Swimming Pool Sunday

Swimming Pool Sunday by Sophie Kinsella, Madeleine Wickham Read Free Book Online

Book: Swimming Pool Sunday by Sophie Kinsella, Madeleine Wickham Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sophie Kinsella, Madeleine Wickham
Tags: Contemporary Women
freezing that she had to keep moving. It was perfect.
    Now that she was in the pool, she couldn’t think why she’d ever wanted to go and do boring old fishing with Daddy. It had been horrible in the car; all boiling hot and smelly, and the car seat had burned her legs, and then when they got in the traffic jam, Daddy had started getting cross and shouting; not at her, at the other drivers, but still it wasn’t very nice. And she’d started thinking about Amelia and Mummy, and started wishing she was with them, running and jumping with a huge refreshing splash into the pool. And the more she wished, the hotter she felt, and the longer the car journey seemed.
    At first she hadn’t said anything; she’d been very quiet and good. Then she’d just said a few things like, ‘I’m hot,’ and, ‘Can we stop for a drink?’ and, ‘How much further is it?’ But then, when Daddy started getting cross, she’d said in a half sob, half sigh, ‘I wish we were going swimming.’ She’d said it a few times, and at first she’d thought Daddy wasn’t listening, so she’d said it with more and more feeling, until eventually he’d suddenly shouted very loudly and turned the car round. And when she’d started crying, he’d said that he wasn’t really angry, and maybe, after all, a swimming-pool was the best place to be on such a hot day.
    He was right, Katie now thought, leaning back and admiring her shiny starfish-decorated swimming-suit. She wanted to stay in here all day, and all night; for the rest of her life, maybe. She lay her head lazily against the surface of the water and felt cool blue wavelets lap into her ears.
    Then, with a start, she realized she’d stopped counting Amelia’s handstand. ‘Eight thousand, nine thousand, ten thousand,’ she said quickly, watching Amelia’s legs. The legs faltered and fell back into the water.
    ‘How many?’ Amelia’s wet face appeared in front of her.
    ‘Ten thousand.’ Amelia frowned.
    ‘Is that all?’
    ‘My go,’ said Katie quickly. She plunged down, clutching her nose, feeling for the bottom of the pool with one outstretched hand. But balancing on a single palm wasn’t easy, and after only a few seconds she collapsed back into the water.
    ‘Only three thousand,’ said Amelia. ‘You should do it with two hands.’
    ‘But it hurts my nose, ’ wailed Katie. ‘All the water goes up it if I don’t hold it.’
    ‘Can you open your eyes underwater yet?’
    ‘Of course I can.’ Katie was scornful.
    ‘OK then, let’s dive for coins. We’ll go and get them off Mummy.’
    Louise was lying on her back, enjoying the sensation of the sun burning into her face. She had deliberately chosen a spot on the grass slightly apart from the group of chatting women which she would normally have joined. Now, above the sounds of splashes and shrieks from the pool, she could hear Sylvia Seddon-Wilson beginning on some long, no doubt exaggerated, and no doubt highly amusing anecdote. But Louise didn’t feel like chatting, or even listening. She felt like being on her own and thinking.
    If she lifted her head very slightly and swivelled her eyes to the right, she could see Barnaby, ensconced in a deck-chair next to Hugh Delaney. In spite of herself, she felt a pang of pity for him as she watched him. He should have known better than to expect Katie to last even a short car journey without vociferous complaint, Louise thought. If he’d just ignored her, and managed to get to wherever the fishing was, Katie would soon have forgotten her woes and they would probably have had a lovely day.
    As it was, he’d arrived twenty minutes ago, adisconsolate miserable sight, made even more so as Katie sprang free of his grasp, yelling, ‘Mummy! We’re here! We came swimming, after all!’ Everyone had looked up; everyone had taken in the situation at a glance; eyes had swivelled from Barnaby to Louise and back to Barnaby.
    Barnaby had come over and explained, in a few sentences, what had

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