Stranger Danger In Love

July 4, 2012
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Despite its pungent smell of chlorine and bluish-green hue, the University of Florida pool near the dorms represented nothing but freedom from the gloomy hospital room I had been quarantined in for just under a week. For the first time in my record of maladies, my body had played host to a virus I had contracted from one of my classmates. Whereas they suffered the conventional sore throat, runny nose, and incessant coughing, my affliction had been plagued by a dangerously high fever and systematic bouts of vomiting that eventually landed me in the local hospital.

I sat on the edge of the deep end of the pool, letting my feet swing freely in the warm water.
The lapping water beneath my wriggling toes, as artificial as it was, was a long cry from the “Morning Blood” collections and gag-worthy meals. I was so far behind in my classes, especially with final exams being only a month away, but right now I didn’t even have the brainpower to stress and worry over the setbacks I would soon have to face.

Just as I dipped my fingers in the warm water, the overhead air conditioner came to life, sounding more like a Boeing 787 than a cooling system. It seemed like wherever I went, peace and serenity just weren’t realistic hopes, much less accomplishments. At the same time, I had not experienced this level of blissful tranquility in ages, seeing as there was always someone to please, be it through lies or actions.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a blue pair of swimming goggles lying on the deep end of the pool floor. One of the students in the last swimming class had probably dropped them and been too lazy to retrieve them. With so much pressure rushing in from all sides, it seemed impossible for the goggles to stay true to the core essence of their being. All they wanted was one selfless individual to spot them in the blue abyss, jump in without considering the danger, and give them the renewed dose of love and care they’d been missing. One person to change their view on everything good in the world.

Five minutes hadn’t even passed before my taste of pure tranquility was brought to a screeching halt. From my peripheral vision, I saw the wide double doors swing open and reveal the source of the rude interruption. For the first time ever, I couldn’t care less about who had walked in, much less the reason for their entrance. In all honesty, it was a mix between the last dose of meds that I had taken prior to my dismissal from the hospital and my recently acquired lack of interest in just about anything and anyone.

With my eyes staring straight ahead, I mentally calculated how long it would be before the new arrival would strike up an undesired conversation, forcing me to return back home. The last thing I was up for at the moment was putting up a friendly front for someone I knew nothing about. For the time being, all I needed was some time alone with Me, Myself, and I to figure out everything.

The charming yet predictable one-line opener would come in…






“Hmm... I’m not really used to swimming with an audience, but I think I could live with it if mine was always filled with such beautiful fans,” confidently claimed the male intruder as he neared my exclusive bubble of space.

I would have given him props for the original opener, but any praise for that disappeared when his overwhelming level of arrogance became apparent. I turned in his direction, only to be met with a jaw-dropping form and figure. Despite being shirtless and chiseled to a tee, his eyes were the main magnetic attraction; they were a darker shade of hazelnut, mixed with a tinge of murky blue, like the last-minute brush stroke made by an artist before he completes his masterpiece. Although his hair was largely brown, the ends had been naturally dyed a shade of blonde by the sun.

Even though he undoubtedly had the looks any girl would obsess over, I knew better than to be fooled by an exterior. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” After all, that had been the prime lesson of first grade, hadn’t it?

“Don’t worry. Your audience has a feeling the show is nowhere as good as the hype man is making it out to be,” I retorted with a wink, “Plus, I have better things to do than watch you swim doggy style.” I took my legs out of the water, letting them air-dry for as long as possible before taking off. Mr. Ego had poised himself smack in front of me, granting me the choice of either staring straight ahead at his package or awkwardly angling my neck upward so I could meet his gaze.

With a loud sigh and a last pointed look at his crotch, I looked up into his amused eyes.

“Hype man? You must not have gotten the memo,” he paused dramatically, “I’m the main attraction.” Well, that was for sure. “And, I assure you, swimming is not the only thing I can do doggy style.” He shot me a cocky smile and purposely wouldn’t move or break his stare in my eyes.

With my hands perched on my bended knees, I stared nonchalantly up at him and smiled lazily. My medicine was definitely starting to kick in which meant I had to get back ASAP.

“Oh, I bet” I started, “So, this has been fun and all, but I really have places to be and people to see who, quite frankly, are kind of more important than you right now.” I pulled myself up, bringing myself closer to his eye level, although he was still a few inches taller than me.

“Ooh, got a hot date with your boyfriend?” He inquired.

Thinking back of Nate and the way we had broken up, I debated whether or not to tell the truth. I knew full well that saying yes might give him the idea that I was available and interested, which was far from the truth since my last relationship had left a bitter taste in my mouth that had completely turned me off from pursuing any emotional connections.

“As a matter of fact, I do,” I replied with a cocky smile of my own. “So, I’ll leave you to your performance… and packed house of fans,” I quipped as I motioned to the empty bleachers facing the swimming pool.

My body had gotten so used to twenty-four hour bed rest that even this short trip felt like a week-old journey. I walked past him and headed toward the double doors. My eyelids were getting heavier by the second and everything I said or did seemed to be happening in slow motion. Being high off medication was not exactly the first impression I wanted to leave on Mr. Ego, especially since I detested drug use.

I heard him chuckle from somewhere behind me and call out, “Hold up! Aren’t you going to tell me the name of my biggest fan?”

Just as I went to turn around in his direction, the doors in front of me swung open, revealing a trio of overly excited guys who were panting as if they’d just ran a mile around the campus.

One of them managed to find the breath to utter rather rudely, “You. Yeah, you,” he pointed at me. “Have you seen Jay Renzo?” His blonde hair was sticking to his sweaty forehead and a pungent odor of perspiration permeated from their direction. I had heard tidbits here and there about Jay Renzo; apparently, he was a soccer superstar who would soon be indicted into the Major League Soccer Association. Oh, and he had just transferred to the University of Florida.

“Um,” I looked back to ask Mr. Ego if he had perhaps seen the new superstar, but he was nowhere in sight, “No.” The minute the word escaped my lips, the door had closed shut and the guys had disappeared.

Looking around, I tried to figure out where he could have gone. There was only one other exit which was on the opposite side of the pool; unless he was invisible, there was no way he could have reached the back doors without being spotted.

“Missed me?” demanded a voice behind me as I yelped in fright. I turned to face a sun-bronzed body that was way too close for comfort. I reflexively took a step back but the ground had suddenly disappeared from under my foot. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the pool was so close behind me that I had stepped back into the empty air right above the water. Before I knew it, Mr. Ego’s arm was around my waist, pulling me flat against his body and away from the lack of flooring behind me.

The air escaped my lungs and I felt my temperature spike like it had done the night I was admitted into the hospital. I met his steady gaze and let out the breath I had been too scared to release this whole time.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” he announced with confidence. His arm was still firmly planted around my waist which, among other things in contact with my body at the moment, was a huge turn-on. It felt nice to feel protected and secure for once, like I was worth jumping into the blue abyss for without considering the danger.

“Nia,” I remarked without thinking.

“Huh?” he asked with a puzzled countenance.

“My name, it’s Nia,” I explained, still deeply lost in the allure of his eyes.

“Well, Nia,” he began, the cocky smile returning to his lips and his hand making a beeline from my waist to my ass, “Surely, you have to thank me for saving your life.”

With that, I snapped out of the momentary trance-like state I had been under, acquired a steely glare, and slapped him square on his cheek. I spun around and, without a second glance back, marched toward the exit.
If I had had any leftover doubts about the genuineness and authenticity of guys, they were abruptly extinguished. I mentally scolded myself for thinking, even for a split second, that those handsome, loyal, and sincere men portrayed in movies and books existed, much less that he could be one of them. It was time to snap out of it and face reality, as disappointing as it might be.
“Nice to meet you, too, Nia! I’m Anthony,” he called out from behind me, a hint of humor in his voice.
“Do yourself a favor, Anthony,” I yelled without missing a beat, “Tonight, find yourself a nice porn site membership and some lotion because that’s the only action you’re ever going to get.”

Join the Discussion

This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

Mod B said...
Jul. 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm
Interesting. Is this chapter 1 or?
buttons95 said...
Jul. 14, 2012 at 2:21 am
Thoroughly enjoyed this :) Awesome dialouge and good character building.
roni2roni replied...
Jul. 14, 2012 at 6:10 am
Thank you! Your feedback means a lot(:
Andrea B. said...
Jul. 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm
This is fantastic. Will there be a sequel to this story?
roni2roni replied...
Jul. 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm
Thanks(: Yeah, I was actually going to be turning this into a novel so I'll definitely keep working on it.
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