Lenne: Finally, TOBT gets its next chapter! Hopefully I get the next done too. Although it might be short in the end, at least it'll be an advance.

Well, enjoy.

Tip: We start off at Ch14 of TOB.


Chapter 3: Ninten's Playfulness

Lucas and I asked Mom and Dad if we could go with Ness and Ninten together for the party. They allowed us to go once we had promised to behave ourselves.

No problem for us, I thought.

On the morning of May 26th, Ness and his mom arrived. With our invites in hand, as well as our swimsuits and towels, we got into the car. I sat in the middle seat in the back, meeting Ninten by being poked. I poked him back, then he retorted and poked my head. We played like this for a long while.

We reached Leila's home, and boy was her house large as heck. We exited the car and waited in line to get inside the party. As we got closer to the door, we could hear Leila saying "Thank you for coming, enjoy!" to each person that went inside the door.

When we reached her, she looked at Lucas, and looked like she was furious.

"I don't remember inviting you," she said to Lucas. "I bet you don't even have an invite," Leila continued.

I pulled Lucas' hand up and showed the invitation he held. "It's right here," I said. Then, with my invitation in my other hand, I brought it up as well. "We both got invites, so we both can come in, right?"

"...Well..." She rolled her eyes to the side. I continued to watch her make a choice.

"Leila, could you let them in, please?" Ness asked. "They're both my friends."

Leila made a calmer face, and sighed. "Fine, go in." She took our invites and we passed through the door. We heard a lot of noise the moment we stepped in, caused by music and loud boys. Up in front of us was a huge living room, where a large number of guys were watching football on the TV, cheering and yelling.

Right beside the TV room split by a thin wall was a huge blank area. However, in a corner of the room was a group of air-filled balloons, all either a blue or purple color. They made me curious, so I walked over to look at them. But, a cheerleader stepped in quickly and blocked the path.

"Sorry, you can't touch these right now," she said.

"Why not?" I asked.

"It's for a special game later, you'll see." I acknowledged the information and walked off.

I headed into the kitchen to find two big tables filled with chips and three kinds of dip, and four other people already snacking on them. There were also two mysterious silver platters on the table, and they were very large too, so I guessed that they were the cake.

I looked at the sliding glass door to find a large pool outside, as well as many guests swimming and relaxing. The instant I saw the size of the pool, I wanted to jump in and play with everyone. Ninten and I headed outside immediately and watched other people toss beach balls at each other before deciding that we wanted to join the fun. We found a changing house in our right, perfectly convenient and vacant for us.

"Hey Ness," I called to him.

"What is it?" he replied as he walked up to me.

"I'm going to go swim, take care of Lucas for me."

"Sure," he responded.

I walked off to the changing area and headed inside. For a few seconds I took a look at the room—it felt damp and slightly warm, but the most surprising part that I heard the door slam shut. I turned around, finding Ninten behind me.

"What the hell?" I reacted. "What're you doing here?"

"Going to change in my swimsuit, of course," he replied.

"W-With me around?" I added.

"I don't mind," he stated with an innocent smile. "Oh...do you?"

I didn't know how to reply. It felt like I took a minute thinking how to answer, "N-No, of course not!" Then I realized how much emphasis I put into those words. "...Don't get the wrong idea, it's not like I want to be with you here!"

Ninten giggled, "Okay!" He turned to a locker behind him and opened it, and began changing.

I stood on the opposite side, turning around and began undressing too. I removed my shirt, and then my shorts. I left myself in my boxers until I quickly grabbed my swimsuit. Just to make sure Ninten wasn't staring, I turned my head quickly to find that Ninten was still in the process of removing his shorts, then I removed my underwear and slipped into my swimsuit. I almost slipped in my hurry, but I recovered quickly and slammed my clothes into my backpack. Then, I shoved it all in a free locker.

When I turned around, Ninten began to remove his underwear. I caught a glimpse of his plump backside. I immediately turned around again, acting like I was checking something in my locker, making sure it was secure or something. When I heard something zip, specifically Ninten's backpack, and then when he shoved it in his locker and shut it, I safely turned around and acted calm.

He looked at me in some sort of glee. I couldn't tell what he was thinking at all.

"You looked at my butt, didn't you?" Ninten asked.

"Wha—no!" I responded.

"Hehe, kidding!" he replied. We headed for the door and I placed my hand on the knob.

"You have a nice butt though," Ninten commented.

...

I slapped his head.

The moment we exited, I ran toward the pool and jumped in, slamming the water all around. I emerged quickly and shook the water off of my face, and looked for Ninten. He was at the edge, slowly bringing one leg after the other down to the water, and slipped in quickly.

The area was shallow—the water stopped right below our shoulders. I asked Ninten if he was okay right now, and he was, he just didn't want to go to the deeper part of the pool. I could understand why—he didn't want to cause any trouble around if he messed up his floating.

Ninten and I merely splashed water at each other until a beach ball floated by. Our next activity was tossing the ball at each other, and it entertained us until the host of the party used a megaphone for an announcement.

"Okay everyone!" blared the birthday girl. "Time to play a pool game!"

Everyone directed their attention to her.

"We're going to split everyone up in four teams, red, blue, yellow, and green. You can choose your team by taking these arm floaties from the water." She and other friends held different colored floaties in their hands, standing by the edge of the pool and ready to toss them. "Not everyone can play, though!" Leila continued, "so you better grab them quick! We'll toss the floaties in the pool after ten minutes, so you better decide soon!"

Guests who were relaxing on the side jumped into the pool, prepared to participate in the game. Others who didn't want to play and just watch for the time being stood to the side, continuing to chat with each other.

A few other males, however, were carrying large poles—red, blue, yellow, and green—and entered the water with them. They positioned the poles into a certain deep part within the water, locking them into the ground so that they stay perfectly still. When they were set, I examined the poles from top to bottom. Other than the fact that they were in different colors, at the top of the poles were large baskets. Everyone assumed it was going to be used in the big game.

"Clausy, let's be on the same team," Ninten said to me.

"Fine, what color do you want to be?" I asked.

"Let's go with red!" he suggested.

"Okay," I replied. When I looked back at the house, I remembered Ness and Lucas were probably still inside. Perhaps they would want to play. I told Ninten this, and he agreed with the thought. He went back into the changing room to go get his phone to call them.

I sat on the edge of the pool, watching the male workers ensure that the four poles were fastened into the ground tightly. Then, from the side, they lightly tossed what seemed to be sandbags into the water. Numerous blue bags were spread all around the pool, sitting on the ground.

Along with others, I guessed the type of game. Perhaps, we have to throw the bags into the basket? That would be easy, though. All you needed was strength and precision, which I had.

Ninten came out of the changing area and slipped back into the pool.

"Ness and Lucas are relaxing on the third floor," he said.

"Relaxing?" I repeated, "Doing what?"

"I dunno, nap I guess?"

We waited for time to pass by, watching others swim. After many moments, Leila and her friends threw all of the floaties into the pool without any warning. As planned, Ninten and I grabbed a red floatie before they were all taken.

Soon after the chaotic swimming, a large number of people who couldn't grab a floatie exited the pool. Everyone assumed that they had to stick near the same colored pole of their arm float, and so the red team grouped together in one corner of the pool. When I counted heads, I estimated fifteen or sixteen people, including Ninten and myself. So, in total, there should be about sixty people in the pool right now.

Leila stood at the center edge of the pool, preparing us for the game. "Okay!" she began, "the goal is to take the sandbags from the floor and throw them into the baskets! You have five minutes to throw in as much as you can! The team with the most sandbags in their basket wins the round! There will be ten games, and in the end, we'll count up all of the rounds together and see which team wins in the end! Oh, and if you wish to stop playing mid-way into the game, you can give up your floatie to someone else, and they can join in your place."

The same few boys returned to throw in more bags into the pool, and once they were done, everyone waited for the signal.

"Everyone ready?" blared Leila. "Get set...go!"

Along with a few other red team members, we immediately dove into the water and attempted to grab a sandbag. At first, I thought this was an easy task, but two factors made the game difficult for everyone: one, our arm floaties added resistance so they prevented us from diving so easily, and two, the sandbag was much heavy. When I successfully grabbed one, I missed on the first try—though, the sight of a random guy being hit by my sandbag and not knowing I had thrown it made the moment more enjoyable.

I looked back at my team; already two bags were in thanks to two athletic males. The others, weaker boys and especially weaker girls, had trouble. Ninten, however, was gathering bags for us by taking the bags in the shallow area and dragging them to our corner. This hastened the two boys' work, but I didn't just leave it to them. After a couple more tosses, I familiarized myself with the bag's weight and made consecutive successful throws into the basket. We were already far ahead of green and yellow team, though blue team was catching up. In the end, however, time ran out and red team won the round.

The current players switched out with new people. We couldn't play again, even as a substitution, until the round finished, so we watched the game continue. Round two finished quickly, ending with a point for the green team.

The game continued on as Ninten and I rejoined the game. Round three, blue team became victorious, followed by a point for yellow, then blue, then red, green, blue, and finally, red.

On the last round, the red and blue teams were fired up. Knowing that green and yellow were already destined to lose, during the game, some players began to add sandbags into our baskets. Biased for their friends, the blue team gradually grew greater in score, however, we had an equal amount of power as well. Sandbags continued to fly, and splash when missed.

Ninten continued being our gatherer, dragging and catching all of the missed bags towards the red team. However, in the event of the competitive chaos, only I noticed that Ninten was tackled by a crazed player. The worse part; it was in a deeper part of the pool, and Ninten was suddenly paralyzed by the damage. His arm was still floating, but the rest of his body, including his head, became uncontrolled.

"Waah!" he cried. "Can't move!" He lost control and his head was suddenly submerged into the water without any breath to take in.

I dropped all of my bags and swam for him immediately. He was vulnerable at the moment, perfect for an incoming flying sandbag. I jerked him over just in time and pulled him close to me; a distance so close that our heads almost met. I wrapped my arm around him tightly, and he held onto me even tighter after being appalled by discovering who had rescued him. I ignored the moment for now and used one arm to bring us to a nearby ladder. He grabbed onto the ladder, still holding on to me.

"C-Clausy..." Ninten choked.

"Go and substitute, don't get yourself hurt anymore," I told. He obeyed and took off his floatie, tossing it to an eager boy who put it on quickly and jumped in. I propelled back to the game as well, throwing in my final few sandbags into the basket.

"Time!" called Leila. Everyone ceased their throws and waited for the male workers to check the baskets. They lowered the pole heights by unscrewing a gear at a lower height, allowing the pole to slide down and decrease. The sandbags were counted, dropped into the water, and the boys went back to Leila to tell her the score. When she readied her megaphone again, we all paid attention.

"Blue team, seventeen bags, red team, twenty bags! Red team wins the game!"

Half of the area cheered for the victory, while the other half congratulated us or glared in distaste. I hurried over to Ninten at a recliner, who was smiling at me as I approached.

"We won!" Ninten exclaimed.

"Yep! We did it!" I agreed. I slapped his palm with joy and sat down with him. Suddenly, he hugged me.

"Wh-Wha—?!" I was taken aback by the sudden embrace.

"Thanks for saving me Clausy," he said. "I owe you big time!"

I calmed down, "Oh...it's no problem. I just did what I had to do."

"But if you hadn't come to my rescue, I probably would've drowned."

I frowned and patted his head. "Fine, you owe me then."

Ninten let go and smiled at me once more, and from his happiness I could feel he was really grateful. I didn't want him to feel too gratified, however.

"D-Don't get the wrong idea!" I said, turning my head. "It's not like I wanted to carry you..."

He giggled, "Okay." He stared at me with an amazed but relieved gaze. However, after a few moments, he perked, looking like he remembered something.

"I gotta call Ness," he stated. "He said call back in one hour; I think it's almost time."

"All right, go," I said, giving him a slight push on the back. He giggled again, waved a temporary farewell and walked away. I watched him smirk with glee all the way to the changing area.

His optimism was something special. The smile and laughter he had made was...adorable.

However, no matter how much I tried to make it not obvious, I knew he could sense I had some sort of affection for him. I realized what I was feeling too, beginning from my sudden impulse to rescue him and holding him too close to me. When I met his eyes, and then made one glance at his lips...I felt like I wanted to kiss him.

...Oh god.

...I'm seriously falling in love with that one boy.