The room was immediately filled with giggles and exaggerated retching sounds from the kids.
“How embarrassing! Put him down Mum!” Cried a very red faced Lucy, soto voce, which only led to the tittering and giggles turning into full on belly laughs all around, including from both Lesley and Graham, who had surfaced from their unexpected moment of passion and at least had the decency to look a little sheepish as the realised they’d both let their guard down in front of the children. Nevertheless, their eyes twinkled and they couldn’t help but some at each other cheekily – they’d enjoyed that snatched little moment, and now wondered where it left them and was was to come next…
Turning to her new friend, and still pushing profusely at what they’d just been forced to witness, Lucy managed to mutter “I’m so sorry about her El. Honestly, isn’t it supposed to be us kids who embarrass our parents and can’t keep our hands to ourselves?” This caused renewed mirth all around, with Ellie eventually taking Lucy by the hand and gesturing for them to leave the punch-drunk adults to it, the boys having snuck away upstairs as soon as they had the chance, keen to get back to the far more important business of computer games and fart jokes.
“Can you BELIEVE THAT?!?” Lucy cried again as they flopped down on Ellie’s bed, grateful for the sanctuary of her bedroom away from the silliness of the young boys and the smoochiness going on in the kitchen. A bit of normality, where they could carry on chatting and getting to know each other, although in truth they already felt that they’d known each other for years and were getting on like best friends, remarkable given that 24 hours earlier neither knew the other existed! “Yuck! Anyway, where were we El? Before my annoying little brother so rudely interrupted us, I believe you were about to fill me in properly about what happened at the theme park yesterday and just why you had to borrow my clothes….Not that I mind of course, it’s cool, we’re friends now aren’t we? But come on, spill.”
Now it was Ellie’s turn to turn a particularly bright shade of red and lower her head a little, in all honesty this was probably the last thing she wanted to talk to anybody about, she just wanted to forget the horrors of the previous day – the only good thing that had come out of it was her Dad and Lesley meeting, and her in turn meeting Lucy. The younger girl was right though, having won her confidence that was precisely the subject they’d just arrived upon when Jack had put in an appearance, and uncomfortable though she was Ellie actually did feel able to be honest with her new friend, she felt a closeness, a kinship with Lucy which she’d never shared with anybody else before…was this what having a best friend felt like? Ellie had always been popular enough at school, and had plenty of mates of course, but she’d never had that one girl or boy who she shared everything with, opened up to and knew she could trust with anything and everything. She’d been a bit of a loner even before her teenage sullenness had taken a hold. Somehow, despite barely knowing her, she already realised that she’d found all of this in Lucy.
“Ok Luce, before I begin you’ve got to promise me that not a word of this ever leaves this room. This is something I never, ever thought I’d tell another person. I don’t know why, but I know that I can trust you. I can, can’t I?”
Lucy noticed Ellie’s serious expression and the firm, quiet and calculated tone to her voice. Instinctively, and without uttering a sound, she held out her hand and extended her little finger.10
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