Amy looked around the beach as she stood up. She thought that the hottest part of the day would have passed by now, but not even the light sea breeze and the shade of a beach umbrella could cool her down. Since her arrival just hours earlier, her frozen bottle of water had turned tepid. She contemplated another splash in the cool seawater, but the heat had tired her out and she was thirsty.
The ice cream parlour was only a few minutes' walk away. She slipped her sundress over her bikini and headed that way, happy that her thirst would be quenched with both water and ice cream. The parlour was famous in Torquay: tourists made pilgrimages to try the latest home-made flavours even when the summer months had passed and the chill in the air was as cold as the ice cream. Through the window, Amy was surprised to see it so uncrowded on such a hot day.
A wall of cold air hit her as she opened the door to the parlour. She looked forward to cooling right down in here before heading back to the heat outside.
She turned to see who had said her name.
"Daniel," she said, "Wow, it's been a few years."
"Our final school dance."
"I think so," he said. "I've only been back in Australia for a year. I left right after school with my backpack and not much else."
Daniel smiled at Amy and shook his head.
"What?" she said, smiling.
"You. You haven't changed a bit. I can't believe it. It's like we're still at school."
"Well, we're in an ice cream shop. I do feel a bit like a kid in here."
"What flavours are you going to try? Look, my scoops of lemon cheesecake and caramel are coming."
The woman behind the counter handed Daniel his ice cream-filled cone and Amy quickly ordered a scoop of passionfruit ice cream and a scoop of chocolate.
Daniel paid for the ice creams while Amy found some stools at the parlour bar.
"Who are you here with, Amy?" he asked.
"My friend Jess. She's gone to visit some friends not far from here, but I didn't want to sit in a hot car on a day like today so I stayed here instead."
"Do you want to have dinner on the beach with me tonight?" asked Daniel. "I've always wanted to have dinner on a quiet beach and a warm night."
"It does sound like a good idea…"
"Excellent," Daniel said, before Amy had time to decline. "Having you there will make it ten times better. We can stop in at the supermarket and grab a few things, but I'll need to go back to my place to get my picnic rug."
Amy felt herself smiling and staring into Daniel's eyes as he spoke. She had kissed him at a school disco years earlier, but she was too embarrassed to talk to him at school the next week. Neither of them had mentioned it since. She had often wondered whether he had been too embarrassed as well.
An hour passed quickly in the ice cream parlour, with Daniel telling Amy about his overseas adventures while Amy listened, twirling her curly brown hair around her fingertips and keeping her gaze fixed on Daniel's blue eyes.
Daniel's eyes moved from Amy to the clock on the wall.
"The shops are closing soon. We'd better go or we'll be fishing for our dinner," he joked.
Amy grinned. "I'm terrible at fishing."
"So am I," he smiled. "Look, how about I go to the shops while you go home to get whatever you need in case it gets cold later on."
"That's a good idea. I've left my beach umbrella and towel on the beach too. Oops."
"Okay, I'll meet you outside the ice cream shop in an hour. Is that long enough?"
"An hour and a half would be better."
"It's a deal," Daniel said. "I'll see you back here soon."
Amy couldn't help but notice how much more confident Daniel had become since his school days. His blond hair was as much of a mop as ever and she still found herself attracted to him. She went back to her apartment to find the perfect outfit. The flimsy jacket was unlikely to keep her very warm, but it looked so good that she had to wear it. The heat of the day had continued longer than usual, so perhaps a flimsy jacket would do anyway.
Daniel's hair was flopping in the cool evening breeze when she walked towards him outside ice cream parlour. He had a basket of goodies on one hand and a picnic rug draped over his other shoulder.
"Hi, are you ready?" he asked.
"Yes, can I carry anything?"
"You can carry these," he said, revealing his other hand from under the rug. He was holding a bunch of flowers. "They're only from my garden, but the white ones reminded me of you."
They walked to the beach and Amy chose a spot to lay the rug. By the time the food was laid, the last few kids and parents had packed up and gone, leaving Amy and Daniel to enjoy dinner with just the soft sound of the breaking waves. They ate lobster, salad, bread and cheese. The air was getting cool when they moved onto with home-made tiramisu from the ice cream parlour.
"You're cold," said Daniel.
"Just a bit."
Daniel cleared the picnic rug and wrapped it around Amy, standing behind her while she watched the waves.
He put his arms around her waist and kissed her cheek.
"Thank you, too. You've made my beach dinner perfect."
She turned her head and smiled at him, and he met her lips with a kiss.
"Will you make my beach sunrise perfect too?" he asked between kisses.
About the Author: April was born in Australia, where she began her career writing technical manuals. Itchy feet took her to England, then France, where she continued to write for a living, moving into journalism and using her spare time to write fiction. She is a chocolate-lover, who has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics, as well as a keen interest in observing cultures and human nature. Blog address: http://www.lefrancophoney.com