Wednesday 16 May 2012

'Tidemarks' by Sarah Grace Logan

"Race you," he whispers, lurching to his feet and tearing off towards the waterline.

Jake follows, stumbling over the sand dunes. They meet at the water, feet slapping on the wet sand. Jake curls a hand in the back of Andy’s jumper and pulls him up short; they grab at one another's arms, splashing unsteadily through the water as the tide ebbs in and crashes around their ankles.

"I win," shouts Jake, breathless with laughter. Water is splashing up to his knees now, sand squelching between his toes.

Andy ruffles Jake's damp hair with his right hand and tells him to shut up. They rock together with the movement, swaying in the pull of the tide and dizzy on laughter and the dull hum of alcohol in their blood.

"I think—"Jake begins, but Andy grabs his shoulders and drags him down into the foam. They crash awkwardly into the sea, Andy still clinging to him like a limpet.

"Get off.” Jake spits out sea water and wrenches his hands free of the sucking sand. His clothes are drenched and Andy is too busy laughing to have noticed the fact that he weighs at least a tonne. "God, get off me."

Andy wraps an arm around the back of Jake's neck, pressing his face in close to mutter, "Make me."

Jake shoves him away, but Andy hangs on tight and their foreheads knock together painfully. They both groan, but then Jake takes advantage of the moment to roll Andy over into the water, laughing helplessly at his shocked expression. Another shove, and they wrestle awkwardly in the shallow water, wet sand clinging to their clothes and their hair, laughter catching in their throats when they swallow mouthfuls of sea water.

Arms locked together, they struggle to their knees. They're both gasping for air and Jake's stomach aches with laughter. He leans forward, letting their foreheads press together and hitches in deep breaths. Andy smells of water and sunshine, and the cheap beer they've been drinking all evening. Jake jerks one arm free and tries to tug on Andy's shoulder, intending to knock him into the water again.

But one of them moves the wrong way, twists a little out of synch with the other, and then their mouths press together: hot and wet and half open in surprise. 

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