“You can’t be serious. We don’t have on suits.” Persephone delicately sipped the hard alcohol in her glass.
“Oh, come on. We don’t need suits.” I pulled my dress shirt over my head and kicked off my flip flops. In the heat, I drew the line at dress shoes. My head cocked for Veva to follow my lead.
“Follow me,” I urged. Veva’s adamant shaking head fueled my desire to swim.
“You wouldn’t,” Veva gasped, as I reached for her. It was all the temptation I needed. I bent and swooped her up at the waist, hoisting her over my shoulder.
“Solis!” she screamed, beating my back. The loose, sheer material felt less than paper thin and swished over Veva’s skin at the back of her knees.
“Gotta live a little, Veva. That’s what your name means.”
“Put me down!” Her hand smacked my ass, and I sprang to life with the delicate sting.
“Do you have on underwear?” I groaned, slowing my pace as I neared the pool’s edge.
“I don’t see how that’s any of your business,” she yelled with another swat at my lower back. “Put me down.”
“What kind of bra do you wear with a dress like this?” I asked, ignoring her plea. As I neared the edge of the pool, I slid her down my body, but not far enough for her feet to reach the ground. Her toes kicked at my shins, but I refused to release her. Her body trapped against mine only reinforced my growing excitement. She squirmed and screamed, but I wanted an answer to my questions. From the feel of those firm globes pressed against my chest, I’d say no bra constricted those precious breasts. My hands slipped under her thighs and she willingly wrapped her legs around my hips in an effort to prevent me from releasing her into the pool.
“I’m waiting for an answer,” I teased, hitching her body higher against mine. The thin material was so silky under my hands, if I inched them upward, I’d discover the answer for myself.
“I’m warning you. Put. Me. Down.”
“Or what?” I threatened playfully. I twisted at the waist, swinging her away from the pool before twisting quickly, motioning as if I’d toss her into the tempting bath water.
“Okay,” she screamed. I inched closer to the edge, feeling for the tile with my toes. I balanced on the precipice, knowing Veva did as well. I shifted her away from the water, still holding her under her thighs while her legs clamped around my waist.
“You’ll never find out if I wear underwear or not.” Her threat only encouraged me. I spun, swinging her over the pool’s edge. Only something happened—her weight shifted, and the momentum of the false toss tugged her outward from me. Instinct to protect her kicked in, and I grabbed onto her. We moved in slow motion, her eyes opening wide, as did mine. She fell backward as she held fast to my neck, and I was going down with her. I turned my body, angling to hit the water first, but it didn’t matter. Within seconds, we submerged in the tepid pool. I held onto her and watched as her dress billowed outward in the warm liquid. It rose as we sank and I caught a peek of what I questioned.
It was only Veva and I underwater for that moment. Nothing else existed. Nothing else mattered with my arms wrapped around her waist, drawing her close to me. We pushed upward collectively and sprang from the water. I whipped back my hair, noticing Veva’s fell in limp strands over her face. Her make-up trickled down her cheeks. That strange sense of only the two of us in the world surrounded me. There was no sound but our breaths gasping for air. Reaching out to wipe away the unnecessary paint on her face, she swatted at my hand. The moment abruptly burst.
“Don’t touch me.”
“I’m so sorry, Veva. That wasn’t meant to happen.”
“Of course not. Dangling me over a pool, threatening to throw me in because you want to know if I wear underwear, would never lead to me going in the water.” Her sarcasm flowed deeper than the liquid around us. Ignoring her battling hands, I brushed back her hair, wiping down her face to remove the streaks of make-up. I stepped closer to her.
“You ruined my dress.” Her hands futilely attempted to pull out the formerly billowing material. In doing so, one strap fell off her shoulder and dropped precariously low, threatening to expose her. I stepped even closer, but Veva stepped back. My eyes drew to her chest. Round, ripe globes outlined in sheer wet fabric highlighted the peachy center.
“Forget it,” she huffed, smacking the water as she released her dress. “I’m freezing.” She stepped toward the edge of the pool, but I blocked her way. Freezing or not, the wet material enhanced her assets and I didn’t need the whole party to see what I desired.
“Just stay put a second.” I muttered, my eyes diverting from her chest, but the force too strong, they roamed back.
“Oh, now as if dumping me in here isn’t enough, you want to keep me in the pool. What’s next? Drowning?”
“Veva, no, it’s not like that…it’s…Heph?” I called out. His attention hadn’t left the spectacle I’d made, and I motioned for my dress shirt. Not taking my meaning, Persephone brought the shirt to the edge of the pool. Before she reached me, Zeke appeared.
“Veva, honey, are you all right?” The concern for our guest weighted heavy in his tone, and on my heart. He’d mysteriously reneged his threat to send me to nowhere Nebraska, but this stunt might spark a new deal.
“I’m fine; I just want to get out of here.” She stepped again for the edge of the pool, but I blocked her, turning my back to her to face my father.
“If you wouldn’t mind?” I reached upward for my shirt from Persephone, and Zeke stepped back. I turned to face Veva, but Zeke still had the final word.
“Meet me in my study. You have some explaining to do, son.” The endearment demeaned more than comforted. I placed a hand on Veva’s upper arm to guide her toward the grand staircase. She shrugged her shoulder, yanking her arm out of my grasp.
“I’m so sorry, Veva. But you’re more than cold at the moment, and I need you to put on my shirt.” This direction stopped her, and she looked down at herself before glaring up at me. I held out my button down.
“Why? Why cover it all up?” She waved a hand up and down her soaked dress. “First, it’s ruined, and second, isn’t this what you wanted? To embarrass me? Show the party what I had under the dress, which you clearly know now is very little?” She huffed, and my heart sank. Exposing her to the party had not been my intention. I wanted her all to me.
“I’ll replace the dress,” I offered, but the words were wrong. She swiped the shirt from my hands and threw it in the water, releasing it to float away from us.
“Forget the dress. I just want to get out of here.” She twisted away from me, dragging the water laden fabric of her dress behind her as she walked through the pool. When she reached the edge of the first stair, she stepped upward, took a deep breath and continued forward. Her uptight shoulders and straight back told me—she’d had enough of me. The dress clung to her as she exited the water. There wasn’t a curve to be discovered or a crevice to be hidden. She continued forward, holding ramrod stiff as she regally left the pool. Persephone met her at the water’s edge, arguing she should have taken my shirt, but Veva held up a hand at her friend. Shaking her head, she dismissed Persephone and walked toward the house, letting everyone get a glimpse of what I’d never experience.