When I was six years old living in Phoenix with my mom, she came home one night with ten brochures in her hands: three for figure skating, two for soccer, four for an acting school, and one for swimming lessons.
I didn't want to go anywhere near figure skating. Knowing me, I'd manage to manouver my leg in a way so that my skate was pointing up toward my face, and slit my throat. Soccer, I'd more than likely score on my own net, and either get kicked off the team, get beat up for being a bad player, or trip on my own two feet in the process of scoring on my own net. Although my mother prayed for the acting school, I panicked at the thought of getting stage fright and running off stage, bawling. That would've been embarasing. Swimming, I had no idea what to expect. Eventually, I thought about all the different ways I could drown, but that was after I'd gone for my first swimming lesson. And loved it.
From that day on, swimming became my life. Yes, I had friends that I hung out with as well, but not many, and seeing as I wasn't with them often, I focussed on reading, my school work, and swimming. My mother was a little disappointed about the acting, but as long as I was happy with the activity I was devoted to, so was she.
I was eleven years old when I completed all twelve levels of swimming at the community swimming pool. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it, and by then I was an amazing swimmer. I even took the life guard classes they offered for two years, and got certified. After that, I started to get bored. I was only thirteen, couldn't get a job there, and I didn't want to take the same classes again, so I looked into other forms of swimming. There was competitive swimming, aqua fit lessons, water polo classes, and synchronized swimming. I went for the competitive and synchronized swimming. I was fast in the water, and I was convinced that if I could dance and move around in and under water, it would help me be graceful on land.
No such luck.
So when I moved to Forks to be with my father, Charlie, I decided to try switching it up a bit. I looked for anything that could help me break out of my clutsy ways. I tried tae-kwon-do, but I lost interest in the classes quickly, and almost broke my hand when we were "breaking" boards. I then tried gymnastics. I was almost surprised I didn't split my head open when I jumped off the trampoline, flew between the cross bars, and went head first into the blance beam.
I'm a tad accident prone.
I think that when my mother came to pick me up after my first swimming lesson, she was more than happy she wasn't told I'd somehow managed to get myself stuck in the pool's cleaning filter, or choke myself in my life jacket.
So was I.
When I was told there wasn't a swimming pool in Forks or Port Angeles, I cried. That was before I tried tae-kwon-do and gymnastics. I was fifteen, and I knew there was no way in hell I would find someone to drive me three hours to Seattle, and sit by some pool - if we found one, seeing as I had no idea what was in Seattle - watching the Chief of Police's daughter swim fifty laps. I wouldn't do that, even if I was getting paid by the hour.
That was when I realized living in a small town had quite a few downsides. Sure it was peaceful, but nothing interesting ever happened. Nothing big and exciting came to small towns.
Six months, thirteen days, fourty minutes, and seven seconds after I moved to Forks, I sat in the kitchen eating my dinner, waiting for Charlie to tell me about his "surprise". He told me I was going to freak, the moment he told me what some big company; Cul-something, was building in Port Angeles.
"It's gonna take two years to build. You'll be seventeen by the time it's finished, Bells. Easily able to get a job there. They'll love you, and the place offers so much! There'll be a gym, a daycare, a hockey arena, maybe even a library attached. Oh, you'll love it, Bella!"
Charlie was so enthusiastic. It scared me. When he found out I was dedicated to swimming, he went all Soccer Mom on Renee and I, and started sending money in case we didn't have enough to finance me. Renee found it somewhat insulting, but I was glad my dad was happy to give me something for once in my life, even if I didn't get far in it. He even took it up a notch, when he told all of Forks that I was going to the Olympics... that scared the shit out of me, and I was nervous, because he suddenly had such high hopes for me. But when my teacher told me I was good enough for state nationals, or something like that, I tried harder for Charlie.
"Bella, did you hear what I said?!"
"Uh, no, not really." I mumbled, looking down at my half eaten plate of spaghetti.
When I looked at him again, he had the Soccer Mom look in his eyes. Then it clicked.
"No way." I said, standing abruptly from my chair.
"Yes, Bella! Port Angeles is getting a swimming pool! Well, it's more like a whole arena! Like I said, the library and what not will be there. Even a café. It's amazing, I've seen blueprints, and I'll pay for your membership!"
After that, everything settled down. I only had two years to wait. Even though it seemed ages away, it went faster than I thought it would.
So here I was driving down the highway in Mike Newtons camper, with Jessica, Angela, Ben, and himself, finally going to the new swimming center! I was so giddy, I was pretty sure I was beginning to piss everyone off. I couldn't care a less. According to Charlie, this was going to be better than the pool in Phoenix. I doubted that, but it was supposed to be much bigger. Port Angeles had so many lots that were free, and the owner didn't want the pool too close to a big city, like Seattle. Port Angeles was good for the owner, because him and his family decided they wanted to try the "small town thing" by living in Forks. The guy didn't want his kids to have to drive too far in order for them to swim.
"I heard all his kids are going to the Olympics," Jessica said giving me a pointed look. She was only coming today, because she was worried I would make a move on Newton, and because she wanted to see how well I swam, "I think they're our age too. They're offering private lessons with them, so that they don't go looking for trouble. Apparently they're rebels."
Jesus, Jessica was the worst gossip. Worse than her mother!
Mike was even worse when he slightly turned his head, saying: "I heard the youngest kid - a guy - got so pissed at some little boy when they were in Chicago, that he tried drowning him. They had to go over the same technique over and over again, and he just lost it. Said he had better things to do than watch some dumb-ass kid do the same shit over and over again."
"How could you know that, if they aren't even here?" I asked, "You don't even know their names."
That shut those two up.
When we pulled up to the center, I was in awe. The first thing we noticed were the slightly rounded, twenty-foot high windows. The tasteful red bricks came in second, and the plain beige walls that had the name of the center, followed. The letters still had to be painted, so I couldn't read the name of the people that owned it because it was the same colour as the paint.
Charlie wasn't lying when he told me it was better than what was in Phoenix. When we stepped in, the walls were painted like the ocean. There were sea shells and seaweed, along with other things that resembled the ocean, but it wasn't corny. It was cute! And they did a good job at dividing the pool from the hockey arena and the library. There was a long hall to the right before you saw the walls decorated with hockey pucks, and skates. Beside the front desk we were aproaching, there was the hall that led to the pool, and to the left there was another long corridor before walls with books on them.
I would definitely have to visit the library soon.
"Bella, go, it's your turn." Angela told me. I hadn't even realized they'd all already gotten their tickets. The person at the desk must've been pretty fast.
"Hi!" The girl said smiling. She had short black hair that stuck out in different directions. She had dark blue eyes, and from how low she sat in her chair, she was very short.
"Um, hi. I'm here for the same thing as them." I told her, pointing in the direction of my friends.
"That'll be seven fifty, please."
As I handed her my money, I noticed how beautiful her voice sounded, and wished I had as nice a voice as hers. She could be some random voice in movies that gave people confidence. Like, the voice in someone's head that gave them that extra boost of reassurance about something.
When we walked away, I couldn't help turning around. When I did, I saw that the girl was standing up, yelling at some boy with oddly coloured red hair. It was more bronze, actually. His back was to me, so I wondered what his face looked like. Was he some kind of messed up ginger kid?
I suppose the girl caught my eye from behind the boy, because she sent me a brief smile before she turned back to the boy and continued glaring at him.
"Bella, you have to come out." Angela told me from the other side of the stall.
I laughed at her. "I'm not coming out of here. Who the hell would go swimming in this thing? It's worse than a bikini." Jessica told me I could borrow one of her bathing suits, but this was not a bathing suit.
It was the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen. This would be a shame to swimming in the eyes of all professional swimmers. Even though I wasn't professional, I was even offended. This was just degrading! It was a silky black colour, and wasn't even made out of the same material as all other bathing suits. It was supposed to be a one piece. That was what I'd requested, so that I didn't have to show off too much skin. But this was way too much! It was low cut, that was one of the best ways to describe it. I was lucky I had the boobs to fill it in at all! Jessica described it as having a shirred cross over design - not that I knew what she meant by that - and that it was a one piece, but tied up around the neck and back. Didn't sound too bad.
I WAS SO WRONG.
"I feel like a prostitute." I told Angela.
"Oh Bella, you need to grasp the beauty of having an amazing body to fill out a bathing suit like that, which you have," was that supposed to be a compliment? Did that even make sense? "and any guy who doesn't notice you, is dumb." She's insane! The reason guys would notice me in this, is because of how much of a hoe I look in it.
"Okay." I drawled, unlocking the stall door, revealing myself.
Jessica looked impressed with "her work", while Angela looked a little more than astonished.
"Awesome!" Jess said in her fake cheerleader voice. She was so... fake! I hated her guts so much half the time, it was tiring.
I turned around ignoring her, and pulled the t-shirt I'd worn here, over my bathing suit. I also hated the fact that she actually liked it, and I could tell that she really did, because she had this light in her eyes she got when she was so proud of her accomplishments. It was like the first time Mike asked her out. She was dancing around the halls with the biggest grin. It wasn't even some love-struck grin, it was a grin that she'd made up because she was dating the best looking guy in school.
Sure, Mike was cute, but it was in more of a lost puppy in need of a home, way. Very annoying when you were the new girl in town looking for someone to hang out with. Or when you were looking for a job and he told you repeatedly he could get you one at his parents' store.
I think I still owed him for that.
"Better." Angela said as I pulled the t-shirt over my head, and walked out of the girls change room. She didn't agree with Jessica's idea of a one piece either.
It seemed all of Forks was here, but the first thing I noticed when we walked out onto the pool deck was the group of guys standing below the pretty, strawberry blonde girl that was sitting up in her lifeguard chair. She was laughing and facing away from the pool, pointed toward them so she could get a good look at the man candy infront of her. She would be getting a pay deduction at the end of the week on her next cheque.
If she wasn't caught first, and fired.
In Phoenix, they were strict with what their lifeguards did while they were on duty. If they were standing in only one area of the pool, they were either suspended a couple of days or given a harsh warning for ignoring what was going on in the other parts of the vicinity. If they talked with the their co-workers for more than two minutes about things other than the chlorine level, or whatever, suspension for a week, because they wouldn't be paying attention if some kid called for help. I wondered if maybe this pool had different rules.
Angela and Jessica decided they wanted to sit by the big glass windows and get some sun, before they came into the pool.
Lord knows why.
Mike, Ben and I opted for the diving board. Ben wanted me to show him the flips and stuff I learned in synchro, and I think Mike just didn't want to be a loner on the side of the pool, waiting for us to jump in. I would have preferred him just waiting in the pool, but I changed my mind when he pointed to the bubbles that were floating to the surface of the deepest end of the pool.
At first I didn't know what it was, but when I did, I freaked.
"Mike, get the lifeguard's attention." I said, quickly but safely speed walking toward the diving board. I kept my eyes on the bubbles at all times so that I would know where to jump. I still had to make my way halfway around the pool in order to reach the diving board.
Five seconds later Mike was catching up to me telling me she was too busy chatting it up with those guys.
"What is that anyway?" He asked, trying to make out what was under the water, I kept my eyes ahead of me for a moment to see where I was walking. During my lifeguard training, we were taught the different signs of a child drowning when they couldn't call for help.
"Bella!" Ben yelled my name, and I whipped around toward him. When I saw his face, it was white, and he was pointing toward the deep end again.
The bubbles were gone.
Then I booked it. "GET OUT OF THE WAY." I yelled repatedly, slipping on the wet floors, catching myslef each time I almost fell into the pool. I thought I heard a few people behind me telling me not to run, but I ignored them. This was an emergency. If that skank lifeguard wasn't going to do a god damn thing, someone had to.
When I reached the diving board, I cut at least ten people off. They all complained. One person grabbed my arm asking me what the hell I was doing, but I ripped my arm out of her grip, ran to the end of the board, and dove.
At first I couldn't see, the chlorine stung my eyes. Water was going up my nose, giving me a massive headache, but I ignored it all. I was too focussed on the task hand. I could do this. I'd been trained to do this. I'd taken all the courses, everything that built me up to this level, and I wouldn't go up to the surface until I got the kid out of the water.
That was when I saw the red life-jacket.
I swam toward the little girl. I could see her fighting to get to the top. How she got that far underwater with a life-jacket on, I had no idea, but I had to work fast, or we would both be in trouble.
One of her buckles was stuck in a grate at the bottom of the pool. She was panicking, and it was hard for me to get a hold on her vest. When she saw me, she started tugging even harder at it. Either she was in denial about the whole situation, or she was only just realizing how serious it was. I put my hands on her shoulders, shaking my head, hoping she could see me. She relaxed a little, so I was able to pull harder on it without hurting her.
I kept tugging, but nothing was happening. It wouldn't budge, and I was running out of air. I would have to go up soon to take another breath if I was going to stay down here. I looked up to see how she was doing, but saw her eyes were closed. She was unconcious. I was almost out of time.
Finally it clicked. If I couldn't get the buckle out of the grate, I could get her out of the life-jacket itself. I frantically yanked the zipper down the jacket. I was thankful I didn't have to struggle with it for long. I grabbed her by the waist and head, and swam as fast as I could to the surface.
I sped to the side of the pool where Ben and Mike were, and they pulled her out immediately. I noticed we'd attracted quite the crowd. Even the girl from the front desk was here. She pushed through all the people, and went down on her knees beside the little girl.
"She's not breathing." I told her, catching my breath. She immediately got to work.
I slowly walked away form them, toward the lifeguard, still sitting in her tall chair, talking to the same group of guys. Not even acknowledging what just happened.
"ARE YOU BRAIN DEAD?" I screamed at her, as I approached the group. She looked over her shoulder at me, giving me a dirty look.
"If you're looking for the diving-board, it's on the other side of the pool." She said.
I don't think I ever wanted to slap anyone in my life as hard as I did her in that moment. "Some little kid almost drowned in the deep end because of you."
A flash a concern crossed her face, before she settled back into her glaring. "If someone was in trouble, you should've called for me."
"My friends did, but because you were too absorbed in your conversation over here with these dumb asses, I had to jump in myself and pull her out."
"You're not qualified for that, honey. You should stick to the kiddie pool."
"Well maybe if you did your job, the girl wouldn't have needed me to help, and I could be in the kiddie pool now, playing in my own pee." I smiled politely up at her.
"Now, now, ladies. There's no problem. The little girl's fine now, see." One of the guys pointed at the separating crowd, the little girl crying in the arms of the girl from the desk.
"Oh screw you, buddy. There is a problem, and we both know it." The guy took a step toward me, not liking my sudden temper flare at him. When he extended his hand to grab my wrist, I took a step back, telling him not to touch me.
He continued his approach, ignoring my protests, and started laughing at something funny. Probably thought this whole thing was he was laughing, because he agreed with me. Maybe he thought I was crazy. Maybe someone behind him said something funny that I didn't hear. Perhaps the blonde is his girlfriend, and he wasn't happy I called her out. No, it's more likely because he thinks I'm crazy.
It turned out he was laughing at me, because of the position he'd forced me into.
Before I realized what was going on, he grabbed me by the shoulders, spun me around, and pushed me. Into the pool.
As if on cue, my bad luck came into action, and before I hit the water, my head tilted in an angle so that it hit the tiled wall just above the waves. Hard enough that I heard the crack in my skull before I belly-flopped, losing all my air at once. I would've splashed my way back to the top, but I couldn't move. For a moment I thought I saw a red colour mixing with the chlorine, but I didn't find out, because my eyes were already closing, and I was sinking to the bottom of the pool.
Figures, after I save a drowning kid, I manage to put myself in the same situation.