Cloudy With A Chance Of romance
The road twists and turns in front of us as I drive through green hills heading inland, leaving the views of the sea behind, even if just for a moment. We’ve been in silence for a while, Sam being really quiet since we left the house.
“Are you always up early?” I ask after a while, not knowing what else to say to spark up some conversation.
Sam’s head turns my way and I can feel her eyes on me, but I keep mine on the road, not wanting her to look back down.
“Mostly, yes,” she says after what feels like forever.
“Nice,” I reply, “I didn’t see you up when I headed to the bathroom, I would have let you have the first shower if I did,” I add with a smile. I almost regret it straight away, that sounded silly.
“I was out on the beach, so it’s okay.”
There's so little emotion in her voice. I wonder what I’m doing wrong to be on the bad side of this girl’s temper.
“Did you catch the sunrise?” I say, trying to sound excited.
“I did, actually.” I can see a smile spreading on her lips at the memory, so I guess at least it must have been a good one.
I have no idea what else I can say to keep this conversation going. Dealing with teenagers is not what I’m used to, and I’m pretty sure Sam doesn’t fit into the mold of a standard teen anyways. I don’t even think I should call her a teen either, I know she’s 20 years old, but it seems like the same thing to me. She's just so young.
Her head is turned back towards the window, her forehead resting against the glass as we turn a corner and drive towards the beach again. I’ve been driving for about half an hour through a road that keeps heading inland and then back towards the shore, driving past beach after beach on our way to Cathedral Cove, the place that Sam planned to visit today.
“There’s a nice looking beach up ahead,” I finally say. “Would you like to stop over?”
“Sure thing,” she says, not even turning to look at me.
After stopping at a few gorgeous beaches, we finally make it to Cathedral Cove’s car park. I can’t contain my excitement, so I rush out of the car and run towards the start of the track. I’m gutted that Em is not here to share the experience, but I’ll make sure to take plenty of photos to show her. We have an hour walk through the bush until we get to the actual Cove, and I feel a bit uncomfortable thinking about how to act around Tane.
After a few minutes walking, I realise I’m exhausted. Last night might have been harder on my body than I expected, as I’m usually pretty fit. The feeling of nature around me is something that I’m finding invigorating though, the wind dancing around me and sending my hair flying in all directions, the sun kissing my skin and keeping me warm despite the cold.
Funny how I thought cities were my thing, ‘cause I’m having so many doubts about it now.
I look over my shoulder to Tane, who’s walking behind me. He looks as fresh as when we started the trail, his hair is all messed up by the wind too, but he’s got a huge smile, like he’s highly enjoying himself. He doesn’t even look tired.
“We can rest if you need to,” he says with a smirk.
“I’m good,” I mutter. I keep going, pushing my legs to move forwards despite the burning sensation in my thighs.
When we finally reach the beach and walk towards the Cove, I can’t believe my eyes.
“It’s even more beautiful than in the movie,” I say mostly to myself, and then remember Em is not here.
“What movie?” Tane asks, his voice coming from very close behind me.
I turn around, a cress between my brows. He’s standing a few meters away, looking at me with an interested expression.
“What movie?” I repeat perplexed. “Narnia, of course! It was filmed here, it’s one of the most epic scenes in the whole movie!”
Tane looks like he has no clue what I’m talking about. I guess if this is your own country, and you’re so used to seeing such amazing landscapes all the time, you don’t even care what movies your backyard is featured in.
We walk around the beach for a while, and I take a lot of pictures for Em while enjoying the peace and quiet of the place.
After a while, I find myself back under the cove, just standing there, facing the sea and taking it all in; the way the water hits the rocks, the foam that forms where water and rock meet, the sound of the wind flowing through the cave, caressing me and sending my hair flying in all directions. The seagulls soaring overhead, their squeals piercing my ears. The salty scent of the water that mixes with the fresh smell of forest coming from behind me.
This is simply perfect.
I look down to my feet, and I can’t help but feel grounded again. As I stand there, I remember every little detail my mother told me about my father, and even if it’s not much, I can almost feel like I remember him.
A bushy beard, a soft touch. A song sang in a car.
Sam’s shivering. Her eyes are locked on her feet, her fingers trembling a little. It is really cold and windy, and as the Sun hides behind dark clouds, it feels even colder. I can’t help myself, and I reach my hand towards her, resting it gently on her shoulder. I almost want to give her my jacket, but I know she wouldn’t take it even if I offered.
She seems to come out of her daydream as she looks back at me.
“We should get going,” I say. “It’s really cold, and the tide will start coming up soon.”
“Sure,” she says as she shakes her head like she’s trying to clear it. “Let’s go back, we should probably check on Em before it gets dark.”
She starts walking back towards the path, and I follow, staying close behind in case she trips and falls.
“Do you mind if I ask you, what were you thinking about down there?” I say after what feels like forever, thinking we’re probably almost to the carpark by now.
She doesn’t turn, and doesn’t answer for a while. I think she’s just going to ignore me, but then she talks in a small voice.
“Just about my family.”
She doesn’t say anything else, and I don’t want to push, even if I’m curious. I wonder why she never really talks about her family. Emma told me a few things about her own last night, she told me her mother passed away when she was little, and talked fondly of her. She didn’t want to talk that much about her father, as it seemed their relationship was strained, but at least it’s something. We’ve actually talked quite a bit while we drove too, she’s easy to talk to.
But then Sam… I know nothing about her, or about her family. I can tell her heritage is Polynisian somehow, but as far as I know, she lived her whole life in Argentina just like Emma… so I wonder if it’s her grandparents that were from around this land. I wonder what our connection must be.
I feel like I'm trying to make up a puzzle without having all the pieces. Truth is, it’s making me really nervous.
As I’m about to open up my mouth to ask more, a drop of water hits me on the cheek. Then a loud thunder rips the sky, and suddenly it’s pouring down with rain.
“Oh, my!” Sam yelps in front of me as she pulls her hood up and tries to fruitlessly cover her head with her arms.
We start running towards the car, but the rain is so intense that we are soaking wet in a matter of seconds. I can see the parking lot only a few meters ahead, and as soon as we’re there, we both jump into the car at the same time.
I can feel water dripping from every inch of my body, my hair now plastered to my forehead and half covering my eyes. I push it to the side, and turn to Sam as I turn the ignition and blast on the heater.
“You okay?” I ask, panting.
“Yeah,” she says, and she puts her palms next to the heater. She’s shivering pretty badly.
“You should take some of the soaked layers off, I have some dry clothes in the booth I can lend you.”
I want to tell her she's clearly not if she can barely speak without stuttering, but I know that won't work, as stubborn as she seems to be, it’ll probably be more reason for her to refuse.
“You’ll get sick,” I insist instead. “Please.”
She's still not looking at me, her gaze focused on the heater, so I reach over and brush the hair off her face so I can look at her better. It’s like my hand is drawn to her face, and I’m touching her before I even intended to. She turns to look at me, and I freeze, my hand lingering against her cheek.
Her eyes are fixed on mine, unblinking, and as I look into them, I feel myself being sucked in. The green of her eyes seems to come into focus, and I can see bushes as clear images being painted in my mind. It's like I'm right there, standing in the middle of the forest and surrounded by greenery, but then she blinks and I’m back in the car. She pushes herself back against the door, my hand falling to my lap.
She's looking at me wide-eyed and I'm suddenly not sure of anything anymore. What is the connection with this girl? What am I missing? Why her?
"I'll go get you that change of clothes," I say as I bolt out of the car to walk around to the booth.
Confused for a moment, I look up. It's stopped raining.
“Fucking Tawhiri,” I say under my breath.
As soon as we enter the house, I walk right past Emma, who's lying on the couch with a blanket as I mutter a hello, and then head straight for the bathroom. I turn on the shower, get undressed, and jump in as fast as I can.
While the hot water washes over my body a moment later, I can almost feel Tane’s hands on my waist, and his fingers brushing my cheek. Sam. The memory of my name on his lips makes my toes curl. I close my eyes and look up, letting the water hit me right on the face, trying to wash away the feeling of those hands against my skin. But now I'm picturing them on my waist again, tugging me closer. His breath mingling with mine as we got a bit too close in the car. My hands on his chest this morning. I stroke my hair as I rub in the shampoo, and I swear I can feel his hands running through it instead.
His hand on my cheek. Stop it, Samantha!
I turn the hot water off and the water goes ice cold instantly. I yelp, but let the water hit me hard on the face, trying to cool my brain down.
“I have control,” I mutter. "I choose the things that stress my body," I say as I recoil against the cold water and try to relax my muscles. I stand there for a moment, being in charge of what influences my body and mind. It’s a trick I learned at counselling, and I’ve loved the idea ever since I heard it. To choose the coldness, to choose the things that stress me. It works every time.
But as the water makes me shiver with it’s coldness, another feeling emerges. What happened today? It’s like I remembered something, like I got myself lost into time, and his touch lasted an eternity rather than a second. As the water hits my face, I picture his green eyes again as I close mine. And I remember a forest… and screaming, crying.
I snap my eyes open.
I'm surely imagining things.
When I finally step out of the bathroom, I hear laughter coming from the lounge so I peer through the hallway door.
Em and Tane are sitting on the couches, laughing and talking like they’ve known each other their whole lives. A pang of jealousy hits me in the gut, so I turn around and head to my room.
I'll go read my book, they can get me when dinner is ready.
Em pokes her head in once before dinner, and then gets me when the food is ready.
It's a quick meal; they talk, I eat.
“Are you all good, Sam?” Em asks me as we lie in bed afterwards.
“Yeah, sure, just a bit tired after today’s walk,” I lie.
Em looks at me with inquisitive eyes, and I know I'm not fooling her. She knows me too well, but I just hope she won’t push it.
“You disappeared after your shower, hid in the room all night, didn’t even say a single word during dinner, and then came straight back to the room after. Tane told me you were quiet all day, that you got caught up in the rain… I'm not stupid Sam, we’ve been best friends for over 10 years, something happened, spit it out.”
I glance over at her. Em is fully facing me now, leaning on an elbow as she lies sideways in bed. What should I tell her? That I’m having weird images randomly pop up in my brain? That I think I might be losing my mind? That I’m ridiculously obsessed with the guy she’s got a crush on? My eyes are glued to the roof as I finally choose my words, and go with the simplest but most complicated answer.
“I just didn’t want to be in the middle,” I mutter.
“The middle of what?” She asks, sounding surprised.
I turn around and look at her, and she does seem genuinely confused.
“You… and Tane,” I reply, and then the words are slipping out of my mouth. “You just looked so comfortable together, and seems like you were hitting it off so well, I just didn’t want to interrupt and ruin the moment, I mean, it’s okay, I don’t mind you guys doing your thing, at all, I just didn’t want to be annoying or anything like that. It’s fine, totally fine, I was just giving you space, okay?”
Em’s eyebrows shoot up, and then she’s laughing, covering her face with both hands while she sits upright.
“Damn, you’re even more blind and innocent than I thought Sam,” she says, still laughing as she puts a hand on my shoulder. “We were talking about you.”
My mouth feels dry as the words settle over me. Talking about me? What about me? Why?
“He is into you, Sam,” she adds, pronouncing every word slowly like I'm a little child that doesn’t understand what she’s saying.
“He, what? No, you like him… ” I mumble.
“No, silly.” Em says as she smiles kindly. “Not gonna lie, he’s a piece of chocolate I would gladly dig my teeth into, but it’s been so obvious that he’s not interested in me. Why do you think I stayed home today?”
What is she even talking about?
He's into you. The words echo in my brain.
“Did you really think I couldn’t handle a hangover? I wanted you guys to be alone. I had a feeling that something happened last night. So... now you have to tell me everything. What happened between you two?”
I'm still half stunned as the words start flowing from my lips, and I tell Emma everything that happened since the incident with the broken glass last night. Was it only last night?
The last few days have been so eventful, that they feel like weeks.