Off The Cretan Track chapter 19

Off The Cretan Track chapter 19

A Chapter by Repgreece

Sal copes with some odd characters at the party


Nick and Sal left the cocktail bar in great spirits, just catching a minimarket along the way before it closed so that they could by drinks and snacks to take to the beach party. Sal fussed around, dropping all kinds of weird things into the shopping basket she’d picked up at the entrance, whilst Nick knew exactly what he wanted and took no more than a minute to find it: beer, and lots of it.


“Come on Sal. What the hell have you bought?” Nick asked, watching as she began to unload the basket at the till.


“Just cocktail stuff,” she smiled.


Nick laughed. Sal was nuts.


As they approached the beach, they could hear the shouts, music and laughter coming from the party in the distance. The area was in complete darkness, apart from the famous caves, which were lit up at the far end. But the closer they got to the party, the more they could make out the faint, shadowy figures of the people and an orangey glow, which they assumed was from the barbeque.


“Hey!” Nick shouted out as they approached. “How could you start a footie match without me?”


A few men out of the group on the beach who were battling a football out of each other’s reaches, stopped and turned to see who had shouted out.


“Get a move on then; you’re on our team now since you’ve just lost us that point!” Nick’s friend, Phil, shouted back.


Nick turned to Sal as if to check that it was okay with her if he went to join in with the game.


“Go on,” she said, “go play with the boys.”


“You sure? You don’t know anyone,” he pointed out.


“I know Sandra, and I like meeting new people; don’t worry about me,” she reassured him.


“Well, okay, you make us one of your cocktails Sal,” he replied, handing her the carrier bag of drinks and snacks, “and I’ll be with you in a bit,” he said, hoping that the men weren’t going to make fun of him for drinking a girly cocktail, but wanting to please Sal at the same time.


“Nick? What you doing?” Phil shouted out impatiently.


“Go on,” Sal encouraged him.


He gave her a smile and brushed her cheek affectionately before charging into the group of guys and jumping on them so that they all fell to the sand in a heap. There followed an explosion of male shouts, grunts and laughter, until all the guys got back onto their feet and began the chase for the football again.


Sal watched the spectacle in front of her and giggled at the men’s boyish antics before heading for a group of people who were sitting around the barbeque on plastic chairs. Scanning the faces of the small group of people, she searched for Sandra, but saw no sign of the woman she’d remembered meeting on the beach earlier. The people smiled at her warmly though and waved one by one as introductions were exchanged.


A thin, young girl with long, blonde hair and a big smile stood up and went to Sal, introducing herself as Kate, linking an arm with her and moving them back to the chairs. “Here, take a seat next to me,” Kate offered, “We have beer, wine and lots of food. What would you like to drink?” she asked.


This girl seemed really friendly.


“Tell you what,” Sal replied, lifting up the carrier bag that Nick had passed to her and placing it on her lap, “how do you fancy a cocktail? We’ve got vodka, Schnapps, and all kinds of mixers,” she said, pulling out the bottles and placing them on a small, makeshift table in-between Sal’s chair and Kate’s.


Kate’s face lit up. “Great. Wow, you’re organised,” she said, glancing into the bag and helping Sal to pull out the remaining snacks and drinks. “How about I put these beers in the ice box to keep them cool,” she said, picking up Nick’s cans of Mythos,  “and you make us both a cocktail? I like everything there, so mix it all up and surprise me,” she shouted out as she made for a cool box behind the rest of the group who were chatting to each other, in-between laughing at the guys playing football.


What a stroke of luck that Kate was there. She seemed really nice, and now Sal had someone to share cocktails with too.


Sal began to experiment with the vodka, Schnapps, and mixers, tasting as she went along, until she came up with a satisfactory tumbler full, which she adorned with two brightly coloured straws, an orange slice, and a small paper umbrella. Okay, number one prototype done; now all she had to do was see if she could replicate another one for Kate.


Sal was so engrossed with her cocktail making, that she didn’t notice Kate return, or the fact that most of the group now had their full attention on her. Looking up suddenly, she was faced with several pairs of eyes focused on the tumbler she was filling.


“Oh,” she said with surprise, “would anyone else like one?”


There followed a burst of laughter from the group. One man spoke up. “don’t worry, we all have drinks; we were just intrigued with what you were doing,” he said with amusement.


She giggled, a little embarrassed. “Well, I’m pretending I’m on holiday, and what’s a holiday without cocktails?” she said, handing Kate the finished drink.


“That’s right,” Kate agreed, “They’re just jealous that they don’t have their own,” she joked, sitting next to Sal and taking a sip of the cocktail. “Ooh nice. Thanks,” she said, leaning back in her chair. Sal smiled, and took a sip of her drink too. “I remember the first cocktail I ever tried…” Kate began.


As Kate started to speak, Sal noticed the other people in the group turn abruptly away to begin their own conversations.


 Strange, Sal thought.


“It was at a cousins wedding. I was only young, nine years old I think,” she paused for a second, “Yes, about nine I must have been. It was in Oxford, the wedding that is. I’m from Kent by the way…”


“Oh really, I’m…” Sal attempted to add the conversation but Kate seemed oblivious and carried on talking.


“Yes, Kent is nice. I ended up in Kent after I’d been backpacking around Europe for a couple of months. I think it was around three months in the end. Well, I met this really cute guy called Geoff…”


Sal took a large gulp of her cocktail. This girl had either drunk a fair few beers already, or she was the world’s most chatty person.


“… So Geoff came from Kent and that’s why I ended up moving there. Where are you from?”


At last! She’d actually asked Sal a question.


“Not far from Kent actually, I grew up in Sussex…”


“Ah, yes that isn’t far from Kent,” Kate piped up. Yes, Sal had just said that. “I kind of like Kent but…” Oh god, not back to Kent again! Sal took solace in her cocktail once more. Maybe she should have made it stronger and, after a few sips, she’d have been numb enough not to let this girl’s ramblings bother her. At that moment though, she was kind of wishing that she’d sat by someone else. No wonder all the others had turned away so quickly; they must have known what she was like.


“…but I’m not sure if I preferred living in Oxford actually. My parents used to live in Oxford, but then they moved to Scotland…”


“Your family move around a lot then,” Sal pointed a little sarcastically. But she may as well have been talking to herself; Kate was still on a roll. My God, she could talk for Britain and Greece put together! Sal hoped to goodness that she herself wasn’t as chatty as Kate. She did talk a lot sometimes, but she was sure that she came up for air occasionally!


“…Everyone was very surprised when my parents moved to Scotland though. Well, it’s so far away. I like visiting them there mind you, but… if I’m honest with myself, I sometimes wish that they hadn’t moved from Oxford…”


As Kate continued to natter away incessantly, Sal’s concentration began to drift away. This didn’t seem to put Kate off though; she carried on chatting to a vacant and slightly frustrated looking Sal.


“Hey!” came a voice from behind her out of nowhere. Sal nearly fell off her seat. “Oh sorry chick, didn’t mean to scare you senseless. I was just wondering if you wanted some food from the barbie,” said a girl with long, blonde dreadlocks and a brightly coloured, tie dyed top.


Fantastic! A chance to escape.


“Sure,” Sal replied quickly, “I’ll be back in a bit Kate,” she said, jumping up from her seat and taking her drink with her to the barbecue. She wondered if Kate would still continue chatting away to herself, even without Sal there.


“I’m Karen by the way,” the girl said. Then she leant over to speak quietly in Sal’s ear. “You looked like you needed rescuing.”


Sal exhaled on a laugh. “Well, yes. Thanks.”


Karen passed Sal a plate and gestured to the barbecue. “Help yourself and then come join us,” she said, moving to sit cross legged on the sand opposite a bearded man who was testing the strings on a ukulele.


Hmm, different, but then at least they won’t be chatting her to death!


Sal wasn’t feeling overly hungry after the ice cream and huge pick nick, but the food smelt nice, and she’d drunk close to three cocktails now, so she was tempted enough to pick up a couple of sausages from off the barbecue and some salad and bread from a blanket that was spread on the sand and laid with other offerings. Taking a seat next to Karen on the sand, Sal smiled at her and began to enjoy the food as the bearded man started to play a strangely, out of place medley of London Cockney folk songs. The skinny, raggedy looking guy, with a rough, gingery-blonde beard, smiled toothily at them in-between songs, and seemed to be enjoying the attention. Sal couldn’t believe that Karen was actually taking him seriously; I mean, he was like a cross between a hobo, a hippie and George Formby! What a weird party this was turning out to be. She needed another drink.


“I’m just going to get a refill,” she whispered to Karen. “Want anything?” she asked.


“Sure, grab a beer for me will you?” Karen replied.


Sal took a beer out of the cool box near to the barbecue first. Then she contemplated refilling her cocktail and having to go back to the table next to Kate’s chair. It could take her a while to escape again. She took another beer out of the cool box for herself and returned to Karen.


By the time she’d got the beers, Bob had finished playing his ukulele, propped it up against a chair and was sitting with his arm around Karen on the sand. Sal went to sit next to Karen again on the other side, but Bob caught her hand and pulled her towards him.


“Come sit here gorgeous, and tell me all about yourself,” he said, as he urged her to take a seat next to him instead, so that he ended up in the middle of them both.


She would rather have sat next to Karen, but she didn’t want to appear rude, so she reluctantly obliged him.


“You like music babe?” he asked her, slurring his words slightly.


She turned to answer him and noticed that he looked quite odd. His eyes were all watery and distant.


“Err yes, I like all sorts of music,” she replied.


“Yeah, well I’m an ‘all sorts’ kinda guy,” he answered.


What was she supposed to say to that? She had the feeling that even if she’d have wanted to tell him all about herself, he’d have not been able to keep up with the conversation anyway with the state he was in.


“Wanna get me another can?” he asked Karen.


“Thinks I’m his servant,” she said to Sal behind his back. She rose off the sand nonetheless. “Coming up Sir.”


“She’s a good one is Karen,” he told Sal. “A bit moody at times, but she’s okay.”


Sal refrained from giving her opinion on that. What a jerk! For some reason she had ended up with all the weirdos and strays. Where the hell was Sandra, and how long was Nick going to play football for anyway?


Bob fumbled in his pocket for something and finally pulled out a battered old tin, which he opened to reveal some very dodgy looking, rolled ‘cigarettes’ inside. He picked one up and offered it to Sal.


“Wanna go smoke one somewhere quieter?” He put his arm around her shoulder and leant into her, invading her space. “Just you and me,” he grinned.


Like hell she did!


“Err, no thanks,” she replied frostily. “I don’t smoke.”


“You wanna get wet with me?” he said.


What the hell did that mean?


“Nick, my boyfriend,” she stressed, “Will be finishing football soon and I don’t want him to wonder where I am; he’s the jealous sort,” she added for good measure.


“Ah…” he said, removing his arm. It was working! “… the jealous sort. Still,” he went on, lurching towards her again, “All’s fair in love and war. That won’t stop me from trying.”


What the hell was it going to take to get through to this guy?


She risked a sideways glance at him and saw a gingery-blonde beard making fast, if not a little unsteady, progress towards her face!


“We’re getting married,” she said suddenly in panic.


“We are?” Bob replied, moving his head back to take a better look at her.


She sighed. “No, not us, me and Nick.”


“You are?” came a surprised voice from behind her.


She turned to see that finally Sandra had appeared as if from nowhere. Sal whished she had appeared sooner.


“Sandra,” Sal said enthusiastically, jumping up off the sand. At that moment, Sal was so relieved to see someone half normal that she could have kissed her. “Where have you been?”


“Oh sorry love, I just popped back to the hotel for a change of clothes. Hey Phil, Nick, get over here,” she shouted out.


Both Nick and Phil were aware that they had probably deserted the women for long enough now, and they left the game to join Sal and Sandra, who supplied them both with beers.


“So,” Sandra said, looking from Sal to Nick, “I hear you two are engaged.”


Nick was in mid swig of his beer and had to stop himself from choking. Sal cringed. She’d have to explain, but how awkward. She wished Sandra hadn’t mentioned that in front of Nick. Then, Nick astounded her with the following reply,


“Oh yeah, me and Sal”, he grinned, putting an arm around her and pulling her close to him, “We got engaged last week. We’re so excited about the wedding, aren’t we my little cupcake,” he said in a ridiculously soppy voice.


Oh Lord, Nick had gone loopy.


“Errr, yeah,” Sal said, smiling at Phil and Sandra and trying to look as if being engaged to Nick was a perfectly normal thing.


I will have another chapter to post in about an hour.

© 2011 Repgreece

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Added on August 7, 2011
Last Updated on August 7, 2011

Off The Cretan Track