Chapter [Unknown]

As we entered Val’s car, I was met with Val’s inquisitive look. She was expecting an explanation. “What flight? You’re going to live abroad?! Oh my God! You’ll come to visit right? What am I going to do without you? Call me every day; do you hear me?” said Val with tears brimming down her eyes. Val tends to jump to conclusions, often confusing facts. “What are you saying Val? Reeellllaaxx sweetheart. I was still dwelling on going to London for a week … just a holiday by myself. I’ll take lots of photos for you to see when I come back and …” I was saying before Val interrupted; “Oh dear! What a relief!  You scared me for a bit.”

“Come here”, I told her as I squeezed her hard and scuffed her red hair. These are the moments I treasure.

“Get ready to get wet”, screamed Melvin, Val’s 16 year old cousin who I could see all his ribs sticking out from his flat, milk white stomach. He is a typical teenager struggling with hormone changes, so evident from his greasy-looking skin and ready-to-burst zits on both of his cheeks.

“Look who I see, Ella, the only one for me! How long do I have to plea …” I rolled my eyes  to the sky as Val quickly shut him up by hitting him with her beach bag, which by the way, could kill you! She carries loads of unnecessarily stuff anywhere she goes and takes forever to find something from her bags. As you surely have realized, Melvin has a ‘small’ crush on me, which is why I spent two days deliberating on whether I should accept the invitation to spend a day at Val’s aunt or not. Now I’m thinking I made the wrong decision. Melvin is desperately trying to get my attention by sprinting to the edge of the pool to take a big jump and make a huge splash – impossible due to his low weight. Anyway, Val and me got ready to enjoy a lazy afternoon in the sun and I could feel  myself just starting to relax when …

“What is it with girls and sun tans?!” shouted Melvin. “The fear of having a body like yours Mel”, answered Val quickly. I couldn’t help but smile as I saw Melvin looking down sadly and evaluating his pale body.

“So when are you leaving for London El?” asked Val suddenly a bit preoccupied. “They were advertising cheap flights for the end of the month … I was thinking of inquiring further on this” I answered truthfully. “Oh, that’s pretty soon” said Val as she lowered her gaze. Hmmm prepare for the boom – when Val is quietly looking at the floor, it’s not because she’s admiring the delicate patterns on the floor, but because she’s actually deliberating on whether she should share some strange idea of hers or not. It could be that the voice inside her head is screaming ‘DON’T YOU DARE’, she still ends up blurting everything out. Well, that’s Val … spontaneous and crazy but great.

“Some fresh lemonade for you my love” said Melvin from behind me as he touched my shoulders unexpectedly. “I’m sorry, but there’s none left for you Val” he continued. He had barely finished off the sentences – SPLASH! The narrow long glass tipped off the tray he was holding with one hand to impress me, the lemonade showering my legs as the glass splattered to the floor. Poor Melvin! “Now there’s none for El as well; see what happens when you don’t share?” spitted out Val. “The floor was thirsty” commented Mel quickly in dismay as he made his way back inside.

I honestly feel sorry for the boy – he tries so hard! Everyone has been trying to make him understand I’m too old for him, and that he’ll get to meet a decent young lady when the time is right. Not that if I were any younger, I would have fallen for Melvin. Let’s just say he’s not my type. I am more into chubby guys, whom I’m not scared of breaking their bones when hugging or sitting on their laps. I love a man with an appetite, a good sense of humour, and full of creative ideas … a man who brings me flowers once in a while, and writes romantic messages left under my bedroom door just before leaving for work … a man who cooks for me … someone who … ehh! I sighed. Stop day dreaming El! And do such men still exist on planet Earth? I was still wondering on this when Val interrupted my thoughts; “El, I … I was thinking, maybe, I don’t know, but maybe I could come with you to London?” This was followed by puppy eyes and a cheeky grin. “I think I can manage to take some time off of my work, and I can do with a holiday … and now that I’m single …”

“Val, val, don’t rush” I said quickly to prevent from her starting blabbering again about love and men, plus I really felt like I need to do this little adventure on my own – now how can I confess this to Val without hurting her feelings? This was tough and she didn’t make it any easier; “what!? You don’t want me with you?” she said in an offended tone. “It’s not that I don’t want you with me. Please don’t take it wrongly. I just need some time out, to do this on my own for my own sake. I want to feel independent and to learn to enjoy my own company. I hope you can understand – I will miss you terribly!” I explained hurriedly and a bit guiltily. “Naa, I was only kidding. Who wants to go to London anyway? I heard people are snobbish there” … a short pause and then … “No seriously, I was not kidding but if you feel this way, I encourage you to go book that flight and move out of my way as soon as possible. I’ll be waiting here eagerly to hug you and hear all about it missy” she finished approvingly.

“Val you’re the greatest” was my reply. “I know”, she has to say, and we laid back down on our sun beds with a big smile on our red face.

***

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