Wednesday, 18 January 2017


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Craig pulled up to the bumper of the car in front. 
“What’s this?” Chantelle asked.
“It’s the French border,” Craig said. “We have to wait anyway, so by checking us here we can just drive off on the other side.”
Chantelle grunted. Craig tried tapping the steering wheel in time to the music. God, he hated the generic pop on Radio One, but Chantelle had insisted that Radio Two was for Grandads. She’d complained after less than twenty minutes in the car that the music was worse than his driving then which was also like an old fuddy-duddy. After another five minutes she re-tuned the radio uninvited and grumbled for a further hour that Craig didn’t even have Radio One on his pre-set channels.
“I can’t believe you don’t have a usb connector,” she said for the sixteenth time. “You’re so lame.”
She’d never complained about it before. When they were cwtched up on the back seat licking each other’s tonsils, she’d hardly noticed the ‘lame’ music Radio Two was playing or the lack of Spotify.
He rolled the car forward and lowered his window.
“Bonjour,” he said.
“Bonsoir,” the French officer replied with just a hint of correction, but it was only five pm.
Craig handed over the passports and smiled. He always felt guilty at moments like these, even when he had done nothing wrong.
The officer passed the documents back and pointed to the line for check-in.
 “Merci,” Craig said, and moved the car slowly into the next line.
Chantelle tutted. “They speak English you know?”
“Yes, but it’s nice to make an attempt, isn’t it?”
“Make a tit of yourself you mean.” There was no cheeky glint in her voice. He tried to put his arm around her and pull her in for a kiss.
“I’ve just put lippy on. What we waiting for now?”
This is check in, then there will be British border police, then we should be able to stretch our legs for a moment before getting on the ferry.”
Chantelle didn’t answer him; she was too busy admiring herself on her phone camera.
“Can I post a selfie now?” she asked. Her long, bronzed legs stretched onto his dashboard.
“No, you know we can’t. We’ve had this conversation a million times.”
“But you said we’re not doing anything wrong.”
“Technically, we’re not. But your parents might not see it that way.”
“But you’re not my teacher anymore.”
Craig sighed. When he was her teacher she was forbidden fruit, exciting, exotic. It heightened the senses and made every touch tingle. Now, she was just a bolshie teenager. How he hadn’t told her to shut the fuck up when she’d droned on and on about Taylor’s new bloke he didn’t know. He’d thought she was talking about the girl in the lower sixth, it turned out he’d spent an hour listening to the gory details of celebrity gossip. Who gives a shit about Taylor Swift? At that point, he’d wanted to turn the car around and go home. But they’d come this far and her body was to die for, getting to devour it in a hotel room instead of the back of his car was giving him an erection just thinking about it.
“Tickets please,” the check-in woman looked at the tickets and at the two of them.
“Holiday with the daughter sir?” she asked.
“Something like that,” Craig replied. Chantelle snaked a hand onto the top his leg.
“Yeah, something like that,” she said. Craig slapped her away.
The woman smiled, handed back the documents and waved them on.
The drove straight through the UK Border, waved on by a man in an orange hi-vis vest.
“We’re in the clear,” Craig said, parking up.
Chantelle ignored him, she was busy editing a photo of herself with cat’s ears and a dog’s nose.
“Don’t you dare put that on Facebook or Instagram,” Craig said.
“You’re not my dad.” Chantelle said, “but you’re acting like him.”
“What did you say?”
“I’m going to get a cup of tea, do you wanna come?”
Chantelle shook her head.
“Do you want anything?”
She ignored him. He slammed the car door and marched across to the passenger services building, shaking his head. Was her warm succulent skin really worth this hassle?

He saw them before they saw him. The one policewoman was standing next to Chantelle who was furiously typing into her phone, no doubt relieved she could finally share her latest Snapchat photo. The other was scanning the car park looking for Craig, while the policeman had his head inside the car, no doubt collecting the passports. He stood there assessing his options. He considered slipping back inside the building and trying to get on the ferry, but his chances of escape were minimal and to be honest, he felt quite relieved. He walked with his head held high over to the car, wondering what job he could do once he was struck off from teaching.

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