Paisley and Kai have an argument. She gets injured when she runs away from him. Nina takes her to the hospital and Kai gets put in charge of her class. A few of the members are talking, bothering others. One woman responds, only to get yelled at by the man in the bunch.
“Why, you wearing a turtleneck?” The one man in the bunch, who was probably in his sixties, responded.
The woman stopped exercising and stared at him. “Excuse me? Is that supposed to mean something?”
The man, who had gone back to talking, glared at her.
“Because that was so juvenile. I mean, my God, not only does it mean nothing, it’s the kind of response I’d get from one of my third graders!”
“You got a problem, lady?” the man said, turning aggressive.
“I do! Every day, you all stand back there and talk non-stop through the entire class. Go flirt somewhere else! Gossip in the coffee shop or something. I’ve been a teacher too long, to put up with that nonsense from adults!”
“What, like fifty years?” The man thought he’d gotten in a good jibe by insinuating she was old.
The woman started laughing at him. “Is that supposed to insult me?” She turned away, still laughing. “Sorry, Kai.”
The man advanced on her, his arm cocked behind him. When he got closer, he swung hard, splashing her in the face in a huge wave of water. She lost her balance and went under. Kai did a shallow dive into the pool, and was at her side in seconds. She stood, with his help, gasping and coughing. Kai’s scowl was fierce as he turned on the man.
“Out of my pool,” he growled loudly, pointing to the side.
“You can’t order me around,” the man said, taking a defiant stance.
“As part owner and head lifeguard, I sure as hell can! You five disrupt every class. I’ve been nice about it, asked you to stop talking so much, but you still do it. You have your little hen house, that’s fine. I really don’t care how many of those fat old biddies you’re schtupping, but you can keep it outta my pool. Now, if you wanna join the class and really exercise, fine. If not—get the hell out!” Kai bellowed.
The man looked ready to clock him. However, since Kai was taller, more muscular and about a third his age, the older man backed off. Cody stood on the edge of the pool, backing up his brother, as the rest of the class looked on. The old man might be dumb enough to take on Kai, he wasn’t stupid enough to take on Cody as well. The teenager was nearly as formidable as his brother. Wisely, the trouble maker walked out.
The man and his gaggle of old women made their way to the shallow end, saying nothing. The rest of the class cheered and clapped, jumping up and down enthusiastically. Kai finished class and was congratulated by everyone.
“Thank you so much!” the school teacher said. She hugged and kissed his cheek.
“I’m gonna go home and make you some chicken and dumplings and butter beans,” one of the older ladies said before hugging and kissing him.
“That guy can’t keep his pecker in check,” Mr. Sims said quietly as Kai got ready for the next class. “Most of those women are married. I don’t know if he’s slipping them the willie or not, but he sure likes the attention. He really chaps my shorts, that guy!”
“Yeah, me too. I’ve talked to them before, but they don’t care. It’s gonna take Mom or Brad talking to them before they’ll take it seriously. I guess I’m not enough of an authority for them.”
“You scared the hell outta him today,” Mr. Sims assured Kai. “Man, I thought you were gonna take his head off, and shove it up his ass!”
Kai chuckled, nodding. “Believe me, I felt like it. If it will help Paisley….” With a pensive sigh, he ducked his head.
“You know, son, couples argue. It’s not a big thing unless you let it be. My advice, take her someplace nice for dinner, and tell her you’re sorry—even if it’s not your fault.”
“You heard us, huh?”
“I was just arriving. Yeah, I heard. You keep in mind, that girl’s scared. Whatever she left behind, it haunts her still. She’s crazy about you, but she’s terrified to get involved again. So you walk soft, and keep it zipped.”
“That part’s not easy.”
“Nobody said it was. That’s part of being a man. If you ever need to talk, you know how to reach me.”
“Thanks, Mr. Sims.”
“Call me Steve. I think you’ve earned it.” He punched Kai in the shoulder, whistling as he walked to his car.
The next class went well, as did swimming lessons. Kai took the group his mother usually taught, and actually enjoyed working with toddlers. They were starting a new class. One of the little boys didn’t want to do what his mother said. He hopped at Kai, yelling, Dada!
Kai took him, laughing as the two year old tried to pull off his sunglasses and yanked at his hair. He demonstrated, using the little boy, whose name was Ronnie. The child did everything he said, laughing as he paddled in the water. His mother looked rather upset. The more Ronnie played, and called Kai Dada, the more upset she got.
He took her aside when the half hour class was over. Tempest took charge of Ronnie, drying him off and changing his clothing.
“I can’t believe he took to you so well. He’s usually so funny with strangers—especially men.” She didn’t look any older than Kai. Her name was Nedra, and he vaguely remembered her from school, maybe a year ahead of him.
“My sister was like that. She wouldn’t let anyone, but me or her dad, take her in the water. My mom usually teaches this class…. Tempy wouldn’t do a thing for her. So I took over with her, while Mom taught. Now, we can’t keep her out of the water.” He nodded to his sister who was holding Ronnie and playing with him.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes