Chapter 9: Riding the Waves

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            Fiona finished slathering herself in sunscreen and tossed the bottle into her bag. She’s probably have to reapply later, and just in case, she’d also put the oversized shirt she used when swimming in there as well. With her pale skin, Fiona didn’t trust the sun.

            She slipped on a loose sundress she used as a cover-up and then grinned at Meredith. Her roommate was just putting on her own cover-up, a sarong wrapped around her like a dress, while she had a towel draped over one shoulder, her seal skin over the other. Her clear skin already held a deep tan and Fiona felt a little jealous. Her freckled hide either burned or stayed pale, no matter what she did. “Do you want to toss your towel in with mine?” she asked, holding her backpack open. “I’ve also got some waters in here. Too bad we can’t get a picnic lunch from the cafeteria.”

          Meredith passed Fiona her towel. “They serve lunch all day during the weekend since everyone’s in and out.”

            “Awesome! You ready to go?” she asked, zipping up her bag and slipping it onto her shoulders.

            Her roommate grinned. “For the water? Always.”

            They set off, out in the mid-morning sunshine. Tyna, Jordana and Aura had promised to meet them there, since the other three had wanted to sleep in more. That was fine by Fiona. She’d only been to beaches a handful of times and the idea of having it to themselves was delicious.

            Passing by the cafeteria, they followed a narrow trail through the grass that was turning golden. To their left Fiona could see the edge of the forest, the huge trees standing out darkly against the pale hills. From what she could see, it looked like it was a pretty dense forest, not that Fiona had any experience with any kind of forest. She wondered what it was like in there, but at the same time wasn’t sure she’d be able to find her way back out of there again.

            It didn’t take long for the school’s sports fields to be swallowed up by the gentle rolls of the hilly ground they walked through. It felt almost like they were the only people left, out here in the wilderness. Meredith caught her gaze and smiled, making Fiona do the same. It was a lovely day and Fiona intended to enjoy every second of it. Grinning, she raced ahead.

            Meredith caught up to her quickly, her eyes dancing. There was just something about the fresh air, the clear sky, and the gentle twitter of the birds that made everything seem perfect. Fiona felt like they almost didn’t even need to go to the beach. It was nice enough out here to be worth it. Still, the thought of swimming drew her on, chasing away the lazy thoughts of taking a nap in the grass.

            By the time they could finally smell the water, Fiona was sweating and glad that she’d soon be in the water. She hurried her steps, Meredith keeping pace, until they were both flying down the path.

            Fiona’s first sight of the beach made the long walk worth it. Pale yellow sand sloped gently down into the blue waves that lapped at the shore. A few boulders lay scattered about, but for the most part the beach was sand. Already there were a few groups of people there, more than a few in the water.

            They quickly claimed a spot under one of the few trees that lay this close to the water, leaving their stuff there. Fiona pulled off her sundress and tossed it on top of her backpack and went with her first impulse. She ran into the waves, gasping a little at the cold water, but soon enjoying it as she got out as deep as her waist.

            Meredith joined her and they both let the cool water wash away the sweat of their walk. Fiona closed her eyes and floated on her back, thinking that this was perfect. She also couldn’t believe how lucky she was to be here.

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