Hi, Hey, Hello!
And with this post I have officially caught up and should, *fingers crossed* remain on track for the rest of the month. I’m also actually ahead of my 30,000 word count target for Camp Nano so that’s bloody fantastic and yeah I’m stealing (can it be stealing if you wrote it…is this more a borrowing? A holding myself to actually finishing this thing? Who knows, I don’t) from that almost thing that still kind of needs a plot that have shown up twice before already this month. But returning to these characters has kind of given me motivation to do that, so that’s another thing to add my list.
‘I’ll wait here and see which way the wind will blow’
‘Mia, where are the other two?’
‘They went to go see the ocean.’
‘And did you happen to see what direction they went in for that?’
‘Nix they walked in a straight line and then squealed as the water touched their toes.’ She gestured vaguely in front of her, I settled Hayden on my hip more comfortably and rolled my eyes.
‘Mia, I’m looking directly in front of us and I’m telling you they aren’t there.’
‘Shit.’ She sat up quickly and pushed her sunglasses on the top of her head.
‘Here, take your brother. I’ll go look for them. Try not to lose him.’
‘I didn’t lose the other two.’ She protested as she shifted Hayden onto her hip.
‘Then where the hell are they Amelia?’ I said a bit too harshly.
‘Don’t do that.’
‘Just look after Hayden will you. Don’t move. I’ll find them.’
‘I’m sorry.’ She had somehow shrunk right before my eyes and I couldn’t help but let my sudden surge of anger deflate.
Finding them was, thankfully, relatively straightforward. Turns out that they had decided on their way down to the water that they were puppies and then got distracted by a ball, following it to its owner as if they were playing a game of fetch. They were now sat on the damp sand watching in awe as a game of beach volleyball played out in front of them.
‘Nix!’ My name was called out and I turned to look at where it came from just as the ball headed in their direction. He moved quickly and hit the ball back over the net and I realised it was Josh.
Dark hair, green eyes, blinding smile.
‘Nix, look ball!’ Scott shouted at me and I had to pull my gaze away from Josh, standing tall and muscles flexing, as he prepared himself for his next move, glistening under the sun, sweat slicked with slightly damp hair. Scott was sat cross legged and he looked happy.
‘Scott, Lydia what have I said about running off without telling Mia or I where you’re going?’
‘We told Mia!’ Lydia cried.
‘Did you tell her this specifically?’
‘Well no, but we said we were going to the water.’ Scott continued.
‘Is this the ocean though?”
‘It’s right behind us.’ He gestured wildly.
‘But not in sight.’ I countered.
‘You found us though!’ Lydia cried.
‘That’s not the point Lydia. You can’t just run off without warning.’
‘But Mia knew…’
‘No, she didn’t Scott. She looked up and you were gone.’
‘But the ball!’ He said hopelessly in his defence.
‘What about it?’
‘Josh said we could play.’ I finally had to look back over at Josh, who had perked up upon hearing his name.
‘Did you say that?’ I asked, somewhat annoyed but trying to remain calm in front of the kids. He made some sort of gesture and then walked off the makeshift court to us. We stood at the same height, which threw me slightly, and he was trying to regulate his breathing.
‘I did not say that no.’ He answered in between deep breaths. It wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear, but the one I knew I was going to get. The pair of them were getting increasingly good at lying.
‘Why are they here?’ I dropped my voice and turned towards Josh more, Scott and Lydia shifted their attention back to the match.
‘They caught our ball after Quinn really cocked up his return. They followed me over here once I took it back and then I told them to stay because I figured it was the safest option. They haven’t taken their eyes off that ball since they caught it.’
I glanced down at them, and he was right, their eyes were pinging back and forth with the ball.
‘Okay, well thanks for that. I guess it was lucky you were the owner of the ball.’ I tried weakly to make a joke of the situation.
‘You know just because they know my name it doesn’t make me any less of a stranger.’ He responded defensively.
‘Yeah, I fucking know that.’ I snapped.
‘Nix, naughty word jar.’ Lydia called out automatically.
‘Sorry, I’ll do that when we get home,’ I turned back to Josh, ‘I know I need to clamp down on the whole going up to strangers thing, but at least it was someone who’s probably not a creep this time. It’s a small thing in this massive mess, they don’t listen to me most of the time and I’m still too scared to push it right now. But thanks for looking out for them.’
‘You’re welcome.’ He looked somewhere unspecifically over my shoulder, ‘You’re two people down, where’s your other brother and sister?’ I startled at the realisation of where they were.
‘Shi…oot, she’s further up the beach with him. She probably’s freaking out, I’ve been gone a while.’ Josh nodded and brushed his hand against my upper arm before he spoke.
‘Go back to them. I can watch them for a little bit. I’ll bring them back to you when they get bored.’ I looked back down at them and the way their eyes were still glued on the ball.
‘That might never happen.’ I said as I looked back at him and he shrugged.
‘One camp is bound to get bored soon. I’ll bring them back.’ I was reluctant to leave them with someone who was still a stranger and so I tried to rationalise the fact that I was going to go along with this to myself.
‘What’s your last name, age and job?’
‘Um, okay? Holden, 29 and I’m an interior designer.’
‘Really?’ I don’t know what I expected him to do, but it wasn’t that. I never think anyone is going to be an interior designer.
‘Yes, why? And what about you?”
‘Morgen, 29, freelancer.’
‘Freelance what?’ He shot back.
‘Lydia can’t swim, Scott can but forgets she can’t sometimes and they need to reapply sunscreen in about an hour.’ I reeled off this information easily and watched him take it in as he flicked his eyes down to the psuedos.
‘Okay, go tell your sister the good news.’ He said as he looked back at me and smiled.
I’m not sure why I agreed to let Josh watch them at that point. Maybe I was just tired of having to be a parent all the time. I wanted a modicum of normality. I wanted to just be on the beach with my sister and not be stressed all the time about the wellbeing of others. I was still selfish and didn’t want to feel like I was doing anything for anyone but myself.
Hayden was asleep when I got back to Mia. She was watching him like a hawk and I could see the panic painted on her face as I approached her alone.
‘They’re fine.’ I assured her as I dropped heavily onto the sand.
‘They’re not with you though.’
‘They’re watching a volleyball.’ I settled back onto my forearms and watched her face crumple up in confusion.
‘No, they are literally watching the ball move from side to side.’ I laughed.
‘And you left them there?’
‘They’re with Josh.’ I shrugged, like he was an old friend who Mia should trust with them and not a stranger I had met a grand total of twice.
‘Who the fuck is…oh wait the hot café guy?’
‘That’s the one.’
‘Do you know him?’ She asked in case she had missed something. I shook my head as I responded.
‘Not really, but they’re fine. He seems fine.’
‘They’re down there if you’re worried.’ I gestured vaguely in a mirror image of what she had done to me minutes earlier. She groaned loudly and Hayden fussed slightly but remained asleep.
‘I’m not, just thought you would be. You didn’t want to bring them here in the first place.’
‘There’s a lot to consider when going on a family outing.’
‘We’ve been to the beach loads.’
‘Mom and Dad have always been there.’
‘Fair enough. Is hot café guy still hot?’
I nodded, ‘And shirtless.’
‘Oooh, how nice. See coming to the beach was worth it.’
‘What’s wrong with acknowledging that you liked seeing hot café guy playing volleyball.’
‘I never actually said I didn’t Mia.’ I countered, readjusting myself so that I was lying flat on my back and looking up at the dulled blue sky through my sunglasses.
‘Yeah, but you’re being dismissive of it.’
‘Because he’s just going to remain hot café guy, there’s no point in dwelling on it.’ There was little conviction in my voice, but at the time I almost believed that I meant it.
‘You’re wrong.’ She sing-songed.
Turns out she was right.
(Parentheses count: 2)
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