nsync in black and white

Fiction by Pen . . . . . not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

On the beach

Written in response to a suggestion on fic_requests.

Devon, England. A nearly-empty beach. Just a lone dog-walker in the distance, and closer, a family over to his right. Father and son in matching sunhats heading down to the sea to jump the incoming waves. Mother annointing herself with sun cream. Small child of indeterminate sex, investigating something in a red plastic pail.

Everything seemed so small here. The beach, such a narrow strip. The waves, big enough for a near-beginner, especially with no surfing champion around to explain exactly what to do on that board, but nothing to compare with Hawaii. The tiny hotel. It was a good disguise, so small that nobody would believe a popstar-sized ego could possibly fit in there, so no prying eyes would come looking.

Anyway, nobody here cared who he was. It was refreshing.

And also, a bit cold. One more wave, and he'd go dry off.

He staggered out of the sea with his hired surfboard, and made for his towel and bag. But was intercepted - a high-pitched shriek gave him a moment's warning, then he received a small child directly to the knees.

Large hazel eyes peeked at him from beneath a floppy white sunhat. Chubby cheeks and a beaming, innocent smile. It was the small child of indeterminate sex, now clearly revealed as feminine. "Hewwo," said the little girl.

"Hello," replied Lance, instantly melted in the face of so much intensely focussed charm.

"Daddy wimming," the little girl said matter-of-factly. "Wook!" She offered the pail for his inspection, but it was empty. The little face crumpled with dismay. "Wook! Dere it!" Small hands pointed down, and the little girl jiggled ecstatically.

A dime-sized crab was making a desperate bid for freedom. Lance sympathised, but was already in thrall to hazel eyes. He picked up the crab, rather gingerly, replaced it in the small child's pail, and knelt to talk to her.

"Did you find it in the rock pool?"

"Dat my."

"You should really put it back," he suggested. "I expect it lives there. Maybe it wants to go home."

"My!" She pouted, and looked up at him through her lashes.

Lance blinked, helpless. "Uh, okay." He looked around vaguely. "Why don't you show it to your mommy?"

"My." The little girl smiled at him. She was adorable, a tiny package of cuteness and self-will. He wanted seventeen just like her.

"Shall we go find your mommy?" He got to his feet, and offered her a hand to hold. The child selected a finger, and grasped it firmly. It felt so sweet. Reminded him of Leighton. Something he could only have by proxy, someone else's child, just lent to him for a few minutes.

A few steps later, the little girl shrieked "Daddy!" and let go his hand to hurtle towards the sea, where the father Lance had noticed earlier was hurrying towards them. Suddenly bereft, he waved a casual hail and returned to his things, gathering the towel and surfboard. When he turned, the little girl was being swung, shrieking with joy, in her daddy's arms.

So small here, a whole world that wasn't for him.

He really should call Stacey.



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