Jenna and Toni sat on matching white lawn chairs at the edge of the huge municipal swimming pool. The water offered relief to the scalding sun. Coconut oil and chlorine perfumed the air. Jenna was there primarily to admire the lifeguard, Kody. His deeply tanned skin enhanced his all ready good looks.
“Isn’t he dreamy?“ asked Jenna, peering over her sunglasses. At fourteen, she was doing her best to find a hunk to call as her boyfriend.
“Oh, I don’t know. I guess,” replied Toni. Toni wasn’t real thrilled to be there. She had a run in with Kody two weeks earlier at her church’s youth rally. Toni figured he was with some girl; why else would he be there? Most high school sport jocks don’t go to church things. But he wasn’t with a girl. For some reason, that made her glad.
During one session she found herself sitting beside him. Leaning close to her he asked softly, “I hear you’re a PK.” And then he leaned back and smiled, no…it was a smirked. Was he making fun of her? And she couldn’t figure out the tingling feelings in her stomach. She avoided him the rest of the day.
“Do you think he’ll ever look at us?” Jenna interrupted her thoughts.
“At you, you mean.” Toni stole a look at Kody. She wondered if he even remembered her? To Jenna, she laughed and said, “Probably when you get boobs.”
Jenna looked down at her chest. The top part of her swimsuit was snug against her body, perfectly flat. “Hey! I got some. Look.”
“I’m not looking, Jen! Come on, I’m cooking. I can’t stand just sitting here when there’s water to dive into.”
“No! You’re going to sit right here beside me. For once, act more like a woman, Toni. You’ll ruin your hair. Besides, I don’t want to be alone.”
“If you don’t want to be alone, then follow me over to the boards. I’m going to cool off and ruin my hair!” Toni got up and walked towards the boards. She didn’t want to be sitting there while Jenna waited for Kody to notice. Just thinking about it caused her face to get unnaturally hot. Jenna gave out a squeaky ‘wait’ and followed her.
Up on the board, Toni looked down and was beginning her dive when she saw Jenna jumping up and down, pointing in the water. Toni saw an object struggling in the deep water. Someone was drowning! Quickly she jumped, feet first, into the water. Coming up for air, she heard Jenna and the ladies screaming for help and pointing at the body sinking to the bottom. Taking a huge breath, she dived down, looking for the victim. Once she reached the toddler, the girl clasped tightly to Toni, which caused them both to sink further. Suddenly, strong and comforting arms surrounded her and pushed her to the surface.
Once above water, someone lifted the little girl onto the ledge of the pool. She was coughing and crying and glad to be in her mother’s arms. She’d be all right.
“Good job,” the lifeguard said. “That was pretty brave of you. Say, you’re the PK from that church rally, aren’t you?”
“Thanks. And, yes, that’s me.”
“I thought that was you. That was a neat rally. I liked your dad.”
Toni tried to untie her tongue. “Yeah, sure, really?”
Someone yelled Kody’s name from the other side of the pool. “I’ve got to get back to work. Can I call you? I’d like to visit with a cute, and brave, PK.”
Toni bite the side of her mouth and nodded. Kody gave her a winked as he swam back to his lifeguard stand.
“Toni, Toni, what’s going on? What did he say to you? Toni?” Jenna demanded.
“What? Oh Jenna, he said…oh nothing really,” Toni just smiled, this time enjoying that strange tingling feeling.
*PK – preacher’s kid
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