Just as I had predicted, no one asked me to dance. Except Indya and Pete of course. But several of the guys had been checking me out, and one of them, Nick, even came over, but Pete came to ask me for a dance just then so Nick shied off. Silently I cursed Pete, but smiled at him. He didn't realise what he had done.
Never the less I was glad when we moved to the beach. Even more glad because Nick was coming, and to be honest I had had a crush on him since he'd arrived at the school a few weeks ago, and he had talked to me so it wasn't exactly like we were strangers.
The fire was already up when we arrived, and food was being handed out. I grabbed myself a veggie burger and sat down in the sand near the sandy hill, away from everyone else. I saw Nick looking at me again. I stared over the sand towards the waves as Indya and Pete came to join me, and listened to their chatter and banter over the music. I felt much more comfortable in my bikini and shorts than I had in my dress, and it had given me a sense of confidence. When Nick came over to ask if I wanted to go for a swim, I found myself, fuelled by this new confidence, saying yes. We wandered off down the beach, Nick making jokes which made me giggle like a child, and asking me about myself.
"What's your favourite colour?"
"Blue. What about yours?"
"Blue. What is your favourite thing to do in the world?"
"Swim." We had reached the ocean and I could feel it running through me toes.
"Oh really? Well then, you won't mind this!" He reached down and splashed me. I squealed and then laughed, chasing him down the beach towards the rocky cliffs. here he pulled off his t-shirt and ran in to the waves with just his three-quater trousers on. "Can't catch me!" he yelled before diving in to the waves. I slipped off my shorts quickly and ran in to the water. What Nick didn't know was that I was a brilliant swimmer, and I would catch him in no time...Only he seemed to have disappeared. I looked round in the waves, but he was still no where to be seen. Maybe he had been caught in a rock or a wave? I was about to dive under the surface when I felt something grasp my leg and pull me under the water. Nick appeared, grinning at me through the water. I pulled a face and then rose to the surface, taking a deep breath before diving down again.
The sand here was crystal white, leaving the water clear as day. The moonlight had lit up the sand so that the light bounced everywhere, off corals and small fish that darted around us. I looked at Nick, who motioned me to follow him. I swam after him. He was fast, almost as fast as me, and I was soon racing him. Soon, I had to rise to the surface for some air. But Nick didn't surface. And he hadn't before either. When I dived back down, I stared at him. He looked straight at me, then took my hand and put it to his neck. I could feel slight grooves in it. Swimming closer to him, I looked and saw...he had gills. Actual gills. I swam backwards in shock, and shot towards the surface.
I broke through and gasped in air. Nick surfaced beside me. His gills had vanished.
"Amelia, please, don't be afraid!"
"Nick, you had gills!"
"Yes, but please, don't be scared! I'm just like you really." In spite of myself I drew closer to him.
"Where are they now?" I ask quietly.
"They disappear when I come above water. Here look." He signalled that he was going to pull me down, so I took a deep breath. Under the water, Nick's gills appeared again, and with fascination I ran my fingers over them. He shuddered slightly. I surfaced.
"I'm sorry. Does that hurt you?"
"No. No, it feels good when you do it." I blushed and looked away fro a diversion. I was still drinking it all in. Nick could breathe under water.
"So, what does this make you? Like a mermaid or something?" I joked. He smiled.
"No. I am a sea person."
"What does that mean?"
"It means I grow gills in water but I can live on land. That's it. There's nothing else different about me."
"Oh yeah, because growing gills isn't big enough?" I was scared, and knew I should be backing away, but something made me stay. "Why did you show me?"
"Because, you are special. I know I can trust you to keep this a secret, and besides, you love the sea so much, you of all people could understand." I felt a smile slip on to my face, and Nick's returning smile made me feel warm inside, despite the cold water around me. "I want to show you something Amelia, but first you have to promise to keep all of this a secret. Do you promise?"
"Yes. I promise." The words were out before I could think, but I knew I meant every word. Nick grinned and grabbed my hand pulling me back under the water. We were now right next to the cliffs, and Nick was pulling me down, down until we reached the floor. There he pushed on the rock and it slid back, letting him pull me inside. The rock closed behind me.