Love Takes a Swim is a romance in my Florida Families Series. If you’ve read Conduct Unbecoming, or The Ninja Tattoo, you’ll have met some of the characters here. Kai Marcelo is part of a huge, old Florida family, who can trace their roots back to the Spanish settlers, as well as a Native American tribe. He works as a lifeguard for his parents at their health club, as well as training to be an paramedic.
When our story begins, it’s summer vacation in Florida, which means steamy and hot. Kai’s at work riding herd on the summer camp kids as they crowd the slide.
“Watch it, guys,” Kai said quietly. “One at a time, no shoving.”
He lined them up, holding each one until it was his turn. A simpering pair of teenage girls came up flashing their adolescent breasts at him. He pointedly looked away, scanning the pool carefully before smiling at them.
“Hi,” one said, giggling as she pushed past him to the top of the slide.
Kai nodded, smiling as he took another sip of water.
“What’s your name?” her friend asked, holding up the line as she tried to flirt.
“You need to keep moving,” he said calmly, glancing at the line.
Irritated, she tossed her head at him and went down the slide. She and her friend didn’t return. After about thirty more minutes, another lifeguard came up the ladder behind him.
“Time for you to go on break, bro,” Cody told him.
“Thanks. See you in twenty.”
Kai went down the ladder and headed inside to get a drink. He needed caffeine badly, but it was too hot for coffee, so he dug around for change to get a Coke. He found an empty picnic table under a tree, stretching out on top of it to relax in the shade, contemplating a haircut.
Thick and wavy, his dark brown, sun-streaked hair came to his shoulders. It was a mark of vanity for him, one he didn’t want to give up, but it was hot and becoming a nuisance. Women’s voices broke the solitude. He glanced to his right and saw a gaggle of elderly women arriving for the morning water exercise class. He was always on deck for that. The old ladies loved him. They liked staring at a tall, handsome, muscular young man while they huffed and puffed in the class.
He wasn’t there as eye candy. Training as a paramedic, he was the most experienced lifeguard with advanced life support techniques. Considering some of their patrons were not only elderly, but had health problems, it was important to have their best man on the job.
Checking his watch, he saw he had about five minutes left on his break. Chugging his soda, he let out a loud belch and headed to the pool deck. The regulars greeted him, laughing and simpering as he walked by. Other lifeguards cleared the children out of the pool. It was class time now, open swim commenced again after the two morning classes.
Kai brought out the noodles for the water aerobics teacher, and took his position on the high chair on the north end of the pool. After setting up the large red and white umbrella, he sat down, twirling his whistle on its red cord.
The facility director came out to greet the class. She rarely did that, so he sat up and took notice. An attractive brunette in shorts and a tank top, followed her. She carried a speaker, an iPod and a clipboard which she set on a chair near the pool and waited for the director to speak.
The older woman clapped her hands, getting the class’ attention. “Hi, everyone! As you all know, Deanna has left for maternity leave. So today, we’re welcoming our newest addition to the Sunspot Health Club family, Paisley Saunders.” She applauded. Everyone joined in. “Welcome, Paisley! I’m going to leave you all in her capable hands today and hope you enjoy her class!”
Speaking quietly to the younger woman, the director shook her hand and walked briskly back to the office. Kai leaned forward expectantly. This was by far the youngest and most attractive woman to join the Sunspot Health Club family in over a year. The only other one was Deanna, married and pregnant. He couldn’t tell for sure at a distance, but he didn’t see the glint of jewelry on her ring finger. That wasn’t always a tell. Most women knew not to wear their jewelry in the pool. But he remained hopeful.
Paisley turned from the edge of the pool to slip off her shoes and T-shirt. One of the older men wolf whistled at her. Blushing, she walked to the edge of the pool, shading her eyes against the glare.
“Okay, I can see I’ve got a troublemaker already. Do I need to send a note home?” she laughed as she started the music playing.
“I’ll behave, Miss Paisley,” he promised loudly and insincerely.
She laughed harder, beginning the warm-up. Her bright red one piece suit glittered and gleamed in the hot sunshine. Kai felt the heat, but it wasn’t from the pool deck or the sunshine. His heat was internalized, of his own making. He hated to admit it, but he was hot for teacher. Fidgeting, he wiggled in his chair trying to get a more comfortable position for his long, lanky body.
The man who’d whistled looked up from below. “Feeling it yet, boy?” he asked so only Kai heard him. Mr. Sims reminded Kai of Kenny Rogers in looks and build.
“Don’t know what you mean, Mr. Sims. Feel what?” He shifted as unobtrusively as possible.
The older man laughed at him. He knew the reason for Kai’s discomfort wasn’t because the seat was hard. “Pretty little thing.”
© 2019 Dellani Oakes