Soul Surfers

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Chapter Thirteen: Andy

I sat at the center tower early in the morning with my crew, they all had long faces, and were all looking at my uncle and I with quizzical expressions. “As you’ve heard,” my uncle started, “the higherups are opening up South beach,” he said, “this should not affect us in anyway, everything will be fine, but these newbies are a bit tougher, so we’re bringing in someone, he will be the captain,” he said.

I looked to him, “you never told me anyone was coming in,” I said.

He gave me a sly smile, “don’t worry,” Uncle Leo said, “you’ll like him.”

I felt tense all around, “it doesn’t matter that Pissmount has decided to make this decision,” I said, “we have recruitment next week, and we must set an example for future guards, are we understood?”

“Yes,” they all said firmly.

The beaches were now divided by color, there was South Beach, otherwise knowing as the Blue Beach, and there was our beach.

The North Beach.

The Red Beach.

My team was made of nine members. Soon to be ten. There was my uncle who was the director of lifeguarding, and this new guy who was coming in, who would act as the captain of both teams. I was the lieutenant of the Red Guard.

Next was Valarie Hart, she was recruited with me last summer when we got licensed in Florida. She was a capable lifeguard, she even stepped down, so I could assume the position of Lieutenant.

After Val, it was Dylan Strauss, he got recruited over spring break, and takes his job as a guard very seriously, although it’s hard to do his job sometimes because usually there are a pack of girls who usually follow shortly behind him.

The same went for Drew, his younger brother. Drew was just recruited before he graduated. He works part time and plans to major in Marine Bio. I thought to add him to my team because of connections and prior experiences.

After Drew and Dylan was Landon. He was still a bit green to the guard but knows how to handle a difficult situation. I had him start off at pool duty, but his skills were wasted there, and I had him put on my team immediately. He’s more of a jokester than anything else and is a human sarcasm machine. But he had a good eye which was why I transferred him.

Lastly was one of our new members who just joined this summer, she was a real looker to the beach tourists and knew how to do her job clearly. Her name is Rachel Bradshaw and she studied to become a lifeguard and was on of the stars behind this years first Recruitment Exam. She was nice and took orders well which is why I kept her on my team.

“Today we will be training the new staff, next week they will be opening South Beach,” Uncle Leo said, “right now they’re making little renovations.”

“I thought they closed the beach down because there was a trash problem,” Landon said.

“I guess Pridemount thinks that having a trash filled with trash is better than having one with drugs rolling up with the riptide,” Uncle Leo said, scratching at his beard a bit, “but we can’t change that,” he said, “give them their assignments,” he said.

I stepped up with a clipboard in my hand, “okay, these will be your trainees.”

“Landon, you’ve got Sergio Sanchez, he was some big leaguer but is spending the next few months on probation because of some bad boy stunt he pulled, so he’s a bit new, do you think you can take him?” I asked, looking up from what his file said.

“Yeah,” Landon said and took the manila folder and headed onto the beach where in a line were the new awaiting lifeguards.

“Dyl,” I said and looked back to the board, “you’ve got Michelle Lang, she had two years of experience in Florida prior to this,” I explained, “she should know her way around but I would still keep an eye on her.”

“Yes mam,” he said, and saluted to me, then headed out to the beach with his file.

“Drew, I’ve got you with Marissa Newton,” I announced handing the file to him, “a bit green and just got registered, do you think you could take her?” I asked, and he nodded, taking the file in his hands, “next is Miguel Sanchez,” I said, and looked to Rachel, “I know you’re new, but can you show him the ropes?” I asked.

Rachel nodded, “you’ve got it,” and then she left, leaving just Val and I.

“Looks like you’re about to make a really bad decision,” I shook my head, “no I paired them up by stats alone,” I said, “except for Rachel,” I added.

“Who’d you schedule me with?” She asked, as she looked a bit tense, there were only two people left.

One for me, and one for her.

“I’ve got you with Rudy Rhodes,” I said, and a look of horror back on her face, “I know,” I sighed, “but she won’t listen to me, she hates my guts, you know that, just try not rip her hair out and everything will be great,” I said.

Val sighed, “nothing is good about this, after what she did in Florida—how could you even think--!”

“Hey!” I shouted, “what happened in Florida, stays in Florida,” I said, “okay?”

She looked at me, and then stared at Ruby from the beach, hesitantly might I add. “Fine,” she said, and gripped the file from my hand.

I approached the window of my tower, and looked at the guy standing last in line. He was tense a shaking a bit, “Trenton Pridemount,” I said aloud, “three years of experience and is punished for attending a party with out daddy’s permission, so his funds are being cut off until further notice.”

I sighed, “I can’t beat the system.”

The fresh wounds of a heartbreak still seeping into my head.

I was in bed with mixed thoughts, I hadn’t been up for days.

It wasn’t until Roy and Matt came into my room, both with mixed expressions painted on their faces, “I don’t want to see you guys,” I said and turned away from them.

“Come on Andy,” Matt begged, “you haven’t been out for days and the police want you, Roy, and Jesse down for questioning.”

I shook my head, “you do it,” I said.

“I can’t you actually live here, and they want to discuss something important,” Matt replied.

“Come on Andy, let’s crawl out of bed,” Mia said, entering the room, sitting on the bed while soothing me by running her nailed around my scalp.

“Fine,” I said, “but I’ll only go if you tell me all you know about Trent,” I said, “I mean…Trenton.”

Matt and Roy once again looked at one another, not knowing if they should tell me. Mia, who took her hand away, looked to them as well, also wanting to know what the big deal was.

I saw Roy’s Adams apple bop up and down as he started with, “the thing about Trent is that even though it may seem like he likes you, he’s secretly dating Camille,” he said, and suddenly everything froze for me, as if time had stopped running and my mind was going through a mantra of different thoughts.

I didn’t want to ask, but I had to know, “what?” I said in an barely audible whisper.

“I first saw him before he came to the house, before he met you on the beach, he was there to meet Camille but they got into a fight, and then he saw you and before I knew it you guys were already a thing,” Matt explained, “I didn’t know how to tell you.”

I nodded, “yeah,” I said, “please, I’ll meet you downstairs and I’m going to get ready,” I said and turned my back to them.

“Okay,” Mia said, and ushered the boys out of the room.

In that moment, I felt truly alone. And I was able to let it all out, all the pent of frustrations, something of which I had never experiences before.

The memory was as fresh as yesterday. I realized that they were waiting in the burning sun for me, so I held my head up, and walked outside, I stood in the middle of the line, “today we will start with basic training, I don’t know how things worked where you were posted but here it’s different,” I said, “here we don’t have time to slack of and we’re not here to work on our tans.” I said, and looked at the unsatisfied faces of my new guards. “I’ve assigned you to one of my guards and you will shadow them today,” I said, “I don’t expect any trouble from any of them so please don’t give them trouble.”

In the corner of my eye I could see one of the blue guard’s nod, but none of the rest.

“I have gave out handouts to your supervisors, if there is any trouble the captain has given me strict orders to suspend you,” I said.

“Let’s get started then,” Ruby said, as a look of absolute mischief filled her eyes.

I shook my head, and was earned some confusing looks from the blue guards, while from the red guards came chuckles and looks of amusement, “we need to put you through initiation.”

I watched as Trent pulled up further than most of the other candidates. He rushed through running part of the course quickly, “he’s going to waste all his energy trying to show off,” Dylan remarked as we all watched the newbies crash and fall in our little course.

“Shut up,” I said, rolling my eyes and tugging my whistle tightly to my chest.

We moved as it came to the net, Sergio got his foot stuck in one part, put he quickly pulled back up, “he’s quick on his feet,” Val said, looking at him with an impressed expression.

“More like clumsy,” Drew snickered.

“Here comes the holes,” I heard Landon said, as smiles started to uplift their faces.

The holes were buried deep in the sand, if they were to fall into them it would most likely be end game if it were a real-life situation.

To my surprise no one had fallen.

I still had many notes, especially for Trent who had now fallen behind the everyone else. His face covered in red as he was trying to keep up.

Then all collapsed into the sand, Ruby had won the obstacle, she didn’t ever fall back after surpassing Trent and she showed agility and strength.

“Line up,” I ordered, and they reluctantly did, “Sergio, 6.4, you need to learn how to balance yourself and stay on you’re feet, you’re quick but reckless,” I said and tossed him the rest of the notes I had for him. “Marissa, you’re too hesitant and need to quicken up,” I said, and then went onto the next one, “Michelle Lang, job well done, but when saving a body from drowning you’re too reckless, always make sure that the head is above the water so they can properly breathe,” I said, handing her a file with all my reports, “Trent,” I said as it left a bad taste in my mouth.

I saw him get visibly nervous as he was still breathing harshly.

“Stop being dramatic and trying to show off your muscles,” I said, “when someone is dying out there in the ocean they don’t care how much you flex your abs and biceps,” I told him, “get it together, because no one gives a damn.”

I didn’t look at him any further because now I was at Ruby, I wanted to say something, for all she did to me, but I couldn’t and she knew it, “job well done,” I said and walked away. “Meet back at O-21 hours,” I said, “and I will meet up with your supervisors for further reports.”

Trent trailed behind me as I jogged along the beaches shoreline, I looked at every inch for a little blue packet of drugs but I didn’t find anything, not one little spec. “Hey!” the whole time he’d been trying to talk, but I was in no mood. Instead I would try to run faster.

It wasn’t until he stopped me from running completely by grabbing my arm and yanking me back, “What!” I shouted and yanked my hand back.

“Can we talk?” He asked calmly, looking into my eyes and only seeing how angry I was at him.

I tried to steady my breathing, and when I did I only gave one answer, “no,” I said, and went to turn back.

“Come on,” he begged, “just let me explain.”

“Which part?” I uttered.

I ran a bit faster, but being the sprinter he was he got to me, and pulled me back until we hit the water, “just listen!” he ordered.

And I slapped him clear across the face, “don’t touch me,” I ordered, “that’s a direct order.”

But instead of listening he grabbed my face in the palms of my hands and brought me up for a chaste kiss, as he marveled our tongues together, swiping his over mine. It slowly got heated, but that was all on his part. I tried to breakaway, but he held a grip on me.

It wasn’t until I heard it, the screams, “help!” a person called out, and I yanked my head away and pushed him into the sand.

“Andy!” he screamed but I kicked him in the thigh.

“Listen you idiot,” I ordered, and looked towards the ocean, where a group of surfers found themselves drowning.

“Help!” they cried out once again.

I jumped into action, and looked back to Trent who was still lost in what was happening, “hurry up!” I yelled, and soon enough he was following after me.

I wasn’t close enough to the center towner to hope a joyride on one of the water riders, so I tried my luck in swimming, at least until I got to the girls, they fell underwater, but I swam quickly, and grabbed them from the underneath the waves.

“Here, take her to shore,” I ordered, and lumped the surfer onto him.

“What about you?” he asked.

“Go! Just go!” I shouted and went back under where I saw the other two, it looked like they both hit rocks because blood surrounded them as they fell, Quickly I grabbed them by their waists and pulled them to shore before they became shark meat.

A group of people surrounded me and I could hear the sound of the ambulance making their way over. I hurried and prepared for CPR, then I felt his hand shake as he turned his head and coughed out water.

I looked over to Trent who was already doing compressions, but quickly I pushed him off, “What do you think you’re doing?” I asked and opened the surfers mouth to get out a long piece of choking seaweed.

He stared back at me as I glared in his directions, “you’ve got a lot to learn,” I hissed.

The ambulance scattered from the beach, they took the two guys who knocked their heads on rocks to the nurse back at the hotel while I stood behind the wooden rails at the center tower.

Trent stood behind me, “so they told you everything?” he said.

I didn’t turn, but I did look down as the scene played in my head once again, “yeah,” I said, “I mean you didn’t. and that’s all that really matters,” I said.

“You got to know that I was going to tell you I just needed time,” he argued.

I turned around, facing him for the first time, “time to do what?” I asked, “to break up with her?” I asked, “have you even?” I asked.

He didn’t answer for the longest time, and when he did he said, “you were the only thing real to me,” he said.

I shook my head, “well, you were one of the biggest disappoints in my life,” I said, “and you don’t even know the half of it.”

“What do you want me to do to make it better?” he asked, “anything, I’ll do anything.”

I shrugged, “do your job,” I said, “your hesitation out there is what’s going to kill someone,” I said, and put on my life guarding jacket, “but my break is about to start, and I can not keep on having this conversation with you,” I said, “you messed up and I just…I just don’t know what to do anymore.”

I walked down the beach towards concessions like how I usually do, and I started to talk to Mia, and we talked a bit normally, “so how were the newbies?” she asked.

I looked towards the beach, “they’re something else,” is what I said.

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