Hiding behind a Honda Civic, Icarus and Daedalus watched the exit of Ikea with bated breath. The high pitched yelp of a woman had been heard from within the store and both father and son hoped sincerely that it wasn’t Daedalus’s ex-girlfriend Nigella. If she had seen them and followed them out, the potential for things to turn seriously ugly and sad was dangerously high.
Icarus sat in quiet dread remembering his previous encounters with Nigella’s daughter Melissa, who’d surely try to engage him in conversation. Last time she tried to impress Icarus she had pretended that she smoked. Upon taking half a toke from her mother’s cigarette she had very nearly puked and covered her tracks by blaming the cigarette brand and that she ‘hadn’t had one in a while’. Icarus had been highly unimpressed. And for Icarus to be unimpressed, when he himself was by nature a self-conscious loner plagued with perpetual awkwardness, Melissa’s efforts must have reeked of desperation.
“I don’t see anyone. Are you sure it was a woman?” whispered Daedalus. “Christ, please. Not her. Not now. Do you think she saw? I bloody hate that shop. Why did we have to come today?! A Saturday afternoon! The busiest time! It’s so hot I could melt. Why didn’t we stay at home? We could have been in the garden today. You, me, the Piz Buin and a couple of Calippos.”
Icarus was paying no attention to his rambling father. Phoebe Grayson had just posted another hot picture of herself and her friends. They were still in there, in Ikea. This latest one had been taken by the display kitchens. She stood there with her butt pushed out, her friends pretended to make tea and take something out the oven. They all looked happy and Icarus wasn’t sure whether he wanted to be on her or just be her. The last Instagram photo Icarus posted was of a frog he’d found in the woods, and while he’d been delighted to have spotted it, his happiness didn’t seem to compare to the real-life companionship of actual laughing, joking friends. In the day’s scorching heat, Icarus grumpily whipped out a beanie from one of the large pockets of his camo shorts and pulled it down over his head.
Suddenly Daedalus let out a gasp and stifled it quickly with his hand. Two familiar faces had appeared at the exit of Ikea. “Oh my God. Icarus. It is them! What am I going to do!?” Looking up from his phone screen Icarus could see the shiny, blonde hair of a tall woman and a smaller, darker haired girl somewhere behind her. “Oh bloody hell!”
“Okay son, stay calm. We can avoid them. We have to avoid them.” Daedalus was sweating. He began ringing his hands and quickly glancing inconspicuously back at the store doors, back at Nigella. “Look at her. She looks beautiful. I can’t let her see me. She was the one, I can’t let her see me in a state.” Mania gripped him and he stared at the ground, thinking with furrowed brows
Icarus rolled his eyes and sighed loudly. He didn’t want to see his dad melt into a sobbing, pleading therapy case by confronting this woman. Equally, he didn’t fancy being a chew toy for her daughter — his attention was required now. He dropped his phone into a pocket of his pants and spoke calmly and firmly to his panicking father who was slowly turning red in the face. “Okay Dad listen, we don’t know where the car is. For all we know it might be in a completely different car park to the one we’re in. They’re over there, we’re over here, and we can’t leave this car park without getting seen. What do we do?” Both sat in the heat of the sun, silent in contemplation.
Out of the corner of his eye, Daedalus spotted a large IKEA truck being loaded up for delivery just a few spaces away. He watched thoughtfully as the driver began to walk away towards the store, leaving the truck open and unattended. An idea crept into his brain.