Chapter 19 -Fun In The Sun (Previously entitled 'Off The Cretan Track' ) Edited and extra chapters.

Chapter 19 -Fun In The Sun (Previously entitled 'Off The Cretan Track' ) Edited and extra chapters.

A Chapter by Repgreece

Nick was relieved when he and Sal finally arrived at the beach. At least they could talk there and things were calmer between them now.

Kitroplatia beach was a small, sheltered cove situated around the coast from the harbour. Despite being only a few minute's walk from the centre of the town, the beach was small enough to give the impression that it was far from any commercial centre, with just a scattering of tiny tavernas lining the half moon, cobble-stoned street which followed the contour of the beach and water's edge beyond. Further around the coast, past the headland and sweeping inland, was the Marina and beach Nick and Sal had visited earlier that evening.

However now, the seclusion of Kitroplatia was the perfect place for them to enjoy their last drinks of the night and to talk. The moon was bright enough on that evening to scatter a silvery light over the scene, allowing them to see the beach, and each other, quite clearly. On reaching the edge of the beach, Sal slipped off her shoes and dangled them both in one hand before stepping down off the pavement onto sand. The cool grains gave way under her feet and seeped around her toes, creating a surprisingly pleasant sensation. She stood there for a moment, near to the pavement, just wiggling her toes.

"Come on Sal, there are a couple of sunbeds over here that we can sit on," Nick said, passing her and heading further down the beach.

She did an impromptu twirl on the sand and strolled after him with a spring in her step. She had forgotten how wonderful this beach was at night.

Nick sat on one of the sunbeds, placing the plastic bag on the sand and reaching into it. He proceeded to pull out first the bottle of wine, dispensing with the screw top lid, and then the two plastic cups. Slipping one into the other, he reached for the bottle of wine and began to pour, glancing up for a moment to see where Sal was. He stopped pouring then when his eyes caught sight of her.

"Sal, what you doing?" he asked with amusement, watching as she wandered in random circles over the sands, her face raised to the sky.

"I'm checking for shooting stars. Ruth said you can see them better here," she replied with her eyes transfixed above.

He chuckled. "What? Here on this beach?"

She laughed. "No silly, I meant here in Crete. There's a lot less light pollution so they're easier to see," she informed him.

"Oh. You got a wish you want to come true or something?" he asked.

"Nick," she said, giving up and moving towards the sunbeds. "You can never have too many wishes."

Sal was a constant source of surprise for Nick. He just never knew what she was going to come out with next. "You're absolutely right, Sal. I stand, or should I say 'sit', corrected," he laughed. "Want some wine?" he asked, taking the full cup out of the empty one and offering it to her.

She smiled. "Thanks, but just hold onto it for me for a second," she said, sinking down onto the sand in front of the sunbed and wriggling into a more comfortable position. Pulling her legs from under her, she stretched them out towards the sunbed, crossing one leg over the other, reaching forward to take the cup from him and then leaning back on one hand while she took a sip.

He went on to pour some wine for himself, commenting as he did so. "Are you comfortable now? You know, there's another sunbed here for you to sit on."

"I know," she replied, "but I kind of like the feel of the sand. It's nice and cool and soft," she said, moving one leg to let it slide back and forth a few times through the sands before burying her foot under it.

Nick's eyes dreamily followed the movement of Sal's leg. "Lucky sand," he thought to himself.

When his eyes rose again, he realized that she was watching him with some kind of expression he couldn't quite read, but she was very still and focused on him. For a moment, he wondered if she was angry at him for looking at her legs. But that didn't really make sense. Sal was no way near that sensitive about things like that.

"So?" she finally asked.

"So?" he repeated in confusion.

"What was that thing that Jen told you?"

Oh ok, she obviously wasn't beating about the bush on this subject.

He glanced down at his wine for a moment, considering taking a sip.

"Do you ever drink wine?" she asked suddenly. "I don't remember ever seeing you drink wine."

"No. I don't think I've ever drunk rose before," he admitted.

"You could have got some beer," she pointed out.

"Yeah, but you were drinking rose. Anyway, I'm feeling in an adventurous mood tonight," he said, finally taking a sip of the wine. He held it in his mouth for a moment and then swallowed, trying his hardest not to allow his expression to change as he did so.

She laughed. "You hate it," she observed. He could hide nothing from Sal.

He inhaled sharply. "It's different. Might need a little while to get used to it," he chuckled.

She gave a small laugh. "Thanks for thinking of me," she said, "And not for the first time tonight either. That's why I don't understand what went wrong," she said, trying to make him see why it was so important to her that they could talk about this.

"Nothing went wrong exactly, it's just that..." he sighed and then backtracked. "She said, Jen I mean," he clarified, "she said that everyone who comes to live out here from other countries has a reason for doing so. That they are escaping something. I think she was right," he concluded.

Sal nodded. She'd never thought of it like that but, she had to admit, Jen was probably right.

"It was the same with Jen, because..." he went on.

"Wait," Sal interrupted abruptly sitting upright and pointing a finger at him from her hand that was holding the cup. "Sorry Nick, if you're going to tell me why Jen came out here, I hate to break it to you but I'm not interested. It may surprise you to know that Jen and me are not exactly best buddies. I mean, I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to her or anything but I don't care enough to want to know her reasons for coming out here..."

Wow, but Sal cared about everyone. She must really dislike Jen to say those things.

"On the other hand, I do care about you," she pointed at him again. Then her expression softened. "You are my friend," she said, reaching out to place a hand on his arm, "and I care deeply about my friends," she stressed before removing her hand and sitting back slightly. "So, what I really want to know more than anything right now is, why did you come out here, Nick? What were you escaping from?" she asked.

Yikes! He hadn't expected that at all.

"Oh boy. I fell right into that one, didn't I?"

"It's not a trap, Nick," she replied immediately. "I told you before, I want to know if my friend is hurting. You said earlier that you were unhappy in the UK but I have no idea why. Can't you just confide in me?"

He ran a hand through his hair and groaned. How the hell was he going to tell Sal all of this?

Sal watched his torment and suddenly snapped, placing her wine in the sand, snatching up her shoes and clambering to a standing position.

"You know what, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to force you to tell me," she said, turning to leave.

Why was she such an awful person that he couldn't tell her anything? He could talk to other people, but he wouldn't talk to her. Why did she care anyway? Why did she feel like sobbing right now? And shouting and screaming!

"Wait!" Nick was on his feet in seconds. He bolted towards her as she swiftly headed back to the pavement. Grabbing her arm, he halted her and turned her to face him.

"Wait. Please don't leave like this," he appealed.

She couldn't look at him then and just stared at the sand. Just the turmoil in his voice was enough to make her crack and she could feel the ache at the back of her throat as her emotions threatened to take over. She didn't want to leave like this either.

"Please, Sal," he begged. "Won't you come back and sit down and I'll try to tell you. I want to tell you," he emphasized.

She risked a quick glance at him. He looked totally distraught and she knew immediately that she wasn't going to walk away from him. Was she being mean to him? She really hadn't meant to. "I'm so sorry," she said genuinely, running a hand down his arm. "Maybe I'm pushing too hard or something, but it's just that you seem to confide in other people, like Adam, Fay and Ruth, so I don't understand why you can't talk to me. It's like, one minute I think we're friends and everything is great, and then suddenly you become all distant and I don't know what's happening. And then I think, "well ok, maybe we aren't such good friends as I'd thought; maybe we are just people that know each other, that have a laugh sometimes," and okay, I'm okay with that," she said in a rush of emotion, realizing that she actually wasn't okay with that at all but, well... anyway. She sighed. "And then you go and do something so sweet and we get on so well, like tonight. Tonight was amazing...well, until we went to 'Saint-Tropez' and then I was back to the beginning again, not knowing what was going on!" She had to stop then simply to take a breath again. "I'm lonely in this friendship, Nick," she said emotionally.

He stood there very still, searching her face as everything she had just said sank in.

"I didn't know any of that," he said. "I mean, I didn't know you thought like that. We absolutely are friends," he stressed. "As far as I'm concerned, I have never had such a wonderful friend as you. And if you ever need me, for anything, I'd be there for you. You do know that, don't you?"

Oh God, now her throat was seriously aching.

She smiled with her eyes a little watery, and took hold of one of his hands. "I do now."

He frowned. "How could you not have known that?"

She thought for a moment about how to reply. "I guess I was just confused," she said.

He searched her face then as if to find better answers there. But the answers, and the reasons for the emotion in her expression, were in all what she had just said. He went back in his head through it all, analyzing his own actions and how that would appear to her.

"You're right," he said. "I don't tell you what I'm thinking. In fact, I'm useless at talking about anything like that. That's one thing I admire so much about you, Sal: you're an absolute natural at being genuine and honest. You're so open to everyone. I don't know how you do it."

"It's just words. Just say the words in your head. Simple," she smiled. "And anyway, it's only me you're talking to," she said, moving back towards the sunbeds where they had left the bag, wine bottle and cups.

'Just say the words', he thought to himself. It couldn't possibly be that easy.

The few moments it took them to return to the sunbeds at least gave him some time to think about how he would tell her the reasons he'd wanted to move away from the UK.

© 2020 Repgreece

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Added on July 31, 2020
Last Updated on July 31, 2020
Tags: romance, love, fun, friends, summer, beach, travel, vacation, holiday