Contains strong language and discussions of a sexual nature
‘Ooh, hello,’ said Katie loudly, tossing her hair like a frisky Shetland pony. ‘What do we have here?’
It was day four of our jolly family vacances but the first day here, at Butlins de la Mer. We’d stopped off at Cecile and Ed’s (friends of Mum’s and Dad’s) place in Lyon for a couple of days and Katie and I had done a pretty good job of avoiding each other. Helped by the fact that Cecile’s nineteen-year-old son Fabien had been shagging her in his bedroom most of the time. James isn’t much better company, but at least I can hit him whenever he opens his mouth.
So now Katie and I were tolerating a rare moment of occupying the same proximity, sitting on the mound of decorative rocks outside our chalet, watching a family arriving, climbing the steps up to theirs. A fit boy with dark curly hair and long brown limbs was carrying a lilo and a huge rucksack. Katie leaned back on her arms, pushing her legs into a position where they looked longer and thinner than they actually are.
The boy carried on up the steps. He didn’t seem to have heard her, didn’t even glance at her. Bad luck, Katie.
‘Hey,’ she said sharply. ‘Are you deaf and blind or something?’
He stopped, and looked down at her. ‘What?’
‘Forget it,’ said Katie, getting up and brushing grit off her arse. ‘Loser.’ She clambered haughtily down the rocks to the beach.
‘Charming.’ He looked at me, did a double take, and raised his eyebrows. ‘Jesus. There’s two of you?’
I laughed for the first time in about four days.
‘Ignore her,’ I said, extending my hand. ‘We are so not identical. My name’s Emily.’
‘Josh.’ He was luscious, I’d give him that. Katie’d totally blown it with her fucking hissy fit. He looked back at her, striding angrily across the sand.
‘Does your sister know she’s got her mini skirt tucked into her thong?’ he said.
I liked him already. ‘Oh, she knows all right,’ I said as my mother came out of our chalet, beaming like a hetero-seeking satellite. I stood up quickly. ‘Better go, maybe see you later.’ I skipped past Mum who was no doubt already planning her wedding outfit.
‘Definitely,’ said Josh. ‘Later Emily.’
‘So?’ said Mum as we all sat down for our dinner. ‘You’ve made a new friend then, sweetheart?’ Fair play to her, she’d managed to restrain herself for a whole hour while she was getting the food ready.
‘What? Who?’ I said, innocently. I ate a mouthful of lamb chop.
‘The boy. Josh is it? He’s very handsome.’
‘Oh, him.’ I reached across for the red wine to pour myself another glass. ‘Yes Mum, he’s really good-looking. I think Katie wants him, though. Right Katie?’
‘No way,’ Katie snarled, pushing her food round her plate. ‘Pretty boys like that are not my type.’
Like fuck they aren’t
‘Mine neither,’ I said, looking pointedly at Mum. ‘Obviously.’
Mum rolled her eyes and gave me a totally infuriating ‘We’ll see’ smirk.
‘Oh, you could do a lot worse,’ she said. ‘Both of you.’ She started collecting up the plates and carried them over to the kitchen counter. ‘Anyone for apple tart?’
Here we go.
‘HELLO? I’m GAY,’ I hissed loudly.
‘Whatever you say, darling!’ trilled Mum, doling out helpings of tart.
Jesus. I preferred Angry Denial. A whole two weeks of this shit.
‘No dessert for me,’ I said, grabbing my phone. ‘I’ve got a call to make.’
I sashayed past Mum, who pursed her lips, desperate to have the last word.
‘Yeah,’ said Katie. ‘None for me either. Got to watch my fabulous figure.’
‘Even if no one else is,’ I quipped. I made quickly for the bedroom, slamming the door in Katie’s face as she got there.
‘Fucking muff-munching bitch,’ she said, rattling the handle aggressively.
I let her in after five minutes of rattling and door-beating, and decided to call Naomi from somewhere more private. The beach would do. I left Katie trussing herself up like Jordan’s little sister. False eyelashes, cement mix foundation, skirt up to her fanny. But what did I know. She’d no doubt find some moron to have sex with her. I didn’t imagine they’d be that fussy down at ‘Foam Nite’ – the village disco organised by the holiday reps. I’d rather have killed myself than attend that little gathering.
It was a clear night as I walked down to the beach. Sky turning darker and darker blue. The stars were starting to come out. I lay on the sand, looked up at them and thought about Naomi. I missed her like hell. I checked the time on my phone: not too late to call. She answered immediately.
‘Hey lover.’ It was so good to hear her voice I could have cried.
‘Hey you. How’s it going?’ I said.
‘Oh, you know. Amazing. Watching Mum and her boyfriend totally loved up really can’t be underestimated as a form of awesome entertainment. I never knew just how stimulating it is watching two old desperados pawing each other every second of the fucking day.’
‘Fuck, honey. That’s evil.’
‘Yeah. It’s shit. But tonight was always going to be a bit shit.’ She sighed. ‘How about you?’
‘Same. Going out of my mind. Mum’s already tried to set me up with a boy.’
‘Oh, Jesus. Who?’
‘Just a kid who’s got a chalet next door. Seems OK actually.’
‘Though, obviously I am not interested.’
‘Whatever. Think I care?’
‘I should fucking well hope so!’
I knew she was smiling, though she didn’t answer.
‘I wish you were here with me right now, on this beach, looking up at the stars,’ I said.
Naomi groaned. ‘Me too. I can’t stop thinking about us in my bed.’
‘I know.’ I hesitated. ‘Remind me…What were we doing in your bed?’
‘Well...’ Naomi began, but then I heard footsteps behind me.
‘Fuck, someone’s coming,’ I hissed down the phone. ‘I’ll call you back.’
I turned around to have a go at whoever was creeping up on me. It was Josh.
‘What are you, some kind of perv?’ I said, looking up at him. I couldn’t see much in the darkness, but I could tell that he was smirking.
‘Um, no,’ he said. ‘I’m someone with ears. There’s no breeze: sound travels.’
‘Right.’ I stared at him, clutching my phone.
‘Right. Well. Sorry. I’ll leave you to it,’ he said. He trudged off up the beach.
I felt a bit bad.
‘Hey?’ I called after him. ‘If you’re not doing anything tomorrow…Maybe we could, you know, hang out or something?’
Josh grinned. ‘Sure,’ he said, walking backwards now. ‘I’d like that. Just give us a knock.’
‘Excellent.’ I gave a cheery little wave.
I watched until I saw him go into his chalet then picked up my phone and pressed redial.
‘Hey you,’ I said. ‘I was worried you might have gone to sleep.’
‘No chance. Not when I’m thinking about undressing you.’
‘You’ve got your white cotton knickers on, and I’m kissing you up the insides of your lovely thighs…’
‘Should I take my knickers off?’
‘No…I’m doing that. Then I’m going to move further up…Slowly at first then....’
‘Faster,’ I said breathlessly. ‘Do it faster.’
‘You love that,’ she said.
‘I fucking love it. Can you see my tits?’
‘Yes, and you’re touching them…your nipples are hard. And I’m rubbing myself up and down your thigh.’
‘Jesus...’ My heartbeat was skipping, increasing. I had my hand down inside my knickers, my fingers probing as I imagined they were Naomi’s tongue. ‘I’m going to come,’
I said breathlessly. ‘I want to kiss you...’
With a euphoric rush I came, one hand trembling clutching the phone to my ear.
‘I love you,’ I said, at the same time as Naomi. ‘I love you so much.’
Read extract 1 featuring the Three Musketeers