Grace knew it was a mistake to go to the beach on a Saturday, but it was Dave's birthday and that's what he wanted them all to do. They set up camp far away from the surf school, thankfully, and everyone quickly stripped down to their bathing suits. Dave and Greg immediately started an energetic game of frisby, Dave's stomach wobbling above his Simpsons shorts, making Lisa giggle. Greg looked cute, Grace had to concede. He had a solid build, and a manly V of blonde hair covering a broad chest. Lisa grinned her appreciation at Grace and mouthed 'nice!'. But Grace couldn't help constantly glancing to the middle of the beach where a small crowd of preteens was gathering. At one point she went for a walk, trying to convince herself she needed the exercise.
Sam was standing by the shore, shouting encouragement out to sea. His wet suit was fully on this time but it showed every defined muscle. He ought to have a special license to wear that thing. He turned round and saw her, a dimpled grin spreading across his face, his eyes flicking down to her red bathing suit. His eyelashes were wet. They looked even longer and darker than ever.
But before he could say hello, he was interrupted by a smoky voice calling, 'Sam! I'm going to take JD to the cafe. Can you give me a hand?'
The leggy brunette from last night was walking towards them. She was wearing a tiny black string bikini and a sarong slung round her narrow hips. Her hair was swinging round her shoulders, straight and shiny.
'Shannon, come and meet Grace,' Sam said and the girl reached Sam, slinging her arm around his shoulders, and smiling at Grace.
'Hi!' she said cheerfully. Grace noticed she not only had tattoos on her shoulders, but also one on her toned midriff. Sam's hand went easily to her waist. Shannon's hand stroked her flat belly absent mindedly. Grace's mouth went dry.
'Grace is JD's home room teacher,' Sam said.
'Cool!' said Shannon
'Shannon has a bar in Bakersfield,' Sam said as if he were at a polite dinner party. Then Grace realised what he had just said and blushed.
Sam's expression was neutral but his dimple twitched slightly.
'I have to get back to my friends,' she stammered and turned and walked away, overly conscious of what her wobbly ass must look like in the bathing suit.
Grace lay on her beach towel drinking a beer and trying not to think about Sam, Shannon and Bakersfield, but failing dismally. At least this explained what Sam had been doing in Bakersfield that night. But it didn't explain why he'd let her kiss him at that bar, or why he had been flirting with her so shamelessly since they'd met again. Maybe he really was as loose as she'd first presumed.
Greg had walked her home and got all drunkenly frisky with her in the hall, wrestling her out of her sun dress and snaking his hand under her bathing costume. It wasn't like him to be so playful and determined to enjoy it, she took him to her bed where they leaked sand onto the sheets and Greg licked the salt off her body. But she kept losing concentration, and thinking of Sam's wet eyelashes and what it must be like to peel him out of that wetsuit.
The next day, Grace went to the beach house to see how JD was doing, or so she convinced herself. Again, she knew she shouldn't, but logic wasn't a key part of her thinking at the moment. As she walked up to the open door, she could hear voices.
"Please don't cry." It was Sam's deep voice. Grace froze half way up the steps.
"It's OK. We'll manage," Sam murmured.
Sam appeared beside her. He was wearing nothing but a pair of pajama trousers. He looked pale and drawn.
"I came to see how JD is," she stammered.
Shannon leaned against Sam, her head resting on his shoulder. Three was clearly a crowd so Grace mumbled a goodbye and drove out of there, fast.