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Based on a true story.
I had always known his name, Tommy Bolton, ever since I met his Dad at Rowayton Pizza. I had never met him, though. And then there I was, walking through the gravel parking lot at Roton Point on the 4th of July with Kylie, hoping that something exciting would occur.
And then there he was, standing with Carter Lindley, casually looking at the cell phones they were holding.
“Who is that?”
“Carter Lindley! He’s so hot!” she squealed.
“No, no. The other one.”
“Oh, that’s Tommy.”
“Mmm.” Kylie picked at her fingernail.
Kylie and I nodded at each other and then strutted past the two boys, hoping they would say something.
“Kylie?” said Tommy.
Carly spun around, her hair whipping me in the face.
“Oh my gosh! Hey Tommy, what’s up?” She said acting surprised.
“Not much, I was just about to text you. Want to go get some thing to eat?” he asked as he snapped his phone shut and slid it into his pocket.
“Sure!” said my ecstatic friend.
We all headed towards the snack bar.
“So you’re Tommy, huh?” I murmured shyly.
“Yeah, how’d you know that?”
“I know your Dad and your brother. Our parents are friends, and your brother was on my bros hockey team last year.” I quickly blurted out.
“Oh, really? I’ve never seen you at any of the games.” He seemed almost incredulous.
“Yeah, I don’t go to many of them.” I said casually, hiding my nervousness. I was sweating much more than the day called for.
“Yeah.” He said, pursing his lips.
Carter opened and held the door for Kylie, then let Tommy catch it to hold it for me.
“Thanks.” I said quietly.
As Tommy scanned the menu, I examined his body and face.
Oh my gosh! He’s so hot! So hot! Oh my gosh!
“Want anything, Rachel?”
“You know my name?” I said anxiously.
“Yeah, I always knew your name. My Dad mentioned you.”
Thank you, Daddy! I thought to myself as I smiled and nodded.
“Um, no. I’m not really hungry. I might actually just go sit on the beach.” I said shrugging.
“I’ll come with you. Carter, why don’t you and Kylie have lunch up here, while Rachel and I go sit on the beach? I’ll meet you in twenty?”
“Cool.” Said Carter putting his arm around Kylie in a friendly kind of way.
Tommy and I walked together down to the beach and sat in two chairs facing the sunset. It streaked the sky with shades of yellow, red, magenta and violet.
“Pretty.” I said, gazing into the breathtaking summer sky.
“Yeah, so pretty.” Tommy said, looking at me. I blushed.
We both laughed, and then went on asking each other questions about sports, our families, and what we have planned to do before school starts. Then, Tommy started attempting to make jokes only he thought were funny, but I laughed anyway. I pretended to tear up, wiping the corners of my eyes with my grey v-neck sweatshirt, resorting to my ginger ale whenever I needed a break.
Tommy laughed, and then shook his head at the ground. Then, as he looked up, it was like a spark, the one that occurred when he looked deep into my eyes, like he was reading my soul or something. I looked away quickly.
Tearing my eyes away from his was difficult. They were a gorgeous brown color like a black hole of dark, delicious Hershey’s chocolate sucking me in. I had craved that look for so long, and when it happened, I could swear that he felt the same way about me.
“Um, do you want to go see if Carter and Kylie have gotten their food yet? It’s been like what, thirty minutes?” I said trying to sound smooth.
“Yeah, sure.” He said it like he wasn’t even trying. Every word he said I absorbed and analyzed with detail. It was like I worshipped him…then again, though, I kind of did.
He got up, so I did the same. I realized at that moment that I was boiling inside my thick fleece sweatshirt. I pulled it off over my head, and brushed my hand through my hair, parting it at the side.
We walked towards the stairs, the sand sifting through my toes. I took one last glance at the romantic colorful sunset that lingered in the dimming sky.
I was a tad bit embarrassed about wearing a bikini, even though I was so excited about it before Kylie and I got in the car with my mom to come to the club. I had just received it in the mail the day before. It was navy, with low-rise bottoms and a bronze orchid with pink enamel on the hip and another orchid just below the shoulder. I thanked God that I hadn’t worn one of my full pieces.
Tommy slowed down as we approached the picnic table where my best friend Kylie and her crush Carter sat eating chicken fingers.
“Um, hey Carter. Rachel and I were just about to go for a late swim in the pool.” Tommy said before he winked at me.
My stomach did a 360°.
“You guys could come…” I saw Tommy give Carter a don’t say yes look. Kylie saw it, too.
“Um, maybe in a little bit. We’re finishing up our food.” I saw Tommy smile, content with his friends answer. Then he took my hand. At least he was hinting that he felt the same way as me.
Tommy’s hand was smooth, and warm. I had to concentrate on my hand, making sure I wasn’t squeezing too tight, or making him hold it up, and the hardest part was trying to calm myself so my palms wouldn’t sweat.
“So are you excited for Middlesex?” he asked, trying to make conversation.
I regrouped and quickly replied, “Yeah, I guess. I’m kind of nervous. Middle school intimidates me. Harder classes, more homework, and plus we go from being the oldest in the school to the youngest again in two months.” I said trying to sound calm, even though I wasn’t.
“Yeah, I totally feel the same way. I mean, I have some friends in 7th grade that I’m excited to see, but all of the elementary schools in one grade? We’ll be like oil and vinegar. Plus, new guys, new girls, I’m sure people will be dating…” His hand twitched, “And that could cause drama.” He guessed.
“Yeah, but I think it will be interesting to see what happens.’ I said pursing my lips.
“I think so too.” He said, looking me in the eyes and smiling his gorgeous pearly smile.
There was that feeling again.
“So, do you want to go swimming?” He gestured towards the pool, pulling his hand away from mine.
I wiped my sweaty hand on my leg. “Sure, I’m in my suit so we might as well.” I said, looking away.
“OK, I’m just going to go change.”
“OK.” I said, flicking my hair out of my face.
I slowly made my way to the pools tiled edge, and looked down to see my own smiley face staring up at me. I took a deep breath, bent my legs and launched myself into the air as gracefully as possible. My fingers dipped into the water, then my head, stomach, knees and toes. I tapped the cement bottom of the pool, found my footing and pushed off, kicking myself up to the surface. I gasped for air, wiped my eyes and nose, and then dipped my head back into the water to smooth out my hair. I spun myself around to face the gated entrance and saw him.
Tommy walked out of the men’s locker room in a pair of green, white and black swim trunks. Tommy was tall, and the proportion of his upper body to his lower body was perfectly equal. He swooshed his hair to the side, but I barely noticed, because I was staring fixedly at his chiseled features, his six-pack perfectly aligned with his chest and hips, the tan skin on his arms held in bulging muscles. His dark brown eyes snatched mine away from his torso, and we both laughed.
He ran and leaped into the water, splashing me from four yards away. Then his head popped out of the water, then his shoulders, about 2 feet away from me. He swooshed his wet hair.
“Hey.” He said, treading water next to me.
“Hey.” I said back. He smiled.
I hadn’t noticed it was dark until then. I looked at the stars twinkling in the sky, and then glanced over at Tommy. The brightness of the stars in that warm night reflected in his eyes.
“They’re beautiful.” I said, referring to the stars.
“Yeah, just like you.” He said back romantically.
We both laughed.
“Wow, I just realized how cheesy that was. Ha-ha, sorry.” He said, smiling.
Finally! I can’t believe it! He actually feels the same way about me, as I do about him!
“That’s okay. I liked it.” I replied, trying not to sound too thrilled or too casual, just inviting.
This was one of those moments in a movie when the guy would lean in and kiss the girl, and pretty music would play, the camera would zoom out, and the words “The End” would appear on the screen. No doubt, it was romantic; I just wished my arms weren’t so tired from treading water for so long. I struggled a bit. Tommy noticed.
“Do you want to go-” he was cut off by Carter’s voice.
“Hey Tommy! My dad’s here! We have to go man!” he yelled.
“Yeah, Rachel, your mom and dad are looking for you, too.” Yelled Kylie.
“Well, err, we’ll talk on AIM later, OK?” Tommy asked me.
“Yeah, definitely. I talk to you later.” I replied, disappointed.
He swam to the ladder and quickly climbed out, snatching a towel on the way to the door. I followed him about eight feet behind.
Stopping by the towel cabinet to dry off, I scanned the dark landscape for a pair of white swim trunks, but there wasn’t anyone near me except for Kylie in a pink t-shirt, a pair of white short-shorts, and a pair of white Haivaina flip-flops.
“Hey, babe! How was your date with Tommy?” She said with a curious expression.
“It wasn’t a date, but if it had been, it would’ve been the best one ever,” I said softly, “How was yours?”
“Good, Carter is so nice. I really like him, I think this could become something.” She said dramatically, as she placed her hands over her heart.
“Great,” I said trying to sound enthusiastic, “Uh, did you say something about my parents looking for me?”
“Oh, yeah. I walked past them like ten minutes ago, and they asked me where you were.” She said cheerfully.
“What? Ten minutes ago? What did you say? You didn’t say I was with a guy, right?” I said nervously.
“Of course not! I told them you were in the bathroom.” She said.
I shook my head in disbelief.
“Ky! They probably think I’m constipated or something! What the heck!” I shouted.
We laughed, and then I picked my sweatshirt off of the chair that I had hung it over and slipped it on over my head. Kylie and I ran off towards the grove, keeping our eyes peeled for my parents.
“Rachel Maggie Madison! Where have you been? You’ve had the Dunns and the Meirs looking all over for you!” My Mom shouted as she approached us.
“Sorry Mom, me and Kylie were swimming in the pool.” I said.
“Kylie and I, Kylie and I, Rachel.” she said, the volume of her voice gradually increasing as she corrected my imperfect grammar. She scanned our bodies from head to toe.
“Kylie, you don’t look wet.” She mentioned suspiciously.
“Um, well…I didn’t go swimming. I took a shower right before we came, so I just watched.”
My Mom hesitated.
“Fine. Next time you too disappear like that, though, you need to tell Mr. Madison or me where you are going.”
“Okay!” Kylie and I said quickly in unison.
My Mom pivoted on her right foot and walked up the stairs to the grove.
Carly and I waited fifteen seconds then followed.
Heeeeeeeeeee! Boom! Crack-crack!
“The fireworks are starting!” I screamed as I ran towards the steps. Carly followed close behind.
I leaped up over the three steps, and sprinted up the narrow, paved path that lead to all of the picnic tables where my family sat with all of our friends.
Carly and I waved as we passed them.
When we reached the shelves of different colored kayaks, we climbed into an empty spot and stared up at the fiery streamers that streaked the sky.
“Ah!” I yelped when I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder.
I turned my body completely around, to see the face of my angel staring back at me.
“Hey.” Tommy said with a grin stretching from ear to ear on his far too gorgeous face.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” I hoped I didn’t sound as shocked and thrilled as I really was.
“Carter’s Dad’s car got a flat tire because he ran over a nail in the parking lot. So, while Mr. Lindley fixes that…”
“No, seriously, what are you doing here?” I said, hoping there was a different answer.
“Fine, I wanted to do this.”
Then he put his hand on my waist, and gently brought his face to mine. I felt his warm breath on my cheek, and closed my eyes.
He brought he soft lips to mine, and held my chest closely to his.
Then he broke the connection. His sweet breath, warm body and soft lips disconnected from mine.
We both caught our breaths.
“I better go check on Carter and his Dad. I’ll see you later.” He said tripping backwards, shocked at what had happened.
“OK. See you later.” I said trying not to sound too love struck.
Tommy turned around smoothly, and glided away into the darkness.
I felt another hand on my shoulder. Kylie yanked me around and looked at me with her jaw dropped.
“Oh my gosh, Rachel! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Your first kiss, you lucky duck!” She shouted at me.
“Shhh, Ky! This place is like a fricken amphitheatre, geez!”
We laughed as the grand finale started.
Hissss, boom, hiss, crack, crack, boom, hiss, hiss, hiss, crack, boom, crack!
The noise filled my ears, and gave me a headache, but it didn’t bother me. I was numbed by the kiss I had shared with Tommy.
Everything around me was spinning. The lights were too bright, and the roaring of the audience and the fireworks combined was way too loud, and then altogether, it came to an abrupt stop. Everything went black.
“Rach? Raaach? Can you hear me?” Kylie said softly, her dirty-blonde hair dangling in my face, tickling my nose.
“Yeah, Yeah. What happened?” I said, gathering my thoughts.
“You fainted, Hun.” She said, jerking her head towards my parents, crouching over next to her. I could barely make out their faces in the dim light of the lanterns.
I read Kylies body language and remembered the kiss.
“Help me up.” I said to my parents. Each of them grabbed one arm and pulled me up to my feet.
I brushed the grass and dirt off of my back and pulled a leaf out of my hair.
“Are you sure you’re okay Squap?”
“Yeah, I’m okay Dad.”
“I’ll take Rachel to go get dressed before we head back home Mr. and Mrs. Madison.” Said Kylie.
“Thanks sweetie. Are you sleeping over tonight?”
“Only if you want me to Mrs. Madison.”
“Of course. I’m pretty sure you and Rachel have a lot to talk about.” My Mom said winking at the both of us.
I stood next to Kylie and nudged her arm. Had my Mom seen Tommy and me?
I smiled sheepishly then grabbed Kylies hand, pulling her towards the locker room as I shouted over my shoulder “See you in a minute Mom and Dad!”
“Do you think they saw?” Said Kylie anxiously. We both laughed as we stepped into the small, beige locker room that smelled like Pine-Sol.
I snatched my Vineyard Vines tote of one of the wall hooks, and pulled out a pair of denim short shorts, and an oversized brown belt and a tank top with a plaid, three-quarter sleeve red shirt.
After getting dressed and slipping on my brown leather gladiator sandals, I fixed my hair into a bun and headed out the door.
My parents waited for us in the parking lot as we approached them.
As we walked towards the car, I glanced to my right and noticed Tommy leaning against Mr. Lindley’s black GTO. Even in the pitch black, starry night I could feel his gaze. Goosebumps ran down my arms. I waved to Tommy as I climbed into my Mom’s white Range Rover. He waved a limp hand and then slid into the back seat of the car.
Kylies voice was a faint whisper behind my racing thoughts. I watched as the thin lights of the black car Tommy was in, fade as they flew farther and farther away. I smiled.