‘I’ll race you back to the lodge,’ she said, ‘Winner gets into the hot tub first.’
After a second night of energetic lovemaking, the following morning they reluctantly faced up to the knowledge that they didn’t have much time before they’d have to check-out of the holiday park.
They sighed, showered, dressed and packed before they went for another cooked breakfast to prepare for the long drive home.
Her final words before they left the lodge were,
‘I should have brought my camera, if only to photograph that stiffy, so I could remind you of this weekend when you’re old and bent.’
Jamie had received a text message from his mum while they’d been away, suggesting that he and Mel join them for dinner on their return. Mel wasn’t sure. She felt under-dressed.
On the way home, she expressed her concerns.
‘It’s not at a posh hotel,’ he reassured her, ‘just an ordinary meal at our house; you, me, Mum and Dad, Tracy, Jake and Elaine.’
‘God!’ she said, ‘intimidate me why don’t you? You know what this will be like don’t you? They’ll all be looking for signs of us being shagged-out – all except Elaine anyway. We’re going to be interrogated. I hope that nobody starts asking us whether we’re getting engaged.’
‘I’m sure that you’re up to telling them that it’s not going to happen.’
‘Isn’t it?’ she teased, ‘You’ve bedded me and now I’m disposable?’
‘Marry me then,’ he said.
She dug her elbow into his side.
‘Ouch!’ he said, ‘Be careful. I’m driving.’
‘Anyway,’ he said, slowing to allow an overtaking vehicle to push in ahead of him, ‘I bet if I’d dropped you off first, your mum and dad would have wanted me to stay for tea.’
‘True,’ she agreed, ‘Perhaps we should hire the Village Hall and invite all and sundry to put their questions.’
‘If I know Codmanton,’ he said, ‘news of our weekend will be all round the town anyway by the time we open on Monday.’
The traffic wasn’t too bad for a Sunday and Lucy was waiting on the doorstep before Jamie’s car had stopped.
‘The curtains are still swishing,’ Mel said out of the side of her mouth as Jamie opened the car door on her side for her. ‘I feel like the Christians must have felt being fed to the lions.’
Lucy welcomed Mel with a hug, and a peck on her cheek, commenting how cold Mel’s arms felt, and rebuking Jamie for not putting the car heater on higher. She ushered them in, leading them to the living room where the assembled family were sat waiting with their heads turned towards the door as the couple entered.
‘Can I get you a cup of tea or coffee, love?’ Lucy asked Mel, ‘It would warm you up.’
Mel told her that tea would be fine.
Lucy turned to Tony,
‘Fancy, Tony,’ she said, ‘the poor girl’s freezing. Wouldn’t you have thought that Jamie would have noticed and turned the car heater up? I don’t know – what’s he like at all?
She turned back to Mel,
‘Sit down, Mel love, get near the gas fire over there,’ she pointed, ‘Cup of tea coming up in a second.’
Finally, she turned to her son.
Go on,’ she instructed him, ‘You go and sit in that chair next to Mel. Jake will make room for you won’t you love? Tea or coffee, Jamie?’ she asked.
Mel sat after smiling and saying hallo to the family. Jake rose and sat elsewhere, and Jamie sat down too.
Baby Elaine crawled across to Mel to see who the stranger was. Tracy followed Elaine and knelt on the carpet next to Mel and the baby.
‘Hiya!’ Tracy said, ‘Lovely to see you again. You look great.’
‘Nice to see you too, Tracy, and hasn’t Elaine grown?
‘Don’t try and pick her up, Mel, she’s just been sick. How was your weekend?’
Mel answered without saying anything that would embarrass a vicar, and trying to make her reply encompass as many of the assembly as possible.
‘The weather was great; the lodge was as described, and the scenery was stunning as you’d expect at this time of year.’
‘As bad as that was it,’ Tony said, ‘Have you two had a row?’
‘Ignore him, Mel’ Jamie said to her, ‘He’s trying to goad you.’
He turned to Tony.
‘What I think you wanted to know, Dad,’ he said, ‘was whether we had sex, and was I a let-down?’
Mel’s face was in her hands and burning by now.
‘I was merely assuming that you took the laptop with you, to process all these online orders, and that Mel got fed up. Is that right, Son?’
Tony and Jake were laughing at him. Tracy was stifling a giggle.
‘Leave them alone,’ she ordered the menfolk, ‘Don’t be so nosey.’
She whispered loudly in Mel’s ear.
‘Was he though? Was he a let-down?’
Mel peeped at her from between her hands, her front teeth were clamped over her lower lip, she was shaking her head in disbelief, but her eyes were dancing with shared mischief.
‘Oooh! Jamie,’ Tracy said, ‘You old devil, you.’
Jamie was blushing now.
‘Mel warned me what to expect when I told her about Mum’s invite to tea,’ he said, ‘She was right – You take no notice of them Mel. At least your family will be more restrained.’
Tony joined in again, chortling, ‘Not if I know Jean and Brian they won’t – and if Jack’s there, he won’t give Mel a moment’s peace.’
Lucy came back in, to the rescue, bearing a tray with cups.
‘Shape yourself, Tony, move that coffee table near Mel, but mind the baby.’
She placed the drinks on the table once it was in place.
After Lucy’s re-entry, the conversation became less teasing and moved on to safer ground. Lucy insisted that Mel should sit between herself and Tracy – that Mel must have had enough of Jamie and that she’d be ready for some female-to-female bonding.
Lucy made Mel feel very much at home and that she was welcome any time she was in the area to pop-in – not to wait for an invitation. Tracy also showed pleasure in Mel’s company and invited her to visit her house soon.
At least, when Jamie took her home later, and dropped her off, he wasn’t present to hear the embarrassing family banter at that house.
From then onwards, Mel was an honorary family member.
I continue with another of the architecture shots that I took on my afternoon in Liverpool a few weeks ago. I don’t know the name of this building, and I can’t remember exactly where I was when I took the photo, but it was in the university area. I just liked the patterns made by the windows, the slabs of cladding, and the reflections of the sky in the surfaces.
For all the street shots, I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera twinned with a Pentax 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 mm lens at an ISO of 100. The EXIF data for this photo were 1/160 secs @ f/8and 21 mm.