“Come on Jen, the holiday is almost over by now!” Brad jeers out from the front of the van.
“Give me a second, doofus,” I yell back, as I finish locking up my house.
“I’m going now!” He pretends to drive off, as I lug my suitcase over to the van.
“Very funny,” I say to him, and Micky helps me put all of my luggage in the boot. I smile gratefully at him. “Thanks M.”
“You’re very welcome.” He treats me to a dazzling smile, as he opens the door for me to clamber in. “Just ignore Brad – he’s had far too much air already.”
“We’re going on holiday!” Brad revs the engine, and then, without warning, drives off down the road. I look at everyone in the back of the van. Micky takes his seat right at the back, by himself, whilst Ella and Stephanie (or Steph, as she likes to be called) sit just a row in front of him. Ella gives me a small wave, whilst Steph jumps up and envelopes me in a warm embrace.
“Lovely to see you,” she says to me, and draws back. Her thick, Scottish accent is really prominent now. “It’s been ages!”
“Well, if you hadn’t been gallivanting around Scotland, I might have seen a bit more of you,” I tease, and she playfully hits me on the arm. I navigate around the luggage, which lies abandoned in the centre of the van, whilst Steph returns to her seat. I take my place next to Micky, who gives me a perky nudge.
“Everyone ready?” Brad eyes us all in the mirror, as we reach the end of my road. Everyone hollers at the back of the van, and Brad grins at us. “Then let’s go!”
We head onto the highway, and set off for our holiday. Brad swerves dangerously around cars, us clinging to our seats as we laugh through the journey. We have been planning this holiday for ages now – almost 7 months. After we left university, we vowed we would see each other often, not wanting the fantastic memories we made to fade into oblivion. However, once all of us got stuck into our jobs, none of us ever had corresponding schedules.
I am currently a journalist – or trying to be. At the moment, I fetch coffee and page people, so not exactly living my best life yet. My dream is to be a news reporter on live TV, but there is still a long way to go before that. Ella has always been the most determined and sophisticated out of all of us, and is studying to be a scientist. Stephanie has a flair for cooking, so she’s aiming to be the best chef out there; and judging by the food she produces in the Michelin star restaurant she works at, it won’t be long before a food critic snatches her up and helps her start her own one. Then there’s Brad, who has simply no idea what he wants to do next. He barely made it through university, and we spent many sleepless and soul-destroying nights trying to teach him all the content in as minimal time as possible. Suffice to say, we were all flabbergasted (albeit, extremely pleased) when he passed. As for Micky… I’m not too sure what he’s moving onto next. He’s always been a very introverted soul, and doesn’t open his mouth much.
Well, except to me.
“I want to know what he’s taking,” Micky whispers to me, nodding at Brad, who is admiring himself in the reflection of his mirror. We are cruising along at a considerable speed, as the sun blazes down, hitting the roof. Windows rolled all the way down, a light breeze flutters in and out of the van, and it dances around all of us. I waggle my eyebrows at Micky.
“Whatever he has, I want some,” I reply back to him, capturing a bit of fluff that soars through the window. “And I want vats of it.”
“Hey, you need to share!” He says to me, and he digs me in the ribs playfully. “What you got there, J?”
“It’s a fairy!” I unclench my hands, and show him the soft, white ball that is enclosed in them. “You make a wish on them, and then blow, and your wish will come true!”
“I don’t believe in that magic nonsense,” Micky says to me. Another fairy floats in, and he catches it nonetheless. “But, I guess there’s no harm in trying it out. You go first.”
I do as he instructs. I clasp the fairy carefully in my hands, and shut my eyes tightly. A million hopes and wishes blast through my mind, but eventually, I find one to settle on. I say it in my head, and blow the fairy out of the window. “Your turn.”
“You’ll have to wait now; you took so long, my fairy went to sleep.”
“Don’t be silly,” I roll my eyes at him, watching as he pulls the fairy close to his chest. He places it near his heart, and concentrates with all of his being. His cheeks are flushed with excitement – I wonder whether he’s nervous from talking to me, or if I’m just imagining it – and he has a soft smile on his face as he opens his eyes. He blows the fairy away, just like I did, and shoos it out of the van.
“All done. I hope it comes true.”
“I hope it does too. What did you wish for?”
He tuts at me. “Don’t you know anything about magic? If I tell you, it won’t come true!”
“Alright, Master of Magic, I won’t ask again,” I laugh at him, and we end up rolling about hysterically on our seats. The afternoon flies by, and by the time we reach our destination, everyone is asleep. Crazily, Brad is also included in that statement. I wake to the sound of the tires screeching, as he pulls out from behind a car he was unknowingly crawling behind. Ella thumps him around the head.
“You could have killed us, chump!” She huffs, and at least he has the decency to look concerned. “Keep your bloody eyes on the road.”
“Yes, mum.” He winks at me in the mirror, and I give him a smile. I turn my head to see Micky’s resting on my lap. He’s snoring peacefully, and although his chin is coated with dribble, he does look adorable. I brush a strand of hair from his forehead, which causes him to stir. He lifts his head up, notices me, and begins to grin from ear to ear.
“Are we almost there? How long have I been asleep for?”
“Yep, we’re just arriving now. And I don’t know; I also took a nap. But at least I didn’t drool all over your jeans.” I point out the wet patch on my knee, and he gasps. With his hair tousled from his sleep, he looks as if he hasn’t showered for days. He cradles his head in his hands.
“Oh God, I’m so sorry, J.” He grabs a tissue from his pocket, and wipes at the stain, but alas, it doesn’t help at all. I place my hand on his, and give him a reassuring smile.
“Don’t be silly, it’s okay,” I grab my handbag as Brad parks up at our holiday destination. “Just remember, it’s not normal for you to drool all over girl’s jeans – at least, not on the first date.”
“Oh is that what this is? A first date?” He raises an eyebrow at me, and I can slowly feel the heat rising in my cheeks.
“I mean, I wouldn’t say no to a first date with you.” I mumble, and twiddle my thumbs, suddenly interested in the wooden flooring that adorns the van. “But I wouldn’t say this is a first date either. We’re just in a van, that’s all.”
“That’s true.” He sucks in his tongue, and rubs at his eyes. He clasps his hands together, and then unclasps them.
Whilst the others leap out the van with their luggage, me and Micky remain in the backseat, awkwardly sitting next to each other. Micky inhales deeply, and sits forward to face me better.
“So, hypothetically, if I was to ask you on a first date, right now, what would your answer be?”
“Well, hypothetically,” I answer, my breath taken away by the butterflies in my stomach, “I think you should probably ask, and then you’ll find out.”
He nods. “Jenny Feather,” he looks me up and down with his hazelnut eyes, flecked with little spots of grey – unusual, but very pretty. “Would you like to go on a date with me?”
“I’d love to!” I answer immediately, almost too ecstatically. He laughs, relieved by my answer, and my eagerness to meet up with him.
“Thank God,” he says, “I guess that’s my wish complete.”
“What? Really? You wished for that?” I ask him, and by the nervous look on his face, as well as the twinkle in his eye, I can confirm the answer. I beam at him, feeling my temperature rising to be hotter than the sun. “Well I wished for a kiss from you.”
“Really?” Breath knocked out of him, Micky mulls over his thoughts, and then flashes his pearly smile at me. “Oh no! You told me, so it may not come true...”
“But it still might!” I hint at him, and he lips his lips nervously.
“So, shall we make your wish come true?”
“I think we should,” I tell him innocently, but as he moves closer, the door to the van opens.
“Come on lovebirds: the villa is ours!” Brad shouts at us, waggling the keys at us. He grabs my luggage, and throws it towards our holiday house.
Micky shakes his head, and shrugs at me. “I guess your wish will have to wait for a little while longer.”
“I guess so. Promise you’ll make it come true though?”
“Promise.” He holds his pinkie out solemnly, and I follow with mine. We share a knowing look, one that sends ribbons of joy through my body. We bundle out of the van, excited for the new experiences we are about to have, and for the romances that have yet to occur.