EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 10
The aeroplane landed with a bump on the melting tarmac. Poppy held on to Jack’s hand, squeezing her eyes shut.
‘Are you alright?’ he asked.
‘I’m okay with the flying bit. It’s just the landing that scares me,’ she said opening her eyes.
‘Wow, look at the view.’
Poppy looked out of the window. In the distance all she could see was mountains. Lush, green mountains covered with olive trees.
‘Where’s the sea?’ she asked Jack.
‘Probably behind us. We’ll be able to see better when we get out of the airport.’
They waited in their seats until the pilot told them they could get off.
Poppy squinted at the sun as a wave of heat hit her. She walked down the steps and onto the runway.
There was a bus waiting to take them across the tarmac. They got on it, squashed up against strangers.
The whole bus reeked of sweat and she tried to hold her breath.
As soon as it stopped at the tiny Zante airport building, every one piled off as quick as they could.
‘What do we do now?’ Daisy asked, loosening her blouse.
‘We need to go and wait for our bags,’ Jack said, following the crowd.
They stood in the stuffy building until they saw their scruffy, dog-eared bags come through the plastic sheeting.
Jack and Colin grabbed them, while Daisy and Poppy looked for an exit.
A small door marked the exit. As soon as they got outside, Poppy searched in her bag for a cig.
‘Don’t start smoking more just because I’ve mentioned it,’ Jack said smiling.
Taxi’s lined up outside the building in front of the coaches.
‘Please don’t say we have to get into one of those small, stuffy taxi’s,’ Daisy moaned.
‘Afraid so,’ Poppy said. ‘The coach wasn’t included in the package.
She took some papers out of her folder.
‘Minanti Apartments,’ she said. ‘That’s where we’re staying. Look on the bright side, at least we don’t have to sit on the coach while it drops every one else off.’
They all got in to a taxi, showing the driver the map in her folder. He showed her his ten fingers, which she translated as ten minutes away. If he spoke any English, he didn’t show it.
They arrived outside a small, but charming two-floor apartment block. Bright pink and purple flower beds lined the path leading up to the entrance. All around them were mountains, seeming to go way up into the clouds.
‘Looks nice,’ Colin commented, digging his glasses out of the top of his suitcase.
‘Wow, it’s beautiful,’ Daisy said.
They walked up the path to be greeted by a small Greek lady. She had a mop bucket in her hand, and Poppy wondered if she was the cleaner. She spoke English well. They gave her their names and she led them up to the top floor.
‘Here are your keys. Two people in here, and two next door. You share a balcony,’ she said pointing at the two rooms. ‘I’ll come in and clean on Wednesday and provide you with fresh towels. Feel free to use the pool.’
She hobbled down the stairs with the mop bucket.
‘We have to share?’
Poppy looked through her papers.
‘It didn’t say anything about sharing rooms.’
They all piled into the first room, dumping their suitcases in the small kitchenette. Colin and Daisy went out onto the balcony while Poppy and Jack explored the rest of the apartment.
‘Small isn’t it,’ she said to Jack.
‘It’s only for sleeping in though, isn’t it? We’ll be out most of the time.’
The kitchenette comprised of a small sink, an electric hob and a kettle. There was a tiny fridge on the work surface.
‘Is that all we get to cook with?’ she said. ‘Colin won’t be happy.’
‘We’ll be eating out anyway Poppy, stop moaning.’
‘Sorry, I keep forgetting how cheap it was.’
Jack stood, frowning in the doorway.
‘Don’t even say I’ve got to share that bed with Colin,’ he said, staring at the double bed.
Poppy laughed. ‘Don’t worry, he won’t try it on with you or anything.’
They went out onto the balcony. Colin and Daisy stopped talking suddenly and burst out laughing.
‘What’s so funny?’
‘We’ve decided that we want to share a room,’ Colin said, smirking.
‘But we can’t share a bed,’ Poppy said looking at Jack in horror.
‘You’ve done it before.’
‘Yeah, that was different.’
‘It’ll be okay, we’re friends aren’t we? We’ll cope,’ Jack said.
Poppy leaned over the balcony, sulking. The pool was just underneath them, a few deck chairs scattered about.
‘Have you noticed how quiet it is here?’
The only sounds they could hear were birds singing.
‘I can see the sea, it’s only there,’ Daisy said, pointing over a line of olive trees.
‘Shall we all have a nap before we go out exploring,’ Poppy said, stifling a yawn.
‘Yeah, I’m knackered.’
Colin went to get his and Daisy’s suitcases.
‘It’s good that we share the balcony though isn’t it?’ Daisy said. ‘We can all have lunch out here, together.’
‘Just wait until Colin sees what we have to cook with.’
Colin and Daisy went next door to unpack.
Poppy climbed into bed with her clothes on.
‘If you come onto my half of the bed, you’ll be sleeping on the floor,’ she said to Jack, who stripped off to his boxers.
She tried not to look, but couldn’t help admiring his body.
Not again Poppy, she thought. Not again.