"Lily, try concentrating more on your work and less on Jonathan and then you might actually finish a piece of art in a lesson." The girl flushed and turned back to her work and away from her boyfriend. I smiled absent mindedly. Mondays were fast becoming my favourite day, because it was the day I had first seen Cerice. My girlfriend. I smiled and felt my heart would burst as I wandered round the classroom. The bell rang, disturbing my thoughts. "Right class, pack up your work and make sure you finish that dissertation by next week!" I went to the front and sat down until they had all gone. Then I grabbed my bag and hurried out.
It only took me minutes to reach the beach, and I ran on to it and looked around urgently. Couple, no. Old woman, no. Fat man with dog, definately no. Ah, there she was at last. I practically skipped across the sand until I reached Cerice sat on a blanket in the sand.
"Afternoon Cerice sweetie!" I sat down and reached across for a kiss. She leant away a little. My heart plummeted like an anchor from a boat. Oh god, what had I done wrong? Didn't she like me? Was this the end? A thousand crazy things ran through my head. It took me a moment to calm down. "Cerice honey, what's wrong?"
"My parents are coming over today."
"Your parents? From France?"
"Oh. When did you find that out?"
"When we got back on saturday. My aunt is having them stay for a week."
"Well that's nice isn't it? You'll get to see them. I mean I know you feel like they smother you but it's still nice to see them, and they'll only be here a week."
"Yeah but..." She stopped, shook her head and then turned to satre at the ocean. "I was starting to feel like I could build a life here, you know, away from all their smothering."
"You can. Just because they come and visit doesn't mean they're taking over again. It just means they miss you."
"So it's ok. All you need to do is endulge them for a week and then they'll leave you alone again."
"But I won't be able to see you much, if at all, and I won't be able to do art. What if they deide to stay for longer?"
"Then you grin and bear it. They have to go away at some point. If not, you're just going to have to tell them that they're smothering you and to back off. They won't love you any less for that."
"They'd love me less if they knew about you." She slipped her hand in to mine and put her head on my shoulder.
"Then don't tell them yet. I know how hard it can be. Just wait until you're ready. And don't think about not being able to see me. I'll pretend to be someone you met at the cafe and became friends with if that's what it takes. And anyway, they can't have you to themselves all week, because I've asked my friend to take us out on his boat next saturday."
"On his boat?"
"He's a marine biologist and he has this glass bottom boat that he lets me go out on sometimes. I can take photos to my hearts content, and the dolphins always come to the boat so I get good shots of them. We cna even go swimming with them if you want."
"That sounds so nice!" She was smiling out at the sea. I kissed her forehead and put my head on hers.
"Then it's settled, I have you for at least one day this week."
"One day. It seems so little!"
"I know. But think about it, we might 'accidently' bump in to each other in the cafe sometime." She laughed and I squeezed her waist. "So are you coming to class tonight or do you have to go meet your parents?"
"Parents." She groaned.
"Well go then, and I'll text you tonight." I stood and brought her up with me. "I love you."
"I love you too." I grinned down at our entwined hands, then noticed a bruise on her arm.
"Where did you get that?" I said pointing to it.
"No where." Her voice sounded a bit too harsh and it caught my attention.
"Cerice, where did it come from?"
"It's nothing. Just when you dropped me off Sam saw me and tried to kiss me again. But Oscar, that boy you saw in the cafe, he hit him off and it was fine."
"He tried to force himself on to you?" I could feel my face flushing with anger.
"Not too badly. Look don't worry about it, nothing happened..."
"I don't care! He has no right to... just wait till I see that slimy..."
"No Sasha, that's what he wants! He wants proof that we're together so he can start up some hate campaign or something. Just leave it..."
"But if something happened to you..."
"It won't. It's sweet of you to worry, but I'll be fine." I felt my anger receeding slightly and reached up to stroke her face.
"Alright, for you. But if he does anything to you again, nothing you can say will stop me from telling him to back off." Cerice's face flushed, as though she were embarrassed that I cared so much.
"Thank you Sasha." We linked arms and walked up the beach so that I could go and teach and Cerice could go and meet her parents.
"Good bye, and good luck Cerice. You'll be fine." We hugged.
"Thanks. Have fun in class."
"Not without you." She flushed and kissed me. I savoured it, especially as it appeared this would be our last in a while. When our lips parted I sighed. "I guess that will have to last me until this week is over."
"We can still see each other."
"Yeah, but not kissing you is going to drive me crazy."
"Me too." I grinned and ran my index finger along her lips.
"Love you too."