You really are your mother’s daughter. You can be reckless at times, sure, but your squeamishness means that food hygiene will never be a risky area for you. The safety of the falafel stand, with its nice wholesome chickpeas, pitta bread, and complete absence of salmonella, calls to you and Simon.

The guy running the falafel stand is slightly grubby looking, with a full beard and lank hair, which you’re sure the food standards agency would recommend against wearing loose. Still, it’s a clean looking little girl who assembles your snack for you, which is rather sweet. You’d guess she’s about 8 or 9, and you suppose she’s a little young to be working, but it looks like she’s having a whale of a time, playing at being a grown up. As you watch her at work, he catches your eye and gives an apologetic grin.

‘She likes helping out her old man,’ he says.

‘I’m sure she does,’ you say, returning his smile.

You and Simon stand and munch your falafel right by their little stand, and watch as the scruffy guy and his daughter serve their customers. He looks like a leaner, older, hairier Keanu Reeves. Under the hair, he’s actually kind of handsome. And you’re pretty sure he’s looking your way between customers, which is quite satisfying. You’re about to head off when a woman, in a Celia Birtwell dress, hand in hand with a dreadlocked guy, approaches, and Keanu howls with delight.

‘Thank fuck for that!’

‘Jase,’ says the woman in the Birtwell dress. ‘Not in front of Leaf.’

‘I know that word,’ says Leaf. ‘I’m helping Dad.’

‘Yes, you’re being very helpful, thank you. And please tell your mother that you know that you mustn’t use that word in front of your grandparents or your teachers.’

‘Well, it’s not the point really, but I suppose that’s something,’ says the woman. Leaf rolls her eyes.

Keanu glances at the dreadlocks guy and grunts an ‘alright?’ by way of greeting.

‘Come on,’ says Simon, ‘Let’s go and party.’

As you walk away, you say ‘I was loving that Hackney hippy family, weren’t you?’

‘The Hackney hippy dad was loving you,’ he says. ‘He was totally checking you out.

‘Was he? Hard to see under the curtain of hair.’

‘You don’t fool me, I saw you looking at him. He was pretty hot, I thought. Under the grime.’

‘Yes, alright, I admit it. I thought he was quite fit. But my god, a falafel stand and a daughter called Leaf! Jeez....’

‘Don’t know it till you’ve tried it, Sarah. I bet he’s good in bed. Those sensitive types love a bit of slow, deep and meaningful sex. Lots of foreplay, massage, candles round the bed, all that gubbins.’

‘How many hippie stoners have you shagged? They’re hardly your type.’

‘I know, I know. But I do feel that my hobby as a sexual anthropologist gives me a good insight.’

‘Hobby?’ you laugh, ‘It’s your life’s work!’

 ‘Listen, you haven’t got laid since you and Charlie broke up. Stop looking at men as potential partners and start looking at them as potential rebound shags. You’ll find them all a lot more appealing.’

‘Sure. Whatever.’

On surveying the Secret Sundaze tent you find Alice deep in conversation with a fat bloke with curly hair. You’re surprised at first, quickly decide she can’t be on the pull, and go ahead and interrupt her.

You were right. She was just on the lig. She scored the necessary gear to roll up a couple of joints, so you sit back and enjoy the psychedelic rock, and weigh up the merits of the other stages and tents you could be at. They all involve walking first of all, then standing – or even dancing – when you get there. And after the smoke, you’ve somehow lost your energy for all that.

‘Oooh,’ says Simon, ‘Look who’s here.’

You turn, and clock the Keanu lookalike, who catches your eye. He gives a shy smile, and you nod and smile in reply. Without the apron you can better see his body, lean and muscular under a thin t-shirt.

‘He’s hot, who is he?’ asks Alice.

‘The falafel stand guy,’ you mutter. ‘Don’t stare.’

‘Ah, that explains the hair,’ says Alice, continuing to stare. ‘He looks like Stig of the Dump.’

‘Hi,’ says Keanu, approaching you.

Alice and Simon chorus ‘hi’, along with you. Then Simon tugs at Alice’s elbow and points at something – probably nothing – on the stage. It’s a move designed to let you talk to the cute hippy without distraction, and you’re not sure whether to thank him or not.

‘This guy’s great, isn’t he?’ says Stig.

‘Yeah, yeah, really good,’ you reply, tuning in to the music for a second to see if you believe what you’re saying or not. Turns out you do, so that’s good. ‘So, left your daughter in charge of the stand have you?’

He laughs. ‘No, no, her mum and her boyfriend are looking after it, don’t worry.’

‘Right, right.’

‘I’m Jason, by the way.’

‘Sarah,’ you say, shaking hands.

‘Mind if I join you?’

‘Go ahead.’

You sit and listen to the music together, exchanging the odd comment and trying to ignore the glances Alice is sneaking you. After a while, Jason puts his hand on yours, without a word, and squeezes it. You are a bit confused by this (and the smoke, and the beers). Have you missed something? Because you’re pretty sure you’ve only just met this guy, and here he is holding your hand. In a very modern take on courting etiquette, hand-holding for you is strictly for relationships. You’d do a lot of things with a guy before you held his hand in public. Still, it seems rude to just pull your hand away. So you just sit there, and take the joint he offers you, and wonder what will come of this.

Jason turns and looks directly at you. ‘You know, you’ve got a nice great aura,’ he says.

You smile, unsure how to react. ‘Um, thanks. I think. I didn’t even know I had an aura at all!’

‘Of course you do,’ he replies, earnestly. ‘Everyone does.’

‘Right, right,’ you nod. ‘Well, listen, my aura and I need to go and find the loo.’

It’s a lie, of course. You’re just ready to get away. You’re not sure this is very ‘you’, this talk of karma with a Hackney hippy. You get to your feet with an apologetic smile, and beckon Alice to join you.

‘Listen, can I get your number?’ asks Jason.

Because the easiest answer is yes, you give him your number. He hugs you, and you enjoy the brief contact, though the intense look he gives you as you say goodbye is a little unsettling.

‘Brilliant,’ says Alice. ‘What are you going to say when he calls?’

‘He mightn’t call.’

‘Come on. He’s going to call. And you’re are you going to see him?’

‘Why shouldn’t she?’ Simon protests. ‘He’s hot.’

‘Because he’s a soap dodger, is why.’

‘Tch, you women are so bloody short sighted,’ says Simon. ‘But she’s right, Sarah. He’s definitely going to call. I can tell.’

You sigh, and agree that they are probably right.

 

So, it's your final choice. What are you going to do when he calls?

 

If you decide to see him go to Chapter Seven VIII to face the consequences

If you decide to knock him back go to Chapter Seven XXIII to face the consequences