Romance Fiction posted September 26, 2016


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Old friends catch up by the sea

The rocks below

by oliver818

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

The cicadas buzzed with summer fury. Stones crunched softly under their feet as they followed the curve of the path around the hill.

"So, Pete, you settling back in okay?" asked Jenny.

"Yeah, Im really happy to be home actually. I missed this place."

"Really? I loved Europe. I'd go back in a flash if I could."

"Well, you left while we were still traveling. I was there for four more years. Life isn't cheap there. Even working I had to survive on baguettes and expressos some days."

"Still, Paris. So romantic."

"And how's married life treating you?"

"Pretty good. Johnny's an amazing guy. He really likes you, you know."

"Great."

Pete's hand wiped away a small trickle of sweat that was tickling his neck.

"Pete, do you remember how we used to go on holiday with our parents and the two of us shared that little tent? We would pretend we were married. I'd make the beds and fix us snacks, and you'd run around outside and then pretend you'd been at work all day."

"Yeah."

"The scary thing is that my life is kind of like that now. Johnny is out all day at work, and ever since I lost my job, all I do is clean, cook and go out for walks. I'm so fucking lonely sometimes."

The path rounded a sharp corner and then ran along a rough cliff edge down to the sea. Waves smashed over the rocks below in wide clouds of fine spray.

"Um, we could hang out together sometime if you want."

"That's so sweet. I'd love that. Hey, race you to the rocks."

Pete's eyes shut for a moment, and when they opened she was gone. Just like when they were kids. She couldn't stay still for a minute.

"Ow, fuck. Pete, help me."

"What's the matter?"

"Help, Pete, hurry."

His legs flew along the sharply descending path.

"Jenny, where are you? Jenny?"

"Help me. I can't hang on much longer."

"Where are you?"

"Help, I'm going to fall."

A couple of fingers clinging desperately to the edge of the cliff caught his eye

"I see you, I'm coming. Hold on."

The fingers disappeared. He leapt off the path and stared down. The cliff fell away to nothing but jagged rocks and waves. Tears stung his eyes.

"No, Jenny, no. What have you done?"

Her face burst up from the cliff edge. Her girlish giggle filled the air.

"I got you so good. You should see your face."

"What the fuck, Jenny? How the hell did you do that?"

"Come down and see for yourself. There's a little cave down here."

Pete's eyes dropped to where her feet were resting on a ledge. She slipped back down inside. His hands shook as he turned around and lowered himself down onto the ledge. Her thin, pink hand reached out and took his, pulling him in.

"Comfy right?"

"I suppose so."

"Sorry, Pete. I'm such a child sometimes. I did this to Johnny once as well. It was just after I agreed to marry him. He almost killed me for it and wouldn't speak to me for a whole day. The things I had to do to make up for that one."

"I haven't forgiven you yet, either."

"Oh don't be a big baby. It was just a bit of fun. And this place is great. Like that secret cave we found when we were kids."

"Yeah. The one we..."

"The one we snogged in, yeah."

Pete fingered the hem of his t-shirt in awkward silence.

"Johnny and me are thinking of having a kid, Pete. We'd like you to be the godfather."

"Really? That's great, I guess."

"You guess? Is that all you can say?"

"Fine, it'd be an honour. And I'm really happy for you guys."

"It's okay, Pete, I'm messing with you."

The melancholic call of a seagull lingered in the air.

"We missed you at the wedding, Pete."

"I know. I felt pretty bad about that. But it's a long way from Paris to Auckland."

"I know, you told me."

"If I could, you know I would have..."

"It's okay. I know it would have been hard for you."

"It's not that. It's..."

"Pete, I'm not blind. I know you have feelings for me."

"Whatever."

"I'm right, aren't I?"

Pete's foot scraped over the floor, knocking a bunch of pebbles over the edge.

"It's okay. Don't worry about it."

"Maybe if I hadn't stayed on in Europe after you left to go back to New Zealand, something might have happened between us."

"I don't think so Pete. That kiss was nice, but we were twelve. And anyway, we've known each other for so long, you're like a brother for me."

"But why Johnny? You guys have nothing in common. He likes cooking gourmet meals, you like Chinese take-aways. He likes reading novels in front of a fire, you like films about cute, fuzzy things. He likes to watch the sunrise on the beach, you like to dance all night and then sleep through the sunrise. I just don't get it."

"Honestly, I don't either, Pete. Our first date, he took me to a French restaurant. I was put off from the start by the snails, but he loved it all. Afterwards, he had to take me to a burger joint because I was starving."

"But you said you feel lonely sometimes."

"Only when he's not there. When he is, somehow it just works between us."

"Okay, I get it."

"And anyway, we're married now, it has to work. We fight, of course. He drives me mad with his wine-tasting books, and his obsessive reading when we could be out doing something fun. And I make him crazy begging him for fast-food, and forcing him to
watch romantic comedies on a sunny Sunday afternoon. But when we're together, I don't want to be anywhere else in the world. He doesn't either. And I guess that's what counts in the end, isn't it?"

"Hello? Jenny, Pete, where are you?"

Her warm lips pecked Pete's cheek once, and her exaggerated grin provoked a tiny laugh.

"You're just as crazy as ever, Jenny."

"Down here, Johnny," said Jenny.

Johnny's face swung down over the edge, staring in at them.

"Did she do that bloody cave trick on you, too? I hope she didn't scare you too much, Pete. Say, is there room for one more in there?"

"Not really, we were just about to come up anyway, weren't we Pete?"

"Yeah."

Johnny's hand reached out and pulled Jenny up. Pete's fingers found handholds in the short grass, and his legs swung up onto the cliff.

"I'm glad you and Jenny could catch up, Pete. You mean a lot to her and I respect that. You guys want to head down to the sea?"

"Let's go, slow pokes," said Jenny.

Her hand slapped down hard on Johnny's butt and her feet slipped away, head flung back in laughter.

"Hey, come back here, you," yelled Johnny.

Pete's face was still warm where her kiss had landed. Further down the path, Jenny and Johnny danced and laughed like idiots. His foot kicked a small rock, and it spun down into the water as he followed them over to the rocks.


Opposites Attract writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
The topic for this contest is: Opposites Attract. Romeo and Juliet, Ross and Rachel, these are couples that were opposites yet found love with one another. In this contest write a story about a couple that is opposite but yet drawn to one another.

Recognized


An OE is an 'Overseas experience', a common term for the trips young New Zealanders and Australians often take before they settle down to work and raise a family.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by supergold at FanArtReview.com

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