There's something really depressing about waiting in line at a train station – I mean, waiting in line at any time is hardly the greatest thrill of a lifetime, but there's something about train stations; they're dank, grey and they all have that same, unique, positively urinal odour.
Hmm. It suddenly strikes me that my ex-boyfriend and his secretary are probably choosing between eating in a fancy restaurant, or eating off of each other at the moment. The most pressing decision I have in front of me is to get to Fuchsia Port via the Vermillion line or the Saffron line.
Don't you just hate it when things like that pop into your head?
Willard 'borrowed' all my suitcases when he left, saying that it was 'the least I could do' for him. Because of course, I wasn't going on an expensive holiday to a resort in the Orange Archipelago. Well who gives a damn really; been there, done that.
So, not counting the emotional baggage, I'm travelling light. Well, it's just a weekend trip to the Seafoam Islands with my closest friend; it's funny, you think I couldn't bear being around a guy now. I've got my bikini on under my dress, and a few similar sundresses complete with kitten heels in my scruffy shoulder bag. I guess it's all I'll need really – Ash promises that we'll have so much fun, I won't even give Willie a second thought, and he'll find me a new guy (and I thought he couldn't get any cuter when he punched Willie in the jaw the other week). So apart from my trusty mobile phone, I've only packed my make-up remover and lots of knickers; my plan is to be spontaneous (but clean).
My phone beeps, sending everyone in the seemingly endless queue scurrying through their bags. It seems like this thing hasn't been silent for a fortnight. VIOLET MOB flashes onto the screen.
[Hey sis… awful since you asked… yeah he dumped me- you did? Who told you? Marina? Saves me making a public announcement I guess. Yeah. Yeah. Eva. Yeah, the secretary. Seduced him with sundresses and kitten heels. Yes, I know he has a stupid name. I bet you've just been saving up the genital-related jokes since I met him. Yeah, he is a bastard. But I thought you said we were so cute together? Ah, you never really liked him. Mmm. Look, Vi, I've gotta go. I'll ring you later. Yup. Yup. Okay. Bye.]
The woman behind me gives me a sympathetic look, and I just wanna grab hold of her and scream: you don't know the half of it! Willie had the cheek to take that… thing on the once in a lifetime holiday to the islands that we had been planning and setting up for almost a year. He offered me my half of the money back, and I just wanted to slap him, scream at him that he could just go and get eaten by a rabid Tentacruel and to keep his money and his crappy holiday.
Then Ash timidly reminded me that this would entail me paying for Eva to go with my ex-boyfriend on my holiday, so he actually went round to get my money back, and apparently left a rather spectacular bruise on Willie's jaw. He's been my guardian angel, as he tends to get whenever I'm too low to fight with him. We're horribly co-dependant, and we have been for fifteen years – if we weren't so like brother and sister, I'd seriously think about marrying him, before it's too late (Urg, now I'm talking about 'too late' and I'm only 26 bloody years old!)!
So I'm heading off on this mini-holiday (jeez will this line ever end?!) to… what? Sort my life out? Sort out why I'm always attracted to lying, cheating and commitment-phobic scumbags? Ash and Brock came in to rescue me from inside my fridge the day after Willie walked out, and it was them that decided on this bizarre holiday – although Brock has decided he's too busy to come this weekend.
Brock is another one of my best friends. It's quite sad to think that even in my adolescent years, of wandering aimlessly around forests with a bunch of guys, I was obsessed with marriage and love to the point where even BROCK thought it was too much. Let's see… aged 16 to 18 I was with Gary; 19ish to 22 I was devoted to Christopher, and from 22-and-a-half to the present age of 26 and four months, I doted on Willard. Ten years of my life wasted in pursuit of a 'Mrs' attached to my name.
Finally, the end of the line. The fat woman stuffed in the cubicle eyes me warily, making me feel defensive immediately. I try to ignore the diamond ring, extremely obvious to me on her left hand. I choose the Celadon line, as it will get me in more or less the same time as Ash, then realise, as the contents of my purse go flying all over the counter and the floor, that it leaves in one minute, 34 seconds precisely. Crap.
I catch it just in time, after sacrificing half my small change. The doors pull closed as I throw myself breathless and rosy-cheeked into a hard, blue upholstered seat. I catch myself smiling, and increase the smile to a grin and pretend to be watching the view of Cerulean suburbs rushing past and blending into a mish-mash of greens, blues and greys.
For the first time I actually feel excited about this trip. Yes. Yes I will be spontaneous, and have fun, and yes, I will find myself someone new so I can forget about the most recent scumbag to soil my life. I don't even groan aloud when I realise that this particular carriage is full of couples, doing… coupley stuff. I don't see it as depressing, I see it as a sign. Yes, it's symbolic.
[No Brock I said 'symbolic' not 'some bollocks'. Just left… it'll be an hour or so yet. Yes. Mmm. Yup, I've got clean knickers, why? No I'm not going to describe them. I'm in a crowded train carriage! No I will NOT do it later. Look, did you ring me for a reason? To say hi? Yeah right. What do you want? And why aren't you coming this weekend – I'm sorry, but I doubt the hot date excuse. Wha- of course I'll be nice to Ash this weekend, I'm lovely. Mmm. Okay I'm going into a tunnel in a sec – talk to you later.]
"Excuse me miss, this is the end of the line,"a voice disturbs my slumber. I open my eyes drowsily, and jump up in a panic, before realising that this was where was I going anyway, and sheepishly thank the conductor.
My scruffy haired best friend greets me with a cheeky 'may I take your bag?' before guiding me over to the small, silver table by the station café where he's been waiting. Alone. I blink.
"Where's Pikachu?" I ask, incredulously, since the little Electric Pokémon is a permanent attachment to his shoulder/head/bag/etc. Ash blushes.
"At home. The hotel doesn't allow loose Pokémon anyway." I make an understanding noise, and take a sip of his luke-warm cherryade. Ash stares at the floor for a few seconds before slipping into the chair opposite me – I'm not worried, believe me, he usually does far weirder things.
"When does the boat leave?"
"Half an hour." Now I'm beginning to get suspicious – he keeps staring at the table, and he has a pained expression like he's thinking really, really, exceptionally hard about something.
"What's wrong with you?" He looks up, startled, and flashes me a grin.
"Nothin', just checking I haven't forgotten anything. Anyway," he continues, "this weekend you aren't even going to think about Willie Dickhead, and we're gonna find some absolute raving lunatic to fall in love with you." I can positively feel myself bristling as we fall back into one of our comfortable verbal slanging matches. Passers-by stare at us before hurrying onwards, trying not to make eye-contact. Hey, it works! I'm not even thinking about Wil- godammit!!
"This is boooring,"Ash protests lamely, while slathering yellow suncream all over his torso.
"Be quiet, I'm checking out the talent," I retort, peering over the rim of my sunglasses at all the scantily-clad men in the immediate vicinity. Hey, Kumquat Island it ain't, but Seafoam is a lovely little island, with beautiful white sandy beaches, and comfortable hotels. I jump as Ash somewhat violently chucks the suntan lotion in my general direction, and it skids across my bare navel to the sand on the other side of me.
I lean back on my elbows and gaze at him suspiciously; he's glaring moodily at some kids playing Frisbee by the edge of the water while he rubs the excess lotion off his hands and onto the towel.
"WHAT are you staring at?" He jumps again, and looks at me guiltily.
"Ah… just… remembering Lapras," he obviously bluffs, and then turns his back to me to rummage through the bag; he pulls out a small bottle of cherryade, and glugs it down, nervously.
"Since when are you addicted to cherryade?" I ask; he is really confusing me today. He smiles at me, and takes another gulp of the chemically enhanced red liquid, which I'm pretty sure has never seen a cherry.
"Dutch courage for finding this absolutely raving lunatic," he grins, before pre-empting my attack and darting out of the way. The little plastic bottle, half-full, goes flying, and it's contents ooze out all over my nicely-tanning stomach. However, I'm in too good a mood to get angry, so I simply fwap Ash over the head with the empty bottle, and he tries to ruffle up my hair.
Our little wrestling match comes to a dead stop when we reach *that* position; the rather embarrassing position that all our childhood pillow fights had wound us up in. I blush slightly, and pull my foot down from his back, but he doesn't pull back. His chest is pressed against mine, and he's got a weird expression.
I'm such an idiot – my heart leaps up into my throat as all my teenaged fantasies reawaken with vigour. Is he… gonna…
"Misty?" he says, uncertainly, his voice wavering in an adorable way. Omigod, he's gonna say it…
"Y-yes?" Urg. What the hell did that sound like?? I think as my voice squeaks out.
"… your stomach is sticky," he murmurs, pulling back slowly, and lightly touching his own stomach, which has become sticky also. I let out the breath I've been holding since I was eleven. Ugh, he's such an idiot.
Lightly humming, I towel-dry my hair as Ash excuses himself to the suite's sitting room to make a urgent phonecall. He shuts the door behind him. I shrug, and start to brush out my hair as I don't think about Willie. Glancing over at Ash's bedside table, I can see two more empty bottles that used to contain cherryade; jeez, if they were alcoholic I think he'd have a real problem. Since I used the hotel's complimentary scented shower foam, I smell of an enticing mixture of cherry and strawberry.
It's almost the end of the first day, and I've done nothing spontaneous at all. Almost snogging my best friend does not count. I can't believe I was actually planning to… I worked out a long, long time ago, when I first started dating Gary Oak, that Ash didn't really like me that way… But there's just something about the way he's acting, like he has this ulterior plan that he isn't letting me in on, and the scrawny teenager inside knows what she wishes it is…
I pull my damp hair back into a ponytail, and approach the door – I stop. Ash's urgent phonecall was to Brock? I can hear his voice in greeting through the door.
"So what's up? Calling to invite me to the wedding?"
"Shut up Brock, this isn't funny…"
"Idiot, you haven't done it yet, have you?"
"You are SUCH a coward!"
Okay, so maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, but the teenager inside me is jumping cartwheels.
"It's not like it's an everyday kinda thing for me to do Brock, you could be a little bit more helpful you know!"
"Aw c'mon, it's just Misty."
Why thank you.
"Brock, if I botch this up, then that's our friendship totally buggered up forever!"
"You're crazy, Ketchum."
"Yup. I'm an absolute raving lunatic."
My hand drops from my cheek to my thigh, and I can hear myself cooing 'aaaaaaaw' in my own head.
"Ash, it's your own fault you're so wound up about this. You've had it all planned out in your head for years and years. Be spontaneous, like Misty's supposed to be."
"Brock, you can't be spontaneous about the person you've been in love with for over a decade!"
Right, that does it. He said the 'l' word. I'm his for life, which, I think, is a stupid thing to think as I've practically always been his. I swing open the door, and Ash jumps a mile into the air. He stares at me as I make my way grinning across the room towards the vidphone, where Brock's face is sweatdropping out at me from the digital screen.
"Ah! Misty! I mean, hi Misty, I was, Brock just-" Ash stops abruptly as I pull the power-cord to the vidphone. He stares at me with wide chocolate eyes, and I can almost hear him thinking: 'Is she gonna…' "Wh-what are you doing?" he babbles, almost leaning backwards away from me in fright as I approach him meaningfully.
"I'm being spontaneous," I answer with a shrug.
Mmm. He tastes like cherries.