Why is EuroSummer like the only thing that's posted here anymore? Come on, people!"I always knew I'd end up moving a body for you someday." ~Lady UnicornChapter Twenty-Five
Poker? I hardly know her!
Ayr, ScotlandThe camera focuses on Puddleduck, sitting in the backseat and dancing to the radio. The camera turns and shows a town up ahead.
"Hey, look!" Yeliah says. "Civilization!"
Civilization turned out to be a town called Ayr, a lovely town with an equally lovely beach and, apparently, lovely residents.
"Hot guys, three o'clock," was the first thng Yeliah said to Starsong when we got off the bus. Starsong turned in my direction.
"That's nine o'clock, Starsong," I said.
"Right," she said. She turned away. "Oooh...
"Come on," Yeliah said and they ran off towards three o'clock.
, my God," I said to Spunky in my best Valley Girl accent. "Hot guys! How did we not see them first?"
"We're slipping, dude," she said.
"I know, right?"
With a smile, the two of us followed them as they walked over to two cute young men standing at the edge of the water. The puppy followed happily after us.
"Hi," Yeliah said flirtaciously.
"Hello," one of the boys said. "Who are you, then?"
"Hailey. Karen. Who are you, then?"
"Stewart Duncan, or Stewart and
Stewart," he said. "This is Duncan."
"Hi," Duncan said.
"Hi," Starsong said.
I would've loved to hear the rest of the conversation, but apparently the puppy was bored, because at that moment, she gave a cheerful little bark and ran off down the beach. Spunky and I gave chase.
"Puppy!" Spunky called.
"Jo!" I yelled. She ignored both of us.
She stopped and looked at the water. As it came up on the shore, the puppy backed up and barked at it.
that water, Jo," I said. LLP and Puddleduck joined us.
"I think she needs something to play with," LLP said. "We need to get her a toy or something."
"Yeah," I said. I looked at the nearby row of buildings. "Maybe there's a store up there that would have something. I'll go check it out."
"I'll come with you," Puddleduck said.
So LLP and Spunky stayed behind with the puppy as Puddleduck and I walked back to the van to get some money, then away from the beach to the nearby street. In our t-shirts, shorts and sneakers, we seemed a little out of place, but it didn't seem to bother anyone.
We found a large grocery store, then found the pet care aisle and began looking at the toys, and the prices. After a moment, Puddleduck elbowed me gently.
"The cutie across the aisle is looking at you," she said with a smile.
"Really?" I said, feeling myself blush.
I looked over my shoulder and saw a dark-haired boy a little older than me on the other side of the aisle. When he saw me looking, he turned away quickly.
"Should I go talk to him?" I asked in a whisper.
"Okay." I took a deep breath, then smiled and stepped over to him. "Hi."
"Hi," he said, looking at me with a cute smile.
"Um..." What do I say?
I thought. Your name, dummy.
"Karen," I said. "Um. My name. Is Karen. Hi."
"Hi," he said. "I'm Devon."
"I am," I said. "Don't hold it against me."
"I'll try not to," he said. "So, you're...here on holiday?"
"Yeah. We're, um...we're traveling across Europe. It's taking longer than expected, actually."
"Having some trouble?"
"No, we're just very easily distracted."
He laughed. This was good. I looked over and saw Puddleduck walking away with a toy for the puppy. That wasn't good.
"So..." I said unsurely. "My friends are waiting on the beach, so I should probably get back."
"Oh," he said. "Okay."
"It was great talking to you," I said, stepping away unsurely.
"You, too," he said and he turned away. I turned away, too, and walked down the aisle without looking back.
"I should've gotten his email address," I said later.
"Uh-huh," Sam said from beside me.
"You think it's too late to go back?" I asked.
She picked up her cell phone and looked at the time.
"Five minutes after midnight," she said. "I think so."
We were lying in our sleeping bags in the back on the van, speaking quietly so as not to wake up Puddleduck or Amberwood, who were on Sam's other side, or the puppy, who was between us.
"Hey," she said with a gentle smile and nudge. "There will be other guys."
"I know," I said.
From outside came the sounds of whispering and giggling. Sam and I shared a look, then sat up and looked through the window to see Starsong and Yeliah sneaking across the parking lot of the hotel towards the van. I raised my eyebrow and immediately headed to the door of the van. With Sam following, I got out and headed across the blacktop towards Starsong and Yeliah.
"What are you doing?" I asked with a smile.
"Um...sleepwalking?" Yeliah asked. I raised an eyebrow.
"Stewart Duncan invited us to a poker game tonight," Starsong said. "We thought we'd go and get a little more spending money."
"You know how to play Poker?" Sam asked.
"Well, no," Yeliah said. "But if those two do, it really can't be too hard."
"Oh, god. Okay. I'm coming and I'll play for you."
"Because I don't want our only two options to be hitch-hiking, or Starsong's idea. No offense."
"None taken," Starsong said.
"How are we gonna get there?" I asked.
"Drive," Starsong said in a "duh" tone of voice.
"What about Puddleduck and Amberwood?" I asked.
That's how I ended up carrying one end of Puddleduck's sleeping bag while Starsong carried the other, moving her from the back of the van to the edge of the parking lot.
"I always knew I'd end up moving a body for you someday," I said.
We drove a little while to a residential neighborhood, where Stewart and Duncan were waiting outside of a small apartment building. Sam and I had put clothes on over our pajamas, so we were decent (for us) when we all got out of the van.
"You brought friends," Stewart (or Duncan) said with a smile. "Fabulous."
I looked at Sam and tried hard not to roll my eyes.
"You boys ready to lose some money?" Starsong asked flirtaciously.
"Bring it on," Duncan (or Stewart; the other one) said.
They opened the door for us into the building, then led us through the lobby and down a staircase.
"Oh, wonderful," I whispered to Sam. "A basement."
She forced a nervous little laugh.
In the basement were three young men sitting around a poker table, waiting, with two empty chairs. A handful of other people, girls and guys,were sitting around, apparently there to watch. There were snacks and drinks on another table and a bunch of smoke hung heavily in the air. I felt like I'd just stepped into a movie.
"I found our fifth player," Stewart Duncan said. Sam took a seat in one of the empty chairs.
"Good evening, gentlemen," she said with a smile. "You might want to close your mouths. You'll catch flies."
The best seats I could find for us were on the wall to Sam's right, two empty seats, right next to...
"Devon," I said in surprise.
"Well, hello," he said with a smile. "Fancy seeing you again.'
"Yeah," I said. "Fancy that."
"Oh. Here," he said. He stood up to give us the three seats together.
"Thanks," I said as we sat down. "These are my friends. Hailey and Karen."
"I thought you were Karen."
"Yeah," I said. "It's-"
"-a long story," Starsong said.
"Number Five," one of the players said to Sam. "What's your name?"
"My name?" Sam repeated unsurely. She turned and looked at us. I shrugged. Sam rearranged her cards, leaning back in her seat and crossed her legs.
"My name is Pussy Galore," she said. My head fell into my hand. I heard someone choke on their drink.
"That's a Bond Girl," her questioner said.
"And don't think I haven't written a very strongly-worded letter about that."
Devon leaned over and asked me quietly, "Is she brilliant, or just mad?"
"I...am not really sure," I said.
Halfway through the game, a couple of people left and Yeliah and I grabbed their seats right behind Sam. By then, it was just Sam and her questioner left in the game.
"I'm all in," he said. "What about you?"
She looked over her shoulder at Yeliah and me, but all we had to offer were unsure shrugs. She sighed.
"All in," she said.TnB Travel Journal
Somebody stole the van!
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