Off The Cretan Track chapter 35

Off The Cretan Track chapter 35

A Chapter by Repgreece

A chilly dip in the sea


Sal had been desperate to get into the sea, that was until she had sprinted into the first few waves and felt the icy shock of cold water over the sun blushed skin of her calves.

"Oooooh!" she shuddered, changing her mind and doing an about turn to head for the water’s edge.

She turned around again, just in time to see Nick dive head first into the surf and come up again a few yards further out.

"What you doing out there Sal?" he shouted to her, having expected to see her in the water somewhere with him.

"It's a bit chilly," she said, shivering and wrapping her arms around herself to show him what she meant.

"Don't be silly; it's not cold. Come on!" he said, gesturing her to join him. "It's great in here."

She tiptoed out into the breakwater hesitantly but ran back quickly when a huge wave broke in front of her and covered her legs with freezing cold water…well it seemed freezing cold to a sunburnt Sal.

"Come on!" Nick repeated impatiently. "Don't be a wuss! "

She was being a bit of a namby pamby. Okay, it wasn't that cold.

She ran back into the water with great determination.

"Oh yes it was! Oh yes it was! Oh yes it was...brrrrrr!!!!" she thought to herself as she failed for a third time to brave the surf, scarpering back onto the shore.

Nick watched Sal standing just at the water's edge in her tiny silver bikini, with an awful lot of her bronzed skin on show, and he was glad that he had got into the water first. The thing about Sal that was so tempting, was that she had amazing curves without being overweight, and she always seemed to bounce a lot... in a very 'eye catching' way... especially like then, when she was jumping in and out of the water, trying her hardest to accustom herself to the temperature of the sea. Nick could never imagine Sal being overweight mind you, she was far too energetic for that, but if she ever tried to seriously lose weight and lost all those sexy curves, he'd be gutted. However, as much as he loved watching her 'jiggling' around on the shore, Nick also wasn’t the most patient person in the world and finally, that took over.

"Right, that's it; I'm coming for you," he warned her, wading forwards at a disconcerting speed.

Now Sal realized that she was going to be in trouble if she didn’t take fate into her own hands pretty damn quick and get under that water. She pushed herself through the waves a few metres further out, shouting to him,

"I'm getting in, look. Ooh, brrrr... You can stay there; I'm almost in! Oooh, it's cold; it's cold...stay back!"

Nick took no notice though; she still hadn't got properly in.

The waves were now reaching Sal's thighs, threatening the sensitive bikini area. Nick was still advancing however. Tensing her whole body up in preparation, she bent with the intention of ducking under the water, but only got as far as the top of her bikini bottoms and squealed with the cold, standing up again. Damn, she just couldn't do it!

Nick began imitating the sound effects of an advancing shark, "Du du... du du...du du...dudu...dudu...dddduuuu!!!!"

"Stay back! Stay back!!" she shouted out in panic, holding up a defensive hand, which of course would do nothing to stop him once he reached her. She tried her hardest not to laugh; that would just encourage him more. She needed a plan of action. What was she going to do? Okay, she just needed a quick adjustment to the temperature. Scooping up handfuls of water, she started to splash her arms, shoulders and stomach to try and get her body used to the cold. She grimaced, and cried out with each splash.

"Get in there you daft woman!" Nick shouted, "it's worse that way!"

She continued splashing and cringing, but getting no closer to submerging herself.

Nick tutted, and advanced with real determination then, at which point Sal freaked and moved out further again, stumbling on a few stones under the water and causing a great commotion.

Finally, she felt his hand grab hold of her wrist and he pulled her to him.

"No, no, no! No Nick; it's too cold!" she panicked, as he got her close enough to her to grab her by both of her arms.

"Come on Sal." He spoke to her as if he was talking to a small child. "In we go,"...he said, moving slowly backwards but refusing to release her arms, and thereby forcing her into ever deeper water.

"Let go Nick; I'll get under in a bit, honestly," she pleaded.

"No Sal; we'll be here till next week. It's only a bit of cool water," he replied.

"No, it's freezing," she said, her teeth chattering.

He ignored her and continued moving backwards, quickening his pace. She continued pleading with him, especially when he began making her move quicker than she was able to go over the slippery stones under their feet. He knew that she'd have to give up walking on the bottom soon and simply swim.

"No, no, no...slow down," she laughed.

"Come on Sal."

"Arrgghhh!" she cried out, finally cutting through the water with a great splash.

"I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. It's so cold. It's so cold. It's so cold. Brrrrrrr," she said, swimming round in wild circles and working herself up into a frenzy.

"Come here silly," he said, grabbing her by the wrist and pulling her to him.

"Brrrrrrr." She slipped her arms around his neck and held onto him, whist shivering with cold. He wound his arms tightly around her middle and held her against him for a few minutes so that she could share his body heat. She felt so small against him and her stomach, legs and arms actually did feel cold to the touch, despite the fact that she had caught the sun.

"How can you be so cold? We're in Greece," he reminded her.

She pulled back from him slightly then to look at him. "I'm freezing," she said simply, her teeth chattering as she buried her head against him again.

"You'll warm up in a minute," he said softly to her. "It was probably just a bit of a shock after lying in the sun for so long."

She nodded. Nick stroked her back and arms, soothing her chills, and after a while, her breathing began to slow to a more reasonable pace, her body relaxing more as the shivers subsided.

"See," he whispered into her hair, "it feels warmer now, doesn't it?"

She nodded again, and turned her head to rest her cheek against him. He felt warm and solid, supporting her in the water so that she could relax and didn't have to worry about keeping afloat. She could hear the sound of the sea lapping between their chests. The sound was somehow amplified as her ear picked up the echoes of the water in the enclosed space. It emphasised their closeness. She felt cocooned there with him, comfortable and relaxed.

All was quiet and peaceful. Sal was gazing at the scene over Nick's shoulder: sparkling, topaz sea, mountains in the distance covered with olive groves, and in the foreground, on a ledge cut into one of the cliffs, a large whitewashed villa, complete with infinity pool.

As if reading her mind, Nick then cut into her thoughts by saying dreamily,

"I like it here Sal; wouldn't mind staying. Shall we just not go back?"

She knew what he meant in a way; they had had a wonderful time in Matala so it was kind of sad to think of leaving, however, Agios was their home, and she for one was happy there. Why wouldn’t she be? More to the point, why wouldn’t he be? He'd only just arrived back. Oh, God, she was so stupid, of course, he might have to go back to the UK again soon if his father's condition worsened. It probably wasn't Agios he wanted to avoid, just facing reality. It had been nice to escape, even for her, but they could do it again.

In reality, Sal had failed to take into account another factor which was making Nick hesitant about returning to Agios: Jen's return.

She pulled her head back to talk to him but hesitated, trying to think of the right words to reassure him, and caught unawares by his expression. His gaze clung to her intensely, his eyes tinged with a little sadness, before he broke eye contact with her to study the small details of her face, neck, her arms around his neck and her hair that clung damply to the side of her face. He was trying to take everything in; memorising it all. Instinctively, he moved one of his hands from around her, and lifted it to gently brush the tendrils from her cheek with the back of his fingers.

Something caught in her throat. She didn’t know where that emotion had come from, but she felt odd; maybe it was the tenderness in his action, or the pain she'd seen in his eyes. It made her yearn to do something, but strangely, she had no idea what exactly.

"We have had a wonderful time here, haven't we?" she said, her aching throat changing the sound of her voice slightly. "We certainly won't forget it in a hurry," she laughed, trying to lighten the mood. "Actually," she went on, tilting her head, "I feel like I know you a lot more now. Now we really are best friends, right?"

Before, he often felt irritated by the fact that she constantly referred to them as 'friends', but at that moment, the thought of her being his very best friend was a comforting one.

"We sure are," he smiled. Then he glanced downwards before speaking again, as if he found it hard to look at her and say the words. "Listen Sal, sometimes people get me wrong. I mean, it's my fault; I don't always do or say the right things. I don't know why. I don't mean to. I'll probably do the same to you sometimes. Nothing really bad," he stressed, glancing briefly up at her again. "But you might need to understand that I'm not like you; I make mistakes and then have no idea how to put things right again. Like..." he paused, unsure about verbalising what he was about to say next, as he knew it was a sensitive subject. " not contacting you in the winter. It wasn't 'cause I didn't want to. I even saved your Greek number on my UK sim card and came so close to dialling it a few times, it's just..." Now he'd talked himself into that sticky subject of explaining why he never did it. "...I don't know. It might sound daft, but it was easier to contact Adam and even Ruth, but...well...I was worried what you'd think," he admitted, "Stupid, I know."

She had watched Nick closely the whole time he'd been speaking, trying to understand him more.

"Nick, you don't ever have to be worried about what I think. I've told you before; I don't judge people. I just want to be your friend. Let's make a pact now," she said, with renewed energy, sliding out of his grasp and holding her hand out to him. "Let's agree that no matter where we are, no matter what has happened, we will always be there for each other...if you want to that is," she added shyly, realising that maybe she'd sounded a bit stupid.

His face broke out into a big smile and he laughed. "Of course I want to; how could I refuse an offer like that? Now, what do we do to seal the pact?" he asked. "Should I cut my hand or spit in my palm or something?"

"Ewww, no. Let's just shake on it," she replied.

He chuckled as they shook hands, and then, without thinking, he leant forward and kissed her on the cheek. She giggled.

"Well, now that's sorted, we should go exploring those caves," Nick said, raising his eyes to the cliff side, "and then think about heading back before it gets too late."

"Ooh yes," she replied, turning to follow his gaze. "I wonder what we will find in them."

"Well, we can't stay too long, so I'm going to take some photos of the markings in the caves to study back in Agios," he said, taking hold of her hand and wading back to the beach.

Once back on the shore, they spent a short time lying in the sun to dry off again before packing up the beachbag and heading for the far end of the beach, and the infamous caves of Matala.

The caves themselves were square shaped holes in the cliff face, some above the sea, and some more accessible by being only a short climb up from the beach onto ledges. Sal followed Nick's lead, scrambling over the rocky surfaces until they reached the first opening in the cliff. At the entrance, Nick turned to offer Sal a hand up the last stretch. He pulled her towards him and they stood, side by side, peering into the dark hole.

"Come on," Nick said, ducking to enter. Sal moved with him.

Inside it was like a small 'room' made entirely of rock. Cut into the four walls were cubby holes with what looked like stones beds carved into them.

"Here is where the bodies were laid," Nick said, gesturing to the features cut into the walls.


"Yes, this was a Roman cemetery, remember," Nick replied.

"Oh yes," Sal said, glancing around for evidence of wall markings. There were none that she could see.

"We need to get higher up," Nick said suddenly, ducking out of the hole and glancing upwards to find a route to the more inaccessible caves. "Come on Sal."

Climbing up to the next level was quite a lot more difficult, not to mention more precarious. Sal was only wearing a flimsy pair of silver sandals, which were not the best footwear for climbing in. She should have thought and worn trainers. Damn, her foot slipped again and she was forced to move forward practically on her hands and feet to ensure that she didn't fall. Nick kept turning to check on her, but as they attempted to reach the third level, which ran around the cliff face and loomed over the sea, he realised that it would be dangerous to make her go any further. It was, however, the highest caves that apparently had the markings on the walls, and Nick really didn't want to leave Matala without at least some photographs.

"Here, hand me the camera Sal," Nick said, turning to her. "I'm going to climb up to the top caves but I think you should wait for me here. I'll not be long. Take a seat here in the shade," he suggested, gesturing to a ledge which was shadowed by an overhang. "You've got a great view of the sea here too," he pointed out.

"Well, okay," she replied, handing him the camera and pulling out her beach towel, which she spread out on the rock before taking a seat.

"I'll not be long," he repeated, resuming his climb.


At the top level, Nick was in his element, ducking into one cave after another to find all kinds of hieroglyphic looking markings and writings on the walls. He was so distracted however, that he lost track of time and climbed out of the cave he'd been inspecting to glance down the cliffside, wondering if he could see Sal from there.


That point was to mark the beginning of a series of terrifying hours for Nick, probably the worst of his life so far. Unlike the ordeal he'd experienced the year before, when the homicidal rebels had chased him through Elounda into the wilderness, this time he really was petrified, because this time it wasn't just himself he had to worry about, this time it was someone he cared about more than he'd ever cared about anybody.

© 2012 Repgreece

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Added on July 26, 2012
Last Updated on July 26, 2012
Tags: romance, love, fun, friends, summer

Off The Cretan Track