Alicia eyed the water chute warily.
“I don’t know.”
” Come on girl…..where’s your sense of adventure?” She could hear people shrieking and see them waving their arms in the air as they slid down the channel chute.
She shook her head.
He laughed. “Do you think I brought you all the way here to sit and watch me have fun?”
She shrugged. “Maybe I’m not a water chute person.”
His eyes mocked. ” How will you know what you like unless you give it a try?”
“I’m not sure.”
” So give it a try…..you never know. You might get a pleasant surprise – actually enjoy yourself for once.” He took her by the hand and faced the attendant,” Two tickets please.”
It’s not too late girl. You can still say no. Chicken. Coward. What are you scared of? The water chute. Hmmm. Getting my hair wet. This hair must not get wet. It must not get wet. This hair must NOT GET WET! She had said it three times and he still wasn’t listening because the words never left her lips!
They took their seats and were strapped in …..
She had stopped shaking and Anton was helping her out. Her legs felt like spaghetti and she was clinging to him.
She could his heart beating.
He tried to steady her, his hand on her back. “Are you ok?”
She shook her head and stepped away from him. ” I should never have listened to you.”
“Didn’t you find that exciting? The wind blowing in our hands. The shouts and the shrieks?”
She put up a hand to her damp hair. It had probably gone all fuzzy and would take hours to blow dry.
His eyes went to her hair. “It’s a warm day – let’s walk around, should dry soon.”
She tried to tie it back with a hair band.
“Leave it down.”
She stared at him.” What’s it to you? ”
” It would dry quicker.” She knew he was right and managed a smile.
“Where do you want to go next?”
Home. Did she really say that? Obviously not because he was still smiling. He was being nice and trying so hard to please. Was she being terribly ungrateful, uncharitable and an absolute pain in the rear?
“Would you like something to eat?” She smiled trying hard to remember her manners.
He smiled back. “That’s better. I hardly recognise you.”
Despite herself she felt her lips curve into a smile and then a chuckle. He spun round and stared into her face.
“Was that a laugh or was I dreaming? ”
“ I do laugh sometimes you know.”
” I like it. It suits you.” They were walking through the crowds and some woman charged into her with her buggy. His hand slipped into hers as he dragged her out of the way of the Mother and Chariot, but he wouldn’t let her hand go.
“Thanks.” she grinned.
“Two smiles in one day and a laugh.” He commented. “I must be doing something right.”
She was silent as she soaked in the sun, the ambience of the day, the happy families and lovey dovey couples, the hum of the crowds. He was still holding her hand and he nodded in the direction of an elderly couple sitting on a park bench. Hands entwined, just enjoying the day and a lifetime of loving each other.
“That’s what I want one day you know.”
She laughed. ” You don’t strike me as the sort that wants marriage and 2.2 kids and a little house on the Prairie.” The elderly couple were engrossed in each other but looked up and smiled to them as they walked past.
Anton turned to her. ” What would it take to make you look at me like that? ”
Alicia looked at him and suddenly everything went quiet. He drew her closer to him, so close that his lips were closer to hers. This guy is going to kiss me. In front of everyone in this park. This guy is going to kiss me….. and I don’t even like him. Isn’t he the office flirt? Tales of what had happened after the last Christmas party were still circulating.
She felt her stomach tighten as she snatched her hand away from his. Then she heard her name and turned round to find herself looking into the surprised eyes of her Head of Department at Church. Her husband and children were straggling behind.
” Hello.” It was a big smile as he reached out and shook Sister Susan’s hand. ” My name is Anton. Anton Walker.” Sister Susan looked at Alicia. Alicia looked at Anton and Anton just kept on smiling.