"The neighbors have a pool," Zoë said, peering over the wooden fence in the backyard.
Adam had spent the last few nights with her at the house — on the sofa, like a gentleman, though they used most of their evenings making out like giddy teenagers. Though they wanted to keep a low profile in case Ashlee was looking for another excuse to attack Adam, the mild summer air beckoned them to the patio furniture and the starry night outside.
He joined her at the fence. "I parked in front of that house today. There's newspapers piled up on the porch."
"I guess they're out of town too."
Adam hopped the fence.
"What're you doing?"
Adam checked the perimeter of the house. By the time he faced Zoë on the other side of the fence, he already had his shirt off. "They're gone. Let's go!"
"I don't have a suit!"
She climbed over the fence as Adam hopped out of his jeans. While she pulled off her t-shirt, Adam cannonballed into the water. His underwear was lying on his jeans by the side of the pool.
Adam laughed. The water lapped his chin. "Ever done it?"
"If it makes you feel better, I won't look." He turned around.
Zoë wasn't used to being naked in front of another person, and never outside. The darkness and the fence hid her from the street.
She unhooked her bra, slipped off her panties and held her nose as she jumped into the deep end.
Adam lounged on the other side of the pool, his arms resting against the edge. "Feels good, right?"
Adam disappeared underwater and swam toward her. Zoë likewise swam away from him. When they both came up, they laughed.
"You were supposed to be over here," Adam said.
"Gotta catch me."
Though she tried to keep her eyes above the surface, the pool lights underwater showed his wobbly outline. Adam cocked his eyebrow when he caught her looking.
"Come here where you can see better."
She skirted the edge, closer to him, and sent a playful wave to his face. He immediately splashed back, and they giggled and chased each other through the water.
Eventually, the chase narrowed, close enough to touch, but not. Adam inched forward; Zoë demurred. Once he smoothed his hair back in the water, no decade confined him. He was a guy she might have met at a bar or on the subway or a bookstore. A guy with hazel eyes and long lashes and a five o'clock shadow.
When he grazed her arm, she didn't give chase. The water rippled around them; Zoë barely felt it anymore. Her toes barely touched the bottom, so she backed up as the floor sloped upward.
"I forgot how much I like swimming."
"There's a pool at my complex," he said. "If we ever end up over there, we could do this again."
"People would see us."
He inched closer, his hands on her shoulders. "Let them." His leg grazed hers as he kissed her neck.
She didn't feel like laughing anymore.
He kissed until he reached her ear, when he whispered, "Come on."
His bare chest pressed against hers. She found his lips and squeezed him close, nothing between them. He was ready, waiting for her go-ahead. Zoë wasn't sure she wanted her first time with him to be in a swimming pool — wasn't even sure it worked well, but when they touched, she gasped.
"Do it," she whispered, pressing against him until the sky turned a different color. She hid her face in his neck. The water lit up. Swirls of color filled the air.
The sights and sensation rivaled anything she'd ever experienced.
Adam caressed her beneath the water.
"Do you see this?" she breathed.
Every touch intensified the colors, the lights, until the sky brightened like day.
"Hey! The fuck are you doing in my pool?"
A light blazed in the house and a middle-aged man in boxers and a t-shirt stood on the porch. The sky darkened back to night.
Adam took a step away from her, his startled eyes on the man. "We thought —"
"Get out of here!"
The man cocked a shotgun.
Zoë scrambled out of the pool without waiting for another warning, grabbed her clothes in a bundle. Adam gave her a boost over the fence.
Zoë yanked on her leggings while trying to run to the house through the backyard, fairing better with the oversized t-shirt. They burst through the back door. Water streamed from her hair and soaked her clothes. Adam stumbled over his pant legs and pulled Zoë into a laughing heap by the wall.
"He had a gun," Zoë said, giggling, but more from nerves than mirth.
"A lot of people do around here."
"What an intro to skinny dipping, though. Never doing that again."
A bang on the door startled them both silent.
"Shit," Zoë whispered.
The voice from the other side shouted, "I know you don't live there!"
"What do we do?" she squeaked.
Adam motioned for her to let him handle it, and shouted back, "We're housesitting."
"Like hell you are. I'm calling the police."
Adam moved closer to the door, but didn't open it. "Victor will be back tomorrow, and you can clear it all with him —"
"Thing is, I'm not waiting till tomorrow. I'm calling the police when I get back to my kitchen because you were on my property. If you want to avoid that, get back to your own home, and do it now."
Zoë wasn't sure why she thought the man could just as easily call the police from outside their door as to threaten to do it when he got back to his house. But he wouldn't have a telephone with him. That was absurd.
"Get your stuff," Adam said. "We'll go to my place."
Zoë gathered her clothes in two shopping bags and the two of them piled into his car while the neighbor surveilled from his yard.
Wow, sometimes it's difficult to get an update out. I won't bore you with the details, but I'm sure you've got your own nightmare scenario going yourself and totally understand. Will try to get the rest of the story up sooner rather than later, but who knows. Thanks for getting this far.
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Recent expat Zoë Benton stumbles upon a manuscript that takes her to a whole new world. Literally. After a marathon reading session and a wave of dizziness, she finds herself under a pile of boxes in a record store basement in 1986 - 30 years in the...