"No! NO!" Beth's voice carries over the empty beach, possibly alerting anyone who might still be out miles away, but no ones comes to her rescue as Chris mercilessly lifts her off her feet, throws her over her shoulder and carries her into the ocean; Beth slams her fists on her girlfriend's back, but Chris doesn't seem fazed.
"Toss her down!" Emma cries, accompanied by Brie's whoops as Chris wades deeper and deeper into the water. She stops when it reaches her thighs, turning to us with a wide grin that seems almost haunted with nothing but the moon and bonfire-flames to illuminate her face. She extends one arm outwards, the other one pinning Beth down on her shoulder. An invitation - 'should I?'
"Throw her in!" Matt shouts. "Let the waves have her!"
"Chris, I will fucking kill you!" Beth cries, but there is laughter to her voice.
"In - in - in - in - in!" We shout from our safe and dry space on the beach, and Chris's grin widens.
"Sorry doll, the people have spoken."
"NO -" Beth's shriek is lost in the waves, but she cleverly manages to grab Chris's shirt and pulls her under as well. A second later they emerge from the dark water, both laughing. Beth splashes Chris, but comes to immediately regret it when Chris launches herself to tackle Beth and they disappear again, all while being spurred on by the rest of us.
The gentle pop of another beer bottle being twisted open is nearly lost in the sound of crashing waves, and Emma offers me the new bottle before also taking one herself.
"I cannot believe y'all would take her side on this!" Beth loudly complains as she and Chris come out from the water. She swoops her hair backwards with both her hands before gladly taking the towel Brie offers them.
"I'm your sister," Emma grins. "I'm obligated to always not pick your side."
"That," Beth points a threatening finger. "sounds false, but I will remember for future endeavours."
Emma's face sours. "That's not -"
"Too late. I'm always on Lucien's side from now on."
"Better anyway, I'm always right." I smirk. Emma raises a brow at me.
"Do you want me to throw you in the water?"
"Yes!" Four voices call, none of them mine. Emma's lips curl in a wicked grin; when she launches herself at me, I catch her in a reflex. The loose sand provides little support, through, and next thing I know we topple to the ground. We're a tangle of limbs and hair and sand, laughing until we can't breathe. Matt tries to help us up, but then also slips in the sand and lands on top of my chest, knocking what little air I had left out of me.
I stay on the ground as long as I need to recover, the bonfire blazing on my right side and my dropped bottle of beer slowly pouring out on my left. Neither Emma nor Matt is getting up either, and next thing I know everyone is laying down with us. My hand finds Emma's in the sand, and all the excitement has suddenly disappeared. Instead we gaze up at the stars; a million little specks illuminating the skies above us, alongside a little crescent moon that will be gone in a few days.
My heart thumps in my chest, my head is buzzing after the long and hot day on the beach and the alcohol. I feel like a teenager coming off age, away from their parents for the first time, and I realise that it might actually be like that for Beth and Chris.
It was Chris' idea to drive out of the city to hit the beach, to avoid crowds and to escape the busy. In less than forty-eight hours, Emma has a meeting that might change the course of our lives once again and a eight days from now, her, Brie and I fly out to France again to film Drag Race. But none of that matters now. Now, all that matters is Emma's warm hand in mine and the endless stars above me.
      We split the taxi-bill, because no one is letting me pay it by myself. Having to call a taxi at four am to drive us back to Edinburgh wasn't exactly cheap and I wouldn't be surprised if they charged extra for having to transport six wasted young adults. Brie and Matthew went to Matt's appartment, while Beth and Chris decide to crash at ours. I think I hear Beth mutter to Chris that both the guest-bed and the guest-bathroom are much more spacious than at either of their apartments, but I decide to pretend I didn't. Not that I get much time to think about it; Emma drags me to the bathroom to wash the sand out of every crevice of our body. We are tired and drunk and she's sunburnt, but for a change - so am I. When I complain about it hurting when rubbing myself dry, she yanks the towel out of my hands to do it for me instead. Even after years of sharing everything, it still feels strangely intimate to have her pat me dry and then take her time rubbing lotion into the red spots of my skin, sitting in front of the large mirror. I do the same for her, and she melts against me when I finish her back.
"Can you walk?" I ask with a smile, braiding her hair wet hair for her. She looks a little surprised. "Used to do it for Es when she was little.
Her mouth forms an 'o' and she nods. "I can walk... But I don't think I want to."
So after finishing the braid, I carry her. I nearly slip on the wet bathroom floor, and she buries her shriek and her laugh in my chest, arms locked tight around my neck.
"You, miss Middleton, are absolutely going to be the death of me one day." I chuckle. She draws fingers on my chest with her finger, causing goosebumps.
"Call me Mrs."
"Alright..." I put her down on the bed, and take the opportunity to kiss down her neck. "You, Mrs du Castellon, are absolutely going to be the death of me. But 'till death do us part."

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