After lunch, Grandma urged me to show Connor around Venus Bay. We walked around with me pointing out sites of interest and amusement. Connor asked to see a beach and decided he wanted to stay there for the whole afternoon. So, we sat down on the sand and talked.
"So how are your holidays going?" Connor asked.
Confused by his question, I replied "What d'you mean? I'm at school."
"Really?" he asked, looking surprised. "In the UK, there's a big holiday from July to September every year. Don't you get that?"
I shook my head.
"So I'm preventing you from doing your homework or getting ready for school tomorrow?" Connor asked, grinning as if the thought amused or pleased him.
"Yeah," I said, poking my tongue out at him.
"Cheeky," he said, tickling my waist.
I laughed so hard that I fell backwards in the sand.
Connor smiled at me before making himself more comfortable and gazing out across the ocean.
"You know, I wouldn't mind if our grandparents were trying to set us up," he murmured, without looking at me.
"Connor..., we're related," I said hesitantly, uncomfortable with the still atmosphere that hung about us waiting for something to happen.
"We're not first cousins," he pointed out. "And I believe everyone on the planet has a common ancestor."
"But... it's different when you know for sure."
"Is it?" Connor looked at me intently. "Could anything deter love?"
"Love," I snorted. "You hardly know me, Connor."
"But if I did and you were the one, would the fact two of our great-grandparents happened to be siblings make it impossible or wrong for me to love you?"
I sighed. "No."
"Then what's stopping me?"
"You hardly know me and I am not 'the one'."
"You don't know that second part. You can't know until we've tried being together. Not even I know, though I'd like you to be."
I stood up. "Come on, let's go back."
"Why?" Connor asked, not budging.
"Our grandmothers might be worried."
"Oh, tosh. You know yours wanted you to spend time with me and I know mine does too."
"Connor, I'm uncomfortable talking about love."
Connor stood up. "Forget your inhibitions, Violet. We could be great together."
I suddenly knew why I hadn't yet brought up Zack. I couldn't hurt him. One, he was family and up till this morning, family had just been my grandparents and two, he was so nice. Sure, some of the looks he'd given me in the car on our way to the house had been a little worrying but he seemed a well-intentioned guy and he was certainly romantic with his 'nothing can deter love' theory.
"Con, I don't want to. I'm sorry."
Connor looked a little sad but said cheerily "Going back might be a good plan. There's a balcony overlooking your garden in my room: we could continue the conversation there."
"Or talk about something different," I said.
Connor nodded. "Whatever you want."
Standing on the balcony and looking out on the world was calming. The view was certainly magnificent with the open sky meeting the ocean on the horizon.
"You're just as beautiful as that sky," Connor told me, seeing my awed expression - such things never failed to amaze me.
"You're a sweet guy," I said. "You should find someone who's interested."
"I want you, though."
"At the moment."
"That's not fair."
"It's probably true. Are you honestly going to tell me I'm the only pretty girl in the world?"
"No but I wouldn't go searching for someone else immediately after I'd accepted you really couldn't love me."
"I wouldn't mind if you didn't."
"No, you wouldn't but I would. What would that say about me?"
"That you were able to accept what a girl was telling you?" I suggested.
"You know it's more than that," he replied reproachfully.
I sighed. "Let's talk about something else, Connor. You said we could do whatever I wanted."
So we conversed into the night about everyday things. I could see it was slightly hard for Connor who obviously wanted to really try to change my mind but at the same time I considered the boyfriend who was waiting eagerly for this month to end as I should be. I felt sorry for my cousin: why did he have to like me? And then I felt cross at the world? Why did people have to like more than one person? If Jade hadn't dumped Zack for her new boyfriend and I hadn't fallen in love with Zack, I could give Connor what he wanted. But the sensible part of me reminded me that the moments I'd shared with Zack had been wonderful - glorious. Life was just tough sometimes.
I went to bed feeling confused. I hadn't had time to contact Zack and I certainly didn't have the energy now, and anyway this internal conflict had to be resolved by me. Otherwise, the end result of the consideration would be unsatisfactory.