Sitting on the edge of the pool, Jenna dipped her pink-painted toes into the water. It was a blistering hot summer day at the end of June. The bright sun was beating down on her back. She tightened
the strings of her new green and blue polka dot bikini around her neck. She tied her long, dark hair into a messy knot on the top of her head and put her sunglasses back on. Sliding into the water,
it felt as though her skin cooled instantly. Her heart-shaped necklace glinted off of the water. It was a good day to be in Phoenix, Arizona.
Looking around, she didn’t recognize many of the people. There was Mrs. Donahue from down the street and Jake Houghton. He had been in her senior English class, but they didn’t talk. She had left
for college in the fall and had just gotten back late last night. After being in Denver for so long, it felt good to be back in the sun again. Snow wasn’t Jenna’s ideal weather. She had grown up in
Arizona and that’s where she planned to stay once she graduated. But she dealt with the snow to go to the college she had always dreamed about. The Art Institute of Colorado was one of the top
photography schools in the country.
She wondered where all of her friends were. Trying to stay in touch was harder to do than it looked. Especially since everyone had spread out so much. Starlight Pool was always the place her group
of friends used to hang out at. They had been going to it for years. She began to reminisce when a wave of water engulfed her.
“Hey!” she shouted.
“Hey yourself,” the voice came from behind her. It was deep and obviously belonged to a boy. She instantly recognized it. Taking of her sunglasses and wiping her eyes, she looked over her shoulder.
She saw a pair of deep, brown eyes staring back at her. She saw a crooked grin that could only belong to one person in the world.
“Damon!” she squealed and ran over to him as best she could in the water. Jumping up, she flung her arms around his neck. Feeling his arms circle her waist brought back memories of high school.
“How are you?” she asked, letting go.
“I’m doing great now that you’re here,” he grinned. He had always been a flirt. Damon Evergreen had been one of Jenna’s closest friends since the first grade. They had done everything together
until after graduation when they went their separate ways, like everyone else. He had been her first kiss.
“Of course you are,” Jenna mused. “I missed you.”
He didn’t give a response. He just hugged her tightly once more.
Jenna sat in her bedroom. She hadn’t been home since Christmas. It felt good to lie down on her bed. Looking around her room felt so different than her dorm in Colorado. It was much larger. She
didn’t have to share it with anybody. Although her roommate Rebecca was nice, Jenna preferred her own space.
It was just the same as she remembered. The walls were still green. Papers were still shoved inside her desk. Her bed had the same black and white flowered comforter. The white curtains still flew
in and out of the room with the wind. Her bean bag chair still sat in the corner next to the lamp she used to read by. The photographs taped to her mirror were still there. One of them was of her
and her best friend, Stephanie, laughing hysterically at something that she couldn’t remember. There was another of her brother and her sitting on the porch swing. Their matching brown hair and
blue eyes gave away that they were related. Another was of her parents dancing around the kitchen together in their pajamas. Her eyes caught her favorite picture. It was of Damon. She had taken the
picture herself. The sun was setting behind the trees and his profile was all but a silhouette. His jaw was much rounder than it was now, his eyelashes curved towards the pinks and purples of the
sky. Jenna got up and walked over to the photo. She traced his straight nose with her finger. The soft waves in his golden hair were stilled by the photograph.
The last day of summer was always disappointing. The last day of summer before high school was even worse. Jenna and Damon sat in the middle of the park two blocks away from her house. The wind
blew the grass around their bare feet. It tickled her toes and legs. She wore his navy blue hoodie over her shoulders. The arms were too long for her hands to make it out of the holes. It smelled
They had played at this park dozens of times. There weren’t any kids with their parents out this time of night. The tether ball pole’s paint was still chipping away. If you looked in just the right
place at the bottom of it, you could make out the initials D.E. and J.M. The two swings rocked in the wind and rattled their chains. The merry-go-round still had a gash in the side of it where
Jenna had fallen and smashed her knee into it. She still had the scar to prove it.
“What do you think it’ll be like?” she asked quietly, tossing a rock down the hill in front of them. Damon knew exactly what she was talking about.
“Well Bryan says it’s great. There are cooler things to do in high school. You actually get to leave school to get lunch. How cool is that? I can’t wait for tomorrow,” he answered. She didn’t quite
trust what Damon’s older brother said. He wasn’t exactly the most reliable person. When she was younger he said that if you could lick your elbow you were considered special. She told him to try it
but he said he didn’t want to make her feel bad if he could do it and she couldn’t. She had tried all day until she got home and her mom told her that nobody could do that, no matter how special.
Maybe it was dumb to hold a grudge, but she did all the same.
“That doesn’t make it any less scary,” Jenna whispered, more to herself than to the person sitting next to her.
Change was one of her greatest fears. It wasn’t what she did very well. She was perfectly content on being inside her comfort zone. The only bright side she could think of was that it would be the
same people that she had gone to school with for the last eight years. Lost in thought, she began to twirl the curls in her hair like she always did. She watched the trees sway back and forth
slightly. She listened to her neighbor’s Chihuahua yapping down the street.
Damon had turned his head towards the setting sun. The outline of his body was perfect against the sky with his arm draped over his bent knee. Jenna couldn’t help it. She held her camera up to her
face and snapped the picture, the flash making little black dots dance in front of her eyes. Damon twisted to look at her.
“Sorry,” she said, blushing, “It was just too perfect.” They stared at each other for a moment until he started to lean closer. Jenna wasn’t sure what to do. She fiddled with the hem of her skirt
to keep from moving her body too much. He was just centimeters away from her when she closed her eyes. Their lips met and she forgot about the sunset and high school and everything else in her
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