Out at sea

Anna is a young girl who suffers from the loss of her father out at sea. She tries to cope with everyday life: helping her single mother and younger brother Benji to make the most of life, though it all gets too much. With the stress and anxiety of moving schools, Anna is anything but fine. Her long trips up to the beach are tiring, but they're worth it when she gets to look out and imagine her Dad beside her. But everything seems to result in tears, and Anna realises she's stayed strong for too long.


9. Really?

I wait by the school gate, back leaning against the rail and bag slung over my right shoulder- just like I had practised with a slightly impatient Ruby before hand. I see her wave out of the corner of my eye and hear her say "Good luck!" as she sets off on her bike. Students are piling out of the gate, the same as everyday because everyone's always desperate to get out of school. Though, it's been nearly five minutes since the end of day bell rang, and I'm wondering if maybe Colton forgot and has gone already. Somebody creeps up behind me and says my name. I jump and turn round hoping to see Colton. But no. It is the same girl I had seen in registration who sat infront of me, with the perfect hair but a not so perfect mouth.

"Oh, Anna, is it? Fancy seeing you here." She says in a sickeningly sarcastic voice.

I blush and try to ignore her.

"I guess you didn't see the note in your locker then..." She smiles, revealing a set of crooked yellowy teeth,  and raises her expertly plucked eyebrows.

"Sorry, but who are you? Did you write it?" I stammer. I have so many questions, but don't want to satisfy her by seeming desperate. Ruby had warned me about that, thankfully.

"Oh yes, how very rude of me not to introduce myself." Her teeth glint in the sunlight as she laughs. "I'm Grace. And yes, I did write the note."

"But- why?" I ask. "Why are you so interested in him anyway. Are you jealous?"

I think I see a slice of anger going through Grace's eyes, but it goes away before she starts laughing at me again. "You think I would be jealous of you!? You, of all people. I don't like Colton anyway- and I have no idea why everyone else likes him too. He's not even that good looking."

From now on, I have a strong feeling that I'm not going to like this Grace girl. She is jealous, and I know it.

"You didn't answer my question." I say impatiently. "Why would you care?"

Grace pauses, then a sly grin I know she is trying to hide appears on her mouth. "I care because I don't want another girl to get hurt by him. You know, he always targets the innocent girls like you. So naive." She sighs. "If I were you, I'd walk away while I can. Like I said, he's not a keeper."

My head is spinning as she walks of, swaying her hips in an exaggerated way as she does. Is Colton really like that? Does he really get off with girls like me just to break their hearts? He can't be. The way he looks at me, with those amazing turquoise eyes, I know he would never do such a thing. But maybe that's practised. Maybe that's what he did with every other girl too, and now I'm going to fall straight into his trap.

"Hey, what was all that about?" I hear his voice and turn around to see him leaning by the gate next to me.

"Ohh, sorry it was nothing..." I say. Had he been listening to the whole thing?

"Nothing?" Colton asks. I can tell that he knows when I'm lying.

I look down to my feet ignoring his question and ask "Do you know her? Grace, I mean. The one I was talking to..."

Colton sighs. "This will seem really bad because of the way she is now, but I can't deny it. Grace was my girlfriend. Now my ex. Back then she was different, but a couple of months ago she broke up with me for this other guy, but it didn't work out and as soon as it was over came running back to me. But I refused and thought it was best to be by myself for a while, because there were rumours around school that I was a player and had been out with loads of girls, when to be honest she was the first. But apparently those rumours just made girls like me more, and from then on Grace would be at it if I so much as talked to a girl or they talk to me. She'd try to put them off me and would carry on spreading completely untrue rumours about me. Now, unless it was actually nothing, I suppose that's what she was saying to you."

I stare at him as if he's completely and utterly mad. Wow, that came out of nowhere, when I was least expecting it. 'Ok' I manage to say to him in reply, and we start off down the pathway which apparently runs all the way down to the beach. We start to chat about school and friends and homework. Boring stuff, really, but then he asks me a question as we walk over the rocks outlining the edge of the tideline, our feet just dipping into the deep, blue sea flowing backwards and forwards, running itself over the warm sand.

"What do you like about the beach the most?" He says smoothly, as we walk side by side down the shore.

"The most?" I ask, as if I hadn't heard it right. But of course I knew. I know the answer to it, the answer just wanting to burst out of its shell. And I want to trust him, I do, I want to tell him my biggest fear, my biggest secret, but I don't. Not at all. The lie just comes tumbling out right there, as if it is automatically warning me to back out of the unknown territory...

"I like paddling in the sea."




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