I had never noticed before, probably because I had always associated myself with Jade and so when hanging around with other eligible girls all conversations seemed friendly. Now I was single, being alone with girls – although I wasn’t sure whether it was just Violet – there was a tension in the air, as if the other person was waiting for something to happen. I knew she was finding it hard to spit out a coherent sentence and I was finding it hard to concentrate, I wasn’t sure how I should feel about Violet. She was – to put it in boy’s terms – hot. But even flirting with her seemed as if I were betraying Jade, but then Jade had a new boyfriend now so it wasn’t betraying her, so technically I shouldn’t worry and should flirt with Violet, but was I only flirting with her because I wanted to show I was over Jade? It was one vicious circle, and I wanted out. The tension had gotten too high in that secluded cave thing, so I suggested I showed her my hiding place, little did she know I had one. My hiding place wasn’t as isolated as hers; I led her off the beach and back to my house,

“Sorry, it’s a little further away,” I said pulling a face and standing by my car, “I won’t be offended if you don’t want to come, I’m a complete stranger and I’m guessing you probably don’t want to ride in a car with me, alone.” She shrugged,

“You’re right, you are a complete stranger but I trust you,” she climbed in, “And plus, today I’m being carefree.” She grinned and put on the seatbelt, I started the engine and soon we were driving.

“I’m sorry about before,” she said,

“What happened?”

“It got all awkward,” she grimaced,

“We’ve never met before, we’re being carefree, carefree people don’t apologize by the way,” I said smiling properly for the first time. Feeling better I switched on the radio, an upbeat song came on and we began to sing along. Very quickly I pulled up at a beach car park, just a few miles away from the last beach,

“Yer, we made a little detour to pick up the car,” I smiled, “Welcome to beach number two,” she smiled and got out,

“Now my hiding place is only available at certain times of the day,” I glanced at my watch, “And we should just about make it now,” I smiled and hurried her along. We crossed the beach and ran across the long spread of sand, being carefree meant I left my shoes and jumper in the car, I didn’t need them. Climbing up onto the high sandbank I turned back round and helped Violet up too,

“When the tide comes in, it acts as an island,” I grinned as the first wave washed around the sandbank; it was a large sandbank, with twenty odd palm trees and a grassy area. I sat down and Violet sat next to me,

“It’s so beautiful at sunset,” I said leaning on my elbows,

“I bet,” she smiled and looked out to sea, “What if we get stuck here?” she asked,

“We’re being carefree remember?”

“I know, but carefree and stupid are two different things, what if the tide doesn’t come back out?”

“It’s due to come back out in an hour,” I smiled,

“So soon?”

“It’s winter, the tide is always strange,” I replied, she seemed content enough with my answer,

“So we have an hour to kill,” she smiled, “More talking I guess,”

“You never really told me about you,” I probed, she blushed again, “And I can tell you’re hiding something, just relax and let it all out,” I lay back and closed my eyes so as not to pressure her, it worked with Jade, after a while of letting her collect her thoughts she’d spill them out to me. But that was Jade, this is Violet, I was so used to Jade’s ways I wasn’t sure how most other girls acted. Silence fell for what seemed like minutes, I peeked a look at her, she was staring at me with the strangest look on her face,

“What?” I asked feeling self-conscious; she blushed a beautiful deep pink,

“I may as well tell you everything,” she sighed; I nodded and closed my eyes again. “I’ll start with the easy stuff, I’ll tell you about what I’m like, truthfully I’m a bit of a geek at school, I like English and Maths and Science, I play every type of sport the school offers and I play the piano.”

“What don’t you do?” I joked; she ignored my question and continued her monologue,

“I go to a private school just down the road, don’t go judging me and thinking me posh because I only go there because my parents left me lots of money. I live with my Grandparents, about 6 months ago the rest of my family died in a car crash. It was a crash with another family from this town actually; you probably heard it in the local news.”

“Your whole family?” I asked astounded, she nodded dejectedly,

“I’ve tried to stay strong but it’s so hard keeping up a façade, truth is I’m not really over the death of my parents, putting on a brave face at school and home has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. To be honest I’ve been putting off mourning for my family, I haven’t even spoken to anyone about it, apart from you that is. I don’t want to seem weak, crying in front of people is not something I would do, it takes a lot of courage to cry in the spotlight, I’m too insecure to do so. I admire you for it though,” she added, “The worst thing is, I never even cried, not at the hospital, funeral or any time since they died. It all seems like a bad dream which I’m going to wake up from any minute, but something deep down inside of me; something I keep pushing away is telling me this is life. I just can’t accept it, and that’s why I think I don’t cry.” By this point my eyes were open and I was sitting up looking at Violet, I was sad for her, sure, but another piece of information had caught my attention.

“Another family from this town, a married couple and a child?” I asked, she nodded,

“Their car was hit by a lorry; it then flipped and landed on our car. We skidded against the road, I think all of us would have survived if the lorry hadn’t fallen on top of both our cars and if the two cars from behind hadn’t driven into the back of us.” She swallowed, but her eyes remained dry.

“You were in the crash?” I asked,

“I even saw the face of the parents as they came spinning towards us, it was of utter terror, that picture has haunted me ever since. I survived, the door of my car came off, I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and I got thrown out…” she paused, “I never told anyone that,”

“Told them what?” I asked,

“I didn’t even tell the police I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, truth was, if I had been, I would have been squished just like the rest of my family.” She sounded so serene it made me sad, “And sometimes… I… I wish I had been wearing that belt. I just feel so alone in the world; my grandparents are totally out of it. I mean I love them to bits and they’ve done so much for me, and they’re not crazy or anything, yet. They just don’t understand 21st century life, a boy asked me out to the cinema a few months back, I asked my Grandma, she said no. I decided to sneak out against her will; she caught me and rang up the boy’s parents, telling them not to let their son speak to me ever again. He told the whole school; saying none of them were allowed to speak to me,”

“Why did he do that?” I asked,

“He was mad, I had stood him up, he wanted revenge, as if it were my fault anyway!” she growled. By this point her head was nestled into my shoulder and I had my arms wrapped protectively around her,  

“Jade’s family were in the other car,” I whispered,

“What do you mean?” she muttered,

“You said the other family that died were from this town, Jade’s parents and younger sibling died 6 months ago in a car crash,”

“But I was the only survivor,” she said,

“Jade and her brother weren’t in the car,” I said,

“How old was her brother?” I asked,

“19,” I replied calmly,

“So what are they doing now? I’m sorry I know she’s your ex, but I didn’t realise another family had been torn up too,”

“No it’s fine, Max is looking after Jade, they live together,” I responded. She nodded,

“They are so lucky to have each other,” she murmured, “Oh what I would give to have had one of my brothers or sisters stay alive,”

“How many did you have?” I asked,

“Two brothers, two sisters, I had a twin, Scarlett, we were the best of friends. We were heading to a wedding that day, my cousin’s. My two sisters and I were bridesmaids, in beautiful white dresses, but after the crash my dress was covered in the blood of Scarlett’s. Scarlett blood on my beautiful white dress,” she shivered, but it wasn’t cold. “I probably sound sick but I kept the dress, it was the only thing I had left of Scarlett, we had to sell all our possessions and I moved straight in with Grandma and Granddad. I didn’t even get to go back to the house,” Embarrassingly it was my turn to cry, none of this had happened to me, yet I was in floods. Tears dripped silently down my face as I held her, we watched the sunset and I was sure she’d fallen asleep in my arms, and that was where I wanted her, because after all that had happened to her, she deserved to be loved. I was the only person it seemed that could love her, care for her, listen to her and understand her. My problems now seemed like tiny specs of sand, nothing on the sea of troubles Violet had been through.

The End

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