What? You again Hypes? And so soon? Well the long and the short of it is I have a new friend who has been very sick for a long time and has been in hospital for a while. She is a very brave young woman, and had a big scare recently. So as a reward for pulling through I told her I'd write her a story. And here it is, or the beginning of it anyway. She loves Naomily, and she loves the ocean, so I thought I'd put the two of them together. This will be an angst free zone, as the last thing she needs is any more trauma. So sit back and feel free to enjoy…
Any mistakes are due to the fact that I've been partying.
I don't own Skins, but I'd like to think I am using its powers for good
1. Sea Blindness
"Isn't she beautiful," said Thomas, smiling that indelible smile of his.
For once, the depth and joy of my smile matched his.
"Oh my God," I sighed contentedly. "I think I'm in love."
I was standing at the top of a cliff with a boy who ran away from an almost land locked country, and fell in love with the sea. We'd been friends since we both went to the same shitty sixth form college in Bristol. I was the first person he'd made friends with when he arrived. Which was quite an achievement on his part, seeing as I was usually such a cynical, uncommunicative loner. But Thomas is such a gracious human being, I defy anyone to deny his charms. I guess he was attracted to the fact that I was an outsider like he was. A stranger in my own land.
I took him to Weston-super-Mare on a day trip. It's a shitty little resort, and it was raining, but Thomas didn't care. As soon as he saw the sea he ran towards it, stripping down to his boxers as he went, and then jumped right in, splashing about like an excited puppy in the waves. I had to hold him for about twenty minutes afterwards to try to stop him from shivering, but it didn't put him off. From that moment on he started begging me to go with him to the coast whenever we could. We started local, but eventually began to venture further afield to Devon and Cornwall, and soon we were spending most of our free time down by the water.
We stayed close throughout college, my interests and his meshing until they found a common ground. I had grown up with a hippy mother and the various randoms she collected. I had been going on protests and marches since before I could walk. I became passionate about the environment and was desperate to try and help do something about it before it was too late. Despite the fluffy-minded chaos of my home life, it turned out I had quite the brain for science. And I was determined to use that brain to make a difference. To make people listen. To change the world. Thomas had quite a brain on him too, and though his parents had hoped a British education would turn him into a doctor or a lawyer or some such, in the end we both applied for the same course in marine biology and conservation. I was no longer alone. Thomas and I were going to change the world together.
Everyone who met us thought we were a couple, but we weren't. Don't get me wrong, Thomas is an intelligent, well-mannered, charming and incredibly good-looking guy. By anyone's rating he was most definitely boyfriend material. If things were different I'm sure we would have ended up together. I even kissed him once, but that only confirmed what I'd suspected for a while. I didn't want a boyfriend at all.
Thomas was the first person I came out to. About five minutes after I'd kissed Stacey Mathiesson in the middle of the dancefloor at a filthy drum and bass night at the Trinity. She had been doing it because she wanted to wind her boyfriend up. I had been doing it because I wanted to get Stacey Mathiesson into bed.
Although we has several more snogging sessions and I even got to feel her tits once, I never did get to go to bed with Stacey Mathiesson. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life. Stacey had a gorgeous body, delicious auburn curls that she used to flick around her as though she was in a shampoo ad, and a smile that could melt the heart of the most unfeeling person on earth. Sadly, she wasted all of these fine assets on a gormless dick called Jed who completely didn't deserve her. And so the fanfare of my grand coming out was quickly followed by a year of moping over Stacey, and failing to get off with other girls because they didn't measure up to her. University was a different matter. Freed from the shackles of seeing Stacey every day, I decided to explore the wonderful world of lesbianism with renewed vigour. I met a few nice girls, had a few cool flings, and one incredibly clingy girlfriend, who I had to let go when she even started getting jealous of Thomas. But no one who really gave me the thrill that Stacey did. No one who could make my whole life better, just because she walked into the room.
But it was cool. I put that down to teenage infatuation, and figured that this regular type of attraction was how things really were. Maybe one day I'd get lucky and find a girl who didn't start to bore me as soon as the first fires of passion had died down. Maybe not. I had my best friend and an ocean to save. These were the things that mattered
Which was why we were stood on top of this cliff right now looking down on the waves rolling into Rhossili beach. It's at one end of a gorgeous bay at the end of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. This was going to be our base for two months as we worked on a practical module for our course. We were going to be taking samples of the water quality over a period of time, to measure the effects of pollution from the west Wales refinery towns and it's impact on the food chain of the Minke whales of the Irish sea. My mum had teased me that it was just a way of getting our jollies in one of the most beautiful locations in the country, but I knew deep down that she was hugely proud of me, fabulous old hippy that she was. It was quite an ambitious project for two second year students to be taking on on their own, but me and Thomas were the top of our class, and I knew we were going to ace it. We had already worked up a system and a mapping process, installed a model on our computers for future projections, and hired some guy who was going to take us out in his boat. We had applied for and gotten a bursary from the university to pay for us to hire a little cottage so that we'd have a proper base to work from. To say we were excited was the understatement of the year. The next two months were going to be boss.
"Come on," said Thomas excitedly, hoiking his backpack up onto his shoulder. "Let's go."
We had arrived here and gotten settled in to the cottage this morning, and then come straight here. I knew Thomas was dying to get in the water. I swear that boy must have been a fish in a past life. Despite coming from central Africa, he had acclimatised quite quickly and would go in the water whether it was rain or shine. I had poor circulation and was very much more of a fair-weather fish. Luckily, despite being early May the weather today was unseasonably hot and sunny. A good omen for our first day, I think. Thomas bounded down the steep path like a mountain goat whilst I followed on a little more gingerly behind him.
By the time I caught up with him, he was already in the water. I'll never tire of the smile on his face. It inspires me, and so in spite of myself, I got changed and ventured in to join him. Even though it was hot on the beach, it was only the beginning of the summer and the sea was still fucking cold. I totally lost my cool and shrieked like a little girl when I gingerly tiptoed in. I had just about forced myself to go waist deep, when I heard Thomas laughing. I tried to run, because I knew what was coming next, but the resistance of the water made it too difficult. Before I had even gotten a metre, I felt his hands on my shoulders, and he unceremoniously dunked me into the icy water. And yes, people of the world, it is possible to cough, splutter and yet still curse and swear like a whole frigate full of sailors. Another reason I love Thomas (even though I hated him right then) is that no matter how much mardy shit I throw at him, he still just laughs and loves me anyway.
"You can't just keep on tiptoeing around, Naomi," he smiled. "It only hurts you more in the end. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge, feel the rush, and then enjoy the warmth that comes afterwards."
I knew he wasn't just talking about the waves. He was talking about the way I overthink everything in my life. I'm always thinking about the consequences before I'll do anything, calculating the odds, weighing up the pros and cons. I've tried to chill, to be more like Thomas, cause it certainly seems to make him happy, but my brain just won't stop working. It races along at a hundred miles an hour, and the only way I can get it to stop is when I anaesthetise it with booze or drugs. But I can't live my life wasted, so most of the time I just have to put up with it.
Thomas has had his heart broken more than a couple of times. He's such a good-hearted man, he seems to attract evil witches who take shameless advantage of him. But in spite of this, he's still an optimist. He still always sees the good in people. I'm the opposite. Even Stacey didn't break my heart, because when I analysed the situation, I knew she could never really be mine. But I'm distrustful. Whenever a good thing is laid out before me, I am always looking for the catch.
After our swim and my enforced lesson in 'taking the plunge', we decided to chill out with a cheeky spliff. So much more my style. I know I sound like a bit of a wuss for someone who is hoping to save the oceans, but I kind of pictured myself more as being on the boat analysing data or studying stuff that lives in warmer water. And yes, it pisses me off that the African boy is more hardcore about the cold than I am, but hey, I have poor circulation, what can I do?
The beach was pretty much empty. The whole bay is about three or so miles long, and is a bit of a hidden treasure, being so far away from what most people would call civilisation. To the north there is Llangennith, where a lot of the surfers hang out. And to the south there is a gorgeous rocky outcrop bleeding out into the sea called The Worm's Head, which you can only walk to at high tide. When I was researching for this project, I got to see an awful lot of pictures of fabulous sunsets over here. It looked breathtaking and I was looking forward to seeing a few of those for myself for real. Thomas handed me the spliff and I took a deep drag, unconcerned by the few random dog-walkers and surfers scattered around the beach. I took another one, and then another one.
"Christ, this stuff is shit," I complained. "It's even worse than the last lot."
"What do you want me to do?" shrugged Thomas. "I told you there was a drought on. This is the best I could find."
"I wasn't dissing you, mate," I apologised hurriedly. If even Thomas couldn't get any good gear, there really wasn't any around.
"I should learn to appreciate it," I continued. "It's not like we're going to be finding any decent drugs round here."
I sat up on my towel and swept my arm around, gesturing to the gorgeous emptiness all around us.
Moments later, I was ready to eat my words, as I swore I had started to hallucinate. Surely this crappy homegrown couldn't be that strong, could it? But what else could account for the vision I was about to witness? I suddenly felt like I was in a movie where everything goes into slow motion and soft focus, and your ears are assailed with the swelling tones of stupidly sexy music. My heart started accelerating as soon as I saw her emerging out of the sea in front of me. The first thing I saw was the hair. Strikingly gorgeous bright red hair. That's what made me look, but after I had looked I just wanted to keep on looking. I started with her face, which was almost unbelievably pretty, with big brown eyes and the cutest little nose, and soft, beautifully kissable lips. How did I know that they were kissable? Because I immediately imagined myself kissing them.
But it didn't stop there. She emerged from the tumbling waves dressed in a shimmering cobalt blue bikini, revealing a beautifully toned and perfectly formed body that swayed tantalisingly as she waded into the shallows. My first thought was, why isn't she cold? Well ok, my first thought was, I want to fuck that girl, but my first coherent thought was, why isn't she cold? But then again when you are a goddess in human form, maybe you don't feel the cold.
It was a total Bond film moment, one I would replay in my head over and over again. She was a complete honey, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my life. I know I was a little bit stoned, but I thought I was going to pass out from the overwhelming intensity of her loveliness. I had no idea it was possible for another person to affect me so much, but when she sauntered by, casually throwing a friendly smile in our direction, I was almost left gasping for breath. The flashbacks started almost immediately. The way the white water of the waves had caressed her exquisite curves. The way her wet hair fell teasingly around her neck. The way that shimmering bikini clung to her perfect tits. The way the sunlight shone in the beads of water on her skin….
I don't think I had moved a muscle until Thomas shoved me in the arm, waking me from my trance.
"She's a very pretty lady, no?" he grinned
My heart was pleading for me to just get up and run after her. To find any lame excuse to introduce myself. My heart was yelling that it would be ok. That she was a good person. That it already knew it was in love with her. But my stupid brain was contradicting it. Already coming up with a dozen different reasons why chasing her would be a really bad idea. She was probably straight. Even if she wasn't, then she would definitely have a girlfriend. Why would she want to talk to the idiot who had just blatantly drooled all over her? Love at first sight was clearly a nonsense. And blah, blah, fucking blah.
So did I go and seize the moment, and take a chance on life? No of course I didn't. I just sat there on my towel, whilst Thomas took the piss. What a loser.
We stayed at the beach for several more hours, Thomas going swimming and me replaying my James Bond fantasies in versions where I actually was a suave as Bond, and the little redhead came running willingly into my arms. After that we treated ourselves to dinner in a local pub, and went back to enjoy our first night in our new home.
I call it Sea Blindness. When you've been at the sea all day, and when you close your eyes you can still see it and hear it clear as day in your head. I love it, and usually it sends me off into the most blissful of sleeps. When I closed my eyes that night I had the most vivid and intense case of sea blindness I'd ever had. So real it was like I was still there. But this time my visions were inextricably linked not only to the waves themselves, but also to the unforgettable red-haired sea goddess who had emerged so spectacularly from their embrace.