Adrian tripped over his own feet as he tackled - or, at least, made a clumsy attempt at tacking - the tattered beige football from one of Alison's friends. The girl gave a playful scream as Adrian grabbed her by the narrow waist and swung her, leaving her down behind him, and seizing the ball for himself.
It amazed him, really. It seem as though all of the pretty, thin blondes within a 50 mile radius of the town flocked to imitate Alison. The same girl playfully hit Adrian in the back, and although he wouldn't have faltered under her weight, Adrian dove onto the grass, allowing her to climb over him and try to retrieve the football; Adrian could never thank Derek enough for bringing this girl and her gorgeous friends into their group. Ever.
"Derek! Help!" he yelled, as Alison's blonde friends - five i total - swarmed in to tackle him. He twisted his neck around to where Derek had his back pressed against a pale, speckled tree, and his hands branched around Alison's stomach. The two spoke sincerely to each other over Alison's shoulder, pausing to kiss each other tenderly. "Derek!" Adrian roared, only too eager to get on his best friend's nerves.
Derek's head snapped up.
"Help!" Adrian called.
"Yeah, Derek, poor Adrian is getting his arse kicked by a couple of girls!" one of Alison's friends called out, and the others laughed at his expense.
Derek pecked Alison's cheek and jogged over to rescuse Adrian. Adrian wriggled the ball into his right hand and tossed in hard over the heads of the girls; Derek leaped up to snatch it from the air and tear away.
As the girls despatched to hunt Derek down, Adrian dragged himself to his feet. Alison watched her fiance from beneath the tree, alone, and Adrian glanced around in a sudden flush of anxiety.
His eyes fell upon Beth - clad in black jeans and an oversized grey jacket, perched on a park bench, knees hugged tightly to her chin. Held loosely in her left hand was her big black camera. Her eyes had that glazed look that Adrian had hoped he would never find there again. A picture of listlessness. And he hadn't even known she'd loved Derek that much...
He realised how intensely he'd been examing her, and snapped out of his contemplation as Alison confidently crossed the grass to join Beth.
Adrian jogged after Derek and the girls, trying to shake away the strange feelings that had come over him.