The early June sun was warm on Pandora’s bare, milky skin as she lay in the sand. The sound of the waves rushing over the sand and crashing into the nearby cliffs soothedher ragged nerves after her day at college. She sighed contentedly and stretched her arms up above her head, refusing to think about the stacks of dreaded Math and Spanish homework that needed to be done for tomorrow. Smiling, she sat up and glanced around. She saw Isobel’s empty towel laying beside her then saw her friend swimming in the shallows of the bay.
Pandora stood up and brushed the sand from the backs of her legs – she never used a towel, she preferred the feel of the smooth sand instead of the scratchiness of a towel when it gets sandy. She took off her designer sunglasses and placed them gently on top of her neatly folded pile of clothes. She saw Isobel stop swimming and wave her over. Slowly, Pandora walked to the edge of the glistening, azure water. It surged forward and washed over her feet, dragging the sand back over them as the tide pulled the water back and making her sink slightly. Isobel waved again, shouting something incomprehensible. Pandora grinned and took a step in to the cold, salty water. A sudden icy chill swept over her and she glanced behind her to the top of the cliff edge, high above the bay. A figure stood there and, just for a moment, Pandora would swear that he met her gaze. Her hair whipped across her face blocking her view of the cliff as the band she’d restrained it with snapped. By the time she could look again, the figure was gone.
“Pan! What’re you waiting for?!” Isobel yelled. “C’mon!”
As Pandora turned back to her friend, she felt her smile returning. Laughing, she ran into the water, splashing it everywhere, making tiny rainbows that glistened and shone in the air. She swam out to Isobel when the water grew too deep for her to run.
“It’s not as cold as I expected the North Sea to be even if it is the middle of the year.” She remarked, smiling too much for it to sound as sour and superior as she had tried to make it.
“I told you it would be warm, didn’t I?” Isobel baited her, mischievously.
“I wouldn’t say it was warm, more like...mildly chilly, not-quite-ice-burg perhaps, but definitely not warm...”
“Oh come on you’re a Geordie, aren’t you? You’re meant to be used to the cold, propa hard like, geet tough.” Isobel said in a mock Geordie/Chav accent, exaggerating all the vowel sounds.
Pandora scowled at her and splashed her as she swam passed. Isobel caught up with her a few seconds later.
“Anyway, what were you staring at back there?” She continued.
“Before you got in for a swim, back on the beach.”
Pandora balked – hadn’t Isobel seen him? “Err... It was nothing I just thought I heard something that’s all.” The lie rolled off of her tongue, shocking her. She hadn’t meant to lie to Izzy but she couldn’t tell her what she’d seen. She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t tell her friend either. They’d told each other everything since they met at five years old. But this just didn’t feel right...something was going on and she wouldn’t be able to tell Isobel. She knew that much, even if she didn’t know quite what it was yet.
Isobel shrugged. “Ok, if you say so.”
“Have you done the homework yet?” Pandora asked, swiftly changing the subject.
Isobel gave her a look. “Seriously, you’d think after twelve years you’d know me better than to ask that question.”
“Good point well made.” She smiled to herself slightly and, turning to Isobel, said: “We’ll do it on the metro in the morning, it’ll be fine.”
Isobel grinned. “As always.” She replied.
“Let’s hope it’s not packed tomorrow like it was today.” Pandora said as she started to swim back to the beach. “I’m gonna go lie down over there. I’m getting cold...”
“I’ll come with; my fingers are starting to get all prune-y.” Isobel replied, looking critically at her fingers.
Pandora pulled her towel out of her bag when she reached the beach and dried herself off before sitting down on the sand again. She handed the sun cream to Isobel when she sat down beside her. Isobel scowled at her jokily.
“I’m so jealous. You’re paler than I am yet I burn loads easier than you do! What’s with that?”
Pandora shrugged. “Just lucky I guess.” She said as she put her sunglasses back on and lay down again. Isobel snorted. "Bitch..." She muttered, knowing her friend could hear her, they'd had this discussion countless times. Pandora smiled sweetly and put a small pyramid of sand on her friend’s leg where she’d just re-applied her sun cream.