Tess grinned then raised her eyebrows in question as she let Lily into the cottage the next morning. ‘Everything okay?’ she asked, quietly.
‘Great,’ Lily replied. ‘Is there any hot water left?’
‘Yes, plenty I would think. Gemma’s not been in the bathroom yet.’ Tess kept her voice low and nodded towards the sofa where Lily could see Gemma sitting with a tea towel-wrapped ice pack pressed to her face.
‘Hangover?’ Lily whispered.
‘I’m not deaf. And, no it’s not,’ Gemma snapped. She pulled the ice pack away and turned to face Lily.
‘Oh my God, what happened to you? Did you have an accident or get in a fight?’ Lily had visions of Gemma doling out her insults to someone who was less indulgent than she and Tess were.
‘No I didn’t.’ Gemma pressed the ice pack against her lips, wincing audibly as she did so.
Lily sat down on the sofa, noticed that Gemma had tears in her eyes. Lily, and she found it rather surprising, actually felt sorry for her. ‘What happened?’
‘Nothing. Nothing happened. I woke up like this.’
‘Let me see.’ Lily prized the ice pack away from Gemma’s lips. They looked like a pair of giant bruised plums.
‘Happy now?’ Gemma snapped before covering them again.
‘I think it’s something she ate,’ Tess said, ‘an allergy or something.’
‘You ate the chilli dip? Didn’t you?’
Gemma shook her head. ‘It wasn’t that. It wasn’t even hot’. Her voice was muffled by the tea towel.
‘You didn’t have it, did you Tess?’
‘No. Can’t stand the stuff.’
‘I think what you’ve got,’ Lily said, trying not to laugh, ‘is a chilli trout pout.’
‘Apparently that chilli dip is deceptive and packs a belated punch.’
‘Says who?’ Gemma said, getting up to retrieve a fresh ice pack from the freezer. ‘Oh, your surf bum, did he tell you that?’
‘Warned me off it.’
‘Ha. We wondered where you were all night.’ Gemma flumped back onto the sofa with her fresh ice. ‘You might have messaged, Lily. We were worried about you.’
Lily’s eyes flicked between Tess and Gemma’s faces. Tess raised her eyebrows, Gemma’s eyes bored into Lily’s.
‘Don’t worry, I was fine,’ Lily said, dismissively. Better than fine. Amazing. But she wasn’t saying that out loud, especially not in front of Gemma.
This is an excerpt from the first draft so please excuse any errors/typos.