An Unexpected Turn-of-Events

July 24, 2008
By Jessica Chirico, Havelock, NC

The sunlight glared off the water, sending a million brilliant beams shooting into Abigail’s eyes. Blinded, she walked right into her boyfriend, Blake, as they walked to his boat on the dock.

“Hey, watch it, Abbs,” Blake complained. “You could mess up my hair.”

“Blake, the wind’s blowing anyway. Why do you even care?” she countered, feeling a twinge of annoyance at his nickname for her. It sounded like she was supposed to be a muscle. She rolled her eyes as he glanced at his own reflection off the water.

“You never know,” Blake said under his breath, his deep blue eyes trailing after a blonde yards away.

Abigail sighed, and turned her eyes away from Blake making a spectacle of himself by flexing his biceps. He can be such a jerk, she thought, wondering again why she was still with him. His attitude wasn’t always worth his great taste in jewelry and beautiful roses.

Fiddling with her locket from him, she wandered over to the concession stand, and accidentally bumped into another guy.

“Oh, I-- I’m so sorry, um, my bad,” she stammered and blushed as she realized just how good-looking this stranger was. His deep brown eyes warmed as his face broke into a dazzling smile.

“Don’t worry about it, I did the same thing two seconds ago. It’s this sunlight; I’m surprised I haven’t walked right into the ocean yet,” he grinned and held out his hand. “My name’s Kyle, what’s yours--“

“Babe! Let’s go!” Blake called after Abigail, cutting Cute Boy Kyle short as Blake grabbed her hand and dragged her towards the boats.

“Geez, Blake, that was rude. I was talking to someone,” Abigail said, irritated that Blake was only protective when he felt threatened.

“Whatever. I want to work on my tan.”

He drove the boat out about a half mile from the harbor, cut the engine, and laid out on a towel. Abigail looked out wistfully at the cool water and crashing waves.

“Blake, don’t you want to swim? It’s so hot out here, come on,” she asked, already knowing the answer before he opened his mouth.

“Abbs, I hate water, you know that,” he answered lazily, stretching on the deck.

“Oh, fine. I’ll be back soon.” She sprang into the water, splashing salt water all over Blake.

“Abbs!” he whined, but she wasn’t listening anymore. The ocean was rougher than she had expected, and the undertow was strong. The boat was too far out for her to touch the bottom, and she had to struggle to stay above water. She turned back to climb back into the boat, but abruptly was swept under a wave and pulled down below the surface.

“Help--!” she managed to cry when she resurfaced before being pulled under again, but the tide had carried her out too far for Blake to hear. The waves crashed relentlessly, and soon Abigail couldn’t surface anymore. Her thoughts scrambled with panic as she desperately tired to swim upward; she could barely think. Pictures flashed before her eyes; they moved too fast to really focus on one. ‘All I see is you,’ a line from her favorite book, floated through her jumbled thoughts, and she realized she may never know a feeling like that now. Her lungs began to scream for air and salt water flooded her mouth. Her head began to spin…

Suddenly, she was aware of warmth on her face. Something bright was burning through her closed eyelids. Heaven? she thought blearily. Then she heard a voice. She assumed it was an angel’s. It was deep and smooth and sounded relieved.

“She’s breathing!” it exclaimed.

“Well, geez, she wasn’t going to die,” grumbled another voice, a voice Abigail knew all too well. It was starting to make her cringe. I guess this isn’t heaven after all, she concluded, listening on.

“You really don’t seem to get the danger your girlfriend was in. She had drowned. I had to give her freakin’ CPR and you still stood around like it was no big deal!” the former angel’s voice was agitated now; incredulity dripped from it with every syllable.

“Hey, listen bud, I knew there was nothing to worry about! Back off!” Blake defended, his voice rising. By then, Abigail had heard enough. She opened her eyes and looked straight into Cute Boy Kyle’s face. She felt the color rising in her cheeks as he gently brushed her tangled hair off her forehead and asked, “Are you alright? Can you sit up?”

“Ye—Yeah, I—I think so,” she muttered, looking around and wondering how she ended up on the beach. Blake wasn’t helping as he continued to yell at Kyle.

“Hey! Get away from my girlfriend! I told you she was fine! Thanks for the help, pal, but you can leave now!” he shouted. Kyle turned to retaliate to Blake’s immature temper, but Abigail beat him to it. Sitting up slowly, she said “Blake, shut up.”

His mouth dropped open. He quickly reassumed his usual haughty, too-cool-for-you façade, and said smoothly, “You know what, Abigail McAllister? Maybe we should just end this here, since you’re so obviously in love with this idiot.”

“Oh, get over yourself, Blake. Here,” Abigail reached up to her throat, grabbed her locket, and broke the chain as she pulled it from her neck. She tossed it up to him and he caught it, his mask of control slipping again. Insult burned in his eyes, and without another word, he turned and strode off.

Abigail sighed, feeling a weight lifting from her shoulders, and laid back down in the sand. Kyle, who had backed away during Abigail and Blake’s fight, walked forward again and knelt near her.

“Are you sure you’re feeling alright? You just went through a pretty big ordeal,” he said, concern on his face, but also a glimmer of humor in his eyes. Abigail assumed that it had something to do with the embarrassing scene he’d just witnessed.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s all good,” she said, rising to her feet. “Thanks for helping me, and sorry you had to see that.”

“It’s cool. I’m used to witnessing break-ups after I’ve saved someone’s life,” he teased and held out his hand. “Kyle, Kyle Matthews.”

“Oh, yeah, I’m—“

“Abigail McAllister, your boyfriend mentioned it,” he teased again.

“Oh, er, yes,” she answered, slightly flustered again.

“Hey, I believe you might just owe me something for saving you life, don’t you?” Kyle asked, stunning Abigail with his smile again. She smiled and began to walk forward, liking how this unexpected day was turning out to be.

“I was thinking of grabbing a burger or something. You never know, I may need to give you the Heimlich or something,” he said seriously as he followed next to her.

“Well, I guess. Better safe than sorry,” she replied, also trying to keep a straight face.

“Yeah, looking at your past history, I may just have to stick around for a while. Just to be sure,” he said as they walked along the shore.

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