One big reality bitch slap
'I don't think you guys helped at all but thanks for the company.'
The four of us exited the gymnasium doors and started walking back over to the school. We'd just spent our lunch break helping Jennifer with one of the dance routines for cheerleading. Which is another concept completely new to me but I wasn't going to get into that. Ok, I felt like I was in a bring it on film.
Jennifer was the captain of the cheer team so she spent an unhealthy amount of time in this gymnasium. She even had a change of clothes stashed in the storage cupboard.
For an hour she practiced her new routine whilst the three of us shouted out compliments and danced aimlessly around her.
'Hey we gave you a few ideas as well.' I offered.
'Yes, and they didn't go unappreciated.'
'But you didn't use any of them.' Taliah added.
'I said they were appreciated not good.' She flipped her auburn hair over her shoulder and hiked her bag further up her back.
Well you can't blame the girl for being honest. I did think the Mexican wave would've been a good addition in the middle part though. It would break the routine up a bit.
'10 o'clock you're being watched.' Zara murmured with her head so still she looked like she had cramp in her neck.
'What?' I replied unattractively.
'10 o clock!'
I scanned in front of me but thankfully said 10 o clock was calling my name.
I looked over to the car park where Harrison was leaning against his car staring straight at me.
Zara hmphed in annoyance.
'I was trying to be subtle but that's completely lost on you two!'
I raised my eyebrows questioning him only to get a head nod to come over in response.
'Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your gorgeous long brunette hair.' Zara sung around me.
'Go on then, don't keep charming waiting.'
'Charming was Cinderella's Prince wasn't he?' Taliah questioned.
'I don't fucking know, just go.'
I laughed at her expense and said goodbye to the girls. As I walked over to where Harrison was stood, his eyes didn't stray from mine which was a little unnerving.
'Yes?' I asked when I got close enough.
He pushed off of his car taking my books from my hand and the bag off my shoulder. He then motioned toward the car.
'And why would I do that?'
'We're going on an adventure.'
'Well that sounds fun but I still have a class left.' As if on cue the bell rang. 'Which I'm now going to be late to.'
I had biology next and Mr Metcalfe was a pain in the ass to any student that was late to his class. So far I hadn't been late once, well until today that is.
'Come on London live a little! One class isn't going to kill you. I bet you've never skipped a class before in your life.'
Was I that predictable? I just didn't like having to catch back up on work. Plus Nora had always skipped enough for the both of us.
'You're already going to be late-'
'Which is your fault.' I added
He smirked at me; a mischievous sparkle lit up his eyes.
'Yes, it is my fault. The bad boy is getting the good girl in trouble.'
I couldn't help it, a chuckle escaped my lips.
'Plus, I checked and the class you're missing isn't an important one. I'll even help you catch up afterwards.'
'You checked?' He nodded in response. 'Not so much of a bad boy after all then.'
I sighed skirting around him to reach the passenger car door.
He whooped in response when he realised he'd won and put my things in the back of his car eventually getting into the driver's side.
'So where are we off to then?' I asked as we pulled out of the car park.
'It's a secret.'
'Come on tell me.' I whined pouting my lips. He laughed when he saw my expression and rolled his eyes.
'We're going to the beach.'
I gasped in excitement and I could tell my grin was reaching my eyes.
'Yes really. Now are you happy I made you skip?'
I couldn't let him know he'd won so like the child I was I shrugged and turned to look out of the window earning a laugh from him.
'You're so stubborn.' He muttered.
The drive to the beach was short and we spent most of it singing along to the music he had on. I'd been wanting to come to the beach since we got here but so far, I hadn't had the time.
As soon as I saw a hint of shoreline my eyes lit up. The sun made the sea sparkle like it was winking at me and I couldn't wait to dip my toes in the water.
He parked the car as close to the beach as possible and luckily because of the time we were here the beach was practically deserted. As I opened the car door a waft of salty fresh air met my nostrils.
Harrison got a few things out the back of his car and then I practically bounced my way down to the beach. As soon as I could I took my shoes off and buried my toes in the soft sand.
'You look like a little kid.'
I beamed up at him.
'I can't remember the last time I went to the beach. I think it was back in July at this seaside town called Brighton. That's a pebble beach though not sand.'
'Yuck I hate pebble beaches'
'I'm not a fan either but I do love Brighton. It has a pier with fun fair rides on it and an ice cream shop with the most amazing flavours. I've always wished that I lived closer to the beach in the UK, although it wouldn't be same as here.'
We aimlessly strolled along the beach or at least it felt aimless, I was just following Harrison's lead.
'I come down here a lot with friends at the weekend but the best time to come is this time of day because it's practically deserted. Follow me, I want to show you the reason I brought you here.'
Both of us walked side by side along the beach with our shoes in our hands as he led me towards a fisherman's pier. He motioned for me to follow him underneath and it was then that I realised what he'd got out the car before we left.
'I thought we could start getting on with our project. Every time I come here, I've thought this would be a cool place to take photos, mainly because of the way the sunlight streams through the gaps in the planks of wood above. So how about it London?'
'Oh god, I really don't know what I'm doing though. I'm going to look so awkward.'
'No you're not.'
He pulled a big camera out of his bag and started pressing some buttons.
'Just completely ignore me. I'm not even here.'
'Yeah like I'm going to be able to do that.' I mumbled under my breath.
'Nothing.' I replied staring down at my feet as I dug my toes further into the sand.
'Where do you want me?'
He directed me over to a beam that was supporting part of the pier. I sat down onto the damp sand and looked out onto the horizon. I placed my hands on the sand beside me, using them to keep me upright and I could feel the individual grains of sand scratching in between my fingers.
I had to admit it was beautiful here. He was right, this was a great place to take pictures. Even though the sun was still shining as bright as ever the planks of wood above diffused it slightly so it wasn't so strong. Beams of golden sun created patterns along my pale skin.
'What shall I do? I feel awkward?' I glanced back over my shoulder hearing a click of his camera.
'Talk to me. Tell me about something back in the UK.'
I thought for a moment trying to think of a story to tell him. Cold sea water lapped at my wiggling toes as I thought. I had gotten so used to blocking anything about home from my mind in the fear of breaking down but when the thought of how uncharacteristic this felt compared to the weather and time of year back home it reminded me of something I really would miss.
'Bonfire night.' I blurted out.
'What's that?' He asked still clicking away.
'Remember remember the fifth of November. It's a tradition we have back home called bonfire night. It's kinda weird actually that we celebrate it as it's about a terrorist plot but I guess nowadays it's just another excuse to have fun.
There was this man Guy Fawkes, and some other dudes that tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in like the 1600s. Now every year on the fifth of November everyone gets together to watch fireworks displays and light bonfires.'
I focused on a spec of a boat in the distance and smiled softly.
'I'll always remember the first one I went to with my family. My sister and I were probably about 7 at the time. I remember it being freezing cold, we were both wrapped up in so many layers of clothing but we still whined on and on about how cold we were. We stood outside with my parents looking up at the sky waiting for something to happen. Then all of a sudden it started. The two of us both just shut up immediately as colourful lights illuminated the sky. It felt like the most amazing thing we'd ever seen. After that we were obsessed with fireworks or any kind of colourful lights. You should've seen our bedroom, it looked like Blackpool illuminations.'
I chuckled softly when I realised he wouldn't get that reference.
'Whenever there's a bitterly cold evening where I'm frozen to the bone it reminds me of that night.'
I realised I hadn't heard the shutter of his camera for a while. I turned slightly to find Harrison holding the camera away from him and staring at me.
'What? Should I stand up or something?'
He paused giving me a puzzled look before nodding softly.
'Do you mind getting your legs wet?'
I shook my head and let him pull me up from the damp sand. I had subconsciously worn the right outfit, shorts and a T-shirt. Plus my butt was already wet anyway so what's a few waves going to do.
The water swelled around my toes pulling them into the cold water. Sun rays shone in between the planks above creating a rainbow mist every time the waves got too fierce.
After a short while he announced we were done. As I was walking back over to him I got an idea. I made sure to wait until I saw he put all of his camera equipment away to set out on my plan.
I cupped some sea water in my hands when he wasn't looking and just as he turned round to say something to me I threw it at him. The cold water splashed against his chest and face as I grinned devilishly.
'I thought you'd be jealous you didn't get to paddle.'
I watched as his green eyes turned murderous.
'Oh, you're going to regret that.'
I started running but he was on me before I could get far enough. He pounced wrapping his arms around my waist and picking me up so that my feet couldn't touch the floor.
'Ready for a swim London?'
'No please I'm sorry, really sorry just let me down.' I squealed.
'Nope that's not going to work on me. This is revenge.'
Before I knew what was happening I felt my body fly through the air and hit the icy water, holding my breath just in time for my head going under. I swam up breaking water with a shocked expression on my face.
Harrison stood waist deep in the water laughing his head off.
'That was so mean!' My skin instantly shivered with goosebumps.
'You can wipe that smile off of your face!'
I splashed a wave of water in his direction. Water drenched him and I started laughing when water droplets ran down his shocked face.
'That's it, you're going down!' He said fully getting in now and swimming over to me.
We carried on messing around in the water for ages after that. He would pick me up by the waist and throw me into the water and I would use all my weight on his shoulders to submerge him.
Eventually when we were exhausted, we paddled back to the shoreline. Both of our clothes clung to us as we walked up the sand. Thank god I was wearing a bra today or that would've been awkward.
'What are we doing to do about our clothes?' I asked ringing out my sopping wet hair. We both looked like drowned rats.
'I've got a hoodie you can change into.'
'What about you?'
As if on cue he pealed his wet T-shirt off of his body. Huh, I was right, he did have a six pack. I couldn't help myself, I was full on staring. His tanned muscles flexed as he rung the water out of his shirt. He was muscly but not too muscly.
'Don't worry about me.'
Oh, I won't. I think it's me I'll have to worry about now.
I nodded in response and we walked back up the beach to his car. I didn't realise how long we'd been out here for but it was a lot later now. The afternoon sun was more of an orangy colour now and there were more people around.
Harrison dug around in the boot of his car and passed me a soft grey hoodie with his initials on the right side.
'Will this be ok?' He looked a little hesitant, like he felt bad for my clothes being wet.
'Perfect. I'll be right back.'
I squelched my way over to where I'd seen some ladies toilets earlier. As quickly as I could I took my cold clothes off and slipped on the hoody. Thankfully it was big enough on me that it came to a reasonable leg length. I buried myself into it and took in a deep breath. It smelt just like fabric softener and whatever aftershave he wore.
After I was done, I walked back over to where the car was parked and got in.
'Much better, thank you.'
He gave me the once over and smiled.
'It looks good on you and your welcome.'
The way back was similar to the drive there apart from more traffic. We chatted and sung along to his music whilst I tried to stop myself for staring at his bare torso. When we pulled in the driveway, I had to admit I was sad to be home.
'Ok I'll say it. You were right, I had a lot of fun this afternoon.'
'FINALLY!' He twisted in his seat when we were parked and gave me a grin. I couldn't really concentrate much on that through because a lock of his curly hair fell into his eyes and I had to resist from brushing it away.
'I wondered when you'd back down.'
'Well don't get used it it. It doesn't happen often.'
'I shall treat it like gold dust then.'
I rolled my eyes.
'Bye Harrison.' Before I realised what I was about to do and could stop myself I reached out and ran my fingers through his hair moving the lock that had fallen over his eye.
Before I could see his reaction, I jumped out the car in panic and walked up the driveway.
'Well that's one way to say goodbye.' Nora said beside me.
'I don't know why I did that. Nora why the fuck did I do that?' I walked through the front door and leant on it once it was closed with a panicked look on my face.
She sighed and put her arm around me.
'That's what happens when you have feelings for a guy sweetie. You lose control of all sense and in most cases the ability to form sentences.'
Feelings? I don't have feelings, do I? He's just a friend.
My outer body self wanted to slap some sense into me.
Maybe it was time to admit to myself that my feelings weren't purely platonic.
Well damn. If this wasn't one big reality bitch slap in the face then I don't know what is.