Chapter Three | Underestimations
◦◦ Sawyer ◦◦
Three hours later
“This chick must’ve been a mermaid in her last life.” I mumbled to myself softly as I watched that gorgeous lifeguard swiftly emerge from the sparkling water for the millionth time since we bumped elbows; Regaining her composure briefly before trotting around the beach with this ridiculously adorable, carefree smile. Her bronzed skin glimmered and shone in the sun shamelessly.
She stood out from everyone else without even having to try.
Dark strands were plastered around her oval face and long neck, as the remainder of her wet wavy hair danced behind in the wind. She looked like she just stepped out of one of those old Sports Illustrated magazines I used to catch my dad reading in secret as a kid.
Not in a bad way, though. She had something those sleazy broads didn’t; Class.
That hottie’s fucking legs could put the legendary Chun-Li herself to shame. Toned, with just the right amount of muscle to make me hot. I allowed myself to stare for much longer than I usually would before finally glancing down, then out at a few adrenaline junkies racing their boats in the distance straight ahead.
Reaching into the small green cooler we brought with us to the beach, I cracked open my fifth Stella Artois. Then another, and another after that. Things started getting hazy, but I kept myself grounded by focusing on her. I couldn’t help it, and didn’t want anyone else to try and snap me out of it either.
Turns out Erin was right, she was pretty damn busy. While I’d been downing beer like none other and baking to a light golden brown out here, Captain save a hoe spent all her time scolding and policing anyone who violated whatever weird beach rules nobody but lifeguards seemed to know about.
Considering how wasted I was, I’m surprised she hasn’t made her rounds over here to berate me yet.
Erin, who was laying on a large baby blue fluffy beach towel right beside me, hummed in annoyance. Her upturned nose was facing the clear sky above, black sunglasses bouncing off the sun’s reflection. Completely unbothered as usual.
“Just ask her out already, Sauce. What’s taking you so long to make your move?” My friend’s bored tone drawled. She wriggled on the blue surface, trying to dig into a more comfortable position. “It’s been a minute since you broke up with ‘what’s her face’. I’m shocked it’s taken you this long to find a replacement.”
There wasn’t any replacing Violaine, but try admitting that to Erin and see how well it blows over. Of all my EX girlfriends, she hated her the most. I guess that makes enough sense, considering Vee only hit me up when she wanted to get drunk, do a line or two of coke at my place, and fuck until we couldn’t feel our cunts any longer. I wasn’t ever a priority of hers, and so the second I figured out I was falling in love with an absent entrepreneur almost a year into whatever we had, I forced myself to cut ties. She didn’t return my parting call, because apparently I wasn’t worth the fucking time. It’s been a couple months since then, and I kept myself from spiraling by staying busy at Tasty Paws Incorporated and drinking when I was off the clock.
Here’s another thing I don’t cough up to; Heartbreak. I’d been romantically torn to shreds before Violaine, but all anyone has seen of the aftermath is my apathetic ‘life happens’ smile and resilient attitude. I always move forward, especially from people or situations that don’t serve me well.
That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten how to appreciate things while they were good, and I couldn’t deny that I probably wouldn’t meet another girl quite like my most recent EX girlfriend.
Who knows, maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing.
I scoffed, glancing at my sunbathing friend for a moment before shifting my gaze back over to the lifeguard’s athletic physique. “I’m working on it...just gotta get her to notice me somehow. Something tells me Kate wasn’t a fan of my smooth talk earlier.”
“Kate? You know her name? Bitch, How!?" Erin questioned in surprise. I shrugged slightly, chewing on the inside of my cheek as I grinned in defeat.
“Yeah. I keep telling you my ears are like insanely sensitive. I heard the concession stand girl say it, and from the way she’s been treating me every time I go back up there I’m pretty sure they used to be...something.”
No joke. This gal was like, literally glaring daggers at just me, not Erin even once to level it out. Jealousy is a tragic disease, but I can’t relate because I’ve never been infected by it. Honestly I found the whole situation comical. Hey man, count me into all the drama! I like to spice things up a bit now and then.
“Doesn’t...the water look...great right now?” I slurred, slowly rising to my feet so as not to face plant into the scorching hot sand. I barely succeeded. Erin remained exactly where she was, half passed out on the towel right next to our cooler wearing a sarcastic smirk.
“...Sure, from afar. Where does your drunk ass think it’s going, Sawyer? I’m not getting up to chase you like last time.”
“Beaches are for swimming.” I retorted facetiously as I squished my long toes in the sand with every step I took. Personally speaking, I liked the grainy feel whereas most people I knew couldn’t stand finding sand in their bathing suits after a long day out here. I sort of treated it like an emotional souvenir.
“I’d feel a lot better if you drank a bottle of water first.” Erin’s concerned voice rang out after me, but I was already knee deep in the ocean. As the gentle waves lapped at and around my lower extremities, I kept shrieking with drunken laughter—completely enjoying myself. It wasn’t long before I lost my balance. At least I wasn’t so out of it that I couldn’t get re-positioned on my back. I was met with thin, wispy clouds streaking an otherwise clear sky.
Fuck me, it’s so....blue....I shouldn’t be out here relishing it alone!
“Come on, Erin!” I squealed with glee as the water carried me off. I heard her shouting for me in protest, but she sounded so fucking far away. An eerie feeling swept over me when I couldn’t hear anything else but the nervous ringing in my ears.
“ERIN!” I cupped my hands around my mouth and cried out hoarsely. The heart trapped inside my chest hammered relentlessly as I whipped my head all around, a panting mess.
Fuck, fuck, FUCK. I don’t see her any fucking where...
Suddenly, my limbs felt heavy and I wasn’t able to move. I struggled to breathe, becoming alarmed that I couldn’t real well. This was for sure a panic attack. I continued to gasp for air, looking to the right in horror as a huge wave was headed right for me. I screamed for help right before I registered a huge slap in the face, and then I went under.
Way, way under.
❀ Kate ❀
“HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!”
As I was jogging back to the lifeguard tower, I heard desperate screams coming from the North side of the beach, and I felt my heart stop when I noticed who was running straight for me.
“PLEASE! MY FRIEND IS DROWNING! I-I CAN’T SWIM!” The brunette girl who apologized to me at the snack stand sobbed with widened dark eyes, and I nodded curtly before picking up the pace.
“WHERE IS SHE?” I barked urgently, bounding up the stairs two at a time for my gear. The girl cried harder, screeching out a location nowhere near us.
Fuck, okay. How am I going to do this?
My mind was on one thing and one thing only—finding Sawyer and getting her out of danger. When I reached the top, I quickly snagged my rescue tube resting against the wall and regarded a suddenly alert Tristan almost pleadingly. “We have a 906, I don’t think I can get to her in time.”
“Alright, let’s take the truck!”
I turned away from him, almost bumping into the wall in blind panic but managing to make my way toward our rescue vehicle. I heard Tristan blowing his whistle behind me, and several concerned gasps rang out around us as we jumped into the truck.
“Come with us!” I instructed the distraught dark haired girl from where I sat up front. Tristan started the ignition and began speeding toward the direction of Sawyer just as soon as her friend was inside the vehicle safely. I stuck my head out of the window frantically, searching for any sign of struggling movement as the sobbing woman seated behind me pointed toward a general patch of ocean Sawyer was last seen in.
“I-I told her not to go....she had too...too much to drink.”
“We’ll find her, honey. Try and relax okay?” Tristan glanced at his rear view mirror in an attempt to take control of the situation, picking up speed while I started blowing my whistle continuously.
“EVERYONE CLEAR THE WAY!” I shouted, using my core muscles to project as loudly as possible. My eye caught on to splashing several yards away, and I latched onto Tristan’s arm. “She’s over there! Stop, I need to get to her.”
The truck screeched to a halt, and I wasted no time flying into the salty ocean with my rescue tube. A crowd of people started forming, and I heard them screeching directions at me desperately as I fought against the water. My arms pounded into every wave, my voice growing hoarse from screaming.
“SAWYER! SAWYER, WHERE ARE YOU?”
Violent coughing to the right made my ears perk up, and I found Sawyer’s frightened blue eyes blinking at me rapidly as she struggled to stay afloat. The sight alone brought out an animalistic need in me to bring her to safety.
“Help! HELP! Please don’t let me die Kate!”
She knows my name? My heartbeat quickened. Focus!
“You’re alright! I’m not gonna lose you. Here, grab this.” I grunted, tossing her the tube and gasping emotionally when she clung onto it with a strangled cry. “That’s it, hold on tight. We’re going back to shore-”
“I’m...having a panic...attack....” Sawyer panted heavily, and I whirled around to find her looking dazed and disassociated. Without thinking, I swam over and looped one of the blonde’s long arms around my shoulders. Holding onto the rescue tube together, I faced Sawyer with a soft sigh.
“I get them too...it’s okay, you’re with me. I’m trained to help. Do you need any medical assistance?” I began kicking my legs, propelling us toward civilization. I felt her wet fingers digging into my upper arm the faster we moved along.
“I...I don’t know...” She whined in disorientation, making me nod with understanding. I didn’t want to stress her out any more than she already was.
“YOU GOT THIS, KATE?” Tristan yelled from where he and Sawyer’s hysterical friend were waiting a few feet away. Groups of people littered around the scene, and I could feel dozens of eyes on us as I helped a shaky Sawyer lay on a wet patch of sand nearby. This girl was so scared, I had to try and calm her down before I determined anything else.
“Can you breathe? Does your chest hurt?” At the moment, all I could focus on was Sawyer and getting her to take it easy. The beautiful blonde stared up at me with a vulnerability I didn’t expect, and before I could say anything else, her vibrant blue eyes rolled back within a moment’s notice and she passed out. I whipped my head up from where I was still kneeling beside an unconsciousness Sawyer, and found Tristan quickly dialing a number. He was by our side in a second, checking for a pulse. I cradled her head carefully and bit my lip as he started rambling in a sure voice.
“The location is Naples beach, my name is Tristan Blankenship and I’m the Aquatic supervisor on shift. 901 N, I repeat, 901 N we need an ambulance down here as soon as possible.”