“You know, the goal is to keep your head above the water.”
I glared up at Blake, wishing I could jump out of the pool and smack that stupid smirk off of his face. Since I had done so well with the whole float-on-your-back thing, Blake had decided it was the right time to take me into the shallow end of the bigger pool and teach me how to tread water. Blake had demonstrated how I was supposed to kick my legs and circle my arms, but he made it look much easier than it actually was. I was getting tired of lifting my feet up, flailing my limbs, falling under the water, and then standing back up.
Blake, however, didn’t seem to be getting tired of watching me.
“This is impossible!” I groaned.
“You’re not even trying,” Blake scoffed, plopping down on the end of one of the recliners by the side of the pool.
“I am trying!” I cried, exasperated.
“Kick your legs more,” Blake told me.
“Fine,” I groaned.
I took a deep breath and submerged myself up to my neck in the water. Then I lifted up my feet and began kicking furiously. I barely heard the beginning of Blake’s chuckle before my head sunk under the water. I put my feet back down onto the bottom of the pool and stood up, chlorine burning my eyes and Blake’s full on laughter bombarding my ears.
“Stop laughing!” I snarled.
Blake stopped immediately, his lips quivering with the effort.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
I quirked an eyebrow and put my hands on my hips.
“Okay, fine. I’m not,” Blake rolled his eyes and leaned back in the recliner, kicking his feet up and putting his hands behind his head. “I just don’t get how someone can get to the age of seventeen without learning how to swim.”
“I’m from Vermont,” I told him, looking down at the crystal blue pool water and squinting down at my feet. “There was no water where I grew up.”
“None?” Blake asked.
He sounded a little shocked. Of course, someone who had lived by the ocean for his or her entire life probably couldn’t even fathom the idea of not being near water.
“Well, there was a pond behind my school,” I said, “but it was frozen.”
“Even in the summer?” Blake inquired.
I nodded and looked back up at him.
His eyes were somehow even bluer than the pool water.
I couldn’t tear my eyes away from his face. For a second, we just stared at each other. Then Blake reached down to where he had set his shirt, shoes, phone and sunglasses. I tried not to watch his tan, freckled arms flex as he slipped a pair of black Ray Bans over his eyes. He leaned back again and told me, “Wake me up when you can keep your head above the water for more than three seconds.”
I stared at him for a moment.
He had to be kidding.
Blake was supposed to be teaching me how to swim, not napping!
With all the strength I could muster, I lifted up my arm and then swung it down again, sending a wave of cool water up over the edge of the pool. I grinned as the water rained down on Blake, who flinched and bolted upright in the recliner. He tore off his sunglasses and glared down at me, looking even more pissed than last night when his parents had ordered him to take me to the bonfire.
“Waverly!” he hissed.
“I’m sorry,” I shrugged innocently, trying not to laugh, “I just wanted to cool you off. You’re a bit of a hot-head, you know.”
Blake stared at me for another second.
And then, he did the unthinkable.
The grin on my face fell and I frowned, trying to figure out why Blake was smirking at me like that. I watched as he carefully set his Ray Bans down on the patio beside his shirt and then rose from the recliner.
What was he… oh, sweet Jesus.
Before I could even turn around to climb out of the pool, Blake had taken two long strides across the patio and jumped. I gasped and shielded my face as he cannonballed into the pool, sending a giant cascade of water over me. Just as I peeked out through my fingers to see if the coast was clear, Blake burst through the surface of the water. I let out a scream as he brought his arm down against the water, splashing me again and I again.
“Stop!” I squealed.
I turned and, without thinking, brought my own hands down on the water.