In the living room Bryce, Clifford and Lance are sitting around trying to look natural – and failing. Bryce is holding a magazine upside down, Clifford has his legs crossed at an awkward angle and Lance is perched on the armrest of the couch alternating between putting his hands in his lap and on his hips.
I hesitate for a second, regretting not putting my bikini back on, but Lucy takes my hand and leads us passed them to the back door in the kitchen.
One by one their heads pop up like meerkats. Their eyes lock onto us as we walk by but they don’t move or speak.
As I close the door behind us I see them finally get to their feet and start scrambling over each other to follow us.
Back on the lawn, Lucy and I lay down on either side of Cat as we had been before.
“What took you so lo-” Cat begins to say and stops short when she looks up and sees us.
Without saying another word Cat unclasps her lemon yellow bikini top and tosses it to the side. Then she slips off her matching bottoms and tosses them aside too.
“Haha, I love that you didn’t even ask any questions before joining us!” Lucy says.
“What’s to know? It’s hot, tan lines suck, it’s very secluded here, and we’re three very attractive women, why shouldn’t we sunbathe naked?” Cat says, very matter-of-factly.
“I couldn’t agree more!” Lucy says. I’m glad she seems to be warming up to Cat.
“I can’t believe how nice it is today. It’s really hot!” I say, starting to sweat from the heat.
“Want to go for a swim?” Cat asks. “Well, technically a skinny dip?”
“I’d love to!” Lucy says.
“I’ve never been skinny dipping.” I say.
“What?!” Lucy and Cat say simultaneously.
“How can that be?” Lucy asked.
“I, um, don’t know. I just never have.”
“We’re definitely going then!” Cat says as she stands up.
As we’re walking down to the lake I notice my legs are slightly tired and sore. I run regularly, but all the activities I’ve been doing since I got here must be wearing me out.
“I wonder where the guys are.” I say. “It looked like they would be right behind us, but there’s no sign of them.”
“I’m sure they’ll find us!” Lucy says.
We all jump into the lake. The cool water feels wonderful on all my bare skin.
“This feels amazing!” I exclaim. “I can’t believe I’ve never done this before! The water feels so good!”
“Do you ladies mind if we join you?” Bryce calls out to us.
“I told you they’d find us.” Lucy says.
“Bryce do you have any floaties?” Cat asks.
“And did you boys bring any drinks?” Lucy asks.
“Sure, I’ll bring some noodles.” Bryce says.
“And I have a cooler full of beer. Who wants one?” Lance says.
“Yes please!” I say.
“Woo hoo!” Lucy exclaims.
“You’re the best!” Cat says and swims to the dock. She exchanges a kiss for a beer from Lance without getting out of the water.
Floating in the water assisted by my noodle and a beer in my hand I feel complete relaxation. This is one of my favourite parts about living in Canada.
My complete relaxation is interrupted by three grown men cannonballing into the water next to us. Bryce surfaces by me looking like the cat who ate the canary. “Hi!” he says, with a huge goofy grin on his face.
“Hi!” I say back, with my own huge goofy grin.
“Sooooo, what uhhh, were you and Lucy doing in that room, alone, naked?”
“Ha! What do you think we were doing?” I laugh.
“So many things! All of the things.” He says.
“Well then, you don’t need me to tell you.”
“No! Please! Tell me everything! Every detail!” By this point Bryce has swam very close to me and has his hands on my shoulders.
“Careful! You’re going to sink us!” I say.
“I will sink you if you don’t tell me!”
“I’ll tell you later. When we’re alone. Now give me some space, you’re getting water in my can of beer!”
He backs off a bit and looks at me. “Are you having a good time here?” Bryce switches gears and asks me seriously.
“I am. I really am. Thanks for asking.”
“Good. I’m glad you’re happy.” Bryce smiles at me and looks at the pool noodle I’m sitting on. “I’ve never been so jealous of a noodle before!”
Clifford and Lance swim to the floating dock that is about 10 feet away from the main dock and start doing cannonballs off of it to see who can make the biggest splash. Bryce looks over and is clearly torn between joining them and staying with me.
“Go show them how it’s done!” I say.
“Ok!” Bryce says, jumping at the opportunity.
Bryce swims over to the floating dock and climbs up on it. Even though there is a ladder on the far side he climbs up on the close side by lifting himself directly on to it. It gives me a great view of his rippling back and arm muscles. Bryce must be working out a lot lately! His back looks like it belongs on a statue! I start thinking about all the things we’ve done together, and all the things I want to do with him and I start to feel a stirring between my legs that has nothing to do with the pool noodle I’m sitting on.
“Stand back! This is going to be a big one!” Bryce proclaims.
“Yeah, yeah, just go already.” Lance says.
Bryce takes a run to the edge of the dock but his foot slips right before he reaches the end and he slips off the dock feet first, the back of his head smashing against the dock as he falls in the water.
“Bryce!” I yell and then my breath catches as he slips below the surface and the water turns red where he disappeared.