Her Dad's Friend(6)

By: Penny Wylder

His body glistens wet, his hair slicked back. After a few minutes of staring, he finally swims over to me and props his arms on my knees. Having him this close to me with so little fabric between us spins my naughty thoughts into overdrive.

“How’s school going?” he asks, looking up at me and squinting so that I can see just a drop of those impossible blue eyes between his thick lashes.

I can hardly think straight with him so close. He’s one fine wine I’d like to taste, maybe lick the rim … drink too much of. Get drunk on. He looks all King Triton with his wet skin, silver hair, and muscles. “It’s fine. How’s work?”

He used to own his own construction company here in town, but he sold it suddenly two years ago and moved away. I don’t know what he does for a living anymore. I don’t know much about his life at all except what little my parents tell me. Since moving, he’s been like a ghost. For the longest time it was as if he went out of his way to avoid me, which is why I’m so surprised to see him here at my party. That first year of him being gone, I’d dug through the archives of my brain, wondering if maybe I’d made him mad somehow. Then I started wondering if it was because of a woman. I’d been a jealous wreck, but my dad had insisted it wasn’t, even though he wasn’t exactly sure why he’d moved either.

“Fine,” Paul says, and smiles up at me. He visibly swallows and his smile falters when he asks, “So, do you have a boyfriend yet?” He looks around at all the cute guys Emily had invited. “I bet they’re eating out of your hand. Especially when you wear things like this.” He tugs at the string of my bikini top, loosening it.

“Why, you jealous?” I say, only half joking.

“Maybe a little.”

“Well, I don’t have a boyfriend. But there is someone I’ve had my eye on for a while.”

I suddenly become self-conscious and ask, “What about you? Do you have a girlfriend?”

I chew on the inside of my cheek as I wait for him to answer. What if my dad had been wrong about him moving to be with someone? I don’t know how I would handle that kind of news. Of course I would be crushed, and I don’t know if I ever really thought we could be together, but as long as he’s single, there’s hope.

When he simply says, “No,” my breath leaves me in a rush and my shoulders rise now that that weight has been lifted off.

He asks more questions about school and the classes I’m taking. Our conversation comes easy, and I realize I’d forgotten how effortless it has always been to talk to him. That was a big part of his appeal growing up. I was always an awkward girl without friends; taller than nearly everyone else my age, hitting puberty before everyone else. And yet, with Paul, I never felt weird or out of place. He’s always made me feel special.

We’re interrupted when someone suggests a chicken fight. The pool is full and people are making teams. Paul says, “How about we show these rookies how it’s done.”

“Let’s do it.” I slip into the water and the cold is perfect on this sweltering day. I feel weightless—and not because I’m floating in water. It’s such a relief that Paul and I are back to our normal, flirty selves, and I’ve almost forgotten about my hang over and the drunk text.

He ducks under the water, and when he comes back up, I’m lifted onto his shoulders. Water cascades down my back and breasts, running on to him. I brush my fingers through his salt and pepper hair, pulling it back away from his eyes. When he looks in either direction, the stubble of his face tickles the insides of my thighs. I start to wonder if he can feel how hot my opening is against the back of his neck, if he’s as conscious about how close his mouth is to it as I am.

He caresses my shins beneath the water where no one can see, raising goosebumps and sending chills through me. I touch his ear lobes, massaging them between my fingertips, and there’s so much sexual tension between us I’m sure others in the pool can feel the charge in the air.

When the game starts, I’m having more fun just sitting on his shoulders than I have in a long time, and it’s nice to forget about school and bills and all the other grown-up stuff that bogs me down on a regular basis.

We make a great team. Emily and her future one-night stand are the only ones who come even close to knocking me off Paul’s shoulders. Paul and I kill it at chicken fighting and are the victors every time. When we’re done and everyone else starts to leave the pool, he ducks back under the water, no longer between my legs and I miss him there.

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