At Spencer Academy, it's mandatory for all freshmen to take swimming, though older classmen could use it as an alternative from gym, if spots are available. So because seniors get first pick in courses, the freshman swimming course held some seniors.
Thea was the first to trip out of the locker room to the pool. With a bright smile, she took a deep breath of the chlorinated air and cautiously walked to the edge of the pool to stick her toe in to feel the cool water. If there was one thing Thea had grace in, it was indeed swimming.
She turned toward the door to see Abby and Kylie pushing Rae out of the locker room. Stretching the material of the swim suit down Abby said, "I wish we had more coverage. I feel practically naked with all the boy's thoughts."
Thea laughed saying, "It won't matter in a couple of seconds. We'll be covered in water and the boys will be too focused on winning at whatever competition Coach puts out there." Thea sent a fleeting sad glance at Rae's sudden waves of terror rushed off as the poor girl stood close by the wall.
Rae added staring at the water, "Water polo, to be exact."
Kylie giggled saying, "This is why I love having a psychic," she wrapped an arm around Rae, "as a friend."
Rae jumped at the contact and Kylie gave her a sympathetic look. They all knew Rae detested water, not only because it went against her nature, but the fact she couldn't swim didn't help either. Kylie said, "Maybe, we can give the old 'time of the month' excuse and just sit on the bleachers."
Coach Hamm walked in and Rae sent a resentful look at Kylie, "I'd rather drown than tell him my womanly problems."
Kylie raised an eyebrow and continued to say, "Hey, it always works, especially with men. Woman coaches are the pain…they actually keep track." Thea smirked at their friends bantering and slowly Rae was getting better with a little help from Thea.
Suddenly the pull came to Thea from the other side of the room. Reid. All of their heads turned to their pull and Thea was pounded with shock, which almost made her go into an epileptic fit. There stood four muscular boys in the boy's school swim wear. If Abby felt naked, then Thea couldn't imagine what they felt like. They only wore a tiny blue piece of material that left nothing to the imagination.
Thea was jealous of Rae and Kylie's ease with hiding their shock. Instead, she stood there like Abby with her mouth wide open. Abby snapped out of her ogling when hearing Thea's thoughts and stared at the ground embarrassed.
Thea glanced back up at Reid, who held a triumphant smile when obviously noticing her checking him out. Thea huffed irritated and walked to the other side of the pool with Abby.
Coach Hamm blew his whistle indicating everyone to get into the pool. Rae glanced at the water and said to Kylie, "He already took attendance so I'll just skip today."
She began to back up and bumped into something solid, "Skipping?"
Rae turned around to see Caleb and answered back, "I know it's inadequate in your genetic makeup, but skipping now and then is good for the soul."
Caleb asked curiously, "Why? Coach said we're playing water polo. I figure you would be a fierce player with all your anger."
Rae gave a nervous laugh feeling Thea's calmness gone. She responded, "Your right. I wouldn't want to kill anyone today. Now, excuse me."
Caleb smiled when blocking her path to the exit and chastised Rae, "I'm not letting you skip after you said in tutoring you want to turn a new leaf." Rae regretted even confessing that to him now. Who cared if people thought I was rude and heartless, I knew I'm a good person that just had a wilder side in life, Rae thought.
He started to push her away from the wall and she clung to his arm. Caleb glanced down at her seeing she was really in distress. He asked Rae again, only this time concerned, “Are you okay?”
Kylie said as she went to see Tyler, "She can't swim."
Caleb shook his head and said, "Why didn't you just say." Rae sighed knowing the reason she wanted to keep it a secret was to retain whatever dignity she had left. I wasn't weak, her mind practically huffed.
As Caleb went over to the coach to try to convince him to exempt her from swimming, the feeling of humiliation crept into her.
Of course this wasn't going to work, I was in swimming class. She glanced anxious as her mind continued to rattle on, Duh, the idea was to learn how to swim.
Caleb walked back with a smile and announced, "I couldn't get you fully out of the class, but you don't have to swim. Just sit on the bleachers."
Rae said surprised, "Really? He's not going to make me swim."
Caleb chuckled while adjusting his goggles, "Nope. Especially because you get really bad ear infections when you go underwater."
Coach Hamm yelled, "Danvers. Pool."
Rae walked toward the bleachers impressed again by Mr. Danvers. Apparently he wasn't such a lost cause after all.
Meanwhile Kylie left Rae to talk to Tyler, who kept switching his position as he leaned against the wall. Kylie smiled and greeted him, "Hey, Tyler."
Tyler cleared his throat and said, "Hi, Kylie."
She asked excited to know, "How did try outs go?"
Giving a slight smile Tyler replied, "Good. We all made the swim team."
Kylie's face lit up with pride, "That's great, Tyler. What type of swim are you doing?"
He crossed his arms over his chest, "Back stroke." He glanced over to the coach, "He was really impressed with Caleb and Reid, though. They blew some of the senior swimmers out of the water."
Kylie laughed and joked, "And you didn't impress him with your mad skills?"
Tyler smiled at her playful humor, "I'm good. Plus, it checks my requirement for a sport."
Glancing at the pool she suggested, "Well, I'll just have to come to one of your meets to see if you're just being modest."
His eyes slight bulge in doubt as Tyler asked surprised, "You would come?"
Kylie glanced back at him and asked confused, "Why wouldn't I?"
Tyler shrugged and changed his position again. He wanted to seem manly and confident for Kylie. After all, she said that girls like when men take charge.
"Do you have to pee?" Tyler immediately tensed while leaning against the wall with one hand holding himself up.
"No." His shoulders slouched as he thought, This wasn't working. Tyler's hands were becoming sweaty with his nerves. While he still had some confidence left he spit out, "What're you doing later?"
Kylie turned when hearing her name being called by Rae from the bleachers and suddenly Tyler slipped from the wall.
"Umphff," was all Tyler said before hitting the ground. Kylie swiftly pivoted back to see Tyler on his knees.
She asked concerned, "Are you okay?"
Tyler shook his head in embarrassment, "Fine. Just dropped my goggles."
Kylie's eyes scanned his body making him self-conscious and abruptly turned away saying, "Okay. See you later, Ty."
Tyler got up and mumbled, "Bye." The whistle blew and Tyler realized he was back to square one.
On the other side of the pool, Thea was trying to listen to Coach Hamm state the rules of water polo, but found it difficult with the constant pull from Reid. He was close, and when Thea meant close, she meant right fricken behind her.
Once Coach had divided up teams many of the girls went to their friend's side making the teams uneven. Reid strutted over confidently and said to her, "Hey Thea, I hope you know CPR, because you take my breath away."
She was not amused, "You can save your pick lines for some other girl Reid because I'm not interested, anymore."
Reid was perplexed and said, "We have a date this weekend."
Thea said before hopping into the water, "Sorry, but I've arranged other plans for this weekend."
She was angry, no furious. Was he actually clueless as to why I canceled, Thea furiously thought.
Two vivid memories played in her head, the one where Reid was kind of adorable. Dancing with her and making her laugh at his corny pickup lines. How he said he wouldn't stop his horrid pickup lines if she would go on a date with him this Saturday, and she agreed feeling happy, which she hadn't been in a long time.
The second memory was finding Reid later that night in bed with some random girl. For the first time she felt her own emotions of beyond pissed, betrayed, sad and lack of self-confidence resurface.
In the pool, Thea was getting more aggressive in her playing as the boys testosterone levels went up. She was swimming to block a player when the sensation of cautious, awkwardness, and a hint of sadness hit her from the end of the pool.
Abby and Pogue were standing away from each other, not participating and avoiding complete eye contact. She wondered suddenly, What the heck was up with you too?
Abby's head snapped in her direction and shook her head a little indicating now was not the time. Later then, Thea thought and Abby nodded before diving under the water.
Meanwhile in the game, Tyler raced for the ball and threw it to Caleb for a goal. On the bench Kylie and Rae's cheers could be heard and Tyler turned toward their cheers with a smile. Spotting them on the bench, his face held puzzlement as to why they were there, until he got slapped in the face with the ball. Caleb yelled, "Get the ball Tyler," and with red cheeks, he chased after the ball.
Only five minutes into the game, Thea noticed Coach start to walk over to Kylie and Rae. It was then that everything happened really fast. Both Reid and Scott raced for the ball and in one foul swoop Scott aggressively hit Reid in the face with his elbow. Reid dropped under the water while Scott continued to play as if anything happened.
Thea shot through the water over to him quickly in a panic and helped him to the wall so he could cup his bleeding nose in one hand while the other held onto the wall. Thea removed his hand and lifted his chin to see how bad it was and relief coursed through her to see it was not broken.
Girls began to shriek at the blood in the pool and Coach blew his whistle telling everyone to get out. As Reid pulled himself out, while cursing, he stormed over to Scott saying, "What the hell was that?"
Scott shrugged his shoulders, "Sorry. It was just an accident." Thea would have believed it if it wasn't for the fact Scott oozed satisfaction and no remorse.
Coach Hamm came between them saying, "Scott, sit down. Reid, go to the nurse."
Thea walked over to her two friends on the bench. Rae handed her a towel to dry off and she asked, "Is he okay?"
Thea nodded her head and glanced over to Kylie who was radiating guilt. She was about to ask why until Scott and his friends were talking close by them.
They caught snips of their discussion, "…how funny was that." Laughter. "Did you see his face?" Laughter.
Abby walked past them and whispered to Thea, "He did it on purpose."
Because class ended early, they changed back quickly into their school uniform and sat on the bleachers like Coach Hamm instructed until the final bell rang.
Thea sat on the bench with her leg bouncing up and down with anger. Scott, with his snarky smile, began to walk the side of the pool toward the bleachers and Thea's last straw had been broken.
A puddle laid on the ground from all the splashing and she quickly moved the water under his feet tipping him into the pool. To everyone it seemed he had lost his balance, but to Thea it was her way of protecting Reid, even if he was an idiot.