I chased her down the trail all the way to the boat dock where we stopped to stare into the clear waters.
"It's deeper than it looks," I warned her as she dropped her backpack and stood on the edge.
She was truly a marvel. Never before had I experienced a person with so much energy. She got excited about everything, like a puppy; I didn't understand it.
I tried not to stare at her now, but this was the most of her I'd seen. The swimsuit showed off how well-proportioned she was for someone so short. She was very fit without being scrawny like most girls used to be. She had curves, but she was very toned, which surprised me because I tried to do the hardest work for the animals, and we were together enough I didn't think she would have time for the gym. Her curly red hair tumbled to her hips, and then I realized there was a problem. No one in the history of the world was as pale as she was; Snow White herself would've envied her skin. I'd bet you every penny on the planet she didn't think to bring sunblock.
"Wait!" I said, grabbing her goosebump covered arm before she jumped. "You need sunblock."
"Did the glare off my pasty skin tip you off? I brought some, thanks for reminding me." She pulled out a bottle from her bag and applied it over every inch of exposed skin, then passed it to me. "You'll need some everywhere since you didn't bring a suit," she said wickedly, winking.
I sighed and pushed her shrieking into the lake and stripped, commanding her to turn away when she bubbled up laughing on the surface. She obliged and showed off her swimming skills, speeding away far enough that I would be a detail free blob before she turned around. I slipped into the somewhat frigid water and swam after her, enjoying the freedom from clothing and the sun on my back.
It was too cold to think of anything I shouldn't, so we spent a few hours splashing, grappling, and racing in the water before she was too tired to go on.
"My legs feel like anchors," she finally admitted. "And my arms are noodles."
I helped her back to shore where she was put under strict instruction to mind her manners and look away while I dried off with the blanket and dressed. After I finished, I pulled her up out of the water and onto the dock, tossing her the blanket to dry off with. It was painful to watch; every muscle in her body seemed to be insisting they'd had enough and even simple tasks, like pulling her dress out of her backpack seemed to tax her and take time. When she was finally ready to dress, I held up the blanket for her, promising I wouldn't peek. After five minutes, I assumed she was finished and lowered it. She was sitting in her underwear with the dress half over her head, arms stuck in it in the air.
After I finished laughing I asked her if she needed help.
"No, I just need a minute, I can do it," she said, muffled by the dress.
"I can't hear you," I lied, and pulled the garment swiftly down over a bra that seemed almost unfairly lacy and pulled her up. She collapsed into my arms, so I swept her up and carried her to the car, her mouth half open from her being in a near sleep state. She snored a bit when I set her in the passenger's seat; maybe she was fully asleep. I popped the trunk and crammed the bike she'd 'borrowed' from me into it, using a bungee cord to keep the trunk from bouncing open. I slipped into the car, buckled her up, and put a cd in on low volume to keep me at attention during the drive.
She snapped awake when I pulled into our driveway, mumbling incoherently about dolphins. "Let's get you into bed," I said, helping her out of the car.
"That's what she said," she smirked, and stifled a yawn.
I rolled my eyes and caught her at the door where her legs gave out. I carried her into the house and up the stairs to her room. Since she wasn't the type to make her bed, I didn't have to move the comforter to lay her down, so I dropped her unceremoniously onto her bed, ignoring her squeak of protest, pulled the blanket up over her, and went back downstairs to get each of us a glass of water. I was extremely thirsty from swimming and the sun, so I anticipated her dehydration as well.
I found her in a collapsed heap at the top of the stairs, one hand wrapped around the banister.
"Thirsty?" I asked, amused.
"And hungry," she said, her voice muffled by her face being turned into the carpet.
I sighed and trotted back to the kitchen, setting the glasses down, and ran back up to grab her. "I'm putting you on the couch; please do not move again. I will bring you water and make us a late lunch."
She was half-asleep again and just nuzzled her face against my shoulder. I laid her gently on the sofa and brought her water and the DVDs and controllers within reach, then pulled the blanket from her mother she always draped on the corner of the couch over her.
I wanted to....it didn't matter. I needed to make lunch.
Thirty minutes later I brought out a tray of rolls and stir fried vegetables from the garden. "Hey." She peered up at me sleepily from under the blanket, grumbling when she saw me motioning with my elbow for her to move over.
"That smells amazing," she said as I set the tray on the coffee table and pulled it over.
"Eat a lot," I said, handing her a roll.
"This is my mom's recipe," she said after almost swallowing it whole.
"I looked through the recipe box you put in the kitchen and decided to make them since they're so simple. I hope you like them," I added, stabbing a bell pepper with my fork.
"They taste just like hers," she said softly.
We ate without speaking, barely watching the movie she had turned on, some Adam Sandler flick about golf. I knew how much she hated crying, hated anything even remotely sad, so when we were finished eating, I took my time washing the dishes, to give her a moment to recover before I returned. She was sitting there, her face tight. I sat beside her, throwing an arm around her shoulder and turning up the volume a few notches, but I could tell she was losing the battle when she started to tremble. I pulled her over and held her, stroking her hair while she cried softly into my shirt.
She calmed down after a while, but we stayed in our embrace until the credits rolled and the screen went back to the title menu.
"What do you want to do?" she asked dully, shifting away from me.
I stood and stretched, tossing out ideas I knew would be rejected. "Why don't I make some tea and we can watch another movie?" I suggested.
She turned to me and smiled a bit. "I'm sorry I've been so silly,"she said. "You made lunch- why don't I make us tea?"
I stepped toward her and bent down, kissing her swiftly. "You're not silly." I turned and walked to the kitchen before I made a fool of myself and put some water on to boil.
I made her a cup of her favorite lemon chiffon, and stuck with oolong for myself. Neither of us took our tea with sugar or cream, so I just carried the mugs in by themselves, handing her the one with music printed around it and we looked through the movies, trying to agree. I put a blanket ban on Adam Sandler, Will Ferrel, and The Office. She countered with a ban on Bruce Lee and any film with subtitles.
"Hey, what about Criminal Minds," she said, holding up season one.
"Yes, that's actually a great idea. Maybe you don't have such terrible taste."
"Just because it kills you to laugh doesn't mean it hurts me," she said, jabbing me in the ribs. "Adam Sandler is hilarious."
I rolled my eyes. "I wish you'd read Pride and Prejudice so we could watch the good version of the movies."
"Hey! I tried," she whined. "It was so boring. Too obvious."
"It's- you- have you read any classics? At all?"
She raised an eyebrow at me. "I've read more books just in third grade than most people have read in a lifetime. You don't know me. Just because I prefer Dickens over Austen doesn't mean I'm an idiot or have poor taste. I enjoy more variety than you. That's all. Maybe you need to broaden your horizons. It's possible to enjoy Dante and The Office in equal measure."
"I'm normal, you're the anomaly. Nobody reads Little Women and then finishes up with season 11 of Family Guy; it's class vs low-brow. You're the only person I've ever met who can discuss in all seriousness the history of ancient Egypt and somehow squeeze a 'that's what she said' into the mix."
"Yeah, well, you're the only guy I've ever known who won't crack a smile at a fart joke."
I just narrowed my eyes and put the DVD in.
She scooted closer to me. "You know, I'd say nicer things if I had any personality trait resembling kindness."
I leaned away from her, annoyed, but she just leaned closer, trying to push her face between my arms and ribs. I finally relented and pulled her over so we were both almost lying on the couch.
"Maybe it sounds creepy, but I love reading about serial killers. I think it gives me an outlet for all my murderous thoughts," she said conversationally as we listened to the ending snippet Hotch usually quoted at the end of every episode. "I think I'm going to turn in."
Genevieve disentangled herself from my arms and stood, stretching her arms over her head and arching her back.
"Already?" I asked, surprised. It was only seven.
"I don't know why, but swimming in the sun has always been a sure fire way to wipe me out. Though I doubt I'll actually sleep after watching this," she added, shivering a little. "I guess I'll just leave the light on."
"I can stay with you, if you want," I offered. "There's an extra twin mattress I can put on the floor of your room-"
"That's silly," she dismissed, waving her hand at me. "If you don't mind keeping me company so I'm not paranoid all night, we can share the bed. It's big enough for three people- we won't be anywhere near each other."
I didn't know what to make of that.