Once we’ve exhausted all the penny falls and the other crappy machines (like that one where you press the button like a nutter to make a horse run), we start walking back to the station.
I feel different. Dan is holding my hand and playing with my fingers and stroking my wrist and I`m thinking ‘boyfriend’ and I feel OK about it. In fact I feel good about it.
We get on the train together and Sid falls asleep pretty much immediately. And that’s when I notice a difference with Leo and Maddy. They’re sitting opposite each other and just….staring at each other.
Dan clearly notices too, because he starts making really obvious small-talk about people at school, teachers, his parents (I listen carefully to that bit, because he hasn’t really mentioned his parents to me before: his mum’s a psychotherapist and his dad works as a drugs counselor). Maddy and Leo aren’t being really obvious about not listening, but you can tell they’re not.
After a while Dan starts saying more and more outrageous stuff. About his sister, Rose Marie, who’s a trapeze artist with the Moscow State Circus. And his dog, Sniffer, who was kidnapped by local radio DJs. And Maddy and Leo don’t even notice. Dan grins at me and I grin back, but I can’t still help wondering-and worrying- about Maddy.
We all sit in silence for a while, my head on Dan’s shoulder. Sun and sea air really does make you sleepy. We’re just approaching Preston train station when Dan’s mobile buzzes with a text. He reads it and looks puzzled.
“Something wrong?” I ask.
He shakes his head. “Something weird. I think this was really meant for you.” He holds the phone out to me and, on the small display I see these words:
Sometimes when I touch myself, I think about Sawyer from Lost. Sometimes I think about Dan.
Oddly, my first thought is, “For God’s sake!” . For once I`m not blushing, I don’t know why, I do feel embarrassed, but I also feel pissed off. Pissed off that whoever is doing this has ruined a really cool day. Pissed off that they’ve gone to so much trouble to try and embarrass me in front of Dan.