"Goodbye honey," my adoptive mother, Morgan says, passing me without a glance. I follow suit, my eyes not lifting from the book I'm reading. We have always been this way, formal. In fact we probably always will. Not that either of us mind.
As the door to the front door closes, banging loudly against its frame, it opens again, my best friend, Cash skips in, a large grin spread across his face. Most of the time he looks like this; big smile showing, one eye hidden by sand colored hair. Ditz.
"What?" I growl, tightening my arms around me. I was never one to be super cheerful, that has usually been Cash's job. I always was the foreword one, not afraid to speak my mind. But I guess that resulted in me only having one friend.
He dangles keys in my face, I'm not very impressed.
"If that's to your dad's Corvette," I say, pointing to the keys in his hand, "You still can't drive it." We both have our permits, months away from getting a real license.
He waggles his eyebrows, making his light brown eyes dance. "Well what do I love more than a car?"
I sigh hard, making a show of pushing out all the oxygen in my lungs as a sign of defeat, "Anything but that."
"Don't worry; you'll protect me this time, right?" He points to a faded, and yet once huge scar on his chin.
He was referring to the first time we stole his father's boat. We were thirteen, and at the time felt so cool because we were teenagers. We played that game where we tried to jump onto the boat with a bigger gap between the dock and the boat. Just as Cash had landed onto the boat, he slipped, cutting his face open on some fishing equipment.
"Don't worry about you, I think it's more likely to happen to me," I joked. "But no. I'm not going to the beach today."
"Please?" He nearly whispered with desperation. "This is the first time I got the boat from Dad without stealing it!"
I roll my grey eyes at him and look out the window. Blue sky, orange leaves on the ground, temperature at eighty degrees, perfect speedboat weather.
"Not feeling it," I grumble, I want Cash to leave and come back with a tube of ice cream instead. That's about the only thing that usually cheers me up. Morgan is too health-nutty to supply my need for it.
"Hey, come on! I'm all dressed up for it and everything," I hadn't really noticed what he was wearing before; he clothes are a dead giveaway actually. A white t-shirt, dark green board shorts, and sunglasses perched on the top of his head made it kind of obvious. I look down at my ensemble; a white floppy sundress made for my days on the hammock.
"I'm not," I note, trying to sound angry. It's just, I find it funny when he wants something, because he gets all sad like a ten year old boy.
He gets down on one knew in front of my, a desperate smile on his face, and grabs my hand. "Please?" he breathes.
I pause. His sad face it such an act, but it gets me every time. Why does he have to be such a good actor? I roll my eyes in the most defiant way possible, and snarl at him: "Fine" See, the only reason I have to act like a bitch it to regulate all of his energy. You could say I'm his prescribed Ritalin.
Arms above his head, he dances around the room like the ten year old he it. Sometimes I feel like I'm the older one here.
"But I'm wearing..." I gesture to my dress. He turns and waves his hand at me to say, don't worry about it. I just really hope I don't have to get into the water.
"Let's go Cash," I loudly direct at him, his back is turned, and he's staring at something on the table. I jerk him around. He's still grinning silently. He never wins fights unless he uses his "sad face".
I straighten my face, trying to look more intimidating. "I'm going to hate every minute of this."
I probably won't, but might as well go down swinging.
"With that attitude you're going to hate every second, and for that, I'll give you hell," he grins triumphantly at me, I hold back the need to roll my eyes.
To my left, Cash is busy freeing the boat from that rope thing, and to my right, water. Bored, I arch my back, sighing. I run my hands along the faded wood. Careful not to splinter my fingers, I pull back.
I roll onto my back and watch Cash busy at work. A big gust of wind comes by and billows his shirt. I hold my skirt down just in case there are any pedestrians coming by. Don't want to blind anyone.
Cash steps back, his eyes analyzing the boat. This is the only time I've seen him with a very serious expression. I don't think I like it, it creeps me out too much. Besides, there's only room for one cranky person here.
Snapping his head around at me, his face shifts back to normal. Slapping the boat twice, he shouts over at me, "Ready?"
Stepping on before him, I smirk, "Only if you are."
He pulls the boat out far across the water. We don't say much, but this boat ride it turning into more like a car ride. The shore is smaller, much smaller than it was a few seconds ago.
"What are we...?" I start, but Cash finished for me: "Tubing". He raises his eyebrow at me, and pulls out one of the tubes, "Isn't it obvious? Plus, I can't go tubing by myself."
"Oh," I say, sort of embarrassed.
"Since I'm going first, you get to drive," he says, pointing to the driver's seat, and then throwing one of the tubes into the water. "Give me your worst."
I plop myself down onto the boat seat and rest my arms on the wheel. Contemplating whether I wanted to make Cash eat water or bore him to death, I toss my head back up to the light sky. Chewing on a lock of hair, I hear Cash up at me.
"Crap, uh, Chloe? I err- forgot that I still have stitches in my leg..." His head appears as he climbs back onto the boat, only his legs wet were he got into the water. He looks disappointed, and is making an effort to mask that. He doesn't ask me to get in the water; he's to self-involved silently scolding himself.
"I'm getting in then, dammit," I finalize, grabbing the rail. His face perks up a little and he hops into the driver's seat.
"Give me your worst then," mimicking what he said about two minutes ago.
"Don't worry," I hear him from behind me. I stifle a giggle. He was probably going to go Cash-slow. (AKA really slow).
Despite the warm air and the blue sky, the water is ice cold. Goosebumps crawl up from my ankles. I gasp when it hits my stomach. My dress starts to swirl around my waist as I get deeper into the water. I continue to lower myself into the water, grateful that I wore a camisole under my dress.
"Cold?" Cash laughs, covering his mouth.
"Not in the slightest," I spit, feeling my drenched underwear ride up my own ass. Now, I can't say I'm disappointed I didn't wear something stiff like a thong or something like that.
Wrapping my bone chilled fingers around the handles on the tube; the water starts to move past me. It starts off traveling past slow, but speeds up in no time. Wind whips me in the face and flecks of water hit me in the face. My mind starts wandering, and I start having a good time. Maybe I don't hate my life as much as I thought I did. But after this, I have to go home. At home, my mother will be there waiting to point something out that I'd rather not hear. At school, I'd be that bratty sophomore no one wants to talk to. After school, I'd walk past Cash's locker to get to my bike and find Cash engulfed in his adoring fans. He'll either not see me because the hoard of people, or when he'd wave me over, his fans would give me dirty looks. And at the end of the day I'll close my eyes wishing to be anyone other than Chloe Hill. And what I'd give for that to happen.
My eyes snap open, bringing my back to reality when the tube hits a rather violent wave. My fingers slip and I fall from the tube before I can catch myself. My stomach drops with fright and surprise. I forgot I had always been a terrible swimmer.
The speedboat is still going, quickly disappearing from view. My arms and legs flail as I try to tread water. Water, cold and salty, rises from my neck to my chin.
"Ca-ash," I gurgle, my mouth starts to fill with water. It tastes awful, but I ignore it, concentrating on getting oxygen into my lungs. My face, now the only part of my not submerged in the ocean, feels like its turning blue by frostbite.
Sinking like a rock, my body slips under the surface silently, out of sight completely. Out of sight, out of mind.
Spasms make my legs kick, but after several struggling seconds my body tires and slows. No! I want to fight harder, but it doesn't respond. A current comes by stronger, pushing my body down deeper. My clawing to the surface has ceased, my body too tired.
Sugar colored hair feels like a cape, and my dress a rope, wrapped around my feet. My ears pop as I sink to new levels. My nearly dead lips open slightly, offering the ocean the last of my stored oxygen.
My body numb, I crack open my eyes and look up. The surface is no more than a dimmed speck in my tunnel vision, getting smaller as the seconds passed. I open my mouth to breathe, or shout, anything to save myself from the angry dark water. Ocean fills my mouth before I can shout.
My pounding heartbeat rings in my ears. I'm dizzy, now unaware where I am, or how much time I have to save myself.
With a heavy head, like someone is shoving it down, I let it fall back further as I hear the sound of my own heartbeat stop.