‘Buenos Aires turned out to be one of those places where they’ve never learned actual English’
SO BUENOS AIRES was bigger than I expected – it was actually, like, humongous? – and it also turned out to be one of those places where they’ve never learned actual English. They basically do their own thing, language-wise. The plan was to try to find Erika and persuade her to come to Barbados to see our old man marry her old dear. Except – aport from the occasional voice message to say she’s still alive – no one’s heard a word from her since she left Fionn on his Tobler at the altar last November. Which was something I predicted, you possibly remember. I was the one who said that when Jesus Taradella – an old flame of hers from her equestrian days – showed up a couple of weeks before the wedding, there was no way it was ever going ahead.
But I knew it would make my old man’s day if his only daughter was there to see him get hitched to the love of his basic life.
So I rocked up in Orgentina with no actual plan, just this idea in my head to check out the kind of places I’d expect to find my sister. Expensive deportment stores, mainly. What was it the goys christened her at the height of the whole Celtic Tiger thing? Shop and Awe – that was it.
And that’s how I’ve pretty much pictured her since she split – swanning around Orgentina’s equivalent of BTs, spending Jesus’s moo on threads.
Three days I ended up walking around the shops. A couple of times I thought I saw her – once, disappearing into a changing room with a red Roland Mouret sheath dress, except when I whipped back the curtain, it turned out not to be her? And the security staff were very much of the opinion that I should leave the shop immediately.
I’d just about given up the ghost, roysh, when I was walking past this, like, coffee shop, just off the main drag, on the way back to the Sheraton and I saw her – what are the actual chances? – just sitting in the window, lost in thought, nursing a cup of what turned out to be green tea.
“You were always a cappuccino girl!” That was my opening line. It actually sounded a lot cooler in my head. She looked at me like I was a wet dog at a white wedding.
She was like, “Get away from me! Now!”
I just blanked her and sat on the chair opposite. She looked well. And I don’t mean that in, like, a weird way? I’m actually saying it as her brother. She had a great tan and she was wearing a fitted black shirt that really showed off her norks.
She was all, “I don’t actually believe this!”
I was there, “Well, you’d better stort believing it! How’s what’s-his-name? Still going strong, is it?”
“Just shut up. What the hell are you doing here?”
“Okay, if you must know, I came to find you.
“Well, mainly for the old man’s sake.”
She looked suddenly, I don’t know, concerned? “Is he okay?”
“Health-wise, yeah. But his hort is basically broken.”
She rolled her eyes. That’d be a thing she does.
I was like, “They’re getting married, Erika. Your mum and – you’d have to say – dad. Sandy Lane, the whole bit. And it’s breaking his hort that you’re not going to be there.”
She turned away, like it was something she didn’t want to hear? “I can’t believe you came all the way . . . Ross, I want you to leave.”
“Not until you say that you’ll come. To the actual wedding.”
She sighed. “Okay, I’ll . . . I’ll think about it. But I want you to go. Now.”
It was at that exact moment, roysh, that the manageress suddenly arrived over and storted talking to Erika in a language I straight away recognised as not English. And though the actual words were pretty much gobbledygook to me, I could tell immediately that the woman was giving out yords to Erika.
What happened next seriously shocked me. Instead of giving the woman a serious filthy, then running her – which would be her usual MO in these kinds of situations – Erika storted talking back to her in what turned out to be Spanish, nodding and going, “Si . . . si . . . si . . .”
The woman then focked off back behind the counter.
And that’s when I copped it. It was like some fifth sense was telling me.
I was like, “You’re . . . working here?”
She didn’t even try to deny it? She was there, “So what, Ross?”
“So what? I thought this Jesus dude was rolling in it?”
His old man is supposedly a rich industrialist – whatever the fock it is they do.
“I don’t want to be a kept woman, Ross.”
I actually laughed at that one. “Since when?”
“Since . . .”
A change suddenly came over her face. And that’s when I got the second shock.
I was like, “He’s gone, isn’t he?”
She just shook her head. “Yes, he’s gone.”
I was there, “Where? Why?”
She went, “Jesus has a problem with fidelity.”
I suspected that. One player recognises another. I was like, “Did you catch him in the actual act?”
“You don’t have to look so pleased about it, Ross.”
“Hey, if he didn’t realise what he had, that’s his problem. A girl who’s amazing looks-wise – also intelligent, great body . . .”
“Oh my God,” she went, “you are so weird, Ross.”
I was like, “You still haven’t answered my question.”
“Will you come with me? To Barbados?”
She was there, “I don’t know. It’s . . . difficult. I’ll think about it.”
The manageress roared something at her in, again, Spanish.
“Ross,” Erika went, “I have to go back to work.”
I was like, “Hey, no probs. Look, if you want to ring me when you finish up, I’m staying at the . . .”
Erika suddenly stood up. And that’s when I got the third shock of the day. I was so in shock that my mouth was left just flapping open and closed like a man bobbing for apples.
I’ve never been the brightest crayon in the box. But even I, with my low double-digit IQ, could see that my sister was heavily – and we’re talking heavily – pregnant.