The girl continued to study him as they walked the distance along the beach until they reached camp. James felt uncomfortable under that inspection and was guarded in his conversation. It looked like his time at this beach was not going to be as productive as he’d hoped if the family knew where he was and came to visit.
“My name is Mai,” said the girl at last.
“How did you know my name, there are hundreds of students in in the biology department and I don’t attend student functions unless it’s compulsory?” James was suddenly interested in knowing what was reported about him by the student body.
“They think you need to loosen up a bit!”
James turned to face her feeling both disappointed and slightly irritated. “What do you think?” James demanded.
Mai laughed. “I think you need to get to know me at Uni because you’ll find we have a kindred spirit. I’m more interested in hanging out and studying than attending all those boring entertainments the rest seem to favour. That’s why I asked what your name was at Uni.”
When they reached James’ campsite Mai headed for the stack of books visible in the Toyota and began to thumb through pages while James watched, his irritation increasing. These were his treasured possessions.
“I’m one year behind you at Uni so we wouldn’t have met in one of your classes, but you probably wouldn’t have even given me a second look if I was. I’m not white like you.” Mai said this without malice. She turned to go.
James was shocked. “That’s not fair, I’m not like that at all! Why are you doing marine biology anyway. It’s not a common choice at Uni.?”
Mai paused and looked at him. “So, what do you think of my family? You seemed very keen to track us down?”
James relaxed. “I like them, and they sure know how to cook a good breakfast!”
Mai inclined her head and tried to suppress a laugh. “I’ll pass that along to my Mom, she loves to impress with her cooking. Must go back now or my Dad will think you’re up to no good”
Suddenly James didn’t want her to leave. He quickly unfolded a deck chair and motioned an invitation for her to sit. He only had one chair and immediately wondered what he’d do next. It would be rude of him to stand over her specially after she’d hinted about his supposed racial preference.
Mai grasped the situation quickly and pointed to the beach. Let’s go sit in the sand. I like the feel of sand between my toes.
James watched her as she led the way to the beach. She was beautiful. Her olive skin seemed so appropriate in a beach situation and he studied her appreciatively.
Mai sensed his scrutiny and looked uncomfortable.
“Why are you looking at me that way.
“I was just thinking how beautiful you are and how you blend in so nicely with the spirit of this glorious outlook.
Mai blushed but looked pleased.
“It I asked my father’s permission would you be willing to move your Toyota down and join us at our camp?”
A wave of pleasure washed over James as he thought of how much that appealed to him.
“But I won’t get any study done,” he said weakly.
“Oh yes you will, I’ll see to that because I need you to give me some tips on how to go about collecting samples and if you’re willing I’d like to share your books too.”
James nodded assent trying to look cool but the flush of anticipation was plain for Mai to see.
She smiled. “Good!” She said softly.
Then she leaped to her feet and raced down the beach sand flying behind her speeding feet and hair trailing in the breeze.
James stood and watched hopefully. Ten minutes later he could see her return running up the beach and she arrived panting.
“My family are moving up here. It’s a much nicer spot but it means we’ll have to trek to collect fresh water from that spring.” She paused speaking and looked at James. “My Mom is likely to take over and mother you, that’s her style and I didn’t think of that. I’m so sorry!” She began to sniff.
James smiled, he thought he could use some mothering as he missed his parents and still had that taste in his mouth from a great breakfast.
Involuntarily he reached over and gave Mai a hug. She nestled in appreciatively.
I know you probably erased those tracks I observed as I was coming in to this wonderful place. Do you think we should go back and erase my tracks now so we can enjoy this scenery all to ourselves?
Mai smiled. “Well I wasn’t expecting you, otherwise I wouldn’t have erased the tracks, but yes, perhaps we need to trek back and erase your tracks now you’re here”
There was a loud noise as the Mitsubishi came crashing through the wallum toward James camp.
“I think you’d better stop hugging me, my Dad may not like it as he hardly knows you.”
James released Mai quickly and raced to stand beside his vehicle as the Mitsubishi came into sight.
Mai laughed. “Maybe when he gets to know you better we can continue that hug?” She ran to help her parents set up camp.
“ Copyright Ian Grice 2017 All rights reserved”