Love at the YMCA This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Side by side, we stood by the diving boards. Making sure everyone was safe while swimming was our job as lifeguards.

"See, there! He just looked at me again!" I proclaimed to my best friend. "I tell you, he likes me!"

With a deep sigh and a roll of her eyes, Gem looked from the boy in the frigid water to me and said, "Hon, I don't know what to think. Every time I turn around, some guy likes you, or you like him." Changing her voice from a matter-of-fact tone to a caring one, she said, "You need to slow down and think. I don't want to see you get hurt all over again.

Contemplating her words, I realized she was right. There always seemed to be one guy or another after me, but I never liked them. I constantly went for guys who weren't interested or spoke disrespectfully about me when they thought I couldn't hear.

I watched with a heavy heart as the boy wearing the blue swim trunks with flame licks down the sides climbed out of the lap pool and made his way to the hot tub.

I may as well give up while I'm ahead, I admitted. Why would he be different? I should quit while the chance of being friends was still available.

"It would be nice if he did like me," I unintentionally sighed aloud.

"Oh, would you just drop it?" Gem exclaimed in frustration.

It was Saturday night, and slow at the Y. Later I would be going to my aunt's house for a youth bonfire, and this joyous thought kept me going. I had asked Gem if she wanted to come, but she had to go home. I was bummed, but then it hit me: ask the boy! Should I? Could I?

My questions seemed answered when I saw a pair of fire-licked swim trunks whiz though the air and land with a giant splash. My opportunity had arrived.

Exiting the pool, he came over to where I stood. With doubts still on my mind, he looked at me and smiled. All my confidence was stolen by his handsome brown eyes and radiant smile. A question managed to escape my lips.

"So, Matt, I forgot to ask how your cross-country meet went," I said moronically, thinking, You are so stupid! Just ask him!

About to get on the board, he said, "I did horribly! My dad was so mad, but that's okay. It was my last meet. My mom told me I don't have to be home until eleven tonight, so it's all good"What do you plan to do after the Y closes?" I surprised myself by asking.

"I don't know, cruise the town," he said with a shrug. "What about you?"

"I'm going to my aunt's house." I paused to catch my breath. Then, without warning, I did it. "Hey, Matt?" He raised his eyebrows. "Would you like to go with me? There'll be a bonfire, and it could be fun." Knowing no guy would pass up the invitation, I added, "There's going to be a bunch of junk food and other goodies, too."

With a look of consideration, he nodded. "Maybe, it does sound like fun. I'll have to ask my mom, though." With that, he took off at a dead run and did a flip off the board.

I smirked and turned to Gem, who rolled her eyes and shook her head.

"I bet you wish you could go now, don't you?" I asked facetiously.

"Only to see you make a fool of yourself!" she snapped.

"Oh, whatever!" I curled my lip.

I turned my attention back to the

water, and to Matt, who was pulling himself out of the pool. He looked up at me when he was halfway out and then slid back into the water.

"You know what?" he began. "That really sounds like fun. I think I'll go home, tell my mom, and meet you back here. Does that sound good?"

Trying to hide my excitement, I answered, "Sounds like a plan to me."

***

I was again lifeguarding when I heard an enticing voice in my ear ask, "Did you have as much fun as I did on Saturday?"

I turned to see the one who had accompanied me to the bonfire.

"I had a great time!" I replied, unable to hide my excitement. "We should do that again sometime!"

"Yeah, that would be fun!" Matt said with a smile. His brown eyes were drawing me in; I turned before he could see me blush.

Amazingly, he stayed the whole evening. When it was 10 minutes until closing, he picked up his towel, waved, and left. My heart sank. A whole week would pass before I'd see him again.

With Matt on my mind, I closed the pool and walked to my car. Matt's car was parked next to mine! As I approached, he got out. Leaning against his car, hands in pockets, he smiled a smile that made me melt.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I have 59 minutes until I have to be home, so I thought I'd wait until you got off work."

"Oh," I said, startled. "Well, let me put my stuff away and we can talk."

"Well, can I, uh, ask you something?" he spat out.

"Sure," I answered, throwing my bags in the back seat. He was mumbling something, and I inched closer. "What?" I asked when the muttering stopped. I leaned forward and turned so I was looking up at him. He squinted his eyes and groaned. Then he asked as quickly as he could, "What would you say if I asked you to go out with me?"

I couldn't believe it. He liked me too! There were about a hundred thoughts running around my mind, but only one made it to my lips. "I would say yes."

"You would?" his head snapped up.

"Of course!" I said. "I would say 'yes,' if that's what you're getting at?"

The tentative look came back for a second, then he quickly went on.

"Yes, that is what I'm getting at."

I asked, "Would you like me to make this quick and painless?"

With a fearful look, he nodded.

Here it goes, I told myself. You've been waiting for this moment for so long, so enjoy it.

Leaning forward, I kissed him on the cheek. I felt the shock shoot through him. Looking back into his eyes I said, "Yes."

I really can't end this story because it is still being written. Every night I work, a pair of blue flame-licked swim trunks comes walking across the deck and adds another chapter. c



* The names in this true story have been changed to protect the lovebirds' privacy.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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