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Comical Vacations 3

Comical Vacations 3

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Comical Vacations 3

Lunghezza:
926 pagine
16 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 22, 2017
ISBN:
9781370168156
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Comical Vacations 3

Three-Book Bundle

Contents

The Finch Family Easter Holiday 6

Let the good times roll since Kitty is excited to be going away for four fun filled days on their first (of many and hopefully not the last) Finch family holidays, together with her boyfriend for a short stay in a quaint B&B in Scotland. Where she hopes they will get to spend some time alone as well as with the rest of the clan. Well, she would be more excited if she could shake the damn stomach bug she seems to have picked up, probably from work. Only it will not stop her going for the Easter celebration up in the Highlands, where real men wear kilts and women wear a shoe size twelve if Moira is anything to go by.

Whether it is a haunting by a ghost in the guesthouse or hunting for Nessie and the lost buried gold coins connected to Bonnie Prince Charlie or seeking the precious playing card belonging to her brother, then you can be sure that Kitty will give it her all even if it costs her more than her dignity in the end. There is also a secret to keep, a secret to reveal and a secret admirer to deal with. Not to forget there is also a beast on the prowl. As this mini vacation has plenty of cringe-worthy situations and surprises galore to cope with but Kitty has survived worse, believe you me.

The Finch Family Bank Holiday 7

Now normally Kitty Finch loves a good wedding so she was happy to head down to Berkshire with the rest of the Finches to stay at a farm over the long bank holiday weekend. She saw it as a chance to be in a famously posh romantic setting with her ex, since Kitty wants to rekindle their relationship. I mean who does not fall in love with love when surrounded by so much joy, sentiment and happiness but not when she finds out he is bringing a ‘plus one’ and she is feeling fat or should that state fatter than usual because of her pregnancy.

If Kitty was under the impression that she could hide at the back to avoid not just the camera lens but also her exes then she had better think again. When an accident occurs and Kitty has to step into someone else’s shoes but not with her swollen feet so thankfully she gets to wear her own footwear in the end, however, it still doesn’t help her walk down that aisle any better.

Joining Kitty and company in this hilarious mix of mayhem and merriment are a baby doll, naked butlers and a male escort. There are also a whole lot of laughs along the way so what more can anyone ask for from a British bank holiday.

The Finch Family Christmas Holiday 8

This is it folks, the final Finch family holiday in the Comical Vacations series (nine books in total). It finds Kitty Finch heading off for a Christmas break with some of her family, past and present, plus picking up a friend or two along the way. This time they are going on a Nordic liner for a mini Christmas cruise, so they are all looking forward to this trip as long as it does not sink. Well knowing her luck, they could all end up at the bottom of the sea if this were any other kind of novel. Only that is not a very ‘happy ending’ so she feels confident that they will make it back to dry land and they do. Not before there is upset all round of course and a stupid bet to win first, whilst the pranks soon become the bane of her life.

After which they embark on the next leg of their journey to travel up to the north of Norway for an ice-filled fun treat. When staying at the snow hotel and getting to see and try things that they have never tried or seen before. Will Kitty ever get the love she deserves? Should she even have attempted to win a silly wager? Can this British family ever have at least one lousy holiday without everything going tits-up for Kitty Finch? Would Kitty be able to claim she truly had the time of her life, or would she be lying through her gritted teeth?

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 22, 2017
ISBN:
9781370168156
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Maureen Reil writes comic commercial fiction and has had over 35 books published, so far, but she's always working on a new manuscript so she wishes to add to that tally with lots of new titles before she's done and dusted. She was born in the city of Liverpool and resides in semi-rural Lancashire UK, but longs to live by the sea. It was always a dream of hers to become a novelist and thanks to her readers, she has fulfilled that ambition, so she couldn't be more grateful if she tried. And Maureen hopes you enjoying reading her books as much as she enjoys writing them.

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Comical Vacations 3 - Maureen Reil

Comical Vacations

3

(Three-Book Bundle)

By Maureen Reil

Copyright ©2017 Maureen Reil

Updated Edition 2021

This eBook is entirely a work of fiction.

The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

Maureen Reil asserts the moral right to be identified as the sole author of this work.

Also by the author Maureen Reil

Chick-Lit By Any Other Name (Chick-Lit Collection)

Chick-Lit By Any Other Name 2 (Chick-Lit Collection)

Lily Loves To Love

Sleepyhead Shares A Secret

I Did Write What I Know

I Hate Me, Who Do You Hate?

Chick-Lit Saved My Life (Chick-Lit Trilogy book 1)

Chick-Lit Stole My Life (Chick-Lit Trilogy book 2)

Chick-Lit Staged My Life (Chick-Lit Trilogy book 3)

Chick-Lit Collection

Chick-Lit Trilogy

Mistletoe And Wine (Christmas Comedy Trilogy)

Mistletoe And Wine 2 (Christmas Comedy Trilogy)

Mistletoe And Wine 3 (Christmas Comedy Trilogy)

Christmas Comedy Trilogy

Let’s Get Married (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get Together (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get It Started (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get Serious (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get Physical (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

The Finch Family Short Break Book 0 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 1 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 2 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 3 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 4 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 5 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Easter Holiday 6 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Bank Holiday 7 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Bank Holiday 8 (Comical Vacations)

A Granny Is For Life, Not Just Christmas

Let’s Get Funny Fiction 1 (Three-Book Bundle)

Let’s Get Funny Fiction 2 (Three-Book Bundle)

Let’s Get Funny Fiction (Six-Book Box Set)

Comical Vacations 1 (Three-Book Bundle)

Comical Vacations 2 (Three-Book Bundle)

Wed To The Wrong Wayne

Christmas Crackers

Wed To The Wrong Wayne

The Desperate Dater’s Intervention

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Things Can Only Get Better

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Luck Had Nothing To Do With It

Table of Contents

The Finch Family Easter Holiday 6

The Finch Family Bank Holiday 7

The Finch Family Christmas Holiday 8

The Finch Family

Easter Holiday

6

By Maureen Reil

Copyright ©2016 Maureen Reil

Updated 2021

Dedicated to

Prince

RIP

Table of Contents

Good Friday (Part 1)

Good Friday (Part 2)

Good Friday (Part 3)

Good Friday (Part 4)

Easter Eve (Part 1)

Easter Eve (Part 2)

Easter Eve (Part 3)

Easter Eve (Part 4)

Easter Sunday (Part 1)

Easter Sunday (Part 2)

Easter Sunday (Part 3)

Easter Sunday (Part 4)

Easter Monday (Part 1)

Easter Monday (Part 2)

Easter Monday (Part 3)

Easter Monday (Part 4)

The End

Good Friday

(Part 1)

Why can I never find my bloody pussy when I am in a rush? Talking about my cat by the way since it is always buggering off and playing hard to coax or bribe for that matter when I need to be ready and waiting in case they arrive early to pick me up in the taxi. Yes, I did end up getting a cat as promised, after my last holiday to Turkey. In fact, I went to my local rescue centre and I fell in love with the pure white silky fur of Snowy the moment I laid eyes on her big green peepers, after she chose me to nestle down in my lap and let me stroke her. The only problem being, she came as part of a package and if I wanted to have a friendly female feline then I would have to take the miserable and mean male cat as well. Since they come as a pair, having been born into the same household and belonging to an elderly woman who wanted reassurances that they would never be separated once she went into the care home when they came to the rescue centre to find a new owner so that’s how I ended up with Blackie too.

I tried to change their names to Ebony and Ivory for a fresh start but they were having none of it so they only responded to what their previous owner had chosen and I am stuck with them whether I like it or not. I have loved Snowy to bits, for she is everything a loving cat should be but Blackie on the other hand is everything a dangerous cat can be and I have the scars to prove it. Sometimes I think his name reflects his heart more than the colour of his fur. Regardless of this, I try to play fair and treat them both the same so as not to show any favouritism. Only at times like this when I am watching the clock and he is mocking me that I could gladly send him back to the rescue centre, but I would have to find him first and this is proving difficult.

‘Karen, have you found Blackie yet?’ asks my grey from top to toe, retired neighbour who has kindly agreed to look after both cats whilst I am away. I feel ill leaving them but I do trust him. Nevertheless, it is funny how he always remembers the names of my cats but not mine.

‘It’s Kitty, Mr Dickens not Karen and no I can’t locate his whereabouts but here’s Snowy. I’m sure Blackie will turn up when he’s hungry, he always does,’ I reply while standing at his front door as I hand over my white cat before planting a kiss on the head for luck. Meaning the cat received a peck from me and not the old man. Then I drag over the box of stuff that should keep them going whilst I am in Scotland for the four days covering the Easter holiday.

‘Yes I was asking about the kitty, Karen,’ said Charlie Dickens who shares his name with a famous British author (Charles Dickens) but once proudly told me that he had never read a book in his whole life and he wasn’t about to start now, when I offered to take him to the library with me one day. He only reads newspapers, the free ones.

Lately he has been pestering me to take him to the library, when he found out that a mature woman he has his eye on from the post office goes there on late opening night. While I even had to turn his book the right way up when he was using it to hide behind whilst spying on his love interest between the shelves. Me on the other hand, I could not imagine a world without books being in my life so I am glad that my own ‘love interest’ is a reader like me. Speaking of which, that might be Jonas Joyce I hear now as a honk on a car horn sounds out so that means that they have arrived to pick me up and you guessed it, I’m running late after looking everywhere for Blackie and failing to find him. I am not worried. The cat can look after himself that one and does not need Mr Dickens at all. Blackie will not starve if the amount of dead birds he keeps bringing home half-eaten is anything to go by.

‘Oh before you go, come in and meet my new pet,’ said Charlie.

‘I didn’t know you had a pet or I wouldn’t have asked you to mind mine.’ I follow him through the door to his living room where I look about the carpet for it in case I trip over an animal scurrying about.

‘This is Birdie,’ says Charlie after taking the cloth off the cage.

‘You’ve got a canary,’ I say in shock because it would have been bad enough for him to have a dog or even another cat but a bird.

‘I know what you’re thinking . . .’ says Charlie and I expect he means that this situation could turn into a real life version of the cartoon Sylvester and Tweety-pie. While I doubt he knew that I was also wondering if Birdie is his unimaginative choice for a name, or did it come with a readymade title as my cats did and he could not change it try as he might. ‘Don’t worry, I never let Birdie out of the cage so your cats can’t harm him and he’ll be fine,’ he said to reassure me but I am the one that should be reassuring him. I mean Blackie has probably mastered the skills to unhinge that cage door before now and even if he had a proper lock on it then I would not put it past my naughty pussy to pick it. This will end in tears, mine, when I have to fork out for the damage done by my cat in trying to catch the birdie.

‘Does Birdie sing?’ I ask because that will surely get on the nerves of Blackie and he will feel a need to put a stop to anything cheerful.

‘Ooh yes, it was one of the reasons I got him for his lovely voice,’ replies Charlie as he waves at the bird with the paw of Snowy to introduce them. Is it too late to find someone else willing to take my cats, because I do not want to be responsible for having a dead canary on my hands or rather on the paws of Blackie since Snowy I trust? So talk about opposites since Snowy is a housecat that never goes out and Blackie is hardly home since he is always running amuck while I dread to think about what he gets up to when he’s off living it large but as long as I know nothing then nobody can blame me for it. I hear the car horn again so I am going to have to risk it and pray for peace so nothing happens in my absence but I am not looking forward to being away now and thinking about Blackie being here with Birdie.

‘Right, there’s my ride waiting outside so I’d best be off. Thanks again, Mr Dickens for doing this for me,’ I say to the grey man with a fake smile of confidence that things will go well for all concerned, as I leave his flat to stand in the hallway once more.

‘No problem, Karen, anytime. You know I love cats so we’ll be fine and you have a good time . . . in Ireland.’ We’re actually going to Scotland but close enough for me not to bother correcting him, since I am sick of telling him but it will not sink in so talk about a selective memory.

‘Have a Happy Easter, Mr Dickens.’ Sod the diet. I love chocolate.

‘Happy Easter, Karen . . . this is for you,’ he says and hands over an Easter egg in a box that looks a bit battered (my first one this year).

‘Oh you shouldn’t have,’ I said and meant it literally. Is it edible?

‘Now you enjoy it but don’t get me any chocolate in return, I’m allergic,’ he replies and tickles the chin of Snowy, which she loves.

‘Cheers for this, Mr Dickens and bye for now, see you soon.’ He nods before closing over his front door in my face since he is more interested in talking to my pussy than me as I hear him chat to the cat.

While I will have to get Charlie something from Scotland but I do not know what to buy Mr Dickens. Does he drink whiskey? I will have a think about it while I am away but I will not be going anywhere if I do not shift my arse so I walk across to my flat and notice the scratch marks on the lower paintwork where Blackie has previously let me know that he wants to come inside. This is his way of getting into the flat or Blackie will climb up the brickwork outside the building to tap on the window with his claws until I let him back in. He looks like Spiderman when he does it but he is a cat and I dread to think what Blackie has done to the mortar but it must be crumbling by now. As I don’t have a cat flap or rather my landlord does not allow me to put one in and I’m not even sure he allows pets at all so I haven’t told him about the cats just in case it becomes an issue and I have to choose between keeping a roof over my head or keeping my pets. I might have to move. Hell I might have to repaint Mr Dickens door by the time I return so I wonder if I have some red paint leftover from painting my own door that I now enter with no time to check if I have everything packed before I close my case and flip over the lid on the hatbox before securing both. I have one thing to do before I leave.

‘What are you doing? You haven’t got time to clean the couch,’ said Jonas (my boyfriend since our Turkish holiday, minus one recent bump in the road to love which I will explain about later on) when he comes into my flat using the key I gave him. We do not live together, yet, but I feel it is the next logical step to take in our relationship because we are all loved-up and get on like a house on fire. Only I fear that house might burn down, with me in it, if I move in with Jonas without the approval of his son Jayden who tolerates my presence for his father’s sake but secretly hates me. It could take a while to win the lad round so I am not holding my breath for when this will happen, put it that way. Maybe this Easter holiday will be the start of better things to come for us. Perhaps not as I spy Jayden out of the corner of my eye sticking some chewing gum he took out of his mouth, on top of a photograph of me cuddling up to his father. I notice the blob covers my entire head. It makes me retch in disgust.

‘I’m not cleaning the couch. I’m cleaning myself of cat hairs,’ I reply when standing in front of said couch and running the nozzle across my clothing before down my legs to make sure that I get it all.

‘Hurry up then, the taxi is waiting outside,’ he says as I rush to finish up and leave the vacuum cleaner where it is so I’ll tidy it away when I get back. I think I have picked up a virus at work. I feel sick.

‘You missed a spot,’ said Jayden, when he suddenly switches the machine back on and raises the nozzle to my head where it picks up a bunch of hair that is swiftly stuck in a knot down the hose grid which is there to prevent big things being sucked up. Only it also has the disadvantage of spinning your strands of hair around the plastic bit on the end to become inseparable and hurting you like hell when pulling on it. I already feel nauseous, damn this stomach bug. Could Jonas not leave Jayden with the taxi driver instead of bringing him up here to stress me out? How am I to keep my sanity when spending four whole days with this kid is what I am thinking, if I cannot manage five minutes? One of us might not survive it and my money is on me folks.

‘Switch it off,’ I shout over the noise as I feel the tug on my scalp.

‘I don’t know where the button is,’ shouts Jayden with a wicked grin on his face so Jonas grabs it from him and he too struggles to turn off the noisy machine but I can’t get near it with them two in the way. While I stop it faster than they can by racing across the room to yank the plug out from the socket as my hair hangs onto the hose for dear life. It was a good job, the hose stretches that far before I pull the detachable bit off the end of it and it dangles down by my ear.

‘I know you women love your hair accessories but isn’t that taking it a bit far,’ jokes Jonas to make light of the situation. I glare at Jayden.

‘I’ll pull it off for you,’ offers Jayden, reaching up to do the deed.

‘Oh no you will not . . . you have done enough damage thank you,’ I say before moving out of harm’s way to have a go myself. I wince with the sharp pain it causes that brings tears to my eyes.

‘Here, let me try . . . the clock is ticking you know,’ says Jonas.

‘Don’t blame me if we miss the coach. It was not my doing to have a bit of plastic kit stuck to my head, blame your son,’ I snapped at him.

‘OK calm down, I promise to be gentle with you,’ he said and then he tugs on it hard in haste so I jerk back in surprise at this treatment.

‘If that’s your idea of gentle, I’d hate to see your strong arm techniques,’ I reply and look in the mirror to try again myself.

‘I’m sorry, I don’t know my own strength sometimes,’ he says.

‘Well use those muscles of yours for something that needs brute force, go and grab my case for me and don’t forget the hatbox,’ I said.

‘What’s in this hatbox?’ asks Jonas when he walks past me carrying my gear to head for the taxi. Thankfully, Jayden follows him.

‘It has my Easter bonnet in it so be careful with it, it’s fragile,’ I said proudly as it took me ages to make it. I always make my own.

Only now, I am thinking that I should not have said that in front of Jayden for he will probably offer to carry it and deliberately drop my hat box on route knowing him. However, I cannot spend my whole trip worrying about what Jayden might do next but I must remember not to stand by any cliff edges or at the top of a staircase just in case because I would put nothing past that kid in his efforts to get rid of me so his parents can get back together. After his mother had successfully gone to rehab and gotten clean of drugs forever, not only for the sake of her good self but for her son too. I applaud this greatly as I know it is such a hard thing to do so I wish her well, seriously I do, but not at my expense if it is going to cause trouble between Jonas and me.

Anyway, I cannot mull it over and fret about what might occur since I have other issues to deal with that mainly involve removing this damn thing from my head. As I look in the mirror to try to sort out my hair. In the end, due to time restrictions, I take drastic action and grab the scissors to lop off the offending item so I was finally free of it. I will have to wear a hat until I get there and am able to assess the damage done properly whilst seeing how I am going to cover it up to make me look presentable again, because right now I look like a golden Marmoset monkey. I saw one once in a zoo that had its red hair sticking straight out the side of its head like this with people pointing and giggling at its cuteness, so they will probably find it funny on me too or just plain weird. Either way, for now I will wear a black baseball cap I stole off my boyfriend to hide my new hairstyle.

‘How come he got to ride shotgun when I called it?’ I said to Jonas.

‘Jayden always rides up front with the driver, he feels safer there.’

‘Fine, it means I can snuggle up to you in the back.’

‘Hey, mate, it’s down that road you just passed,’ insists Jonas.

‘Don’t worry, pal, I know a shortcut,’ replies the taxi driver calmly.

‘See, I told you not to worry. I knew they would wait for us,’ I say to Jonas as we pull up next to the coach in our taxi before getting out.

‘Glad you could make it,’ said Mum as I boarded the coach. I leave Jonas to pay the driver and sort out the luggage. Well there are advantages to having a man about the place and that is surely one of them. I have already gotten used to having him around so I would be lost these days without Jonas Joyce always being there for me.

‘Late as usual,’ says Dad, eye twitching as I take up the seat in front.

‘Not as late as your brother,’ pipes up Lola (my grandmother) as she points to Riley getting out of his taxi, so Leon and he are the last to board the bus. I was glad nobody could accuse me of holding everyone up for once, even if I feel too ill to travel. I must have a bug.

‘Where are Darcie, Lucy and Joel Junior?’ I ask Mum. If they were here then Riley would not be going by bus. They would probably be using a helicopter knowing Darcie’s love of travelling in style.

‘Oh didn’t anybody tell you, they’re not coming. Joel Junior is feeling sick, nothing serious but Darcie did not want to risk travelling with him so she is staying home to look after JJ. Lucy didn’t want to leave Darcie all alone at Easter so she’s not coming on the trip either.’ This does not surprise me since mother and daughter have become extra close after Darcie discovered the truth about the kidnapping and forced marriage plot in Turkey. Darcie has even been in contact with Naz to invite him over here to thank him in person for saving Lucy.

‘I know how JJ feels. There must be some virus doing the rounds so I was bound to get it.’ Trust me to be ill two holidays on the trot. Nobody tells me anything until I ask about it since I am always the last to find out. But looking on the bright side, this means that Jayden will not want to sit with me and Jonas for the lad will be keeping Leon company all the way there. Although I feel bad for Joel Junior and I hope he is not too ill but it is good for my relationship if I can have Jonas all to myself and not have to battle his son for attention.

‘I’ve got some cans in that cooler, help yourself,’ says Jonas to the boys so they flip the box lid and take one each of the fizzy drinks as Jonas and Riley pick up a can of beer. Dad takes up the soft option. Well he has been practically teetotal since we got back from Turkey. Speaking of tea, Mum gets out the flasks and hands me a plastic cup.

As Riley sits with Lola, opposite Mum and Dad so this leaves Jayden sitting with Leon opposite us. So much for me having his father all to myself for the journey there and also having any peace of mind, if I have to put up with Jayden accidentally (on purpose, knowing him) spilling his can of Coke on the table between us. It would have to be where I had laid the latest novel I am reading open wide so it is now soaked in the liquid and I will have to take it back to the library to explain why the pages have a brown stain on them. Honestly, sometimes I wish that kid would spend more time with his mother instead of us now that she is drug free and rebuilding her life. I have tried my best to be nice to Jayden and every time he throws my kindness back in my face along with two fingers sticking up in the air. This trip to Scotland will be a major test for us to see where we go from here on in so I am not giving up on him yet. I am too stubborn. Good old Mum comes to the rescue with kitchen towels and wipes for the sticky mess and I really do not know what we would do without her sometimes because none of us thought to bring stuff like that.

One good thing to report is that my ex-husband Mason Finch and his second wife Freda are not coming with us since it is always awkward whenever we are together and we will have a better time of it without each other there, for they are taking their daughter Bella to spend the Easter holidays with Mason’s family. Uncle Dane Finch, who often acts like a big kid himself, is over the moon to have four whole days with his only niece so I am pleased that they are bonding. On the other hand, I doubt I will ever bond with Jayden that way even if it were to get serious between his father and me. Well Jonas did buy me a ring recently, granted it is not an engagement but a friendship one and I may end up with a stepson. Not if it were up to Jayden but I was never one to shy away from a challenge and I am not about to start now so I offer the lad and my nephew Leon some sweets. Well if bribery and corruption fails then to be truthful, I am all out of options.

As for my cousin Becky and her fiancé Ralph Hood (the celebrity TV comedian/presenter) well they have gone to Cyprus with Uncle Billy and Aunt Janice (I call her that nowadays rather than ‘his wife’ because it winds her up to remind the woman that we are related by marriage if not blood). Anyhow, they have headed off for some fun in the sun rather than battling the elements with us up in Scotland. I can’t believe it is not long to go now until their flashy wedding which takes place this summer so that should be fabulous and I’m very much looking forward to attending it, since I already have my Plus One all sorted and he goes by the name of Jonas Joyce. I am secretly glad that Jayden did not receive an invite since he would only go out of his way to spoil the day for me. However, I did promise to bring him home some wedding cake as compensation for missing out and he seemed pleased with that as long as it is not fruitcake so I may have to buy him a shop bought piece if it is just to keep the peace.

Oh and I am still working in the office of our local pawnbrokers so no change there, she touches wood for luck. As I look about for something to tap but there is nothing wooden so I do my head instead and then wonder why I did not do the book but never mind, it’s done now. What else has happened since my last holiday to Turkey? Well, I did go and get that flat dark mark on my foot checked out by the doctors for skin cancer. It turned out to be a harmless mole so they did not remove it but they are going to keep an eye on it over the coming year for any changes. So that was a blessed relief because my mother had me thinking all sorts and losing my foot altogether was one of the nightmare suggestions being bandied about by the Finch family to scare me into making that appointment sooner rather than later.

Sitting here, seeing us ignore each other to do our own thing is rather sad when you think about it for the four of us are staring at screens and not interacting with one another. Jonas is on his iPad looking at funny clips and chuckling away whilst I am reading my Kindle since my book got wet. Leon watches a movie on his Samsung phone as Jayden is gaming on his handheld Nintendo console. This lot here all have earphones in but I can hear the other members of our group having fun when playing cards in the seats in front of us from our position that is halfway down the coach. We should be doing that too and enjoying each other’s company so I lean over the chair rest to enquire if they have a spare set of cards for us to use.

‘Christ you must be bored if you want to play cards. You never usually play, when you can shove your nose in a book,’ remarks Lola.

‘I’m surprised you remember how to play cards, it’s been that long,’ agrees Mum as she deals out the deck they are playing with.

‘Have you got a spare set I can use or not?’ I fiddle with my ring.

‘You can use mine if you want, we’re not using them,’ offers Lola.

‘I cannot play with those ones.’ I hand back the Karma Sutra set with two fingers as if I might catch some sexual disease from them.

‘This lot didn’t want to play with them either . . . the bunch of prudes,’ said Lola as she takes them back off me to pop on the table.

‘We’d rather play with these ones I got from the garden birds trust when I made a donation,’ pipes up Mum and shows me the Robin card.

‘Ha, I’ve got a pair of Tits,’ says Dad, looking happy with his hand.

‘You’ve only just noticed.’ Lola prods his ‘moobs’ (man-boobs).

‘Joel will have to borrow my bra soon if they get any bigger,’ says Mum and tapping her husband’s hand to show she is only joking.

‘What makes you think he’s not already wearing it,’ mocks Lola.

‘Get off,’ said Dad, when Mum feels his chest to make sure.

‘If you are finished talking about my cross-dressing father, are you sure you do not have a normal set of cards in your bag?’

‘No, I lost a couple of cards so I binned my old ones and got these.’

‘I’ve got a set but I don’t want to lend them to you,’ admits Riley.

‘Why . . . are they worse than those ones?’ I ask and point at the Kama Sutra deck whilst thinking what could be worse than them. I dare not think about it too deeply because I will never get the images out of my head now, but saying that, those cards might be sexy to play with Jonas so I may borrow them after all for a private game.

‘I have my Game of Thrones set of cards with me but you’re not borrowing them in case you wreck them,’ said my older brother.

‘Smiley Riley, I promise to look after them and if I do happen to do any damage whatsoever then I will replace them so no biggie,’ I said with a smile since it cannot cost that much to get a brand-new set.

‘Listen, Kitty Kat these ones are not replaceable, they’re special.’

‘I will guard them with my life, I swear,’ I say and cross my heart.

‘OK . . . but be careful . . . the whole cast has signed their names.’

‘Anyone fancy a game of Snap?’ I put the deck on our table.

‘Snap is for kids,’ said Jayden picking up the cards to toss them in the air as they rain down on us like confetti so bang goes that idea. Did Riley notice what happened? He has a card on his head, so yes.

Good Friday

(Part 2)

There I was, on my hands and knees scurrying up and down the floor of the coach as it travels along so I feel every Goddamn bump in the potholed road believe you me as it took its toll on my arthritic joints. Jonas had offered to do it for me but I felt like I deserved the punishment or Riley will never forgive me. As I try to pick up his frigging cards and to say I’m sorry I bothered borrowing them off my brother is something of an understatement, for I will never hear the last of it if I don’t hand them all back in pristine condition. How many are there in a pack again? They inform me that there are 52 playing cards so I count the ones I have so far and realise that there is still some missing. Shit. I have to get every single one back or my life will not be worth living for the course of our Easter holiday if I am stuck in Scotland with a grumpy Riley who will go out of his way to make me suffer in revenge. Hell, I have enough to worry about with Jayden picking on me all the time so I do not need my brother doing it too.

‘Here’s what I have managed to pick up so far, there are only a couple unaccounted for so I’ll keep looking for those,’ I say to Riley.

‘Too right you will. I knew I couldn’t trust you to look after them.’

‘I wasn’t the one to toss them in the air, blame Jayden,’ I reply.

‘Jayden didn’t promise me they would come back as new, you did.’

‘I have said I am sorry, what more can I say?’ I feel ‘travel-sick’.

‘I don’t need words. I need my entire deck back,’ replies Riley and checks over the ones he has in his possession for any damage as I leave him to it when heading off on the hunt for the missing few.

‘Can you lift your foot up for me?’ I ask an older man in a beige fleece top when I notice one of the cards sticking out from underneath his boot. I hope there is no mud on his footwear to dirty the picture.

‘Oh, sorry about that, I’ve been holding it in but lifting my foot up made it escape from me,’ said Fleece Top Man as he farts in my face whilst I was eye level with his crotch so that wasn’t very pleasant.

‘Don’t mind me, I’m just getting this card out of your hood,’ I say to his friend in matching beige (Fleece Top Man 2) as I remove the one that was resting on top of the fluffy lining and head back to Riley.

‘Out of all the cards in this pack, you go and lose my favourite.’

‘See, that’s why I didn’t lend her my set of cards,’ pipes up Lola.

‘You were willing to hand them over a minute ago,’ I snapped at her.

‘That’s when I thought you would not lose any so now you can’t borrow them even if you beg.’ As if I would, kneel down for those.

‘I dare not ask, what is your favourite out of the Kama Sutra set?’

‘Can we get back to my missing favourite, never mind hers?’

‘I never said I give-up yet . . . give us a clue then. Which one is it?’

‘Daenerys Targaryen,’ replies Riley to let me know which one I have to move heaven and earth to get back or die trying at least.

‘Which one is he again?’ I rack my brains trying to recall the face.

‘He is a she, actually.’ I hold up my hand to focus on my new ring.

‘Was there a transgender on the show? I have seen it all but I cannot for the life of me recall that part,’ I said as he rolls his eyes at me.

‘She is the blonde-haired woman with the dragons.’ I nod my head because I know whom he is on about now and I can guess why she is his favourite if she spends most of her time with her clobber off.

‘Excuse me; you haven’t seen a Game of Thrones playing card around here?’ I ask a student looking dude who immediately goes red in the face and looks out the window as I get nearer to him.

‘No, I’ve not seen Daenerys Targaryen,’ he replies with his face facing the window so I follow his gaze to see what he finds so interesting out there. Unless the daffodils of spring are his thing when they edge up the embankment alongside the motorway then he is avoiding eye contact with me because he has something to hide.

‘I never said which one I was looking for so you must have it if you know the name of it . . . hand it over,’ I demand, holding out my hand.

‘I heard that bloke say the name.’ He nods in Riley’s direction but something in his manner tells me that he is lying to me.

‘I will give you the choice to hand it over peacefully right now or I’m warning you in advance that I’m going to have to frisk you for it.’

‘I don’t have it so go away and leave me alone,’ he said in irritation.

‘OK, if that’s the way you want to play it. Don’t say I didn’t tell you what would happen if you refused to give me back the card.’ I grab him by the scruff of his denim jacket lapels to lift him up out of his seat and drag him into the aisle where I start to manhandle his body. While I run my hands over him and go through his pockets as he shrieks and recoils at my invasive touch like a virgin on prom night.

‘Mother . . . this weird woman is molesting me,’ shouts Student Dude up the coach to where his mum is sitting with her friend so everyone’s eyes turn to look at me causing all the commotion and coming up empty-handed. When I cannot locate the card anywhere on his person as I remove my hands from his belt after bouncing him up and down in a bid to shake his jeans and T-shirt to see if anything fell out but he does not have it. Unless it is down his underpants, so I might have to go in if all else fails. Here’s hoping he is wearing some.

‘Take your grubby mitts off my son this minute . . . are you all right, my baby?’ she says as this curly haired woman comes hurtling at us.

‘Get this crazy bitch to leave me alone,’ said Student Dude.

‘There is no need for name-calling, I have told you that,’ she said.

‘He has a card belonging to my brother so I was just getting it back.’

‘Listen you, get away from him or you will have me to deal with.’

‘Kitty . . . what are you doing?’ asks my own mother when she leans over to see what I am up to but Jonas is none the wiser for he has his earphones back in and is looking at his iPad. Jayden nudges Leon.

‘I am getting back Riley’s card,’ I turn around to speak to Mum.

‘Well can’t you do it quietly and without any fuss,’ says my mother.

‘I’m trying to do that but he won’t play ball,’ I reply, glaring at him.

‘My son has said he does not have it and I believe him so back off.’

‘I’m going nowhere until he hands it over even if it means I have to sit with him all the way to bonnie Scotland,’ I threaten in return and it’s the principal of the thing now that keeps me hounding him.

‘Kitty, go and sit down in your own seat,’ orders my mother as she doesn’t want any trouble onboard the coach and neither do I to be truthful but it’s not me who is the thief around here. Hold on, I already know one other person with thieving hands. No, Lola would not take it, would she? I turn around to look at her face but she is still playing cards with the others so she has no interest in what I am doing when she is winning big. Then I look at the only other person I know that delights in winding me up as it dawns on me that I could be wrong here and I am. For I see Jayden holding up the missing card and laughing with Leon at me and my frantic search while the little bugger had it all along. God give me the strength to carry on caring about that boy when in reality I want to stop the bus and dump him here in the middle of nowhere to find his own way there, if he can.

‘I am very sorry about that . . . please accept my sincere apology for the inconvenience and false accusation,’ I said to the student looking dude and his curly haired mother whilst bowing my head in shame.

‘That’s right, run back to your mummy when she tells you,’ said the mother as they sit down in their seats and I scurry back to mine.

‘Give me that,’ I bark at Jayden and snatch it out of his hand, it tears the corner off where he was holding on tightly to the card in question.

‘What have you been doing?’ asks Jonas as he plucks the earphones out of his ears when I plonk down next to him in a huff.

‘Err, nothing . . . have you got any sticky tape on you?’

‘No, why . . . what’s happened?’ Jonas checks my ring for damage.

‘I need to fix this before I hand it back to Riley or he will go ape-shit mental at me,’ I said and showed him the two parts I need as one.

‘You would see any tape you put on it. You would be better off with some glue but it might not work if it doesn’t dry properly,’ said Jonas.

‘Mum, have you got any glue with you?’ I stand up to ask her.

‘I’ve got PVA, Superglue, spray glue and a glue pen-stick,’ said Mum, rummaging through her bag. I knew she would have something but I did not expect such a choice of stock to be available to me.

‘I’ll take the pen stick, please,’ I say as she hands it over.

‘What do you need it for?’ The smell of glue has me light-headed.

‘I need to glue something that’s ripped.’ I add as Riley looks up at me. ‘You know that book I borrowed from the library, a page is torn.’

‘Well you can’t give it back like that,’ said Mum and I agree since that is why I am trying to repair the damage to the playing card.

Only I fear the novel is a lost cause since it has a massive brown stain on it thanks to Jayden. As I hold the two pieces of playing card together along the tear so the line of glue is on the back not the front in case it is visible when dry whilst praying that it takes and does not fall apart the moment I let go of it. I ignore it for a bit whilst I have a drink and calm down a tad because I was getting all het up over it since nothing ever goes right for me but I refuse to let it get me down. As I smile at my boyfriend before leaning my head on the shoulder of Jonas to look at the motorway bridge coming up and there is a Happy Birthday sign hanging on it. It tells me that someone called Jeffrey Hall has just turned forty so ‘honk your horn’ to wish him well. I notice our driver ignores it as we go under the bridge with not a peep from this vehicle. Then I jump out of my seat and almost cack myself in the process (as a little bit of pee did escape) when a loud deafening sound blasts out from one of those air horns and I wonder if I will be able to hear in my left ear ever again. My heart is racing with shock.

‘Sorry about that, that’s my sign up on the bridge. I’m Jeffrey Hall and the boring driver didn’t bother so I thought I had to do it instead.’

‘Oh, Happy Birthday to you,’ I said to Jeffrey Hall when Jonas and I shot up to see what was going on as my boyfriend calmly nods at the forty year old Fleece Top man and his smiling friend in the seat behind us. The sudden noise even startled Leon and Jayden into putting down their devices and I bet it made Riley forget all about his playing card for now, which is good news but I know it will not last.

‘We’ve just got married; we’re honeymooning up in Scotland.’

‘Congratulations,’ says Jonas to the gay couple. We retake our seats.

‘Riley, I’ve found the last card . . . your favourite one,’ I say to my brother as I hand it over and hold my breath that the glue sticks.

‘I have done a recount so that is not the last card and this is not my favourite, she is not Daenerys Targaryen,’ he says and places it in the pack with the others. I breathe out now it is out of my hands.

‘Well I know it is not the little person on it, so who is that then?’

‘You’ve got your blondes mixed up. That is Cersei Lannister.’

‘I know they are both powerful queens so I knew that much.’

‘But this means my favourite is still missing . . . go find it,’ he says.

‘I will, you watch and see if I don’t,’ I reply with confidence and narrow my eyes at Student Dude, for I will have another crack at him once his curly haired mother leaves his side. I am convinced he must have it hidden somewhere and I intend to find out where that is.

We pull off halfway there in our journey at a motorway service station on route to Scotland for a major pit stop since there is a handy chemical toilet onboard so we don’t have that excuse, after having had a couple of minor stops along the way for non emergencies that could have gone the other way. Like someone having an allergic reaction to eating the wrong sandwiches as it turned out to have been fish paste and not peanut butter so they were fine. Along with someone else, claiming to have a broken wrist but having sprained it at the most during an arm-wrestling match that the person lost so talk about a sore loser. As the thought of the hours and hours of travelling we still have to do ahead of us just to get to Inverness seems like it might be too much to bear and I would probably be better off just staying here instead for Easter and seeing what delights this place has to offer before heading on back home. I mean it does have a hotel.

However, nobody is buying my idea to holiday in a place where there are a ton of truckers and salespeople on the road. For they have been driving through drowsiness so not a smiling face amongst them. Until the hookers turn up that is and suddenly they do not feel quite so sleepy after all even though they are clearly ready for bed. So second thoughts, maybe we will just have lunch here and be on our way. Well the quicker we get back on that bus the quicker we get there. I might sleep the rest of the way if I can since the time will fly by then or rather, if Jayden will let me. When the little fidget is always kicking my feet underneath the table whenever I doze off so I might have to sacrifice my preferred position to swap seats with Jonas and take the aisle one as opposed to the window slot just to be free of facing Jayden. Every time I look at Jayden, he pulls tongues at me if Jonas is not looking. It is very childish so I pull them back, but Jonas sees me.

‘Have you got my missing card yet?’ asks Riley when he catches up with me as we enter the restaurant building. I was heading for the loo.

‘Not yet, no, but I am working on it. I think someone stole it but do not worry, I will get it back off them for you,’ I said to my brother.

‘You had better get it back, in one piece or I’ll tell your boyfriend you cheated on him,’ says Riley to threaten me. I look over at Jonas hoping he did not hear this but he seems obvious to it and about it so I want to keep it that way. I do not intend to hurt him or indeed our relationship. Jonas gave me a ring. Hell, I need that bloody card back.

‘I can’t believe you would stoop that low,’ I snap at my brother.

‘You wouldn’t believe the lengths I went to just to get them signed so yeah, I would tell on you to get you back, if I don’t get it back.’

‘I don’t like my brother very much right now, let alone love him.’

‘I expect your boyfriend will like you even less when he finds out.’

‘Well he’s not going to find out because I will get your card back, just give me some time to sort it.’ I look across at Student Dude but he is still with his curly haired mother so I cannot corner him yet.

‘You have until the end of this journey. Then I’m calling you on it.’

‘How did you find out about Mason and me anyway?’

‘My wife and I don’t keep secrets from one another.’ I told Darcie.

‘You’re so perfect I suppose and you have never cheated on Darcie.’

‘No I haven’t, actually. I came close but I realised that a quick shag is not worth losing my wife over so maybe you should have thought about that before you slept with someone else.’ I was hoping he would reveal something that I could use against him but I am glad to find out that he is faithful to Darcie since she deserves a man that is.

‘You make it sound so seedy. We were on a break for five minutes because the ex-wife of Jonas was interfering in our love affair, when I happened to get drunk with my ex-husband for old time’s sake and yes things went too far.’ I admit my guilt. ‘We regretted it the moment we sobered up and Mason went home to his wife Freda.’

‘Does Freda know you slept with her husband?’ Is this the real reason that Mason decided to visit his family rather than come with us to Scotland this Easter? Has our sexual desire ruined our friendship?

‘Not that I am aware of so do not be telling anyone or you will be responsible for not only ending Jonas and me but splitting up a family too. Think of poor little Bella without her daddy being there for her.’

‘Are you trying to emotionally blackmail me into keeping silent?’

‘Is it working?’ I feel ashamed of what we did, but I would feel worse if those involved ever found out about our drunken encounter.

‘No, so just find my card and I will say nothing . . . OK.’

‘Fine, I will get your stupid card and we will say no more about it.’

‘What are you two talking about, huddled in the corner like this?’

‘Nothing important, Mum . . . we’re coming now.’ I glare at Riley.

‘Yep, I need to get some grub down my neck.’ My brother returns my glare to call a truce for now before we rejoin the others in our group to line up and make our orders with trays to hand. We sit down to eat.

‘This is our first meal together to celebrate this Easter holiday.’

‘Yeah and what a junk food feast it is,’ I say to Mum, eating chips.

‘What I don’t get is why Easter is never on the same date, like Christmas Day,’ says Riley and picks up his double cheeseburger.

‘They know roughly when Jesus died but they do know what day he was born on so imagine his tombstone if he had one made,’ said Lola.

‘It would read something like, here did lay the son of God, Jesus Christ, before his resurrection. Born 25the December . . . Died between March 22 and April 25,’ said Dad. That is nearly a month.

‘Why does it fall between those dates?’ Riley asks my father.

‘It falls on the first Sunday after the paschal full moon,’ replies Dad.

‘So it’s all about the spring moon then. Isn’t that Pagan?’ asks Mum.

‘All religions share something in common so this is no different,’ replies Dad to put his opinion across but others may disagree with it.

‘If religions are a shared belief in God, then why so many people fight over religion is what I do not get,’ I say to put in my two pence.

‘And what’s so good about this Friday to make it Good Friday?’

‘I can’t believe you don’t know that,’ I say in shock to Lola.

‘Well it’s been a long time since I was at school and learned it.’

‘That is true . . . how many years exactly, is it now?’ I ask her.

‘That would be telling, but seriously, I don’t get what was so good about Jesus dying on the cross that we would want to celebrate it.’

‘We are not celebrating it, we are commemorating it,’ I correct.

‘Is that why they have hot-cross buns to represent the crucifixion?’

‘My other Nan was crucified,’ pipes up Jayden. Leon’s eyes light up.

‘I didn’t know they still crucified people,’ said Mum, believing him.

‘He means she was cremated not crucified,’ corrects Jonas.

‘You said Nan went up in a puff of smoke, like the witch she was.’

‘You make it sound like she was burned at the stake,’ I say.

‘I didn’t like the woman and she didn’t like me,’ explains Jonas.

‘This is supposed to be a celebration so no talk of death,’ said Mum.

‘But Kitty said it was a commemoration, not celebration,’ says Lola.

‘I said Good Friday was a commemoration but we celebrate Easter.’

‘Fine, this is our Easter holiday so we need to enjoy it,’ insists Mum.

‘I don’t even know why we acknowledge Easter if we’re not that religious,’ I admit whilst being honest about it. Dad twitches his eye.

‘That’s like saying, why celebrate Christmas,’ says Riley.

‘For the presents, obviously,’ said Leon. Lola nods in agreement.

‘Easter would be naff without the chocolate eggs,’ pipes up Jayden.

‘Why do we give eggs at Easter?’ asks Riley, looking puzzled.

‘Eggs represent new life and the resurrection of Jesus so when we break them they stand for the open tomb where he rose from the dead to live again,’ informs Dad. They say you should never talk about religion when at the dining table and this is probably the reason why.

‘Jesus was the first ever Zombie, cool,’ says Jayden, excitedly.

‘No he wasn’t.’ I keep it brief so I do not have to explain it properly.

‘I still don’t get why it is chocolate eggs we give out,’ says Jonas.

‘Because they taste better than boring eggs,’ I reply with a smile.

‘It’s a gimmick dreamed up by the manufacturers to sell us chocolate eggs in boxes. What’s with the Easter Bunny?’ said Jonas.

‘That’s a strange one . . . goes around laying hidden chocolate eggs instead of giving birth to a litter of cute baby bunnies,’ I reply to him.

‘The Easter Bunny is also a symbol of new life and in Switzerland he is a cuckoo and in parts of Germany, he’s a fox,’ corrects Dad.

‘Trust them to do things differently just to confuse us,’ said Riley.

‘Is everyone enjoying their meal? Good, Happy Easter,’ said Mum.

‘Yeah, cheers everyone,’ says Lola as we raise our drinks in a toast.

‘Have you had enough to eat or do you want more?’ I ask Jayden.

‘I want ice-cream,’ he replies whilst looking past me.

‘And what’s the magic word?’ I prompt him to show some manners.

‘Now,’ he said, clearly not getting with the programme.

‘I meant the word please.’ I must try better to get along with Jayden.

‘You just said it so I don’t have to.’ If this is his game, sod it.

‘It doesn’t work that way and well you know it so you’re not getting any ice-cream until you ask nicely for it.’

‘I’m asking nicely for ice-cream, OK.’ Is a friendship ring worth it?

‘You can mess about all you want. No please . . . no ice-cream.’

‘Dad . . . can I have some ice cream?’ Jayden goes to Jonas instead.

‘Sure, Son . . . what flavour do you want?’ I crave some ice cream.

‘I said Jayden couldn’t have any until he asked politely for it. He has to say please.’ I make Jonas aware of the standoff between us.

‘Dad . . . Kitty is not my mum so why should she dictate to me.’

‘Jayden is right you know . . . it is not your place, Kitty. He has a mother nowadays for that kind of thing,’ agrees Jonas as Jayden pulls tongues at me behind his father’s back. I cannot return the gesture because Jonas will catch me again and think I started it but I did not.

‘Excuse me, I won’t be long,’ I said to Jonas when I notice out of the corner of my eye that Student Dude is on the move as he gets up to leave his mother sitting at their table where she chats to her friend so I follow him. Oh Great, he has gone into the toilets, the men’s one.

‘Kitty, did you storm off because you’re upset by what I said,’ asks Jonas when he follows me and catches up to chat in the corridor.

‘What . . . no, I agree. I am not his mother so I will stay out of it.’

‘It’s just that she’s not long been back in his life and he’s still raw about her being there and worried that she might leave again.’

‘Aren’t you worried about the same thing?’ It worries me sick.

‘I’m worried that he will get hurt again if she abandons him for drugs, yes, but with our support she has a good shot at staying clean.’

‘I know and I do support her and her son bonding so I promise not to interfere again if he feels like I’m overstepping the mark,’ I reply.

‘Thanks, I know it’s a sensitive subject but I think

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