Off the Cretan Track chapter 38

Off the Cretan Track chapter 38

A Chapter by Repgreece

A surprise in Agios.


"Are you okay?" Nick asked, as he and Sal headed back around the harbour in the direction of the beach.

"I'm okay now. I'm not sure about Bob's ukulele though," she chuckled.

Nick gave a reluctant laugh. "I still think it was his fault somehow. Bloody ukulele playing pot head!"

He scanned the row of buildings in the harbour as they passed through it, wondering where the nearest shop would be. Sal really needed some sort of footwear, if only a basic pair of flip flops. They would sell them in a tourist shop.

"You want a piggy back?" he asked her, glancing down at her feet.

"No. It's not that far. I'll be fine," she assured him. "I don't suppose you picked up my beach bag though did you?"

"Damn!" Nick stopped in mid stride and put a hand to his head. "No. Sorry Sal, I was too concerned about finding you. It will probably still be there; I'll go get it," he said, resuming his walk with renewed haste.

Sal put a hand on his arm. "Slow down Nick. Don't worry about the bag; let's just get back to the hotel and then head home."

"But it won't take me long to get it…"

"Nick, it means you climbing back up the cliff side again," she reminded him. "Let's leave it. There's nothing that valuable in there anyway."

"What about your purse…and the camera, I must have left that there too."

"I only had a few euros in my purse and the camera isn't worth you risking the climb again. Really Nick, let's just get going," she appealed to him.

He nodded and put an arm over her shoulder. "Okay."

On reaching Matala beach road, Nick and Sal spotted Phil jumping out of a car at the side of the road and waving them over.

"Thank God, we were just discussing how to break you out of the police station!" Phil greeted them. "What the hell happened?"

"It's a long story," Nick replied, glancing at his watch for the third time in the last five minutes. "We've got to head back quickly now though before it gets too dark."

"Here, get in." Phil opened the door of the white Audi A6 to reveal Sandra sitting in the back and Mike in the driver's seat. "Can you take us all back to the hotel?" Phil asked Mike.

"No problem," he replied. "Are you two leaving today?" Mike asked Nick and Sal when they had joined Sandra in the back seat.

"Yeah, got to head back as soon as we can," Nick replied. "Hadn't planned on staying this late."

" I was thinking I could follow you back and explore the east a little. I can take some of your baggage in here if it would make things more comfortable for you," Mike offered.

Hmm, that would be good actually. Not so much Mike's offer to take their baggage, but simply having the reassurance of a car behind them just in case something went wrong out in the more remote stretches of road.

"Thanks," Nick answered. "I'll phone Adam to find out about a hotel for you if you want to stay in Agios."

"That would be great," he said, pulling up outside the hotel. "I've been staying just down the road. I'll check out and meet you in the reception in say," he checked the time, "half an hour."

"Make that twenty minutes," Nick said, jumping out of the car.

"Here, I think this is yours," Phil said, passing Sal her bag as they entered the hotel lobby.

She looked down at it in surprise. "My bag! Where did you find it?"

"Someone picked it up from the caves and was asking people on the beach if they'd lost it. See, there are some nice people still around," Phil replied with a smile.

"Yes, thanks a million," she smiled back.

"Right, we've really got to rush," Nick cut in. "It's been real great to see you both again," he said kissing Sandra and embracing Phil in a manly hug. "Make sure you keep in touch and we'll arrange to meet up again soon eh."

"Definitely," Sandra replied.

They all nodded their agreement and finished their goodbyes, before Sal and Nick rushed back to their room to gather their belongings.

Sal felt glad in a way that they were in such a rush because, firstly, she didn't have time to dwell on what had happened to her in the police station, and also, despite her ordeal, on seeing their room again, she realized that she was quite sad to leave it. No time for sentimentalities though; she dashed around the room, grabbing her cosmetics, clothes and other belongings and throwing them into her backpack.

Right, now what to wear for the journey back?

Stripping off the T shirt that Nick had leant her in the prison cell, she threw it onto the bed where he was packing his clothes and peered into her bag, pushing the contents around to find some appropriate attire for herself. She shivered suddenly. Her bikini still felt damp and her skin was covered with goose bumps. She glanced at her watch thoughtfully. They had ten minutes until they were to meet Mike in the hotel lobby.

"I don't suppose I could have a really quick hot shower, could I?" she asked Nick suddenly. "It's just that I still feel quite cold after being in that cell."

Nick glanced up from his bag.

"Of course you can Sal. Sorry, I should have thought of that," he apologized. Mike could wait. She'd had quite a shock too; she needed to warm up.

"Great," Sal smiled, grabbing her shower gel and the first clothes that came to hand, and dashing towards the bathroom. "I'll be really quick."

"Hey Sal," Nick called out, halting her at the door. "What are you wearing on the bike?" he asked.

"Just a top and shorts, why?"

He frowned. "It may get a bit cold out there once the sun goes down. I've got a spare sweater; you can wear that."

Ahh, he was looking after her.

She watched him searching in his bag for the sweater, in a momentary daze.

He glanced up suddenly, sensing that her presence hadn't left. She was looking at him the way that a child looks at puppy with floppy ears and a fluffy coat. He felt suddenly uneasy with all her attention. Good god; it was only a sweater!

"Go on Sal, chop, chop. I'll give you five minutes!" he said, hiding his embarrassment.

"Oh yes, right." She jumped into action then and dived through the door.

In seconds the shower was on, turned up to full heat, and Sal was stripping off her damp bikini, hardly able to wait to get under the shower and experience that amazing warmth that was filling the room with steam.

Climbing into the bath, Sal let the water tumble right over her head. It was so heavenly that she just stood there for a few moments, luxuriating in the heat of the shower and pushing her wet hair back off her face to lift her head up to the cascade. As the water fell over her, it took with it a heat that slowly spread down her whole body, taking away the numbness, easing the tension out of the muscles that had ached from shivering so much, and leaving her skin tingling and flushed. Then she grabbed her favorite shower gel, with coconut and passion fruit, and lathered up a storm of bubbles, letting them slide over her skin, spreading their aroma in the steam and washing away all the strains of the day. God, she would have loved to stay in that shower longer but alas, no time left. She reluctantly turned off the water and reached for the towel rail.

In the bedroom, Nick had finished packing all his belongings and so he pulled out his mobile phone to make a call to Adam.

"Hiya mate, it's Nick," he said when Adam answered.

"Hello there. How you doing?" came the reply.

"Good mate, good."

"I hear you've absconded across the island with my airport supervisor. I hope you're bringing her back for duty tomorrow," Adam said humorously.

"Yeah, don't worry, we are about to set off now. Listen, I need to ask you something; we've met this guy out here who is coming back with us. He wants to see a bit of our side of the island, only he needs a hotel room. Do you have any free rooms in the hotels you use?" Nick asked.

There was a brief silence. "Hmm, as far as I know we are booked up I'm afraid. We've had a few large group bookings this week. I can double check for you though; Fay will know more about the rooms we have."

"Ah," Nick replied, a little disappointed, "Yeah, if you could, I'd appreciate it."

"Tell you what, I'm still in the office, so I'll speak to Fay now, and if we have no luck there, I could pop into 'The Alexander' hotel just down the road and book a room there for you. It's cheap and cheerful there, and at least it's in town."

"Oh great. Thanks. Right, we will be setting off pretty soon," he said, glancing at his watch and grimacing; they were going to be late for Mike, "but could you let me know if and when you find a room?"

"Sure," Adam answered.

"Thanks Adam; I owe you one. Speak later then; I've got to go."

"No problem; speak later," Adam replied, hanging up.

Luckily, Mike arrived in the lobby at the same time as Sal and Nick were descending the stairs, so all they had to do was settle their bill and they were ready to go.

As Nick and Sal drove out of Matala, heading for the highway with Mike driving behind them, Sal said a private, fond farewell to the place, choosing to push any negative memories from her mind. They had been so excited to arrive there; it had been a wonderful break, like a mini holiday. Sal realized that it had been a long time since she had got away for a fun break with friends; she would make sure she did it more often.

When they hit the highway, Sal immediately became aware that Nick had been right, it was quite chilly on that bike now that the day had lost most of its heat. She was glad of his sweater and huddled up to his back for warmth.

Speeding through the Mesara plain, many thoughts came to her. Memories of the last few days flashed through her head, as well as all that she had learnt about Nick's past. She then began to wonder about the summer ahead, how much time she'd spend with Nick and what Jen would have to say about that. In fact, she wondered if Jen even knew about their trip to Matala. Come to think of it, Nick hadn't even appeared to have contacted her since they'd been there. Strange.

Before long, they were approaching Heraklion, where they made a quick stop to find a cafe for a rest and a warm drink. Sal ordered a hot chocolate and the sweet, thick liquid was an unexpected luxury, before they returned to their vehicles for the remainder of the journey.

Between the resorts of Hersonissos and Malia, Nick's phone rang and they were forced to pull off the highway so that he could answer the call. Adam informed him that a room had been booked at the Alexander Hotel for Mike, and that the manager would be there to greet him when they arrived. Nick thanked Adam, turned off his mobile phone for the rest of the journey, and they set off once more.

Finally, cold and aching from their travels, the three of them arrived in a moonlit Agios, driving first to show Mike to the 'Alexander Hotel', and next to Sal's apartment. There were always bikes, cars and people milling around her apartment block up until fairly late at night, and so neither of them initially noticed who was standing, waiting for them, leaning up against the outer wall of the building.

Nick turned off the engine of the bike and dismounted, helping Sal with her backpack. He had dreaded this moment for some reason he couldn't quite work out.

"Well, I guess you'll be busy tomorrow at work," Nick pointed out.

"Yeah, I'll speak to Adam though about starting you working again. I'm not sure if he will need you tomorrow or not. Friday nights aren't that busy at the moment, but we will need you for sure on Tuesday," she stressed. "Either way, I'll let you know as soon as I've spoken to Adam. It's a night flight tomorrow though, so I'll be trying to get some sleep before work . I usually stay awake as long as I can the night before so that I can sleep in the day and I won't be so tired at work," she rambled. She should really shut up and go.

"Good luck with that tonight Sal; you look pretty shattered," Nick replied.

"Yeah well, it was worth it," she smiled.

"Yeah," he smiled back.

There followed a short silence in which Nick hovered on the door step of Sal's apartment block, and Sal was reluctant to finally enter it. Still, what else could they do? At last, Nick made a move, catching Sal unawares as he leant forward suddenly and kissed her on the cheek.

"Night Sal."

It was then that the onlooker emerged from out of the shadows, stepping into the illumination of the street light and making both their hearts race with adrenalin.

"Hello you two. I thought I'd surprise you Nick, but instead, you surprised me. Where the hell have you been?" Jen scowled, looking from Nick to Sal.

© 2012 Repgreece

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Added on September 24, 2012
Last Updated on September 24, 2012
Tags: love, romance, friends, fun

Off The Cretan Track