I wasn't having fun.
I did not come over three hundred miles just so I could get caught up in some stranger's relationship problems. They all seemed nice enough, and a part of me did feel sorry for Hannah (even though I didn't know the full story and quite frankly didn't want to) but there was this constantly awkward atmosphere that made it hard to have a good time.
Right now I was sipping beer from a bottle watching Hannah reluctantly follow her "ex" best friend off to discuss the big drama that seemed to have taken up a large part of their lives whilst Stewart and Jade were messing around by the sea. I was stood with the guy in charge of the barbecue and a couple of his friends. Hannah had introduced him as Tyler and I felt uncomfortable and pissed off in his presence. He kept giving me this sidelong glance when he thought I wasn't looking with a weird expression on his face.They all seemed like the type of guys who had given me so much shit at school.
Tyler was muscular for his age, with clean-cut features and an arrogant personality. Perhaps even more so than me. I knew exactly who he was and had barely exchanged more than five words with him.
'Beer's good?' he looked at me.
I nodded. 'Yeah. Cheers.'
That was the extent of our conversation. And now he had spent the last ten minutes in silence pretending to flip burgers that were already cooked and joking with his friends. Although everything was silent, I knew they were mocking me. Call me paranoid, but I've grown to known the difference between a comfortable silence and one in which you're the reason for it. When I couldn't stand the quiet anymore I cleared my throat and attempted conversation.
'How long have you known Hannah then?'
He shrugged. 'Since about year nine maybe.'
'Not long then.'
Some of his friends attempted to hide a smile and I frowned. 'Something funny?'
Tyler noticed his friends. 'Don't mind them. They're not used to tourists.'
For some reason I took offence at this. 'I'm not really a tourist. Just visiting.'
'Yeah,' he nodded slowly. 'A tourist.' He dragged the word out, making it seem derogative.
'You got a problem with me Tyler?' I turned to face him, suddenly incredibly pissed off. I had a short temper and idiots like him really made it worse. I knew that the last thing I should do was try to antagonize 'the locals' (if he used labels, why couldn't I?) especially as Stewart and Jade were trying so hard to have a good time, but the way that Tyler was behaving was really getting to me.
Tyler laughed and took a step towards me, seeming to love this. 'What makes you think that?'
'The way you're behaving. Like you don't want us tourists invading your little beach town. If you want me to clear off, just say. But don't act like you constantly want a fight with me, because I'll give you one.' I seemed to have no control over the words that were escaping my mouth; I wasn't normally this antagonistic, but it was like there was something about Tyler that brushed me up the wrong way.
'Is that a fact?' he inclined his brow.
'Hey!' Jade's voice interrupted. Her and the others were jogging over. 'What's going on? You guys okay?'
'Fine,' I told her, turning away from Tyler.
And that was the mistake I made.
It came out of nowhere. One minute I was looking at Jade and the next the world was dark and painful. An exploding burning sensation erupted from my jaw and I stumbled back several steps, waiting for the vision to return. It was then that I realized Tyler had hit me. The pain was quickly replaced with rage and I charged at him, sending us both to the ground. I had the satisfaction of returning the punch, sure I was going to leave a black eye.
Someone was grabbing at my shoulders, dragging me backwards. I fell off Tyler and watched as he tried to lunge for me again. Both of his friends were restraining him. A few startled onlookers murmured animatedly, one woman even took out her phone and frantically began dialing.
Stewart noticed this too. 'Time to go!' He pulled me further away down the beach, away from a fuming Tyler.
When we were a good distance away, he let go. 'What the hell was that Charlie??'
Jade ran over, looking distressed. 'What are you playing at??'
'Guys are you blind? He attacked me! I wasn't just going to stand there and do nothing. Besides, someone had to wipe that smirk off his face. Most arrogant person I've ever met.'
Jade raised an eyebrow.
'Oh whatever,' I scoffed. 'He's far worse.'
'Come on,' Stewart began leading me off again. 'Your jaw looks pretty nasty, let's go fix it up.'
'It's a good job he didn't attack your glasses,' Jade joked. 'It would suck to be completely blind.'
'Ha ha,' I replied sarcastically through a now throbbing jaw.