“You are avoiding me.”
“Not technically,” I say as I focus on the sky and marvel at how the colors have faded to a dull purple and deep navy blue. “You’re the one who keeps interrupting my private moments.”
“In case you didn’t know this,” Elliot says, “This is a public beach.”
I narrow my eyes and shake my head at his sarcastic comment. “I know.” I stare up at the stars. “But I can still have a private moment on a public beach.”
“Well, excuse me,” he guffaws. “I’ll let you get back to that then.”
Elliot turns to walk away and I grab him by the elbow. “Wait.” He freezes mid-turn and crooks me a demure smile. “Now that you’ve crashed the party you might as well stay for it.” I release my grip on his elbow and Elliot falls back in line with my steps.
For about ten minutes neither one of us says anything. We both silently admire the stars burning, miles and miles away from us illuminating the heavens until Elliot cuts into the quiet and says, “So what’s your story?”
“Yeah.” He lets out a deep, throaty chuckle. “Tell me about yourself.”
“I thought you knew all about me?” I question. “You know, “the kid” Drake saved from drowning once.”
“Okay, so I know a little bit. I know you tend to walk into doors and people and I know my brother saved your life once. But that’s not enough. I want to know more.”
“What do you want to know exactly?”
“I don’t know.” He shrugs and I swear I see a twinkle in his pale blue eyes. “What are you majoring in in college?”
“I’m pre-law, you?”
“A lawyer, eh? You don’t strike me as the type.”
“What? You have to be a specific type to be a lawyer?”
“No.” He laughs. “You just don’t seem argumentative.”
“I can be when I want to be.” I punch his arm playfully. “You never answered my question.”
“Ah, yes.” He massages his chin with his forefinger and thumb, pretending to be scholarly. “I’m a biology major?”
I fight the smile that’s working its way over my lips. “Really? You don’t strike me as the type.”
We share a laugh and Elliot says, “Very funny.” Elliot breaks away from my gaze and stares out into the ocean. “You ever do anything spontaneous?”
I’ve done spontaneous a few times. And one of my spontaneous moments was with his brother.
I quirk an eyebrow. “Spontaneous as in—?”
“Spontaneous as in swimming in the ocean in the dark.”
I follow Elliot’s gaze out to the water. “Don’t you think that’s a little dangerous?” I point to a sign over my shoulder. “That sign says no swimming after sunset.”
Elliot runs the tip of his tongue over his teeth, smiling devilishly. “We both know how good you are at reading the signs on the beach.”
“Hey!” I snap.
Elliot shrugs. “Why don’t you try living on the edge a little bit, Robin? I promise you, you’ll like it there.”
I open my mouth to protest again, but in one swift motion, Elliot scoops me up, throws me over his shoulder, and makes a mad dash for the water. I loop my arm through his armpit, clinging on as tightly as I can. My head bobs up and down every time Elliot’s right foot then left foot plows into the sand and for a moment I think I’m going to be sick. I can feel my dinner inching its way up my esophagus, but before I can hurl, Elliot picks me up off his shoulder and chucks me into the water.
I’m sailing through the air and everything seems to be moving in slow motion. My limbs flail. My shrill, high-pitched scream pierces the quiet night air. Finally a loud slap rings out as my bare back smacks against the surface of the water. The impact knocks the wind out of my lungs and sends a series of small pin-prick-like tingles through my skin. By the time I stand and wipe the water of my eyes my whole back is on fire, I’m soaked and I’m seething.