Meanwhile about four miles away Al and Mike had been having a blast. She’d found some spectacular vistas and little babbling brooks. They’d walk nearly thirty miles since leaving the hotel. They’d passed through small villages with a handful of houses and just places a little bigger and they were the towns!
They’d had a great time, walking, talking and laughing; they’d got to know each other really well. Ally was a wonderful woman and Tico had better not screw this up, was the thought that kept floating through Mike’s brain.
About one, on their way back, they’d called in at a quaint pub they’d passed going. They’d been greeted warmly and fed till they rolled out the darn place. They’d drunk pints of Guinness and slated their hunger with massive sandwiches, crisps and home made fruit cake. Mike joked he’d no idea where she’d put that much, and had she spilt it, this had made some of the older men laugh and slap him on the back.
Al had asked some of the older ones if she could take their photos. After telling them about her work they’d said yeah. She’d snapped to her hearts content, and nearly died with happiness when some others got out the Bodhran’s (Irish drums), flutes, cheating spoons and fiddles, and started to play. She’d taken photos then changed to video. Damn this music was heavenly.
Al had gasped when she realised it was gone two-thirty and that they needed to be heading back. Saying goodbye to their new friends, and leaving her card with the galleries web addy on it, telling them they’d see themselves on there sometime in the next month or so.
They’d taken off at a trot; Mike knew they’d be in deep shit. It wasn’t until they were out in the countryside again that he realised they had no signal! Fuck!
‘Ally baby we need to motor! I’ve got no signal, and the guys would have finished by now. Christ I’m a dead man.’ He’d also realised he’d got a freaking blister rubbing up and it felt like Everest under his foot, fuck!
‘Oh calm down we’re not that far from the hotel now. They know I’ve got you; man mountain, scares the shit out of everyone! We’ll get there when we do. So chill baby.’ She smiled up at him and he relaxed a bit, she was right, that’s why he’d been sent along.
‘Are you limping?’ She’d just noticed his uneven gait.
‘Liar! Ok sit on that wall and let me look.’
‘Babe I’m fine, let’s just keep moving.’ No way was she babying him!
Al stopped and refused to budge. ‘I said let me look at it!’ Stubborn bloody minded male!
‘Baby, if you don’t start to walk, I’ll throw you over my shoulder and carry you back.’ He frowned at her and used his best ‘you’ll do wtf I tell you look’ that worked on his underlings. He forgot who he was dealing with!
‘Michael Reardon you’ll do as your damn well told! Try the macho shit and I’ll scream all the way back! Don’t be such a bloody woose!’ Hands on hips, eyes firing up at him he’d never seen anyone so damn pissed at him, and so petite! And damn, only his mother used Michael in that very same tone that Ally had used.
‘Sit down now!’ she shrugged off her camera bag and started going through it, coming up with her first aid kit, always be prepared was her motto!
Mike gave in, not very graciously. He took his trainer off and then gently pulled off the sock hissing as the damn thing burst. Blood and gunk went everywhere.
‘I told you, that you were lying!’ Al dropped to her knees, her breath sucking in as she saw the big red hole that’d been a blister from hell. She pulled out the sterile water she carried and gently bathed his foot, using a sterile pad. Tutting and muttering she cleaned it, put on some soothing cream that cooled the redness and bandaged it for him.
Mike felt he’d gone back to his childhood, and his mother was sorting out, yet again, his cuts and bruises. Ally’s hands were gentle and cause him no more pain. She made him take some general antibiotics that she carried, so if any infection had got in it would start to kill it.
Together they gently put his shoe back on, he winced at that, but it didn’t feel too bad. By now it was nearly four; he knew he was dead meat when they got back. Jon would kill him, and crap he loved his job!
They started to walk again, Mike hobbling and gritting his teeth. Al clucking like a mother hen, and they’d still got about two miles to go, if they got back before the guys left it’d be a bloody miracle! Tico would be steaming! She checked her cell again, still nothing, damn countryside!
About ten minutes into the snails pace, she heard a rumble. Turning she didn’t believe her eyes, a damn bus! Waving it down they clambered on board after being told it went straight passed their hotel. With a great sigh of relief Mike collapsed on a seat and Al gently prised off his trainer again. He sighed with gratitude and gave her a peck on the cheek.
‘What was that for?’
‘For being you babe, and helping me in my time of need! Just remember when we get back I’m hiding behind you!’
She laughed and with his arm about her shoulders they sat on the bus unaware of the chaos that was happening at the hotel, and the scared men sat/pacing there