Luke directed Danny as they drove out of town toward a small lake. It had been years since he had been there, but Luke could have found it blindfolded. Technically it was private property, but he had been there hundreds of times and never been caught before. He figured the chances of anyone being there so early in the morning were slim. When they came around the final curve he motioned for Danny to pull the car over on the obscure pull-off barely large enough for the car.
"I think you spent too much time in the sun man, there's no lake here" Danny chided him.
"Do you ever shut up?" Charlie asked him, the pair laughing together.
All four men got out of the car. Luke immediately strode off into the bushes, down the steep hill, and to the rocky cliff above the east side of the lake. The others trailed after him. Once they reached Luke, the view was stunning. There was a lake, maybe 200 meters wide and 300 meters long tucked into the mountain. It was surrounded by the tallest pine trees you ever saw. The water was a deep sapphire blue, barely reflecting the beginning of the sunrise. Danny, Charlie and Jesse decided to take a smoke break, sitting down on the nearest rocks to get a view of the sunrise. Luke chose to go a little further toward the cliff, to a spot where he used to sit.
He took a seat and immediately the memories flooded his mind. He had been to that spot many times before, talking with his girlfriend about their dreams, and planning a future together. He remembered the look on her face the day he said I love you. She had been sitting just opposite of where he was now. He could almost picture the look in her eyes when he told her that he had enlisted. Without a word she had run down the mountain and jumped right in the lake. It had taken him several hours to convince her to speak with him again that day.
That brought a smile to his face, and though he could hear his friends laughter in the background, Luke couldn't shake the memories. As he looked over the lake, he thought about all the times they had gone skinny dipping together. He preferred to wear boxers, but she had been a wild child breaking every rule she could. Luke could see her now, as if she was actually swimming down there. She was tall and lean, the perfect combination for swimming. Her blonde hair trickled through the water as she did a breast stroke across the lake. She moved quickly, with purpose, a true beauty.
"Holy shit guys, get over here," Danny shouted from directly behind him.
Luke had not realized when Danny had come to join him. He had been caught up vividly remembering the girl he had loved as a teenager. Luke turned to face him as the other guys walked over.
"What are you going on about now?" Luke questioned.
"Wow" Jesse said under his breath.
Charlie stood there silently, stunned. Danny grabbed Lukes shoulders and turned his body back toward the lake. In the center of the lake was the same girl he thought had just been imagining, but she was real. She floated on her back now. Her long blonde hair surrounding her head like a halo, and her tanned white skin touched the air. Her eyes were closed, her mouth slightly parted. She was not a part of his imagination, she was there.
Luke's heart stopped. His friends mouths were moving, but he heard nothing. All he could think about was her. It had been 11 years since they had seen each other, but he couldnt stop himself from running down that mountain.
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