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Chapter Twenty Seven

"So what's your name?" Adam called out.

"A-Ally," I stammered.

"Ally? I like it."

My toes curled. He liked it?

He disappeared under the water again and I exhaled noisily. Shel had mentioned something about the lake. What was it that she had said? Was it something about the algae content...

Or something about the toxic level of hot shirtless boy?

I was thinking her warning had something more to do with romance when I felt fingers wrap around my ankle. I shrieked. Adam's head reemerged.

"Did you just move here?"

I shook my head. "Vacation. I'm staying with my sister."

"Who's your sister?"

"S-Shelby Richardson."

The boy's face broke into a bright smile. "You two don't look a thing alike."

I blushed. I had a feeling that was code for 'what did God do with your boobs?'

"Half-sister," I mumbled.

"Ah," he let go of my ankle. "Well, I won't beg you anymore. But if you want to swim..."

He broke into a backstroke. My hand drifted to my device. The water felt good on my legs. I was wearing a dark shirt. It would dry off by the time I headed back to Addy's...

I made a split-second decision. I wiggled out of my jeans and slid off my device. All sound disappeared as I put it inside my shoe. Gone was the wind rustling the leaves of the tree. Gone was the call of the birds that seemed to be flying high above the clouds. Gone was the sound of Adam's arms slicing through the water. I closed my eyes and slid in.

The water was cold on every part of my body except my legs. My legs had already gotten used to the difference in temperature. I gasped as my clothes soaked up the water; my shirt billowed around me. I yanked it back down and wiped at my eyes. My feet connected with the lake bottom. The soft squishy earth slid between my toes. I kicked away.

After a few minutes, I stopped freezing. The sun above cut through the water, hitting my skin. I smiled to myself.

Adam was watching me from a few feet away. He smiled and crooked his finger at him. My shirt began to billow again and I fought against it. I shook my head no. I saw him mouth the word 'why?'

There was so many ways I could answer that question. The first answer was that I didn't know a thing about him. The second answer was that if I came closer I wouldn't be able to admire the way his chest reflected off the water. The third answer was...

I drew a blank on the third answer. He swam towards me and took my wrist. He kicked backwards and pulled me with him.

We ended up in the center of the lake. I kicked my feet, keeping me afloat. He let me go. He tapped his chest and held up one finger, then seven. He pointed at me. I replied with a one and a six. He nodded. His gaze went down to my shirt; filled with water once more. He shook his head. He looked into my eyes and mimicked taking it off.

I shook my head. His eyes sparkled. He twirled his finger around his head as if making a halo. I laughed, but still I shook his head. Even so, it wasn't my finest moment. The large t-shirt I wore mucking the stalls had become a virtual water balloon. My eyes crossed as I watched Adam trace a halo above my head. I smiled and nodded. He snapped his fingers. He mimicked devil's horns and wiggled his light brows suggestively.

The thought made me laugh. Me? Devilish?


I bit my lip and glanced around. It wasn't like this was Daytona Beach. And even if it was, I admittedly wore two pieces. What was a bra and underwear if it wasn't technically a two-piece? I pointed at him and pointed past his shoulder. He looked at me in confusion. I repeated the action and he turned around.

While his back was turned, I took off my shirt. Before he turned back, I kicked out, heading towards the rest of my clothes to deposit the shirt on the bank.

My hand slapped at the dry grass and I flung the soaking wet, shirt onto dry land. I clung to the marshy bank, my heart pounding.

Broad, soaking wet shoulders popped up beside me. Adam looked at me and grinned. I smiled back.

It was the best afternoon of my life. He continued to make conversation, creating his own version of sign language that made me laugh. After anoHther hour we climbed up on the bank. I dried my hair with my stiff t-shirt and slid my device back on.

"Have you always been deaf?" he asked after a pause. My ears tingled with the reemergence of the sounds around me. I nodded.

"For as long as I can remember."

Adam smiled. "How's my sign language?"

I laughed. "Is that what you call it?"

He winced. "Ouch."

"Not bad," I said. "Not bad at all."

I grabbed my jeans and slid back into him. I felt his eyes on me and couldn't hide my blush.

"So, when can we do this again?"

I hesitated. "I don't know. I'm so busy..."


"I've got a couple of jobs and--"

"A couple of jobs? It's summer!"

I looked at him. "You don't have a job?"

He leaned back on his elbows, obviously in no hurry to get dressed. "No. I'm exploring my options."

I didn't know what that meant, but I didn't say so. I smiled. "I see."

"I don't think you do, but I know how you can."

"What?" I asked in confusion. He turned his face towards the sun. "I'll pick you up at midnight."


"Yeah, midnight. Tonight."

"But, I--"

"We won't be gone long. I know where you're staying. It's not a small town. I want you to see what summer's all about."

I tugged on my shirt. My stomach twisted uncomfortably.

"I can't today. I have work early tomorrow."

Adam clicked his tongue. "How about tomorrow night?"

"Well, I--"


I hesitated. "Okay," I said. "Tomorrow night."

He sat back up, triumphant. "Excellent."

I grabbed my shoes and stood there shyly. "Well--"

"Thanks for the swim, Ally."

It was impossible not to smile. "You're welcome."

"See you soon."

I nodded. As I turned, he called out after me.

"Hey! Don't work to hard, okay?"

"Okay!" I called back.

By the time I got back to the Richardson's, I was smiling ear to ear. Who would have thought a short trip to the lake would have ended up like that? It was like God had answered my prayers.

He had found me a Mason clone.

Life was good.