And there it was again, my thoughts reading out loud. Curse my stupid mind. Those three words, they came out of my mouth before I'd even considered saying them. I felt embarrassed. He needed to know what I felt anyway, now it was up to him to think of it as nice or weird. Probably weird.
I was blushing, and I looked at the ground. Ground, give me answers. Who would it be? Arriane, or me?
He was speechless. I wiped away my drawing on the sand, he watched me do it intently. It was like pretending that nothing had ever happened, like this conversation didn’t exist. The two of us sat there on the sand alone, not saying a word. I had put him in a really awkward position.
“Victoria, I don’t reckon that would be fair on Arriane,” he said quietly. “But I think, I think we could be friends.” Oh how pathetic. “And by that I mean good friends, really good friends.” He winked at me. He was trying to put it in a nice way, a way that didn’t involve the word ‘girlfriend’. I was fine with that.
“Do you want to head back?” I asked.
“Yeah, sure.” It’s not like we were holding hands or anything, but I think that we were walking closer to each other than before. It was nice to finally have someone else to talk to other than Fiona and Arriane.
But Arriane. What would we do now? She is going to hate me for this. She won’t be speaking to me for days. Oh well, I thought. You weren’t the one who almost got obliterated into tiny little pieces yesterday. Max would have to do the talking.
Arriane was waiting for us to return at the campfire. Fiona had awoken her deep sleep, and I could see that she wasn’t enjoying her burnt eggs either.
“Morning,” She said to me sleepily.
“Morning Fiona. How was your sleep?”
“Alright. A couple nightmares, a couple dreams. I updated my journal this morning.” We all had one. It was our job to use the paper wisely, to record our thoughts and worries. Just one of the things that kept us sane.
“Oh cool. Could you read it to me later?”
“No problem. What were you two doing all the way out there?” I was hoping she wouldn’t bring that up.
“Just a brief discussion,” I said. “A private discussion. Nothing for you to worry about though.” And I stopped there. Thank god.
Arriane, on the other hand, was even more suspicious. She gave me a smirk as I walked past her. She knew something was up.
“Have fun?” She asked. I almost answered but she was talking to Max. Oh he was in for it now.
“Yeah. Victoria filled me in on a thing or two from yesterday. I remember everything now, my memory isn’t as clouded as it was when I had collapsed.” Was it me imagining things, or did she look disappointed?
“Oh, that must have been lovely.”
“Um, yeah, it was. If you excuse us, Toria and I are going to have a wonder around. See you soon,” And he grabbed me by the arm, grabbed his pack and went back outside. I had absolutely no idea where he was taking me.
“Toria? Are you SERIOUS?” She yelled after him, distressed. We kept on walking, as if she was invisible. Had I just betrayed one of my best friends or had she betrayed me?
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” I asked. Already we’d walked three miles in the same direction. I had never discovered this part of the valley before. The sun was up directly above us in the sky, it was mid-afternoon. There was nothing but sand, sand and sand. A fine mist was right ahead of us.
“Do you smell that?” I inhaled the icy air into my lungs. It replenished me, it reminded me of the old home I used to own.
“The ocean,” I said. “You’re taking me to the ocean. But why?”
“Just a random visit. It smells good, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah.” I could hear the waves crashing, I could hear seagulls screeching over food. Seagulls. When was the last time I'd heard one of those?