The Valentine Family Are Enjoying A Hot Summer In Brindleton Bay. Is It The perfect Time For Making Lifelong Friends?
Summer, Year 3
It was already hot as Maggie finished off hoovering the hall carpet. With three teenagers in the house, the carpets could get so muddy. Housework had never really been her thing and she was more interested in her new career venture. She was interested in fashion and styling people and she’d recently started a new job in that field. With all her children in senior school now, she had a lot more time to spend on herself.
Admiral William Valentine was a proud man. Having had to retire when his fleet had been disbanded and he’d been taken ill, he wasn’t used to all the free time he now had. Frankly, he was bored. The heat wasn’t helping either and he was feeling permanently stressed and irritable.
He’d taken to supervising his teenagers with their homework. Elliott in particular found this insulting. He was in his last year at school; he’d be starting University in the autumn and to have his father not trusting him to get the last dregs of homework completed before he finished with school was infuriating, to say the least.
Frustrating as it was, Maggie didn’t say anything. William was more bad tempered now than he had been for a long time and she didn’t want to provoke him. She knew it wasn’t doing the teens any favours, however. Elliott and William were having more arguments all the time and she hated the thought of him leaving for University on bad terms with his father. It was bad enough that Ryan didn’t come home as often as she’d like; she really hoped the same wouldn’t happen with Elliott.
Slowly, she smiled. Maybe she’d talk to him. The teens were interested in going to the Up The Amp music festival that weekend; it seemed like an ideal opportunity to talk to William.
“Well this is boring,” Elliott commented. He shuffled his feet in time with the music but he wasn’t feeling the energy just yet.
“Just be patient,” Rosie said, rolling her eyes. “It’ll liven up later.”
“Why don’t you go on stage, Elliott?” Luna suggested. She tucked her hair behind her ears and smiled. “I understand you play the guitar beautifully!”
Elliott reddened. “Er, I don’t know where you heard that. I play but not that well. Not yet.”
Rosie abandoned her moping brother to go and find someone more interesting to hang out with as the evening went on. As she’d predicted, it did liven up later as more people arrived. Best of all, she spotted headliner Hayley Bolton. Rosie couldn’t believe her good fortune – she loved Hayley! She’d bought her first album and it was incredible. To finally get to meet her was a dream come true!
Even more so when Hayley agreed to have a picture taken with Rosie!
Elliott panicked. Rosie had managed to persuade Hayley to give him a shoutout after her first set and he was expected to go up on that stage at any minute and play the guitar. He looked around desperately for Christopher but couldn’t find his brother anywhere. Come to think of it, Luna had disappeared too.
With legs feeling like jelly, Elliott climbed onto the stage and picked up the guitar. The heat of the lights generated beads of sweat along his forehead and he tried desperately to remember the tune he’d been practicing in his room.
His heart pounding, he began to play.
Rosie was impressed. Elliott had been leading them to believe he wasn’t that good but to listen to the beautiful notes trickling from his fingertips, she could see people thought he’d been doing this for a long time. Excited, she jumped onto the stage and joined him. She recognised the song and began to belt the song out to accompany him. The crowd went crazy.
The following evening, Christopher finally emerged from his tent.
“Where the hell were you last night?” Elliott hissed. He and Rosie had been frantic after their incredible duet the night before, wondering where Christopher had gone.
“I went to the opera.” Christopher pulled a face.
“What?” Elliott laughed. “You, at the opera? What for?”
“Luna asked me.”
Elliott stopped laughing, “Luna? Luna asked you out to the opera?”
“Yeah.” Christopher yawned. “Do you want a drink? I could do with one.” He ambled over to the kegger and attempted to tap it.
“No, I don’t want a drink.” Elliott followed his brother across the grass. “Why did she ask you?”
“How should I know?” Christopher jumped back as the kegger appeared to explode. “Woah, easy tiger!”
“I didn’t know she was into you!” Elliott frowned.
“What? Oh, I dunno. She’s hot and everything but that opera was really boring.”
Elliott gave up and left his brother battling the kegger. For some reason, he felt deflated.
“Hold steady now!” Emilio said as he lifted Christopher’s legs up.
“What are you guys doing?” Rosie laughed as she watched.
“Keg stand,” Emilio explained as he steadied his friend. “There you go!”
A cheer went up round the group as Christopher dropped carefully back onto the ground.
“You seriously went to the opera with Luna Villareal on Friday?” Emilio asked. It was Sunday morning and the two were trying to fend off hangovers from the previous night. They were practicing hoops at the new Sport Court in the city.
“Why is everyone so obsessed with that?” Christopher asked. “It was boring.”
“Yeah, but it’s Luna.” Emilio laughed. “Honestly, nearly every guy at school fancies her. Even your brother fancies her.”
“Elliott?” Christopher shook his head. “Don’t be daft. Elliott doesn’t fancy Luna.”
Emilio shook his head. Sometimes, Chris could be really dense.
Meanwhile, Rosie watched them while playing tennis. She’d been fond of Emilio for a while and it was handy that they were so sporty; it gave her a chance to drool over him while under the guise of improving her backhand. She wished she had the courage to talk to him but with her brother there, she was always afraid of making a fool of herself.
“How’s the ankle?” Emilio watched as his friend limped off the court and sat down.
“Dunno. I think I’ve sprained it. Or twisted it, at least.” Christopher winced and rubbed the ankle. “I’d better stop there.”
“Mind if I carry on?” Emilio bounced the ball a few times and watched his friend closely.
Christopher shook his head. “Nah, you go on. I’ll have a shower and I’ll be back.”
“You beat me again!” Elliott cried disbelievingly. “How do you do that?”
Rosie smirked. “Obviously I’m a better table tennis player than you are!”
“It’s all that practicing on the courts,” Elliott said. “You cheated.”
“Did not!” Rosie laughed.
Elliott squinted at his phone. “Damn. Chris’s done his ankle in. I’d better get him home. Rosie, can you let Emilio know I’m taking him home, please?”
Rosie blushed. “N…now?”
Frowning, Elliott typed a response. “He’s downstairs, in the indoor court,” he replied without looking up. “Chris slipped in the shower. He was going to go back to Emilio’s so can you let him know I’m taking him home?”
“Erm…sure.” Rosie bit her lip and nervously set off down the stairs.
“Emilio?” Rosie’s voice sounded small even as it echoed in the hall.
Emilio looked round and smiled. “Oh hey. Rosie, isn’t it? Chris’ sister?”
Rosie nodded. “Yeah. Erm, Chris slipped in the showers. Elliott’s going to take him home. He asked me to, erm, to let you know.” She blushed.
“Ouch. Is he okay?” Emilio winced.
Rosie nodded. “I think so. It’s his ankle. He says he thinks he sprained it or something.”
“Yeah, he landed a bit awkwardly on the court.” Emilio shrugged. “It happens.” He regarded her for a moment. “Chris said you got a selfie with Hayley Bolton this weekend. Was that right?”
Rosie’s blush deepened. “Yeah. You want to see it?”
Emilio nodded and Rosie walked over to where he was standing. She whipped her phone out and found the picture. “That is so cool,” he said admiringly. “What was she like?”
“She was really nice,” Rosie said. She smiled through her eyelashes at Emilio. Suddenly, she didn’t feel quite as nervous as she had.
“Rosie? Come on Rose, we’ve got to get Chris home!” Elliott called from the corridor.
Typical! “I’d better go,” Rosie said reluctantly as she put her phone away.
“Nice chatting to you,” Emilio said, raising his eyebrows. “See you soon?”
Rosie blushed again and nodded before racing out of the hall.