I almost got the fright of my life when David bounded up and just grabbed me around the waist and hugged me.
“Whoa there, buddy…” Pierre pulled him off me. “You haven’t met the girl yet and you’re already throwing yourself at her…that is so wrong, David…”
David blushed and then grinned at me. “Sorry about that…I’m David.”
“Marly,” I smiled in response and shook his hand. I turned to Megan and the others and waved them next to me. “David, Pierre, Chuck, Jeff, Seb…Pat…this is Megan, Sarah, Carly and Cassie. Oh and I’m Marly.”
I noticed Carly looked a bit overwhelmed. I leaned in close and whispered, “Don’t forget James…”
She glared at me and said under her breath, “We’re just friends…”
“Right…I believe you.”
“So,” Cassie was talking to Pat and Chuck, “first of all we’re going to show you around town. It’s not a long way…so if you’re up for a walk?”
“Heh…Pierre can burn off some energy,” Chuck muttered. Pierre glanced up from where he’d grabbed a seat and glowered at his friend. “Sorry, Pierre…but you’re a real grouch today.”
“What’s walking going to do for it?” Pierre snapped in response. Carly and I traded looks. Obviously he’d gotten out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.
“Fresh air is good for you,” I blurted out. He raised his eyebrows at me.
“Hmph…I’ll be the judge of that.”
I shrugged in response. “Come on then…let’s go.”
Once we were outside, I was more in my element. I hardly ever set foot in the Swamp. The last time I was there was for the 2002 School Presentation night, the year I graduated from Year 12. So, I didn’t really know the place anymore. I knew the CBD though; just the other night, Carly and I had been at the nightclubs getting half-whacked. And we still managed to find our way to the spot where we were supposed to meet the others. That was interesting. Pierre who was walking beside me brought me out of my reverie.
“So…does this place have a night life?”
I stared at him for a moment and then cracked up laughing. Not because I thought the question was funny but because it reminded me of the Canadians I’d met at the Cri the other night. They’d been completely off their faces and still thought the Cri was the best place they’d ever been to. Pierre frowned.
“Is that a yes…or a no?” The tone of his voice gave me the impression he didn’t really care either way but I still felt inclined to give him an answer.
“Sorry…yes we have a night life…I was enjoying it the other night actually.”
“You? No offence but you don’t look much of a partier…” Sounded like he was trying to insult me, and that bothered me a bit.
But, before I could defend myself Carly smirked, “She’s a cheap drunk.”
“So are you,” I shot back as fast as I could.
Pierre laughed at that, a sour sounding one…but a laugh nonetheless. It’s about time…we’re not that bad…we’ve all had our shots…
Carly looked at him questioningly but then shook her head, then stopped and nodded down the street.
“Hey…isn’t that Ben?”
I followed her gaze and running down the street waving a Cowboys flag was Ben.
Great timing…someone sane to talk to…
“Ben? What’s up…I just talked to you on the phone 15 minutes ago.”
“Yeah, I know…I forgot to tell you…you get to go in the KFC box at Dairy Farmers’ tomorrow.” Ben panted as if he’d run a big race. I patted him on the back.
“You okay there?”
“Yeah, I’m fine…haha…right…I haven’t run that fast in awhile.”
Pierre and the other guys from Simple Plan studied Ben curiously as Megan, Sarah, Carly Cassie and I crowded around him and threw questions at him
“Do we get the box to ourselves?”
“Do we get KFC as well?”
“Are you dressing up as the Colonel, at the game?”
“Is your Dad going to be around?”
“Who’s singing the national anthem?”
Ben held up his hands and laughed.
“One at a time, eh?”
“Sorry, Ben.” Cassie smiled then glanced toward the SP guys who looked a bit confused. “One important question…can these guys go in the box?”
Ben looked over to them and nodded slightly. “That’s why Dad said you could have the box. We’re going to go on the hill and mingle with the ‘plebs’, heh…well they’re not plebs…but you know what I mean, eh Marlz?”
“Yeah…commoners…by the way…second most important question…do we get KFC?”
“I love KFC!” David announced.
“Thanks for telling us…” Pierre murmured under his breath.
Ben arched an eyebrow at him then nodded to me.
“You know it, Marlz…of course. My dad’ll make sure of it.”
“Thanks. Well, see you at the game, right?”
“Yep, see you there.”
Ben waved as he headed back to his place. Pierre frowned thoughtfully after him.
“How can his dad make sure we have KFC?”
I smiled in glee at him. “Mick Price…Ben’s Dad, is the regional manager of KFC.”
“That’s cool.” This time he actually sounded interested.
“Yeah…when I was in…uh…year 7…last year of primary school here…we went to Ben’s place and his Dad had all this KFC and I said to Ben…‘what’s going on here?’ and he told me about his dad being the manager…and now whenever we have a party or whatever…out comes the KFC…”
“That is way cool,” David bounced up next to me. I grinned at him and then jerked my head down the street.
“Come on…we’re almost in town.”
We strolled toward The Cri and I pointed across to it.
“That’s one of the night clubs…Carly and I were there the other night.”
“Yeah…getting completely wasted.” Carly admitted sheepishly.
“That’d be Pierre,” Chuck informed us.
“Yeah, I’d have to agree there,” Pierre rolled his eyes.
“Whoa…you agree with Chuck?” Pat pretended to look shocked. Pierre and Chuck both grabbed him around the neck.
“Watch it, Pat…” Pierre growled. And Chuck pretended to smack him but he moved at the last moment and he got Pierre in the face instead. The SP singer let go of Pat and tackled Chuck in the middle of the footpath.
“You…I oughta slap you one for that…” Pierre slapped Chuck across the face; his friend grabbed at his hands and slapped him back. My friends and I hung back watching in amusement. Pat had his camera out filming them and David, Jeff and Seb were egging them on. Cassie rolled forward and shook her head.
“Come on…let’s keep going.”
I winked at Carly and we raced past them and ran down the street yelling loudly:
“The Purple Monsters are going to get us!!!”
Passersby looked strangely at us. The five Simple Plan guys stopped what they were doing and Pat turned the camera after us. Carly and I danced around in the middle of the street (It’s a large strip along the night club row) calling out weird things to each other…I bet we were weirding everybody out…but hey it’s fun.
Pierre turned to Cassie. “Are they always like that?”
“No…usually only if they’re drunk…which they’re not…also if they had heaps of coffee in the morning…but I don’t know if they have or not…”
“I heard that!” I called back as we came jogging back.
“You’re crazier than David.” Pierre smirked at me.
“Should I be insulted?”
“Only if you think it’s an insult.”
“Nah…I’m not then.”
“Good…cause it was a compliment.”
“You could just say it was an insult and she could argue with you,” Chuck pointed out.
“No…I’m in a good mood, now.”
“Sure you are, Bouvier.”
“You know it, Comeau.”
I sighed and waved down the nightclub strip. Pat panned up and down and glanced at me.
“This is the nightclub strip…not much going on during the daytime obviously…we’ll bring you down here after tonight’s show…it livens up then.”
“Hehe…looking forward to it,” Pierre smiled at me…a real one this time. Finally…I’m doing something right…
“Well…let’s go down to The Mall.”