See, told you I’d be back soon 🙂
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California University beat Virginia U and the next three teams they went up against. They were on a roll. The local newspapers and newscasts were all over Spencer, Ashley and Julia. They were being haled as a super team.
Ashley’s reputation as a lady-killer became public knowledge. Everyone was curious to know if she and Spencer were a couple. The pair eagerly denied those allegations.
To her utter disappointment Spencer found herself leaving Michael to be with Ashley. While she would claim to have relay practice the relay team was comprised of three swimmers. More often than not Spencer and Ashley would be at the pool alone for the majority of these “meetings.” Spencer knew Michael would never understand, but she and Ashley were becoming friends. They may have been polar opposites in personality, but they seemed to connect.
“So Spence, are we going to meet up for ‘practice’ later?”
Spencer looked over her shoulder to make sure Michael wasn’t in earshot. “Sure, if you want.”
“If I want? That’s not an answer. Yes or no?”
Spencer rolled her eyes. “Okay fine, yes.”
“Sweet, see you then.”
They both knew it wasn’t practice they were looking forward to, but rather spending time alone together. Spencer preferred to tell herself it was simply innocent practicing while Ashley told herself that she was trying to win a bet.
Over the next couple days Spencer would head to the pool before bed every night. Again, she told herself it was so she could tire herself out. But with three classes a day and practice plus a social life, there was no way she was feeling antsy by the end of the day. No she couldn’t sleep for other reasons. And that reason was usually at the pool to greet her when she arrived.
The two bobbed in the water in their respective lanes as they chatted. They had come to find that conversation between them came easily. Conversation would range from school or practice, but nothing more personal than that. Neither felt it was appropriate to ask personal questions. Not yet anyway. But as time went on they both grew more curious. These conversations only happened in the hush of the darkened practice pool away from the girls, the coach and most importantly Michael.
Spencer felt awful cavorting with her girlfriends archenemy, but truthfully nothing inappropriate was happening. All they did was talk. When everyone else was around Ashley was her usual rude, distant and domineering self.
“So, how did the ‘great’ Ashley earn her title?”
“I’m freakin’ awesome at sex that’s how,” Ashley smiled.
“No, smart ass, how did you get into swimming?”
They both laughed.
“Well being a rock stars kid and all I always had a pool, indoor and out. Due to that fact I was in the water year round. If there was nothing else to do, swimming was just the logical activity. I never learned like form or technique or anything though. That came later. When I was a junior in high school I met this lady at a bar. One thing led to another.”
Spencer rolled her eyes.
Ashley continued undaunted. “Anyway, I get to school the next day to find she was the new swim coach. Which is weird because she seemed too young to be a teacher. But she begged me to join the team, I really don’t know why because she had never seen me swim. Must have just wanted to see me in a bathing suit.”
Spencer splashed her with water.
“Telling a story here!”
“I’m sorry,” Spencer laughed. “Continue.”
“As I was saying. She begged and begged and eventually I gave it. I wasn’t into the whole team sports thing, but I did love to swim so I figured what the hell. I tried out and she went crazy about how I was the best novice swimmer she had ever seen blah, blah, blah. From then on she started working with me. Showing me proper form and all that stuff. Eventually I found myself falling in love.”
Spencer was shocked.
“I mean with swimming not her, idiot box.”
It was Ashley’s turn to splash Spencer.
“So then what happened?”
“Well I was on the team my junior and senior year. I was in any local competitions I could find in between. She was my unofficial coach. She groomed me into the swimmer I am today. She was like an ex Jr. Olympic star or something, but she got injured and couldn’t compete anymore. I suppose she was living vicariously through me.”
“Are you two still friends?”
Ashley grimaced. “No. Her ah, husband kind of caught us one night. We had stopped ‘being together’ right when she found out she was my teacher. Then she started coaching me and we were spending so much time together. One night it just got the best of us I guess. Unfortunately her husband decided to come home early and boom, all hell broke loose.”
“Oh my gosh. What’d he do?”
“Freaked out. He was yelling and punching walls. Luckily he didn’t hit either one of us. I really liked him too. Since she and I spent so much time together it was inevitable that he and I would too. Sucked that it had to end so badly.”
Spencer could see Ashley was genuinely hurt by the memory.
“So you guys don’t talk at all anymore?”
“Not since that night. He made her agree to move away and never see or speak to me again in return for him not reporting us. I was still technically a minor and her student at school. I miss her sometimes.”
“I’m sorry, Ash.”
“It’s cool. Shit happens right? I’m a super star now. What more could a girl ask for?”
Spencer could tell Ashley really did feel hurt, but she quickly covered it up. It was apparent that this was a story few people knew about and she was honored Ashley would share it with her.
“Super star? You wish,” Spencer joked in an effort to recover the lighthearted mood from earlier.
Ashley looked smug. “Don’t be jealous Spence. Once I’m gone you’ll be one too.”
“This is your last season isn’t it?”
“What’s next for you?”
“That all depends on the All Star meet.”
“You were invited?” Spencer sputtered.
She knew all about the All Star meet. It turned swimmers into legends. It was how a swimmer got the most recognition and obtained the ability to make swimming into a legitimate career. Spencer had never been invited. That was mainly because Santa Monica State was a small school and often overlooked; that fact made her decision to transfer to Cali U all the easier.
“No not yet for this years. The invites don’t go out until closer to the end of the season.”
Spencer nodded. “But I heard you were invited before?”
“Yeah my sophomore year.”
Ashley sighed heavily. “But I couldn’t go because my GPA wasn’t high enough.”
“Man, that sucks.”
“Yeah. Yet another thing in a long line of suckage for me.”
Spencer wanted badly to know more about Ashley mostly why she put up such a hard front all the time. She couldn’t understand why a girl who seemed to have it all; money, looks, talent, could possibly be so unhappy. Spencer made it her business right then to find out and maybe even change that fact.
The talk about the All Star race brought the bet back to the front of Ashley’s mind. She was starting to see that during her conversations with Spencer everything else on her mind would instantly be forgotten. Spencer had a calming effect on her. Something Ashley wasn’t accustomed to. She’d get a glimpse of those water reminiscent eyes and immediately feel like spilling her guts. That was beginning to worry her.
Spencer could see the worry etching itself across Ashley’s beautiful features. “What is it?” she asked gently.
“Nothing,” she cleared her throat. “Um, look I have to go. I’ll see you Saturday for the next meet. Don’t mess up.”
Ashley pulled herself out the pool then practically ran off to the locker room leaving Spencer alone and confused.
Did I say something wrong? Spencer thought. I don’t get her. She runs so hot and cold sometimes. I wish I could figure her out.
Feeling slightly dejected, Spencer too decided to call it a night.