Friday, September 19, 2008

rottnest romance #22

The latest instalment in the thrilling Rottnest Romance, the only Bills & Moon novel to be set on the beautiful island. In these 500 words, the lunch at the West End continues. Larissa is picking at her rabbit food, while evil nasty immoral developer Nick is no doubt gnawing on the femur of a protestor crushed by one of his bulldozers. What will happen next? Our advice: keep reading. Nick's nuts get a mention pretty soon...

Getting up with some reluctance, she went over to him.

“My napkin, I believe,” she said curtly.

“What? Yes, I suppose so,” he said with an air of unconvincing surprise. As she went back to her lunch she felt like laughing at his display of pretense. Of course he had seen her napkin.

She started eating her yogurt. As she ate she looked at the seagulls, over the ocean, wheeling above the waves. After her meal she might go and have a look at the osprey colony in the rocks…

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Nick suddenly get up and walk in her direction. She looked out at the horizon, resolutely ignoring his approach.

“Excuse me.”

She turned her head to him. “Yes?”

“Do you have any salt and pepper, by any chance?”

“Sal and pepper? Er, no, I don’t. Sorry,” she added.

He nodded and trudged back to his spot. She felt a moment of regret she hadn’t bought any seasoning with her, followed by an inward frown. So what if he had been caught short – it wasn’t her problem.

She took the top off her water bottle and poured the last of her water into the top, which served as a cup. Taking a piece of carrot from her salad, she popped it in her mouth and reached for the water. In her distraction she knocked it over. The water trickled out onto the sand, and disappeared as it sank through the grains.

Biting back a curse, she quickly looked across to see if he had noticed her clumsiness.

He was looking at her, a blank expression on his face. She felt unbearably silly – she would bet he was now going to come out with a smart remark about what had happened.

He called out, “Do you want any more water?”

She shook her head, warily returning his look. “No.”

“I’ve still got quite a bit – certainly enough for two.” He picked up a large bottle of mineral water that was still nearly full. Perversely, now that all of her water was gone, she felt quite thirsty.

“That’s generous of you,” she replied hesitantly. “I’d appreciate some.”

“It’s no big deal. But there is one condition.”

She tensed. “Yes?”

“That we sit together sociably, instead of trying to conduct our conversation by yelling from one end of the beach to the other.”

In spite of herself she started to smile. He had a point – there didn’t seem to be much purpose in ignoring each other.

“Shall we meet in the middle?”

She nodded. “OK.”

They gathered up their lunches and moved to the centre of the beach. In silence they sat down again. He took her bottle cap and filled it up with some of his mineral water.

Presently he spoke. “That looks like a healthy lunch.”

“Yes, I suppose it is. Not very exciting, though. What have you got?”

“Smoked salmon sandwiches, along with a salad. I’d offer you a sandwich or a piece of lettuce or walnut, but I suppose you couldn’t accept anything.”

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