“Now don’t go too far, you two!”
Suzette and Sophie giggled as they ran into the water hand in hand. Their little legs kicked into the ocean, and their dresses were immediately drenched but they didn’t care. The sisters laughed as they splashed water at each other, acting as if the beach belonged to them.
Their parents and grandparents watched them play not too far off. They stood by, smiling with contentment, though Lydia had her hands fiddling with her sleeve as she watched her children with a cautious eye. Emma on the other hand couldn’t have been happier. She smiled a broad smile and sighed while she joined hands with her husband’s.
“It’s a lovely day today,” Emma remarked.
“Yes,” Hugh agreed. He had a sketch pad in his arms, drawing his granddaughters as they pranced about the water. A pleasant little smile danced on his lips and his gray eyes sparkled from the sun’s afternoon light.
“Oh,” Lydia bit her thumb, “I hope there are no dangerous animals in the water.”
“Relax, my dear,” Emma waved a hand, “there is nothing but seaweed and sea shells, there’s nothing to be so worried about.”
Lydia frowned but that disappeared when Suzette and Sophie came running back. Their arms were filled with sea shells, but a couple tumbled out as their little feet dashed across the sand.
“Look at the shells we found!” Sophie remarked. The sisters dropped the shells in front of their guardians’ feet and rummaged to find the best one. Sophie picked out a huge blue one that was the size of her hand.
“Isn’t this one pretty?”
“This one’s prettier!” Suzette picked out one that had a spiral design.
“Nu-uh!” Sophie argued.
“My dears, they’re all lovely,” Emma said, stifling a chuckle.
“Ah, Grandpa, what are you drawing?” Sophie came to her grandfather’s side and jumped up to get a closer look.
“You and your sister, my sweet,” Hugh answered.
“I didn’t know you could draw, I thought only Grandma did that?”
“She taught me how to draw, actually,” Hugh said.
“Really?” Sophie cooed.
“Indeed,” Emma chirped. “You should’ve seen your Grandfather’s first attempts, he drew trees like misshapen hands, but he improved.”
Hugh chuckled and Emma placed a kiss on her husband’s cheek. Sophie stuck out her tongue in disgust but her grandparents laughed at her reaction. Lydia returned to smiling, while Peter took a long drag from his cigar. He puffed out some smoke and Emma gave him a sour look.
“Peter, dear, do you really have to smoke?”
Peter huffed. “What’s the harm, Mother?” He took in another drag.
“Your children could get sick,” Emma argued.
“We’re fine, Grandma,” Suzette said. “Father smokes all the time, we’re used to it.”
Emma’s lips tightened. “Do you now, Peter?”
“Again, Mother,” Peter strained, “it is perfectly fine. If my children aren’t bothered by it, then we don’t have a problem.”
Emma kept her frown but decided not to say anything else as she focused back on the ocean. She sighed and listened to the calming waves as she closed her eyes. But when she felt the warm and soft hands of her grandchildren, she opened her eyes.
“Grandma, Grandma!” Sophie cooed, she opened her hands to reveal a hermit crab. “Look at it!”
“Is that a hermit crab?” Suzette asked.
“Why, yes it is,” Emma said.
“Can we keep it?” Sophie asked.
Lydia gasped. “Certainly not!”
“I’m afraid she’s right, dears,” Emma said. “Hermit crabs live on the beach.”
Sophie pouted. “Then I wanna live on the beach too!”
“Same here!” Suzette agreed.
Lydia’s face puffed with anger but Hugh placed a hand on his daughter-in-law’s shoulder. “They’re only joking, Lydia. Now, why don’t we go back to the house for some lunch?”
“Yes!” the girls synchronized, their smiles beaming as bright as the sun.
Sophie nudged her sister’s shoulder. “I’ll race you back!” Before Suzette could respond, her sister had already bolted.
“Hey!” Suzette cried and chased after her.
“Girls!” Lydia exclaimed with a gasp while Emma and Hugh both joined in to laugh.