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Authors: Sinden West

Deep Water

BOOK: Deep Water
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[email protected] Sinden West

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Other works by Sinden West:



This Darkest Man



The Scryer Wife





Chapter One

lake was scarily deep in parts; sudden drop offs meant temperatures plummeted
in the cooler months. In winter, those temperatures could mean death after mere
minutes encased in those seemingly bottomless waters.

In summer, though, by the shore, it was
wondrously warm and the water clear. We could see the boys who swam underneath
us, sleek in the water as they circled us like sharks while we giggled with
nervous delight in anticipation of their attention. They would try to tug us
under. If one grabbed your ankle to try and pull you down, it meant he liked you.
Or maybe he was just an asshole, but we could always hope.

Joseph never grabbed my ankle. He was a
skinny fifteen-year-old the first time I really noticed him. He was an
excellent swimmer and could stay underwater, holding his breath longer than anyone
else. He could beat anyone in a swimming race. At school, he always wore
hoodies and long things that covered skin, even when it was warm. His frame was
always engulfed in baggy clothes and shaggy hair hid his face much of the time.
Fingers would just peek out of a sleeve, the wisps of smoke from a cigarette
held secure between finger and thumb would be the only sign that he was
smoking. He must have risked burning his clothes, but he probably didn’t care.
He hung out with boys that didn’t seem to care about anything. They swore, they
fought, and they mouthed off to teachers. They were tough.

But with summer came different rules; like
us hanging out with these boys at the lake instead of the usual more clean cut,
country club boys for whose attention we clamored for during the school year.
Joseph’s body was revealed in his swim shorts as he shed the covering clothing
he hid in normally. It was apparent why he wore that clothing. A vivid bruise
in violets and purples spanned his ribs, perhaps a boot print if you used your
imagination, while older, yellower ones dotted the area around, but he didn’t
care about hiding them now. It was like the moment he hit the water he was free
of the problems and restraints that affected his life. In the water, he was
weightless, powerful, and free. His shaggy hair was slicked back by the water,
revealing a fine- featured face that was only marred by the small semi-circle
of a scar high on one cheekbone.

I could swim. But my efforts were clumsy
and consisted of dog paddling rather than graceful strokes. As everyone else
raced to the platform that was anchored half a mile out, I made excuses to lie
on the shore because deep water that went over my head made me nervous.  I
didn’t tell anyone that of course. I didn’t want to be teased about being a
wimp. We were supposed to be fearless and fly through everything with a smile.
To admit anything else was to admit weakness. So I would make a show of
sunbathing on the beach while everyone else headed out to sun their skin on the
wooden platform that had been there since forever.

They all took off, my friends and his
friends. It was a race, but he lingered.

“You can swim out with me. I’m a good
swimmer.” It was so casual how he said it. He didn’t make me feel stupid or
pathetic. He just said it like he didn’t care either way. I didn’t say anything
at first; I was kind of stunned that he had actually spoken to me. Boys didn’t
normally single me out for any attention. The silence stretched on awkwardly
until I felt like I had better say something as he watched with his dark eyes.

“Sure,” I said, and then he was taking
my hand in his own which was warm from the sun. I think I held my breath at
this touch. It was a foreign feeling to have my hand held like this, and it
must have sat stiffly within his. It felt good. It felt nice. I half wanted to
giggle, while the other half of me wanted to faint. We walked out together
until the water reached our waists. I was taller than him then, and that served
to add to my sense of gawkiness and awkwardness.

“C’mon. Let’s go” he said. And I dived
under without hesitating. He swam at my pace, even though I knew he was a fast
swimmer, sleek in the water like a seal. We touched the side of the platform at
the same time, and he waited for me to climb the ladder first. I must have
blushed at that gesture of chivalry. I think it was the first time a boy had
ever done that kind of thing for me.

He didn’t speak to me again because that
was the end of summer and opportunities disappeared. But I noticed him. I
thought about him all the time.

Then he was gone. He moved with his
stepfather and mother to a city where there were no lakes. He returned a year
and a half later. He turned up at school in the dark days of winter, and there
was something darker about him as well. The smiles that he had given before
would sometimes reveal the missing molar on his left side, but on his return
all he gave was a small twitch of the mouth which was more like a smirk.

He had a haircut and started to bulk up,
his wiry frame becoming defined muscle through lifting weights. It got him
admirers that next summer. We would sneak peeks at him and giggle to each
other. But he never played up to us like the other guys would. He just didn’t
really care. Sometimes I’d catch him glancing at us in our bikinis. I would
stretch out my body with its small breasts in the absurd hope that his gaze
would overlook my more developed classmates and head my way. My bikini was
white and strapless. The top gathered in the middle and twisted. Magazines told
me this was the style that made you look fuller up top than you really were.
And I needed all the help that I could get.

I was a better swimmer by then.  My
mother’s words had begun to hit their target, ill meaning or not, and I swam
long, slow lengths at the heated town pools during winter. Her words pierced
through the desire to eat hamburgers and other fried food and replaced them
with celery and carrot sticks.

By that summer, the water held no fear
for me. We had cars by then and would pack them with food and stolen alcohol to
spend afternoons sunning ourselves while nightfall brought bonfires and
flirting with drunken boldness.

That day, Eve and I had put cans of beer
into a dive catch bag and swam out to the platform. We stretched out and opened
our drinks. I knew beer was fattening, but I had compensated earlier by only
eating a few whole grain crackers for lunch, so it was okay. I had said no to
the packet of potato crisps that Eve had offered me when she’d given me a ride.

“Suit yourself,” she had mumbled through
a mouthful of crisps. “More for me.”

As she sunbathed, I tried to avoid
looking at the unattractive roll of fat that teetered over the edge of her
bikini bottoms. She just didn’t care. She had a great pair of tits so I
supposed that was okay because they balanced everything else out, and she had a
near hourglass figure. For people like me, though, with not much on top, it was
imperative that our hips and stomach were kept as slim as possible.

My mother had had her breasts done when
she was competing in beauty pageants, and her figure was the enviable inverted
triangle. It was breasts that had started a fight last night between my
parents. I was telling them over dinner about the new bikini I wanted and was
working up to asking them to pay for it,  and my Mom had commented about maybe
getting my breasts done for my eighteenth birthday because it would look

My Dad had paused with his fork halfway
to his mouth and frowned.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!
I’m not paying for her to become some plastic bimbo.” This comment was ironic
since he had married my mother who had fake breasts and highly stylized blonde
hair. When I was little, I thought that she was just like Barbie.

“Don’t swear at the dinner table,” my
Mom had snapped back at him as she stabbed her fork into a piece of steamed
broccoli and started to raise it to her lips, then she changed her mind and let
the fork crash down onto the china plate as she narrowed her eyes. “Honestly,
you haven’t got a clue about anything. You don’t know the pressure women are
under to look good.”

Dad rolled his eyes. “Really? My
doctor’s a woman. My lawyer’s a woman. I don’t see them going out and getting
their tits pumped up to porn star standards. They’re successful because they
use their brain–”

Mom’s lips turned into a sneer. “You’re
seriously bringing that Anna bitch up at the dinner table? Congratulations,
Dan. You just reached a new low.”

“Jesus. Anna’s my lawyer. That’s it!
Stop being so fucking irrational. Maybe
should get a job, and then
you wouldn’t have time to make stuff up in that head of yours instead of
wasting your time doing whatever the hell it is you do all day while I’m
slaving away at work!”

Her lips thinned with rage as she stood.
“Don’t put that on me. You’re just trying to change the subject so we don’t
have to talk about your…whore!”

“Jesus Christ, Mandy. For the last time,
there is nothing going on! If anything, it’s
that I should be
throwing accusations at.” He pointed his fork at her for effect.

I munched on my shriveled leg of baked
chicken while my mother stood there glaring. Deep breaths made her breasts move
up and down, and I wondered if she would throw a plate. She didn’t though, she
just turned on her heel and walked out. A minute later we heard her car roar to
life in the driveway.

Dad and I ate the rest of our meal in
silence. Then he told me he’d do the dishes and that I should go to bed. I
didn’t hear Mom come home, even though I stayed awake listening for hours. So
when Eve suggested that we go and get drunk at the lake, I was all for it.

Chapter Two

only took one beer to start me laughing. The lack of food that day made me a
cheap drunk. Once the second beer was done, combined with the gentle rocking of
the platform we lay on, I was positively happy. Eve drank more than me. She had
to because her high fat diet soaked up the alcohol, but it didn’t take long for
her to be as happy and light as me.

We could see others setting up on the
shore. A bonfire was being built, music blasted, and beer was being unloaded as
girls danced in their bikinis. But there on the platform, I was in absolute
bliss. The sun was shining and glinting off the water, nothing could touch me
right then. And I opened a third beer to make sure that nothing intruded on my
great feelings.

Others swam out to us then; they were
friends of Joseph, and I kept my eyes peeled to the water for any sign of his
lean body cutting through it with powerful strokes. I had kept my crush hidden
up until this point because people would have laughed at the absurdity of it.

I was a ‘good’ girl. I was not the type
to go after or actively pursue that type of boy. I came from a nice, upper
middle-class home. I would go to college, marry a nice boy and have nice
babies. My fate was written in the stars from the minute I was born. Girls like
me did not hunger for boys like Joseph Fray.

And hunger was perhaps the best way to
describe it because I thought about him all the time. We had shared a few
classes at school, but he had never spoken to me since that day at the lake,
and I had certainly never got up the courage to speak to him. But as I lay on
the platform warming my skin in the sun and the alcohol removing my inhibition,
I wanted to see him. I wanted that opportunity.

But he didn’t swim out. And when we lazily
swam back to shore, I didn’t see him either. I dulled my disappointment by
having another beer. My bikini dried quickly in the sun as I joined the other
girls dancing drunkenly. I felt sexy, and I knew boys were watching me. Having
their attention on me was a novelty, and it was amazing how powerful it made me
feel. Some called out catcalls as Eve ground against me from behind, but then
two girls beside us started to kiss and stole the attention from us.

Eve laughed and pulled me along. “Let’s
get more to drink.” I followed, laughing as well. And that’s when I spotted
him. He had a bottle of beer in his hand as he stood talking to a friend. His
hair was cut short, revealing his fine features. It was getting dark now, and
shadows from the fire danced on his skin giving him a near otherworldly effect.
He looked ominous,

I lost my courage. I averted my eyes and
kept them firmly trained on the ground as I sucked at the beer that was placed
in my hand by Eve. I sat on the sand and tucked my knees into my chest, hugging
my arms around my bare legs.

When I dared cast my eyes briefly in his
direction again, I saw a girl, Katrin, approaching him, her lips curved up, her
walk seductive. I saw him shift his head slightly in her direction. Her shoulders
were pulled back and her breasts prominent in the stars and stripes bikini that
she wore. Jealousy seared through me as she rested her hand on his shoulder. I
had to look away.

My beer was empty, but it was soon
replaced by another. Boys were around us, seduced by the curves that belonged
to Eve. She was loud, brash, and sexy as hell. The male species tended to
gravitate to her, even teachers. No classic beauty, her infectious grin and
personality made her attractive to be around. The small circle of guys who sat
around us all wanted her attention. One kept leaning over me to get a better
look at her cleavage like I wasn’t even there. Finally, I scooted back so I
wouldn’t interrupt his view, and he swiftly took my spot without a second
glance at me.

“Fuck this,” I said, but no one heard,
or seemed to care that I had spoken if they did. I drunkenly got to my feet,
spilling my beer in the process. My good buzz from before was gone as I walked
away from the fire. I heard giggling, girls shrieking with delight, and from
somewhere else, low moans of pleasure. It seemed like everyone else was hooking
up except for me.

I stepped into the water, which was
still warm, and waded out to the flat rock that was embedded deep in the lake
bed. Somewhere, far out on the lake, a jet boat could be heard. It created a
wake that sent gentle, shallow waves of water over me and the rock on which I
sat. I didn’t mind, though, I still wore my bikini.

I lay back on the rock and let the water
wash over me. The moon was full and bright above me, and I closed my eyes as I
bathed in its light. I imagined it having magical properties like in fairy tales.
The power of the moon’s glow perhaps could transform a village maiden into a
princess; a beauty into a hag; and, perhaps, make a prince fall in love with

My beer can was taken from my hand, and startled
me in such a way that I opened my mouth the same time that I opened my eyes.
The jet boat must have been closer now because a wave of water filled my mouth,
causing me to choke as I struggled to sit up.

My coughs continued as I wiped my face
and looked at the beer can thief. Joseph stared back at me as I coughed out
water and pulled hair away from my face.

“I thought you’d passed out,” he told

I coughed again before answering. “So
you took my beer?” I reached my hand out to take it back, but he pulled it away
and held it out of my reach. He was taller than me now. I pushed off the rock
and landed in the water with a splash. It was mid-thigh on this side of the
rock, and I took one more lunge for the beer, but he stepped back, deeper into
the water. It sloped down here, and now the water lapped high around my waist.

He let out a laugh, and I stood there
staring at him. Was he
me? This seemed foreign from someone who
had such a cold, detached persona so much of the time. I blinked. I didn’t know
what to do. I knew the natural thing would be to play up to this kind of
attention, to flirt back, to smile suggestively. But none of those mannerisms
seemed quite right.

So what I did was tackle him.

I lunged for his waist and must have
caught him unaware because we both went under. The beer came loose from his
grasp and floated away into darkness. I went to stand up and lost my footing in
the soft sand beneath me and went under again. The water was deeper here.
Joseph’s arms came around me, pulling me back up again, so I broke through the
surface. As I opened my mouth to gasp for breath, he promptly covered my mouth
with his.

A tongue entered my mouth, and I no
longer thought about breathing. I kissed back almost in wonderment. This was my
first kiss and the fact that this was with
of all people made me
tremble in the water.

Oh, God. I’m kissing Joseph!

 It all seemed so natural the way our
tongues moved together, how his hands wandered down my body, even when they
rested on my hips with his fingers just inside the fabric of my bikini bottoms.
My hands spread out on his back, feeling the curve and dip of his muscles, and
I think my body, of its own accord, pressed closer to him.

I could feel my heartbeat pick up and
felt my breasts move against his chest. He pulled his mouth away for a mere
moment, and it curved up slightly before coming back down on mine again. I felt
lost in a haze of alcohol and want. I wanted this to go on forever.

But then his hands were pushing down the
bottom of my bikini. I felt my eyes widen, but I still didn’t tear my mouth
away from his, not until I felt a finger start to slide inside me. I froze at
first. No one had ever touched me there, and a slight panic started to set in.
This wasn’t what I had imagined. I squirmed, but his grip was hard on one hip.
So I brought my hands flat against his chest and pushed with all my might.

He barely moved, but it got his

He frowned. “What…?” That finger came
out, and my hands went straight to pulling up my bikini bottoms.

“Why did you do that?” I managed to rasp
out as I put my bathing suit back in place with shaking hands.

He stared at me for a second, before
letting a slight sneer come over his face. “Why wouldn’t I?”

I watched him, open-mouthed, feeling
every romantic notion and idea I had about him come crashing down. I shook my
head at him, breathing heavily. I wanted to tell him that this wasn’t how it
should be. It should be sweet, idealistic, and not connected to sex in any way.
But of course, I didn’t.

Instead, I swam back to shore.

BOOK: Deep Water
12.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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