A contest entry about a summer relationship.
|“I feel so disgusting!” complained Elise, holding her dress out from her sides. “It’s like swimming in the air. This humidity is awful!”
Taylor looked up from his plate, his bite of chicken salad halfway to his mouth. Where did she come from? he thought. He lowered his fork to the plate. “Hey Elise, I thought you were at the lake with the other girls.” He picked his fork up again and took a bite.
“I was,” sighed Elise, plopping down into the open lawn chair next to him. “But Jenna lost her camera and was really frantic about it. Marci and Shawna were helping her look and then they decided they might have left it at Shawna’s house so they all zoomed off. I would have gone with them to help them look, but they didn’t even ask,” she paused and took a breath. “So I am over here because I’m bored and I’m hot and the air conditioning is broken at home. Dave doesn’t want to fix it. He says he can do it himself later this week which makes Mom really mad because you know how he never actually gets around to it. I think she is regretting again that she didn’t marry someone who will actually do what he says he is going to do. At least I have better taste in men,” she finished, looking at her boyfriend with a smirk. Taylor rolled his eyes. This three week relationship was getting old quickly.
“Yep,” he said, taking another bite and washing it down with the rest of a glass of lemonade.
“Elise! Hello!” Taylor’s mother, impeccably dressed and looking cool and fresh, stepped out of the air-conditioned house with a glass of lemonade in her elegantly manicured hand. “I didn’t realize you were here. Would you care for some lemonade?” she asked sweetly.
“Oh, that would be great, Mrs. Payton. Thank you.”
“Not a problem. It is so hot! In fact, we’re all planning on going to the lake in a few minutes. Would you care to join us?” Mrs. Payton asked as she handed Elise the glass. Taylor muffled a small groan. This was definitely not how he wanted to spend his Saturday afternoon. It was such a mistake agreeing to go out with Elise.
“And spend the rest of the afternoon on your boat? I would love that!” Elise looked at Taylor with a smile. “It’ll give us some time together. I haven’t seen you in two days!”
“Yep. Thanks Mom,” said Taylor, the sarcasm completely lost on Elise and his mother. If his mother and Elise’s mom weren’t such good friends, chances were good he wouldn’t be in this ill-suited relationship.
“My pleasure. Mr. Payton will be back any minute so we’ll probably leave in ten,” Mrs. Payton announced as she pulled open the screen door and headed inside.
Twenty minutes later they were turning into the parking lot. The sky was the perfect shade of robin’s egg blue and polka-dotted with perfect, cotton-ball clouds. The lake was calm and the small beach was filled with families picnicking and generally enjoying the weekend. Elise hopped out of the SUV and turned towards Taylor who was climbing out behind her. “I’m so glad that I get to spend the rest of the afternoon with you.”
Taylor gave a non-committal smile and went to the back of the car to get out the cooler. His mom shooed him away. “I appreciate the help, but you go spend some time with Elise. Your father can manage this.” Taylor sighed imperceptibly again. That is what I’m trying to avoid, he thought. Nevertheless, appearances must be maintained and so he took Elise’s hand and they set off towards the water.
“It’s such a pretty day. I really thought today would be a total bust, Jenna losing her camera and all. I mean, I know she’s going to school to study photography, but you would have thought that she lost her first-born child the way she freaked out,” chattered Elise, swinging Taylor’s hand as they strolled.
“Isn’t it an expensive camera too?” Taylor contributed as a sudden, disturbing thought occurred to him.
“Yeah. She mentioned that her dad paid for it though. So he’ll just buy her another. I guess the only thing she really lost is whatever photos were on the camera.”
“Right,” agreed Taylor, trying hard to remember a teasing thought dancing along the periphery of his mind.
“Oh, let’s go over there. Marci had her senior pictures taken over there and her ex-boyfriend – what was his name? – was in a few. It was super cute, even though I knew they weren’t going to last. But it does look like such a romantic spot,” Elise suggested, pulling Taylor along behind her. They walked up the little embankment and stood in the sunlight, the lake to one side and the national park on the other. Elise sighed blissfully and put her arms around Taylor’s waist. He was so handsome. She looked around, savoring the moment when something metallic caught her eye in the sunlight.
“Taylor, what do you think that is?” she asked, pointing down near the tree line.
Taylor looked and groaned again. “Probably just a beer bottle or something.”
“No, I don’t think so. Let’s go see,” Elise said, walking closer to investigate.
“Elise, babe, really, don’t bother,” said Taylor more persistently. “I don’t want to be picking up other people’s trash. That’s gross. Leave it alone. Let’s get back to the boat and cool off.” Elise ignored him and he tried again. “I want to see you in that new bikini, babe.”
“Hey, I think that’s Jenna’s camera!” she cried as she got closer. Elise bent down to pick it up. “We weren’t over here though...” She turned it on to check the pictures and stood still, shocked.
“Taylor, why are you and Jenna kissing in this picture?” The truth dawned swiftly. “You’re cheating on me!”
Taylor nodded slowly, “Yep.”