Chapter 4 : It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To)

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Taylor pulled up at the kerb to pick me up on the dot of seven, just as he said he would.I jumped down from the sea wall. I hadn't been waiting long, it was still gloriously light and warm but who knew how long that would last in this country.

He climbed out of the car and opened the passenger door for me. His ride was a seriously cool low slung black Audi and I could still smell the new car smell as I climbed in and we pulled away.

"It would have been no bother to pick you up from your grandparent's house you know, or are you hiding me?" Taylor was all teasing charm, I didn't believe for one moment he was actually put out. Taylor's confidence was like a coat of Teflon. Nothing was getting through it. I smiled.

"A girl can never be too careful, we've only just met, it wouldn't do for you to know where I live." I replied.

"Wouldn't do?" He smirked. "Who are you modelling your English accent on Mary Poppins?" His signature grin lit up his face and he stuck his tongue into his cheek. "I like that I make you nervous. It means I have a shot at more than friends, despite what you said earlier. If we were just friends you wouldn't care so much about it."

My tummy fluttered and I squirmed in my seat. The leather stuck to the back of my bare legs. I felt self-conscious in my short shorts and I tried to pull the shirt I was wearing over my vest down closer to my knees. God I could never dress myself appropriately over here.

He pulled into the shingle car park at West Point. It was the furthest end of the island. It was mainly frequented by surfers due to choppy waves and strong currents. The sand dunes were popular with teenagers and the craggy eroding cliffs kept many families further up on the populated Flatsands. Yet still it had a wonderful beach cafe bar called Jo Jo's which was popular with everyone, tourists and locals alike.

I never spent any real time here, much too cool clique for me.

So early in the season, the car park was practically empty.

"I promised Joanne I'd help setup. You can help too muscles." Taylor challenged as we got out of the car. I burst out a laugh. That nickname couldn't be further from the truth.

Jo Jo's was over two floors; it was all wood and glass with seating and a balcony up top and a wide large deck on the bottom reaching out and down to the beach the back. It had fairy lights strung around and colourful art on the walls. It had a warm relaxed feel to the place which pretty much summed up its owner Joanne.

Older than me, but young in her features, Jo had at least five different colours in her hair, made up of small plaits, dreads and some Mala beads. She was one of those people you just couldn't age. She could have been anywhere between 20 and 30 and her energy was fizzy and contagious.

"Hey Taylor, I just need you to bring up the extra tables and the fire pit briquettes. Oh ello Taylor's friend?"

She raised a pierced eyebrow.

Taylor pulled me in close. "This is Jay," I was hit by a wave of very expensive aftershave as he completely enveloped me into his side. We must've made a very odd couple; tanned stocky blonde oozing confidence and pale stick thin gangly dark haired nervous freak.

Jo looked quizzical. I swear I saw clouds cross her open features. I'm sure she couldn't recognize me, I'd never met her before, but whatever it was, it left soon as it appeared. She looped her arm through mine and pulled me away "Well Jay, you can help me with the ice buckets."

Taylor shook his head as he headed down the stairs to the seller "Ignore anything she says about me." He called back.

Giving me a conspiratorial wink Jo promised "oh he's harmless sweetie, just don't let him know that, oh and never ever sleep with him."

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