‘Morning,’ Gemma said, her voice as bright as her teeth as she breezed out of the bathroom trailing steamy vapour, and with her hair wrapped in a towel. ‘Our lesson isn’t until noon so we can chill out. I’m so looking forward to it.’ Gemma paused and looked at Lily. ‘Is that sore?’
‘My face? Lily ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror. ‘No,’ she called back. ‘But it certainly looks it.’
‘Never mind, use some more of my moisturiser, it’s on the shelf. I’m sure it’ll calm down by noon.’
But it didn’t.
Gemma stood at the front door, her bag in hand and her lips pursed. Lily looked over and smiled as she laced up her trainers.
‘What’s Gemma got on her head?’ Lily whispered to Tess as they both took a surreptitious glance at Gemma’s headgear – a large multicoloured scarf tied securely under her chin, tucked in tightly all around and not a wisp of hair daring to sneak out from beneath it.
Tess shook her head. ‘Keeps her hair in place.’
‘Believe me; nothing will keep her hair in place in that sea. Nothing. I speak from experience.’
‘Mmm. You’d be surprised.’
‘They’re still here,’ Gemma said as she finally locked the door behind them and put the key in her bag.
‘Stinking clod hoppers.’ Gemma turned her nose up at the trainers Lily had worn back from the beach. ‘I’d have thought the owner might have reclaimed them.’
‘What?’ Lily shook her head. ‘I wore them back from the beach.’
‘Urgh,’ Gemma and Tess chorused.
‘Why?’ Tess asked.
‘Because I lost my flip flops. Okay.’
Gemma and Tess exchanged disgusted looks but didn’t say anything.
Lily led the way to the beach and felt as though she was wearing a mask; she’d applied a liberal amount of Gemma’s sun block which seemed to be setting hard on her face.
‘It’s not gone white, has it?’ she asked Tess as they meandered down the lane.
Tess grimaced but it was Gemma who answered. ‘Of course it has, but it’s hardly noticeable. Would you prefer to look like a tomato? Would you prefer first degree burns?’
‘I’d prefer to stay in and keep out of the sun. I’d prefer to read a book in the shade,’ Lily snapped.
‘Oh don’t be such a bore, Lily. All the surfers wear opaque sun block. You’ll fit right in.’ Gemma quickened her pace, Tess obligingly matched it and Lily trailed a little behind, seething, but still with them.
‘Hey again.’ Surfer dude leered at Lily as they approached the shack. ‘That looks sore. You need to be careful.’
‘Thanks for the advice.’
‘Anytime baby.’ He grinned.
‘Quite,’ Gemma said, immediately silencing him as she began to explain why they were there. His attitude changed once he realised they were paying customers. He became less leery, more deferential, but most people were usually deferential to Gemma.
‘I’m Davey,’ he said. ‘Not Dave or David, just so we have that clear, wouldn’t want you mixing me up with them.’ He chuckled to himself then turned back to Lily, looked at her feet now clad in her own trainers. ‘You can bring them shoes back if you don’t want ‘em.’
Lily gave him a quick nod but she was more interested in scanning the beach for Jackson. No sign; she breathed a sigh of relief.
‘Wetsuits is extra,’ Davey said, ‘unless you got your own?’
‘Well,’ said Gemma. ‘Would we need surf lessons if we had our own wetsuits? It’s unlikely isn’t it? And it never said anything about extras in your advert, or on the tickets. You’ll be telling us the boards are extra next.’ Gemma stood with her hand on her hip and waited.
‘You can go in without wet suits,’ Davey said, turning away.
‘The water’s too cold and too rough,’ Lily said, remembering the previous day.
Davey turned back to them but Gemma still stood with her hand on her hip, her head wobbling with annoyance, an action exaggerated by her giant headgear. She raised an enquiring eyebrow.
Davey sighed. ‘Okay, you can have the wetsuits for free, but only for today. Probably best, don’t want you ladies getting friction burns, do we?’ He sniggered.
‘Certainly not,’ said Gemma striding towards the wetsuit rack.
‘Not those ones,’ Davey snapped. ‘They’re for those who pay.’
Lily shuddered; he probably had another crate just like the shoe one, but full of disgusting, discarded wetsuits.
Davey bobbed into the surf shack then reappeared with three wetsuits and dropped them on the sand. ‘There you go,’ he said. ‘Get ‘em on.’
Excerpt from first draft of chapter six so usual caveat about typos and errors. Hope you enjoy this and come back next week for another snippet.