With All My Love

With All My Love by Patricia Scanlan Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: With All My Love by Patricia Scanlan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patricia Scanlan
Tags: Fiction, General
for the tourists who came to buy ice creams, chilled drinks, cold meats and bread rolls for their picnics on the beach, or to have coffee or lunch in the small café. Tonight there was nothing of that Mediterranean buzz as the rain threatened and a howling south-easterly blew in from the sea.
    The little whitewashed church with the narrow stained-glass windows on either side of the big wooden doors lay adjacent to the village primary school. On the other side of the church the large Victorian parochial house marked the intangible separation between the posh end of the village where the doctor, bank manager and ‘The Elite’, as Valerie’s mother called them, lived in big detached houses with sea views, and walled gardens whose mostly high, neatly trimmed hedges obstructed the view of the hoi polloi. At the end of the posh houses, a cobbled street that bisected the main road led to the railway station on one side and to a curved sandy beach on the seaside. It was a pretty village in summer but once the tourists were gone and the nights grew long, Rockland’s was dead boring, Valerie reflected as she and Lizzie skirted a large puddle beside the Ball Alley, where tonight, a hard-fought game of handball was in progress with some of the local lads.
    ‘What do you want to ask me? Something I’m not going to like, I just know by the way you’re saying it,’ Valerie said warily.
    ‘Please, please. Pleeeeease come to the match with me. I don’t want to go and stand on the sidelines on my own,’ her best friend pleaded. ‘I’ll do your maths homework for a week.’
    ‘Aw, Lizzie, I hate football.’ Valerie made a face.
    ‘You’re my best friend. It’s your duty to stand by me. I really fancy Phil, and he asked me to come to the match. Val, please.’
    ‘Oh, all right,’ grumbled Valerie, with bad grace. She didn’t particularly like Phil Casey, although she wouldn’t let on to Lizzie, who was totally infatuated. He thought he was ultra cool, strutting around, showing off with his new Walkman and his punk earring. If a real punk came near him he’d run a mile, Valerie thought scornfully. She couldn’t think of anything more boring than watching fellas kicking a ball around, with people screaming in her ear. What a waste of a Sunday afternoon, especially when she had a free house, a very rare occurrence. Her parents were going up to Dublin to visit an uncle in hospital and then they were going to visit Terence’s elderly mother. Terence had wanted her to come but she’d lied and said she had a maths exam the next day and she needed to revise. Terence put a lot of store on her studies. When she had got six honours in her Inter Cert he’d boasted about it for weeks afterwards, mortifying her everywhere they went. If she didn’t do well in her Leaving Cert he’d be devastated. He wanted her to go to college – preferably to study medicine, but law or accountancy would suffice. Valerie knew Terence well enough to realize that going to college wasn’t all about her. He wanted to be able to boast about his daughter ‘the doctor’ or ‘the lawyer’ or ‘the accountant’. Terence was a social climber and she was his ladder. He wanted to be as good as ‘The Elite’ at the grand end of the village, and Valerie was his stepping stone, his last chance to improve the family’s social standing, unless he won a fortune on the Sweepstakes.
    Valerie had given him the one excuse she knew he would accept without question. She’d been looking forward to her few hours of freedom immensely. She had the new Hot Chocolate cassette and she was going to play it as loud as she wished and lounge on the sofa with Lizzie eating crisps and Trigger Bars – their last occasion of sin before going on a diet – and gossiping. Now Lizzie was changing their plans and wanted her to spend an afternoon shivering in a mucky field. But Lizzie was her dearest friend; what else could she do?
    Lizzie was mad into boys. Valerie wasn’t any

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