‘You always do this’

‘Do what?’

‘Act like this’

‘Like what?’ I ask – though in my head I know full well what he is talking about. John is suggesting I’m acting like a teenager.

I shrug, huff, cross my arms over the chest. ‘I’m coming aren’t I?’ I ask slamming the car door.

I follow this with a silent yet dramatic – ‘But don’t ask me to be happy, because that was never part of the deal.’ Then I giggle to myself at the fact I’m now quoting lines from my books – Evie says this in Fated. (Ahh the fuzzy lines where fiction and real life blur…now if they could just blur a bit more and land me with the skills of my protagonists to hurl car shaped missiles at people’s heads and decapitate demons with circular saw blades).

Anyway, I digress. I’m huffing like a teenager not because I still am one but because John is dragging me up a bloody volcano at 7am. Last time I went up mount Batur was a year ago and then I swore on someone’s grave that it was the utter last time EVER as in EVVVVVEEEEEERRRRRR full stop for all eternity poke my eyes out and slap me around the face if I’m lying. Mainly I swore like this because as soon as you get out the car in the crater you’re hit by a swarm of flies so thick you finally understand what a corpse might feel like if left for a month on a body farm. But here I am having to go up the Volcano again because John has signed us up to a tree planting expedition which apparently he claims will be great fun. He mutters something else about how important it is for us to take part in things like this. I hear yada yada community yada green yada something but already I’m thinking ‘this sucks balls.’

Let’s reforest the volcano.

‘But why?’ I ask.

John stares at me sideways and shakes his head in mute disgust.

‘What?’ I ask, ‘I mean seriously, Batur is still a live volcano so isn’t it kind of pointless to plant trees which in all likelihood are going to be directly in the path of the next lava flow?’

And indeed when we get there we’re planting little saplings in lava rock. Lava rock left behind from the last time the volcano spewed out a little stream of molten fire. Just forty odd years ago.

I trudge in my flip flops over the caustic rock, having borrowed a pair of sunglasses from one nice man and got a second to carry my trees for me. ‘We don’t have a shovel,’ I say to John, ‘How are we supposed to plant these things?’

John holds up an old tree branch. ‘We’ll dig with this.’

I want to hit him over the head with it.

The other people laugh and take photos when I start scratching at the dirt to dig a hole. This is apparently as momentous an occasion as Will & Kate’s balcony kiss. John actually films me on my hands and knees. Someone cracks a joke about my nails.

I think sadly of twelve hours before where I was reclining on a day bed by a pool overlooking the beach down south drinking cocktails. I am THAT girl. I am not THIS girl. I make no pretences.

However I do plant all my trees. Then I take Alula’s hand and march back down the volcano to the car, filled with dead flies.

On the way back home John stops the car and buys a wooden table.

Just saying.

Now who’s the bad guy?

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