No Shoes, No Shirt, You Service, Ch. 3
YouDia, Love Live Sunshine!, 1.5K, 3/?
Summary: You and Dia get to know each other.
Still Not Cinderella
Dia sat very primly, somehow framed in the available light so she glowed. You absentmindedly bit french fries in half as she watched wind move the dark tendrils of Dia’s hair. Cheerful pop punk music drifted from the beach shack. Dia had very seriously balanced her basket o’ burger and fries on her inner thigh and was picking up burger bites with a fork, then spearing the fry, then swirling them in a dilly salt ketchup paste. Lyrics drifted over the beach.
“You know I can’t survive
If you take me out of water
I’ll be your mermaid
Don’t hang me out to dry
Oh oh oh
We could move
No one tells us what to do
Not a part of the USA
No one tells us what to do”
“I don’t like California.” Green eyes blinked at You.
“Noted.” You bit another fry in half, “You’re trolling me with the burger and fork, right?”
A smile as Dia shrugged, cardigan falling a little off her shoulder. “Don’t you surf anymore?”
“I was asking you questions.” You skimmed that wave, “So Ruby’s your sister. Is she in school too?”
“I am at the Academy. We are currently on break so I am visiting my parents. Ruby goes to a local high school. She works very hard, but she worries.”
“The Academy. That sounds fancy.”
A shrug, “It will allow me to accomplish my goal.”
“What goal is that?”
Dia turned, offering You a french fry, which You leaned forward and bit. “Good mix.”
“I know.” A sigh, “I am going to be a healer.”
“That sounds cool." You stayed focused on Dia's nearness, avoiding memories. "Doctors can be awful. You’ll probably be a nice one.”
“Was a doctor awful to you?” Concern. Fierceness. You glanced at Dia, whose full attention stared back. You leaned back, inhaling the sea air. She missed the cool tease of the wave’s crest.
“You?” Dia’s hand dropped to cover You’s. It was a little cold, but she’d obviously finished her meal, so You reached over, grabbed the basket, shoved hers in it, and ran them both to the trash.
“Got to keep the beach clean.” You announced cheerfully as she jogged back.
“Is an awful doctor the reason you don’t surf anymore?”
“You saw me surf?”
A blush, “You might have caught my eye last summer. You are exceptionally graceful for…”
“A…” Dia seemed to be puzzling out something, “creature not native to the seas.”
“Thanks. I was on the pro circuit briefly. Same prize money as the men. Same waves. Launched my casual wear line. Then, I didn’t get lucky,”
“Banged my head, well, scraped my face, on a reef.” You ran a finger down her cheek, over the faint scar that started under her eye “messed me up a little. Hard to get back on a board, but I’m working on it.” You winced. Aggressively cheerful sounded so hollow sometimes.
Dia hummed, thoughtful. “We could go out together.”
“Oh, a date not a competition.” You rubbed her fingers through her hair, “That might be nice.”
Dia arched an eyebrow. “Oh, it would be a competition.”
“I am aware of the mechanics.”
You snorted, “That won’t help.”
Dia shrugged, staring at the ocean, unperturbed by You’s doubt. It was enviable.
Unperturbed, You was impressed with her own vocabulary, but there was Dia sitting there, looking carved out of jade, the rest of her faded to pale gold but her eyes eternally sharp. A sea goddess. Only moving when she willed it. What was You doing here?
Dia turned, raising a gentle finger to touch You’s cheek. “I could smooth that.”
“Thanks, Doc, but I hear scars are sexy.”
Dia’s hand refused to let You turn her head away, a soft, soaring lightness. “If you didn’t see it in the mirror, would you forget your fall?” You stared, forcing her lips closed to avoid a nervous stammer as Dia leaned closer. “I wouldn’t let you sink.”
You’s heart was hammering hard enough that the music had been silenced. “Who are you?”
Dia smiled, pulling back, “Someone who cares.”
You took Dia’s hand, squeezing it, pushing gratitude from her palm, hoping Dia would understand. Even if the nervous stammer happened.
“So dessert, what do sea goddesses eat for dessert.” Nope, clean ask. Go You.
Just the right bite of down to earth. You pulled Dia back toward the shack, “I know just the place.”
You came back out with a small bag. Dia was sitting on the curb outside the convenience store, legs stretched out, toes wiggling. You dropped next to her, shoulder nudge for the win, and opened the bag, “Custard cakes, found some with a little matcha mixed in.” You slipped off a sandal, brushing the side of her foot against Dia’s, “You know, if you wore shoes, you could join me inside these very high end places I frequent.” You knew all the hidden spots on the island for imported and Japanese influenced food.
“I prefer flirting with delivery personnel.”
You guffawed. It was loud, it was ugly, it made Dia glare. “That’s so not a catchy porn title.”
“Is it supposed to be a...porn title?”
“Um…” You began to panic as Dia bit into the cream cake, perfect eyebrow arched to cut disapproval from thin air, “No, it’s just everybody makes jokes about pizza delivery and…” By everybody You meant Chika. Who could even embarrass her when not here. You needed new friends. Her train of thought derailed, the flow of words ground to halt, “I don’t know what to say now.”
“Try nothing.” Dia placed a cream cake against You’s lips, giving it a gentle shove.
Nothing worked. You savored the sweetness of her dessert choice, and the fact that Dia’s hand, a little chillier than the night, had captured her fingers, as Dia glanced up at the stars.
“The stars are always so beautiful here. I see why Mama stayed.”
“Where is your Mama from? A city?”
Dia froze, then shook herself like she was waking up from a dream, “Maybe I can show you someday.”
“No rush. I’ll be here.” You took the remaining cake, offering it to Dia, who smiled.
“Very tasty. I’ve never been so casual before.” Dia turned, “Thank you.” Cold lips left a lingering tingle on You’s cheek.
“Any time.” You leaned back, her bare foot pushing against Dia's, who pushed back.
“Surfing at dawn?” Dia asked.
“Meet me at the beach?”
Dia tilted her head, listening. Then she stood, pulling You up. “I’m late. We need to hurry.” And not letting go of You’s hand, Dia began to run back in the direction of the coffeeshop.
You was panting. Dia had kept up a fast pace. And You hated it, but she’d let herself get out of shape when she cut back on surfing and diving. When Dia hit the coffeeshop beach, she stopped, opened her mouth, and let out a loud, purring wail. Before You could think or say anything in response to the strange sound, a silver glint off shore caught her eyes. And then, bursting up from the surface, something that moved like a dolphin, graceful, too fast to follow as it plunged back into the waves. And barely any time later, a tall woman, in a bikini bottom, reflective rash guard, and a thin, metallic belt around her hips strode toward shore, stopping before leaving the water.
“Mama!” Dia waved.
No one’s mother should look like they belonged in Bond movie, You decided, but smiled when Dia glanced at her curiously.
“I promised Mama a moonlight swim. No one else can keep up with her.”
“What’s your favorite surf spot?” Dia hadn’t gotten any shorter, You thought as she stared into eyes that somehow still caught enough light to sparkle.
Best, little used, local spot...You’s brain raced through possibilities. Pipers' Rocks, hardly any swimmers and surely most of the serious surfers would be at Party Cove or South Beach.
“Pipers' Rocks. Know where that is?”
“I’ll find out.”
“I’ll bring bentos.”
“I’ll bring boards.”
Silence. And everything else around them disappearing. Really fascinating, You thought, how the depths of Dia’s eyes let even the minimal light in to play. It reminded You of chasing schools of playful fish.
Had You whispered that? Or Dia? The words and breath mingled as Dia’s hand fell to You’s waist, pulling her closer. The kiss was quick, intense, dizzymaking, You having trouble keeping her balance for a second. Dia quickly wrapped her cardigan around You and then ran to join her mother, who watched You for a long moment before turning to follow Dia into the surf. You wasn’t really surprised to see gold and silver glint in the moonlight, farther offshore than even You could have swum before her fall.
You raised the arm of Dia’s cardigan to her nose, it smelled like everything she loved about the sea, sharpness, salty, fresh. And always a surprise.
A/N: And the rest of the date. The lyrics are from "Mermaid" by The Dollyrots.
Shakespeare is starting up again this summer, two very different projects. I'm about halfway through the next Parent Trap chapter.