Terry, unable to wait very long, had come over to Chelsea's very early the next morning. She was still asleep (she had not been able to get to sleep easily the night before). After receiving this news from the housekeeper, he sent her a text message that said this:
"I'll be waiting for you on the beach."
He walked down to the beach right next to the Cunningham's house. He sat down in the same rowboat where Chelsea and Dana had begun all of this. He straightened his khacki pants and leaned back with a lifejacket for a pillow. His back was to the water so he could see when she approached. Besides, he was used to great sights. He quickly fell asleep as the sun rose behind him, glowing on the water.
When Chelsea got the text message, it had woken her up. Despite how groggy she was, she had eagerly gotten up, thrown on a bathing suit, and headed to the beach.
Terry's eyes slid open when he heard a house door close quietly. Exhausted and dazed, he saw a form moving towards him. She wore a glittering, sand-colored two-piece bathing suit. He blinked to clear his eyes. The sun shown so bright on her, he couldn't make out her face until she was close. Her blonde hair, pulled back into a very messy tiny ponytail, was full of light. She smiled warmly, stopping at the rowboat.
"Hey, Terry," she greeted, softly.
"Goodmorning - hey," he said, sitting up quickly. He brushed at the back of his squished, long black hair. He yawned and stretched, looking away from her. "Gorgeous day, isn't it?" He asked, swinging around to look at the sky, now up, but just feet above the water.
"Did you bring a bathsuit? I...um...I thought that's what you meant," Chelsea said, self-conscience that she had shown up in a bathing suit.
Terry hopped up. "No, I hadn't thought of it...wish I had," he added, glancing at her.
Chelsea fidgeted. "I could grab a swimsuit of my dad's," she offered.
"Oh, no," he said, blushing. "I haven't even...I mean, I don't want to borrow something of your dads - without - without asking."
"Oh, alright," she said. She brushed her bangs away from her eyes, a silver link bracelet glittering on her wrist.
"It's okay, you go in," he suggested.
"No, that's alright," she laughed, and tossed a fluffy white towel that had been slung in the crook of her opposite arm to the ground.
"It's okay, I'll go in," Terry offered.
"In what? Then all your clothes will be wet!" She laughed.
"Well I won't go in in all my clothes," he explained, rakishly.
"Oh." She said, startled. Terry pulled off his long sleeve maroon shirt over his head. Satisfied that's what he meant, Chelsea turned and started walking toward the water.
She was shocked, then, to see Terry streak by in his underwear and cannonball into the water with surprising speed and power. That made Chelsea pause mid-stride, but then she continued out to the water, giggled as Terry's head came back up.
"It's cold!" He cried. Chelsea laughed outright, easing her way into the water slowly and leisurely. Terry was content to bob there in the water, watching as she made her way in. Once in, they splashed around a bit, but got out quickly as Terry was freezing.
"You can use my towel, you need it more than I do," Chelsea laughed while they were still neck-deep in the water, a good four feet apart. She promised to turn her back to him and not peek as he got out of the water. He made a run for it and then called that she was in the clear. She walked toward the beach next, the water sliding off of her like molten gold in the light. She studied his surprisingly ripped for high school back as she approached the shore. He was crazy good looking, that was for sure.
White towel wrapped around his waist, he turned to face her. Chelsea sat, and they lay back on the sand.
Terry stepped into the rowboat and resumed his earlier seat, though he stayed upright, watching her.
"You did all that so that I wouldn't feel awkward for wearing a bathing suit, didn't you?" Chelsea ferreted perceptively.
Terry shrugged and waved his broad-palmed hand toward the bench opposite him inside the rowboat. "Care to sit?"
"Sure," she replied, getting up, brushing off, and sitting down. She continued to brush her back off as she sat there.
"A little sandy?" Terry asked.
Terry popped his feet up next to her on the edge of the boat and leaned back slightly onto the opposite edge. "MMm, I love the summer."
Chelsea looked over at him. "Me, too," though she hadn't loved it until just recently. It had been pretty boring.
"So how's the clothes designing going?"
"Good," she smiled.
"When did you start getting into that?" Terry asked.
"Oh I don't know...I just picked it up a few years ago. I was getting into fashion and stuff. I wanted to experiment and make my own stuff, I figured I'd work on it for a while before I let anybody in on it. Get really good. Then, like, bust it out at the end of highschool or something. Become an insanely famous designer," she mocked herself jokingly, waving her hands and rolling her eyes.
"Well. You are really good," Terry pointed out, serious though he smiled along with her.
"You should just, you know, start wearing your own designs, and when people ask where you got them, just say 'oh, you know, me," he said, impersonating a snobbish girl.
Chelsea laughed. "I have been wearing them, a little bit, but that's because it's summer. Don't think I'm going to keep wearing them once school starts up again."
"Well, I'm not going to keep dating you unless you do," he said, turning up his nose at her.
She gasped and looked around the boat. "Just wait until I find something to throw at you!"
He tossed her a life jacket. "Will this do?"
"No. It's too good for you." She set it behind her.
Terry sat up and placed his chin in his hands, gazing at her.
"So, uh, do you have any plans for the summer?" Chelsea tried to fill in the space by asking.
He abruptly laughed and shifted in his seat. "Nooo, no no no. Just the usual. It keeps me busy enough."
"Oh, okay," Chelsea replied, looking down. She felt again that edge of a secret there, a dark void that she was going be blocked from indefinitely.
Terry leaned forward until he caught her eyes. "I plan to spend this summer seeing you a lot," he said, smiling gently.
She smiled back and cleared her throat to lighten the atmosphere, but Terry's hand gently covered hers on her knee. She froze, while at the same time her blood raced. Terry continued to look at her, confidently, reassuringly.
Chelsea smiled back at him, wider, and turned her hand over to interlace her fingers with him. They sat there, staring at their intertwined hands, breathing softly. Finally, Chelsea looked up, her blue eyes searching out his, under their angled fringe of black hair. They shared a breathless smile. Terry leaned in more to place his other hand on top of hers.
"I like this boat," he said, relaxed.
Chelsea nodded. "It gets better and better."