“Are you gonna stay in that thing all night, or are we hanging out,” Julian asked slightly annoyed.
“I had to wait for you to finish working out. You can wait for me!”
“Come on, Jeannette,” he said impatiently. “Let’s go hang out in the hot tub!”
She was trying to teach him a lesson: the world does not revolve around him, and she will not answer to his every beck and call. But, this was an opportunity she could not pass up. Just think…her and him…hot, steamy water…skin…dim lights…the story writes itself! She ended her game without a second thought and followed him outside.
They sat on opposite ends of the tub and relaxed for a few minutes.
“Ahhhh, yes,” Julian sighed. “Admit it…this is 1,000 times better than that game you were playing.”
“10,000 times better!”
“See! I would never steer you wrong.”
Sweet llamas…look at him, she thought. Why have I never thought to suggest we do this? That chest…those arms…HOLY LLAMAS! He is so perfect right now. Good thing I have on these shades. Hmmm…maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if he caught me checking him out. Maybe he’d finally catch a plumming clue!!
I should just tell him how I feel. Yeah…just tell him and get it over with and deal with the consequences later. YEAH! I’m doing it!!
She opened her mouth to say something, but the words didn’t come. Instead, she just cleared her throat.
Why are you such a punk?! Ok…think, Jeannette. Think of something fast before he starts running his mouth. What can I say to compliment his appearance, but isn’t a complete come on? Well, maybe with a little come on. Just do it…quickly!
“You’re looking good, Julian.”
I SAID IT!! Oh no…now I’m super embarrassed. Why?? Back pedal!
“What’s it like having the Brady Pruett as your trainer? Is he easy on you because you’re his son?”
“Not at all. He’s just as crazy as everyone says. I think he’s harder on me because I can’t quit and leave,” he laughed.
Hmmm…there’s an opportunity here, she thought. Explore….
“Is that why you workout so much,” she asked.
“Nah. I like working out. Besides, I gotta look goooood,” he said with his hands on his hips, striking a pose.
Take a risk, Jeannette. Say it! DON’T BE A PUNK!
“But…you do. You always have.”
AHHHH! I can’t believe I said it!
He looked at her in pleasant surprise and said, “Really? But…you said I was skinny.”
This was the first time he had ever been truly vulnerable with her. They were best friends, but he never really told her why she was. It was easier just to tell her that she was beautiful than to say that he valued her opinion above anyone else’s. Admitting that something she said made him change felt weird, and he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. He needed a distraction and began playing with the water.
Jeannette was also pleasantly surprised by that statement.
She smiled and said, “You’re working out because I told you that you were skinny a long time ago?”
“Well…no, but…maybe…I mean, you’re a girl…so…it matters.”
Oh yeah…he’s totally doing this because of me. I win!
This whole sharing feelings thing was new to him and it was awkward and strange and he was feeling things he had never felt before. Not bad things, but different things. He didn’t care to figure out what they were, so he quickly intervened and got himself out of the situation.
He started splashing water at her.
He laughed heartily and said, “Shhhh! My parents are sleeping on the other side of this wall!”
“I didn’t come out here to get soaked, Julian! Now my hair is wet,” she whined.
“Oh, your hair will be fine,” he said nonchalantly.
“Ugh! Don’t you know anything about women, Julian?”
“Obviously not,” he laughed. “I’m sorry if I messed up your hair. BUT…because it’s all wet anyway, I challenge you to a hold breath contest in five, four, three–
They both disappeared under the water.
They made faces at each other to try and force the other to laugh and come up to the surface. They were both very competitive and were desperately trying to outsmart the other. At about 30 seconds, they both needed to take a breath and came up at the same time. But Jeannette thought he came up slightly faster than her and declared herself the winner.
“I totally won. Your head was out before mine!”
“Was not! Yours was!”
“My hair doesn’t count!”
“Yes it does! Out is out.”
“You are a sore loser!”
“Oh? It’s my house, and I say I’m the winner!”
“What are you, eight?”
“Are you mocking me? She’s mocking me,” he said as he pretended to be offended. “Do you know what happens to girls who mock me?”
She raised an eyebrow. He paused for a moment for dramatic effect, and then he started tickling her and showed no mercy.
She shrieked at the top of her lungs in shear surprise.
“Shhh! Are you trying to wake up the neighborhood?”
“STOP IT! JULIAN, PLEASE,” she laughed.
“I’ll stop when you admit that I won! So…who won?”
“YOU DID, JULIAN! YOU DID! PLEASE STOP TICKLING ME!”
“Ok,” he said and let her go. “I thought you’d see things my way.”
They sat next to each other and laughed as she caught her breath. Then there was a pleasant yet awkward silence. There was nothing left to do except smile and look at each other. Julian was just having fun. He didn’t mean to arouse any amorous feelings…but it was inevitable.
Jeannette…this is it! This is what I came out here for! This is the moment!! Do it, she thought as she tried to talk herself into leaning over and kissing him.
Oh! What have we here, Julian thought. This is an interesting situation.
Come on, Jeannette!
I KNEW she liked me! Man…I guess I’ve been playing around too much.
Neither of them knew how they had gotten so close and didn’t recall scooting over. But, there they were sitting with their shoulders rubbed and just a head lean away from their lips touching.
What if I kissed her? I don’t think she’d mind. A little kissing never hurt anyone.
Isn’t this what you wanted? Kiss him!
Kissing is like air. You have to have it! It doesn’t matter who it’s with, right?
I wish he would do it. I’m afraid.
I can’t do it. It would mess with things. Make things weird.
Please, kiss me, Julian!
Dad said not to be a heart breaker. I can’t do that to her.
He’s not gonna do it.
But…if she kissed me, oh that would be different!
I’m gonna do it.
She chickened out.
The moment was lost.
She looked away, and he reluctantly put some distance between them.
GRRRRRRRRRR! JEANNETTE! HOW COULD YOU?? YOU’RE AN IDIOT!!! Do you know how long it’s gonna take to gain the momentum to get a moment like that again? IDIOT!!!
“It’s really late,” she said. “I, ummmm…I have to be at work in four hours, so…”
“Aww, man. I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize–
“It’s ok. I’ve gotta go. Talk to you later,” she said and quickly got out of the tub and went home to continue beating herself up.
Out of frustration, Julian punched the water and growled. In that moment, he wasn’t concerned about who she was to him or what their status was. He was just a romantic guy in playful mood in the perfect situation and got absolutely nothing.
“GRRR! Freezer bunnies, dad!!!”