Paisley and Kai have an argument, thought Kai doesn’t really understand why.
“I’m not crazy, and I don’t have a drug problem. I only use knives in the kitchen, for their specific, food related purposes. And if I got pregnant by you, I’d keep it, because it would show how much you love me.”
Paisley got out of the Jeep, stalking away almost angrily. Kai could tell that wasn’t the case. He’d made her cry again, and felt terrible. Putting the sunscreen up in his front window, he followed her inside, but she’d gone in the women’s dressing room.
“Problem?” his mother asked.
“No, ma’am. Well—kind of?” He told her the conversation. “I didn’t mean to upset her again.”
His mother hugged him. “Harder than you thought, huh?”
“Love.” She patted him on the arm before walking into the locker room.
Kai heard Paisley’s tearful reply to his mother’s greeting, and felt like a total prick. Instead of dwelling on it, he let his mom handle it, and went to work. He had quite a bit to do before they opened, and he was about 30 minutes behind schedule. Cody pitched in, helping him without being asked. Kai thanked him with an affectionate punch to the shoulder.
Paisley came out for her class, but she was somewhat subdued. Kai wasn’t sure if he should approach her, but didn’t want there to be a distance between them. Instead of pushing, he gave her opportunities to come to him. She didn’t do anything until after her classes. Once the pool was open to the public, she came to the base of his tower, asking to come up with her eyes.
Kai smiled, giving her a hand up. “Good classes today,” he complimented.
“Thanks. I had fun. I hope they did.”
“They were smiling. Always a good sign.”
“Sorry for the meltdown—again. It’s been a tough month.”
“You only left a month ago?” No wonder she’s a basket case.
“Explains why you’re so emotional. I’m sorry. Now I feel like a total dick.”
“Don’t. You’re wonderful. You could never—even at your worst—be as bad as he was on a good day.”
It took him a moment to work through that statement. “Thanks. I’ll never hurt you on purpose, Paisley. You have my word on that.”
She smiled, taking his hand. “I need to get inside. I’m teaching Zumba today. Then aerobics.”
“Why have you got Zumba? Randi usually teaches that.”
“She called in with a bum ankle. Her boyfriend took her dancing, and she fell when she was walking drunk to the bathroom.”
Kai chuckled, nodding. “Sounds about right. That wasn’t her best move, huh?”
“See you on break?”
“I’m looking forward to it.” She gave him a short kiss.
Kai helped Paisley off the tower, watching her as she walked to the building. Cody whistled at him from the pool deck.
“Kai! Dude! Eyes on me, man! You’ve got a phone call.”
“I do? What? Who?”
“Didn’t say. Get down so I can take over. Move it, dude!”
Kai hopped down so his brother could take his place. He went in the pool office, and picked up the phone.
“This is Kai.”
“Hi, kid. It’s Thad.” His boss at the EVAC.
“Oh, hi. What can I do for you?”
“I need you to fill in for one of my regulars. Are you available?”
“Depends on the hours. I’m working here, too.”
“Can they make do without you for a few days? I’m in a bind, kid, or I wouldn’t ask. Half my guys are on vacation, now I’ve got one with a bum ankle.”
“He doesn’t date Randi, who works here, does he?”
“She’s out with a bum ankle too. What the hell did they do?”
“Or what the hell are they trying to pull? So, can you?”
“Let me talk to the Boss Lady and see. I’ll have to be here for morning classes.”
“There’s no one else who can do that?”
“You know the regs as well as I do, Thad. If I’m not here, they need an ambulance on call. I know you’re practically right across the street, but do you really want to tie up a team for two hours cause a bunch of old ladies have weak hearts?”
© 2019 Dellani Oakes