I’m a little taken aback by the sound of his tone. His comment reminds me of something my Dad would say. “Aren’t you the lifeguard? Isn’t it your job to watch swimmers and make sure they don’t drown?”
“Yes,” he scoffs. “But most of the swimmers follow the rules and read the signs on the beach that say, don’t swim past the buoys. The tide is way too strong out there. In most cases you’d be swept out to sea instead of being rescued.”
“I’ll keep that in mind for next time.” I pull away from him, deciding that I’m okay to walk on my own and hop onto a rotting piece of driftwood, tiptoeing toward the edge like I’m on a balance beam.
The lifeguard eyes me oddly as I stretch out my arms to keep myself from falling off the narrow log. “What’s your name?”
“A beautiful singing bird.”
Hmm. I like that analogy. Nobody has ever complimented me that way. “What’s yours?”
I’m surprised at myself for being able to hold up a conversation with this guy. Normally when it comes to the opposite sex I either end up mumbling incoherent words or I don’t say anything at all.
“You from around here, Drake?”
“Yeah actually about twenty miles north of here.”
I’m staring at him and a nervous flutter tears through the walls of my stomach and I’m too focused on his pouty lips and high cheek bones to pay attention to what I’m doing. My big toe scuffs against a separation in the wood and I trip, falling forward. Drake zooms ahead and catches me before I eat a mouthful of driftwood and sand. “Jesus, Robin. You’re like a walking disaster. I can’t leave you for a second.”
I don’t want him to leave me. He captivates me, mesmerizes me, and awes me. I want to stare at his mind-blowing smile all day and all night. In fact I might have deliberately tried to fall so I could delay our walk for a more minutes. “Clumsy, me.”
Drake helps me straighten out and says, “I think you should stick to walking on the sand for a while.”
What’s with all the parental jibber-jabber? “How old are you?”
“Eighteen about to be nineteen in September. You ?”
“I just turned fifteen.” It bothers me that he thinks just because he’s a few years older that he has to parent me. Plus, even though I’ve watched him and seen him around, I barely know him. “You don’t have to spout off commands for my safety, you know. I already have a father. I don’t need another one.”
“Oh,” he chuckles. I admire the way his muscled abs clench when he laughs. “Mouthy, are we?”
I shrug. “No. I just like to be independent. I don’t like being told what to do.”
“Right.” Drake stops in front of my house and nods toward it the small beach cottage. “This is it, right? White house with the purple shutters.”
“Yeah. Thanks for walking me home.”
A radiant smile curls on his lips. “No problem.” I start toward the wooden steps and he stays put. “I think maybe I should talk to your parents. They should probably take to the hospital to have you checked out.”
I frown. “I’m fine.”
The last thing I want is my Mom; queen of the hypochondriacs taking me to the ER. Last time we were there she freaked and told off a nurse because she didn’t think woman butterflied a cut on my knee correctly.
“You almost drowned,” Drake announces. “There may be something else wrong. Besides, it never hurts to get checked.”
“I’ll tell them,” I say quickly and hope that he’ll drop the subject.
“Maybe we can hang out sometime,” I say with a bit of boldness.
He starts backing away. “Maybe. Stay safe kid.”
Kid? Who is he calling kid? I’m only four years younger than him.