I was holding Lara’s hand when he caught my eye on the way to the bar filled with people in varying degrees of undress and intoxication. His eyes pierced through me that I had to pause as if stunned by an unexpected blow.
“Where are they?” Lara sounded anxious, tugging at my hand.
“They must’ve changed their minds and went to another place,” I said, breaking the gaze with some effort to attend to Lara.
“We must look for them, then.” Without waiting for my response, she turned back and pulled me toward the beachfront. Still dazed I followed obediently with the uneasy feeling of a person being watched. Without meaning to, I looked back. He was still looking with his eyes intense and knowing. In the moving, multicolored lights of the bar, he looked almost inanimate in his stillness.
“Kiel, hurry up. We might loose them,” Lara tugging at my hand again with impatience.
Shrugging my shoulders with an uneasy smile, I turned away. I caught up with Lara and put my arms around her shoulders.
“Did you see somebody you know?” she asked, puzzled.
“No,” squeezing her shoulder as if to reassure her. “Let’s go, I don’t want to get lost here.”
With a final glance to the still figure that still looked unmoving from a distance, I walked resolutely out of the open-air club into the warm, humid breeze of the sea.
“I hate you when you dance like this,” Lara chided, “I can’t keep up and people are staring at you.”
A few minutes after finding our friends we were back at the bar. Looking for them took so much effort that by the time we got back we didn’t bother to wait for our beers and hit the dance floor. Our friends followed suit in no time.
In playful spite, I writhe with more abandon. Dancing has always brought me to a state of natural high. She let out an unintentional shriek, feigning scandal. I pulled her close and forced her body to undulate with mine to the primal beat of the music. It was not before long that we were laughing so hard we had to stop dancing and catch our breath.
It was then that I saw him again, sitting at our table staring at me with such nonchalant ease, as if it’s the most natural thing for him to do.
“Let’s sit down and drink for a while” she said walking towards our table.
It was only when Lara took her beer bottle that she noticed the handsome stranger sitting at our table. Though a little fazed she managed to mumble a tentative hello that he exchanged with a slow smile before looking back at me.
Laura turned to me, raised a quizzical eyebrow but sat at our table without saying anything. She turned to look at our friends still at the dance floor.
Feeling a little brazen, I held his gaze while still abstractedly gyrating to the music. His eyes lit up and his smile widened. He stood up and cocked his head to the direction of the beachfront as if telling me to follow. Without a word he casually walked out of the bar.
“Who was that?” Lara asked, really puzzled this time.
“Don’t you know him?” I shook my head still smiling.
“Damn, he’s gorgeous. Why didn’t you talk to him? Aren’t you the least bit interested? Now you lost your chance”
It suddenly occurred to me that she maybe right. “Not so fast.” I said, thinking out loud and followed the guy to the beachfront ignoring the inquiring looks of our friends who were walking back to our table.
I immediately saw him sitting on the sand a few feet away from the bar’s entrance, watching the sea. I heard my heart thudding almost blurring the sound of the waves gently lapping at his feet as I drew nearer.
I sat down a few feet away from him. He looked at me, smiled and moved closer.
“I’m Etienne,” he said with a distinct French accent and held out his hand.
“I’m Kiel” shaking his hand. We smiled at each other for a few more seconds before turning our gaze to the sea and sitting quietly for what seemed an eternity.