A gentle breeze made the curtains flap in the hotel room they had booked. It was a light and modern room with a balcony that faced the sea. Outside it was quite hot, and the breeze was hearty welcomed, but inside the hotel room it made no difference… The hotel had air-conditioned.
Lily Rose was sitting on her bed watching her best friend unpacking. She often sat like this, examining people, because she found it fascinating how different they were. Mary, her best friend, was a rather tall and well-shaped girl at seventeen. She had long blonde hair and her eyes were blue as forget-me-nots. The ideal girl. Sometimes Lily Rose got jealous at her, and found it annoying that all the guys looked at Mary and none at her, but she pushed the feeling away. She knew that Mary would do anything for her, just as she would for Mary.
Lily Rose was the complete opposite of Mary. She had short, dark brown hair and hazel-brown eyes. But they had a similar body building.
-She is a bit taller than me, though, Lily Rose thought, -But I guess it’s because she is one year older than me…
As a matter of fact, Mary was only eleven months and four days older than her, but she rounded it up.
“Hey, Lirose! Are you still with me?” Mary’s question and her cute little laughter that followed woke Lily Rose from her thinking. “Yeah, I’m sorry Mary. I was just thinking,” she replied. “As always,” Mary said rolling her eyes, “are you going to join me for a bath?”
Thinking that Lirose really was a dull nickname, Lily Rose changed into her bikini and followed Mary to the beach.
“Will you rub my back with suntan lotion, Lirose?”
Lily Rose and Mary had been bathing for over an hour, and it was time for some sunbathing and something to drink. They had found two deckchairs on the most crowded spot on the beach. Mary of course looked just like a model, and Lily Rose felt the creeping feeling of jealousy coming, but she pushed it away and started rubbing suntan lotion onto Mary’s back.
The two girls lay talking, laughing and watching some guys play beach volleyball for a while. Lily Rose knew she had nothing to complain about, but although she knew, she couldn’t free herself from the feeling of sadness and jealousy. As always all the boys were looking at Mary.
-Get a grip Lirose, she thought, -you are on a holiday with your best friend, the sun is shining and you are getting a tan! Stop thinking like that!
She caught herself at using the nickname. Pretending everything was ok, she took her eyes of Mary for a while and started watching all of the various people at the beach. Old people with different types of hats to protect them from the sun, children playing in the water and making castles out of sand…
Her gaze landed upon a guy who was standing watching some older men playing chess on a small table in the shadow of a parasol. There was something about him, something different, but she couldn’t point her finger at it. He exchanged a couple of words with one of the elders, bent down and moved a counter at the chessboard. It took the older men a few seconds to understand what he had done, and then one of them suddenly started laughing a deep, barking laughter and clapped his hands in amusement. The boy shook his head and smiled. Then he lifted his head and looked straight at her.
“Lirose? Are you ok?” Mary’s voice seemed so far away.
The guy over at the chessboard seemed a little surprised when he saw her, but then he smiled again and came towards them across the sand. Lily Rose put her head aslant and frowned slightly.
Artemis felt a prickling in his forehead which made him lift his head. A girl was looking at him with a searching look. Usually Artemis would have ignored her, but something was different this time. His stomach told him to go over to her. So he did.
“Hi,” he said, “I’m Artemis. What’s going on?” He reached out his hand and smiled again.
“Oh… Hi!” Lily Rose said awkward and took his hand, “not much.”
Fortunately Mary was there to take control over the situation. “Hi, I’m Mary and this is Lily Rose or Lirose as I call her.” Her cute smile and her big, blue eyes irritated Lily.
But the guy, Artemis, didn’t seem to be affected by her charm, and he didn’t get clumsy and foolish as every other guy would have been. He just nodded, smiled and greeted her as well.
Mary didn’t seem to enjoy his reaction as much as Lily Rose, though, because now she got quite rude. “Isn’t Artemis really a girls name?” she asked and fluttered her eyelashes.
Artemis sighed. He was tired of answering that question. “It’s the name of the Greek hunting goddess, yes. In the old days, it was usual to name girls who were to become hunters Artemis, and sometimes boys with good hunting skills would receive it as a title. Besides, it’s my grandfather’s name,” he explained.
“I think it’s a nice name,” Lily Rose said and kicked her friend on the leg.
“Yeah, sure,” Mary said and rubbed her leg. “Hey, hunter, would you perhaps like to join us for lunch?” she continued. Lily Rose almost kicked her again, but he said yes, so she decided to let it go.
On their way to the café at the corner, Mary made some serious thinking. She had gotten rather surprised when Artemis came over to talk, and she had almost fallen of her deckchair when it seemed like he wanted to talk to Lily Rose, and not to her. It was very strange indeed, and she didn’t like the look of it. Boys like him were supposed to look at her, not at Lirose!
She really had to do something about this…
While having lunch, Lily Rose really started to like Artemis better and better. He never addressed her as Lirose, he just used Rose. She liked that. And then it was his sarcastic sense of humour, which was absolutely adorable, and… yeah… you get the point.
Mary on the other hand, acted stranger and stranger. She just wanted to talk about herself, and she stuck to Artemis like one of those pimples who never disappears.
-Weird… Lily Rose thought for a moment, but then Artemis asked her something, and she forgot all about it.
Lily Rose didn’t want the meal to end because she wanted to spend more time with Artemis, but when Mary was eating the last strawberry, he asked: “Uhm… do you like surfing Rose?” “Well, I’ve actually never tried, but I really want to sometime,” she answered.
“Want to go with me and try it tomorrow? Mary can come too of course,” he said in a hurry and held his breath. “Really?” she said, “I’d love to!”
Mary choked on the strawberry.
Later in the evening when Lily Rose and Mary were sitting in the hotel bar, Lily couldn’t hold on anymore. She hadn’t said a word about Artemis since lunch, but now she couldn’t wait to talk with Mary about him! But before she could say a word, Mary said: “He is totally into me, I mean, did you see how he looked at me?” “What?” Lily said bewildered. “Artemis!” Mary moaned, “He is totally into me!”
Lily put down her glass with coke and regarded Mary in disbelief. “What?!” she repeated. “What’s the matter with you?” Mary asked laughing.
“Artemis isn’t into you.” Lily Rose said and picked up her coke again. “I beg your pardon, Lirose?” Mary said with big eyes. “You just can’t stand that someone likes me, can you?” Lily said, her voice quivered with anger, “You can’t stand that Artemis like me, and not you!”
She looked at Mary. She was sitting there with her mouth open and watering eyes.
-Oh my god, Lily Rose thought, -Here we go again…
And she didn’t get disappointed. Mary started crying and howled: “I thought we were friends, Lirose! How can you say such a thing?!”
Everyone in the bar was looking at them. –That’s it, Lily Rose thought, and she said it out loud as well. Then she rose. “I’m going to bed” she said. “But, Lirose…” Mary cried. “No! There is no but, Mary! Not this time!” Lily Rose shrieked and swirled around, “And don’t call me Lirose!”
She really went to bed, but she didn’t go to sleep until she heard Mary’s bed creak. Even tough she was angry at her; she had to make sure she was alright. After all, they were best friends.
When Mary woke the next day, Lily Rose wasn’t lying in her bed. She got up and went over to the balcony. The sun was rising, and she stood there for a while, watching it. She heard a noise down the street, and turned her head. But it was just a cat stealing food from the trashcans. She turned and was going back to bed when she saw two people out in the water. They were riding the waves.
-Maybe I should go to therapy, Mary thought, -Or at least get a grip on myself. Then she went back to bed.