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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18. Chapter 18.

“So girls, exactly how drunk were you when you came up with this great idea?” Iddy raised his eyebrows, only just holding back a scoff as he took a sip of beer, which he almost chocked on when Cor delivered a swift elbow to his ribs. We were sat outside Iddy’s house, looking down on the beach through the long ferns, drinking beers that, admittedly Cor and I didn’t really need. We probably should have guessed how drunk we were compared to them after the less than enthusiastic reaction we’d received from them, after we’d excitedly announced the idea we’d come up with back at the restaurant.

“Ok, so two bottles of wine may have had a part in providing inspiration for the idea,” Cor said with a tipsy laugh, “But I really can’t understand why you think the idea of a party is stupid. Don’t be boring. And also, since when do you have to be sober to plan a party?” Cor’s words were consistently slurred, her head flopping into her lap as she finished speaking, not really doing a good job of fighting our case.
“It’s not the party bit that’s stupid, it’s the inviting people from home bit that doesn’t make any sense. No one’s going to want to drive like one hundred miles with less than a day’s notice for a hastily put together party,” Seb said, trying to remain serious whilst Cor gurned at him.
“It is not hastily put together. Me and Cor have spent all evening making plans I’ll have you know,” I injected my two cents worth, despite realising that Seb actually had a point.
“Oh like what then?” Seb turned to me smiling, ready and posed to mock.
“Well, wine. Dancing.”
“Revolutionary,” Seb laughed, tilting his head back to look at the sky as if asking for strength.
“Skinny dipping,” I raised my voice over his laughter and watched his self-satisfied smirk fade momentarily.
“Right that settles it. Let them have their party,” Sim spoke over both of us and flopped onto his back trying to sound nonchalant despite his raised voice and betraying grin,  “we can invite all the festival lot too. And if worst comes to worst I suppose we’ll just have to suffer through a party that consists of just the five of us,” he finished his slightly impassioned speech by attempting to take a sip of his beer, a poor choice of sentence closer, considering his sprawled position, beer glugging out all over his face, sending the rest of us into a frenzy as he coughed and spluttered, standing up and showering us, a show that ultimately tired us all out and sent us all on the trajectory of our beds.

                                                                                ***

A hangover, faced with the prospect of planning a party was the absolute worst combination and I couldn’t help but curse drunk Cor and Erin as I lay in bed the next morning. Truthfully all I wanted to do was wrap myself around Seb, the rest of me tucked up in the cloudlike quilt and stay like that for precisely half the day. My hopes of doing that were slashed approximately five minutes after waking up as an excitable Cor burst into the room, smushing herself between Seb and me, Seb only half serious when he rolled his eyes at me over the top of her head. I was informed that at least twenty of the people who Cor had invited from home had responded with a solid maybe which was apparently not surprising considering the lack of entertainment that was taking place for everyone at home, meaning that I should remember how lucky I was for being kidnapped and taken on holiday. Half of me wanted to kick drunk Erin in the face for agreeing to this when staying in bed was obviously the better option, the other half of me knowing that staying in bed would only feel better for an hour tops which is when I would start to feel restless and gagging for a shower anyway.
“Fine,” I groaned, needing to fully roll myself out of bed like a sack of potatoes.
“Lessgo,” Cor jumped up behind me and herded me to the bathroom, insisting that I needed to hurry up or else all the red plastic cups at Poundland might get sold out and then the party would be ruined.

                                                                                                ***

As it turned out the short notice and long distance resulted in the party consisting of us plus ten more people, including Freddie, Ffion, Nerys, Lottie and Sion. Even Sim and Iddy’s friends from Pembrokeshire had already had plans and couldn’t make it. It wasn’t exactly the rager Cor had been anticipating but it wasn’t exactly a quiet night in either, music blasting, seeming to almost rock the foundations of the house, bleeding out across the clifftop and getting lost as it drifted out across the ocean. Drinks were flowing and everyone was tipsy and cheery, the guys from home in awe of our beautiful surroundings. The party from home consisted of Lori and Ben from school, who’d ironically got together since their relentless teasing of me and Seb back in year nine, Mikey, Seb’s best friend from the pub he’d worked at before uni and Noah my big cousin, with his girlfriend Jenna in tow.

It was a random selection of people but surprisingly the perfect combination, all mingling, joking and dancing. I spent the whole night flitting from person to person, chatting and drinking. Doing shots when everyone else did, kicking ass at beer pong, making up ridiculous questions for Never Have I Ever, attempting to cancel out Sim’s ridiculously inappropriate ones. But when the sky got dark I excused myself from a rather haphazard game of Ride the Bus to sit outside for a bit. It had been such a long day. Such a long week. It almost felt as though an entire lifetime had been squeezed into just a few days. I took a yoga fire breathe, finding it incredulous that before I’d had to take these breathes religiously to stop myself from having a nervous breakdown. Now it just felt refreshing as the wholesome sea air filled my lungs. Everything felt different now, even though nothing had really changed.

Noah stumbled through the door of the house, his silhouette as lanky and awkward as he always had been, since he was a little boy, illuminated in the darkness by the lights of the house. I smiled fondly as I watched him push his glasses up the bridge of his nose, a gesture that had become a habit for him at the age of five. As he moved into the moonlight, for a second I saw him as that little five year old dork, squinting into the darkness, searching for me. I marvelled at how time could completely change a person but at the same time not change them at all. That’s how I felt. Five years old and fifty years old and eighteen years old, all at once.

“Er, you out here?”
“Yeah over here,” I stood up, my butt damp from the droplets of condensation slowly collecting on each blade of grass.
“We’re about to watch Seb and Sim race to see who can drink a dirty pint the quickest and they’re both insisting that you come and watch.” He laughed warmly, as if this was a common occurrence. Which I supposed it was, although he didn’t know that of course. He held his arm out for me and I took it, the night’s chill starting to reach me anyway. Plus there was no way that I was going to pass up watching Sim and Seb make fools of themselves one last time.

                                                                                                ***

That night we all decided to sleep on the beach, all of us too drunk to take issues such as tide times into consideration, but thankfully we got lucky and woke up to sand in every crevice instead of a blanket of icy sea foam. I was one of the first to wake up to the melancholy light of the dawn, stretching and shaking sand out of my hair.
“Morning,” Seb murmured, his face still pressed against the sand as I sat up, disturbing the blanket that was tucked tightly around us.
After a few moments he stretched and sat up too, manoeuvring so that he was sitting in front of me, the inside of my legs pressed against the outsides of his, my head resting against his back. We sat in silence for a moment, obviously putting off getting up, feeling delicate and still slightly dazed. I brushed sand out of his sticky sea salted hair, in such a trance that I jumped when he suddenly straightened up and spun around to look at me.

“Look over there,” he whispered, his uncontainable excitement trickling into his voice as he pointed in the direction of the ocean, which was lit up by the pale peach luminescence of the brightening sky.
“Is that what I think it is?” I said almost breathlessly, watching where he was pointing and seeing two shapes splashing across the horizon.
“Dolphins,” Seb said, his voice still low as if he was worried he’d scare them off if he spoke any louder. He held his hand out to me and the two of us wandered down to the tide, wading up to our ankles in the surf and watching the two dolphins splash their way playfully across the cove, the two of us still hand in hand, not saying a word.
It was one of those moments when just being was enough. I was part of the moment and the moment was part of me. As stupid as it sounds I felt like I was one with the air, with the sea, my mind full of nothing but the blissful harmony that I found myself in and I knew that this was what it felt like to be content.

The last time I’d had this feeling I had been a child, eleven years old, when I’d been too young to even appreciate what I was feeling. It had been a late September evening. I’d spent the afternoon holed up in my room with Seb and Cor, listening to music and reading and laughing about stupid things that we probably wouldn’t even find funny anymore. I’d then had a long warm bath before doing my homework in front of the real log fire we’d had in the living room and for once I was finding maths easy, this putting me at complete ease. Then my parents had joined me to watch a film. They’d sat either side of me on the sofa, my mum bringing me a hot chocolate, my dad playing gently with my hair. I’d told them a joke and made them laugh. And then we went silent and were just with each other in the moment and my eyes had teared up at the enormity I felt about such a small, quiet moment. And the same thing was happening to me as I stood there on that beach, Seb’s hand curled around mine. This time I let the tears fall, salty and warm and strangely comforting.

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