Emily can’t believe her good fortune in finding a man as loving and caring as Kyle. He’s also self-effacing, something she’s unused to from men. When she pays him a compliment, telling him he’s swept her off her feet, he can’t help but be pleased with himself.
Smiling in a rather smug fashion, Kyle leaned back in his seat, adopting her same pose.
“Damn, I’m good. And I haven’t even tried to be charming yet. I wonder where that would get me?”
“In more trouble than you can imagine,” Carmelita said, dropping to the chair next to him. “You see that boy hitting on Cindy?”
“He wasn’t hitting on her,” Kyle explained. “He was flirting.”
“Now he’s an expert on that? Mm hm.”
“Actually, I’m the one who told him,” Emily giggled. “He thought that too. I happen to know the lifeguard rather well. He grew up down the street from me. He’s very nice.”
“He’s got testicles,” Kyle replied rather tersely. “Therefore, nice gets left at the door when there’s a hot chick around.”
“He also knows I’d break his arm and call his mother,” Emily added with a wink. “We’re very close.”
“That would be a deterrent,” Kyle agreed.
“Threatening to rack his balls would be more of one.” Carmelita sniffed, reclining languorously. “But at this point unnecessary.”
“Lita, I want you to know, that’s a pretty wicked threat. Racking a guy’s balls? Come on, that’s reserved for attempted rape.”
“I didn’t say do it, just threaten.”
“Remind me never to piss you off.”
“I don’t think you could possibly make any woman that angry,” Emily said. “You’re far too nice for that kind of behavior.”
“Remember what he said about testicles and nice before?” Carmelita asked her. “Take that and then some when it comes to a grown man.”
“Thank you, Carmelita, for making me sound like some sort of caveman!” He could take a lot of teasing, more than some men, but she’d made one too many barbed comments. “Excuse me, but Oout need swim!” He beat on his chest like Tarzan.
Tearing off his shirt, he kicked his shoes and socks under the lounge chair and walked to the side of the pool set aside for people to swim laps. He did a shallow dive, hitting the water with a tiny ripple and was off like a shot. He got to the wall, did a flip turn and headed back the other way. After he’d burned off some of his irritation, he slowed down, counting the laps as he swam. When he reached his 500 meter mark, he stopped, hanging on the wall at the deep end, gasping. Heart pounding, he levered himself out of the water.
Emily walked over with a towel that he didn’t recognize, wrapping it around his shoulders. She squatted next to him, gazing at his profile. He wouldn’t look at her.
“You feel better now?”
“I feel like a kid who just threw the world’s biggest temper tantrum,” he admitted with a laugh. “Sorry. Carmelita’s known me way too long and knows just what to say to push my buttons. Most of the time I can take it….”
“But not when you’re trying to impress someone.”
He glanced at her calm face, staring into her jade green eyes, trapped by them. “Is it that obvious?”
A quirky half smile twitched her lips. “Oh, yes. It’s that obvious.”
“Great.” He collapsed over his knees, shaking his head.
“It’s also alright,” she said, sitting next to him on the concrete.
Turning his head, he smiled at her. “Thanks for the towel.” He stretched out his legs, leaning back on his arms so the sun would dry him.
“I got it when I went down to change. Why sit by the pool if I’m not dressed for it?”
She was wearing a dark blue bathing suit with a sarong in bright rainbow colors, and a huge sunhat and sunglasses. She was almost pitifully thin, her ribs showing beneath her pale skin. He could see under the edge of her hat that she wasn’t completely bald. A fine, velvety layer of hair cast a blue black shadow over her scalp. He thought she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, even more so than Margo.
© Dellani Oakes