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Thread: Aquatic Anxiety

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    Aquatic Anxiety

    Hey all!

    An idea for a new story popped into my head a few weeks back. Some of you might remember me from another story on here called Brad's Search. I'm far from finished on that story--in fact, I'm posting a new part to it later today. But, I wanted to start a new story with fresh new characters.

    So, without further ado, here goes!

    ---

    Part 1

    “Pool closes in ten minutes,” shouts the lifeguard through a megaphone.

    I hope my apartment’s cooled off by now. It’s no fun suffering in the Georgia heat with a broken air conditioner. That’s why I’ve been coming to the city pool after work: to cool off, relax, and let the work day wash away.

    The name’s Joey. I just moved back to Savannah a few weeks ago from Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s hotter and much more humid here. I had a job in construction back in Raleigh but got laid off and it was impossible trying to find another job. I have a few connections here in Savannah, and was lucky enough to land a new job, so I’m back home where I grew up. It’s only part time—I could use a bit more money, but I have no problem making ends meet. I crashed on a friend’s couch for a couple weeks until I got enough money to get my own place. It’s nothing too special, and like I already said, a broken air conditioner certainly isn’t helping the situation.

    The ten minutes is almost up, and I don’t want to get yelled at by the lifeguard, as cute as he is in his white polo shirt and red swim shorts, sitting high up on his stand, so I start wading to the edge of the pool to get out. I stick to the shallow end. Living right by the Atlantic Ocean you’d think I would know how to swim, but I never learned when I was younger. For the shallow end, you don’t need to know how to swim—you just need to know how to stand.

    I walk to the locker room and rinse off all the chlorinated water from my body. I always take a full shower when I first get here, so a quick rinse afterward is all I need. I finish up my shower, dry off, get dressed, and head home.

    Fortunately, the sky turned cloudy while I was at the pool, so at least it’s not blazing hot inside by the time I get home. It’s Friday, the end of the work week, and I do what I normally do—just hang out at home, by myself, with no boyfriend to speak of. I’ll get into that later. For now, it’s time to relax and crash for the night.

    * * * * *

    I sleep in and eventually wake up Saturday dripping with sweat. It didn’t cool off much during the night. I’ll have to go back to sleeping in the buff.

    It’s going to be hotter tomorrow, so I try getting my laundry and everything else done today. Lord knows I don’t want to be sweating my ass off cleaning up the place. It’s mid-afternoon by the time I get all my housework done, so I head back to the pool.

    I go to the locker room to change into my swimsuit. As soon as I round the corner, I see the same lifeguard from yesterday, except he’s in street clothes and sitting down, tying his shoes. He looks up at me. “What’s up?”

    As soon as he says this, a thought crosses my mind. “Hi, um, do I know you?”

    “Other than from seeing me around here? You might. What’s your name?”

    “Joey.”

    “Nice to meet you, Joey. I’m Steve.”

    I walk closer to him and set my stuff down. “Steve, huh? You from here?”

    “Yep, born and raised.”

    I tilt my head back in realization. “I think we went to high school together. Class of ’12?”

    He laughs. “That’s me. You said your name was Joey, right?”

    “Yeah.”

    He slowly nods his head. “I remember you. You were the guy that always stayed after school in the weight room to buff up so you could lift more than the weight team.” I blush just thinking about it. That wasn’t the real reason I stayed after school. But he doesn’t have to know that. He goes on, “How’ve you been, man?”

    “Well, I got a job in Raleigh and moved away for a couple years but had to move back recently because I got laid off and couldn’t find other work.”

    “That sucks, man. You doing good back here in Georgia?”

    “Yeah, things have been fine. I’ve only been back a few weeks, but I can’t complain. How about you?”

    “Well, I thought about moving away, but I like it here too much. I make really good money lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons, so I see no reason to leave, especially lately. We’re a bit understaffed, so I’ve been able to get lots of overtime.”

    “Understaffed?”

    “Yeah, why? You looking for a new job?”

    “Sure, something I could work part time. My construction job is part time and I could use the extra dough.”

    “I could probably swing something your way. I’ll check in with Kathy—she handles all the hiring. I think we’ve got a couple lifeguard positions open.”

    I tilt my head down. “Oh, well, about that…”

    “What’s wrong?”

    I look back up at him. “I, er, kinda don’t know how to swim.”

    “You kidding me? You, athletic, heavy lifter Joey, don’t know how to swim?” I blush and nod, and he continues, “Wow, man, I find that really hard to believe. Well, I’ll check in with Kathy anyway. I only know we have lifeguard spots open because I am one, but she might be looking to fill in some other spots. Who knows? She might even be able to put your weight-lifting skills to work.”

    I laugh. “Awesome, Steve, I really appreciate it.”

    “Think nothing of it, bud. Well, I’m outta here, but I’ll be back tonight lifeguarding for the youth swim meet. Gotta fill in for another guard who’s out on vacation.”

    “Ugh, I can imagine, all those screaming kids.”

    “Yeah, it’s the best form of birth control. But I’m not one to turn down extra work.”

    “I don’t blame you. Well, have a good rest of your day.”

    “You too, bud. See ya around.”

    With that, he rounds the corner and walks off. Now it’s just me, all alone in the locker room. May as well get changed and wade around in the shallow end like I usually do.

    ---

    To be continued...
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Nice start, hope to read more soon!



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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Nice story so far. Hope it continues!!

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    I'm glad I found this!

    I like your stories.
    Chaz

    WISDOM is the Knowledge you have gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolycus View Post
    Nice start, hope to read more soon!
    Thank you, Autolycus! More is certainly on the way! I have a few parts written--just gotta go through my hack and slash process as usual before being posted.

    Quote Originally Posted by bs29697 View Post
    Nice story so far. Hope it continues!!
    Thanks, bs29697! Glad you found the story! There's plenty more to come, and I hope you enjoy reading!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanimal View Post
    I'm glad I found this!

    I like your stories.
    Chaz
    Hey Chaz! Happy you found this one as well. You've been a pretty frequent commenter of my stories lately and a big source of inspiration for keeping my writing going, so thank you! There will be lots more to come for this story!
    Last edited by AstareGod; October 6th, 2018 at 08:55 PM.
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Part 2

    The weather forecasters were right about Sunday being a hot one. Before it gets too unbearable in my apartment, I decide to go to the bookstore downtown. I’ve made it a habit to go every Sunday because, well, I have nothing better to do. But really, I’ve had this dream of running my own construction business. Every company I’ve worked for down here is run by guys who are so stubborn and set in their ways that they’re blind to things that can really help their business shine. I know opening my own business would be a lot of hard work and that it’ll probably never happen, but I’m tired of being at the bottom of the totem pole. So I end up hanging out every Sunday at the bookstore, pick up a couple of books from the business section, sit down with a coffee, and read them. It sure beats being in the sweltering heat at home.

    After spending the better part of the afternoon poring over book after book, I decide to buy a few and head back home. It’s stuffy when I get back, but not as bad as it would have been earlier in the day. I strip down to my boxers and take it easy the rest of the night and head to bed early.

    Monday morning rolls around quick. I hop out of bed, get dressed, and head into work. They’re sending me to three locations today—not too bad, but back in Raleigh I was able to get a lot more jobs, and with them, a lot more money. This just makes me want to save up and open my own business even more. In any case, I’m done for the day by mid-afternoon, so I decide to swing by the pool as usual.

    I take a nice, long shower to wash the day away. I slip on my swimsuit and flip-flops, then head out of the locker room. I start going over to the shallow end when I hear someone’s voice shout out loud, “Joey!” I look over my shoulder and see it’s Steve. I walk over to him and see a woman sitting next to him. He speaks up again as I get closer. “Good, I was hoping that was you. I want you to meet Kathy.”

    Kathy reaches her hand out to me and I shake it. “Hi Kathy, it’s good to meet you.”

    “Same here, darlin’. Steve here tells me you’re interested in working here.”

    “Yes, as long as you don’t need me to get in the water. I can’t really swim.”

    She nods her head. “Oh, that won’t be a problem, honey. I need help back here in the office. In case you haven’t noticed, we ain’t got no water back here.” I chuckle, and she goes on, “Steve here’s been helping out here and there, but he can’t all the time because he has to lifeguard. We’ve got a lot going on—swim meets, registrations, special events—and I need someone who can help me out with that. Are ya interested?”

    “Yes, I’d love the chance to help out.”

    “Great, darlin’. Can you come by tomorrow morning and I can show you around?”

    “Sure, I can do that.”

    “Wonderful. I’ll see ya tomorrow then.”

    “Thank you, Kathy. And thank you, too, Steve, for talking to Kathy for me.”

    He flashes a smile. “Don’t mention it, bud. Have a fun swim.”

    With that, I make my way over to the shallow end, slowly getting in as I get used to the cool water. I don’t think I ever imagined myself working at a pool, but I’m willing to do almost anything to get a few extra bucks. Luckily my work schedule has me off Tuesday and Wednesday this week, so meeting with her tomorrow works out perfectly.

    * * * * *

    I get up bright and early the next day and dress up a little nicer than I usually do for my first day of work at the pool. Once I get there, Kathy greets me and lets me in the back. Everything she shows me is super simple—punching swimmers’ cards when they come in, registering new swimmers, and other duties—and she tells me a little more about the facility itself, such as the fact that the pool itself is an Olympic-size pool. She says sometimes for swim meets they need volunteers to help time the races and hand out ribbons, which really doesn’t sound that hard, but she insists I shadow her during one of the swim meets later this week so I know how to do it in case one of the volunteers can’t make it.

    After that, we figure out my work schedule. She’s totally fine with me working part time and filling in when I can. I’m just glad I was able to land a second job that’s flexible with my other one.

    A couple hours later, Steve shows up and comes back behind the desk. “Oh hey, Joey. How’s it going so far?”

    “Pretty good. Kathy’s just showing me the ropes.”

    He turns to Kathy. “Haven’t scared him away yet, have you, Kathy?”

    Kathy slaps him playfully. “Hush, you.” She turns to me, “Nothin’ against you, honey, but I wish Steve coulda found me an office assistant who could also double as a lifeguard. Two birds with one stone, you know what I mean?”

    I shrug. “I just never learned how to swim.”

    Kathy crosses her arms. “Never too late to learn, darlin’.”

    I hesitate for a few seconds. “I’ll think about it, I guess.”

    Steve gives me a half-smile. “Don’t let Kathy pressure you. You learn only if you really want to.” He checks his watch. “Well, my break’s over. Gotta get back on the stand. See you around, Joey.” With that, he walks off.

    Kathy pats me on the back. “Sorry for what I said earlier. I hope you didn’t take offense to it.”

    I smile at her reassuringly. “I didn’t. You’re right, though—it would be nice having me be able to lifeguard, or if not, at least help out in the water. Hell, before I moved away to Raleigh, I always got invited to parties thrown by family friends on their boats, but I never went because I was scared I would drown. Maybe it is time I learned how to swim.”

    Kathy pats me on the back again. “I’m happy to hear that, darlin’. But, like Steve said, only when you feel ready.”

    * * * * *

    Once the busiest part of the day, which coincidentally was also the hottest part of the day, is over, Kathy sends me home. But before I go, I look out to the pool and see Steve up on his guard stand. It’s so nice having reconnected with him, and I just love the fact that he’s being so friendly with me. Back in high school I remember him being a little bit of a jerk, and he always hung out with a crowd of guys who didn’t really like me, but he never personally said anything mean to me. Nevertheless, it made it hard to get to know him, so I’m glad that’s all in the past.

    I get home and take it easy the rest of the evening. Kathy wants me to show up again tomorrow, and then for the swim meet on Saturday. It should be a pretty interesting day coming up.
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Thanks for the update



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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Happy to hear things are working out for Joey, darlin'! Yeah, I know the South.
    Last edited by Kyanimal; October 7th, 2018 at 01:14 AM.

    WISDOM is the Knowledge you have gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolycus View Post
    Thanks for the update
    No problem, Autolycus! I'll be giving this story a bit of extra attention this weekend, so the next few parts should be coming out soon. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanimal View Post
    Happy to hear things are working out for Joey, darlin'! Yeah, I know the South.
    Yes, they're definitely in the South! Hot and humid as all get out, especially now as in the story they're in late July. Coming from Mississippi, I definitely don't miss the summers.
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Part 3

    Saturday—the day of the swim meet—rolls around, but it’s not until this afternoon, so I take my time getting up. I call a few of the friends I left behind back in Raleigh. They all tell me they miss me, and I tell them I miss them, too. It sucks not having much of a social life here. I don’t really have much in common with my construction coworkers. I’m happy I ran into Steve, though, and that the two of us seem to be getting along. After thinking about it for a bit, that probably has a good chance of turning into a friendship outside of work.

    After a while, I eat lunch, then get ready to head to the pool. I get there about an hour before the meet so Kathy can show me how to set up all the equipment, like the diving stands. She gently squeezes my arm. “I knew those muscles would come in handy.” It takes some time, but eventually I get all sixteen stands—eight on each side of the pool—screwed into place. All that’s left now is to set out the chairs for the timekeepers and the tables for the people to hand out the ribbons.

    The overall meet is split up into two events—the first for kids, and the second for adults. About a half-hour before the official beginning, kids and their families start showing up. The noise is a bit echoey in the enclosed building, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Soon after, Steve shows up wearing his lifeguard outfit, and we fist-bump each other. He walks off and chats a bit with the different families that are here—there’s a bunch—and eventually climbs atop his stand.

    Kathy introduces me to one of the timekeepers whom I’ll be shadowing for the first part of the event. It’s as simple as pushing a button, but the important thing the timekeeper tells me is to watch out for any disqualifying actions by the swimmers. After several races, the kids’ meet ends, and the adult part of the event is scheduled to start in just fifteen minutes. Kathy runs up to me, a little out of breath. “Honey, I need your help.”

    “Sure, Kathy. What is it?”

    “I gotta wrap up the kids’ meet and start rounding up all the adults, but the folks at the ribbons table need the list of competitors. Can you grab it for me? It should be back behind the desk somewhere.”

    “Uh, sure, I think I remember seeing where it was.”

    She gasps, “You’re a lifesaver, darlin’.”

    I wanted to say, No, that’s Steve, but I decide not to waste any time and instead go to the office to look for the list. Once I get there, it’s not where I thought it was. With the meet to start just minutes from now, I scramble around looking under binders and in file folders for the list. Just then, Steve runs back into the same room, closes the door, and starts to peel off his shirt. He doesn’t seem to notice me, and after he throws his shirt up on a shelf next to some hooks, he starts untying the drawstring of his guard shorts and hooks his thumbs under the waistband. Thinking I’m about to get a free show of Steve’s naked body, I stay as motionless and silent as I can. Well, when he pulls down his shorts, he’s not naked, but instead he’s wearing a very tiny, dark blue Speedo, and he’s sporting a pretty impressive bulge.

    After he hangs up his shorts next to his shirt, he flips around and notices me. “Oh, Joey, I didn’t see you there.”

    I quickly avert my eyes and stare back at the desk, messy with papers. “Sorry.”

    “Don’t know what for.” After a few seconds of silence, he continues, “Looking for something?”

    I glance back at him and stammer for a few seconds, trying my hardest not to look down at his crotch. “Yeah, the list of swimmers.”

    He lets out a groan as he starts walking toward me. “Oh, Kathy is always moving that thing around.” He starts rummaging around the various papers on the desk until he finds it. “Here it is. I need to make a change to it anyway.”

    I’m a bit confused. “Why?”

    “I’m competing.”

    “Really?”

    “Yeah, I’m part of the swim team, but I can’t compete if I have to lifeguard. Luckily someone showed up to fill in for me so I can race. I just gotta add my name to the list.” He scribbles ‘Steve Parker’ on the paper and hands it to me. “Here you go, bud.”

    “Thanks.” With that, we both walk out of the office, and right before he runs off to join the other competitors, he turns to me. “You know, you’re doing pretty good at this job so far.”

    I start blushing again. “I’m trying. Good luck in the water.”

    He cracks a smile. “I’m gonna need it.” He turns back around and runs off.

    It turns out Steve is competing in every race—breaststroke, backstroke, and the butterfly—and there are even a few relays he’s a part of. He wins first place a couple times, but mostly he comes in second or third, and even once in fourth. This time I help at the ribbons table, handing out awards after each race, and I feel elated to get to hand him a few of his ribbons. Each time I do, his eyes sparkle as his body drips wet from just having gotten out of the pool, and every time he finishes a race, whether he gets first place or fourth, there’s always a huge smile on his face.

    The swim meet wraps up, and all the competitors and spectators leave. Steve stays behind, and Kathy says after I get the diving stands unscrewed and put away in storage that I can clock out and head home. Kathy leaves, and now it’s just Steve and me here.

    As I start unscrewing the bolts holding the stands with a ratchet wrench, Steve, still wearing just his Speedo, jumps back in the pool. I look over at him. “What are you doing?”

    Through gasps of breath, he answers, “After every meet I have to take the lane ropes down.”

    “How long does that take?”

    “About the same amount of time it takes to take the stands apart. I’m just glad I only have to do the ropes tonight and have you to help with the stands.”

    “Is it hard to do?”

    “Not really.” He swims closer to the edge and grabs one end of the rope. “You just gotta twist this part here to loosen it, then unhook it.” He does so, and the rope unhooks from the edge of the pool. “See?”

    “Yeah, that doesn’t look too difficult.”

    “Nah, the hard part is putting them in place. It’s hard keeping one end of the sucker hooked on, then swimming across the entire pool, keeping it tight enough to hook onto the other end so it doesn’t slip off. Do that nine times and it can take an hour or longer.”

    I loosen all four bolts from the first stand, move it aside, and start working on the next. “Yuck.”

    “Tell me about it. And these ropes have to be in place the night before. Usually I can get another guard to help out—it’s much faster with two people—but lately it’s been just me.”

    I sigh. “Sorry, I’d help out if I could…”

    He shakes his head. “Think nothing of it, bud. At least taking them down is the easy part.” He starts walking to the adjacent rope to loosen it. “Well, better get a move-on so we can get out of here.”

    We continue working on our closing jobs—him taking down the ropes and me unscrewing and putting away the diving stands. He finishes a few minutes before me and makes his way back to the locker room, presumably to shower and get into his street clothes. I finish unscrewing the last stand, then go back to the front office to get my things. He walks back and joins me a few minutes later, now fully clothed, and holding his dark blue Speedo balled up in his hand. As he stuffs it along with the shirt and shorts he was wearing earlier into his bag, I walk up to him. “You did fantastic out there.”

    He rolls his eyes. “I didn’t come in first as many times as I wanted, but overall I think I did pretty good.”

    “Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think you did great.”

    He smiles. “Aww, thanks, bud. And you were doing a fine job yourself helping out with the timekeepers and handing out ribbons. And no one can hold a candle to how much you’re helping out Kathy. I tell ya, I love that woman to death, but I’ve worked around her long enough, these meets are always a hectic hullabaloo with her, but you did a great job keeping her calm, and it’s your first meet!”

    “Thanks! Any advice for me to do better for next time?”

    “Yeah. Keep the competitor list—especially the adult one—away from her. Every time she makes a change to it, it always ends up somewhere different, and usually she’s the only one who knows where. And never tell her I told you that. She runs this place great, but she can get a bit scatterbrained sometimes, and she’d be heartbroken if she knew I badmouthed her.”

    I gesture sealing my lips. “I’ll never breathe a word.”

    He winks. “Good. Ready to get out of here?”

    I nod, and with that, we start heading out. Once we step outside, I speak up again. “Hey Steve?”

    “Yeah?”

    “Would you maybe, uh, want to head out for a drink sometime? I’d love to catch up and find out what’s been going on in your life.”

    He shrugs his shoulders. “Sure bud, we could do that. How easy is it to get to River Street from where you live?”

    I shake my head. “Won’t be a problem.”

    “Awesome. I should be free tomorrow evening. How about around seven?”

    “Yeah, that should work.” We exchange numbers, then begin to part ways. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Steve.”

    “Sounds good. See you then!”

    With that, we each get in our cars and drive home. I’m excited about getting to hang out with him, but also nervous because I almost feel like I’m getting a slight crush on him. I mean, who wouldn’t after seeing his sexy ass in a Speedo? But I tell myself to keep it cool and keep my feelings in check. I’ve gotten very lucky with landing this job and making a few extra bucks on the side, I can’t fuck it up by having him think I’m coming on to him and have him get me fired, so I decide to play it as straight as I can, so he doesn’t suspect anything.

    But I wonder just how long I’ll be able to pull it off.
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    I am truly digging this. I like the way you write from a first person point of view, and that includes "Brad's Search", too. Here's the link for those of you who have yet to discover it. https://www.justusboys.com/forum/thr...-Brad-s-Search

    Just curious ... Have you read any of reed's writing, especially his latest story? https://www.justusboys.com/forum/thr...cres-of-Elliot

    I'm intrigued by some of the similarities. And, that's a very good thing.

    Definitely eager for More!
    Chaz

    WISDOM is the Knowledge you have gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanimal View Post
    I am truly digging this. I like the way you write from a first person point of view, and that includes "Brad's Search", too. Here's the link for those of you who have yet to discover it. https://www.justusboys.com/forum/thr...-Brad-s-Search

    Just curious ... Have you read any of reed's writing, especially his latest story? https://www.justusboys.com/forum/thr...cres-of-Elliot

    I'm intrigued by some of the similarities. And, that's a very good thing.

    Definitely eager for More!
    Chaz
    Awesome to hear, Chaz! I'm stoked that you're digging the story! Thanks also for posting a link to my other story.

    I've seen reed's story, Acres of Elliot, in the list of stories on the forum but haven't yet had a chance to read much of it, but I did check out the first chapter. I do see already that there's also a character in his story named Joey! I'm a bit hesitant to read too much of it because I don't want to subconsciously take parts of it and put them here, but after I've gotten far enough with this story, I may open reed's up and check it out.
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Part 4

    Around seven the next day, I venture out to the bars around River Street. I walk along and find the one Steve talked about meeting at. I head inside, sit by the bar, and order a drink while I wait for him. The bar’s about half-full—it’s still early enough in the evening. “Heat Wave” by Martha and the Vandellas is playing over the speakers. Very appropriate.

    A few minutes later, Steve comes in, and I wave at him to get his attention. He sees me and comes over. “Hey bud!”

    “Hey Steve, how’s it going?”

    “Great, now that I’m here.” He sits down in the barstool next to me. The bartender comes by to take his drink order, then walks off. “I’ve been needing this.”

    “What, alcohol?”

    He chuckles. “No, a distraction.”

    “From what, if you don’t mind me asking?”

    He sighs. “Swim practice. I spend more time at that pool than I probably should. I’m surprised I haven’t grown gills.”

    “We’re from the South—everyone has gills.”

    He laughs again. “You’re right. I’m just not too happy with my performance yesterday.”

    “Come on, Steve, you did great.”

    He scoffs. “I’ve done better. I’ve put so much practice time in, I thought I’d finish first more.”

    “This is really important to you, isn’t it?”

    “You’re damn right it is.” The bartender delivers his drink, and he takes a healthy swig. “I’ve had this dream of going to the Olympics and competing against the best swimmers in the world. I even have a poster of Michael Phelps right by my front door to give me inspiration.”

    Wow. I’d likely have a poster of Michael Phelps, too, but it would be for a totally different reason. And it would be pinned up in my bedroom. On the ceiling.

    A few seconds of silence are shared between us, then I speak up, “Maybe you are getting better, but the competition is improving, too, and you just gotta keep up.”

    He sighs. “Maybe you’re right. Well, enough about me, how did you like your first week at the pool?”

    “It’s been great! Kathy is really nice and fun to work with.”

    “Yeah, she’s a sweetheart.”

    “And the work really isn’t that hard, either. I’m just glad I’m making a few extra bucks. Speaking of dreams, I’ve got one of my own.”

    “What’s that?”

    “I want to open my own construction business. All the ones I’ve worked for are all right, but there are lots of different and better ways they could be doing things, and they’re so resistant to change. I could probably double, even triple the amount of work we could put out if we made those changes, but they don’t want to.”

    “Wow, that sounds ambitious. You’re not the guy I thought you were when we were in school.”

    I scoff. “You hardly knew me then. The group you hung out with certainly didn’t seem to like me.”

    He groans. “Oh, those guys. Yeah, I don’t know why they disliked you so much.” He tilts his head. “I just want you to know, I never had a problem with you back then. I’m actually sorry they kept us from getting to know each other, but you and I have reconnected now, so that’s all that matters, I guess.”

    “Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. The past is the past.” We both take sips of our beers, and I go on, “You still hang out with any of those guys?”

    “Not really. Most of them have moved away. There is one guy, Ryan, who I was also on swim team with back then. He comes and competes every now and then, but he has a busy life, wife and kids, that sort of thing, so he hardly has time to swim anymore.”

    “What about you? Wife, girlfriend, or…”

    He sighs. “Had a girlfriend. We actually broke up a few weeks ago.”

    “Oh damn, Steve, I’m sorry.”

    He shakes his head. “It’s fine. It needed to happen. We were on-again and off-again for like three years straight. The sex was fantastic, but her personality left a lot to be desired. She was an expert at manipulation and trying to get me to feel sorry for her, always playing the victim. She hated how much I practiced swimming, even though I hardly think I was practicing that much. That’s also why I’ve been at the pool so much. I need something to fill the time after having broken up with her.”

    “Well, I’m glad you decided to come hang out tonight.”

    He smiles. “Me, too! This was a great idea. Got me out of the house.”

    I sigh. “So, you’re on swim team now, you were on swim team in high school… you spend more time in water than on the ground.”

    He laughs. “Tell me about it. I can’t even remember when I started learning how to swim. I had to be like three or four years old. But I do remember learning in that very same pool.”

    “That’s trippy, to be working at a place where you first learned how to swim.”

    He looks up at the ceiling. “Now that I think about it, yeah, it does seem kind of trippy,” he looks back at me, “but I’m used to it, I guess. I just feel like a natural in the water. It’s what I’m good at. I’m just glad I found a job that I actually enjoy.”

    “Gosh, I wish I had learned to swim as young as you did.”

    “Well, like Kathy said, it’s never too late to learn.”

    “But who would teach me?”

    He taps a finger on his chin. “That’s an interesting question. School’s about to start up, and we usually do group lessons with kids depending on their skill level, but in the time I’ve been lead instructor there, I don’t think we’ve ever taught adults how to swim.”

    “Never mind, forget I asked.”

    “No, I think we might be able to work something out. Teaching an adult one-on-one is certainly a lot less work than teaching a bunch of kids. It’ll be different, but I’d be up for the challenge, if you are. Plus, Kathy probably wouldn’t mind letting us practice after we close for the day.”

    “Really? You wouldn’t mind teaching me?”

    “Not at all. Plus, once you know how to swim, you can help me out with setting up the lane ropes and such.”

    “Hah, that’s true.”

    He rubs his hands together. “All right, next time you work at the pool, stay after and we’ll do our first lesson.”

    “Sure thing. Thanks a bunch, Steve. I really appreciate your doing this for me.”

    “Don’t mention it, bud. I’m getting something out of the deal, too, remember?”

    I chuckle. “Yes, that’s right.”

    We finish off the rest of our beers, then he speaks up again, “It’s been great hanging out, but I have to get going. Still have some household duties to take care of before the weekend’s over.”

    I reach out and shake his hand. “Thanks for coming and hanging out. I’ll see you back at work.”

    He laughs as he stands up. “I’m there, morning, noon, and night!” He tosses a few bucks on the bar to pay for his beer, then turns to leave. “See you, bud.”

    I watch as he walks out, then decide to order another beer and hang out at the bar a little longer, mindlessly watching the TV, but all the while thinking about what is to come from my newly-formed friendship with Steve.


    ---

    (Fun fact relating to the song below--it was actually playing in the Starbucks where I was at the time I was writing this part! I took it as a sign, and into the story it was written.)

    Martha and the Vandellas - Heat Wave

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Hey everyone! I'm back with another part to this story! I hope you enjoy!

    Part 5

    I come to the pool late Tuesday morning for my shift. As soon as I get there, Kathy is all over me. “Steve told me about you wanting to learn how to swim. I think that’s wonderful, darlin’.”

    I start blushing. “Thanks, Kathy. Hopefully it won’t be that hard to learn.”

    She smiles reassuringly. “Steve is a good teacher. You shouldn’t have a problem.”

    The day goes on as usual. It’s not too busy, being a weekday. As soon as the clock strikes five, Steve yells through his megaphone from atop the lifeguard stand, announcing to everyone the pool is closed. Twenty minutes or so later, the last person is changed and out the door. I say goodbye to Kathy as she leaves.

    Steve comes behind the front desk. “Ready to get wet?”

    If only he knew. “Yeah, just gotta get changed.”

    He peels off his shirt. “All right. I’ll see you at the shallow end.”

    With that, I take my swimsuit and scamper off to the locker room to get changed into it. I’m a bit shaky, nervous about how this swim lesson is going to go, but I tell myself to try to keep calm. I know I’m in good hands.

    I walk out and see him by the poolside, shirtless, and in his red guard shorts. I try as hard as I can not to spring a boner. It’d be all too obvious in this swimsuit. I go over and join him.

    He raises his eyebrows in concern. “Whoa, Joey, you all right?”

    “Just a bit nervous.”

    “Heh. Take a deep breath, and let’s shake it out.” He starts shaking and flapping his arms, and I follow suit. After a few seconds of that, I rest my arms at my side, and the jitters seem to have gone away. He smiles, “Is that better?”

    “Yeah, I think I’m good.”

    “Awesome. Let’s get in—I’ll go first.” He spins around and steps down the nearby ladder into the water. He moves away a few feet, and I follow behind him. Once I’m in the water, I turn around to face him. He gives me a reassuring look. “How are you feeling, bud? Nervous still?”

    “Nah. Fine, I guess.”

    “Good. You’re lucky that you’re already used to the water. It can take some people ages to get to the point where you are now.”

    “Really?”

    “Yeah. Kids, mostly, but some adults can take weeks before they feel comfortable getting in four-foot-deep water.”

    “Well, that’s about all I’ve ever done in the water—get in.”

    “Right, so let’s do a few things to get you even more used to it. Ever dunk your face all the way under?”

    I shake my head. “Can’t say that I have.”

    “OK, well, let’s ease into it. Don’t want to go all the way too fast. Bend your knees slightly to get lower.” He demonstrates, then I follow. Luckily we’re about the same height, so it’s easy to stay eye-level with him. “Good, now take a deep breath, hold it in, and put your nose and mouth in the water.” I do as he says, and it takes some concentration to keep water from going up my nose, but I stay several seconds in that position before needing to take a breath and stand straight again. He stands up straight as well. “How was that?”

    “Not too bad, though I could feel water going up my nose.”

    “Ah, yeah. Just resist the urge to breathe in. I know, easier said than done, but you’ll get used to it. It’s a little worse when jumping in, but you can just blow bubbles out your nose to counteract it. Let’s try it.” We do the same thing, except when we get nose deep, I start breathing out through my nose. It feels super weird, and I stand up and cough a bit, but keep trying until it feels almost second-nature. We both stand back up, and he continues, “All right, ready to go all the way in?”

    I gulp. “I think so.”

    “OK. We’ll go down together. Once we’re under, just hold your breath as before, and count to ten. If you don’t get to ten and need to come up for air, do it. Sound good?”

    I nod nervously. “Uh huh.”

    “Awesome. You start, and I’ll follow right behind you.” With that, I take in a fresh breath and lower my head all the way in. The pool water stings my eyes a bit, so I shut them tight, and count to ten rather quickly and stand back up. I hear Steve stand back up right after. “You good, Joey?”

    I wipe my eyes and try opening them slightly. “Yeah, just not as used to the water as I thought I’d be.”

    He chuckles. “You’ll get used to it in no time, bud. Well, let’s try a couple more things that don’t involve putting your face all the way in the water.”

    “Like what?”

    “Kicking. So far, you’ve used your legs only for walking on the pool floor. That’s a slow way of getting around, plus it won’t work in the deep end.”

    I gulp. “We’re going to the deep end now?”

    He laughs. “We’ll hopefully get there eventually, but no, not today, don’t worry. For now, turn your back to the side of the pool and reach back and grab it. We’re going to get horizontal.” I do as he says and try to get into position. He continues, “All right, kick off the bottom and try to point your legs and feet straight out.”

    It takes a few tries, but I eventually maneuver myself into a lying-down position. “Like this?”

    “That’s it. Now kick your feet, but keep your knees a bit loose, almost like you’re riding a bike, to try and stay sideways. Your body should naturally float, so the less you try, the easier it should be.” I try for a few moments until I find a rhythm and feel how kicking my legs can help keep me horizontal. He continues, “Nice, Joey, you got it. OK, stand back up—we’re going to try one more thing.”

    I do as he says. “What’s that?”

    “We’ll do the same thing, but belly-down. I’ll demonstrate.” He grabs the side of the pool and kicks his feet up, but face-down this time. As he holds on, he dips his face in the water, but turns it every few seconds and takes a breath. I try to take in his form as much as I can. The muscles in his legs flex with each kick, and his ass looks great when it lifts ever-so-slightly out of the water with his swimsuit clinging to it. After a few times of doing this, still kicking, he lifts his head up. “It’s the exact same thing as what you just did, except this time you’ll need to lift your head out of the water and breathe.” He stops kicking and stands back up. “Ready to try it?”

    I stammer a bit. “I—I think so.”

    He walks closer to me. “I’ll help get you into position. Go ahead and hang onto the side of the pool, then kick yourself up.” I do as he says, and feel him place his hands under my torso, supporting me. “Start kicking, but focus more on turning your head to breathe.” After I’ve turned my head and taken several breaths, I feel my body lower as he removes his hands, but I try kicking myself straight again. After a few more times, he taps me on the shoulder, and I turn my head toward him and lift it out of the water so I can hear. “That’s good; stand back up again.”

    I do so, slightly panting. “How’d I do?”

    He chuckles. “You’re a natural. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone take up swimming as quickly as you have.”

    “Really?”

    “Yeah. But we probably shouldn’t spend too much time here after hours. You want to keep learning?”

    “Hell yeah, if you say I’m doing great at picking it up, I want to keep going.”

    “That’s awesome. Well, tell you what—your next work day is Friday, right?”

    “Yeah, I think so.”

    “OK, let’s stay after on Friday like we did today, and we’ll try some more stuff.”

    I make a big grin. “I can’t wait.”

    “Soon you’ll be like a salmon swimming upstream.”

    “With you as a teacher, I’d hope so!”

    He laughs, then we start making our way out of the pool. I climb the ladder and exit the pool first, then he follows, but starts walking the other way toward the deep end. “I’ll see you on Friday, then.”

    I look at him, confused. “Wait, where are you going?”

    “Oh, I have to check the deep end every few days for anything that might have been dropped down there. I’ll be a while, so don’t wait up for me.”

    I shudder just thinking about swimming in the deep end, but try not to let it show. “All right, have a good night, Steve. And thanks again for the lessons.”

    “Think nothing of it, bud.”

    With that, I head to the locker room, peel off my swimsuit, and take a quick shower to wash the chlorine off my body. I dry off and get dressed. As I collect my things and get ready to leave, Steve’s still swimming around in the deep end. I leave and head home, looking forward to Friday when I get to swim with him again.
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    Keep Smilin'!! ;-)
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Now I'm looking forward to "Friday", too!
    Chaz

    WISDOM is the Knowledge you have gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanimal View Post
    Now I'm looking forward to "Friday", too!
    Chaz
    I am too, Chaz! Let's go ahead and find out what happens next!
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Part 6

    Work’s a bit busier than usual on Wednesday and Thursday. I get assigned several jobs both days, and even put in some overtime. As relieved as I am to head back home and relax after these long days, it’s going to be nice when I get my next paycheck.

    I head to the pool Friday morning for my next shift. When I get there, Kathy wants to hear all about how my first swimming lesson with Steve went. “Really well, Kathy. Steve is a great teacher, just like you said.”

    “I’m so happy for you, Joey. I’ve known people in my days that have never learned how to swim, and they’re so scared of the water. You’re a brave person.”

    “Thanks, Kathy. Hopefully our lesson tonight will be easy for me.”

    “Don’t worry, darlin’. You’re in good hands.”

    School just started recently, so things are extra busy with students of all ages coming in to either learn how to swim or do after-school swim practice. Throughout the day, Steve comes back into the office for a quick break here and there, but he has to go just minutes later. When the day wraps up and the pool closes for everyone else, we finally get the place to ourselves.

    Steve and Kathy make sure the pool is clear and no one is hanging behind in the changing rooms, then Kathy leaves. Steve comes back to the office and peels off his shirt. “Get changed into your swimsuit and meet me over at the shallow end.” I do so and walk over to him. He’s already waiting for me in the water.

    I point at the two foam kickboards by the side of the pool. “What are those for?”

    “Well, I thought if you’re up to it, we can try swimming all the way across the pool.”

    My eyes widen. “Boy, you sound ambitious.”

    He chuckles. “If we don’t, no big deal, but I thought we could give it a try.”

    I slowly make my way down the ladder and get into the cold water. “I guess I’d be up for trying.”

    “Good. And remember, if it’s too much, just stand up. First, though, let’s do what we did a few days ago, and hold onto the side and kick and try to stay straight.” After a minute or two of doing that, making sure I have it down, Steve has me stand up straight again and hands me one of the kickboards, taking the other one. “Hold on to this. Try and submerge it, and get a feel for how much it wants to float and rise to the surface.” I try forcing it down in the water, then it slips out of my hands and rockets upwards, making a splash as it lands in the water. He laughs, “There you go. You’ll use this to help keep your head and arms afloat, and you’ll just be using your legs to kick yourself in the water. Sound good so far?”

    I nod. “I think so.”

    “Awesome. Let’s step away from the side about ten feet or so.” We do that, and with the kickboard in his hand, he orients his body horizontally. “Watch how I do it first.” He sticks his arms straight out, holding the kickboard between his hands, and kicks alternately with both legs and makes it to the side of the pool in no time. “You want to try?”

    “Sure.” I pretend the kickboard is just like the side of the pool, holding onto it straight out, and try to kick myself into a horizontal position. It takes a bit of effort, but I finally get there, and kick hard, making quite a splash behind myself. I expend a lot of effort, but I finally make it to the side of the pool and stand back up. “How was that?”

    He tries giving me an encouraging smile. “That was a good first effort. You kept your body pretty straight, which is great, but you kicked a little too much. It’s not so much the distance your legs move, but the power in each kick. Try to keep your feet under water. It’s OK if they come out a bit and splash, but you don’t want to splash too much.

    I sigh. “OK, I think I got it.”

    “Awesome. Let’s try again.” We both walk to the same spot, and he demonstrates once more. I pay more attention to his legs—to see how he does his kick, but also because his toned muscles look really sexy in action. As soon as he gets to the side of the pool, he gives me the go-ahead. I try keeping my legs below the surface and kick with all my strength. I have an easier time getting to the side. “That was fantastic, Joey! How does it feel?”

    “Great! I feel like I can swim already!”

    He chuckles. “You’re certainly getting there. Want to try going all the way across?”

    I take a deep breath. “Sure, if you think I’m ready.”

    “Awesome. Just remember, if you get too tired, stop and stand up.” I nod, then he continues, “OK, I’ll start off, then follow right behind me. It’s twenty-five meters across, and we’ll be going slowly, so it’ll take a minute or so to get to the other side. Ready?”

    “Yeah, let’s do it.” With that, he kicks off the side of the wall and is on his way. I do my best to follow his lead. My breathing gets hard, but I try pushing through to get to the other side. Knowing he’s going to be there waiting for me makes it a bit easier to push myself. I finally reach the other side and stand up, panting. He gives me a concerned look. “You all right, Joey?”

    I try catching my breath. “I think so. Never thought I would ever be able to do that.”

    “Well, you just did! And the more you swim, the less out of breath you’ll be.”

    “How am I going to practice outside of our swimming lessons?”

    “You can come in on one of your days off and borrow one of the kickboards. As long as you stick to the shallow end and remember that you can stand up if you get tired, you should be fine.” He gives me a few more moments to catch my breath. “Want to try going across again?”

    “I don’t know if I can. That took a lot out of me.”

    He chuckles. “That’s fine. We can always do more later. Want to do another swimming lesson next week?”

    “Yeah, I’m down.”

    “Awesome. Well, actually there is one more thing we can do, and it doesn’t involve swimming at all.”

    I’m intrigued. “What’s that?”

    He starts getting out of the pool. “Follow me.” I do as he says. He puts both kickboards back in their bin, grabs a pair of goggles, and starts walking to the other side of the pool. Once we get close enough to it, I stop in my tracks. He turns around. “What’s wrong?”

    “Are we getting in the deep end?”

    “Well, I am. You scared to?”

    I feel uneasy. “Yeah, a little bit.”

    He smiles, trying to make me comfortable. “That’s fine. Do you think you could just sit by the side with your feet in?”

    I carefully peer over the side. “How deep is it?”

    “About thirteen feet.”

    I step back away from the side. “Whoa.”

    He chuckles. “As long as you don’t lean too far forward, you’re not going to fall in. And even if you do, I’m right here.”

    I reluctantly walk back to the edge and sit down, dipping my legs into the water. “Yeah, it’s not too bad.”

    “It’s not. You should get used to it, though. Once we get far enough in lessons, we’ll be coming down to this end. But for now, just hang out by the side and let your fears wash away.”

    “Easier said than done, but I’ll try.”

    “Good. I’ve gotta dive in for lost articles. Can I hand them to you if I find any?”

    I nod. “Sure.” With that, he walks over to the tallest diving board and starts climbing the stairs. As soon as he gets to the top, he puts his goggles over his eyes, shifts his body weight, and springs off the board and into the water, just like Tom Daley—well, a southern version of Tom Daley—barely making a splash. The image of his body turns into a fuzzy, blurry, fast-moving blob as he goes all the way to the bottom. Several seconds later, he rockets back up to the surface and swims over to me. He hands me a couple pairs of goggles and a diving fin, and I take them from him. “Really, a diving fin?”

    He laughs. “People lose all sorts of stuff in the deep end.”

    “I guess you’d know. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever found?”

    “Good question. I’d have to say… an engagement ring.”

    “Holy shit.”

    “Yeah. That fucker was tough to find. You should’ve seen the rock in it, though. I guess that made it a bit easier to find, but still. The woman was lucky it wasn’t sucked down a vent and into our piping. It would’ve taken forever to find it then.” He glances down at the water. “OK, round two.” He hops out and climbs back atop the diving board, diving off and disappearing under the surface once more. He comes back up to the top with some more goggles and a yellow rubber bracelet. “This should be everything.”

    I take the rest of the things from him as he hoists himself out of the water. We make our way back to the office to put everything in the lost-and-found bin. I gather my street clothes and am excited when I see him doing the same. I might finally have the chance to see him naked! I try not to make my excitement apparent. As soon as we step out of the office and round the corner into the men’s locker room, I speak up. “Ready for the weekend?”

    “I sure am. I’m just glad there’s no swim meet tomorrow, otherwise I’d still need to put up the lane ropes before I left tonight.” He puts his bag on a nearby bench and takes a towel from it. “How about you?”

    “Hell yeah. I probably won’t do much, just stuff around the house, and maybe read more of the books I got about business.” I take my own towel out of my bag.

    He sighs. “That’s what my weekends have turned into ever since I broke up with my girlfriend—doing stuff around the house, and not much else.”

    We walk over to the shower area, which is just this large room with showerheads lining the wall and no separators between them. We hang up our towels on some nearby hooks, and he walks over to the shower at the far corner of the room. He turns on the water and gets it up to temperature. I start taking off my swimsuit and wonder why he hasn’t done the same, but I’m no prude, and push it all the way off and hang it up next to my towel, then walk over to the closest showerhead and get mine up to temperature.

    I tilt my head back into the stream of water, rising off all the chlorine, and just letting the warmth relax me. I had just done something I never thought I’d do—swim across a pool. Sure, I did it with the help of a kickboard, but soon, after a few more swim lessons, I think I’ll be able to do it all on my own.

    I open my eyes and glance over at Steve. I’m taken by surprise as he unties his drawstring and pulls his guard shorts off. I guess he just wanted to rinse them off in the water first. He takes them in his hands and wrings the water out of them, then turns off the water and walks over to his towel to start drying off. I don’t get long to look, but he’s built, unsurprisingly, just like a swimmer. He doesn’t have much in the way of body hair. I remember hearing long ago that it has to do with reducing resistance in the water. Well, he took it all the way to under his swimsuit, having trimmed his pubic hair. At least he didn’t shave it all the way off. But the most surprising revelation of the night has to be that he’s uncircumcised. It’s unusual for a man in this country, especially in this part of the country—the South—to be uncut, but here he is. And just as quick as I learned that fact, he hides it as he begins toweling off. It would be awkward if I kept showering much longer, so I turn off the water and join him in drying off.

    Without saying a word to one another, we get dressed in our regular street clothes and walk outside, the door locking automatically behind us. He starts walking over to the opposite side of the parking lot toward his car. “See ya next week, bud.”

    “All right. Thanks for the swim lesson.”

    Well, as much as I enjoyed that short shower time, it felt weird as hell doing it while not saying a word. I guess some guys hold off on all interaction when changing or showering around other dudes, so I shouldn’t worry too much about it. He probably just wanted to get in and out of there and dressed as quickly as possible. And I can’t blame him. At least I got to see him naked tonight, and who knows? I’ll probably get more chances after our next lessons.

    I get home, crack open a beer, cook up dinner, and relax the rest of the night.
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Happy November, everyone! I hope you all have been enjoying the story so far. Please let me know if you are by leaving a reply. There's a LOT more to come! Part 8's coming tomorrow!

    ---

    Part 7

    I take my time getting up Saturday morning and eventually pull myself off my phone and out of bed to eat breakfast and shower. I remember seeing a book I was interested in at the bookstore last weekend, so I decide to head there. I get my usual cup of coffee, find the book, and make myself comfortable in one of those cushy chairs by the front of the store.

    I’m a few chapters in when I hear a woman’s voice. “Joey?”

    I lower the book and look up. “Lauren?”

    Lauren is a friend of mine I met back in high school. We fell out of touch when I moved to Raleigh, but we were very close when I still lived here. In fact, she was one of the few friends who stuck by my side when I came out as gay in high school. Things were tense back then. It seemed that everyone, and everyone’s parents, were super religious. There was always talk of fire and brimstone and me going to hell. OK, everyone is a bit of an exaggeration—there were still some other students and teachers that were supportive, and plenty more who didn’t care one way or the other, but the most vocal were the people that had a religious stick up their ass. Lauren’s parents were kind of like that, but Lauren herself was nice about it, and we bonded over that.

    She smiles. “That is you!”

    I set the book down next to my coffee, stand up, and give her a hug. “How’ve you been?”

    “Me? You’re the one that disappeared after graduation!”

    “Well, I’m back now.”

    “Duh, I can see that! Let me grab a coffee, and we’ll chat.” She goes over and stands in line while I sit back down, then a few minutes later, she rejoins me, sitting in the chair next to mine. “So, spill it.”

    “Where do I start? Well, things weren’t working out well in Raleigh, so I had to move back here. I’m still in construction, but I’m also working part time at the swimming center.”

    “Oh cool, that must be keeping you busy.”

    I shrug. “It’s not too bad. How’ve you been after all these years?”

    “I’ve been all right. Married, divorced, and now engaged again.”

    “Er, to a different guy, I presume?”

    She giggles. “Yes, silly.”

    “Hey, just making sure.”

    “Yeah. Turns out high school sweethearts aren’t really a thing that lasts, at least for me.”

    “I’m sorry to hear that.”

    “Don’t be—I’m glad to be rid of the guy. The man I’m with now treats me way better.”

    “Well, I’m glad you found happiness.”

    “Thanks! And what about you? Any boy lucky enough to be with you?”

    “Nope. Haven’t really had time since moving back a few weeks ago. But being single allows me to focus on other things. I kinda like it. I’m in no rush to get together with someone until I’m really ready, you know?”

    She sighs. “I guess so. Gosh, I’ve been so used to having a guy by my side, I don’t know what I’d do without one for any length of time.”

    “I know. You certainly went through a lot of boyfriends in high school.”

    She leans over and slaps my leg. “Hush, you. You make me sound like a slut.”

    “No, not at all! It’s good to have a nice and healthy sexual appetite, as long as you’re responsible about it.”

    She smiles. “That’s better. Well, when the time is right, I’m sure you’ll find someone, but yeah, until then, you just take care of you.”

    I smile. “You were always good at giving advice. Got me through a lot of the hard times at school.”

    “Yeah, those times sucked, didn’t they? But they made us stronger as a result.”

    I sigh. “They sure did.”

    She gets up. “Anyway, I’ve gotta run. I just came here to grab a few books then I’ve gotta be on my way.”

    I stand up and give her a hug. “All right, well thanks for saying hi and talking for a bit.”

    “No problem, sweetie. It was good seeing you. Do you still have my number?”

    “Has it changed since high school?”

    “No, thankfully. If my ex-husband was a jerk, I’d have to change it, but luckily he’s been amicable about the whole thing.”

    I chuckle nervously. “That’s a good thing, I guess.”

    “Yeah, one of the only good things about him. Well, good chatting with you. I’ll see you around sometime.”

    “See you, Lauren.”

    She walks off, and I sit back down, pick up my book, and keep reading, though it’s hard to focus now that all the memories I have of high school start flooding back. Lauren really was there for me for those seemingly long years. When things were particularly tough, during my sophomore year, she even defended me against a group of jerks. I can still picture her standing between me and them. All their names ring like bells in my head—Ryan, Terry, Chad, Lucas, and—yes—Steve was there, too, and though he was standing back and not hurtling insults and epithets like the others, he still seemed like a willing accomplice, not really stepping in and doing anything to stop them. He’s of course not like that now, but it’s disappointing to remember how he behaved in the past, if only for his inaction.

    I shake my head and try to push those memories of high school from my mind. It’s really not worth thinking about and reliving. I put my attention back on the book and continue reading, trying to keep my mind off the past.

    * * * * *

    I get all my household chores done and sail into my construction job Monday morning. I’m glad I had those extra jobs last week, because I’m sent home early today when all the work is done. Since I have some time off, I decide to head to the pool after lunch for some swim practice. I don’t see Steve there, but I do check in with Kathy and make sure it’s OK to borrow the kickboard and practice in the shallow end. She says if Steve allowed me to do it, then it’s fine with her. I head to the locker room, shower, and change into my swimsuit, then head out to the pool and take one of the kickboards I used last week and get into the shallow end. I’m so excited, and it’s so hot, that I’m quickly in the water, no matter how cold it feels.

    I try to take it nice and slow at first, and not burn through all my energy right off the bat. I make it across on my own and am not too out of breath, so I decide to go across again. I get tired midway through, then remember what Steve said, and just stand up and catch my breath, then keep going. I rest for a bit once I get to the other side, then go across again, and again, and once more. It gets easier the more I do it. I can’t wait until I’m able to do this without the aid of a kickboard, but that’ll have to wait for my next lesson with Steve.

    I hoist myself out of the pool and put the kickboard back where I got it, then take a quick shower to wash the pool water off my body. I get dressed, say goodbye to Kathy, and head home.
    Some stories I've been working on:
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  19. #19
    Sex God AstareGod's Avatar
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    As promised, the next part of the story is ready for your reading pleasure! Plus, I decided to also post the part AFTER that. I hope you enjoy this nice double dose update to the story! Definitely let me know what you think!

    Part 8

    Steve and I stay after the pool closes the next day for our third swimming lesson. I change in the locker room and go out to meet him at the shallow end. He’s sitting at the side of the pool. “Uh, Steve, I don’t see any kickboards here.”

    “That’s right. Kathy told me about your coming to practice yesterday. That’s awesome. We’re gonna take it a step further and see if you can make it all the way across without having to depend on the kickboard. How’s that sound?”

    “As long as you think I’m ready, let’s do it.”

    “Awesome. Let’s go a little deeper, toward the middle of the pool.” He continues talking as we go. “So far, your legs have been doing all the work propelling yourself in the water. Now we’re going to add your hands and arms. Pretend your hands are oars, and you’re rowing your body in the water. Got it so far?”

    “I think so.”

    “OK, let’s get in.” We hop into the water and hang on the edge. He goes on, “We’re not going to be able to reach the bottom here, but don’t worry—I won’t leave your side. If you’re having trouble, let me know, and I’ll get you back to safety.”

    I try not to let my nervousness show. “I trust you, Steve.”

    “Good. All right, we’re going to move away from the edge and try to keep afloat in place. This is called treading water. Move your legs and feet almost like you’re riding a bike, and use your hands and arms to keep your upper body up and out of the water. Watch me for a couple seconds.” He pushes off the edge, and I watch his legs and arms move under the surface, but his chest and head stay almost perfectly still. “Ready to give it a try?”

    “Uh, sure.” I push off and struggle a bit since I can’t reach the bottom, but I try kicking my legs to stay afloat. My nose and mouth almost fall below the water line a few times. I tilt my head back, trying as hard as I can not to let myself go underwater.

    Steve moves closer to me and, facing me, places his hands by my side and supports me a bit, all the while keeping himself afloat. I have no idea how he does it, but he does. “You OK, bud?”

    In between gasps, I manage to tell him, “I think so.”

    His voice is reassuring. “I’ve got you. Relax and keep your breathing calm.”

    It is considerably easier with him helping to hold me up. I struggle a lot less and eventually get a rhythm going where it’s easier to keep afloat. He slowly lessens his support and finally removes his hands from my side, and I’m doing it! I’m treading water! “Is this good?”

    He chuckles. “You’re doing fantastic. Keep going. I’ll guide you back to the edge—grab on once it’s close enough.” With that, he disappears underneath the surface, and I feel him place his hands on my side again to gently turn me around and push me back to the edge. I do as he instructs and grab on, and his head pops back above the surface just seconds later. “All right—let’s take a break so you can catch your breath. How do you feel?”

    “Honestly? Excited. I’ve never been in water this deep before. I’ve been scared almost my whole life of ever getting in water this deep, but you’ve helped keep me calm and collected and showed me that it’s nothing to really be afraid of.”

    He flashes a smile. “That’s awesome! I’m glad you’re feeling safer in deeper water now. That’s amazing progress. It’s also great that you feel comfortable enough to practice on your own. For now, though, you’re still learning how to swim, so stick to the very shallow end when you’re by yourself. Don’t swim in this part of the pool if I’m not within arm’s reach of you, OK?”

    I nod. “Understood, Steve.”

    He nods back. “Good. OK, let’s try swimming all the way across. We’ll get out and go back to the shallow end—that way, if you get tired, you can stand up and take a break. Go ahead and hop out first.” I get up and out of the water, and he follows seconds later. We make our way to the shallow end and get back in. He continues, “So, to begin, we’ll try a front crawl. You’ll kick with your legs just like you’ve done already, but now you’ll be using your arms, too. Lift one arm up and all the way out of the water, then bring it all the way forward, dip it under the water, and pull yourself forward, just like an oar, and follow through with your other arm, and keep going. Understand so far?”

    “I guess.”

    “Watch me do it first, and pay close attention to my arms as I go.” He kicks his feet off the floor and tilts his body forward until he’s horizontal in the water, then starts effortlessly moving forward in the water, his arms and legs working in tandem to propel himself. He doesn’t swim as fast as I’ve seen him swim during the meet, but that’s just to show me how he does it. He stops, turns around, and swims back, then stands back up when he gets back to me. “Make more sense now?”

    I sigh. “It’s a lot to take in.”

    He chuckles. “It can be. Luckily, you’ve got the kicking part down, but I realize it can be challenging putting all the movements together. Let’s try this—let’s get you in a lying-down position. I’ll help hold you up in the water.” I do as he says, then feel him place one arm right under my ribcage and the other under my upper thighs, supporting me right at the surface of the water. He continues, “Now kick, gently, and use your arms as if you’re swimming.” I do this for a while, and he goes on, “That’s good. Notice how your body naturally tilts from side-to-side as you reach each arm out of the water?”

    I nod as much as I can from the position I’m in. “Yeah, I can feel that.”

    “That’s a perfect chance to take a breath. Your face will be in the water as you swim forward, but when your body tilts to the side, you can take a breath in. Go ahead and dip your face into the water and give it a try.” It takes me several tries, but I finally get a feel for taking a breath each time I lift an arm out of the water. “Awesome. Let’s get you upright again.” He takes away the arm supporting my legs and lets my body naturally orient itself straight up in the water. “Ready to try swimming across?”

    I take a deep breath. “Ready as I’ll ever be, I guess.”

    He smiles, trying to relay as much confidence and belief in me as possible. “Awesome. Remember, you can always stand up if you feel like you’re having trouble.”

    I nod, and he waits for me to get into position. I kick off the wall and try to get myself up to speed. He follows as I make my way through the water to the other side. It’s a little tough at first, and I have to stop and stand up to take a break a few times, but I eventually get the rhythm down and slowly get to the other side. We push off together from the opposite end, and I successfully get all the way across without having to stop. It takes a while, but I get there. I’m very out of breath, but I manage to excitedly say, “I made it!”

    He flashes a huge smile. “You did! How does it feel?”

    “Unbelievable. I never thought I’d be able to do this. You’re an awesome teacher!”

    He starts blushing. “You’re an even better student.” He looks up at the clock on the wall. “I think that’s enough for tonight.”

    “You’re right. As excited as I am, I’m also pretty worn out.” He hoists himself out of the water, then leans over and reaches his hand down to help me out. We walk toward the locker room and round the corner into the shower area and go through our usual routine, rinsing all the pool chemicals from our skin, drying off, and getting dressed. As we head out to go home, I turn to him. “I know I’ve said this plenty of times, but thanks again for being my teacher. I’m honestly amazed how quickly I’m picking up learning how to swim.”

    “Thanks, bud. It helps a lot that you’ve had some experience in the water already. I’m glad you’re such a willing student! It’s fun teaching someone like you how to swim.”

    I smile. “Well, see you Friday.”

    With that, we part ways, and I head home.
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

  20. #20
    Sex God AstareGod's Avatar
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Part 9

    My construction job leaves me exhausted and overworked over the next two days, but at least that means a larger paycheck. On Friday, I go back in to my other job at the pool, and say hello to Kathy when I get in. It’s another regular Friday, with us checking in lots of school groups, and tending to other adults that come in for their swim time.

    Once things begin to settle down, I look out at the pool and notice Steve is missing. I turn to Kathy. “Is Steve off today?”

    “No, he’s coming in around noon. We hired some new lifeguards, and he’ll be training them later today.”

    “Ah, that explains why he’s not here.”

    I take my lunch break, then see Steve as he comes in. He’s not in his usual lifeguard outfit; instead, he’s wearing a button-down shirt and khaki pants. He looks quite nice, actually. He comes behind the desk and we chat for a bit before he has to start preparing for his class. He disappears into a small conference room for the next few hours while Kathy and I finish up the rest of the workday. About a half-hour before the pool closes, Kathy starts to pack up her things. “I have to leave early. Do you think you can handle things from here?”

    I nod. “Sure, I’ve got it covered.”

    “Thanks, darlin’. You’re a real sweetie. See you next week.” She gently pinches my cheek, then turns around and leaves.

    Five o’clock rolls around. The lifeguards on duty close down the pool, and we all make sure everyone is out and the changing rooms are clear. They head out while I organize the office and put together everything for the meet tomorrow, then a few minutes later, Steve emerges from his class and says goodbye to his students as they walk out of the building.

    He comes back to the office, looks out at the pool, then slams his fist against the desk. “Are you fucking kidding me?!”

    I turn and look at him in bewilderment. “Jeez, what’s wrong, Steve?”

    He groans loudly. “One of the other guards was supposed to put up the lane ropes for the meet tomorrow. They all left. Shit, now I have to do it.”

    “Dude, that sucks, I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do to help?”

    He angrily shakes his head. “No, don’t worry about it. It’s not your responsibility to take care of.”

    I sigh. “Well, it wasn’t supposed to be your responsibility today, either. If I can help make it go faster, I don’t mind sticking around and helping out.”

    His voice returns to a calmer tone. “Thanks, I appreciate that. The real stupid thing is I didn’t even bring a swimsuit to work today, since all I was supposed to do was teach that class. I didn’t expect to have to get in the water.”

    “Can’t you just swim in your underwear?”

    “Nah, cotton clothing can fuck up our filtration system. I’m gonna have to fucking skinny dip.” He reaches for his belt, then pauses. “You don’t mind, do you?”

    “I don’t fucking care. It’s no different than when we shower after swim lessons. It’s no big deal to me.”

    He shrugs. “Yeah, I guess so. All right.” He starts undressing, eventually taking off his boxer briefs and revealing his nice uncut cock with the neatly-trimmed pubes. After carefully folding his clothes and setting them on the desk, he mutters, “Let’s get this over with.” He turns and walks out to the pool area, and I follow behind him, stealing glances at his ass and thigh muscles as he walks.

    He starts rolling the reel of lane rope toward the middle of the pool, right where the tiled black lines start along the floor, and hops into the water. He takes the loose end of the rope and starts tugging it. “Go ahead and unwind the rope. I’ll bring it across to the other side.” I do as he says, spinning the giant wheel of rope as he swims across to the far side of the pool, holding his end of the rope with one hand as he makes his way to the other side. I get a nice view of his ass as he swims across. He shouts once he gets there, “OK, hook your end to the little metal eye you see on your side.”

    I look around and find what he’s talking about, hooking the end of my rope onto it. “OK, Steve, I think I’ve got it.”

    He shouts back, “Great. Hold it there while I tighten it on my end.” I try my best keeping it in place as he tensions the rope. He gets it situated, then starts swimming back. “All right, rope number two.” We repeat the process eight more times, and when we finally get the last rope in place, he gets out of the water on the opposite side of the pool, and we both head back toward the office, with me rolling the reel of rope back to where we got it.

    We reach the office, with him completely dripping wet. “Want me to get you a towel?”

    He rubs his face with his hands. “Sure, if you don’t mind.” I head into the office and find a clean towel sitting on a shelf, then go back out and hand it to him. He starts drying his face, then the rest of his body. “Thanks, bud.”

    “No problem.” I head back inside the office as he continues drying off, finishing up what I was doing before we went out to set up the lane dividers.

    A few minutes later, he joins me, still naked, and starts getting dressed, finally sitting down to put on his socks and shoes. He sighs as he runs his fingers through his wet hair. “That wasn’t so bad, I guess.”

    “Nah, it went a lot faster than I remember you mentioning.”

    “That’s because I had someone to help unreel the rope. If it was just me, I’d have to unreel the whole thing first, then hook up both ends of each rope one at a time. It would have taken a lot longer, so I really appreciate your help.”

    “No problem, I’m just glad I could help.”

    We wrap up everything and head out. He pats me on the shoulder. “I’ll see you tomorrow, bud, for the swim meet.”

    “Yep, see you then.”

    With that, we part ways.

    * * * * *

    I show up the next day about an hour before the meet to set up the starting blocks just as I did two weeks prior. After that, I walk back behind the front desk to check in all the families and adults that have come to compete. Steve is nearby talking with the other lifeguards who have shown up to work the meet. After I finish checking in several people, Steve’s done talking with his guards and sends them off, but he sticks around for the time being. I finally get to the last person in line. It’s someone with a familiar face, but I can’t quite place who he is. “First and last name?”

    “Ryan Lawrence.”

    Once he tells me his name, I recognize who he is. “Ryan…it’s been a while.”

    “Joey? Wow, it is you. Just like you to be doing a girl’s job like checking people in.”

    I shake my head in shock. “What did you just say to me?”

    He narrows his eyes. “You heard me.” He looks behind me, and his eyes brighten up. “Hey, Steve!”

    I turn my head and look back. Steve spins around in his chair, apparently oblivious to what Ryan said to me. He smiles, “What’s up, Ryan?”

    “Not much, just surprised you got someone like Joey checking people in.”

    Steve’s smile fades, and his expression turns to one of confusion as he stands up. “What do you mean?”

    “Nothing, I just didn’t know you let pansy ass cocksuckers work here.”

    I remain silent, still in shock, and watch as Steve walks forward and almost shouts back at Ryan. “What the fuck is your problem, man?”

    “It’s ridiculous you’d let a faggot like Joey work here. How can you be OK with him gawking at all the male swimmers?”

    I can see Steve’s blood starting to boil. “Cool it, dude!”

    Ryan continues his tirade, “At least tell me he doesn’t work in the water. I wouldn’t want to catch any of the homo germs floating around—or worse, catch AIDS from him.”

    “Shut the fuck up, asshole, or I’ll punch your lights out!”

    Just then, Kathy shows up, having come from the pool area. “What in the hell is going on here?”

    Ryan rolls his eyes. “Oh, hi there, Miss Kathy. Just a small problem with one of your employees.”

    She ignores Ryan and motions for Steve to come closer to her. The two of them whisper silently to each other, and I can’t make out a word of what they’re saying. I don’t make eye contact with Ryan, either. After several tense seconds, Kathy speaks up, “Ryan, I have to apologize on behalf of my staff. What I just heard Steve say to you is completely unacceptable.” She walks over to me, lowering her voice again to almost a whisper, but maintains eye contact with Ryan. “Joey, darlin’, you got the adult competitor list?” Without saying a word, I hand her the list. She speaks at a normal volume again. “Completely unacceptable, that is, unless he was defending himself or another person on my staff from someone spewing hate speech.”

    Ryan looks bewildered and tries to feign innocence. “Hate speech? I’m just expressing a concern that everyone here should have.”

    She shakes her head. “No, it sounds to me like it was just ignorant, bigoted hate speech.”

    Ryan rolls his eyes. “Whatever, lady.”

    Kathy maintains the volume of her voice, but the sharpness of her tone becomes much more prevalent. “And as such, you will not be racing tonight.” She picks up the thickest black marker she can find and crosses off his name from the list.

    Ryan gasps. “You can’t do that!”

    Kathy retorts, “If you have a problem with it, take it up with the racing board. Tonight, I’m judge, jury, and executioner, and my sentence for your crime is that you will not be racing tonight. And that’s final.”

    Ryan shakes his head. “I can’t believe this. I didn’t do anything wrong! You have to let me race!”

    Kathy sighs. “Like I said, take it up with the board. I’m not changing my mind.” Just as Ryan is about to turn around and storm off, she continues, “And if you believe you didn’t do anything wrong, I’ll give you a copy of the tape.” She points up at a camera mounted on the ceiling.

    Ryan’s face turns beet red. “Steve, I thought we were buds, man.” He stands there seething for a few seconds, then turns around and storms away from the desk, out the door, and away from the building. Kathy puts her hand on my shoulder. “Don’t let anyone speak to you that way, darlin’, and if they do, tell mama Kathy, and I’ll put an end to it.”

    I’m still really in shock, but I pull myself together enough to thank her, and try getting back to my regular tasks. She walks back to the ribbon table, leaving just me and Steve alone at the desk. He turns to me. “I’m really, really sorry about Ryan, Joey. He acted like such a huge jerk just now.”

    I take a deep breath, trying to exhale all the anxiety and agitation from inside. “What do you have to be sorry for, Steve? He said all those hateful, hurtful things, not you.”

    “I know, but seeing him do that just now was a stark reminder of those times in high school where I just stood back and let my friends say whatever they wanted to you. I’m sure you haven’t forgotten about those times. Neither have I. It’s actually been on my mind after we met again after all these years. It wasn’t OK what they did to you then, and it isn’t OK now.”

    I sigh. “Thanks for standing up for me.”

    He takes my hand and grips it in solidarity. “Anytime, bud. And I mean that.” He lets my hand go. “I just hope I still have my job tomorrow.”

    “What do you mean? You were sticking up for me.”

    “I know, but I also know Ryan very well. He’s going to complain to the board about not being able to race tonight, mark my words. Their next meeting is on Monday. They probably won’t do anything for him, but they might penalize me. I did threaten to punch him, after all.”

    “Oh, I’m sure once they hear what really happened, they’ll understand.”

    “I hope so. Kathy’s good friends with some of the board members. I’ll see if I can get her to lessen any possible punishment.”

    “Well, in my opinion, you shouldn’t be punished at all.”

    “Thanks, bud. I’m glad you think so. I just hope the board agrees with you.” He sighs, then stands up. “Well, let’s go get things ready.”

    I stand up and follow him back out toward the pool. “Are you going to be able to race tonight?”

    He shrugs. “If Kathy will let me, and I think she will, then sure. We have enough guards on staff tonight that I’ll be able to race.”

    I’m happy about that—one, because I believe Steve didn’t do anything wrong, and two, I get to see him in that sexy Speedo again.
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  21. #21
    Keep Smilin'!! ;-)
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Hey, bud ...

    One of the reasons I enjoy reading this story, unlike many gay tales, is that it is moving at regular real life pace, not going through exaggerated, implausible, hyper gyrations, to slam to "the money shot" as quickly as possible. Heck! I don't even know if a "money shot" is coming (pun intended). And, you know what? It doesn't even matter if that's where this is headed, or not.

    Your writing is more genuine, more believable, and that's part of what makes it interesting. You're also covering important, and some of the more subtle, touchstones that mark every day human interaction.

    I wish I had had a teacher like Steve when I was taking swimming lessons as a kid. I had, and still have to some extent, an aversion to submerging my face. I can do it, but I tense up, which is counter productive. I can float, tread water, kinda dive, and sorta swim, but not with any degree of grace, or efficiency. At least I'm not going to drown, immediately, in deep water, which is anything over 5', which is up to my nose. However, when skinny dipping is in the offering, whether in raging ocean waves, or just on a wet floor, I'm all in.

    As for nudity, I'm from a time when it was mandatory, with enforced group showers after gym class, etc., etc., etc. Guys either "got with the program", or were marked for life. We were expected to adapt to the world rather than have the world adapt to us. I'll refrain from writing a thesis about that here.

    I have to give Steve a lot of credit for not only sticking up for Joey against Ryan, but also for not shying away from getting naked while knowing Joey is gay. It's not that that takes bravery, as much as it takes acceptance, and respect, which is far more valuable and commendable. That says so much about Steve.

    Like I said, I don't know where this is going, but I'm looking forward to following, and finding out.

    Write on!
    Chaz

    WISDOM is the Knowledge you have gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

  22. #22
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    craving for more

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanimal View Post
    Hey, bud ...

    One of the reasons I enjoy reading this story, unlike many gay tales, is that it is moving at regular real life pace, not going through exaggerated, implausible, hyper gyrations, to slam to "the money shot" as quickly as possible. Heck! I don't even know if a "money shot" is coming (pun intended). And, you know what? It doesn't even matter if that's where this is headed, or not.

    Your writing is more genuine, more believable, and that's part of what makes it interesting. You're also covering important, and some of the more subtle, touchstones that mark every day human interaction.

    I wish I had had a teacher like Steve when I was taking swimming lessons as a kid. I had, and still have to some extent, an aversion to submerging my face. I can do it, but I tense up, which is counter productive. I can float, tread water, kinda dive, and sorta swim, but not with any degree of grace, or efficiency. At least I'm not going to drown, immediately, in deep water, which is anything over 5', which is up to my nose. However, when skinny dipping is in the offering, whether in raging ocean waves, or just on a wet floor, I'm all in.

    As for nudity, I'm from a time when it was mandatory, with enforced group showers after gym class, etc., etc., etc. Guys either "got with the program", or were marked for life. We were expected to adapt to the world rather than have the world adapt to us. I'll refrain from writing a thesis about that here.

    I have to give Steve a lot of credit for not only sticking up for Joey against Ryan, but also for not shying away from getting naked while knowing Joey is gay. It's not that that takes bravery, as much as it takes acceptance, and respect, which is far more valuable and commendable. That says so much about Steve.

    Like I said, I don't know where this is going, but I'm looking forward to following, and finding out.

    Write on!
    Chaz
    Wow, Chaz! That's quite the comment! Thank you!

    You know, I very recently grappled with whether or not I wanted to cut down on some of the writing about their swimming lessons. I sometimes want to get right to the "money shot" or the 'good' part as well! I figured I might be taking the story a little too slow, but I thought, well, I already have it written, so I might as well use it, and I decided not to cut any out. And from what you've said, that was the right decision.

    You of course know this from my other story, Brad's Search, but I love to show more than just the physical, sexual side of my characters. I feel like that makes then more authentic and relatable. It takes a little while longer to get to the 'good' stuff that way, but when it finally does happen, I think it makes it even more powerful since there's now a strong connection between the characters that share the intimate moment. Hell, some readers might even consider the non-sexual interaction and conversation between the characters the 'good' part. Lord knows I would've killed for the kind of interaction between Joey and Steve when I was younger.

    That said, I don't want to give too much away, so I guess I can say this: celibacy will definitely not be a theme here.

    I think you found a good way to get more comfortable with the water and putting your face in--go skinny dipping! Go to a clothing-optional resort, put some goggles on, and take a gander at everyone else in the pool! With that, hopefully a different part of your body will tense up instead!

    I've had very little experience with forced nudity as a kid. I only changed in front of classmates a few times, during swimming lessons incidentally, and I remember once I kept my underwear on and another time I had someone hold a towel in front of me. My memory isn't too clear and I can't remember why I was so averse to changing in front of other guys, but perhaps I knew at that time that I might have been more into guys than girls. This was around 9 or 10 years of age. After that, I was never in a situation where I had to change in front of other guys, save for once in band, but we never got totally naked then. It wasn't until I was in my mid 20s when I finally got over the fear of being naked in public, and now I think nothing of it. I even did the World Naked Bike Ride here in Portland! I wish I had broken out of my shell a lot younger, but I'm glad at least I'm out of it now.

    Looks like I hit the nail on the head with crafting the character of Steve into an accepting and respecting person! As far as him getting naked in front of Joey, there's still a little air of hesitation there, but I bet once the two of them get more used to each other, that hesitation will disappear.

    I'm so glad that you're enjoying the story, Chaz, and that you're staying tuned for more! That really means a lot to me. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Quote Originally Posted by viktorredd View Post
    craving for more
    Awesome to hear, viktorredd! I'm glad you found the story and are enjoying it so far! There will be plenty more to come.
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Portland has a World Naked Bike Ride?

    I'll have to get the 2019 schedule! Maybe Milwaukee does, too?

    During my college years, streaking was in vogue. Though I'm socially modest, not an undue exhibitionist, it was a great excuse to get naked, plus it was lots of Fun. It was also a time of nudity in the arts becoming more prominent, like the musical "Hair". All of that was for the cause of breaking down the barriers of ingrained cultural constraints, or so we claimed, and all that other Hippie stuff.

    Truth is, when you can ditch the clothes, it's a tremendous gain of genuine, personal, Freedom!

    HUGS!
    Chaz

    WISDOM is the Knowledge you have gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanimal View Post
    Portland has a World Naked Bike Ride?

    I'll have to get the 2019 schedule! Maybe Milwaukee does, too?

    During my college years, streaking was in vogue. Though I'm socially modest, not an undue exhibitionist, it was a great excuse to get naked, plus it was lots of Fun. It was also a time of nudity in the arts becoming more prominent, like the musical "Hair". All of that was for the cause of breaking down the barriers of ingrained cultural constraints, or so we claimed, and all that other Hippie stuff.

    Truth is, when you can ditch the clothes, it's a tremendous gain of genuine, personal, Freedom!

    HUGS!
    Chaz
    Yup! Looks like Milwaukee doesn't have one, but the closest rides look like Madison and Chicago both have rides in June 2019! Here's a link to their schedule: http://wiki.worldnakedbikeride.org/i...#United_States

    The event was fantastic! I had been nude in public before, but just at your run-of-the-mill nude beach. The bike ride was the first time I had ever done something like that, and it was quite a freeing experience! Along the route spectators would be camped out in their front yards and even on their roofs, cheering us all on. At both the start and end of the ride was a huge gathering of all the participants. I was surprised just how many people did it! It had to be around several thousand at least.
    Some stories I've been working on:
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    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Part 10

    The first half of the competition comes to a close, and the adult portion is to begin soon. I head back to the office to get the adult swimmers list, which I’ve now learned to keep well-hidden from Kathy. Steve descends from his lifeguard stand and follows behind me, and as soon as the two of us are in the office, he closes the door and takes off his shirt and shorts, revealing the same dark blue Speedo he had on just two weeks ago. Even though he looks really good naked, there’s something about that swimsuit and how it reveals just about everything except for the bare minimum that just amplifies my attraction to him.

    List in hand, Steve and I exit back out to the pool. We stop by the ribbon table, and I hand the list to Kathy. She tells me I need to sit in for one of the timekeepers who had to leave early. Just before Steve and I part ways, I bump fists with him. “Swim like a fish. A fish that gets lots of first place wins.”

    Steve smiles. “I guess if I do, you could call me a goldfish.”

    I laugh at his joke, then we head to opposite ends of the pool. I plop myself down in a chair and get my stopwatch ready.

    The rest of the meet lasts about an hour, with plenty of races to test each swimmer’s abilities. I notice Steve doing a lot better than he did last time, getting lots of first places. Each time he hops out of the pool after a race, he comes over to me and I congratulate him on a job well done.

    After the meet is over and everyone else, including Kathy, goes home, Steve and I are left alone to take down all the racing equipment. He jumps back in the water to loosen the ropes as I work on unscrewing the starting blocks. I look over at him. “Man, I’m surprised how well you did.”

    “Me too. I guess my adrenaline was rushing from telling Ryan off earlier, and that gave me a bit of a boost.”

    “Are you worried about what he’s going to do?”

    He sighs as he loosens a rope. “There’s really no point in worrying. What’s gonna happen is gonna happen. I don’t think I’ll be fired or anything, but the board might decide some discipline is in order.”

    I groan. “Well, I hope nothing happens at all. I for sure don’t want to see you fired for sticking up for me, but if anything does happen, I hope it’s not too serious.”

    “You and me both.” After he loosens a second rope, he lifts his arms out of the water and rests them on the edge. He speaks up again, and I detect a bit of hesitation in his voice. “So, uh, that stuff Ryan said…”

    “…Yeah?”

    “That was really fucked up. I know he used to say stuff like that not only to you, but also to other people, back in high school, but tonight…”

    “Were you surprised he said that stuff tonight?”

    “Honestly, yeah. I thought he—I thought all of us—had matured and gotten beyond that over the past six years.”

    I sigh, and start working on unscrewing another block. “Some people never grow out of it. I’m not surprised he still acts that way.”

    “I guess we just never brought it up after graduation.”

    “Your group never hung out with or came across any other gay guys, huh?” He turns to start loosening another rope without answering. I speak up again. “Steve?”

    He keeps his head down. “Yeah?”

    “It’s OK to talk about this. It’s not a forbidden topic. I’m not gonna get embarrassed.”

    He hesitates. “Uh, to answer your question, no, not really. Every one of the guys has a wife or a girlfriend, well, except recently for me.” He looks back up. “The topic just never really came up again.”

    “Well, how do you feel about it now?”

    “About what exactly?”

    “Gay people. Marriage equality. That sort of thing.”

    He loosens the last rope as I start unscrewing the last starting block on this side. He looks up. “Tell you what, finish up and meet me on the other side of the pool, and we’ll keep talking.”

    I nod. “Fair enough.” As I continue taking apart the last block, he flips around and starts swimming breaststroke across the pool, getting there in mere seconds. I watch as he hops out and begins wheeling the reel over from the corner of the building. I finish unscrewing the block and place it against the wall, then walk all the way around the pool and meet him on the other side. “So, have you had time to think?”

    He squats and takes the end of one rope, lifts it up and hooks it onto the reel, and starts reeling it in. “Joey, I never truly had a problem with you being gay, ever.”

    I give him a look of disbelief. “Really? And you chose to hang out with bullies like Ryan and those other guys?”

    He sighs. “At the time, yeah. It was the popular thing to hate on gay people. And it wasn’t just you; there were several others Ryan and the group ganged up on. In hindsight, I know I should have stepped in, every single fucking time, and put a stop to it, but I wanted to feel like I belonged, too, and I knew if I spoke up, I’d probably be ousted. Hell, the group might have even thought I was gay for sympathizing with someone like you. They probably would’ve started bullying me because of it. I was scared of that and didn’t want that to happen. If you can believe it, they even made fun of me when I first started hanging out with them, but after a while, they accepted me into their group, and I didn’t want to lose their friendship. I know it doesn’t excuse my past actions, but I hope by sticking up for you tonight, I can start making it up to you for not speaking out back then. I feel like I owe you that, at least.”

    I let out a deep breath and take a few moments to process everything he just said. “Wow, Steve, I’m really glad you said all that. That really means a lot to me. Even though it really hurt me in high school being bullied by your group of friends, I know those were different times. Hell, having to deal with the bullying probably made me a stronger person.”

    “Well, at least you became stronger because of it.”

    “What do you mean?”

    He pauses for a second. “Do you remember Simon?”

    “Simon Evers? Yeah, he was a junior when we graduated. I hung out with him a bunch in high school, but I lost touch with him after moving to Raleigh. How’s he doing?”

    All the color washes from his face. “Oh god, Joey, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but…”

    “…Oh no. What?”

    He takes a deep breath before continuing. “He killed himself. Like, only a few months before his graduation.” I can’t believe the news, and cover my nose and mouth while I breathe slowly and try to stay calm. He goes on, “Some of the guys in Ryan’s group were a year behind as well, and they kept the bullying going on after we graduated. I heard bits and pieces from them because we all still hung out. When that happened, it hit me, really hard. I truly realized how much impact their bullying could have on you and those others, and I felt—still feel—extremely guilty that I had a part in it. I hate that I was ever responsible for any pain you felt.”

    I cross my arms and look down at the ground. “I had no idea about Simon. He was such a good friend to me in high school.” I start pounding my fist against my side in anger. “If only I had kept in touch with him, and listened to what was going on and helped him through it, he might still be alive.”

    “Oh, Joey…” Steve comes closer, but I hold out a hand to stop him. He backs away, but keeps talking, “I’m really sorry about Simon. He’d still be alive if people like me spoke up when seeing others making fun of him for who he is. I felt fucking terrible about what he did. I stopped hanging around Ryan and the other guys for a while after that, because I just didn’t feel like one of them, you know? Simon’s death made me think long and hard about how I really felt about the whole gay thing, and I couldn’t come up with any good reason why people like you or Simon were wrong, or gross, or immoral. You’re just people. You go through the same challenges, the same ups-and-downs, as everyone else.”

    I shake my head. “Well, it’s too late for Simon, now.”

    His expression turns to one of sorrow. “I know, and it kills me to this day that there’s nothing I can do to reverse that damage. But, I’ll do whatever I can to stand up for you and others like you.”

    I sigh. “Jeez, I had no idea how much this really affected you.”

    “It affected me a great deal. I just want you to know I’m on your side. Ryan can go fuck himself. I won’t make room for people like him in my life any longer.”

    I chuckle. “If you weren’t straight, I’d probably kneel down right here on this cold, hard cement and ask you to marry me.”

    He joins me in laughing. “Will a hug do?”

    “Sure. That’s the next best thing.” I uncross my arms, and we walk toward each other and pull each other into a strong embrace.

    We stay like that for a while until he breaks the silence. “I’m really, truly sorry about Simon.”

    I give him an extra squeeze, then we break the hug and step back from each other a bit. “I know you are. I can see and hear and feel the guilt and remorse you took on from that, and I know you’re still coming to peace with it and trying to be a better person now. That’s all we can really do. I know you’re making an effort. I don’t hold anything personally against you. I know you stood back and didn’t do anything back in high school, but you’re a different—a better—person now. We all make mistakes; it’s what we do about them that sets us apart from people like Ryan.”

    He nods. “Thanks for understanding and not being mad at me.” He looks down. “Oh shit, I got you wet!”

    I glance down at several wet spots on my clothes. “No big deal, it’ll dry up.”

    He sighs. “Well, let’s finish up here, or we’ll be here all night.”

    We both complete the rest of our closing tasks in pensive silence. Now that I have some time to reflect on everything, this is pretty much the one and only time I’ve had a heart-to-heart like this with another straight guy. Like Steve said, topics like these aren’t really talked about, unless in the negative when there’s bullying involved, of course. But I could truly tell from what he said and his facial expressions that he feels terrible about the way I was treated by his group of friends. It’s apparent that he’s had lots of time to think about things, given how much of a change I’ve seen in him since our time in high school. While he didn’t hurtle insults at me back then, he stood by, almost like a willing accomplice, while it was going on. Tonight, he came out in full force against one of the very people whom he silently stood behind back then. Steve and I weren’t friends at all in high school, and even now, we’re barely acquaintances, having only hung out once outside of work, besides the swimming lessons. So, if he’s willing to stand up for someone like me, in whom he has very little invested, against someone he’s known and was friends with for a while, that’s saying something.

    After Steve reels in the last rope and I finish unscrewing the last block, we walk back to the office. I organize the desk and shut off all the lights as he goes back to the locker room to shower and get dressed. As soon as he’s ready to go, we head out and say our goodbyes—with another hug this time—and go our separate ways.

    * * * * *

    I show up to work at the pool Tuesday morning, and the day starts off as I’m used to, except for one thing—or person, to be precise. “Kathy, you’re being a little quieter than usual.”

    She sighs. “Sorry, darlin’. I had to give Steve some bad news earlier this morning.”

    “Uh oh. What about?”

    “Nothing personal, but I can’t tell you—it’s an employment matter. You’ll have to ask him.”

    I feel my heart sink. “Where is he now?”

    “He’s up on stand, guarding, as usual.”

    As soon as I get a free moment, I step out to the pool and walk over to his stand. “Hey Steve, how are you?”

    He looks down. “Oh hey, bud. Things are all right.”

    “What’s going on? Kathy won’t tell me.”

    “Oh, hah. Let’s chat on lunch break. Sound good?”

    I shrug my shoulders. “Yeah, sure. I’ll see you then.”

    I walk back to the office and resume my regular duties. It seems like an eternity until Steve shows up. We both take the lunches we packed and head into the conference room and sit down next to each other at the table.

    He takes a bite of his sandwich. “It’s not as bad as you think.”

    “Spill it! I can’t wait any longer.”

    “Kathy told me the whole thing this morning. She went to the board meeting last night, and as I expected, Ryan showed up and complained until the cows came home. He was pissed that she took him off the racing list, and he even exaggerated about what I said to him. He said I threatened to kill him—”

    “—That’s not true at all!”

    He rolls his eyes. “I know! He was being ridiculous.”

    “Oh, and I bet he never owned up to what he said to me.”

    “Bingo. Or to Kathy. He gave her some mouth on Saturday, too—nothing compared to what he said to you, but still not cool—but Kathy’s a strong woman—she didn’t need to bring that up.”

    “So what did the board do?”

    “Well, after his tirade finally ended, it was Kathy’s turn to speak up, and she told the board what she heard him say, and what I told her he said before she showed up. She told them the names he called you. After hearing from her, the board stood by her decision to eliminate Ryan from the racing list that night—”

    “—Good!”

    “Yeah, but they also didn’t think my response was appropriate, either. Initially some board members recommended that I should be fired for threatening physical violence, but Kathy pleaded with them and tried to explain that I said those things out of defense to the hateful things Ryan said to you, and that any punishment should bear that in mind.”

    “Well, what did they decide?”

    “The board agreed to discuss it amongst themselves behind closed doors, which Ryan was apparently furious about, because he probably wanted me fired on the spot, but he didn’t get his way. Kathy found out this morning that the board, after careful consideration…”

    After several tense seconds, I gently pound the table. “God, Steve, end the suspense already!”

    “They decided a one-day suspension without pay would be an appropriate punishment. Kathy said I could finish working the rest of the day today, but that I’d have to take tomorrow off.”

    I let out a loud sigh. “Well, that’s a hell of a lot better than getting fired! It’s almost a slap on the wrist in comparison. But I still feel bad that you got suspended, even if it’s just for one day.”

    “Joey, none of what happened Saturday was your fault. Nothing at all. Ryan chose to say what he said, and I was in full control of how I reacted. You aren’t responsible at all for anything that happened.”

    I sigh. “I know. I just know if I wasn’t working the check-in, none of this would have happened.”

    He shakes his head. “No. If Ryan wasn’t a huge fucking asshole, none of this would have happened. Getting suspended just one day is a very small price to pay for standing up for you.”

    “Thank you. I mean that, really. I just hate that you were punished at all.”

    He chuckles. “Well, it’s not too much of a punishment, really. I could actually use a day off. But, if you still feel bad about it, come over to my place and keep me company.”

    I’m excited about the prospect of hanging out with him. “I’d love to, I just have to work my other job.”

    “That’s fine. When you get off work, drop by. I’ve got lots of entertainment—TV, movies, video games—whatever you’re into. I just need someone to hang out with. I spend so much time here and around people, it would drive me crazy to spend all day by myself at home.”

    “Well, hopefully you can survive until I’m off work tomorrow.”

    He winks. “I think I’ll be able to manage.”

    We finish eating, then we both get up and head out together. I get his attention before he leaves. “Are our lessons still on for tonight, at least?”

    He nods. “Hell yeah! I wouldn’t miss those for the world!”

    I can’t control the huge grin that starts forming on my face. “Awesome.”

    The end of the workday can’t come soon enough. I’m itching to be back in the water, learning how to swim from someone I’m just about ready to call a good, close friend.

    ---

    For all the people like Simon, who have died or suffered as a result of hate or bigotry, or if know someone who has, I want you all to be filled with love and peace.

    If you ever need someone to talk to, call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or go to the Trevor Project website at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/.

    ---

    Above & Beyond - Prelude

    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    I'm loving this story and the characters. Can't wait for the next installment 💙

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    I'm loving this story, too. Awesome to include the Trevor Lifeline and Project.

    HUGS!!
    Chaz

    WISDOM is the Knowledge you have gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    I like this story also, AG. It's comfortable and sweet in a way. A blooming friendship developing from an adversarial past. You take your time to let us get to know the characters and to enjoy them individually. I'm hooked. Keep at it. BC

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by crash8705 View Post
    I'm loving this story and the characters. Can't wait for the next installment ��
    Thanks for the comment, crash! You won't have to wait much longer--I'm posting the next part today! I'm glad you're enjoying the story and the characters so far!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanimal View Post
    I'm loving this story, too. Awesome to include the Trevor Lifeline and Project.

    HUGS!!
    Chaz
    Thanks, Chaz! I figured including the Trevor Lifeline was a good idea. Suicide and bullying are very difficult topics to deal with and talk about. I want people to know there's always an option.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigcannon View Post
    I like this story also, AG. It's comfortable and sweet in a way. A blooming friendship developing from an adversarial past. You take your time to let us get to know the characters and to enjoy them individually. I'm hooked. Keep at it. BC
    Thanks for the lovely words, BC! I certainly will keep at it! I'm as excited as you are to see where this story goes; it's as much of an adventure for me as it is for you! I'm glad you're looking forward to more!
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Part 11

    I return to the office after my lunch break is over and sit down next to Kathy. “Steve told me everything. Thanks for speaking up for me and defending Steve.”

    She smiles. “Of course, darlin’. I’ve got your back. People like Ryan have no business bringing in that kind of hateful attitude toward anyone, especially the people I work with.” She lowers her voice. “To tell you the truth, he’s always been a bit of a prick. You even heard how he spoke to me. Well, I about had it with him. It was just going to get worse and worse unless someone did something about it.”

    “Well, I really appreciate your doing what you did. Hopefully he learned his lesson.”

    She laughs. “We’ll see. There are certainly lots more where he came from.”

    * * * * *

    When the clock strikes five, Steve and the rest of the lifeguards close the pool, and we get everyone out and on their way home. I say goodbye to Kathy when she leaves.

    Once again, just Steve and I are here on our own. He pops back into the office. “Ready to get started?”

    “Yep, I just have to change into my swimsuit.” I stand up. “What do you have planned tonight for our lesson?”

    “Well, if you’re up for it, we can try swimming freestyle, but in a deeper part of the pool—the same place where we set up the racing lanes. I noticed last time you got a little out of breath when you swam across. That’s totally normal, but the more you swim, the easier it’ll be, and the longer you’ll be able to go.”

    I shrug. “I guess that sounds fine.”

    “Awesome.” He rummages through his bag and takes out his Speedo. “Well, in that case, I should wear this.”

    I follow him out of the office and to the changing room. “Why’s that?”

    He holds his swimsuit up. “Well, for one, it’s a lot less baggy than my guard shorts. That makes it much easier to maneuver in the water.”

    I start taking off my shirt. “Ah, so it is true what I heard about them.”

    He chuckles. “Yeah, they’re not just for show! Wearing baggy shorts like yours can slow you down with all the extra material.”

    I look over at him as we finish stripping down and putting on our swimsuits. “Do you think I should get one?”

    He stretches out the waistband of his swimsuit with his thumbs and lets go, making a loud snapping sound. “Probably. As I teach you more strokes and we do more swimming across the pool, you’d benefit from wearing one.”

    I tie my drawstring. “Hmm. I’ll have to go shopping for one, then.”

    We head back out to the pool and walk to the middle of it, where it’s about six feet deep. He points down to the water. “This spot is good. Let’s get in.” We do so, and I hang onto the side while I adjust to the temperature of the water. He goes on, “I know it’s a bit deeper here, but I want you to get used to not being able to touch the bottom. I’ll be right next to you. I won’t go too far ahead of where you are. If you need to stop, just orient yourself upright and tread water, and I’ll get you to the side. OK?”

    I nod. “Got it.”

    “All right. As soon as you’re ready, kick off the wall and start swimming. I’ll follow right beside you.”

    I take a few short breaths, then one deep breath, dip my face under the water, and push myself off the wall and get myself going. I don’t move nearly as fast as Steve does in the water, but I’m learning. As I swim, I keep my eyes open underwater, and every time I look to my left, I see him right beside me, and it’s hard not to focus on the bulge that his cock and balls are making in his Speedo. I don’t feel too scared not being able to touch the bottom, as long as he’s right there and able to help out if needed.

    We reach the other side, and I grab onto the wall and take a quick break. He does the same right beside me. “Nice job, Joey. Every time we get to the side, I want you to think about if you have enough energy to make it across again, and if you do, go for it. If you feel like you need to stop at the side of the pool for a bit, do that, too.”

    I exhale and take a deep breath. “I think I have enough to get to the other side.”

    “All right, well, as soon as you’re ready, let’s go across again.”

    I dip down and kick off to get going once more. With Steve now to the right of me, I begin another journey across the pool. Once I get to the other side, feeling like I can go across at least a few more times, I take no break, turn right around, and go across again. The whole time, Steve stays by my side. I guess it’s easy for him to do that, since he races every two weeks.

    I’m able to make it across three more times, ending up on the opposite side of the pool from where we started. After finally getting across for the final time, I grab onto the side and try to catch my breath. “I think that’s all I can manage for now.”

    He smiles. “That’s fine. The more you practice, the better you’ll be.”

    My panting turns into more controlled breathing. “How did I do?”

    “You were fine! You’re moving through the water great. Let’s go ahead and hop out whenever you’re ready.”

    After a few seconds, I start pulling myself out of the water, and Steve follows. I turn to him. “So now that I can make it across a few times, what’s next?”

    “Well, at this point, once my students can make it across without having to stop to take a break in the middle, I like moving them into deeper waters.”

    “The deep end?”

    “Yep. It’s a survival thing.” He points down at the pool floor. “See, here you’ve got nice little black lines to guide you to the other side and keep you on track. In the deep end, and out in open water—no such lines. So I like to have my students jump off the diving board into the deep end, float back up to the top, get themselves oriented, and swim to the edge.”

    I can feel my heart start to beat faster. “That sounds kind of scary.”

    “Everything sounds a bit scary before you actually do it, then it’s not so bad.”

    “I guess we’ll find out.”

    He chuckles. “If you don’t feel ready to, I’m not going to push you off the diving board or anything, so we’ll do it whenever you feel ready, never earlier.”

    “Good. That makes me feel more in control.”

    “You are in control, Joey.” He checks the clock up on the wall. “Maybe we’ll save that for the next lesson. For now, we should get going.”

    We walk back to the showers, rinse off, and get dressed in our street clothes. We step outside, the door closing and locking behind us. I turn to him. “I’ll text you tomorrow once I’m off work before I head over.”

    “Awesome! That can’t come soon enough. Hopefully I won’t have died from boredom by then.”

    I laugh. “I think you’ll be fine.”

    Our time together comes to an end once again as we head to our respective cars and drive home. I’m really starting to enjoy our lessons and spending more time with him overall, and I’m excited to hang out with him some more after work tomorrow.

    * * * * *

    I get home from work the next day around mid-afternoon and shower off all the grit and grime from my job. I get dressed and text Steve, Ready for me to head over? Seconds later, he texts back, Sure bud, drop by anytime. Minutes later I get in my car and drive over to his apartment and park in one of the visitor spots. After locating his building, I walk up to his front door and knock.

    He opens the door, wearing a black tank top and gray sweatpants. “Hey, bud! Find the place OK?”

    “Yeah, it wasn’t too hard to find.”

    He steps back. “Awesome. Come on in.” I do so, and he closes the door behind me. “My place isn’t much to write home about. Nothing too fancy, just a one-bedroom apartment.”

    “Hey, at least your air conditioner works.” I turn around and see the poster of Michael Phelps next to the front door and chuckle a bit. “I forgot about that poster!”

    He laughs. “What can I say? He’s my idol.”

    I turn back around. “With all those medals draped around his neck, I can see why!”

    He shakes his head and smiles sheepishly, slightly embarrassed. “You want something to drink?”

    “Whatcha got?”

    We start walking to the kitchen, and he rattles off a few choices. “Water, of course, lemonade, Coke…” We reach the kitchen, which is sparsely furnished with just a tall dining table and two barstools across from one another, along with the usual appliances, of course. He opens the fridge and shifts some stuff around. “Oh, and beer.”

    I peer into his fridge. “Ooh, you’ve got the good stuff.”

    He chuckles. “You want a beer?”

    “Sure, why not? I don’t care if it’s a bit early, I’m done with work for the day.”

    He grabs one and twists the cap off with his hand, then hands it to me. “Here you go, bud.”

    “Thanks.” I take a swig. “Damn, this is good!”

    He smiles. “Well, if you think so, I should have one, too.” He bends over and grabs another one, closes the fridge, then pops off the cap and takes a sip, letting out a satisfying ahh.

    I lean my elbow on the counter. “I’m glad to see that you haven’t died of boredom.”

    He throws his head back and smiles. “I almost did! I honestly had no idea how much time I was pouring into work and training at the pool.”

    I shrug. “Well, sometimes it’s good to take a break every now and then.”

    “Yeah. I’m just happy to get things back to normal tomorrow.” We both take another swig of our beers, then he continues, “So, what do you want to do? Watch a movie? Play a game?”

    “What do you have in the way of games?”

    “I got the new Nintendo system. We can do some Mario Kart.”

    “I haven’t played in a while, but back in the day, I kicked lots of ass and left my friends in the dust.”

    He cocks his head to the side but maintains eye contact, raising his eyebrows. “Is that a challenge?”

    “You’re damn right!”

    “Sweet! Been looking for someone to play against.” We move back to the living room and set our beers on the coffee table. He turns on the TV and grabs two game controllers, handing one to me, and we sit on the couch, him to the left. “Now, I know you haven’t played in a while, so do you want me to go easy on you?”

    I scoff. “Hell no. I might be a little rusty, but I’ll get my groove back, you’ll see.”

    His tone turns sarcastic. “Yeah, we’ll see all right.” He starts up the game and chooses to play in two-player mode. “Which character are you going to pick?”

    “Whoa, there’s a lot more here than in the last one I played.” I think for a few seconds. “Guess I’ll pick Donkey Kong. What about you?”

    “I always go with Wario. Since he’s a heavy character, he has a higher top speed.”

    “Guess it’s a good thing I picked DK then, huh?”

    “Yep.” We move on to choose our vehicles, with me picking a standard kart and him picking a racing bike. He continues, “Now, how fast should we go?”

    I open my eyes wide. “Is that 200 CC?”

    He looks over at me. “Wow, it has been a long time since you’ve played.”

    “I told you.”

    He chuckles and turns his attention back to the TV. “OK, we’ll go with 150 CC.”

    Soon, the first race begins, and the interactions between us drop off as we concentrate on driving our animated characters around the racetrack. He’s the first to pass the finish line, while I come in fifth.

    He gently squeezes my shoulder. “Not bad.”

    “Psh. We’re just getting started.”

    The second race is a bit better. He still comes in first, but I at least come in third. For the next race, I get even better, finishing in second.

    He takes a swig of his beer. “Ready for the last race?”

    “You know I am.”

    The last race begins, and it’s off to a great start. I’m in the lead for about the first half, then get passed by him. I’m trailing just behind for most of the third lap, then get a red shell item, throw it at him, and make him spin out. “Bitch!” he shouts, and I follow with sadistic laughter. I take the lead once more right as the finish line comes into view, and finally edge out a win.

    I put my controller down and wait until he crosses the finish line, coming in second. He turns and looks at me, and I shrug. “What?”

    His sneer turns into a smile. “Good job on that last race, bud.”

    I give my best smug expression. “Thanks!”

    “But I still won overall.”

    I don’t need to look at the results to know that. “Want to do another one?”

    “Of course, you know it!”

    He picks his controller back up. “OK, you pick the cup this time.”

    I choose the Banana Cup, which has a few of the tracks I remember playing in the older game, and we play our next four races. I do better this time, finishing second overall, but he still comes in first. I slap my knee. “Damn, I thought I had you that time.”

    “You’re getting closer! You have me worried.”

    “Good! Just where I want you.”

    He chuckles. “I’m feeling a little hungry. How about you?”

    I rub my stomach. “Yeah, it’s been a while since lunch.”

    He taps a finger on his chin a few times. “I have a pizza in the freezer. Want to play another round while it heats up?”

    “Yeah, that’s a great idea.”

    He gets up. “Cool, I’ll be right back.” He runs off to the kitchen, and I hear him open and close the freezer door, then start preheating the oven. He comes back, and I swear he’s freeballing since the outline of his dick is very obvious. He sits down on the couch and picks his controller back up. “All right, we should be able to get through two races by the time the oven preheats.”

    “Let’s not waste time, then!”

    “All right, time to step it up.” He chooses one of the later, harder cups. These courses are for sure more difficult than the ones we just played. We both fall off the course a few times and get hit more often by the other players’ items. We don’t even come in first place on the first two courses. Just as we finish the second one, the oven beeps, indicating it’s done preheating. He gets up and runs to the kitchen to put the pizza in the oven, then runs back, picks up his controller, and starts the third race. We start doing better as we finish out the rest of the cup. The results pop up on the screen, and I end up taking first and beating him by one point. His eyes widen in surprise. “Damn, that was close!”

    I take a congratulatory swig of my beer, finishing it off. “Didn’t think I’d inch ahead of you, did you?”

    He shrugs. “Well, I always knew it was possible. Nicely done!” He turns off the game console and TV, and we move to the kitchen. I sit on one of the barstools while he peers into the oven. “Pizza’s still got a few minutes left. Want another beer?”

    “Yes, please!”

    He takes two more beers from the fridge—one for me, and one for him—and pops the caps off, handing one to me. “Congratulations on your win.” We clink bottles and I thank him as we take swigs from our freshly-opened bottles. He speaks up again, “So how’s it like being back home in Savannah?”

    I shrug. “Not much has changed, really, in the past six years. It’s been all right so far. I lost touch with just about everybody after I moved away, but luckily I reconnected with a buddy of mine who let me crash on his couch for a little bit until I got my own place. At least there was that one bright moment in the whole getting-laid-off-and-having-to-move-back-home situation.”

    “Yikes, that must’ve been rough.”

    “It wasn’t too bad. The couch was pretty comfortable, actually.”

    He laughs. “No, I mean getting laid off.”

    “Yeah, rough’s one way of putting it. That’s actually part of why I want to open my own business. I’m tired of not being in real control of my own future, you know?”

    The oven beeps, and he walks over to it and takes out the pizza. “I know what you mean. Luckily with my guarding job, I’ve moved up quite a bit and am making decent money, but there’s always the chance something could happen, and I’d be out of the job.” He takes a pizza slicer from the drawer and cuts the pizza into eight slices. He grabs two plates, handing me one, and we each serve ourselves, taking just two slices each for now, and sitting back down on the couch in the living room.

    I take a bite into the pizza. “Damn, this is delicious!”

    He smiles after swallowing his first bite. “It is, isn’t it? I only get the best frozen pizza.”

    I shake my head. “I never knew it could taste this good.” I take a few more bites, then continue, “So, other than the lifeguard job, how have you been faring over these past six years?”

    “Oh, pretty good, nothing too special. Trips with family and such, and lots of spring break and Labor Day trips with friends.”

    “Friends like Ryan?”

    “Yeah, at the time, but that’ll probably never happen again.”

    “You know, I remember you saying after the meet last Saturday that Ryan and the rest of the group made fun of you when you first started hanging out with them.”

    “That’s right.”

    “Why would you hang out with guys like that if they made fun of you at first?”

    He shrugs. “I just wanted to fit in, you know? I was into sports, just like them, and we all swam, ran track, and did other stuff together, so we already had things in common. Eventually they stopped making fun of me and moved on to other people, and I was in. I guess I had paid my price to get in, so I didn’t want to just throw that away. Does that make sense?”

    I tilt my head. “Well, when you put it that way, yeah, it kinda does. But what in the hell did they make fun of you for?”

    He looks away and starts blushing. “Oh, that…”

    “What?”

    “You don’t want to hear about that.”

    “Oh, come on, it can’t be that bad.”

    He hesitates for a second. “Want some more pizza?” I nod, and we get up and head to the kitchen to serve ourselves the remaining slices of pizza. I sit on the barstool while he remains standing by the oven. He takes a bite, then speaks up again, “They made fun of me for being uncircumcised.”

    I drop the slice of pizza I’m holding onto the plate and look at him in disbelief, and try to feign ignorance. “You’re uncut?”

    He scoffs and shakes his head. “Come on, Joey, don’t play dumb. I know you’ve checked it out when we’ve showered after swimming.”

    I narrow my eyes. “How can you be so sure that I did?”

    “Well, Ryan and the gang made fun of me for it back then, so at least one of them had to have gotten a glance, and they’re all straight—supposedly—so I know you’ve given it a gander. I’m not stupid.”

    I shrug. “Ugh, I guess you got me there.” I take another bite of pizza. “Still, though, that’s an extremely stupid thing to make fun of you for.”

    “It didn’t matter what they made fun of me for, it just had to be something different between me and them. Just like with you being gay. That was a difference between you and them. And they took advantage of that.”

    “Fuck, you hung around some huge assholes in high school.”

    He rolls his eyes. “Tell me about it.”

    “So, can I ask you a, uh, personal question?”

    He moves his eyes down to his crotch, then back up at me. “About my dick?”

    I feel myself beginning to blush, but push past the uncomfortableness. “Why is it uncut? Like, what were the reasons?”

    “Well, my parents elected to skip the circumcision because they believed that, in this modern day-and-age, there’s no real medical reason to just routinely get it done. It’s really that simple. It helps that one of them is a urologist, too, because from what I heard, the delivery doctors really pushed for it, until they heard the arguments against it.”

    “Awesome! Luckily your dad knew enough about dicks to talk them straight.”

    “Actually, my mom’s the urologist.”

    I move my head back in surprise. “Oh. Sorry.”

    He chuckles. “It still made things a bit awkward with Dad, though. He had to be the one to teach me how to keep it clean and take care of it, and it was a bit of a challenge for him since he has no foreskin.”

    I look at him confused. “What is it you have to do special to keep it clean?”

    “It’s not too difficult.” He finishes off the last bite of his pizza, then reaches back and sets his empty plate on the counter behind him, brushes his hand against his sweatpants to wipe off the crumbs from the pizza, and, to my surprise, yanks down the waistband of his sweatpants, revealing his uncut cock, plus the fact that he hasn’t been wearing underwear this whole time. He grabs the tip of his foreskin and gently tugs on it. “This little flap of skin is the only real difference between your dick and mine.” He pulls it back until the head of his penis is exposed. “Just gotta do that each time in the shower and wash it clean. It usually never gets dirty though if you do it regularly.” He slides his foreskin back down, covering the head, then brings the waistband of his sweatpants back up to where it was just seconds ago.

    I drop my plate on my lap to cover my growing boner and hope it’s not too obvious. After I get past the shock of seeing him unexpectedly whip out his dick right in front of me—an occurrence I am absolutely not complaining about—I gather the ability to speak. “Are you happy with the decision your parents made?”

    “Other than Ryan and the gang making fun of me for it, I have no complaints. They were just jealous, anyway. And all of the girls I’ve been with haven’t ever had a problem with it.”

    I shake my head. “That’s crazy. I’ve been with a lot of guys—well, not a lot, but you know what I mean—and not one of them has been uncut.”

    “It’s unusual for guys in this country to still have their foreskin. It’s a lot more common everywhere else.”

    “Why do we do it here, then?”

    “Tradition. Lots of guys here are cut, so when they have sons, they just keep the tradition going.”

    I roll my eyes. “That’s so dumb—even if what you say is the case, that most of the time it’s not medically necessary, it’s dumb for people to keep the cycle going.” I shake my head. “I wish my parents didn’t decide to whack off part of my penis.”

    “Hey, be happy with what you have. It’s impossible to get it put back on, anyway.”

    I smile. “Yeah, you’re right.” I take another bite of my pizza. “How did you come to know all this stuff?”

    He chuckles. “I know a lot about dicks, a lot more than I care to let on sometimes. I blame my mother.” We both laugh.

    I finish eating, stand up, and put my plate in the sink. “Thanks for the pizza. It was good!”

    “No problem, bud. I’m glad you liked it.”

    I stretch my arms. “I should probably get going. I have to take care of some things at home, then be up bright and early for work tomorrow.”

    “All right, it’s been fun. Thanks for coming over.”

    “Thanks for having me! We should do this again sometime.”

    “Totally. I’m down for that.”

    “All right, Steve, see you later.”

    It’s dark outside as he opens the door and we say goodbye to one another. I step out and start walking to my car. I twist around and give him a wave.

    As soon as I get in my car, I close my eyes and picture Steve pulling down the waistband of his sweatpants and playing with the foreskin of his dick just as I witnessed him do minutes ago. I open my eyes and glance down at my crotch as my dick grows bigger and bigger. I definitely can’t drive home like this.

    I unbuckle my belt, unbutton and unzip my jeans, and slide them down along with my boxers just low enough so my dick springs right up to attention. I spit into my hand and begin working my meat, then close my eyes again and imagine Steve standing in the kitchen, sweatpants pushed down to his ankles, wearing that black tank top, and fondling his foreskin, tugging at it and pulling it back, and I imagine what his dick looks like when it’s fully erect. Gosh, I wonder how it would feel to have one just like his.

    A person knocks at the window and I react quickly, pulling my shirt over my boner. It’s late enough, and this parking lot isn’t very well-lit, so hopefully whoever’s there didn’t see much of anything. I glance up and make out that the person is actually Steve. I put my key into the ignition and roll down the window. He reaches inside, my wallet in his hand. “You forgot this.”

    I breathe a sigh of relief as I take my wallet from him. “Oh good, wouldn’t want to get pulled over without having that. Thanks.”

    “No problem, bud. Drive safely, and see you back at the pool.”

    I roll the window back up as he walks back to his apartment. My heart’s racing so much from the shock of almost getting caught that my boner has completely deflated. Oh well, one way or another, I guess I was able to take care of it. I button my pants back up, then start the engine and drive home, heading to bed as soon as I get there, too tired to continue what I started and what was interrupted back at Steve’s.
    Some stories I've been working on:
    Brad's Search
    Aquatic Anxiety

  32. #32
    JUB Addict bigcannon's Avatar
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Another great chapter, AG. I like the pace that things are developing between Steve and Joey. Steve feels pretty comfortable around Joey, even though he's straight and knows Joey is gay. I wonder if Steve knows the effect he had on Joey by showing him his uncut penis. Surely, he'd almost have to know. Still, the friendship is growing and the two are becoming more comfortable around each other becoming buds. Keep up the great writing. Am thoroughly enjoying this story. BC.

  33. #33
    Keep Smilin'!! ;-)
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    Gotta agree with BC!

    And, unless Joey had already managed to steam up the windows of his car, had I been Steve, I'm fairly sure I would have noticed "something". Heck, I might have even stood there for a moment, to watch, before tapping on his window!

    Maybe Steve kept that encounter "short and sweet" because he had a sudden urge to get back inside, and take the same action?

    Just wishful thinking on my part. Since this isn't told from Steve's point of view, we will likely never know ...

    Write On!
    Chaz

    WISDOM is the Knowledge you have gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

  34. #34
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    Re: Aquatic Anxiety

    I've been following your story but had no reason to comment........until now.
    It's extremely well done and getting quite.........stimulating.......

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