Short Stuff is up to something. I know it. I should have gone with her, why the heck didn’t I? Lara remonstrated with herself as she downloaded her photos.
Darn, I’m gonna have to go and find out. Closing the lid of the laptop with a snap, Lara caught up her wallet and set off in search of Sasha. I hope she hasn’t done anything silly, and she jogged towards the village.
She heard Sasha before she saw her. Lara sighed and picked up speed. As she flew around the corner, she saw Sasha standing on the village green haranguing a police officer. Her arms waved in the air as she gesticulated.
“Oh, shoot,” she approached the commotion in effortless strides. “Anything I can do Officer?”
“And you are?” questioned the police officer.
“Lara, this, this…,” spluttered Sasha red-faced with anger. Before Lara could respond, she jabbed a finger towards the uniformed officer.
Lara grasped Sasha’s wrist and forced it down, “cool it, Sasha and hush now.”
“No, I won’t, she’s given me a ticket!” Sasha pulled her hand out of Lara’s grasp and waved a piece of paper in front of Lara’s face.
“Honey!” Lara stepped back as the ticket scraped past her nose.
“She said I required a permit to sell my sketches.”
“Is that what you’ve been doing?” Sasha nodded.
“Do you have a permit, honey?” Lara asked calmly. Sasha shook her head.
“As I have already explained to you, Miss, it is illegal to trade unless you have a registered trader’s permit.” The police officer locked eyes with Lara as though pleading for assistance.
“And I’m not paying the fine,” piped up Sasha, and she scrunched up the paper ticket into a ball and tossed it onto the grass.
Lara raised an eyebrow, “stop your fussing right now, Sasha.”
Sasha opened her mouth and then closed it with a snap. Lara ignored her and addressed the Police Officer. “I apologise for my friend here,” behind her she heard a snort of disgust. “I’ll see she pays the fine, no doubt about that.”
“Like hell, I will,” muttered Sasha.
“Would you give us a minute, please?” Lara nodded at the officer and then grabbed Sasha by her upper arm and frogmarched her out of hearing. “You quit your fussing right now, you hear, otherwise I’m gonna take a strap to your butt when we get back home,” Lara said sternly as they stood out of earshot under the shade of the oak tree. Sasha stiffened, but the tips of her ears coloured a shade of pink.
“Now you go back to the Officer, you apologise, and you accept the ticket.” Lara placed a hand in the centre of her back and steered her firmly towards the policewoman.
Mortified, Sasha stammered out an apology, aware of Lara standing right behind her. White-faced, she accepted the reissued ticket and watched sulkily as the police officer drove away. “All my hard work for nothing,” she said bitterly. Her shoulders slumped as she read the ticket in her hand. A fine of fifty-five pounds! She risked a glance at Lara.
“I…I lost my temper,” she gave a rueful laugh.
“Mmmhmm,” Lara placed her hands on her hips.
“Er…. sorry,” Sasha nibbled on her fingernail. Oh fuck, she was in trouble.
“You and I need to talk about some things.”
“We do?” she said with alarm, and a tiny tremor rippled through her.
Lara nodded, “Oh, yes. But we’ll do that back on the boat. In the meantime, I’m hungry. Let’s go get something to eat.”
“Honey, you riled me right up, by the way, you lost your temper, I need to calm down before we talk about it.”
“There’s a neat little café over there, let’s go eat.”
Lara slung Sasha’s backpack onto her shoulder, gripped Sasha lightly by the upper arm and escorted her across the road to the café. She held the door open for Sasha to enter, “I never spank in anger, honey,” she said dryly as she held the café door open for Sasha to pass through.