He sees them talking with a big smile, but they haven't got a clue. Yeah, they're living the good life, can't see what he is going through. They're driving fast cars, but they don't know where they're going. In the fast lane, living life without knowing.
Jetty 1906 was located on Pier 12, 200 meters out in the Atlantic
Ocean. It was an old, but neat wooden building, and the years at sea gave it a
certain sort of wind-blown charm. As you enter Jetty 1906 the wooden
floorboards gave way to glass flooring, allowing you a view of the inky blue
Atlantic below. Two old brown leather chairs sat in the corner of the small
entrance hall. A blue lamp stood on the floor next to the chairs, giving the
entrance an underwater feel even when it was a couple of meters above the
ocean. Beyond the entrance hall the restaurant opened up, a black wooden bar
stood in the middle of the room with tables and chairs surrounding it. The left
wall was covered with silver floral patterned wallpaper, but the rest of the
walls were only large windows, offering a view of all the ships passing by in
the distance. Jetty 1906 was a smart casual place, you needed shoes to get in,
but it was the place to be seen in Alder Port.
Their table was in the back, in the right corner of the restaurant. It was the best table there. The two windows in the corner slid open, letting in the cool ocean breeze. They always sat at that table. It was the unspoken rule that everyone knew and everyone followed. No one questioned it.
Mina sat squished in between Vanessa and Ridley, laughing hard at something that Scott, who sat next to them on another bench, said. Ash and Myra sat next to Scott, Ash's arm wrapped around Myra's shoulders. Opposite them sat Marx and Cade, twins. All of them were only sixteen, but the way they held themselves made them seem much older. They were the cool kids, the elite of Alder Port. They always had more fun than everyone else, they had better lives, better clothes, better cars, better everything. Everyone wanted to be them.
Even though they were elite, they were still just sixteen. They could act mature all they wanted, but they were still just kids. They had kid problems, rugby games, tests, grades, boy drama, girl drama, parent drama, all the normal things. They just knew how to hide it better. It was a pretty good charade.
Mina shot her hand up in the air and within seconds a waiter was at their table, ready to take their order. "A round of tequila shots, top shelf." Mina said confidently, not giving the waiter any reason to doubt that she wasn't of age. They were here most Fridays, but never once had they been carded. The waiter nodded before rushing to the bar, he knew better than to make them wait long. Scott continued with his story, waving his arms in the air and accidentally knocking Ash with his elbow. The entire table erupted with laughter as Ash held his nose, but soon he was laughing with them. Myra gave him a kiss on the nose before turning her attention back to Scott's story.
The sun had set long ago, and the ocean was now as black as the sky above. It was a clear night, the lights of the ships lying in wait to enter Cape Town Harbour were reflecting off the water, adding to the relaxed and comfortable vibe of Jetty 1906. The waiter came by with the shots, setting them down carefully on the table. He also set down a bowl of lemon and another bowl filled with salt. The teenagers each grabbed a shot before passing the salt and lemon around.
"To a great season boys," Mina announced, holding her shot glass up high.
"To you as well ladies," Scott said, lifting his glass to meet hers. It was clear they were the ringleaders. A chorus of cheers and 'hear, hear' could be heard before they licked the salt and downed the shot. There was a brief pause before a collective shiver rang through the group, followed by a rush to get the lemons in their mouths.
"I hate tequila," Ridley said, shivering again as she put the lemon in her glass.
"That's not what you said last week after the fifth shot," Mina nudged Ridley and the blonde laughed, shaking her head.
"It was more like the tenth shot you little shit, we were drinking out of tea cups!" Ridley said, nudging Mina back.
"Tequila out of tea cups? Where was I?" Marx asked as he leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table.
"Passed out next to the toilet," Ridley said, giving him a wink, which earned a lot of laughter and teasing from the rest of the group.
"My bro's a lightweight! I failed as an older brother!" Cade said, hiding his face in his hands in mock disappointment. Ridley gave Cade a mock sympathetic look, reaching over the table to ruffle his brown hair. "Don't worry," she said. "He's still young, he can learn."
Marx just laughed and nudged his older brother by two minutes. Mina ordered them another round of tequila before asking for menus. They weren't just here to drink, they were here for the good food as well.
"I hate seafood, but I love this place," Scott said as he paged through the menu. He didn't really need to look at it, he knew what he wanted; Prego Steak Roll, because he was a red blooded South African and he ate meat.
"This is the only decent place we've got, so you just gotta love it," Vanessa said as she paged through the menu as well. They all knew it by heart now, but just to spice things up they tried some new things every other week.
"Well we could always go to Barnies," Myra suggested with a smirk, which just earned her a scoff from the group. Barnies, short for The Barnyard, was a place they avoided like the plague. It was just as the name said; a barnyard. It was a dark and dirty place where the lowest of the low hung out.
"I'd rather go to a Shebeen," Mina scrunched up her nose in disgust. Barnies was to be avoided at all costs. The tequila came and they all placed their orders. Mina and Scott both ordered the Prego Roll, they had the same view about meat. Myra and Ash ordered calamari tubes to share, cause you really did get a bucket load, and the rest of the table ordered the mussel pot.
A cold wind blew in through the open windows and with it came fog. Scott and Cade got up to close the windows for them. As Cade sat down, his leg brushed against Mina's under the table. He gave her a small smile, which she returned. "Excuse me for a moment," she said, getting up and heading for the bathroom. The kids continued to tease each other and when Mina came back she slid in next to Cade. He noticed and moved closer to her, until their bodies were touching. Underneath the table their hands found each other.
"Hey," he said softly, his green eyes shining. Cade was handsome, there was no denying that. He was tall, 1'9, with chiselled features. He had high cheekbones and deep green eyes with an easy smile. Mina fit in perfectly next to him. She was tall and slender, 1'8, with long platinum blonde hair and green eyes that matched Cade's. They would make the perfect power couple, everyone wanted them to be together, but they were taking it slow. Mina was in no rush to get into a heavy relationship right now, but she did like Cade. Their flirting did not go unnoticed by the group, and they were constantly teased about it.
"Get a room," Scott said under his breath, his brown
eyes almost turning green from the jealousy. Vanessa noticed him staring at
Mina and Cade, sadness crossing her features for a moment.
Mina and Cade were oblivious to the rest as they looked at each other. "Hey yourself," Mina smiled.
"That was a nice little move you made," Cade said, referring to when she switched seats so smoothly.
Mina shrugged. "I wanted a change of scenery." Cade squeezed Mina's hand and pressed his lips to her cheek. Ridley pushed her finger in her mouth and pretended to gag.
"Come on guys, let's not turn this into a date. You're so sweet it makes me sick."
Cade smirked and sat back, pulling Mina with them. They had a silent agreement to keep the physical contact on the DL when they were with the group. She was right, they weren't on a date, they were hanging out with their friends.
"Jealous Ridley?" Cade asked, but he let go of Mina's hand anyway.
Ridley scoffed, kicking Cade under the table. "You wish Cade, you wish."
Mina and Scott may be the ring leaders, but Ridley was the one who kept the group together. She was the glue. A very crazy, chaotic, wild, sticky glue. They all loved her to bits. Ash and Myra also moved away from each other a bit and the group fell back into easy conversation until their food came. They all fell silent as they dug in, too hungry to keep the conversation going. Cade stole a bite of Mina's prego roll, but she didn't go near his mussels. Ash and Myra were stealing mussels from Vanessa and Ridley, and in turn they stole some of their calamari.
After dinner the conversation floated to school, which was starting again on Monday.
"I don't know if I'm mentally prepared for this," Ridley said as she sat back, rubbing her flat tummy.
"Who is ever ready to go back to school?" Vanessa asked, examining the nice French manicure she would have to get rid of before Monday.
"I'm pumped to go back," Marx said. "Rugby season's
really kicking off and we're going to kick ass."
Scott nodded in agreement and the two of them high-fived.
"Yeah but you're not really excited for school, you're excited for rugby," Ridley pointed out.
"At least there's something to look forward to on Monday," Marx replied. Ridley nodded, he had a point. They were not excited for school, but excited to start playing the game they loved again. There was one upside to going to school. "Aren't you excited for hockey?"
Ridley shifted in her seat and shrugged. All four of the girls were on the hockey team, but their team was so littered with drama it wasn't even fun to play any more. The girls all had skills, but there were those who couldn't handle that they had it.
"Not really, it's too much drama." Ridley loved playing hockey too much to leave, but she was tired of it all.
"You can sort it out I'm sure," Marx reassured her, but Ridley wasn't so sure they could. They've been stuck with the same drama since the eighth grade.
"We're not afraid to kick ass," Myra said.
"Hell yeah," Ridley agreed, smiling at Myra.
“Come on guys, let’s not get into all that drama now, it’s time for dessert,” Mina said, grabbing a dessert menu. She didn't want to spend their last few hours of freedom talking about school.
"Yeah, we've got more important things to discuss, like your birthday," Cade smirked, nudging Mina with his shoulder.
He was right, Mina Carlisle had a certain standard to uphold when it came to parties, and she was determined that her Sweet Sixteen would be the grandest of them all.
“You don’t have to worry about that Cade,” Ridley smirked. “All you have to do is show up and look pretty, we’ll take care of all the details.”
“I can do that,” Cade said seriously before pulling his classic ‘smoulder’, which was really just a duck face. Mina shook her head and just laughed at her friends, glad she had them.
“Careful bro, if you keep pulling that pose your face might get stuck that way,” Scott laughed and grabbed the menu from Mina, since she was not about to make any serious decisions about dessert.
“I’m stuffed, just order us a round of Blowjobs and then let’s get out of here,” Vanessa said, earning more laughter from the group. A Blowjob was a shot, but having a dirty mind made it so much better.
Scott grinned and made sure he called a waitress to the table. He gave her an innocent smile before asking, “Can I have a blowjob please?”
The waitress stood stunned for a minute as everyone burst out laughing, before realising Scott was talking about the shot. Her cheeks became bright red and she fumbled with her apron.
“Just bring us a round of BJ’s,” Vanessa told her, dismissing the waitress.
“You know if they didn’t want people asking for blowjobs they shouldn’t have put it on the menu,” Scott said.
“Oh come now Scott, we all know how much you love a blowjob,” Vanessa winked at him.
Several bad puns and innuendos later their shots arrived.
“I call no hands!” Ridley said. All of them put their hands behind their backs before putting their mouths over the shot glasses, picking them up and knocking back the BJ. “You got a little something on your mouth Scott,” Ridley grinned at him and Scott just rolled his eyes, wiping the cream off his mouth.
“You guys ready to get out of here?”
A few minutes later, they were all gathered on the mainland, huddled close to each other to keep warm. The wind was blowing in off the sea, making it colder than usual.
“Are you guys sure? My dad can drop you off?” Cade asked as he looked at Mina and Ridley worriedly. None of them had a licence yet except for Scott, who had a motorbike licence, so they were still dependant on their parents. Myra and Ash had already left with Myra’s parents, and Scott and Vanessa were busy climbing onto his bike. Cade’s father was waiting for him and Marx in their blue BMW across the parking lot. Ridley and Mina were planning on walking home.
“Relax Cade, I live just around the corner and Ridley is with me.” Mina knew why he was worried. Even though Alder Port was safe, they still had their fair share of muggings and rapes. They lived in South Africa after all.
“Yeah, we’ll be fine,” Ridley reassured him, throwing her arm over Mina’s shoulders. Cade wasn’t so sure, but he knew better than to argue with them.
“Fine, just text me when you get home?” He asked, leaning in to kiss Mina’s forehead. She nodded and he turned and walked to his father’s car.
“Come on kid, let’s get home,” Ridley said, pulling Mina down the street. The fog had blown into the town, covering the buildings and streets. Mina lived two blocks away from Jetty 1906, a short walk. “Do you mind if I crash at your place tonight?”
“Sure, is everything alright?”
Ridley just shrugged. “Yeah.”
Mina knew better than to push for more information. Ridley was a great friend, she was always there for Mina when she needed her, but Ridley was very private. Mina has known her now for at least five years, but she has never even met Ridley’s parents or been to her house. Mina just knew that Ridley was an only child and that her parents weren’t around that much.
They walked in silence for a few minutes, and after a while, Mina noticed that Ridley wasn’t next to her anymore.
“Ridley?” Mina called, turning around in a circle. Ridley wasn’t anywhere to be found, and all that Mina could see was white fog. “Ridley!” She called again louder, her heart starting to race. How could she have lost Ridley?
The white fog was getting denser and denser, creeping up on Mina as if it wanted to swallow her. She couldn’t see anymore, all she saw was a white wall.
“Ridley!” She called again, as loud as she could, but the white fog seemed to absorb her voice. What was going on around her? She didn’t understand.
Mina tried to turn and run, but she was rooted to the spot. The fog kept her there.
“Ridley…” She could barely hear her own voice now. The fog was somehow getting brighter, the white hurt her eyes and she had to close them. What was going on? What was happening to her?
Mina couldn’t move anymore, she could feel the cool tendrils of the fog wrapping around her, but soon everything was consumed by the light.