The Secrets of Ice Cream Success
laughed loudly. ‘No
offence taken, Carlo. Of course you don’t want me to introduce
you.’ he said, chuckling away to himself. ‘Tell you what. Wait here
a second.’ Mr Dearlove pulled himself up with his cane and shuffled
out of the room leaving Carlo to stare at his drink once again. A
minute later Vicky skipped into the room, followed a moment later
by her Grandfather.
    ‘ Carlo, there
you are! We’ve been looking for you. I thought Ben was joking when
he said you’d come too but had disappeared.’
    ‘ Oh, don’t
blame Carlo, Vik. I was talking on and on about things that don’t
really matter, the way old people do.’ Mr Dearlove said, winking at
Carlo, ‘But you two should run along now and leave me to reflect
ruefully on old age.’
    Vicky rolled her eyes while her
Grandfather laughed himself back down into his chair with
intermittent wheezing.
    ‘ Come on,
everybody’s outside.’ Vicky said, grabbing Carlo’s hand and pulling
him firmly through the house.
    On the whole Carlo had to admit
that he was enjoying himself, which came as something of a
surprise. Ben was under orders from Abi to keep Norton entertained
and, most importantly, away from Carlo so he didn’t make him more
nervous around Vicky than absolutely necessary. In that regard,
Carlo found things were better than he was expecting because for
the time being at least it didn’t seem that he was required to
offer much by way of conversation, Vicky being quite adept at
holding one by herself on the various topics of the day ranging
from what colour the French Teacher in her school had dyed her hair
through too a boy named Dave that he didn’t know being caught
smoking behind the sports hall and being given detention. Carlo
nodded and smiled his way through a number of unfathomable
anecdotes which ended rather abruptly with a question tacked onto
the end of the final story without so much as a pause for breath
    ‘ Sorry, what?’
Carlo said, trying to quickly focus once more on the
    ‘ Would you
like to go to the cinema with me this weekend?’ Vicky asked
    ‘ Yes?’ Carlo
suggested, hoping that was the correct answer.
    ‘ Good.’ I’ll
go and get us some more lemonade.’ Vicky said, taking his glass and
running off to the kitchen with a smile.
    Alone again, Carlo looked
around the garden. Ben and Abi were holding court amongst a large
group of kids from Vicky’s school whilst Norton was remonstrating
with Mr Dearlove about the correct ratio of condiments and salad to
be placed in the perfect burger, which according to Norton was
“Lots:None”. All in all Carlo was beginning to think he was getting
the hang of both parties and girls and what’s more neither had
required much input from him, which was the way he liked it as it
limited the opportunity for embarrassment.
    Looking through the kitchen
window, Carlo could see Vicky chatting with her Mom as she
collected drinks and was slightly concerned when both looked out in
his direction with broad smiles. He smiled back sheepishly and
turned around in what he hoped was a nonchalant manner to find
himself face to face with a slightly bulging Spiderman.
    ‘ Argh! What
the…?’ Carlo stepped back to see that Spiderman was actually
emblazoned on the front of a t-shirt, which itself was
ill-fittingly stretched across a chest. He stepped back again
looking up to see that the chest belonged to a kid at least a foot
taller than he was and a good deal wider. ‘Sorry.’ Carlo said,
still trying to move back far enough to take in the view in front
of him. It was like trying to see an entire mountain when stood at
the base. ‘I didn’t see you there.’ he added, immediately
regretting it given that the boy in front of him could probably be
seen from space.
    ‘ So you’re the
Italian kid?’ the boy said ignoring Carlo’s remark.
    ‘ What?’
    ‘ Can you speak
English? I said… so you’re the Italian kid?’ repeated the boy,
aggression stressing

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