There were a few moments of silence as Jan and I watched the stranger jog away down the beach. That was broken though as she turned to face me once more, her expression pleading me to understand her. I knew I was being hypocritical; I was the one who had started this whole mess in the first place that night at Tyler's. But my stubborn nature refused to let me give in.
'Tell me one thing,' I said quietly. She nodded eagerly.
'What happened that night I left with the tourists?'
Confused flashed across her face. 'What do you mean?'
'Nate took you home,' I said slowly. 'Did anything happen? Did you two...kiss?'
The silence said it all. I watched her face change from bafflement, to alarm, to sadness. She had the most heartbreaking look in her eyes that it made my heart drop. She had just confirmed it, and yet I didn't have the energy to be angry. Hadn't I done the exact same thing with Tyler?
'I thought so.' My voice was flat, dull.
'Please Hannah,' she almost whispered.
'No,' I shook my head. 'I'm not even mad, you know? I guess I always knew this time was coming. Me and Nate couldn't last forever. You didn't cause the end, you just made me realize it. Thank you.'
I turned round and left her.
Heading back towards the beach, I spotted a fight between what could only be Tyler and one of the tourists. As I got closer I recognized Charlie being dragged away, a thin line of blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. Tyler tried to go for him again, but his friends were pulling him back. Jade and Stewart escorted Charlie away as curious onlookers stopped to take in the scene.
I rolled my eyes. This was so like Tyler. I was just surprised it had taken him this long to snap.
'Getting into fights again?'
His friends glanced over at me and smiled. Tyler wasn't in the mood though.
'What a twat. He thinks he can just come over here and act like he owns the place. If I see him again I swear I'll do more damage.'
Tyler was such a troublemaker I had no doubt that he had started this. He just seemed to love getting into trouble and god forbid anyone that stood in his way of this. I wondered how worse off Charlie had been. I'd have to ask him later. Tyler stormed off down the beach to cool down and I flopped down on the sand.
'Give him five minutes and he'll be back to reclaim his beer and burger.'
I watched Tyler sulking off down the beach, thankfully not in the direction that Charlie had went in. The guys started chattering behind me and I was left alone to my own thoughts. I didn't know how I felt about Nate kissing Jan. I knew I should be angry but I guess I saw it coming when I spotted them in the club together.
My mind wandered back to a time when Nate and I had been happy together, before his dreams of Bali, before Tyler, before anything. People had said we were the cutest couple but all I remembered is how much I had relied on Nate. My mother's death had led me into a dark time and I had found myself rebelling against everyone. Even my own father. I got in with the wrong crowd and it was a horrible part of my life. Out every night, smoking and drinking. Skipping school. Failing classes.
But then Nate was there. He had pulled me out of the black abyss that had consumed me and showed me that there was a better way to live. He showed me it was possible to be happy again and for that, I will always love him. But I knew that people grew apart and whilst we might always have feelings for one another, sometimes it was in the best interest of us and those around us, to not act upon them.
* * * *
A few hours and several drinks later, I was starting to feel tired. The temperature had dropped and the chill in the air made me huddle closer to the roaring bonfire the guys had started a while back. Bonfires on the beach were not unheard of and I had often found myself down here with Nate, just relaxing under the stars.
Instead, he was not here. I was alone and feeling very sorry for myself. Tyler had gone home to change but said he was coming back out. That was over an hour ago. I don't know why I hadn't gone home sooner but I guessed I just liked having time to myself to think. Tyler's friends hadn't spoken to me much. I'd been pulled into one or two conversations but I wasn't in the mood for chit chat.
I heaved a sigh, casting my eyes out to the sea which was now just one black line. The white stars and the bright lights of the fairground attractions all seemed to blend together into one colorful blur.
'You still here?' Tyler dropped down next to me. His cheek looked a little bruised, but other than that he looked pretty much unscathed from the fight.
'Yeah, better than going home. Speaking of, you were ages. Where did you go to?'
'Sorry. Fell asleep,' he laughed. 'Why? Did you miss me?'
'Terribly so. For that hour and a half I was a complete and utter mess, I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself. Oh Tyler. Promise me you'll never leave me again.'
'You always have been sarcastic Hannah.'
'It's just part of my charm.'
Tyler put his arm around me and pulled me closer to him. I was going to object but the heat from his body was strangely comforting and I stayed as I was.
'You're upset, aren't you? I heard about Nate and Jan. Sorry to hear.'
I shrugged. 'Shit happens.'
'Don't say that Hannah. It wasn't my fault was it?' He sounded genuinely concerned. I was stumped for words for a good few seconds. He'd never asked that before and now that he had I had no idea what to say.
Before I could say anything though, Nate seemed to appear out of nowhere.
'Thought I'd find you two here.' He stopped in front of us, and he did not look happy.