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A Change of Heart

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Scott Dashwood was a handsome boy of 13, growing up in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland.  Just a month shy of this 14th birthday, Scott had been working all summer at the local golf course to earn spending money for his freshman year in high school.  He anticipated high school with dread, fearful of being one of the new boys on campus, exposed to the normal teasing and taunting present at Woodrow Wilson High.

He had not expected the call when his parent’s phone rang around noon on Friday.  It was from Amber.  Amber Hennessy was a girl from down the street, just a month older than Scott.  With light brown hair, the girl seemed to be aptly named.

The Hennessy’s had been out of town for about 8 months due to Amber’s father having a short term work assignment in Houston, Texas.  Amber had to transfer to a school in Houston in order to finish 8th grade.  She was now finally back in town just days before the start of their freshman year at Woodrow Wilson and she hoped that Scott could come by for an afternoon at the family’s above ground pool.  They hadn’t seen each other in what seemed forever.  Scott quickly agreed to come by.

The truth of the matter is that Scott and Amber had been best friends since 2nd grade.  They had played tag together, explored the woods behind their house together and just hung out like young kids do.  Amber was just “one of the guys” as far as Scott was concerned.

The trip down the hill to the Hennessy house was a short 5-10 minute walk.  Scott was wearing his oversized swim trunks and carried a Miller Lite bath towel.  Scott really wanted to wear his Speedo that he wore when teaching youth swimming at the Y in the winter months but he knew that his mother would never approve of that.  “It’s damn near indecent Scott.  Everyone can see what you own.”  He was not in the mood for a fight with his mother so the oversized trucks would do just fine.

It wasn’t long before he was at the red brick Victorian located at 254 Old Hickory Lane.  Amber greeted him as he walked up the driveway.

“Hi Scott!!”

“Hi Amber!”

The young girl was wearing an oversized Carnegie Mellon University sweatshirt.  Pink straps and what looked like a pink bikini bottom appeared to be underneath the sweatshirt.

“Let’s go back to the pool.”

As she led Scott into the backyard, she pulled the sweatshirt up and over her head.  Scott’s intuition was correct.  Underneath the sweatshirt was a pink bikini.  Amber’s first bikini.

In the past, Amber had always worn what Scott sarcastically called “water dresses”.  Modest one piece suits with a dress-like bottom, they were God awful looking things.  So where did this come from?

“Like my new suit?  I got it in Texas.  Mom is finally allowing me to purchase some of my own clothes.”

“Uh huh.”  Scott was at a loss for words.  After finally getting over the swimsuit change, he was now having to deal with other changes visible with the girl.  Amber was no longer wearing a “page boy” hair style.  Her hair was now long, silk-like and hanging over her shoulders.  And the gawky glasses that used to frame her face were also gone, replaced with contacts that showed off her rich, deep brown eyes.

 

But those changes were not the most dramatic ones.  Also gone was Amber’s previous “straight rail” figure, replaced by gentle curves and hips.  A fuller butt and young breasts rounded out the striking appearance change.

Scott mentally shook himself out of his daze and smiled at the girl.  “You look great.”

“Like the tan?  I worked on it most of the summer.”  Amber causally pointed at her flat, bronzed stomach as she talked.

“Uh huh.”  Did this girl have any idea what was going on in his mind?  Scott sure hoped not.

“Let’s hang out on the deck.”  Amber walked to the pool’s deck stairs, her butt shifting back and forth as she moved.

A soft “Good God” was all that came out of Scott’s mouth in reply.

“Huh?’

“Oh, I said ‘good idea’.  I’ll be right there.”  He sighed, knowing that he had just dodged a landmine with that quick recovery.

Scott watched Amber climb the ladder, her butt once again just feet away from his adoring eyes.  “I’m going to hell” was all he could think.  Eternal damnation was just around the corner, he was sure of it.  But if he was going to hell, then he might was well enjoy the trip.

The boy and girl sat together at the edge of the pool and talked.  Amber, a studious girl, talked about everything that had gone on in Texas as well as politics and recent news.  In short time, Scott found himself intrigued by the girl and her breadth of interests.  She had matured not only physically but also intellectually. By comparison, he felt his life had been stagnant and stuck in middle school.  She had just grown so much.

But Scott was also dealing with other emotional issues concerning Amber as well.  Guilt was building up inside him as he kept coming back to the fact that this was his friend, perhaps his best friend.  So how could he be thinking what was going through his mind?  His relationship with the girl was getting, well very complicated to say the least.

“Earth to Scotty.  Wake up.”  Amber splashed the young boy when he failed to respond.  “Are you falling to sleep on me?”

Hardly.

“Hey you got me all wet!”  Scott splashed back playfully.  Then the water wars began.  After roughly 10 minutes, it was surprising that any water was still in the pool.  The water wars only ended when Scott finally grabbed the young girl and pulled her into the water with him.  The two surfaced and laughed for a while.

“Hey, you got my hair all wet, you creep!”  Amber laughed while pointing jokingly at the young boy.  Scott meanwhile turned red with embarrassment.

“Scott, I was just kidding.  You OK?”

The young boy finally smiled awkwardly.  “I thought for a moment that you might be mad.”  The truth however was more convoluted.  In reality, Scott was still torn by his new feelings for Amber and what was appropriate for someone who was his friend.  Yes, he had pulled her into the pool in the past but doing so with the “new Amber” somehow seemed different.  It seemed both exciting and dirty at the same time.

A call came from out of the house.  “Amber, you have to come in and change dinner.  Remember, we have to be at the restaurant in an hour for your cousin’s birthday.

“Coming.”

Amber looked at Scott and smiled.  “I am afraid I have to go.”

Scott smiled back.  “Actually, I really have to leave as well.  Thanks for the swim.”

 

The two youths pulled themselves out of the water and started to towel down behind in garage, just out of sight of Mrs. Hennessy.  Then it happened.

Without warning, Amber threw her arms over the shoulders of the taller boy.  Pulling herself up on her toes, she gazed into his eyes.  Then her head started to move towards him.

“Holy crap,” thought Scott.  “She is going to kiss me.  What the hell I am supposed to do?  Move toward her, just wait for her to come to me, or what?  How long should I kiss her?”  The boy had a thousand questions racing through his head with no answers.  He was both excited and terrified.

Then like a pilot making a landing correction, Amber shifted her face to the left.

“Ah, shit” thought Scott.  “She is just planning to hug me.”  He was now disappointed even though his heart rate was still above 160.

Then the pilot changed direction one last time.  Amber veered to the right.  Her intentions were now clear.  She was aiming to kiss his left cheek.  Well that’s better than a hug, he thought.

The kiss was short but felt intense to the young boy.  Just a second or two.  But it was followed by a soft whisper.

“I really missed you.”

Scott turned red and tried to reply.  But he just stammered “I missed you too.”

And with that, Amber scampered inside the garage and then into the house.

 

*****************************************************************************

 

“What the hell just happened?” thought Scott as he looked at the door to the kitchen closing behind the young girl.  He was lost in thought, embarrassed and excited.  Yes, his world had become confusing.  A world without well-defined boundaries.  A world that he knew would become more complicated before he could finally make sense of it all.

As the boy walked up the hill toward his house, a rush of warmth came over his body.  It was a intense feeling and he smiled.  “I think she likes me,” was all that resonated inside his head as he tried again to process the whole afternoon.  He could feel the warmth travel through him as he continued to walk.  Either this was love, he thought, or I have the start of a bad sunburn…..

 

 

The End

 

Author’s Bio:   Tom Schmidt is a Chemical Engineer working in medical diagnostics in upstate New York.  He enjoys creative writing and has been published on www.short-story.me and in overmydeadbody.com in the past.  He is currently working on the “Paul Garigan Crime Mysteries”, a collection of short stories centered around a Malibu based police detective which he hopes to publish in the future.  Tom can be reached at tschmidt_stories@yahoo.com.

 

 

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