CHAPTER TWO

Her eyes were closed, and she was rubbing the back of her head, messing up her long light brown wavy hair. Her nose was scrunched up in a face that made her look cute, the type of cute that’s bordering on sexy. She was wearing short denim shorts and a pale blue loose singlet that had risen just a little bit too high, showing off her flat stomach. I managed a quick cheeky scan –  petit, maybe late teens to mid-twenties, with the most beautiful legs I had ever seen. Well, enough of that I thought to myself.

“Shit, are you okay?” I leaned over, reaching my hand out.

Odd, I never usually felt this nervous around women.

“Does she look okay to you buddy?”, her red-headed friend retorted.

“If I had to answer that I would say yes. Yes, she looks more than okay to me.” I said not able to take my gaze from her.

Her other friend scoffed at that as she twirled her long blonde hair.

I smiled and raised my eyebrows, insisting that she take my hand. She took it and I felt a strange serge of anxiety sweep over me.

“Jax, nice to meet you.” I said after I helped her up, shaking her hand. I could not help but think that my eyes were betraying me. This woman was something else and I couldn’t stop looking into her eyes. They were the palest blue I had ever seen and almost seemed to shine.

“Thanks… I guess. My names Charlotte.” She seemed okay and managed a smile. She was attempting to collect herself straightening her hair and pulling her singlet down.

Charlotte, okay. I will remember that.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was that good a kick. Well I did, but I didn’t mean to hit you. I’m sorry.”

Chris was standing behind me looking rather sheepish with the football in his hands.

“It’s okay, I guess. Don’t sweat it.”

“What are you guys up to this morning? Would you like to come down to the beach with us?” I ventured, perhaps a little too eagerly – not taking my eyes off Charlottes.

“No. We are going this way.” Charlottes friends were pulling her away, yet I could see that Charlotte was intrigued.

She turned with her two friends and took a few steps away from the café before turning back.

“We are heading to the Lucky Duck later tonight. I’ll be wearing my best dancing shoes.”

With that she smiled at me and turned elegantly back toward her friends, the way she moved almost seemed foreign, like she couldn’t help but look like she was special.

Dancing shoes it is then.

******

“Mate, I know you’ve been itching to talk about the girl from The Coffee Joint for the last two hours. Go on, let it out.”

Chris kicked the footy to me as he spoke, and I lost the ball for a second in the sun as the ball span high in the air. I caught the ball and smiled at him before taking a glance at the tide coming onto the beach in front of us.

“Well, wasn’t Charlotte the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?”

“Charlotte.. you remembered her name,” Chris said, raising an eyebrow.

“I’ve seen you with many women bro – not once have you said anything like this before. Mate, you know we’re in Canada right? You can’t be falling for a chick now.”

Another kick.

“Nah you’re right man. I’m sweet, I’m sweet. I’ll probably never see her again anyways.” I caught the ball, hoping I was wrong.

“She was alright bro, the red head was more my type I reckon. She had a bit of meat on her and seemed fiery, how I like them.”

Chris had always liked girls that looked the opposite to him, Charlotte was far too similar looking to have ever caught his eye. I was glad for this.

Chris kicked the ball toward me and missed by a metre or two, the ball rolling across the sand toward a group of guys around our age. One of them, a big strong looking dude with a real lumber jack beard, picked the ball up. He had “Dubois” tattooed in big thick font across his chest.

“This yours?” he asked, pointing the ball toward me.

“Yeah mate, it is. Cheers.” I said putting my hands up as if he would kick it to me.

“Oh, an Aussie. That makes sense,” he said in a strong Canadian accent, looking back at his mates who all giggled.

I looked at him quizzingly. Chris had started walking over toward me when our new friend smiled at me devilishly.

“Here you go. Mate.” The ‘mate’ was accentuated in an attempted Australian accent. Poorly at that.

The ball flew off in the opposite direction toward the ocean. Yep, there it went, into the water. This wasn’t going to end well.

“What did you do that for? You fuckwit!” Chris walked past me with a strong stride.

Next thing I knew they were nose to nose with each other. Besides the beard, they looked oddly similar. This other blokes friends were all standing behind him. Four of them. Like a pack of hyenas waiting for their feed.

“I dare you. Go on. Take a swing.” The bearded man said pointing to his chin.

That’s all Chris needed. Usually he was laid back and carefree, but he wasn’t one to back down from a fight.

Bang. Yep, right hook straight to the jaw. Well, here we go.. I thought to myself.

In I jumped as this guys mates ascended on Chris. Next thing I knew, punches were flying everywhere. I was in a head lock and one of them was punching my ribs. Chris was holding two of them off by the scruff of their shirts with pure brute strength when our tattooed friend swept Chris’s legs from under him and took him to the ground.

That’s when the lifeguards came charging over to break us up.

I let go of the guys shirt i had a hold of and stumbled backward. I regained my composure and was panting hard after the altercation. Chris was next to me looking a little bit worse than I did, a split lip for his efforts.

The leader of this crop of gentlemen stood behind the lifeguards who had separated us. And pointed straight at me.

“You’re going to regret that.” He said with a look of pure hatred.

With that the five of them trudged off the beach sneering back at us.

“Fuck me, that escalated quickly didn’t it.” Chris was rubbing his jaw smiling at me.

“Mate, you cant just walk away can you.” I pushed my best mate jokingly and knew he was never going to change. Ah well, at least I knew he would always have my back.

“Just a little bit of fun Jax, they weren’t much of a work out anyways! Lets back home and hit the shower before we hit that dance floor.” He did his shocking little two step dance move he thought all the ladies loved. They mostly just laughed at him, but it worked regardless. I put my arm around Chris’s shoulder and laughed.

“Come on them. Let’s hit up the Lucky Duck.”

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