Saving Coralie.

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  • Published: 1 Jan 2017
  • Updated: 1 Jan 2017
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Coralie and Erin are more like sisters and friends. They've been through everything together, the good the bad and the ugly. Which is why when Coralie kidnaps Erin and takes her to a secluded beach house, Erin gives her the benefit of the doubt. The girls find themselves in Pembrokeshire, the beautiful West coast of Wales, and the beautiful scenery is almost enough to make Erin forget that she's been kidnapped. Almost. She knows that Cor's acting weird and she thinks that she knows why, a memory that she's pushed to the back of her mind that keeps trying to force its way out. The one thing she does know for sure though is that Coralie needs saving. The trip turns out to be more tumultuous than either girl could ever have imagined. A story of love, friendship, grieving and unforgettable summers.

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17. Chapter 17.

“Doesn’t that upset you?” I threw my legs across Cor’s lap. We were sat on the ocean of quilts that were still draped across the floor of Iddy’s living room. We’d all woken up bathed in plumes of sunlight that were flooding in through the large windows and I think that the pleasantry of the situation reminded us that we would soon have to plunge ourselves back into reality and responsibilities, prompting a conversation about when we should throw ourselves back into real life.

“Never,” I’d suggested, burying my face in Seb’s shoulder and after a number of equally unhelpful suggestions we’d decided that that two more days would have to do.
“Ok but I’m not sitting around doing nothing all day, get your arses into gear,” Sim had jumped up, the top of his adorable pyjamas having somehow disappeared at some point during the night. The boys and Cor decided to go and take a look around the shops in Tenby but I’d suggested to Seb that the two of us should spend one last day together. I really wanted to talk to him away from the racket of the others.
“Well if you and Iddy wanna bail to do something together Cor, I wouldn’t mind. Would give me an excuse to ring up Ffion and tell her that I’ve been abandoned,” Seb had chirped when he’d heard what Seb and I were doing.
“Well for the sake of poor Ffi I think me and Iddy are definitely not gonna ditch you Simmy,” Cor had grinned.

So the boys had gone to get ready and to pick up some bread for breakfast and Cor and I had decided to stay put for a while, sitting on the stunningly white sheets in the matching pure white light of the sun, silently watching little specs of dust twirl like tiny fairies in the spiral of light. I was so mesmerised by the gentle, graceful movement of them that it took me a while to realise that Cor had taken out a book and was sitting cross legged, her head buried in it. It took me even longer to realise that it was one of her dad’s old books, a simple story about one man’s quest to track down his first love after a divorce from his wife, which had an ambiguous ending and a nostalgic and wistful tone throughout. I’d not been able to read it since he’d died because it was somewhat sad and I couldn’t help but imagine that Mr Jenkins was feeling equally as sad whilst writing it.

“Doesn’t what make me feel sad?”
“Reading that? I mean it’s a good one but it made me feel sad at the best of times.”
As I spoke it struck me how normal it suddenly felt to be talking about Cor’s dad after all this time. I was even more surprised at my lack of surprise at Cor reading Second Chances, a simple act that a few weeks ago would have knocked me for six.       
“Sort of,” Cor turned the book upside down, resting it on my legs, “ I mean it would have a few days ago even. But after talking it all out its sort of comforting now. Like I think that’s what’s so beautiful about the written word. It’s just a bunch of random symbols but when you’re skilled at using them you can create something else entirely. Something that outlives you. I don’t know if I believe in an afterlife but I do know that people have souls and a part of my dad’s is here, on these pages.” Cor stopped talking and scoffed lightly, “look at me going into one of my big speeches again. I’m sorry I’m such a bore.”
I laughed but took her hand at the same time, giving it a squeeze.
“You know you have all the best pasts of your dad right?” I whispered, feeling like the moment was a quiet one.
She smiled at me with tears in her eyes and we sat like that in the warm heat of the soft white sunlight until the boys burst back into the house in an explosion of noise and colour and laughter.        
                                                                                                ***

Later that day Seb and I walked hand in hand down an adorable little quay in a village called Solva. We’d had a stroll across the coastal path, taking in the view, the stunning backdrop of green and the little boats bobbing cheerfully in the calm water, followed by a cup of coffee in a quaint café with yellow painted walls. The sun was so glorious that we decided to sit on the edge of the quay, watching the calm hum of the last few days of summer, children gleefully crabbing, running up and down the quay with bright buckets brimming with little critters. People were bombing off the quay wall and others were kayaking around the little cove, all of them slow and hazy in the late summer heat.

“You know I can’t believe I’m in my second year of uni,” Seb mused over the quiet backing track of boats bobbing back and forth in the water, bumping lightly into each other, sending gentle ripples.
“Like my three years are gonna go so quickly. And then I could join the boys travelling for a bit. God know where they’ll be by then.” As he spoke I felt a familiar twinge in my stomach. It was an unnerving sensation that I’d experienced so often during the past year, that up until now I hadn’t been able to fully place, like an itch that was never satisfied, no matter how much I scratched at it. But suddenly it was all too clear. Apart from being terrified of losing Seb or of becoming nothing to him, irrationally of course, I’d been jealous of him. All year I’d assumed that the all-consuming feeling of jealously I’d had when I’d thought of him had been directed at the people who’d been getting to spend time with him, when really it had been Seb himself that I’d been envying. Well I mean ok, I probably had been jealous of the other people too, especially the beautiful blonde. I was human after all. But really though, he’d been having so many great experiences, meeting new people, learning new things. And I’d been stuck at home, stuck in my own head most of the time, my thoughts darting around clumsily, tying themselves up in knots, trying to figure out what everything meant, even the things that didn’t really mean anything. Trying to figure out who I was, where I fit into the scheme of things.

And this summer had come along and smashed my china thoughts with a mallet and now I felt so much more like the person I’d always been trying to figure out. I was starting to understand myself, which I knew would sound like complete trash if I said it out loud but it meant so much to me. I’d realised that what I’d been so afraid of this whole time had been feeling just like Cor had said, nothing. But now I knew that could never happen because I was a brave person and a loyal one. And I was a worrier, I knew that I was but maybe that wasn’t the worst thing ever, because it kept me motivated to be better. And I loved so hard. Loved everything and everyone in my life. And after all in the huge expanse of the universe, the only reason any of us mattered was because of each other. And I loved Seb. I loved him so much for helping me see what I saw now. But things change, no matter how much people mean to each other.

Reality washed over me like a calm wave of understanding. I rested my head on Seb’s shoulder, breathing in his scent. The smell of his skin had always reminded me of the sun. I planted a kiss where his shoulder met his neck and he turned away from the view to look at me.
“Is there something you wanna talk about Ri?”
I smiled, feeling even calmer and safe with the knowledge that Seb always seemed to know what I was thinking, not long after I thought it myself.
“Yeah, I do think there’s some stuff we need to talk about.”

                                                                                                ***



“So after all of this you two have broken up again?” Cor inquired quizzically around a mouthful of spaghetti. The two of us were in an adorable little Italian bistro with dark green walls, candlelit tables and the mouth-watering aroma of authentic herbs and spices seasoning the air. The tables, cloaked in delicate white table cloths were close together and intimate, so much so that Cor and I had the distinct feeling of being on a date. The boys had gone fishing, a prospect that Cor and I had decided sounded less than exciting, setting our minds on stuffing our faces with as much bread and pasta as we could, especially because I’d been craving Italian food since the cancelled trip that had been promised following my A level results.

“No it’s not exactly like that,” I sipped my wine, searching for the right words to describe what Seb and I had earlier decided.
“So you’re together?”
“Well no, not like we used to be. Like I said, what we’ve decided is that at the end of the summer we won’t officially be together anymore. I still love him and I think I probably always will. And he still loves me. But it’s better this way. We both know that.”
Cor looked at me as though I was speaking in tongues, her mouth wide open, a spoonful of carbonara paused in its entrance. She frowned but then continued to wash down the extraordinary amount of carbs we’d managed to order between us with the equally impressive amount of red wine. Just when I thought we’d managed to cover the topic without too much protestation, Cor drained her glass and said,
“I still don’t get it.”
“What part don’t you get?” I drained my own glass.
“Well I mean, are you guys going to see other people?”
“Well I’m not going to, it’s up to Seb if he does. But that’s not what it’s about for either of us.”
“Well then what is it about?”
“Well, the other night you know at the festival? I was lying there when everyone else was asleep and my mind was wandering and I just couldn’t get the idea of fears out of my head after that stupid game. And I was watching Seb and thinking about how I couldn’t remember life without him and how I sort of went into limbo when he was away. And I realised that another one of my fears is that Seb and I will never know who we are without each other. We need to let each other grow and change over the next few years without constantly obsessing over each other. It’s not fair on either of us. You know it might turn out to be stupid and idiotic but we’re just gonna see how it goes.”
“So are you even gonna be friends? Are you planning on ever getting back together?”
“At the end of my three years of uni if we still feel the same then we’ll be ready to start planning our lives together. And of course we’re gonna be friends. When we’re together we’ll be together. But when we’re apart we need to actually be, not constantly all consumed with what the other is doing. So no constant texting, no visits during term time. We’re so strong that I know whenever we’re together it’ll be like we were never apart. Do you get it now?”               
“I suppose,” Cor shrugged, pouring us both one last glass of wine, “I mean I think its mental but what do I know about relationships?” I laughed off her scepticism. I knew it wasn’t a perfect plan but at least we could say we’d tried to make certain that each other was definitely what we both wanted. And right now it, felt like a good decision.

“So, since we’re on the whole big announcement think, I’ve got something to tell you,” Cor squirmed in her seat, her face lit up with many different emotions, excitement and a nervous sort of energy.
“I’m going travelling Ri.”
I beamed. “I thought you might be.”
“The boys invited me along and I couldn’t think of a good reason why not. I mean since I’ve got everything off my chest my head is just so much clearer. I know that my life is gonna go one of three ways. I could either spend my life trying to make myself happy, I could dedicate myself to making others happy, or I could do both, it’s just that the third way is gonna take a bit longer. Do you get what I mean? Like I could go to uni and study something like psychology so that I could help people, maybe even people like my dad. Or I could avoid the stress and heartache and live a simple life that will make me happy and doesn’t hurt anyone but doesn’t help anyone either. I need to go off and figure that out. Maybe I could do one after the other.”
“Sounds perfect Cor.” I nodded, knowing that she was going to be ok. She was saved, whether I’d done it or not and that was good enough for me.
“You know for someone who failed A level English you always find the most beautiful words.”
“Maybe. But I think I’ll leave the whole writing malarkey to you whist I’m off sipping cocktails in the Bahamas. And you and Seb can come visit us wherever we’re at when you’re on your uni breaks. And you know, take a break from being on a break too if you want.”
“Of course,” I giggled, feeling rather emotional and woozy as I took her hands, realising that I’d probably had a bit more wine that I’d meant to.
“Anyway RiRi, too much grownup talk for one night. And I’ve just had the best idea to end this holiday with a bang!” Cor, held her glass up towards me, slurring her words slightly but I was also  too tipsy to even make fun of her.                                                                  

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