Nick chuckled to himself as he went into his backpack for some clean clothes. His eyes darted to Sal who was also pulling out garments from her bag and who was also giggling to herself, although she was trying her best to hide it from him. He wasn’t fooled though. He began to hum a strip tease tune and stood with his back to her whilst untucking the towel from his waist, making suggestive movements and threatening to drop the towel. She swung her head around, and pointed at him.
“Don’t you dare!” she laughed, grabbing her clothes and darting into the bathroom.
Sal changed into a clean bikini and slipped on a cool white summer dress over the top. It was prefect for the beach party because it was casual enough to look like a beach dress and yet it had a few details to it which made her feel feminine and might make her stand out a little, or hopefully enough to attract at least one or two guys at the party. The dress had a tie at the waist and was made of a cool filmy kind of material that fell down to just above her knees and swooshed around her legs, making her feel ‘girly’ and carefree. The top of the dress just about hid the straps of her bikini with its own straps and showed off enough of her smooth tanned skin to satisfy Sal.
“Come on Sal,” Nick shouted from the other room. “I want to go party! Hey, we should pick up some drinks from a shop on the way and maybe a few snacks to take with us,” he added enthusiastically.
Sal smiled. “Cool. We could pick up some plastic tumblers and make cocktails,” she shouted back.
“Cocktails! No Sal, I’m not drinking no girly cocktails.”
Sal sulked. “You promised palm trees and cocktail bars, that means one way or another I’m getting my cocktails!”
Nick tutted but smiled nonetheless. “Ok, you can have your cocktails.”
He was in such high spirits at that point, after all the fun and banter, that he would have drunk girly cocktails and dressed in a hula skirt if she’d have really wanted him to!
Sal finally emerged from the bathroom and they grabbed a bag, filling it with towels and a change of clothes before leaving the room.
They exited the hotel and strode out into the warm evening air, heading back in the direction of the beach past the tavernas, bars and shops. There was an aroma of freshly baked bread and home cooked food in the air as well as the sound of laughter and music. Many of the people were sitting outside the bars, presumably enjoying the views of the sea and the lights reflected on the water from across the street. Although the resort was by no means busy, compared to some of the larger resorts on the north coast, there was sufficient hustle and bustle, chatter and laughter to remind any visitor that this was a place to simply kick back and enjoy the finer things in life: good food and drink, friendly locals, and a fantastic setting.
As they strolled down the street, Nick found himself thinking how very glad he was that he had made the decision to return to Crete. Winter in the U.K had been cold, wet and full of stress and conflict with his father, as well as the pressures of having to meet Jen’s parents and pretend to be someone that he wasn’t in order to impress them. He had always been so much happier in Crete among his friends and working in jobs with people who were there to enjoy life. And at that point he couldn’t have been enjoying life more, looking forward to a night of fun with good friends, exploring new places, being spontaneous and carefree. In the back of his head he was aware that Sal’s presence had a lot to do with his current good mood too, not to mention the earlier revelation that the attraction he felt for her might, just might, not be one-sided.
“Hey look,” Sal piped up suddenly, pulling Nick towards a small tourist supermarket in-between two tavernas ahead of them, “we can get some drinks and snacks from there.”
Nick’s eyes were more focused on the bars and tavernas they were passing however, and on impulse, he stopped walking suddenly and blocked her way forward. She looked up at him in confusion.
“Forget about that for a bit Sal, there’s a cocktail bar right here,” he said, grabbing her hand and retracing their steps to the last bar they had passed. “Let’s have a few drinks here, just you and me, before we meet up with the rest of them on the beach eh.”
Sal hesitated outside the bar and looked up at Nick with a slight frown. “But won’t your friends be wondering where we are? We were long enough getting ready in the hotel.”
Nick grinned at the memory of it.
“Don’t worry about them. The party will go on all night. We can catch up with them later, but I did promise you cocktails Sal and besides, we should be spontaneous tonight. We can do whatever we want when we want; were on holiday now Sal,” he smiled.
A smile quickly lit up her face too. “Okay, you’re right. Why not?”
“I tell you what,” he said, ushering her over to a table outside the bar, “not only will you have your cocktails but if you sit here,” he said, pulling out a chair for her and motioning for her to sit, “you’ll have your very own palm tree too.”
She looked up, and sure enough she was sitting underneath a huge palm tree lit up with small fairy lights which were wound around its trunk and into its fronds.
She patted its trunk and beamed at Nick. “You are spoiling me Nick.”
“Yes well, I’ll spoil you once more with a two for one cocktail offer,” he said, picking up the cocktail menu, glancing at it and handing it to her, “and then it’s your turn to spoil me eh,” he grinned.
She gave him a look as if to say that she couldn’t imagine what he meant and leaned closer to him across the table.
“And how should I do that then Nick?” she answered with a smile tugging at her lips.
Oooh, he could think of a few ideas, especially when she was looking at him like that. It was the kind of look he rarely experienced from Sal, but it made him wonder exactly how much she knew about what he was thinking, and more importantly, what she was thinking in return.
“I’ll let you know,” he answered, allowing his eyes to flitter around her face.
There followed a rather odd moment when Sal felt a sudden small spark in her stomach at the way he was looking at her as her eyes followed his. His gaze moved as far as her neck and shoulders where it abruptly stopped and returned to her face.
She gave him a small smile before her eyes dropped to the menu.
“Two cocktails!” She bit her lip. “That seems like terrible over indulgence.”
Nick’s focus was still on her face. “Something tells me that you’re not averse to a bit of overindulgence Sal.”
Sal kept her eyes on the menu but a smile developed across her face at his reply. “Well…since it is a two for one offer…and since you are treating me…how can I refuse?” she finished as she closed the menu decisively and handed it over to him. “The beers are at the back.”
He took a quick look at the menu as the waitress approached.
“Yia sas,” the waitress smiled. “First time here in Crete?” she asked.
“First time in Matala but we work in Agios Nikolaos,” Sal replied. The girl looked surprised. “It’s just a short trip. A mini holiday,” Sal explained.
“Nice,” the girl answered.
“I’d like the two for one cocktail offer please,” Sal said to the girl who had her pen poised on her notepad.
“Good choice. What would you like?” she asked.
“I’ll have a ‘tropical surprise’ and a ‘sex on the beach’ please.”
Nick looked up from the menu and began to laugh. “Should have guessed that one,” he commented, “I’ll have a Mythos,” he said to the girl.
She smiled and wrote down the order. “I’ll be right back,” she said, moving away.
They spent the next ten or fifteen minutes talking about Nick’s friendship with Sandra and Phil before the drinks came and Sal admired the array of fruit and shimmering decoration which hung around her cocktails. Nick halted the waitress and dived into the bag for the camera. He moved around the table and sat next to Sal, shuffling his chair closer to hers and putting an arm around her waist so that the waitress could take a photograph. They thanked the waitress and Nick moved the chair back a little but remained sitting next to Sal.
Sal took a sip of one of the cocktails while Nick watched for a reaction.
“Any good?” he asked.
She closed her eyes and savoured the taste of the cocktail, in true Sal style, over exaggerating her enjoyment and looking as if she was in ecstasy drinking it.
“Magnificent,” she concluded. He laughed and sat back in his seat to sip his beer and enjoy the view. “Would you like to try some sex on the beach Nick?” Sal asked suddenly out of the blue. Nick’s eyes widened as his head swung back to her, and there she was again with that smile which told him that she was probably thinking naughty things but wasn’t going to let on. “My cocktail,” she clarified innocently, but not quite so innocently. “Go on Nick,” she said, holding the straw out to him, “It’s good.”
He cleared his throat. “I’ve no doubt it is!” he said, taking a sip and holding her gaze as he did so. If he didn’t know her better, he would think that Sal was flirting with him!