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Pool Talks

You see, the thing we would do is sneak out in the middle of the night and meet at the community pool—every year, on the last day of school. It was…tradition. Our tradition.
It was the end of our sophomore year and while others were probably celebrating by partying all night, I was in my bed, fully clothed, waiting for my best friend to call. It had been 2 o’clock when my phone finally buzzed through the mattress. I picked up immediately with a smile on my face.
“Hey, L.J.,” I said simply.
L.J. whooped loudly into his speaker. “WE DID IT, DAHLIA! WE. ARE. FREE OF THAT GOD FORSAKEN PLACE FOR ANOTHER SUMMER.” There was a shuffling noise in the background and L.J. cursed, undoubtedly having dropped his phone out of excitement.
I looked back at my bedroom door and whispered into the phone. “Calm down, okay? We’re still on for tonight right?”
“Of course, creep!” L.J. exclaimed.
“Okay, I’ll be there in a minute,”
“Take your time.” L.J. hung up and I slowly climbed out of my bed so as not to make the springs creak. I went through the motions of “late-night-stealth-mode”. Open the door. Check hallway for creeping parents. Go down the stairs without stepping on the squeaky parts. Take, like, thirty seconds to open the front door as silently as possible. Take another thirty seconds to close the door. And finally, I’m free.
It’s a necessary process.
Just like the years before, I walked through the remote streets of the apartment complex. I lived towards the front of the housing complex where all the townhouses were. But further back were the apartments. And in the center of it all was the “exclusive” clubhouse and main office. This includes the tiny room that’s supposedly a gym and, of course the pool.
Although I was all alone and vulnerable to creeps out here looking for girls to hand out booze to, I enjoyed the silence. I could be away from the house, away from my annoying parents, away from everything just for three minutes.
When I had finally made it to the entrance of the pool, I rattled the gate doors so that they opened as far as they could, even though the glimmering lock and chain held them together. I was small enough to squeeze through without getting stuck in between. I popped out on the other side and looked around the dark pool area. The fluorescent lights on the side of the clubhouse shone down on a lounge chairs and pool toy racks. The lights inside of the pool made the water bright and luminescent. I loved it this way.
Just as I was kicking my boots off to dip my feet in, a rustling sound came from the pool gates. I turned to see L.J. stumbling through the door. He cursed again as he pulled his leg out from the gates’ grasp. When he had finally got himself situated, he looked up and flashed his signature lopsided grin. I smiled back.
L.J. had grown significantly taller from the start of sophomore year. He must have been almost six feet by now. He had one of those faces that came off a little strong but his big brown eyes were soft and comforting. I watched him become somewhat of a man since 8th grade, hoping that he finally took an interest in me. I’d always hoped that he saw me as more than a friend.
“We survived! Now,” L.J. began taking off his shoes and his shirt. “Let’s celebrate!”
L.J. ran and leapt into the pool with a thunderous splash. I squealed and cowered away as the water came down over me.
“L.J., DO THAT AGAIN AND I’LL KILL YOU!” I cried out, trying to sound angry. His head resurfaced and he beamed back at me. I just about melted.
“Then what are you waiting for? Come on, Dahlia, that water’s warm…” L.J. cooed. He bent down in the water and lifted his arm up a few seconds later with his jeans in his hand. With a flick of the wrist, he threw the pants directly into my face, causing me to cry out again.
Failing to hide my smile, I pulled off my top and stepped into the pool through the shallow end. When I looked up, L.J. was staring at me, unimpressed.
“What?” I asked, suddenly becoming self-conscious about my bra-clad chest. L.J. threw his hands in the air.
“That was extremely anti-climactic. Get your *ss out of this pool and do a celebratory cannonball.”
I laughed and splashed water into his face. “Shut up, you know I can’t swim that well.” I said, shaking my head. I waded over to his spot in the four foot section of the pool. Of course he was tall enough so that that was his shallow end. I stood on the balls of my feet so I wasn’t bending my head back just to look at him.
“Then consider this your first official session.” L.J. said, taking my arms in his hands. I hoped he didn’t feel me shiver beneath his fingers. I didn’t understand why I was so nervous tonight. I’ve spent so much time with L.J. before and I never felt so squeamish. Maybe it was the way his voice was; warm.
“Now, lean back…and I’ll hold you up, like this,” L.J. raised his hands out from the water and turned his palms up. I nodded and stiffly leaned back, only to find that L.J. wasn’t helping out. I looked up at him.
“Uh…aren’t you supposed to be doing something?” A short laugh escaped my mouth.
L.J. raised his eyebrows at me and stated, “You might want to relax a little. Think more…feathery and less driftwood-y.”
“Um…okay…” I blinked. L.J.’s eyes scanned over me for a moment in silence. Before I could say anything else, he dropped underwater and placed his hands around my hips. I gasped and watched him undo the buttons on my jeans. I felt him pat my leg as an indication to me that he wanted me to strip off my pants.
When he came back up above the water he gave me a reassuring nod. “It’ll help you relax, no big deal.”
I hesitantly took off my drenched skinny jeans and tossed them out of the pool.
“See? No different than a bathing suit.” L.J. said, snapping my bra strap. This was different. But L.J. wasn’t fazed by my being half naked, and motioned for me to lean back again.
This time when I did, I could feel his hands on my back holding me up. I felt myself stiffen but silently reminded myself that it was just L.J... I had nothing to be afraid of.
“Okay, and just arch your back a little bit, so you’ll stay on the surface when you float.” L.J. instructed easily.
I did as told and curved my back a little off of his hands. My chest rose out of the water and I noticed L.J. glance down at it swiftly. I opened my mouth to call him out on it but he cut me off before I could utter a sound.
“Dahlia?”
“…what?” I said, rolling my eyes.
“What did you want to do this summer?” L.J. asked simply. The question was so broad, but I thought about an answer anyway.
“Travel the world, get away,” I replied, only half kidding. L.J. nodded and said, “That would be great, right? To just…escape.”
“That’s the dream, hon.”
“What are you really going to do?” He asked with his grin spreading across his face.
“Sit at home and watch Netflix.” I laughed. “And you? What did you want to do this summer?” I tilted my head so that I could see L.J.’s face. His gaze was focused on me.
“Maybe…finally tell you how I feel about you.”
I jerked out of my floating position and grabbed onto L.J.’s shoulders awkwardly, realizing that we had somehow moved over into the deep end of the pool. L.J. held me up with ease, not once breaking eye contact.
“Tell…tell me how you feel…?” I stammered.
“Mhmm,” He nodded casually. My stomach lurched due to my uneasiness. I forced myself to continue the conversation, despite my nerves.
“W-what are you really going to do?” I asked softly.
L.J. didn’t answer as he leaned down closer to meet his lips softly to mine. He kissed me once as if he were testing the waters. All these years being friends and he’d never tried to kiss me before. Every part of me felt light and warm. L.J. had felt the same way as I did and the feeling inside me may have been more relief than anything. I was relieved that I didn’t have to question anything anymore when it came to L.J.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him back. It had only taken a few moments for us to really get into it.
I wrapped my legs around his waist, tired of paddling my legs under the water. His hands ran around my back and over my legs as he continued to kiss me more. My hands wandered across his shoulders and his chest, while his lips traveled down to my neck hastily.
I grabbed his hand as I felt him graze the front of my chest and try to undo my bra clasp in one smooth motion. We both paused abruptly and took a breath, laughing between ourselves quietly.
“So…I think this is a good start to a few more lessons in the future.” I whispered. L.J. burst out into nervous laughter.
“Definitely.” He said before he gave me another tender kiss.
We went back to the shallow end so that I could step out on my own, instead of hanging on to L.J. for dear life like I had been. I put all my clothes back on, despite L.J.’s requests for me to stay in my soaked bra and underwear a little longer, and started towards the gate.
“Dahlia!” L.J. called out from the side of the pool. His smile seemed especially bright all of a sudden.
“Yea?” I called back.
“Stay five more minutes?”
“Goodnight, L.J.!” I said over my shoulder.
He rolled over into the water as he chuckled to himself, and I squeezed myself through the chained up gate and walked back out into the quiet street.




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