Because of the long hike and other nearby waterfalls with less arduous access, this trail wasn’t popular with tourists and we were fortunate to have the area to ourselves. Mike and Ryan set down the packs, then looking at each other yelled at the top of their lungs, their screams echoing around us. In a fit of laughter they threw their shirts and shoes on the shore then ran into the water.
Lilly, Emily, Abby and Liz soon joined them in the water, stripping down to the bathing suits they’d worn under their clothes. Splashing and wrestling in the water, they looked like they were having a great time.
As I stepped away from Clay, intending to join them, I felt his arms tighten around my waist, holding me firmly against him. Just as he started nuzzling my neck Ryan called out, “Hey you two! Stop being antisocial and get in here!” At that moment Ryan’s legs were grabbed out from under him and he sank under the surface. Giggling Emily and Abby popped up, one on each side of where Ryan had stood, obviously pleased at having snuck up on him.
Both women gasped in surprise as moments later they were forced off balance and they too fell into the water.
I struggled against Clay’s embrace, eventually loosening it enough so I could turn to face him. “Come on, let’s go swim,” I urged, eager to join in the fun.
He tilted his head, gazing at me thoughtfully. He paused before he answered, “You go. I don’t feel like swimming right now. I think I’ll go for a walk and see if I can find the top of the falls.” He kissed the tip of my nose then released his hold.
I stood unmoving, torn between raucous frolicking in the water and discovering a spectacular view. I looked between Clay and my friends, unsure what to do.
Finally I decided, “Maybe we can swim when we get back.” I smiled, knowing he would be pleased I wanted to go with him. I reached for his hand, giving it a squeeze. His answering grin warmed my heart.
“We’re going to hike to the top of the falls first, but then Ryan and Mike better watch out!” I called as we walked away. Lilly waved absentmindedly in reply. The others didn’t even notice our departure as they continued their horseplay. Shaking off the feeling that I was now an outsider I resolved to make the most of my decision.
Swinging our arms between us I forced an excited smile on my face as we looked for the trail that would bring us to the top of the falls.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Anti and is part of something longer I am working on.