I sat on the edge of the group, just watching everyone talking and laughing. My phone was clutched in my hand in a slightly desperate way, as though I was waiting for my father to call at any point. But his earlier words echoed in my mind, over and over: you should be with your friends, having fun.
Having fun. There's two words that I haven't strung together in a sentence in a very long time.
I stood up, quite suddenly, causing everyone to look up at me.
'I'm going to get a drink,' I announced.
'Want me to come with you?' Aimee offered.
'Nope, I'm good,' I grinned, heading off down the beach.
I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for. I just needed to get up, to walk around and explore. Not spend all my time worrying about a phone call, watching others have fun.
I started off down the concrete path, my flip flops slapping along with each step I took. My large sunglasses covered my face and thin tendrils of hair that had escaped the loose bun I had made tickled the back of my neck. I absentmindedly stroked my wrist, the place where I had my mother's name tattooed. It always made me feel better, a comforting thought to know she was still with me.
It was another gorgeous day. The sun still shone down brilliantly, children ran past laughing with their friends and I could smell a barbeque cooking in the distance. There was a large pile of wood still placed in the sand further ahead: the remnants of last night.
'Can I have a coke please?' I asked the man behind the drinks stand.
He reached into a fridge and pulled out an ice cold can which I took gratefully, giving him some money.
'You're four cents short,' he told me, holding out his hand.
'I am?' I blinked stupidly.
'Oh, urm..' I began patting my pockets, trying to find any spare change, part of me wondering why he didn't just let me off. 'I don't have four cents. I'll leave the Coke.'
I was beginning to put it back, when a long tanned arm reached past me and handed the guy some money, picking up my Coke and handing it back to me.
'Oh, thank you,' I turned to face him and gasped involuntarily.
He was the most good looking guy I had ever seen.
His hair, so dark it could have been black, framed an olive toned face and large brown eyes. He was now smiling at me, and I was blushing furiously. He must have been a good head or so taller than me; I felt tiny next to him.
'You're welcome. You looked a little lost so I thought I'd help out.'
I gave a nervous, shaky laugh. 'Thanks.'
You've just said thanks Livvy, stop making an idiot out of yourself.
'Hi, I'm Olivia. But my friends call me Livvy,' I stuck out my hand, feeling stupid. He laughed and shook it.
'You not from around here?'
'Nope. I'm on a road trip with some friends. We've just graduated.'
'You wanna come meet them?' I offered, unsure.
'Why not?' he grinned.
We began walking back down through the sand, me clutching my Coke whilst trying not to fall over, him with complete confidence, swinging his brown arms beside him. It was a relief when we finally reached the group again: my feet were beginning to hurt from all the sand that had emigrated to my flip flops.
'This is Alec,' I introduced.
'Ah, looks like I'm not the only one who picked someone up,' Flossie joked. I gaped at her, completely mortified. Luckily for me, Alec only laughed easily. 'Hi Alec. I'm Flossie. This is Harry, Ian, Aimee and Silas.'
'Hey,' he greeted everyone, sitting down. I followed his lead, still utterly embarrassed by what Flossie had said.
They all began chattering away to Alec, as though they had all been lifelong friends, and I sat quietly sipping my soda, once again simply watching the conversation.