younger sons – you’ll get to meet them all later. Ellie used to go to the school where I work when she was younger, and now the two boys do – one of them was even in my class last year. So I already knew Graham, but only as a parent. I’d met him at parents evenings and things, but that was all. Then, yesterday, we bumped into them at the theme park. They were in the queue for one of the big rides, and Jack and Tom were behind them. There was only space for 3 people to ride together, so Graham took his sons on and Ellie waited for the next compartment. She ended up riding with your brother and his friend, because they were too young to go on alone. Bless her, she was really good with them, I think you’re going to like her when the pair of you meet later.”
“Didn’t you go on the ride with them Mum? Is that where you met Graham?”
“No, silly, I’ve just said that Graham was with his 2 boys., You know I don’t really like fairground rides and the like so I just watched from the bottom. Although they did drag me onto the log flume at the end, and that’s kind of how last night ended up happening. But hang on, I’m getting ahead of myself now. Anyway, something went wrong and the ride broke down, so they were stuck up there for probably an hour or more, poor things.”
“Oh no, was Jack ok?” He may be her annoying little brother, but Lucy loved him and was always protective of him.
“Yes love, don’t worry, he was fine. They got down eventually, none the worse for wear, although poor Ellie had had an acc…well, she’d not been too well on the ride. It was after they’d managed to get them all down that I met Graham, and we realised the bizarre connection. It really was such a coincidence…”
“Mum, did you just say that Ellie had an accident? Surely you can’t mean….she’s 13!”
“Shh, love. Honestly, there’s no getting anything past you, is there? Yes, ok, after being stuck up there for so long unfortunately she couldn’t hold on, and needed a change of clothes by the time they got down. But, and I mean this Lucy, you are NOT to say anything to her about it, ok? She was absolutely mortified, as you might expect, and you’re not exactly a stranger to such happenings yourself, so I’m sure you must know how embarrassing it can be. Not a word, got it?”
Lucy nodded solemnly. Her Mum had hit rather a raw nerve by mentioning her own little mishaps, which she’d much rather forget about, so the last thing she was going to do was bring such things up with Ellie. Besides, even asking about it would be embarrassing!
“As luck would have it, I was more prepared than Graham, and has some spare clothes of yours in the car. I hope you don’t mind that I let Ellie borrow them? That’s pretty much how we ended up sticking together for the rest of the day, getting to know each other better. The lads all got on well and seemed to enjoy laying together, and I won’t deny that I really enjoyed Graham’s company. Right at the end, despite my misgivings, they dragged me onto the log flume as I mentioned and we al ended up getting pretty soaked, so rather than Graham and his family being stuck in the car for over an hour to get home, I invited them to ours to get dried off. And, well, it kind of went from there. We shared a takeaway, and Graham and I shared a bottle of wine. Before you know it, he can’t drive home and I can’t drive him either, so…”
“So, I think you can leave it right there thanks mum. I DO NOT need the gruesome details! Haha. Besides, Ellie has filled me in pretty well. I can’t believe you let her sleep in my bed with the plastic sheet still on though Mum, that’s like sooooo embarrassing, how am I going to explain that to her?”
Lesley turned to look at Lucy, aghast. “Oh Lucy sweetie, I’m so sorry, I completely forgot all about that! She won’t have noticed though, I’m sure. Try not to worry, if she says anything then just tell her it’s for allergies or something.”
“That’s actually a great idea, thanks Mum. I’ll do that. So, what’s the plan now then, are you and Graham going to like, move in together and get married and stuff? I wouldn’t mind a baby sister too actually…”
The rest of Lucy’s comments were drowned out by Lesley’s rapturous laughter, which had taken hold of her completely, so much so that she had to pull the car over to the side of the road whilst she composed herself again.
“Blimey Lucy, steady on! I’ve known the guy for literally 24hrs, I think talk of weddings and babies is probably just a touch premature, don’t you? Ooh, wait until I tell Graham later, he’ll have a heart attack and probably run a mile, haha. Next time you’re going to make me laugh like that, can you give me a little warning please love? I nearly crashed the car! And I had to squeeze my legs together to stop myself weeing everywhere, I was laughing so hard.”
Lucy smiled widely, looking forward very much to teasing her Mum some more, but she wanted to meet Graham first, to make sure that she approved of him.1
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