The slamming of the apartment door, and subsequent drunken giggling tore Anna from her dream. “What the hell?” Groaning, she forced open her eyes.
“Shhh…shhhhh.” Then more giggling constituted the response.
As Anna’s bleary eyes slowly focused, the sight of her friends wasn’t a welcome one.
“Hey, Anna,” slurred Sarah, as she stumbled into the side of Anna’s bed. “Did you have a good night?”
Lisa was already locking herself in the bathroom—and the subsequent sounds of dry-heaving—and not so dry-heaving, told its own story.
“You are kidding…right?”
“What? Aww you’re not mad with us are you? We did try to get hold of the rental guy but…well…my mobile was completely out of juice.”
“Then why didn’t you go back into town and get someone? You left me there, all by myself.”
Sarah laughed. Her mousy hair looked lank after a night of heavy partying, and what was left of her makeup, seemed to have drifted southwards. “What…you’re all right. I knew you would be. I have complete faith in you. You’re very…resourceful.”
“For God’s sake, Sarah, anything could’ve happened.”
“But it didn’t.” Her raised voice conveyed her annoyance. “Christ, Anna won’t you just relax. Nothing happened. You’re okay, we’re okay, now go back to sleep.
It was clear that arguing with a drunk wasn’t going to be productive, and Anna didn’t have the energy to continue. “Fine. But this isn’t over.”
* * *
The following morning, Anna bypassed her comatose companions, trying hard not to wake them. After a refreshing shower, she grabbed her book and headed out to the sun-terrace for some much craved solitude. The late spring sunshine beat down on her tender skin, and the air was filled with the sweet scents of wisteria and jasmine. An hour was all she asked, but thankfully was blessed with more than two before the forlorn pair emerged from the darkness of the apartment, like two bears emerging from hibernation. Sarah hid her red-rimmed eyes behind a pair of dark glasses, and, as ever, Lisa followed suit.
“Morning, hun.” Sarah’s usually high-pitched voice was course and gravely.
Anna didn’t respond. Picking up her glass of fresh orange, she slurped and then noisily turned the page of her book.
“Shame you didn’t come with us last night. We had a real blast. Lisa had her face stuck to this God-awful guy most of the night. It was hilarious.”
Still Anna didn’t respond. I can see why Joel prefers silence, she thought.
“Not still pissed are you? … Jeeze.”
Slamming her book on the table, Anna got up. “Go to hell, Sarah. I’ve had it with you two. You’ve gone too far this time. I’m not your doormat. I should never have agreed to come on this holiday. I know you only needed me to share the cost of the apartment. You never wanted me here—God, I’m such an idiot.”
Laughing, Sarah muttered something to Lisa. And although Anna couldn’t be sure, it sounded a lot like; “You’re not wrong.”
* * *
Heading down the Beach Road, with her book in hand, Anna watched the workers hosing down pavements and laying out tables in anticipation of the lunchtime rush. A pretty ice-cream parlour caught her eye and seemed like the perfect place to unwind. Wicker furniture and brightly coloured floral hanging baskets created a cheery atmosphere that she hoped might rub off. Calling to her from the menu was an enormous strawberry sundae that she was unable to resist, and without hesitation, she ordered.
As she tucked into her ice cream, and flicked through the pages of her novel, it was Kelly’s bubbly voice that interrupted her this time.
“Hey you…what are you doing here?”
“Oh hi, Kelly. I’m err…just reading. I couldn’t stay at my apartment. I’ve had it with those two.”
“Mind if I join you?”
“No, not at all.” Anna handed her a spoon, grateful for someone to share the gargantuan dessert with.
“Great, thanks. I usually hang out at Oileus at lunch time, but they’ll only get me working, so this is way better.”
“You’re so lucky, you know,” Anna stated.
“You get to live out here, in this heat and sunshine.”
“Yeah, it can be pretty nice, I guess.”
“And you get to hang out with…”
“With Joel?” Kelly’s cherry pink lipstick glistened in the sun.
“Well, yeah, that too.”
“You know…you could stay here. There are plenty of jobs, and I have a few contacts who might be able to help. In fact, the guy who owns Oileus, Demitris, also owns loads of other bars and restaurants around here. I could have a word.”
“I don’t know. I have a job back home.”
“And is it a great job?”
“Well, no, but…”
“Think about it. What have you got to lose? And you wouldn’t be alone out here. You have us…if you want us.”
“Huh, you’ve no idea how tempting that sounds.” Anna took a huge spoonful of ice-cream while taking in some of the sights the busy street had to offer.
Kelly continued, “Anyway, our little gathering was cut short last night. Joel and Marshall had to help out back in town. They promised they’d come back tonight…if you’re interested.”