By Jodi Titley
My heart skips a beat.
There is so much undulating flesh as Sarah emerges from the sea; not an abdominal muscle to be seen.
My girlfriend taps sun screen onto her palm and works it briskly into her pale skin. “My back?” she hands me the tube. I quickly coat her shoulder blades and the ridges of her spine.
Sarah stands between me and the sun. She shakes out her wet hair and laughs as ocean water sprays us.
“Cut it out,” my girlfriend scowls and brushes droplets from her sinewy arms.
Sarah squirts cream on her ample chest and on the back of her ample thighs. Plump rolls form above her hips when she twists. Beads of water are pressed from the folds and dribble down her skin, catching at the top of her bikini bottoms.
“It’s too late for sun screen; you’re already burnt,” my girlfriend frowns at her cousin.
Sarah wrings water from her hair. “I’ll never learn,” she shrugs. She sprawls onto her towel and reaches for her sunglasses. Sand coats her arm, but she doesn’t care. “The sun feels so good,” she sighs.
My girlfriend catches me admiring how Sarah’s backside surges, like a wave.
“You need to cover up,” she snaps and tosses Sarah a sarong. My girlfriend is a model of good sun protection awareness, and has strongly encouraged me to join her beneath a beach umbrella. She is perched on a folding canvas chair, brushing sand away from her polished toes. My matching chair is irritating me.
Sarah retrieves a novel from her bag. She arches her back and leans on dimpled elbows so she can wrinkle the pages with her still wet fingers. She nibbles at her nails as she settles in to read.
My chest tightens, and I think I emit an audible sigh.
“We’ve got to go,” my girlfriend says.
Sarah wiggles her fingers at us. “See you at dinner.” Salt crystals shimmer on her smooth, bare skin.
After a gruelling gym session, my girlfriend exfoliates and blow dries us both; together we coax the zip up the back of her dress. We pick out suitable earrings for her, and weigh up the pros and cons of wedges and heels.
Sarah comes straight from the beach. She wears sandals and her hair has been styled by the sea.
“I think we have earned feta on our salad,” my girlfriend says. I don’t read the menu; I don’t want to know what I’m not allowed to have.
“I want everything!” Sarah declares. I watch her slurp down oysters. Her tongue scoops up the meat and draws it into her mouth. She closes her eyes and juice glistens on her lips.
“I love holidays,” she murmurs.
She swallows a large spoonful of chocolate mousse and moans with pleasure.
“That looks appealing,” I say. My girlfriend stabs at her medley of seasonal fruit.
Sarah begs until we come with her to a venue pulsing with music. She swoops onto the dance floor and gyrates for a few beats before sashaying to the bar.
“Cocktails all round!” she cries. She tips the contents of her purse onto the bench. “I’m not going anywhere until I’ve spent it all!”
My girlfriend screws her nose up at a creamy Pina Colada. Sarah slides the drink towards herself and shapes her lips around the straw to suck the contents down in two mouthfuls.
She tries to tug us on to the dance floor.
“My shoes hurt,” my girlfriend says, so we sit and sip on bitter gin and tonic while Sarah bumps her hips with strangers, and runs her hands over her fat thighs.
My mouth has gone dry. I order another round of drinks. Upon my return I see Sarah is in someone else’s arms, and my heart lurches.
My girlfriend notices my knees jigging. “If you want to go out there-”
I’m orbiting Sarah before my girlfriend has finished her sentence.
When Sarah sees me she disengages from the stranger’s embrace and flashes a wide smile. I gravitate closer and I smell sun and salt and Pina Colada.
“”You’re amazing,” I say.
“I said, ‘You’re amazing!’” I have to yell to be heard above the music.
Sarah smiles, but then her mouth forms into an ‘o’ as she watches my girlfriend approach and splash her drink at me. “Enjoy each other!”
I should chase her and apologise… but right now, I just want to live and love. With Sarah.