Waves reached out before retreating back across the sand. Sunlight glittered across the blue stretch of water.
Maria held her breath as waves rushed over her head. Coming up for air then diving down again. Lisa watched from the shore as Alex and her swam in the cool water. But not even being away from the house could take her mind off the stone. Such a beautiful object found in a derelict place. The sound of waves rushing in her ears brought her out of her thoughts for a moment. As she came up for air again she heard someone calling her name.
She turned to see a girl her age with dark hair swimming towards her.
"Jennifer, hey!" she called back waving.
She had not seen her best friend all summer. They had planned to meet up but it never happened.
"How's your summer been?" she asked excitedly throwing her arms round Maria hugging her tightly.
Maria hesitated before responding. For now, she decided to keep the stone to herself.
"How's your running going?" Jennifer continued clearly thinking Maria was taking too long to answer.
"It's been great. So much more leisure time since school finished. I love it, great for clearing my mind." Maria grinned.
"Do you feel any fitter?"
"Uh...I don't know." Maria raised an eyebrow, "I don't do it for that."
Jennifer hated all forms of exercise and believed that no one should have to do it unless absolutely necessary. Where possible, she had tried to play truant so as to avoid P.E. Maria, on the other hand, enjoyed two types of sport: running and horse-riding. Both were enjoyable and gave a wonderful feeling of freedom. But, although her attendance was perfect, she too hated P.E.
Jennifer shook her head laughing. Water droplets flying everywhere leaping from her wet hair.
"See, that's why I don't get you. Who does exercise for fun?"
Her laugh was infectious. Maria couldn't help joining in with her good humour.
"What have you been up to then?" Maria was determined to take the subject off herself.
Jennifer shrugged, "Relaxing, shopping, hanging out, you know the norm."
If there was such a thing as a typical teenage girl, Jennifer embodied it perfectly. She tried to work hard in school, talked mostly about shopping, boys and music, was never off her phone most of the time, and almost always tried to follow the latest trends. She also fancied Maria's brother who happened to swim past.
"So..err...how's Alex?" she asked not taking her eyes off him, "Good looking as ever."
Maria punched her in the arm, "Hey, he's my brother!"
Jennifer giggled, "Well, you can't blame a girl for trying."
Shaking her head in disbelief, Maria dived beneath the waves again. When she came up for air again she realised the current had carried her away a little from Jennifer. Jennifer gestured to the shore, waved, then swam away. Peace once again.
She tread water for a bit while Alex swam back to the shore. Lisa seemed to have fallen asleep sunbathing. It gave her more time to think.
Once again the mysterious stone filled her mind. If she was truly to have the afternoon alone she could get it back to her room. Someone called her name and she saw her aunt and brother waving from the beach. A few kicks and she was propelling towards the shore.