As soon as they arrived at the beach, Dylan and Jules exchanged a glance behind sunglasses and hoped that they wouldn't lose one of the kids on the bustling beach. The air was shimmering with heat and voices and children's laughter and the smell of sun creme and chips. "Lorenzo said that it would be crowded," Dylan said, "but I didn't think he was exaggerating so little." Jules grinned. "I thought he was trying to boost his confidence as a member of the local tourism business."
They made their way through the patches of towels, sun shades, deck chairs and cooling boxes until they found a spot to set up their own holiday beach camp. "Okay," Jules said as Charlotte and Ben were getting ready to run into the water and Emily jumping up and down, getting influenced by her siblings enthusiasm, "we have talked about this." She took off her sunglasses to somehow try to assert her authority. "You are not going into the water on your own."
A storm of protest rose immediately. "But, Mum, if we can't go alone, can we go now?" "It's so hot, Mummy, we want to go now..." "And if we just go in a little bit?"
"You are not going in on your own," Jules repeated, "that was number one. Number two, do not wander off without saying where you're going, you'll get lost. And number three, try and remember where we are now, just in case you get lost."
They agreed that Dylan would take the kids into the water first, and Jules watched them disappear into the crowd as she stretched out on her towel, determined to relax and tan as much as she could before someone got grumpy, had to pee or stepped into a piece of broken glass or a sea urchin.