Holidays

~600 words :: Jude Law/Ewan McGregor :: 4/5/05
Two boys meet on holiday.


“What are you doing?”

“What do you mean what am I doing? What does it look like?”

“Throwing rocks in the water?”

Skipping! I’m skipping stones.”

“Oh.” Jude squints at the other boy and watches as another rock plops into the river. He decides not to say anything about the lack of skipping.

“Are you here on holiday?” he asks after a while.

“Nope.” The boy flops down on the grass next to Jude. His legs are longer than Jude’s, and his feet are bare and dirty. “I’ve run away.”

Jude’s eyes widen. “Really?”

The boy nods, a sharp jerk of his head. His lips are pressed together and there’s a line between his eyebrows.

“How come?”

“I hate school,” the boy says. “I don’t care if summer’s almost over, I’m not going back.”

Drawing his knees up, Jude wraps his arms around them. He wants to ask this boy why he hates school, and if it’s because the other boys beat him up and call him queer and poof and Judy. Well, they wouldn’t call him Judy, but they might call him some other girl’s name.

Jude glances sidelong at him, at the reddish hair sticking up every which way and the dirt smudged across one cheek. No, Jude can’t imagine anyone calling him a girl.

“I hate school, too,” Jude says, grabbing a handful of grass and throwing it out in front of him. The breeze blows most of it back in his face. “It’s rubbish.”

The boy turns to him, grinning, and when he says, “Stay here with me, then,” Jude’s stomach does an odd little flip-flop.

Without hesitating, Jude says, “All right.”

It’s nearly dark when he hears a shout and turns to see an older boy running towards them. “Ewan! Mum says time for dinner.”

The older boy waits until Jude’s friend – Ewan – responds with a sullen “all right” and then turns and heads back towards the direction of the campground.

“You lied,” Jude says quietly, and he hates that he’s blinking away tears.

Ewan seems smaller than he did just a few minutes before. He picks at a scab on his knee and doesn’t look at Jude. “I wanted it to be true.”

Before Jude can say anything, Ewan scrambles closer, puts his hands on Jude’s shoulders and kisses him. Jude’s stomach does that little flip again and he can feel his cheeks burning. He doesn’t move for a long time after Ewan’s gone.


The party’s moving inside, but Jude stays out on the beach, watching the sunset. No one’ll miss him anyway. He shouldn’t have let himself be talked into a holiday in France; it’s not doing anything to take his mind off the breakup.

He sighs and kicks at the sand and finally wanders back to the villa. It’s lit up bright as day and the music is blaring. So much for any hope of turning in early.

“Jude,” Rob says, handing him a beer. “Where’ve you been?”

There’s someone with Rob that Jude doesn’t recognise. Only he does, but he’s not sure from when or where until the bloke looks at him and Jude’s stomach does a familiar flip-flop.

Rob is talking still, introducing the bloke as Ewan, chattering away about Ewan having overslept and missed his train, but Jude’s sure Ewan’s not paying any more attention than he is.

Eventually Rob wanders off, making the rounds and playing host. Jude fiddles with the pulltab on his beer, looks at Ewan through his lashes, and says, “You here on holiday?”

“Nope,” Ewan grins, the corners of his eyes crinkling up, “I’ve run away.”