The Burning Sun:

Why am I at the beach? I wonder it every time I come here, why would someone like me come to the beach? But the answer will always be the same, every single time I ask myself the same question the answer is the same.

I am here because Gabrielle asked me to be here.

Gabrielle has been my best friend for quite a while now, going on nine years, even though we haven't been at the same school for almost six of them. We promised that we would keep contact when we went to different schools and we went through with it.

That doesn't mean I have to like being at the beach, or take any of my clothes off.

"Weird to see an albino at the beach," Rebecca tells me.

I'm not overly fond of Rebecca, but I suspect that a great deal of that is jealousy, she and Gabrielle are going out, and so I am jealous of the girl. But she does always make that comment when I come to the beach with them.

"I only come to the beach when I am invited there," I tell the girl, turning the page of the book I am reading.

She sits down in the sand next to my chair. "You are quite often invited though," she says.

"I know," I tell her. "Despite my insistence that I am not a beach person."

"I think she just likes spending time with you," Rebecca says, of Gabrielle.

"Does that bother you?" I ask her, not sure if it sounded like it, but curious.

"I'm not sure," she tells me.

"Awfully honest of you to say," I comment, putting my book down.

I watch from under the wide brim of my hat as Gabrielle tries once again to get up on the surfboard that she hired for the afternoon. One thing I will say in Rebecca's favour is that she has certainly helped Gabrielle a lot with her compulsiveness. Of course the difference is that now the girl goes through with her compulsions, rather than tells me about them but doing nothing.

But being the person she is, Gabrielle's compulsions are all good ideas.

"Does it bother you?" the girl asks me, looking up at me. "That she chose me over you?"

She's never asked me that before, strangely. She and Gabrielle have been going out for almost a year now, and it took my friend less than a fortnight to introduce the girl to me. I don't think that Rebecca is really going to be any good for my friend in the future, or is all that much good for her at the moment. Gabrielle tells me all her doubts.

"I think that it cannot be truthfully said that I don't," I tell her.

"A mighty fancy way to answer," Rebecca points out.

"I don't really think that she chose you over me," I tell the girl. "It pains me a bit that she is going out with you and not me, but that doesn't really mean that she chose you. You are the one she is going out with and I am the one she talks to."

"What do you mean by that?" she asks me, narrowing her eyes a little.

"I'll not betray her confidence," I inform her. "But I mean what I say, she will always talk to me, I wonder if you can confidently say the same."

She smiles a little. "I don't think I can make the same claim as you can," she replies, looking back at her girlfriend. "But it hasn't gotten to me yet, and I hope it takes a long time to bother me."

"I sympathise with that," I tell her. "But I can't say that I know how you feel."

"I appreciate your sympathy," she replies. "But I don't think it sincere."

"I don't really mind if that is the case," I tell her, sitting up and adjusting my hat.

I am wearing black, as I always do, over my white skin. I like the contrast. I am wearing black shoes, black socks, black pants, a black shirt, black gloves and my wide brimmed black hat. I own clothes of other colours but no other hats.

I really like this hat.

"I like your hat," Rebecca tells me. "I know I've said so before, but I mean it."

"Thank you," I reply, lying back down.

She does say that quite often, but think she also means it every time. She tends to say it to change the subject, or break the ice. But that doesn't make it untrue. She stands up again and walks towards the water, where Gabrielle is paddling back out.

Gabrielle looks a bit frustrated, I don't blame her, personally. But it was her idea to try surfing without any instruction, so she probably didn't expect to pick it up all that fast. She is logical like that, though she was probably hoping to pick it up pretty fast.

Rebecca carries the surf board over to me and puts it down beside my seat. They both sit down on it and start going though their bags for something.

"We're going to get some lunch," Gabrielle informs me. "Do you want anything?"

"I could come with you and pick for myself," I suggest to her.

"You have to stay and guard our stuff," Gabrielle replies, pulling some clothes out of her bag.

I tell them what they want and, once Gabrielle has put on a top and some shoes, they wander off to find the food. Another reason I like going to the beach is that I get to see Gabrielle in her swimsuit, admittedly not great motivation, or good motivation, but it worked once.

"Excuse me," a voice I don't know says.

I look up to see a young woman, about my age, with an umbrella, standing over me. She has dark skin and dark clothes and a fold up chair and a book. She has amazing brown eyes and quite short black hair. She is beautiful, and it is distracting.

"Yes?" I ask after a moment, shaking my head.

"Do you mind if I sit here?" she asks, gesturing to the side of me that doesn't have anyone's bag next to my chair. "Seems furthest from the children over there."

She gestures at a family that we had moved to avoid when they arrived, about an hour after we did.

"I support you in that decision," I tell the girl. "I don't mind if you sit there."

"Cool," she says, putting her chair down and then erecting the umbrella. "I like your hat, by the way."

"Thanks," I reply, adjusting it a little self consciously.

She smiles and sits down, opening her book. She is actually reading the same thing that I am reading, which is just a little bit weird, she is also doing what I am doing, lounging in her shade and reading a book, of course I didn't think to bring an umbrella.

But I have my hat.

"I do believe we are reading the same book," the girl says, looking at my book.

"Seems to be the case," I reply.

"That's a little bit weird right?" she asks. "It's not just me?"

"It is a little odd," I concede. "I don't know that I've ever met someone with the same taste as me in books, but I can't really say that I know that to be fact."

"Hardly likely to ask everyone you meet what kind of books they're into, are you?" she asks with a smile. "As much as you would sometimes like to."

"I am hardly likely, and I often want to," I agree. "But I find it makes little difference to anything but my opinion of a person."

"I've got to admit that I do the same," she says, still with her smile, she has a nice smile. "I judge people for what they like rather than who they are, if I find out the former before the latter."

"For example, I have already judged you for liking the same book as me," I tell her. "My opinion of you will be forever biased now."

"What if I were to say that I didn't like it all that much?" she asks me.

I smile at her. "I would stop talking to you," I reply.

"Which I think would be a crying shame," she tells me, returning the smile.

"I have to say that by this point I am inclined to agree with you," I reply. "But that could be because I am out of people to talk to right now."

She grins at me. "I suppose the same is true of me," she says. "But I wasn't going to say so."

"I prefer to say what is on my mind," I tell her. "That way I can make room for more."

She smiles at me. "I'd ask if we are related, but judging from appearance I would have to conclude that we aren't," she says. "But I swear you are saying things that I am thinking."

"I am fairly sure that it doesn't matter what colour your skin is, you can still have albino children," I tell her. "Though I guess you could have meant height difference, or build difference."

"So you're albino?" she asks. "Not just really pale."

"I am albino," I tell her. "Even though I don't have pink eyes."

"Do albino humans really have pink eyes?" she asks me.

"It is really uncommon," I tell her. "The reason for the pink eyes is…" I trail of, I am interested by this stuff but it doesn't mean she is. "Do you want to know?"

She nods emphatically. "I tend to be interested in knowing things that most people don't," she tells me. "So please continue."

"The pink eyes come from not having enough pigment in the eyes," I tell her. "Which can actually cause a lot of vision problems. But I have enough pigment in my eyes, so they are blue, though I gather that it can come in degrees, so some people have purple eyes."

"That would be awesome," she tells me. "My favourite colour is purple."

I grin at that ."Mine too and when I heard that it was possible, I always wished that I'd been born with purple eyes," I tell her. "Until I found out about the eye problems."

"I have really dark brown eyes," she tells me, leaning forward to show me. "Does that mean that I am less likely to have eye problems?"

"I doubt it," I tell her, having to put effort into not looking at her cleavage, which she probably doesn't even realise she is giving me a very good view of. Most girls aren't self conscious around other girls. I am usually not, considering that my friends have tended to be a similar shape to me, and really good people.

She is not similar to me in shape, she is shorter and actually has an hourglass figure, which I try to tell myself isn't part of the attraction, but find myself unable to put any truth into it. I am thin as a rake, as the saying goes, for whatever reason.

"Fair enough," she tells me. "Why do you wear black? Did someone die?"

"I just like black," I tell her. "And you do not want me to go near death, trust me."

"I don't know you, but I will trust you," she tells me with a smile. She glances over my shoulder and her expression changes a little. "I feel the need to come clean with you. I came over here because you seemed interesting and when a girl sparks my interest I am ever one to see if she is really that interesting."

I nod. "You do have the same book as me," I comment. "I think that is interesting."

"It is, and it was part of the reason I came over," she tells me, glancing over my shoulder again. "The thing is that I am interested in girls… in that way" – she looks at her feet when she says this – "and I was kind of wondering if you wanted to go out with me some time."

I glance back over my shoulder to find Gabrielle and Rebecca coming back.

"Sounds good," I tell the girl. "Do you have a mobile phone?"

"I do," she replies, pulling it out to demonstrate.

"Can I have your number?" I ask her, retrieving my own.

"Sure," she replies. She tells me her number. "I'm Delilah, nice to meet you."

I tell her my phone number. "I'm Chase," I tell her. "Nice to meet you too."