|This is where Isa's adventure is set. The sea arm connects to the North Sea on the left hand side (not in the map).|
Chapter 3 – part 2
Not much later they skidded to a halt at the car park. Isa got down stiffly, wobbling a bit on her broken shoe. Remembering Dirk didn’t do hand shakes, she gave him a grateful smile and a nod.
“Thanks ever so much. I don’t know what I would have done without your kind help.”
His deep-sea blue eyes twinkled.
“Screamed some more at the waves, probably,” he muttered.
This time he didn’t catch her out quite as much.
“Are you always this blunt?”
“I didn’t mean to offend,” he said quickly.
He looked as if he meant it, too. His gaze was direct and frank, the twinkle replaced by an innocent honesty. Isa felt herself drawn.
“I mustn’t keep you,” she said with regret. “You will be expected at home, no doubt, Christmas dinner?”
But Dirk gave a swift shake of the head.
“I have no plans.”
“No plans? Won’t you be having dinner with your parents?”
“Who with then? You will not eat alone, will you? At Christmas?”
“Yep.” (Copyright Renée Koopman – If you steal this, you are a very bad person!)
She watched his eyes. Either he was telling the truth, or he was a bloody good liar. Seventeen, and then home alone? This shouldn’t be allowed, she decided.
“Come home with me,” she suddenly blurted. “My girls will be there, it will be fun.”
Dirk looked scared again. His sudden mood swings amazed Isa.
“Nothing to worry about, they’re coming over for dinner, you’ll like them. Bobby is a student, she’s 19, and Suzan is 22, she’s a teacher in Belgium but over for the holidays. Older than you, but not that much older. Come on, Dirk, it will be good fun,” she repeated breathlessly.
Still he hesitated.
“I have more than enough food! I always buy far too much, and then I’ll only feed it to Tom, and he’s too fat as it is.”
“Is Tom your husband?”
“What? No, he’s my cat.”
Isa suddenly felt deflated. Inviting Dirk wasn’t such a good idea, perhaps. But Dirk did an about-turn once again.
“Okay, I’ll come. I can go get my bike later, I’ll lock it to the lamppost over there.”
The ride to the suburb of Nieuwenhoorn was uneventful. Isa didn’t like to talk when she was concentrating on the road, and thankfully Dirk seemed to sense her mood and kept his mouth shut. In no time at all she turned into her own street.
“Here we are.”
She locked the car door and bent down to give Tom, who had materialised from under the box hedge, a quick stroke under his chin.
“Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly,” she tossed over her shoulder to Dirk, only to see him start at the threshold as if she had tossed him a dead rat. Isa, you stupid twit! she admonished herself.
“It’s a joke! Honestly, come in, come in, make yourself at home.”
She made herself turn around and marched into her house, hoping he would follow her as he had done at the harbour months ago. He did. Isa busied herself with putting the kettle on, guessing he would like tea better than her usual chilled tipple from the fridge. When she came back into the living area, she saw him standing in front of her bookshelves, intently reading the titles on the spines.
“You like detectives,” he stated a fact. “And Art.”
“Yes. I’ve made you Earl Grey, it’s the closest to ‘just tea’ I have, is that all right? What kind of books do you like?”
“I don’t read,” Dirk said.
© Renée Koopman