It’s that time of the week again! Here is the continuation of THE BOY I NEVER KISSED.
“You run funny,” Lee commented as he caught up.
Well if it was a running competition it wouldn’t have looked funny, but I still turned red with embarrassment. “I do not!” I snapped at him. I crossed my arms and began walking as normally as I could muster. He passed me and began leading the way again. We hit the entrance to the lazy river, and he descended the stairs, getting caught up in the sea of bodies on floats.
This time we didn’t look for any money. As we rounded the corner, I tried to keep up with him while he tried to make me chase him. I hated this game so much because I kept gliding under the water, and tried not to have one of those under the ice moments where if I tried to go up for air, I was going to be met with someone’s butt hanging through the hold in the center of the float. It worked a couple of times and I found room to stop for air, and then it stopped working. I treaded along the current, trying to look for both of them but I couldn’t see either one of them, and I had to make a pretty quick decision, floats and currents were not being friendly at the moment.
The problem was that I had hit a fork in the road. Mind you it was minor; there was an island in the center of the lazy river, one, and then another one, and then a cave with a waterfall running off it at the mouth. Each island had more palm trees on it and shrubs, which obstructed me from seeing the other river. I chose to go right, to see if they were there. When I hit the break between islands I tried to check down the left hand side to see if they were there, but I couldn’t see them. They weren’t on the right side either. So I continued down the path I had chosen until the end, and Lee was perched near a set of stairs I had missed that led out of the lazy river. At least I didn’t have to brave the waterfall again.
“Have you ever snorkelled before?” he asked as he pulled himself out of the water. I nodded my head, as Sarah followed him and I trailed behind. He crossed the path and went towards a shack that said ‘Swim With Sharks’. I followed him as he grabbed a vest and a snorkel, and headed towards the back of line. We rounded the shark tank as we put on the vests and zipped them up. Mine was purple, and his was black. Sarah had gotten a blue one. I fitted the snorkel over my nose and tried out the mouthpiece to see how it worked. I was lying when I said I had done this before.
“The water’s really cold,” Lee said as we neared the tank and waited for our turn. The attendants were giving everyone instructions not to kick, just to use their arms to pull them along the surface of the water. They didn’t want anyone to disrupt the sharks. I pulled the mask over my face as my heart began to race. I had taken swimming lessons before but I wasn’t sure what kinds of sharks would be in that tank. Our turn came up all too quickly and the three of us glided into the water. Sarah was on my left and she was having trouble with the no kicking rule, while Lee was on my right. I looked down into the water, and gazed quickly at the shapes of coral, the fish and the small tiger sharks they had in the pool. There was nothing intimidating down there and I relaxed. I decided to try out this snorkel thing and so I tried to take in a deep breath of air and instead ended up with a mouthful of salt water. I lifted my head out of the water sputtering and choking on salt as I kicked a couple of times, trying not to break the rule.
“Why don’t you look down?” Lee asked.
I couldn’t believe he was watching me! I nodded and sucked in a breath from above the water and took a quick look again as we reached the end of the pool. I didn’t see much, I was too concerned that he was looking at me. I saw him climb out of the tank before I did, and Sarah followed me.
“Do you want to go again?” he asked.
I shook my head. “No, I saw enough, let’s go back in the lazy river.” Anything to distract him from my latest embarrassing moment. We went down the same stairs into the lazy river and ended up right at the section between the last island and the mouth of the cave with the waterfall.
“Should I walk through it this time?” I asked him. He was somewhere around me but I couldn’t see where.
“No, swim underneath it, it hurts when the water hits your shoulders,” Lee answered as I turned around and saw him dive into the waters and glide under the falls. I did the same and came up in the cave. Lee moved to the left and paused at the edge of the cave and I was swept away by the current. I tried to stop myself so I could stay near him, and when I turned around to see what he would do, he was staring at me with that same expression on his face, like he was trying to see my soul. He had his hand outstretched to me and I took it, allowing him to pull me back so we could fight against the current.
We didn’t speak as I crouched down in the three foot water, still holding his hand. He stood up, and our hands were above the water, still clasped together. He took a few steps forward, and I crouched down again, to hide our hands. He crouched down, and then let go and swam ahead of me. My heart dropped, so it was just a moment. I was trying not to think about his hand in mine, and what it meant, but when he stopped holding my hand I felt cold inside.
I sighed and tried to catch him again, this chasing game was getting really pathetic. He was too fast for one, and he never bothered to slow down. When I finally caught him he was getting out at another set of stairs. I didn’t recognize this part of the park, there was a center for kids on the other side of the lazy river, it had one of those big buckets on the top of a play structure, one that would spill water on everything periodically, and it was about to blow, while the rest of the structure had a variety of water guns, water wheels and more buckets. There were tons of kids playing on it. On the other side was the wave pool from another angle, and more beach lounges lined up along a fake beach. I followed Lee, he seemed concerned about something.
“We lost Sarah!” he shouted at me as he stalked towards the wave pool.
I looked around and realized that yes, she was gone. Lee entered the wave pool constantly looking around for where she was. I was disappointed but I followed him anyway and tried my best to look for her. I kept scanning the people passing by us, but there was no sign of her.
“Why would she just leave like that?” I asked him. It was becoming mid afternoon and I knew this would soak up any time we had together.
“I don’t know! She doesn’t just take off like that. Are you sure you didn’t say something to her?”
“Me!? No way!” In truth I had said barely anything to her all day. Most conversations were dominated by Lee and his stupid remarks about me. He pointed out more of my actual flaws than any guy or girl at school. Their complaints were usually about my fashion sense or awkwardness. They never had anything valid or specific to say about me. I was a shy geek that was trying to fit into the popular crowd, any crowd, and failed at every attempt. All I was destined for at home was the loner crowd, party of one.
“There she is,” Lee said exasperated. He stalked towards the benches along the wave pool and I followed his gaze to Sarah was who sitting by herself on the brown bench that looked like a log. She had her arms crossed and a pout on her lips. I only caught part of what Lee was saying to her when I got there.
“Be so irresponsible! I’m supposed to be watching you today!” he shouted at her. She looked away from him, and away from me. I frowned.
“Hey Sarah, you shouldn’t take off like that,” I tried.
“Take off!?” she retorted, though she didn’t sound angry at all. She untucked her arms and started towards the deep end of the wave pool. “I was just trying to give you guys space!” she exclaimed.
My stomach did some funny flip flops while I looked nervously at Lee who was running his hand through his hair and sighing. This time he wasn’t staring at me, he was looking through the shallow water to the bottom of the pool. I shook my head and followed Sarah as the water was almost up to her neck. “Sarah!” I called out. She turned back and looked at me.
“Come on, we want you to hang out with us!” I followed her through the waters as she began swimming towards the really deep end where they drop the waves from.
Sarah stopped at the wall and looked back at me while treading water. I caught up to her and tried to catch my breath. I hadn’t taken swimming lessons in a year and I was severely out of practice.
“I think you’re ugly!” Sarah shouted at me.
I was shocked. I stared at her in disbelief. “Well you’re a witch!” I shouted back at her. We were in a tough situation. Sure, the seashell shaped pool fanned out, but on either side, where it got narrow, were big mountains. I didn’t know what was up there. They towered over the wave pool and created big walls that closed the whole pool in.
“Why don’t you go and drown!” she shouted back at me. I had no idea what had gotten into her, or why she had even left us in the first place, but this was insanity.
“Fine!” I took off towards the deepest end of the pool right where the machine began pumping out the waves. I moved onto my back and began using the frog stroke to kick my way through the waters. I heard the machine grunting and groaning as it tossed out the first few shallow waves, and I kept on fighting against the current. I stopped for a moment and tried to see how far I was from the row of buoys strung along the edge of the danger zone. It was a long ways away still. Even though I felt like I had been swimming forever, the current kept pushing me back. I took a deep breath and began the frog stroke again. The machine grunted again and sent out even stronger waves. I felt myself being carried back a few feet as the water became more and more tumultuous. This wasn’t exactly about drowning at all though; it was about pushing my body to the limit to see if I could touch that buoy. Anything to get my mind off Lee and the hand holding and the staring.
The water was becoming choppy now and I was feeling my limbs becoming limp as I pushed against the weight of the water. I knew the big wave was coming, the one that would sweep across the entire pool like a giant tsunami, and I feared that if it caught me in this part of the pool it would suck me into the bottom, and potentially into the machine. I panicked and realized just how much danger I had gotten myself into. I sighed and pulled myself upright, checking everything around me. The shore was a long ways off, and the buoys were closer but I needed to paddle away from them. I turned around and began frog kicking my way back to where I had left Sarah.
The water got worse; the waves were rocking me this way and that, sucking me in then pushing me away. I fought harder and managed to pull myself towards the side. I knew if things got really bad, I could try to cling to the wall and wait for it to pass. As I kicked though, I found myself back where Sarah and Lee were perched, treading water. Breathlessly, I moved towards a place where I could stand, and then took a moment to catch my breath.
“What the hell were you doing?” Lee asked me incredulously when my foot finally found ground. I was relieved, but I still couldn’t answer him.
“She called me a witch,” Sarah said in a very sour tone.
“This isn’t about you Sarah,” Lee snapped.
I panted, and sucked in a bunch of air and tried to speak. “She,” I started, but let out my air and started again. “Called me ugly.”
“I did not!” Sarah shouted.
I shot her a look and then my eyes met Lee’s again and I melted.
“You’re not ugly,” he said softly.
“Ugh,” Sarah grunted. “I’m not staying with you Lee. I’m going off on my own.”
“No!” Lee snapped at her. “Mom said you have to stay with me today.”
Before anyone had a chance to say more, the tsunami was unleashed from the center of the seashell and seconds later we were knocked over and dragged towards the edge of the wave pool. I had a thought that Lee would catch me and circle his arms around me, but he was nowhere to be found. When we all came up for air again we were near the kiddie slide, and I was ready to go back in the lazy river.
“We can all hang out Sarah, come on,” I said to her, bypassing Lee’s gaze and motioning for her to walk with me. We entered the lazy river and continued as closely as possible to each other. We didn’t talk much about anything until we got the islands, and Lee took off down the right side of the path and Sarah and I took the left path.
“Do you think Lee’s cute?” she asked me unexpectedly.
I glanced up at her and blushed. “Yeah . . .” I trailed off.
“Ew! I think he’s ugly!” she squealed.
I raised my eyebrows in surprise, because I thought he was the most gorgeous boy I had ever met, and he didn’t seem to dislike me. “Well yeah, he’s your brother,” I offered. I thought my brother was ugly too, and was glad I hadn’t seen him or my parents all day.
“Do you fancy him?” Sarah asked.
“Who?” I was spacing out again and had gotten lost in the memories of Lee’s blue eyes, his gorgeous baby soft skin, his wet dirty blonde hair, which was more of a dark tan when wet.
“Lee! Do you fancy him?”
I realized that by fancy she meant like, and I definitely liked Lee. “Um, yeah I guess,” I said, trying to sound non committal.
“Oh my god! Really?”
I sighed and shook my head as we reached the end of island one. There was a little wooden plank that skirted off the edge of it. “Go find out if he likes me!” I told Sarah. She gave me a skeptical look but then dashed off to the right side of the river for the second island. When I turned around and noticed that Lee was underneath the ledge. He was staring at me with intensity and I thought my heart skipped a beat. I was drawn to him and I felt the need to fight my hardest against the current to meet him under the ledge.
As I joined him under the ledge I asked, “Did you find any change under here?” It was a stupid question; the change was falling out of people’s pockets as they were passing by on the floats and the chances of it being here was slim.
“No, nothing,” he said innocently as he looked down at my hand. “Hey, where did you get that ugly scar?”
I looked down at my left hand and groaned inwardly. A year ago, a stupid kid named Wade had slammed a locked door on my hand. The corner of the locker made a deep mark on my hand and it was a permanent blemish. “Oh, that,” I mumbled, not wanting to retell the story.
“It looks ghastly! How did you get it?” He was running his hands under the water, under mine that were just above the water and I barely noticed how badly he wanted to touch me. I was staring at our feet, trying to avoid the look in his eyes. I honestly believed his expression would be ghastly, like he said, so I was afraid to look.
“My hand got slammed in a locker door,” I said.
Lee didn’t respond, instead he took off from the spot we were in and left me standing there. I sighed, and went to the left hand side, hoping that Sarah was clinging to the side still and surviving the current so she could ask her question. I tried to slowly drift through the length of the second island, but I wanted to bite my nails this waiting was horrible. I reached the end of the second island and stopped myself at the waterfall. I crouched down, and turned around, waiting for them to emerge from behind me. Sarah swam back first and went towards the stairs on my right. She was crouched down in the water like me. Lee was walking towards us, and I looked at Sarah for some help.
“He wants to know why,” she said.
I realized he hadn’t given her an answer at all and I turned red as he was towering above me now, merely feet away. I looked up at him from my ant’s eye view and it looked like he had a smirk on his face. My heart was thumping like a bunny rabbit, and my stomach was twisted into knots. “Nevermind!” I shouted in a weak girly tone. I didn’t want to know if he had to know why. I could live without the humiliation.
“It’s because she fancies you,” Sarah blurted out.
“Sarah!” I snapped in protest. I looked up at Lee with embarrassment and guilt all over my face. All he did was smile, like he was smiling to himself, and then he swam ahead of me under the waterfall.
I huffed and looked at Sarah who shrugged. “You weren’t supposed to tell him that part!” I hissed at her. I didn’t wait for her response; I ducked under the waterfall and came up again in the cave. I was hoping to find Lee there but he was way ahead of us. We were back to the cat and mouse game but all my motivation for it was gone. I ambled along while Sarah tried to keep up and eventually as I rounded the place we had gotten in, I thought I had lost her. I stood up and looked around, and saw Lee a few feet ahead of me stopped along the side again. I rolled my eyes and moved towards him.
“I think I lost your sister again,” I muttered.
He shrugged. “She’ll catch up,” he pushed off the side of the river and continued to weave through the floaters. I followed and tried to think of something to say.
“Are you going to be here on the weekend?” Lee asked. It was a Thursday and we weren’t leaving for Daytona until Monday.
“Yeah actually, I will be,” I replied.
He nodded. “I think we’re going to Blizzard Beach this weekend. Do you know what your parents have planned?”
In truth I didn’t but I very much wanted to see him at Blizzard Beach. “I think we might be going there this weekend too.”
“Which hotel are you staying at?”
I shook my head as we rounded another corner. I was no longer paying attention to the repetitive scenery around us. Instead I was staring at his lips while he talked. I let out a short laugh. “I actually don’t know. They’re the Disney ones, and our hotel has bongo drums for staircases.”
Hope you enjoy it, stay tuned next week for Part 3!