‘I will pick you up from the cinema about 8:20,’ Julie’s dad said, as they left the car to go in the cinema.
As they walked over the bridge, Laura looked over at the swans, grouping up at the edge for a piece of bread. They reminded her of the parishioners, lining up for their communion at church.
Once they were at the back of the park she took out her packet of ten Menthol and handed one to Julie.
The evening sun had just started to set, but for February, it was quite warm. Laura wore a plain black hoodie, just in case any neighbours saw her, but relaxed into Julie’s company quickly. She soon forgot they were out in the open.
‘This is so cool; I just wish I could do it more often.’
‘How often does old Crowthorne see your dad?’
‘Once every month or so, he’s helping the church raise funds for the church roof – apparently it’s leaking.’
‘It will carry on leaking when lead is being stolen off the roof each week.’
‘They don’t . . .’
‘Yea, I know some guys that ask me when the coast is clear.’
‘You’re full of surprises.’
‘So are you, it’s a shame you can’t come to one of Steve’s parties.’
‘My dad just allowed me this, he would blow several gaskets if I asked to go to a party.’
‘But maybe . . . no you wouldn’t go for it?’
‘Go for what?’
‘Well, Steve, my boyfriend, his parties aren’t ever on early. What sort of time does your dad go to sleep, and is he a heavy sleeper?’
‘It depends, when he has work the next morning, he doesn’t drink that much, but on a Friday, he drinks up to about midnight, and then is out for the count until ten in the morning.’
‘That’s just about right, Steve has a party on this weekend and his parties, well they start at midnight and don’t end until a few days later. They can get a bit rowdy, but I’ll be with you.’
‘I would love to . . . but what if I’m caught?’
‘You won’t be, as you’ve said, your dad is out for the count. It will only be for a few hours. Come on Loz, you would have such fun.’
‘Loz, I like that, okay I will, but don’t make too much noise just in case my dad is awake.’
Julie grinned. ‘I’ll be as quiet as a church mouse, I promise. But I had a thought, how will you get out of the house?’
‘The front porch is outside my window, and the apple tree isn’t far off. I can jump on the ledge and climb down. Just in case though, if I’m not going and if there has been a change in plans, I will keep my window closed.’
As she walked in the door, her father watched from the window. She glanced up and smiled in his direction.
A party, and nobody would suspect a thing.