Chapter Twenty-Five: Boiled
There was no one in the poolroom, no one but our loud and rowdy crowd, because apparently Becca had made sure that we'd have it all to ourselves. The fact that she worked here was just fine by me, knowing that we had the room to ourselves was a relief. It meant that there wouldn't be any little kids bothering us, splashing or coming down the waterslide un-expectantly. It also meant that those little children would not be able to witness the amount of groping going on between Nate and Aly.
"Easy you two, no one wants to see that!" Natalie shied away, hiding her face in Jay's shoulder.
Jonathon tugged me back from the water for a second, his eyes tracing back to Connie who was sitting on the edge of the pool, but not in the water. "I can't get in the water, at least not for too long."
"Why not?" I glanced around.
"You know how much heat I produce..." Jonathon smirked and I felt my face flush.
"You think you're going to make the water boil? Oh please." I snorted.
"Why do you think Connie isn't in the water?"
"Then lets go sit in the -"
Someone grabbed my hand and I fell backwards in to the pool, the water rising up to slap me on the back and then covered me. I tried to get free, but there were hands on me again lifting me back out of the water, and I looked down to find Nate hoisting me from the water, and preparing to toss me back in. Jay was doing a similar thing with Natalie, but she was laughing, wiggling in his grip. "Ah! Nate put me down!!"
"Okay." Nate laughed and I toppled back in to the water with a splash, only to emerge a second later to find Aly in the same position I had been in. Much like Natalie however, Aly was bursting with laughter, and fighting to get out of Nate's grip.
"That's not what I meant." I sneered.
"You said ‘put me down', so I did." Nate laughed and let Aly fall in to the pool, water splashing up and over his head.
I glanced around, brushing my wet hair back from my face, searching around for Jonathon. He was sitting on the sidelines, at least two arm lengths from where Connie was sitting. She was talking freely with Molly, who was standing in the water looking up. I waded through the water and pulled myself up out of the pool and sat down next to Jonathon, shaking out my wet hair, purposefully trying to soak him.
"Hey now!" He laughed.
"Jonathon, the water's great! Don't tell me you're a hyrdophobe like Connie is." Rebecca scrunched up her nose, glancing back and forth from Connie to Jonathon.
He shook his head. "No, I'm just not that crazy about chlorine."
Aly's laughed cascaded through the air, loud and brilliant as ever. "Seriously? Oh brother, you and Connie should get to know each other." She spun around in to the water, her hair sending a whip of water in all directions.
Connie shot us a look, and slid closer to Jonathon, her eyes looking up at him through her eyelashes. Jealousy bubbled up in my chest, not that I was jealous of the minor irritation; I just didn't care for the way she was looking at him. Instinctively, I snuggled in closer to Jonathon, letting the heat from his body dry my wet bikini, his hand lancing through my tangled locks.
"Yes, she's right Mr. Marks, we really should get to know each other better."
How does she know his last name? I never told anyone that? OH my god! Please tell me she's not working for Lucien too! A scowl twisted my face and I leaned over Jonathon, my breath hissing as I spoke. "Back off. Or I'll smash your pretty demon face in with my foot."
She seemed taken aback for a brief moment, but just as quickly she recovered and sat as close o Jonathon as she could without touching. "Be nice little Hunter, I come in peace to you, but he is a completely different matter."
"Can we not do this here?" A growl escaped Jonathon's chest, making the ground beneath us vibrate slightly.
"Where else is there? Your Mommy has been looking for you, y'know?" Connie's lips twitched up in to a sneer that was anything other than human. "I mean, with your sister playing Lucien's games and your Dad-"
"If you want me to break your neck, keep taking." Jonathon snarled, his lips pulling back from his teeth.
"Okay... chill." The others seemed completely oblivious to what was going on as I glanced at them, they were too engrossed in a good old fashion chicken fight. "Can't you leave him alone?"
"Did you know there's a bounty on his head?" Connie's head cocked to one side, her eyes shimmering with a dull light.
"No. I really don't care either. Seriously, leave us alone."
"It's a big one too. I could be happy for the rest of my life if I brought Lucien his head on a platter." Her finger grazed her chin. "It wouldn't even have to be a silver one, I could probably picked a chunk of bark off the ground and that would suffice."
Now it was my turn to snap, I shot over at her so fast, my open hand connecting his her cheek. The sound seemed to reverberate in the poolroom, sending a shockwave of silence through my friends. Each one of them were staring, Jonathon's hands wrapped around my wrists, holding me back, as he stood between Connie and I. I could've killed her so easily, I just would've had to reach out and snap that bony neck of hers. I narrowed my eyes, keeping her locked in my sights, watching as my handprint blossomed in a bloody red on her cheek.
"You bitch! You hit me!"
"I told you to leave him alone!"
"Olivia..." Jonathon purred, pulling me against his chest, but it was doing nothing to help me calm down. The heat rolling off his skin was only fueling my anger, helping me stay standing and keeping me from forgetting what she'd said. I promised to keep him safe, no one, not even someone like Connie, is going to get him.
"Fine. I was just seeing how many buttons I could push before you snapped. Obviously not a lot, I wouldn't want him anyway, Celone's a better meal ticket."
Last straw. I broke free from Jonathon's grasp and barreled towards Connie, knocking her off guard. I jumped her, shoving her on to the concrete floor, her head making an awful cracking sound when it struck. She was laughing at me though, and this time, not only Jonathon, but also Nate and Jay were pulling me off my lifetime bully.
"Easy Olive! You don't need to kill her to make your point." Nate soothed, his arms wound around my waist.
I could feel all their eyes on me, as my temper evaporated, as I watched Connie stand up, not a scratch on her. I couldn't kill her, demons were too strong to kill with my hands, and she wasn't worth it anyway. It wasn't worth exposing my new world, or Jonathon, and it definitely wasn't worth my friends all thinking I had lost it. I broke free from their grasps and turned on my heels, and sulked off to the hot tub, pulling my knees to my chest.
"Okay, now that the entertainment for the night has come to a close, shall we get back to that chicken fight?" I heard Aly's sweet laughter fill the room again, followed by the sound of splashing water.
"Better?" Jonathon sank in to the warm water, little bubbles forming around his ankles.
"Holy shit! You do make the water boil!"
A laugh slid through his lips. "Not so loud, and truthfully, those are the jets."
I blushed, pulling my hands through my now damp hair. "Oh... right. Sorry."
He kept his distance from me, a stream of jet water separating us, but his eyes never fell from my face. "Olivia, I can take care of myself. You know that very well. Connie is just one demon who prefers to live here, and doing anything to upset her lifestyle would put her in a position where staying here wasn't possible. So I highly doubt she would even consider, trying to take me out in front of all your old classmates."
I jutted out my bottom lip, squishing my face in to a pout before glancing over at my friends, who were now chicken fighting in the pool. Their laughter was inviting, cascading down the walls and dropping over me like a familiar blanket. I wouldn't ever do anything that would prevent me from moments like this, keeping my secret life separate from them was important, and for a brief moment of jealousy - I had slipped. "I'm sorry."
"It's alright Olivia. Now, why don't you go play with your friends, and I'll take a little nap in here." He winked and slid over until his hip was pressed against mine, and titled my face towards his. "If I could get in the water without cooking everyone like lobster, I would join you, but for now you'll have to have some fun without me." With that, he gave me a quick kiss and all but shoved me out of the hot tub.
"Are you all done pouting now, bug?" Nate looked up at me from the edge of the pool.
I shrugged and slipped in to the shallow end of the pool, dragging my fingers along the surface of the water. The ripples behind me seemed to vibrate on the water's surface, and circled around behind me, slowing time itself. My knees shook and the image of my friends frolicking in the pool froze before me, the last thing I saw before I slipped below the water's surface, was Jonathon watching me with a strange glance. The next thing I saw was the rear end of Jay as he swam away from me, and pulled himself up out of the water and hid behind a table.
I emerged but I mere moment later, spewing chlorinated water like a cherub in a fountain. He looked almost terrified, as he crouched behind a plastic patio chair, holding back what seemed to be laughter. Everyone else in the pool was watching, Nate and Aly appeared more worried than entertained, while Natalie looked mortified for what her boyfriend had just done. Rebecca however, was laughing silently, her body making the water ripple, ripples that spread out along the water's surface and lapped up against my bare waist.
I couldn't help myself, watching Rebecca try to contain her laughter was almost painful, and I found myself laughing loudly along with her. All the while I was glaring at Jay, it was probably not helping Becca calm her laughter in anyway. "Jay, you bugger. I am so going to get you back for that, and hiding behind some plastic lawn furniture isn't going to save you." I continued to laugh, even as I floated towards the rest of my friends, who were now laughing along with Becca and I.
Natalie was holding her stomach from laughing so hard, it was more of an embarrassed laugh than the fact she found the situation humorous. "I'm so sorry Olive. I told him not to be a dink tonight, apparently my little speech went unheard."
"No worries Nat. Honestly, I wouldn't have expected any less from the mongrel." It felt good to join in the fun, relaxing and forgetting about what was waiting for me back in Morden. I didn't feel like fighting anymore, I just wanted to enjoy what freedom I had for now. I put the thoughts of Hunters and the Society out of my mind, and even quashed the unsettling emotions I felt from Connie. At this moment in time, splashing around in a pool that was barely six feet deep, was more than perfect.
"Okay, now how about we get back to some chicken games." I smirked, winking at Aly who was completely composed by now.
"That sounds marvelous. Can you coax your god of a boyfriend in to the water long enough to get your butt kicked?" Her face twisted up in to an expression that immediately reminded me of Alex's smug grins, and arrogance.
I shrugged. There was no way I was about to force Jonathon in to the pool, when I didn't know what kind of reaction the water would have to him. Snow seemed to melt as he walked through it, so I could only imagine what a twenty-foot body of water would do. "No, probably not. But I'm not against taking up someone else as my partner."
"Like? All the guys are taken?" Becca tilted her head, questioning me with a look I was still so familiar with.
"How about you Becks?" I forced my hands to my hips under the water, trying to take up a somewhat macho pose. "I could easily lift you, especially in the water. No big deal. What do you say?"
Rebecca looked beyond worried, but very slowly she nodded and then proceeded to join me at my side. With a nod, I indicated that she should hop up on the side of the pool and sit on my shoulders that way, instead of forcing me underwater until she was steady. Her shoulders relaxed a bit, so I assumed that I had made a good choice. So she pulled herself up on to the cement pool side while I pushed my back against the interior pool wall, and she swung her legs over my shoulders and laced her fingers under my chin.
I was right; she weighed nothing compared to the weights Alex had me training with most days. In fact, it was so easy to move around with her in the water; I felt a victory coming on. I saw the bemused faces of our friends as I tested Becca's trust in me, wading through the water a few times and bouncing along the pool floor to get my footing. Aly looked thrilled, while both Nate and his twin sister, Natalie, looked beyond impressed at my new found strength.
"Holy crap, bug. Have you been working out?" Nate gaped, his arms folded over his chest.
"Sure have. Now who do we cream - I mean - compete, against first?" I smirked.
"Oh ho. I take that as a challenge missy." Aly scrambled to climb up on Nate's shoulders, and it lacked a great deal of grace, especially for being in the water.
It took Rebecca and I about twenty seconds to knock Aly off the first time, the second time she seemed more prepared and it took a little help from Natalie to get her off Nate's shoulders. Aly wasn't the type to give up though, and she demanded best three out of five, and since I felt like I had the upper hand, I feigned a trip and both Becca and I toppled back in to the water.
"Okay, I think we'll just say that Olivia and I won, because I'm exhausted and have to work tomorrow morning yet." Rebecca wiped the water from her face.
"Aw, c'mon! One more!" Aly whined, bouncing up and down on Nate's shoulders, sending him toppling under the water, followed by Aly and a high pitched yelp.
"I really think I've had enough chlorine for one day." Natalie said softly, hoisting herself up on to the edge of the pool.
"You guys could crash in our hotel room for the night." Jonathon perked up, standing next to Natalie at the edge of the pool. "I mean, I'm sure Olivia wouldn't mind having one big sleep over. Right Red?"
For a moment, every one was silent, and their eyes darted from me to Jonathon and then back to me, looking more my approval. "Of course! That sounds like an excellent idea!"
"Really?" Natalie looked from me and then up at Jonathon, who towered over her tiny frame. "Don't you two want to be ... you know ... alone tonight?"
I heard Aly squeaked out a giggle before hiding her face in Nate's shoulder. I was now wondering if they had all been wondering the same thing, as if I was some sort of sex fiend. "No no. It's fine. The girls can sleep in the bedroom and the boys can have the couches, the big one pulls out into a bed."
Becca came back to life at that instant, joining Natalie at the edge of the pool. "I could get some cots for your room too! Then no one would have to sleep on the floor."
"It's settled then." Jonathon shot me an approving glance; it shared its space with a slight amount of pride as well. "Shall we?" He walked down the pool's edge until he was closer to me, and held out his hand over the water.
I swam up and grabbed hold, letting him pull me from the pool and up against his chest. I could already feel my bathing suit drying off, and my skin tingled at the idea of just standing up against him. "Yes, let's go up to the room and dry off. I'll get a movie and ... maybe we should run to the store and get some popcorn and chips or something?"
"Well, I have to buzz home to get some clothes and my hair supplies, so Jay and I can pick that up if you want?" Natalie was winding a tiny towel around her chest, in a vain attempt at drying off.
"Good. You can take Molly and I home then." Connie finally intervened, hands on her hips and eyes narrowed.
"I guess." Natalie rolled her eyes and went back to retrieve Jay from his hiding place.
"Alright. That sounds good. The rest of us can head up to the room and chill out for a bit until you two get back." I pried myself away from Jonathon, using as much self-control as I could muster in front of my friends. I hoped that no one noticed how badly I wanted to trace my fingers down his chest, or that I wanted to kiss him in a way that would leave me breathless. I suppose it didn't matter if they saw it, no one but Connie knew what he truly was, but I still kept my Mother's words on rerun in the back of my mind.
It seemed to help as we all filed back up the stairs and in to the room. We, excluding Jay and Natalie, piled up on the couches and on to the floor. Nate and Aly curled up in the corner of the loveseat that sat facing the window, his arms wound around her waist and her head resting against his chest. Rebecca plopped down in the armchair; pulling her knees to her chest and let her head fall on her knees. She played with the edges of her towel, pulling at a loose string on one of the corners before breaking it off.
"So, Olive ... what do we do until Jay and Natalie get back?" Rebecca lifted her head, winding her arms around her legs.
I glanced over at Nate and Aly who were curled up together, and then over at Jonathon who was vanishing in to the bedroom to change. I wandered over to the couch, picked up the remote and began flipping through the hundreds of weather and news channels. I glanced over at Rebecca, who seemed to be getting more and more uncomfortable in her bathing suit, but sat still and watched the channels flick by.
"Why don't you go change? I can find a movie on TV or Friends or something to watch." I glanced over at her. "There's a bathroom across from the closet back there, I think Jonathon is changing in the one the bedroom."
Becca slowly moved off the chair without saying a word, just wound a towel around her a bit tighter and picked up her bag beside her chair. In a few footsteps she dissipated in to the bathroom. I shot a look at Aly and Nate who were quietly talking amongst themselves, Nate was pulling his fingers through her hair and letting his thumbs trace over her cheeks.
"Nate, Aly, could you two cut out the P.D.A. I think Becca would appreciate it."
Aly rolled her eyes, twisted a strand of hair around her index finger. "Olive, she's been acting like that for months now, and she won't tell anyone why." Aly crawled closer, lowering her voice so that no one but the two of them would be involved in the conversation. "She was dating Markus. Do you remember him? Any way, I think that it has something to do with him, even if she won't admit to it."
I scrunched up my nose, trying to put a face to the name, but nothing came to me. It had been far too long for me to remember someone I may have gone to school with once upon a time. "No, I don't recall anyone named Markus. What happened? Did they break up or something?"
"I guess so. She hasn't said or mentioned anything about him in three months, so I'm guessing they spilt."
"How long were they dating?" I sat closer to her, our shoulders pressing against each other.
"Six months, as far as I know." Aly shrugged, and glanced back at Nate and then to the closed bathroom door. "But now ... I want to know something about you and Mr. Gorgeous in there." She pointed towards the bedroom door, crossing her legs and settling into a position of dominance.
"Oh, and what would that be?" I became very unsettled.
"What's the deal with you and him? How long have you two ... been together? He just seems so much older than you." Aly's hands rested on my knee, giving it a light squeeze while she waited for an answer.
I bit my bottom lip, I knew full well that Jonathon could hear our entire conversation from wherever he was in the hotel room. I didn't want to say anything that could hint at my true purpose of dragging him everywhere with me. "Um, honestly. We just started dating at the beginning of the month. I was dating Michael up till the end of November and things got really out of hand, and Jonathon just seemed easier to get along with. I feel needed with him." My cheeks warmed, warning me that I was beginning to blush.
"Needed? How did you feel when you were with Michael? I mean, you sent me all the pictures, especially from when you first moved there. The ferris wheel, Halloween, spring break. It was always the two of you, and you always looked happy, so comfortable. So what happened?"
I looked over Aly's shoulder at Nate, who had somehow managed to thieve the remote and was now watching MTV. He seemed enthralled enough to not notice what his girlfriend and I were talking about. I let out a sigh, and dove in to my tale of the past few years. I explained how things had started, meeting him at Corn and Apple, and how our relationship went from friends to awkwardly dating. I left out the whole demon and vampires part of my story, and then explained how after Sarah had died things had changed, I had changed. During that change, I had found that Michael and I really didn't fit together anymore, and Jonathon just filled the missing part better than anything else. After a moment of silence, she looked satisfied enough and went back to sitting with Nate while we waited for Becca to come out of the bathroom, and Jay and Natalie to return back to the hotel.