“Gramps!!” Gendry yelled as he entered the auto-repair shop.
“He’s in the back,” Tobho told him, as he barely raised his head from deep in a Toyota’s hood.
“Gramps!!” Gendry yelled as he came into the other room in the back, with other three cars.
“What’s going on, son?” his grandfather asked, rolling from under the black BMW closer to the door. “And give the wrench.” Gendry gave it to him, and immediately got ready to continue helping his grandfather with what he needed, as he told him very important information.
“Arya is coming!! This is not a drill, Gramps, she’s coming!!”
“Arya?” he asked confused, but he quickly realized who Gendry was talking about. “Ohh, your computer thing friend.”
“Yes, Arya!! She’s finally coming, Grandpa. This is not a drill, she send me a photo of the ticket and everything.”
“That’s good, son, you like the girl, right? And you’re sure it’s a girl; in the news there are always these stories... You know, your grandma doesn’t really like you talking with these computer girls.”
“Yes, I know, Granddad, I’m careful. And it’s Arya, she’s the daughter of Dad’s friend.”
“The Ned boy. Your father was so happy when he came here for that summer – I think they were sixteen or seventeen. He was so sad that he was too old to go to camp in the Vale and would loose his friend.”
“Yes, her father is Ned.”
“What’s the girl going to do here?”
“She’s just coming to visit for two weeks. Staying in our house, showing her the Stormlanders, and stuff like that.”
“Grandpa, it’s not like…”
“Hey, kid. That’s not where I going – you’re an adult and you can do whatever you want. And while I love you, children, please, just be a bit safer than your father. What I was talking was you are five adults living under the same roof in that small house, and you’re bringing another person to the bunch.”
“Just for a few weeks, Grandpa.”
“You know, you can come live with Grandma and I. I can’t let Cass do all your laundry or all your meals, but if you behave like an adult, you can come.”
Gendry was pretty sure he heard this conversation from his grandparents every time he mentioned his living situation. Gendry loved his living situation – it was a bit of a mess – but Hot Pie and Jeyne handled the cooking, Lommy cleaned the house, Gendry did most of the laundry, and Willow just helped on with everything; and they got on so well, and they had been doing this for years.
“I’m perfectly okay living where I am, Grandpa,” Gendry told him rolling his eyes.
“Don’t roll your eyes, boy,” his grandfather Steffon said, no matter that he couldn’t really see his face right now. “I’ve know you since you were in diapers, I know your moods.”
It was actually a lie. Gendry had only met his grandparents and properly met his father after his mother died when he was seven years old, so he was definitely not in diapers.
“Are you working during those weeks?”
“If I could get a few days off… I still have classes,” Gendry asked.
“Go ask, Tobho, since you’ve been working with him; if he needs you, you need to come in.”
“I know. Thanks, Grandpa,” Gendry said as he got up.
“Hey! You talk to Tobho later, now help me fix the car. I need you to reach a few things that my age no longer allows me too.”
Gendry took the position and continued working with his grandfather on checking if everything was working with this black BMW Series 2.
This is not a drill. This is a not a drill. These were the only words going through the Arya’s head as she went through the security check; and she looked back once again and saw her parents waving at her. She had said goodbye to her siblings at home – Robb and Sansa this weekend, since they no longer live at home – but Mom and Dad had insisted on driving her down to the airport this morning.
As she said the final goodbye, the words came back. She was actually going to meet Gendry in person. She had ‘met’ him when she was fourteen on the comment section of a music video on youtube, and then after them being told off by OP about filling his comments with their out of subject conversations, they had moved to email and skype. After six years, they were finally going to be face to face, and in the same place.
Arya was normally great with people, but even then she was also nervous of meeting all of Gendry’s friends. All of his roommates had appeared on their skype chats or phone calls – the most prominent presence was definitely Lommy who Gendry considered the most annoying of his friends – but spending more time with them would be different. She would be sharing the house with these five people, and probably hanging out with them 24/7 – three of them were closer to her age, Arya was pretty sure Willow was her exact age.
After thirty minutes, she finally boarded the plane and then it took off. Arya was in a middle seat, so she could barely see anything into the window, but she distracted herself with her very old Gameboy color that still worked, and she looked on into the young boy’s computer next to her as he played The Sims – she was starting to miss that game, Arya had never played it much, but it had been the only game Sansa often played. Arya fell asleep to the gibberish of the boy’s characters and woke up when the sign that the plane was landing lighted up.
With her bags over her shoulder, Arya left the baggage claim, and she was immediately met with an airport much busier and bigger than the Winterfell airport, so it was harder to actually notice and find faces in the crowd. But thankfully, Gendry was taller than most human beings, so his black hair and blue eyes towered over most people, but while Arya noticed him, he couldn’t really see her, since she was short, and was towered by almost everyone else. So Arya caught Gendry from behind and jumped on his back, scaring him shitless.
“Fuck, Arya,” Gendry swore, when he turned and saw her. “You’re here. You’re finally here!!” he said as Arya pulled him for a hug and he accepted it.
“I am!! Now come on, stupid, let’s get out of here,” she said. They walked out of the airport with Arya telling him about the plane trip, and Gendry had a ton of questions since he had never flown. They took the subway to the city center, and they walked four blocks to Gendry’s house, with him finally convincing her to let him carry her bag.
The house was stacked between two other small houses, one blue, other green, and Gendry’s yellow. The three houses had part of the paint peeling off, and some makeshift windows.
“Sorry for the state of the house. But the rent is very cheap.”
“Gods, Gendry, don’t be stupid. Let’s just go in, I want to really see where you live.”
“You’ve seen it a million times, Arya.”
“Real life – it’s different. You’re even taller in real life.”
“And you are way shorter in real life,” he said, which earned him a punch from Arya. “Come on,” he told her and gave Arya the space to walk in through the door first. And they were met with something he didn’t expect.
There was a banner up on the wall, welcoming Arya to their house, there were balloons everywhere and there was a great smell of food.
“Is this Hot Pie’s famous cooking?” Arya asked as she came in.
“Yes, it is, Arya. I’m Hot Pie,” he introduced himself.
“Gods, I love you, man. This smells amazing. Everything!!” Arya said hugging him, before the other requested time with him as well.
“I wanna meet Gendry’s girlfriend too,” Lommy said coming in, as Gendry swore at him and punched him on the arm.
“Shut up, asshole,” Gendry said, “and that’s Lommy, by the way.”
“I suspected. Good to meet you, Lommy,” Arya said, being pulled for a hug, and being spun around.
When she was put down, she was immediately introduced to two women which she immediately knew were Jeyne and Willow. And Willow was actually around Arya’s height – that was exciting – but Jeyne was definitely taller than her, but probably around the same height as most girls her age. Both girls kissed her on the cheek and Arya reattributed the kisses, and made just a bit of small talk, before she was pushed to meet all the other ten people around the house.
Arya was introduced to everyone, and all the names were familiar, she had seen most of their photos on Gendry’s facebook page, and they were all more energetic than Gendry ever was. And she spent the entire afternoon and night getting to know all of them, hearing all these stories about Gendry, but without really spending any time with him. Around 2 am, drunk people started leaving the house, and then some dropped on the couch and the floor of the living room (which kind of left Arya without a place to sleep).
“You can sleep on Gendry’s bed – it’s quite big,” Jeyne suggested, between giggles with her sister, they were both also a bit tipsy.
“Jeyne, isn’t your room--” Hot Pie started, before being shut up by his other roommates.
“If you don’t mind, Gen. I don’t mind,” Arya told Gendry – it definitely wouldn’t be the first time she shared a bed with a friend. But the giggles coming from the girls, and Lommy’s smug looks, made her a bit nervous, but she still left with Gendry.
Hot Pie and Willow’s rooms were both downstairs, while Arya went up with Gendry, Jeyne and Lommy (who slept in the attic), and she finally got to see Gendry’s room in person.
There was a The Walking Dead poster, it was the first thing she saw when she entered and that she could never see on their conversations, under the poster, there were a few shelves with CDs and comics – some they had convinced the other to read and listen to.
“Your dolly,” Arya yelled, going to pick up his softie plush black sheep. “It’s even more adorable in person!!” she exclaimed. “The photos!! Gendry, I need to see your baby photos.”
“Now?! At 2 something in the morning, when we’re both a bit buzzed.”
“Okay, I understand your point. Tomorrow, first thing.”
“Did you bring some of yours?” he asked.
“I did, but you only get to see them if you behave.”
“You’re staying in my house,” he pointed out.
“There are more people in the house and they love me.”
“They do. They really liked you.”
“What’s not to like?” Gendry smiled back but didn’t say anything. And awkwardly they decided to separate, as she went to go get dressed in the bathroom.
Arya took her pyjama and hygiene pouch from the duffle bag and left for the bathroom. She ran into Jeyne as she was coming out of the bathroom, they exchanged wishes for a good night sleep, and then she let Arya know to check the top shelf of the cabinet in the bathroom. Firstly, Arya quickly changed in one of her brother’s t-shirt that she brought with her and a pair of shorts, before doing the rest she needed to do in the bathroom, and then she finally looked at the shelf mentioned, and found a pack of condoms. Did really everyone believe that she and Gendry were getting together? Arya wondered, before leaving for Gendry’s room.
Gendry left as she got into the bedroom and not knowing what side of the bed she should get into, she waited for Gendry to come back and tell her where she should go.
“Why are you still up? Do you need anything?” Gendry asked coming in, in boxers and a shirt.
“Which side should I take?”
“Right. I normally take the right one, but whatever you want.”
“Left is okay.”
Arya got into the bed and Gendry got in there with him, and they turned to each other, even if the drink had slow them now, they were still too excited to sleep, and smiling at each other, Arya talked first.
“Tonight was great. Your friends are hilarious, and you guys drink a lot.”
“Arya, you can drink… Do I need to remind you when you, Mycah…”
“Shut up, Gendry, we don’t talk about that night. I almost got a record and it’s all Wylla’s fault – that girl is crazy and she’s still five years younger than me. And do you know she’s now hanging out with Rickon, like he wasn’t a danger already. There’s also Lya and that girl has a mouth on her.”
“You hadn’t told me that. Do you really think Rickon will get in trouble?”
“For sure, he’s getting a record.”
“Your dad being the chief of police won’t get him off.”
“My dad would have put me in jail. It was Cassel who helped me out.”
“He won’t help, Rickon?”
“He always liked me better.”
“You’re so cocky,” Gendry said, kicking her on the chin.
“Also how are you not drunk?” Arya asked, “You drank so much, you always had a bottle in your hand.”
“First, you know I don’t drink that much. Secondly, I’m double your side.”
“Yes, you’re way too big for a normal person,” she said with a laugh, and then she got into a few giggles and hiccups, and Gendry probably realized how she was getting.
“Okay, Arya, we need to sleep.”
“Why? It’s our first night together. We should spend the night talking,” Arya argued.
“We have tomorrow, Arya,” Gendry said, “Now, sleep,” he said turning off his bedside table light, and wished a goodnight to Arya.
“Sweet dreams,” she said as she turned on her side.
Gendry woke up to the sound of the alarm clock on his phone, and immediately turned to snooze it, and prepared to go to sleep again. He had his eyes closed and it took a bit more than one minute to realize that Gendry had is arm over Arya’s body and that she was resting against him.
It was comfortable, but as he realized what was happening, he immediately moved away, and sat on the side of the bed. Arya must have felt him moving away, because she opened her eyes and tried to feel for him, he supposed, on his side of the bed.
“Good morning,” she greeted him, with a whisper.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to wake you up.”
“You d-- Was why bothering you? I’m on your side and I’ve been told I move too much when I sleep.”
“No, Arya, you didn’t bother me. And you can go back to sleep, it’s still early.”
“Nah, I’m up now. Can I shower or are you?”
“I’m going to eat first, and I don’t hear the shower, so you’re okay to go.”
“Thanks, Gendry,” she said, “and good morning,” she smiled at him, before going into her bag to search for something. And Gendry disappeared into the kitchen.
Jeyne, Hot Pie and Willow were already downstairs, between pancakes, bacon and eggs, and Gendry took a sit with them, putting some food on his plate.
“What happened, Gen?” Jeyne asked. “You look a bit down.”
“Did you kiss her?” Hot Pie asked.
“No. Why would have I kissed her?”
“You like her,” Willow said. “You said you couldn’t say it through the internet, but she’s here now.”
“For two weeks,” he reminded them.
“What happened?” Jeyne asked. “Something happened, Gendry.”
“We kind of slept together.”
“You had sex?” Thoros said coming into the kitchen from the living room. “You dog!!”
“No, we shared the bed, and we were cuddling when I woke up.” The reactions to that were mixed, Thoros argued that it was nothing, but the girls thought it was the sweetest thing.
“You need to do something, Gendry,” Jeyne told him. “Promise me, Gen. You don’t take enough risks.”
“Not with people,” Jeyne said, and everyone around him nodded as well. “So promise us on your signed baseball.”
“You don’t even care for it. You don’t even know who sign it.”
“We will give it to Edric,” Willow threatened, knowing that was the worst thing she could say. Gendry and Edric had fought for that ball when they caught it during a game they went to see with their father.
“Okay… I’ll try.”
“You will do it, Gendry.”
“What does Gendry have to do?” Arya asked coming downstairs. “Also good morning!! And it smells so nice!!”
“There’s breakfast,” Hot Pie said.
“And Gendry needs to drink an entire cup of orange juice in a swig.”
“That’s easy. Give me a cup,” Arya said, and she took it without a thought. “I win.”
Everyone looked awkwardly at her, but Arya didn’t realize and just took food for her plate, after Hot Pie offered it to her.
“I actually need to go. I will take Lem with me,” Thoros said.
“Take coffee,” Willow reminded him. “And maybe some toast – you need to eat.” So Thoros filled a term with coffee, and then raided the fridge, running away from the house.
“Does he always take that much food?” Arya asked.
“Yes,” they all agreed. “Thank the Seven Gods, that Hot Pie can bring leftovers from the restaurant.”
“Don’t thank the Gods, thank me,” Hot Pie said.
“What are we doing today?” Arya asked him, as they shut down all the noise around them and focused on sharing the food from their plates.
“I was thinking the beach. You’ve been jealous about the beach for a long time,” he told her. Arya always whined when Gendry told her he had spent the afternoon on the beach; she always ended up feeling better when she realized that Gendry didn’t get real snowfalls.
“Okay, that sounds good. Can we take the surf board you have?”
“It’s bodysurf board and it’s at my grandparents.”
“Ohhh, okay. We can do that next time.”
“Arya, we can stop by my grandparents’ house, they live really close to the beach.”
“Do I get to meet them? I bet they have embarrassing stories about my dad.”
“My grandmother should be home,” he told her.
They finished breakfast as they discussed their plans for the rest of the day, and after being jealously insulted for having the day off by Gendry’s roommates, they left the house.
They fitted everything to Gendry’s car and he then drove to the coast – not a long journey, but enough for them to get through a third of a CD Arya had brought with her; because even after years of telling Gendry to listen to it, he hadn’t.
“I’m sorry, Arya. You were right, this is worth listening too. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to it before.”
“Is there anything else you need to say?”
“Gendry…” she warned.
“You’re the Queen of Music Taste,” Gendry said, and it wasn’t that hard to say, since it was mostly true (if he forgot the fact that she didn’t like AC/DC, as he pointed out to her again).
“It’s old people music.” Arya had told him before that it was one of her Dad’s favorite bands, and it was his father’s as well.
“Totally not true. Ohhh… I have something to show you at my grandparents’.”
“What? Please tell me, Gendry. Tell me…” Arya pleaded, and Gendry kept his word and didn’t tell her anything, even if she had this ability to completely get under his skin.
“What? Please tell me, Gendry. Tell me…” Arya pleaded – she knew Gendry wouldn’t resist her. But he actually didn’t give it away, and Arya had to wait for them to get to his grandparents’ house, before finding out what he meant.
After five minutes of nagging Gendry, she finally let him change the subject, and they went back to talking to the CD they were listening too. Arya wanting Gendry to point out everything he loved about it.
They were on the seventh music, with Arya describing most of the videoclip when Gendry parked the car in front of the house. He had been right when he said it was closed to the beach, Arya could see it from here, and she could almost hear the water.
“Come on, Arya, here we are,” Gendry said, quickly getting out of the car, and then unlocking the yard door. “I can’t find the damn key,” he said, looking through his pockets, but they soon heard a front door of the small and rustic house, that looked perfect for the holidays.
“You always make to much noise coming home, boy. You could never discreetly come home after your curfew.”
“Hi, grandma,” Gendry greeted the older woman with a strong hug, just before he kissed both his cheeks. “This is Arya Stark.”
“Your internet friend? Steffon said she was coming.”
“Yes, I am,” Arya said, not sure how to greet the woman, but Gendry’s grandmother immediately came forward for a kiss on each cheek.
“Ohhh, you look so much like young Ned. It’s uncanny.”
“I’ve heard, but you should see my cousin – he’s the real copy.”
“You do look like her too…” she didn’t look as happy when she said this – she knew Gendry’s father and her aunt had a complicated history.
“Can we come in, Grandma?”
“Ohh… Where are my manners?” she asked herself, “Come in.” Arya entered the house behind Gendry, right behind his grandmother. “What are you doing here, son? I see you’re dressed for the beach.”
“I left my board here, and Arya really wants to try it.”
“I don’t really go to the beach much.”
“I imagine,” she said with a laugh. “Hopefully you’ll like it better than your father. He was always a well behaved teenager, but under the sun, he got so moody.” Arya laughed; she had heard her mother say that so many times.
“I like the beach. I’ve gone to the beaches in Braavos, and my mom took us to the beach a few times as I was growing up.”
“I promised her some photos and that you could tell her some embarrassing stories about her dad.”
“I can, but you should get to the beach. You don’t want to get there too late. Come over for dinner during the week, I can even show you a few films my husband took of them.”
“Thank you,” Arya said with a smile. “But Gendry, you promised.”
“Yeah, I just need to show her one photo before we go,” Gendry said, disappearing through another door, and leaving Arya alone with this woman.
“Do you have any food with you?” Arya shook her head. “Come with me, and I’ll get something ready.” Arya followed the woman to the kitchen. “And I’m sure my grandson forgot to tell you my name, I’m Cassana,” she introduced herself as she looked for something in the fridge and pantry. “So how’s your family? I’ve met your mother a few times, and I met your older brother – Robert??”
“Robb, close enough.” The woman didn’t stop moving around the kitchen – she had more energy than most people half her age.
“You are the only girl? Are you the youngest?”
“Second girl – we’re just two, and I’m the youngest – my sister is Sansa. But I have two brothers besides Robb, Bran and Rickon.”
“And I thought raising those three boys was hard. Your poor mother… actually if you are like your father, it may not have been that bad.”
“Rickon and I are kind of devils,” Arya said with a laugh. “And Robb was not that easy either. Or even Sansa, as a teenager… Bran was probably the best behaved of us, unless he was climbing around.”
“Yes, your poor parents, child,” the woman said with a laugh, as she finished putting a bunch of food into a lunch bag. “Some cookies, sandwiches, fruit, and water – you need to keep yourselves hydrated.”
“Arya!!” she heard Gendry calling for her.
“In the kitchen, son,” Cassana yelled back.
“Okay, close your eyes, Arya,” he said entering the kitchen. Arya rolled her eyes to Gendry’s request, but she did as he asked. She felt Gendry coming behind her, and putting something in front of her, before telling her that she could open her eyes.
In front of her there was a photo of two boys around her age. One looked incredibly liked Gendry, but with a huge beard and long black hair and he had on a black jeans vest, that left his chest showing, with AC/DC and a few more phrases written on it. And the other boy was definitely her father, and she couldn’t believe what she was seeing – he was beardless, which she didn’t ever get to see; and then his hair – it wasn’t long like Robert’s, no, it was short and pulled up, into a mohawk; he also had black highliner on; and then a black t-shirt with a great graphic of AC/DC (similar to the ones Jon owned).
“This can’t be real?!” Arya said, looking at the photo in silence, before she couldn’t hold it anymore, and started laughing. Arya pulled her phone out of her pocket and took a photo of the photo, as she still laughed. “I need to send this to my siblings.”
The last thing on their group chat was her telling her siblings that she got in okay. Nobody had added anything since yesterday afternoon, but the moment she sent the photo, answers fled the chat – nobody even knew where to start with this. Arya with a last Give Dad hell, R, since she knew Rickon would certainly be home, blocked the phone and turned her attention back to the other people in the room.
“Thank you for this, Gendry. This is the best thing.”
“Don’t be too mean to your father,” Cassana said, “You don’t want your children to torture you when you’re older. Gendry has a lot of things that your children would love to know.” Arya wasn’t sure if she heard the way Gendry’s grandmother had phrased that correctly, but she ignored the insinuation.
“Grandma…” Gendry complained, intervening on anything else Cassana could say. “We should get going, Arya.”
“I said too much I see,” his grandmother said. “But go on, you, young people,” she said, “I prepared some food for you to take.”
“You didn’t need too.”
“You need food, Gendry, and I have food here,” she argued, pushing the lunch bag into Arya’s arms, and taking Gendry in her arms, but Arya looked the other way giving them some privacy. Cassana then brought Arya in for a hug as well and a goodbye, before walking them out of the house.
Gendry carried the bodyboard, while Arya took the lunch bag and went to get the rest of their stuff from the car after he told her they were walking the rest of the way. They waved to his grandmother and slowly walked down the avenue, and the smell of the sea became more and more real, and soon after they were on the pier, near all the stores and bars, and moving a bit faster, they walked down the ramp.
“I can’t believe we’re here,” Arya said, smiling and excited, as she step the sand. Gendry was right behind her, carrying his board and a bad with towels and other beach essentials (and that also included the food that Cassana had sent with them).
“Take off your shoes,” Gendry suggested, as he took his own. “Feel the sand.” Arya did as he told her, and it was such a great feeling, the one of the sand between her fingers (and definitely better than in Braavos, since it wasn’t scalding hot).
“Okay, we need the water!!” Arya exclaimed.
“Yes, let’s just find a place to drop our things first.” Gendry told her to find a place closer to the sea, and then dropped their towels before they both started undressing.
Arya took off her shorts and a t-shirt, and was left in her black short bottoms and a blue bandeau with white polka dots – it had been hard to choose this one. She had gone shopping with Sansa and she had been impossible on insisting for her to get a string bikini, but Arya argued that she could never properly dive in that.
“Are we going in now?” Arya asked.
“I’m just packing up the things. Don’t leave your phone on the sun,” Gendry said taking it from her hand and putting it in the back. And Arya couldn’t lie and say that she didn’t look at Gendry’s body – she had never seen him shirtless, and he looked really good without a shirt and with his black and yellow trunks.
“Okay, we’re ready, Arry. Come on,” he said smiling at her, and they walked up to the water.
“I’m going in. I’m really going into the water,” Arya murmured.
“Are you okay, Arya?” Gendry asked stopping. “You do know how to swim, right?”
“Of course, stupid,” she complained. “I’m just excited. I don’t get into the water that much.”
“So you don’t shower.” Arya rolled her eyes and didn’t even bother answering.
“That water is really violent.”
“It’s good, Arya, but it is the Stormlands. Now come on, Arya.” She took a deep breath and followed Gendry into the water – there was a green flag and she knew it was safe.
“Yeah, let’s go,” she yelled, “See if you can catch me.” Arya ran into the water, as Gendry followed her into the water, but slower since he carried the board with him. Arya got to the water first, but she stopped after her feet dipped into the water, as Gendry immediately dove into the water as he ran in.
“Come in, Arya,” he said, coming up for air, and holding onto the board. Arya nodded at Gendry and entered the water – she didn’t run in like she had planned, she walked in slowly, patting her body with water slowly.
“Is it too cold for you?”
“Gendry, I live in the snow. Don’t be stupid?!”
“So come on. You can dive now,” he told her. And Arya agreed with him, and feeling that she was acclimated with the water, she dived into the sea and swam to Gendry, pinching him on the leg.
“Arya!!” he yelled, jumping out of his feet.
“Caught you,” Arya said, coming up for air herself.
“No, you didn’t,” Gendry said, picking up Arya and throwing her over his shoulder, and her face eat the water. “Sorry,” he apologized immediately.
“I’m okay,” she said, keeping her head out of the water, and then remembered to complain for him to put her down. Gendry spun her quicker and quicker, and Arya knocked on his back, and he then threw her into the water.
She hit the water quickly and it caught her by surprise. She stayed under the water for a bit, almost sitting down on the ground; before swimming up, to face Gendry again.
“Do that again?!” she asked.
“Come on,” he said, hooking his hands together, and giving Arya a bump so she could get on top of it. Gendry then threw her up into the air, and after a few turns Arya was able to do a back flip before getting into the water.
“This is so cool,” Arya said, already a bit dizzy. “Again, let’s go again.”
“Let’s wait a bit before you jump again, Arya,” he told her. “Do you want to try the board?”
“Sure,” she said excitedly, jumping on the board. Gendry helped her with her form; his hands on her waist, raising her on the board and explaining what she should do next. He swam next to her, as they faced the waves, and Arya was hit and thrown back; Gendry immediately checked on her to see if she was okay, but Arya just wanted to get back on the board.
Arya was hit by the wave so many times, that Gendry finally convinced her to get out of the board; and they both swam over the zone where the waves broke and now on calmer sea, but where Arya couldn’t really touch the ground, Gendry helped her up to the board.
“Okay, pat with your hands, Arya, and go forward. Don’t stop. Get to the sand.”
Arya followed each of Gendry’s advice and she soldiered on, and it was an amazing high – like when she skied down the top mountain on the snow resort up in the Wall. She felt herself on top of the wave and then coming down, her board actually scratched the sand, and that’s where the things went a bit wrong, with her elbow being cut against a rock. It didn’t really hurt Arya much, and she didn’t even notice it at first, being too excited after being able to actually ride the wave, and she then swam back to Gendry, pulling the board behind her.
“That was awesome, Arya!! How did it feel?” Gendry asked her, putting up his hand for a high-five.
“Awesome,” she said, smiling. “But I can’t really high-five you,” she said, as she had to keep her hands patting on the water, to keep her head above water. So Gendry grabbed Arya, bringing her closer, so she could hold herself out of the water and was then able to high-five Gendry.
“Hey, what’s on your arm?” Gendry asked, noticing the blood on her elbow. “Arya, you cut yourself. Are you okay?”
“I didn’t even feel it, Gen. I’m okay.”
“Are you? Are you sure? Maybe we should go to the lifeguard.”
“Gendry, I’m okay, shut up,” she said. And Gendry sat her on the board, but she quickly fell of it.
“Are you okay?” he asked again, taking her out of the water.
“Yes, Gendry, shut up!!” she complained.
“Are you sure?”
“Gendry!!” she exclaimed. Before laughing and punching him on the chest multiple times; and soon enough Gendry was laughing too, holding Arya close to him, so she didn’t need to worry about keeping her head above water.
Their laughter took a long time to die down, and Arya rested her head on Gendry’s shoulder, and she could also feel his breathing on her neck – they were so close. And then they shared a look – eye-to-eye – just before moving away, but realizing that maybe there was something between them, even if neither was sure if they should act on it, luckily they had two more weeks to figure it out.