by Andrew Foote
Back at the pub and with the breakfast dishes cleared, I escaped to my room to get changed leaving Aruno and my Mum in the dining room to talk.
He wanted, maybe even needed my company and a whole myriad of thoughts swept through my head.
One the one hand I think I was flattered – pleased that he thought I was a nice enough person in which to place his trust, but then on the other, I knew that I was very attracted to him and the fact that I wanted to be around him probably just as much as he wanted to be with me, posed some serious questions that needed answering.
'I want to be with you Simeon, with you. ' – those few words together with the expression on his face as he said them, his eyes, almost pleading with me, were very dangerous words.
I was going to have to ensure that I trod very carefully, being friendly enough to make him happy, but keeping a distance thus making sure I didn't go beyond what was acceptable behaviour.
Another consideration was our difference in age.
Now had he been twenty-four and me twenty-seven, the three year's difference wouldn't draw comments but at fourteen and seventeen? I know my friends wouldn't hesitate in telling me it wasn't the norm; some might even think it was a bit creepy.
I tried to analyse what I felt towards him.
Do I like him?
Answer: Yes, definitely.
Do I look upon him as being a friend?
Answer: Yes, definitely.
Do I consider him as much of a friend as Cathy?
Answer: Definitely. Yes.
Do I…… fancy him?
Take the fifth Simeon, take the fifth!
I guess that answers that then.
When we'd cuddled back there on my boat, I'd gently pushed him away because…… because I was getting aroused and I never get aroused when Cathy and I cuddle.
What do I intend to do about it?
Answer: Nothing…… I mean what can I do!
Do you think you might be in love with him?
Answer: I don't know what love is supposed to feel like, so I've no way of telling is the honest answer.
If he were to disappear from your life such that you never saw him again, would you be upset?
Answer: Yes of course, initially, but I'd get over it, eventually. I got over the death of my Father didn't I?
Actually? I don't want to think about that possibility thank you!
Come the school holidays, he'll meet up with kids his own age. Would you feel betrayed if he dumped you in favour of hanging out with one of them like, full time? Answer: Betrayed? I'd be gutted, devastated!
So, you think he's attractive then?
Answer: No. Actually I think he's beautiful.
As beautiful as Cathy?
Answer: How do you measure beauty?
You're being evasive Simeon and that isn't a question, it's a statement of fact!
Okay then, one final question.
Let us just imagine that he told you that he loved you shall we? What might your reaction be? Would you tell him to grow up and not to be so silly or would you see cracks appearing in your resolve?
Answer: That isn't one question, that's three but in truth? Cracks appearing? My resolve would crumble, then get mashed up in a pestle and mortar and the resulting dust, scattered to the winds.
I changed and made my way downstairs, no further forward.
My Mum eyed me with a degree of suspicion.
She's very good at that.
"What took you so long?"
"I couldn't decide what to wear" I lied.
What are your plans for today?"
"I'd promised to take Aruno sightseeing."
"Like there's loads to see in this neck of the woods!"
"Just give him a guided tour around the village then maybe go cliff-top so he can get a better feel for the area."
"Fine, but it's going to be a hot one today so take plenty of water with you please.
I'm going to take a drive to Plymouth so don't expect me back until late evening."
"Why Plymouth? That's a bit of a trek just on a whim?"
"Auntie Emma's Birthday."
"Party time then!"
"Fat chance of that…… well for me at least. I'll have to get back if only to open the pub in the morning."
"I could do that if you wanted to stay over? We don't do food on Friday lunchtimes and I'm sure Aruno will pitch in so we'll manage easily enough?"
I turned to look at Aruno and winked.
"I'm very happy to help!"
Mum thought before replying.
"I'm tempted…… very tempted!
I don't get to see that much of them…… so if you're positive you can cope then great."
"We'll only get the regulars through the door so go and have some fun why don't you?"
We saw Mum off then went to find the Landrover but noticing it was low on fuel, I emptied the contents of a twenty litre jerry can of red diesel into the tank.
This is very illegal but then the vehicle had been SORN'd years ago, (Statutory Off-road Notification) meaning it wasn't taxed, had no valid test certificate and no insurance, so duty-free fuel was small beer really.
The nearest police house was about twenty miles distant – one copper to police an area of about one hundred square miles…… we knew him but never saw him and anyway, apart from the village, I only went off-road with it, so there!
Either all the vehicles in Brazil were worse than this or he was just being polite.
"Nice car…… not! It's a heap of junk but it gets me around."
"It has character. It is just like you."
"So I'm like a fifty-year-old pile of poo am I?"
"NO, NO! I THINK IT'S LOVELY!
I think…… you're lovely."
"Oh Aruno? If only you knew!"
"Knew what? Please tell me?"
"I can't. I mustn't."
"I think I understand, Mimi-cu! "
"What means Mimi-cu?"
"I cannot tell you. I must not tell you!" he laughed.
"Touché, you ratbag!
Let's go sightseeing!"
We made our way towards the cliff tracks and legal territory but then I noticed Cathy standing at the bus stop so I pulled over.
"Hey Cath? Going somewhere nice?"
" Cambourne not nice, but tonight should be a blast.
A crowd of us girls are going ice skating then afterwards we'll probably catch a Mackie-Dee's.
All of us were invited to sleep over but......" looking at Aruno, "I don't believe Dad would be best pleased given the circumstances."
"God. First my Mum and now you. Have I missed something, like it's party season already?
Look, if you want to stay over then Aruno can stay at the pub tonight. I've already volunteered him to help me open up in the morning so it isn't like an imposition?"
"That's really sweet of you.
How about you Sam? Happy to stay at Simeon's tonight?"
I think that the look on his face told its own story. Cathy just rolled her eyes and smiled at him.
"That's settled then and thanks."
"Need a lift back to yours to get anything?"
"No, don't worry and anyway, I might miss the bus. I don't need much, only a toothbrush and a clean pair of knickers and those I'll get in town."
"Fine. Give us a shout once you're back. We'll most likely stay open all day so come over for a drink if you like?"
"Cool! See you tomorrow then, and thanks guys!"
Was that a stupid idea or was that a very stupid idea!
There's only one serviceable room other than the ones Mum and I used and that was piled high with boxes of crisps and snack-type things that pubs sell so there were only three ways to play it.
He could sleep in Mums room or on the couch in the living room downstairs.
I didn't want to think about the third!
Get thee behind me Satan!
I'm going to tell him. It's either my Mother's room or the cellar!
But then he'll give me one of those heart-melting, pleading looks and its resolve crumbling, pestle and mortar to the fore and high winds from the south-west time - then I'll get arrested, plead insanity or kill myself or spend the rest of my sorry life behind bars…… but not pub-type bars as planned.
My Mum would kill me. Cathy would kill me. Aruno's Dad would definitely kill me……
He would only want to sleep in your room or have you another agenda here Simeon?
I'm going to have to have time to think long and hard about that last one.
Showing him the village didn't take much doing so we took to the fields. On a day like today, the views from the clifftop would be spectacular plus there were walks through the woodlands and a little-known path that would take us down to the shore but the downside was, we'd have to climb the one hundred and fifty feet back up to the top so we could retrieve the Landrover.
He was fit with a capital 'F' as he was down there waiting for me before I had got halfway.
He stood, hands on hips with a look on his face as if to say 'Come on old man! What kept you?'
I must pack up the fags; I'm sure they aren't doing me any favours!
(America? For fags read cigarettes okay??)
These little beaches aren't sandy, they're shingle. I was wearing trainers so it didn't matter to me but Aruno? He was barefoot but he didn't seem to notice any discomfort.
Come to think of it? I've never seen him wearing shoes? I suppose you get accustomed after a while.
Next was the so-called smuggler's cave.
All Cornish fishing villages have one – it makes for interesting if totally untrue stories to tell the tourists but I had to admit, ours was pretty special.
Except for exceptionally high tides, this cave could be accessed from the sea if you had a rowing boat or similar. At low tide, you could walk to the entrance and have a nose around.
Folk lore has it that it used to reach far into the cliff face, so in times past, the villagers would set fires on the clifftops to confuse Jolly Jack Tar causing their ships to run onto the rocks.
From there, they would strip those ships of any valuable cargo and hide it away in our cave and safely away from the excise men.
We have oil paintings in the pub which depict such goings-on but I doubt that there's any substance to these stories but then again……?
Anyway, there was obviously a rock fall and now it's only possible to go in about seventy-five feet so all its dubious past is hidden from us.
Once back, we walked down to the harbour where I bought ice creams for us.
He'd never tried ice cream before and of course, it melted before he'd eaten all of it!
He was covered in the stuff. It was all over his face, in his hair although God only knows how he managed that! His hands, some had dripped onto his feet, his chest and tummy so rather than give the wasps a field day, I slipped out of my shoes and socks then we ran down to the waters edge so he could get cleaned up.
The tide was incoming so not having to bother about getting our kit wet, we went out into deeper water for a swim.
It was umm…… bracing to put it mildly but Aruno seemed not to care, he was loving every minute.
A good little diver too and he would disappear then surface, crab in hand.
"What are these creatures?"
"They're crabs but little crabs so we can't eat them."
"They're too small; not enough meat on them so we leave them to grow…… then we eat them!"
"Do you cook them first or eat them live?"
"Cook them. Feel their shells, too hard to open but anyhow, I'm not sure how they'd taste raw."
"I like cooking. How do you cook them?"
"We drop them into a pan of boiling water. That kills them pretty much instantly then the air under their shells expands and cracks them open. We leave the water to cook the meat then eat it.
We have some crabmeat at the pub if you would like to try?"
"Okay. Tonight's supper will be crab salad and beer!"
Have you ever tried beer?"
"No, I don't think so."
"Well you can tonight!"
Crab salad he loved. Beer he didn't…… well not until I poured half of his glass down the sink and topped it up with lemonade he didn't.
We sat outside the front and watched as the sun dipped over the sea.
Aruno looked radiant.
I was nervous.
It wouldn't be too much longer before I had to tackle the thorny issue of sleeping arrangements.
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