Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chapter 6

I woke up to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. I sighed as I threw off the covers. Bauer followed me into the kitchen where I let him out and grabbed the pot of coffee that had just finished brewing. Oh, the wonders of having a decent coffee maker. I stood in front of the window sipping the coffee and looking at the clouds. The rain didn’t look like it’d be letting up anytime soon.

I let Bauer in and gave him some breakfast before pouring myself a bowl of granola cereal. I sat down on the couch and flicked through the channels on the TV. Not seeing anything interesting on, I turned on some music instead.

I dumped my now empty bowl into the sink as Britney Spears’ “Circus” came on. I began dancing around the living room belting out the lyrics as I went. Dancing was one of my favorite things to do. I was often known to break out in dance every time a song I liked came on, no matter where I was.

Bauer barked and jumped around me as I danced from the living room, down the hall, and into my bedroom. I had a ton of energy and decided to make my way to the gym since the weather wasn’t going to allow for a run outside. After getting changed I got into my car and drove to the gym Sidney had pointed out.

I walked inside and headed straight for the treadmills. I turned on my iPod and began my run. After walking briskly for a few minutes to warm up, I sped up and began my usual pace. A few minutes later I noticed someone stop just to the side of me. I turned my head and saw Sidney standing there with a smile on his face.

“Hey,” I greeted as I took one of the earphones out.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“Just running,” I replied.

“How long have you been here?”

“About ten minutes. Did you just get here?” I returned noticing that he didn’t seem to be sweating at all. He nodded.

“What are you listening to?” he asked taking the earphone out of my hand and putting it into his. I narrowed my eyes at him when he began to laugh. “You’ve got to be kidding me. ‘Beat It’?” What's wrong with a little Michael Jackson?

“Hey, I like it!” I protested.

He laughed again. To prove it was a good song I began to dance and yell out the lyrics as I continued to run. He looked thoroughly embarrassed. His cheeks even turned red. I noticed people turning to look at me strangely, but I didn’t care. Sidney obviously did as he hastily handed me back my earphone.

“You’re crazy,” he told me. He turned and began to walk away.

“I love you too, Crosby!” I yelled after him. I saw him shake his head, but I could tell by his body language that he was laughing.

Sidney made his way into a back room of the gym to start his workout. He shook his head again as he thought about Misty. He hadn’t met anyone like her. Who in their right mind seriously begins singing Michael Jackson out loud in the middle of the gym? Who also has the coordination to run 7 miles an hour on a treadmill and be able to dance in the process without falling off?

Misty was definitely one of a kind, he decided. He’d only known her for about two weeks now, but he knew there was no way there was anyone like her out there in the world. For starters, she was one of the craziest, most outgoing people he’d ever met. She obviously wasn’t afraid of being embarrassed in front of a crowd, but she didn’t need to be the center of attention either.

More importantly, she never made him feel like he was anything other than normal. He knew he shouldn’t be surprised since her last boyfriend had been in the NHL, but sometimes that didn’t matter. Some girls never got used to the guys they were around while others just saw them as normal people. He had a feeling that no matter what happened, Misty would never use him for his celebrity in any way.

He also liked that she had no agenda with him. All she was looking for was a friend and that was all he could be for anyone right now. Not once in two weeks had she ever done anything to imply she saw him as anything more than that and he was grateful. He didn’t have time for dating or relationships. He did, however, have time to be around genuine, fun people.

The fact that Misty had his friends’ approval meant everything to him. They may not seem like a protective group on the outside, but they were. They had never cared about what Sidney had become, and they didn’t allow people that did care in their circle. They were always good judges of character so the minute they accepted Misty, Sidney knew his instincts about her were right on.

“Is that all you can lift?” Misty’s voice interrupted his thoughts and he looked at the weight he was currently squatting.

“I’d love to see you lift this much,” he challenged. She snorted.

“Yeah right. I totally wouldn’t want to embarrass you for the second time today,” she retorted. He rolled his eyes. “You almost done?”

“I have to finish this, and I have one more lift,” he told her.

“Good. You can buy me a smoothie when you’re done,” she said.

“What makes you think I would do something like that?”

She just smiled at him and walked away. He watched her walk over to the corner, grab a medicine ball and some weights and start doing some ab work. He was impressed by the obvious strength she possessed. No one could ever call her weak, that was for sure. He finished his workout and walked out to where she was still going, stopping at her feet and looking down at her.

“If you want that smoothie, I suggest you come with me now. Otherwise you’re out of luck,” he told her. She jumped up.

“Aye aye captain,” she said with a salute. He shook his head at her for probably the 100th time that day, but couldn’t keep the smile off his face.

“What kind did you get?” Sidney asked me as I sipped on my smoothie.

“Raspberry,” I replied. He looked at me weird.

“And?” I gave him a strange look back.

“Raspberry,” I told him.

“There are dozens of different smoothie combinations and you went with just raspberry?” he asked incredulously.

“Raspberries are quite possibly the greatest thing you could ever put in your mouth. Why would I want to taint that?” I returned. He laughed.

“Do you realize how dirty that sounded?” I scowled at him and gave him a shove.

“You’re a perv. So, Mr. Smoothie Nazi, what kind did you get?” He took a giant sip of his.

“Strawberry, blueberry, and banana,” he responded. I scrunched up my nose.

“Sounds bland,” I retorted. “At least raspberry is a strong, bold flavor.”

“Who’s acting like the Smoothie Nazi now?” he returned. I winked at him and laughed as we walked out of the store and over to our cars.

“Thanks for the smoothie!” I called over to him as I opened my car door.

“How about dinner and a play date for the dogs tonight?” he called back. I smiled.

“You can cook?” I joked. He laughed.

“I can grill.” It was my turn to laugh. Men and their grills.

“Should I bring anything?” He shook his head.

“Just Bauer. Is there anything you don’t like so I don’t make it?”

“I don’t eat fish. It smells bad, tastes bad, and has a creepy texture,” I told him.

“Okay, no seafood.”

“I didn’t say I didn’t like seafood. I love shellfish. Shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels, scallops, yum. Except oysters and clams. I don’t eat those. Blech. Oh, and I don’t eat pork unless it’s hot dogs,” I explained.

“There’s always an exception to the rule with you,” he said laughing.

“You’ll learn that with me there's always an exception,” I teased.

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

“I’ll see you in an hour!” I yelled, ducking into my car.

I stopped on my way home to pick up a bottle of wine. As I stood looking at the selections I realized I had no idea what we were going to have for dinner or if Sidney even liked wine. I decided to play it safe and get a bottle of Riesling and a bottle of Pinot Noir. One of them would work.

I jumped into the shower when I got home. When I was out I threw on a pair of jeans and a pink loose fitting t-shirt. I put my hair into two braids so when it was dry it’d be wavy. Then I grabbed a container holding brownies I’d made the previous day along with some hot fudge and vanilla ice cream. I put them in a bag with the wine, called Bauer and headed over to Sidney’s.

I got out and could smell something delicious cooking on the grill. I let Bauer out of the car, grabbed the bag of stuff, and made my way around the house into Sidney’s backyard. Bauer saw Sam immediately and ran over to sniff her. It only took a minute for the two of them to decide they liked each other and start playing. Sidney turned when he heard the commotion and smiled at me.

“I thought I told you not to bring anything,” he chastised as he saw the bag I was carrying.

“I was taught you never show up to someone's house empty handed. I have ice cream. Can I put it in your freezer?” I asked. He nodded and led me inside.

“These are amazing!” Sidney exclaimed from behind me as I was putting the ice cream in the freezer. I turned around to see him shoving a brownie into his mouth.

“Hey! Those are for dessert!” I scolded him. He grinned at me, brownie in his teeth and I rolled my eyes at him. “I brought two bottles of wine. I wasn’t sure what we were having for dinner, or if you even drank wine.”

“I drink wine and we’re having a surf and turf. A ribeye and some shrimp with Cajun seasoning. I’m also grilling up some vegetables,” he explained.

“The Noir it is. Got a wine opener?”

He opened a drawer and pulled one out. I opened the wine and poured it into two glasses Sidney pulled out of a cupboard. We made our way back outside to hang out and watch the dogs. The rain had cleared up and it was a pretty nice evening so we ate outside. Sidney had been right. He could definitely grill.

We finished off the bottle of wine and then made our brownie sundaes for dessert. It seemed that Bauer and Sam weren’t quite done playing so we opened the Riesling and made our way back outside to hang out and talk. The sun dropped and it began to cool off. Sidney noticed that I was shivering a bit and went inside to get me a sweatshirt. I walked out onto his dock and lay down, staring up at the stars.

“Do you know anything about constellations?” I heard Sidney ask me.

“Not a thing,” I replied as I sat up, gratefully taking the sweatshirt. It smelled like Sidney, and I found it oddly comforting.

He took a seat beside me and we just sat there in a comfortable silence for a while looking out over the lake. At this point we’d finished the second bottle of wine and I had a nice buzz going. I wasn’t big into silence and jumped up from my spot, startling Sidney.

“Let’s do something. I don’t care what it is, cards, video games, or anything else. I just want to do something,” I told him. He laughed and stood up too.

“Do you like the Wii?” he asked. I let out a whoop and began to jog back towards the house.

“I’m so going to kick your ass!” I called to him as I turned around to look at him following behind me, while I continued to run. Right when I was about to turn around my heel caught on the root of a tree and I went sprawling on my ass onto the muddy ground.

“Are you okay?” he asked running over to me. I just sat there for a minute laughing.

“I don’t know what my problem is. I’m the most coordinated person I know and yet for some reason I get around you and turn into a total klutz,” I said with another laugh as he helped me up.

“I’m just special I guess,” he joked with a grin.

“Or it could be the wine, smart ass.” We called the dogs and walked into the house.

“Speaking of the wine, you should stay here tonight. I don’t like when people drive after drinking. There’s plenty of room.”

“You don’t have to convince me. Here are my keys, officer,” I said as I grabbed them out of my pocket and handed them over to him.

We made our way over to the couch where we played a few games of tennis, bowling, and Mario Kart. We both played well and it was deemed a tie for the night with a promise of a rematch soon. I headed into one of the guest rooms with shorts and a shirt from Sidney to sleep in. Bauer curled up next to me, exhausted from his night with Sam. I drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chapter 5

“What are you doing on Saturday?” Caden asked Sidney when Sid picked up the phone.

“Uh, not sure. Why? What do you have planned?” Sidney returned.

“It’s the cultural fair. What do you think I have planned?” Caden retorted.

Every summer Cole Harbour held a cultural fair in downtown. The streets were closed off and booths were set up from different countries around the world. They displayed artifacts, notes on some history, and traditional food. That’s what his friends went for. They paid the one time cover, ate all the food they could, and drank all the traditional beer/booze at each booth.

“I forgot that was this weekend. Count me in,” Sidney replied.

“Good, that’s what I like to hear. Are you going to invite Misty?” he asked. Sidney thought for a minute.

“Yeah, if you guys don’t mind. She wanted to dive into Cole Harbour culture.”

“We don’t mind. We really liked her,” Caden told him.

“Yeah, she’s a great girl. Not too many girls can fit in and give it right back to you guys when they first meet you.” Caden laughed.

“I think she’s the first. She’s not bad to look at either. Did you see that body when she stripped down to her bikini on the boat?”

“Caden, come on,” Sidney warned.

Of course, he had noticed. He’d have to be blind not to notice how hot Misty was. It helped that she was obviously a natural beauty. Now that he thought about it, he’d only seen her with makeup on once, when they’d gone to dinner. Even then, she hadn’t even come close to going overboard like most girls did. He liked that she was comfortable in public without any on.

Come to think of it, he’d never even seen her with her hair down. It was always pulled back out of her face and didn’t look like she messed with it a whole lot. Most girls he knew spent an hour on their hair alone and it still looked like they’d rolled out of bed.

Her body was something else. He wasn’t surprised when he heard that she played four sports in school and enjoyed working out. It was obvious the minute he saw her standing there in just a bathing suit. He doubted there was an ounce of fat on her. She was muscular without being over the top. It had been hard not to stare at her when she moved, watching the muscles work when she did. Even so, she was still a bit curvy. He’d noticed that too.

The thing about her that he’d noticed first and that he couldn’t help but notice every time he saw her though were her eyes. Everything about her was dark. She had dark, almost black hair and dark skin, but her eyes were far from it. They were the brightest blue eyes he’d ever seen. It was such a change from the rest of her that he doubted anyone would miss them. Even as bright as they were, they got even brighter when she laughed, which she seemed to do all the time.

“Sorry, man, didn’t realize you’d called dibs on her,” Caden apologized, interrupting his thoughts.

“No one’s calling dibs on her. She just got out of a long term relationship,” Sidney told him.

“Guy was a jerk?” Caden asked.

“Sounds like it. Why?”

“Because anyone that would let her go has to be a jerk. Who in their right mind would break up with her?” Sidney rolled his eyes even though Caden couldn’t see him do it. “Anyway, it’s obvious you have a thing for her.” Sidney almost choked on the sip of water he’d just taken.

“Excuse me?” he asked.

“Yeah, I mean Sid the Kid doesn’t bring random girls to dinner and then invite them to see where he lives and hang out with his friends. Actually, you’ve never done that.” He groaned.

“I don’t like her. I was just being nice because she’s new to the area and she’s here by herself,” he said defending himself.

“Yeah, okay, sure. That said by the guy who’s wary of every person he meets because he thinks they’re just trying to cash in on him in some way. Face it man, you like her,” Caden scoffed.

“I do not! I just told you she ended a long term relationship recently and isn’t looking for anyone,” Sidney argued.

“If you don’t like her, why do you care if she’s looking for someone or not? Anyway, haven’t you ever heard of being the rebound guy? Great sex, no strings attached.”

“Alright, I’m hanging up now. I’ll see you Saturday.” He could hear Caden laughing as he hung up the phone. He scrolled through his contacts until he found Misty’s number. Then he hit send and waited for her to pick up.

I heard my phone ringing from inside the house. I threw the tennis ball across the backyard for Bauer to chase before running the other direction and into the kitchen. I made it to my phone just before my voicemail picked up.

“Hello?” I answered breathlessly without looking at the caller ID. I hadn’t had time.

“Is this a bad time?” Sidney’s voice asked through the receiver. I laughed.

“No, I was just outside with Bauer and had left my phone inside. I ran to it to get it in time,” I explained.

“Ah, I see. He’s not traumatized after the other day with my friends, is he?” Sidney asked. I laughed again.

“Nah, he’s good. So what’s up?” I figured Sidney hadn’t called to check on Bauer.

“Well, this Saturday there’s a cultural fair in downtown. They shut down all the roads and set up booths from different countries. It’s a one time cover for all the food and drinks you want along with some pretty cool displays and music. I was just wondering if you wanted to join me and the guys,” he offered.

“That sounds great. What time should I show up?”

Sidney told me what time they usually went. We chatted for a few more minutes before hanging up. I smiled as I hung up, glad to have something to do and a few new friends to do it with. I’d enjoyed hanging out with Sid’s friends. I definitely got along better with guys than girls and being the only girl in a group certainly didn’t bother me. I heard a loud bark and realized I’d left Bauer outside.

“Oh, Bauer! I’m sorry!” I called as I went back over to the door.

He was standing there with the tennis ball in his mouth, wagging his tail. I opened the door to let him in, but instead he turned and bolted the other direction. Obviously he wasn’t done chasing the ball. I followed him outside and obliged.

Two days later I woke up, took Bauer for a walk, and then got ready for the fair. When I was finished I walked downtown enjoying the weather as I did. As I got closer I could hear the buzz and smell the different foods. This was definitely the type of thing I loved to do and I got excited the closer I got.

I was a little earlier than Sidney had said to meet him, so I paid my cover and wandered around a bit, just checking everything out. I grabbed a brat with some sauerkraut as I walked past the German section and ate as I meandered along. Just as I was finishing, I spotted Walker ahead of me.

“Walker!” I called, jogging over to him. He turned around towards me.

“Misty, hey!” he greeted with a smile and a hug.

“So this is pretty cool, huh?” I asked looking around me.

“Yeah, we come every year. The food’s awesome and the alcohol’s flowing,” he said. I laughed along with him.

“I already sampled a brat. It was delicious. I figured I’d pass on the beer until it settled in my stomach though.”

“Walker?” I heard a female voice ask. I turned to see a pretty blonde standing there with her arms crossed over her chest and a glare directed straight at me.

“Zara, this is Misty. Misty, this is my girlfriend Zara,” he introduced hurriedly, probably trying to avoid pissing her off. The minute Zara heard my name, her gaze softened and a smile replaced the frown.

“Oh, Misty! You’re the girl Sid’s been talking about. It’s nice to meet you,” she said extending her hand. He'd been talking about me?

“You too. Walker’s talked a bit about you as well,” I told her as I shook her hand.

“Yeah, I bet,” she said with an eye roll and an elbow to Walker’s side. “Sorry about the bitchy attitude when I first came over. I saw the hug and thought some girl was trying to move in on him.”

“No apologies necessary.” As soon as I’d said that I heard a yell and turned to see Caden and Wesley barreling towards me, Sidney following behind. Before I had a chance to react I found myself flung into the air.

“Would you put her down guys?” I heard Sidney say. I laughed as I felt my feet touch the ground again.

“Was that too much?” Wesley asked.

The group laughed and we made our way through the fair. I had just as much fun at the fair as I did on the boat. I enjoyed being around Sidney’s friends more and more. Zara was also really sweet. I knew that we were going to get along really well this summer. At some point Walker and Zara made their way over to see her parents and Caden and Wesley went to refill their beers, leaving Sidney and I alone.

“Are you having a good time?” he asked.

“An amazing time. This is exactly the kind of thing I like to do.”

Just as I finished my sentence I caught my toe on something. I began to plunge forward, face first towards the ground. I closed my eyes and braced myself for the painful impact when I felt two arms grab me at the waist. I opened my eyes to see that there was only about a foot between my face and the pavement.

“Are you okay?” Sidney asked, pulling me up to face him. I just laughed.

“I think I’ve had enough beer for the day,” I joked. He laughed too. I heard a few people applauding and laughing so I turned and gave a bow. “Thank you! I’ll be here all day!” I called out.

“Why don’t we go sit down?” Sidney asked with a chuckle. I agreed and followed him over to a table.

“So, I feel like the last few times we’ve hung out it’s been all about me. I think it’s time to put the spotlight on you. Tell me about yourself.”

“Wow, put me on the spot,” he said with a laugh. “Where do you want me to start?”

“Let’s start with your family. What are they like?” I asked.

“There’s my mom, Trina, and my dad, Troy. They’re still happily married. I have a younger sister, Taylor. She’s about eight years younger than I am. Then there’s Sam, my dog.”

“You have a dog?” I asked. He nodded. “How the hell haven’t you brought that up or why haven’t I seen it?”

“I guess I just never thought to bring her up. She’s at the vet right now. She had surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor,” he responded.

“Bauer and Sam will have to have a play date. Bauer loves other dogs.” Sidney nodded.


He continued to tell me about his family. It was clear from the way he was talking that they were a close knit group, which was nice. That’s the same way my family was, and I couldn’t imagine it being any other way.

As it started to get dark the fair began to wind down. We all said our goodbyes and I headed home with a promise from Sidney that we’d set up that play date soon. I got home and collapsed in bed, exhausted from the day. As I drifted off to sleep I thought about how lucky I was that I’d fallen in with a pretty great group of people.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chapter 4

It had been two days since I’d gone to dinner with Sidney. I hadn’t heard from him, but it hadn’t been too long. If he called, he called. If he didn’t, no big deal. It wasn’t like I was trying to date the guy.

I put on some workout clothes and grabbed my iPod. It was a nice day and I wanted to go for a run. I stepped out onto the driveway and looked in each direction. After thinking for a minute I decided to head to the right. I hit my stride a few minutes in and lost track of everything else. As I was headed back home I saw a familiar Range Rover pull over to the side of the road in front of me.

“How’s the run going?” Sidney asked as he rolled down the window.

“Pretty good. I was just heading home,” I answered.

“Look, I have to drop something off at my parents’ house. It’s a nice day and I have a boat. I’ll come pick you up after and we can go out on the lake.” I smiled and nodded.

“Sounds great. Can Bauer come?” I asked.

“Of course. I’ll be over in about 20 minutes. Is that enough time for you to be ready?”

“What? You think I have to shower, try on 20 outfits, and do my makeup and hair to go out on a boat?” I scoffed. He looked surprised, but smiled.

“Then 20 minutes it is.” He gave a wave and pulled back onto the road. I watched his car disappear around a corner and finished my run home.

I quickly hopped into the shower to rinse off from the run. I threw on a bathing suit, put a sundress on over it and walked into the kitchen. I figured food was probably a good idea since it was close to lunch time. I wasn’t sure what Sidney liked so I made a few different sandwiches. I grabbed a bag of chips, some salsa, and some fruit. Just as I packed everything into a bag I heard his car pull into the driveway.

“Bauer, let’s go!” I called. He jumped up from the couch and followed me to the door. Sidney was just getting out of the car as Bauer and I walked outside. Bauer immediately froze when he saw Sidney and let out a loud bark. “Would you stop?”

“I’m really not a bad guy,” Sidney said to Bauer as he squatted down. Bauer moved close enough to sniff Sidney’s outstretched hand. When he’d smelled what he wanted he moved back towards me. I just rolled my eyes and headed towards the car.

“I packed lunch,” I said as I put my bag into the back.

“Oh yeah? What have we got?” he asked.

“Well, I wasn’t sure what you liked, so I packed a bit. We have two peanut butter and jelly, two peanut butter and banana, and two turkey sandwiches along with some chips and salsa, and some fruit.”

“Two of each sandwich?”

“I didn’t know what I was in the mood for.” He laughed. “Oh, if you want mayonnaise or something you’ll have to get it yourself. I don’t do mayonnaise.”

“Not a fan of mayo, eh?” he asked.

“Not a chance. It’s white, goopy fat. Ick,” I replied. “I don’t eat anything white and goopy.”

“What else is white and goopy?” Sidney asked grinning at me, obviously in amusement.

“Sour cream and fluff. Actually, I eat crème anglaise. I guess that’s not so goopy though.” He laughed again.

“You are too much,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“You hate citrus fruits, but you like kiwis. You hate white goopy food, but you like crème anglaise. There’s always an exception. I just think it’s funny.” I smiled back at him.

“I’m going to find some quirk of yours, and when I do, I’m going to really give it to you.” He laughed and got into the car. I got into the passenger seat after getting Bauer to jump into the back and we pulled out onto the road. Just as we hit the road his phone rang.

“Hey…..Going out on the boat…..With Misty…..Yeah, the girl I went to dinner with…..No way…..Come on, Caden…..Not gonna happen…..You would not…..I don’t believe you…..Just hold on.” He sighed and turned to me. “My friends wanted to go out on the boat. Would you mind?”

“Not at all. The more the merrier.”

“If you’re not there in 10 minutes we’re leaving without you.” He said into the phone and hung up. “I want to apologize ahead of time.”

“For what?”

“You’ll see.” I laughed.

Just as we pulled up to Sidney’s house, another car pulled in behind us. I watched three guys get out armed with towels and beer. Bauer noticed them as well and began to bark as he cowered in Sidney’s car. I rolled my eyes and got out of the car, opening the door for Bauer to get out. He jumped to the ground and kept me between him and Sidney’s friends.

“Guys, this is Misty. Misty this is Walker, Caden, and Wesley,” Sidney introduced us.

“Hi, it’s nice to meet you,” I said as I shook their hands.

“Not bad, Siddo,” Wesley said, looking me up and down. I looked over at Sidney and saw his cheeks turning red. I laughed.

“I told you,” Sidney said to me.

“Told her what? You telling lies about us?” Walker asked.

“Never,” he replied with a grin.

We grabbed everything and carried it over to the boat. It took a bit of coaxing to get Bauer on a boat full of people he didn’t know, but eventually the lure of a treat got him to jump on board. We pushed away from the dock and headed out.

“So, Misty, where are you from?” Caden asked.

“New York.” Before I had a chance to elaborate, Wesley cut in.

“What part of the city are-" he started.

“Don’t finish that question,” Sidney warned. I laughed and shook my head.

“I’m from upstate. I’m closer to Canada than the city,” I explained.

The five of us chatted as Sidney drove the boat out to the middle of the lake. I passed out the sandwiches and put out the chips and salsa when the boat stopped. We all cracked open a beer and Caden busted out a deck of cards. We talked as we played Asshole. As the afternoon went on I got hot and decided to jump in the water for a swim.

“Anyone else coming in with me?” I asked as I peeled off the sundress. The sound of splashing water was my answer.

I jumped in alongside them, gritting my teeth as the cold water hit me. The five of us swam and splashed around in the water while Bauer watched from a perch on the boat. I noticed that Sidney seemed to be a target for the other three as he somehow managed to get dunked about a dozen times in just a few minutes.

“I thought you were supposed to be a professional athlete,” I said to him as we were drying off back on the boat.

“What does that mean?” Sidney asked in confusion.

“Well, your friends seem to be stronger than you. You sure got dunked an awful lot,” I joked.

“They ganged up on me!” he yelled sarcastically while laughing. I laughed too and threw my towel at him. I stretched out along the back of the boat after slapping on some sunscreen, and sipped on a beer.

“So, Misty, how’d you get that amazing body?” Walker asked. I heard Sidney groan at the same time a leftover sandwich hit Walker in the face. Everyone laughed.

“I like sports and working out,” I replied, not at all bothered by the comment.

“What sports?” Caden questioned.

“Pretty much everything. I was a four sport athlete in high school and played just about every intramural sport in college.”

“Wait, four sports? How is that possible?” Wesley wondered.

“Volleyball was in the fall, swimming in the winter, and softball and track were in the spring. Track meets were only on Saturdays and softball games were only on weekdays. Of course doing two sports at once took up a lot of time. I’d have two hours of softball practice, then I’d have to go and run a few miles after since I did all the distance events in track.”

“No hockey?” Sidney chimed in.

“I used to figure skate as a kid, but I gave it up when I got to grade seven and started playing the other sports on school teams. I’ve never picked up a hockey stick though.”

“Well, now that you don’t play sports in school anymore, what do you do?” Walker asked. I shrugged.

“I run at least a few miles a day five days a week and go to a gym to lift. Speaking of lifting, where’s there a good gym around here?”

“I’ll show you when I bring you home,” Sidney replied. I smiled and thanked him.

Around six, Sidney started the boat back up and we headed home. I said goodbye to the guys as they got into the car they’d come in and pulled out of the driveway. I helped Sidney carry some things into his house and looked around in awe. His house was perfect. It was definitely a lake house, with lots of windows and simple décor, just how I’d want my place to look.

“Are you hungry? I can order some pizza or Chinese if you want,” Sidney offered.

“That’d be great, but do you think we could do it at my place? Bauer needs to eat too.”

“Not a problem.”

After getting in the car Sidney drove me past one of the gyms in town telling me that’s where he worked out. I took note of its location, deciding to go in the next day and get a membership for the summer. When we reached my house I fed Bauer while Sidney ordered Chinese.

We sat on the couch and watched TV until the food got there. Sidney went towards the kitchen to grab plates and I laughed at him. I grabbed the chopsticks that came with the order, opened a container and started eating out of it as I walked back to the couch and sat down. Sidney followed suit. He only stayed a couple of hours before saying he had an early morning and had to get home.

“Thanks for taking me out on the boat today. I had a lot of fun,” I told him as I walked him to the door, Bauer following closely behind.

“I did too. I’m glad you came.” He squatted down and stuck a hand out to Bauer. “I’ll see you later, big man.”

To my complete shock Bauer walked right up to Sidney and let him pet him. Sidney grinned and began to scratch Bauer’s ears. In pure joy, Bauer flipped over onto his back indicating that he wanted a belly rub. I watched in surprise as Sidney began scratching Bauer’s stomach in such a way that it got Bauer’s leg kicking in ecstasy. I was the only one he ever let do that. It had even taken three months for Bauer to let Mason do more than just pet his back. I started to wonder if maybe Bauer was trying to tell me something by doing that.

“I can’t believe he’s letting you do that. He’s not like that with anyone,” I told Sidney.

“I guess I’ve just got the magic touch.” He stood up, said goodbye and walked out to his car. I shut the door behind him and Bauer let out a small whine.

“I don’t even know what to do with you sometimes,” I told him, giving him a pat on the head.