‘Isla, come on, we need to go!’ her mother called.

Isla slowly pulled the brush through her long hair. ‘Coming,’ she drawled. She pulled the brush through her hair again. Why on earth should she hurry? These were the last precious few days of her holiday, and now they were going to spend them at one of her father’s farming mates. Their farm was so far away they’d have to stay over. ‘They have children your age,’ her mother had excitedly told her. Why did parents think that taking you to some stranger’s house, and making you play with their children, was exciting? It had the opposite effect – it was potentially terrifying, or deathly boring. Besides, at sixteen, you didn’t ‘play’ anymore!

She heard her mother’s feet stomping up the stairs. ‘Isla I am losing patience with you! Finish with the hair and bring your bag and your person to the car immediately!’ she shouted. Isla moaned and shoved her brush into her bag. This was going to be the worst way to spend the last few precious days of school holidays.

On the way to wherever-on-earth they were going, Isla put her headphones on and listened to whatever Karabo was listening to.

It was easier than trying to find good music herself. As she stared out of the window, at the blurred green and brown farmlands of the Eastern Cape, she thought about Karabo and Buzz. She even smiled slightly. Clearly the pinkie promise had worked, and Buzz was such a wonderful guy, especially compared to… what did the sangoma call William? Oh yes, the sea rat. Buzz was a million times better than the sea rat. Karabo had described how Buzz had changed and was looking really hot. Isla couldn’t quite imagine it. Buzz was plain at best in her eyes, especially compared to Mzi. No one compared to Mzi, but Mzi clearly wasn’t interested in her anymore. So there was no point in even thinking about him.

Isla’s heart ached as it had done all holiday. When Karabo told her how her mother had told Mzi about her and Buzz, and then how they had hung out for a few nights, Isla played it extremely cool.

‘So, what movie did you see?’ she asked, desperate to know how Mzi had been. ‘Some Avengers junk,’ said Karabo. ‘The guys chose. But it was OK, I guess. Anyway, Mzi was cool as usual, didn’t even flinch when Buzz kissed me in the movie, so I guess it’s all good,’ Isla sniggered. ‘I hope he tells William, and…’

‘And what Isla?’ interrupted Karabo.

‘Well, you know, that he gets jealous or something,’ said Isla. Karabo laughed at her. ‘Jealous! William? Impossible. Besides, we aren’t talking about William, or even thinking of him as far as I understand,’ said Karabo.

No matter how desperate she’d been to find out what Mzi was doing in Joburg, and how he seemed or if he was seeing anyone, Isla held back her questions. It was better if she didn’t know. That way there wasn’t anything to think about, and she could keep on working on forgetting all about Mzi.

Isla drifted off to sleep and was woken by the car slowing down along a sand road. The wheels of the car crunched slowly, and

Isla rubbed her eyes. A long farm road meandered towards a small mountain outcrop. Fields of cattle stretched out on both sides of the road, and a large farmhouse appeared from within a thicket of silver oaks. A wide porch ran around the front of the house, and Isla could see people coming out of the house to greet them. As her dad parked the car, Isla tried to make out who they were going to be spending the next few days with. Her dad was vigorously shaking hands and beaming at a large man with a thick beard, his big belly extending towards him. That was definitely her dad’s farmer friend. A woman about Mom’s age walked up to her mother, and they hugged and started talking immediately. That was probably the mother.

‘Aren’t you getting out?’ asked Fab. Isla scowled at her brother. ‘No, why don’t you?’ she asked. He shrugged, and he slowly opened the door and climbed out, slamming it behind him. A young girl, around her brother’s age, was standing next to the mother. ‘Great!’ thought Isla. She would now have to babysit her brother and this girl all day. Slowly, she drew her headphones back and left them hanging on her neck. She slid out of the car and walked slowly towards her mother.

‘And this is Isla, my daughter,’ gestured her mother, drawing Isla towards her. ‘Hi,’ said Isla. ‘This is Nicky, and I’m Cath. Nice to meet you, Isla,’ responded Cath, the mother. ‘My son, Jonno, is also somewhere around. I think he said he was going fishing,’ said Cath, turning to look up at the house. ‘Oh, no wait, here he comes,’ she said, as one of the most beautiful boys Isla had ever seen strolled out of the house. Isla blinked to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. ‘Jonno darling, come and meet our guests,’ called Cath. Jonno flashed a brilliant smile and without any hesitation made his way towards them, first greeting Isla’s father and then turning to his mother.

‘This is Isla and Fab, and Amy,’ introduced Cath.

‘Hey,’ said Jonno, and Isla smiled back at him. He had large dark eyes and freckles. His hair was sun tinted, and when he smiled, his whole face lit up. Isla felt giddy.

‘I’m going fishing up at the stream, if anyone wants to come?’ asked Jonno to everyone. ‘Definitely me!’ demanded Fab, jumping up and down. ‘Sounds fun, I’ll go too,’ offered Isla, perhaps a little too enthusiastically, as the words tumbled out of her mouth and she realised how ridiculous she must sound. Her mother’s jaw fell open. ‘You’re going fishing?’ asked Fab, his face sneering in disbelief. ‘Why not?’ asked Isla nonchalantly, in an attempt to save herself. ‘I’ll go too then,’ said Nicky. Isla could have kissed Nicky. Definitely no babysitting required there.


Question: Why doesn’t Isla want to hear what Mzi is doing in Johannesbug?