“You’re going to what?” I asked, my eyebrows shooting up.
Blake sighed again.
“Don’t make me say it twice,” he grumbled, folding his arms over his chest.
I narrowed my eyes at him, wondering what he was playing at. There had to be some reason why Blake Hamilton would show up at my aunt’s house and offer to teach me how to swim, and it sure as hell wasn’t that Blake was just being nice. Why would he be nice to me?
Blake seemed to notice my suspicion and rolled his electric blue eyes at me.
“Why are you doing this?” I demanded.
“Because,” he replied simply.
I waited for the rest of his explanation, but it didn’t come.
“Because what?” I hissed.
“Look,” Blake said, pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger, “I’m a lifeguard, Waverly. It’s my job to make sure people don’t drown. And you,” he pointed a finger at my forehead, “are dangerous.”
“How am I dangerous?” I asked, annoyed.
“You can’t swim. And if you drown during my shift, I’m going to lose my job.”
“Well, we wouldn’t want you to lose your job,” I snapped sarcastically.
“Exactly,” Blake smirked.
I rolled my eyes at him, muttering some rather obscene words under my breath.
Just then, Rachel came back into the living room, whistling and balancing my bowl on spaghetti on the palm of her hand. She set the bowl down on the coffee table and continued whistling until she looked up and saw me holding the front door open. Then she spotted Blake Hamilton standing on the front porch, a red Styrofoam board tucked under his arm and his hands shoved into the pockets of his long board shorts. He smiled at my aunt and raised his hand in a little half-wave, which made Rachel beam.
“Blake!” Rachel chirped.
“Hi, Ms. Lyons,” Blake responded politely.
“What brings you here?” she asked as she plopped down onto the white couch, sending a few of the multicolored decorative pillows flying.
“I was just—“
“He wants to teach me how to swim,” I interrupted through gritted teeth, turning towards Rachel and placing my hands on my hips.
“How nice of you, Blake!” Rachel exclaimed with a wide grin, obviously not picking up on the fact that I didn’t want to get anywhere near water with Blake. In fact, I didn’t want to get anywhere near anything with Blake. Rachel suddenly remembered something and leaned forward on the couch, “Oh, Waverly! Did you buy a bathing suit at Samantha’s today?”
“No,” I replied. Then I grinned. “I didn’t! And I don’t have a bathing suit! So I can’t go swimming! Sorry, Blake!”
Blake narrowed his eyes at me.
“That’s okay, Waverly, I have a few old suits that are probably your size,” Rachel offered, standing up from the couch and crossing the living room. My jaw dropped as I watched her climb the staircase, and I made a mental note to never, ever trust Rachel to pick up subtly hints.
The corner of Blake’s mouth curled up in a smirk.
“There,” he told me, “Problem solved.”
I could have punched the smirk right off of his face.
Instead I settled on sticking my tongue out at him, an admittedly immature move, before I hurried upstairs after Rachel. I found her in her bedroom halfway down the hall. She stood at her dresser, where one of the drawers was pulled wide open. Rachel ruffled through the drawer for a minute, throwing random articles of clothes onto the bedroom floor, before she grinned in triumph and lifted out a small, neon pink bikini. She tossed it at me, and I caught the polyester bathing suit and held it out in front of me to examine.
It was something only Barbie would wear.
You know, if it was her only option.
And she was drunk.
“Try it on,” Rachel told me.
Grumbling in protest, I slipped into Rachel’s bathroom and tore off my clothes. Then I pulled on the bikini and looked at myself in the mirror over the sink. Neon pink was a terrible color on me; it emphasized the fact that I had the complexion of an albino person.
“Does it fit?” Rachel asked through the bathroom door.
“Yes,” I replied, then added under my breath, “Unfortunately.”