The Pool

Watching Delia doing her impression of the drowning maiden, Ephram sighed inwardly. She was the third girl today.

And surprise! There was lifeguard Bright to the rescue, heading into the pool, sweeping her out of the water into "safety". He then proceeded by whispering something in her ear and planting a quick kiss on her forehead, which made Delia go all gooey...

Ephram finished cleaning the white plastic chair and threw the dirty cloth back into the bucket. Really, he had no fucking clue why Bright didn't get tired of this charade.

* * *

That evening Ephram once more found himself cleaning away the guests' leftovers. Really, the same old story every time. Cups, plates, sticky ice cream wrappers, cold fries and a lot of melted stuff he refused to take a closer look at. One would think the waste basket had never been invented. He sighed. Grabbing another half-full cup of warm stale coke and letting it drop into his big plastic bag, he noticed Bright kneeling next to the pool, taking some water samples.

Ephram put down his bag and walked over. He felt inclined to push Bright into the water, clothes and all, but then thought better of it. It really was such a childish thing to do and Bright would probably end up kicking his ass in retaliation.

Bright looked up. "So dude, you got the late shift too, huh?"

"*Dude*, as you probably heard, Steve broke his leg yesterday, so Marty made me take over some of his shifts. It's just my luck to have to work when some idiot puked next to the tree over there again. I'm not getting paid enough for this shit."

"Glad to hear that you you're having, like, so much fun doing your job," Bright joked.

"We can't all be as lucky as you are. Sitting around all day, getting a tan and rescuing all these beautiful women..." Ephram coughed in his hand. "I hope you did remember to get some numbers?"

"Only Delia's."

Ephram grinned. "Okay, I had that one coming. Seriously though, I mean, being played by a bunch of pre-pubescent girls every twenty minutes. How does it not drive you crazy?"

Bright shrugged and finished putting away his chlorine kit.

"I couldn't stop noticing that you developed some kind of routine there," Ephram continued. "Tell me, does the lifeguard handbook really have a paragraph about kissing everyone you rescue?"

Standing up, Bright smiled sweetly. "You can always find out *yourself*," and gave Ephram a quick push that propelled him backwards into the pool.

"YOU BASta..." The rest was lost as Ephram went underwater.

* * *

Bright laughed out loud as Ephram's head bobbed up again, his arms flailing – as if he was trying to hold on to something. The laughing stopped as Bright noticed the alarmed look in Ephram's eyes. "I can't... ," he spat out some water that had swashed into this mouth. "...Swim!" Then Ephram submerged once more.

Bright waited patiently for him to come up again. "E, stop it! I know you're playing me. I'm not gonna fall for that one." Bright crossed his arms in front of his chest, watching Ephram fake his own drowning.

"Bright! Help me for fuck's s..," he was spitting out some more water and managed to keep his face above the surface for a few seconds by kicking water. "This imff... no joke."

"Ephram, give it up. I'm not going to jump in fully clothed. Just come out of the water. This is *so* not going to work." He tapped his foot, trying to look stern while Ephram again disappeared beneath the surface.

Ephram came up again, gasping for air, and went down again.

Bright could make out the other boy's shape, seemingly struggling underwater, but he waited, telling himself that every second now Ephram would have to give up on his stupid joke and come up to breathe.

About twenty seconds later, Ephram was still down, though the struggling had ceased somewhat.

Bright realized that in the two months that Ephram had been working at the community pool, he had never *once* seen the boy swimming. Nor could he remember Ephram ever telling him that he actually knew how to swim. Not that he ever mentioned that he could *not* swim either. But maybe living in New York made learning to swim rather... unnecessary?


Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Even if this turned out to be joke at his expense, it was better to lose some dignity than somebody he cared about.

Bright kicked off his sneakers and jumped headfirst into the pool.

* * *

Ephram waited until Bright had pulled him up, then he quickly turned around, spat some water into Bright's face and then - with an evil grin on his lips - dunked his "savior" underwater. Who actually swallowed quite a lot of it due to excessive swearing.

Of course it didn't take long until Ephram felt someone pulling at his leg, and even though he tried to struggle out of Bright's grip, he eventually got dragged down himself.

In the end both of them had swallowed a good amount of water. Ephram lost his shorts once, thanks to *somebody* yanking them down and not giving them back until Ephram promised to never pull such a stunt again. Not that he thought it would work a second time, but in terms of retaliation he managed to hit Bright in the face with a wet t-shirt at least twice.

Now, lying dead to the world in the community pool, their clothes moving softly with the water, Ephram found himself mentioning that he hadn't had that much fun - in a long time.

Bright only answered with a smile and a half-hearted splash of water.

They stayed that way for a while, watching the last rays of the sun disappear behind the mountains. Simply floating in the warm water, both enjoying the friendly silence that came with being completely beat.

* * *

Some time later Ephram climbed out of the pool, sitting on the side and dangling his feet into the water. His eyes drifted lazily over the wet shirt that clung to Bright's torso. Catching himself, he closed his eyes and shook his head shortly in denial. Not good. Frustrated, he put some extra strength into wringing out the front of his shirt.

Bright kept wading towards him through the waist-deep water. "Dude, I hope you're happy to know that you ruined most of the contents of my wallet?" He took another rather annoyed look inside and then threw it in the direction of dry land. It landed with a wet squishy noise somewhere in the dark.

"Yeah? *You* ruined my sneakers!" Ephram squeezed some water out of the grey soggy mass that once was a perfectly good Nike. "And if I remember correctly, it was *you* who started the whole thing in the first place."

"Really? I thought *you* were questioning my lifesaving tactics," Bright shot back.

"Yes, and now, having had first hand experience, I can say Marty must have been out of his mind when he hired you," Ephram winked. "It's a small wonder that nobody's drowned here yet."

"Ha ha." A wet sock came flying Ephram's way, hitting him dead center in the chest. Ephram grabbed the sock and threw it back, frowning when Bright ducked out of the way.

"So the way I see it, you don't kiss everyone you save after all," Ephram smirked.

Bright stopped in front of him and cocked his head slightly as he leaned in towards Ephram. "No, I don't. Only little girls... and *very* special friends."

Then he leaned in and kissed Ephram.

On the lips.

With tongue.

And it was Ephram's turn to go all gooey.


~~~~~~~~ Back to Everwood ~~~~~~~~



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