Rinoa stood with the water lapping around her ankles, her toes squishing in the sand and the sun shining on her face. She spread her arms out and turned in a slow circle, just enjoying the day. Then she bounded over to where Squall was sitting on the beach, on top of a blanket so there wasn’t any sand touching him, next to the remnants of their picnic lunch. He looked odd there, with his pale, pale skin, still dressed in his leather pants. At least he’d taken the jacket off.
She plopped down next to him. “Isn’t it gorgeous out? I’m so glad we did this.”
Rinoa looked more directly at Squall, peering at his face. “Are you sure? You don’t seem like you’re having much fun.”
“No, it’s nice,” Squall insisted.
“You haven’t even been in the water.”
“Water isn’t really my thing.”
Neither were beaches in general, Rinoa knew. She wiggled her toes, feeling the sand between them. “You didn’t have to agree just for me, Squall. If you’re hating it--”
“I don’t hate it,” Squall said, and he touched Rinoa’s knee lightly and briefly. “I’m glad you’re happy.”
Rinoa smiled at him, because she believed he meant that and it was sweet. “Thank you, really. We don’t have to stay much longer. I’ll make your favorite dinner, how’s that?”
“We can stay, if you want to. I don’t mind. I...” Squall hesitated, his stormy blue-gray eyes gazing into the distance. “It is nice here.”
Maybe Squall would never kick off his shoes and play in the shallows with her, but Rinoa thought he might actually like it there, sitting in the sand and watching her. She’d gotten pretty good at deciphering him and there was an easiness in the set of his shoulders, a lack of tension in his bearing. It probably did him good to have some quiet time outdoors.
She did wish, though, that he would be more honest with her, that he wouldn’t do things just for her. “You know I don’t... I don’t want you to change for me, Squall,” she said, knowing that it must sound awfully silly coming from her. She hoped he knew that she meant it.
Squall offered her the tiniest of smiles. “I know.”
So Rinoa smiled back, darting in to kiss his cheek. “But if you did want to talk a little bit more, I wouldn’t object,” she said, laughing, before she sprang back up to run back into the water.
Just a little bit longer, she thought.