7. Georgia

Georgia and Neil were making slow progress. Every time he saw a service station he stopped to get more food. Georgia got out every so often to stretch her long legs and empty the car of wrappers and bottles. She liked to think that she ate a normal amount. In fact, some people thought she ate quite a lot. Either way, Neil put her to shame. It was a mystery to her how he managed to eat that much, but he insisted that it was necessary because of how much he rowed. As they got back into the car at the sixth rest stop, Neil stopped with his legs still out of the side of the car and bent forward.
         “Babe, you okay?” Georgia asked, concerned.
         “Totally fine, I'm just taking a moment,” came the response, slightly strained and worryingly quiet to her ears. Before she had time to express this worry, though, Neil jolted and then bolted from the car into the bushes. Georgia called after him and got out of the car to try and find him but he had disappeared. She tried calling his name again but to no avail. Then, suddenly, he appeared behind her and patted her on the shoulder, making her jump quite a lot.
         “Neil!” she cried, throwing her arms around him, “that was so scary, don’t you ever bloody do that to me again! I thought you’d just run off and left me here! Actually, no, I didn’t think that but I didn’t know what to think, I had no idea what was happening!” she pulled away slightly, “What smells like sick?”
         “I maybe shouldn’t have had that prawn and taramasalata sandwich last time we stopped, I just vommed pink in the bushes.”
         Georgia slowly took her arms away from around Neil’s neck and moved back a step. Then, she took a deep breath and did what her friends referred to as ‘going into G-mode’. This was used to describe Georgia’s talent at organising problematic or otherwise potentially sticky situations by going into overdrive and coming up with – as well as implementing – solutions at speed. First, she sat Neil down in the passenger seat with his legs sticking out again so that he was closer to the bushes. She opened all the doors of the car and took out all the remaining food wrappers (starting with the pink ones) to alleviate any smells that might make Neil sick again. Finally, she went back into the service station and bought water and a change of clothes for Neil (just in case) from the M&S there.
         When she got back to the car, Neil was hunched over his legs, looking pretty sorry for himself. As she walked towards him, a woman stopped her and pointed towards the sorry sight.
         “Is he okay?” she asked, sounding genuinely concerned.
         “Yes, he’s fine,” Georgia told her, “It’s nothing bad, just a bit of food poisoning I think. I've bought him some water and things and I'm going to take him home to rest for a while,”
         “Oh, that’s alright then,” the woman sounded relieved, “I hope he gets better. How lovely you are – he’s lucky to have someone like you. These men just overdo it sometimes don’t they, leaving their wives to clear up behind them. Good thing we love them!” she laughed. Georgia turned from Neil to tell the woman that she wasn’t his wife and that they’d only been together for three months, hardly enough time to fall in love. But the woman had gone.
       Georgia returned to the car, put the clothes in the backseat and checked on Neil. She helped to ease him fully into the car and strapped him in, closing the door when she was done. Then, she went round to the driver’s side and got in herself. She gave Neil water and told him to drink plenty, and then she set off at an easy pace to be sure the car didn’t jolt. Oh my gosh, she suddenly thought to herself, I am being his wife. But for some reason, the prospect didn’t scare her or make her at all uneasy, as it would have before with any other boyfriend she’d had. That fact, though, did unease her slightly.

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