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Rich boys sin best.
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Underwater, everything is quiet. Tranquil. Like heaven is all around you, caressing your body, pulling you into its embrace. Deeper and deeper, it pulls at your legs until they beg to be released.
I hold my water-resistant camera in front of me and take multiple pictures of the cold depths of the ocean. Its beauty never fails to mesmerize me. But I can’t stay for too long; sooner or later, that urge to breathe always pulls me back to the surface toward the dark sky littered with a million flickering lights … back into the noise of swooshing water and rushing wind.
The shore is mostly deserted, except for a few beer cans, party cups, and some clothes and trash lying scattered all around. The only other person there is Nate Wilson … the most handsome guy at school and so much more than that.
He’s sitting on a few rocks near the edge of the beach with a girl by his side. I can’t stop watching. Their hands touch briefly, but then the wave overtakes me and blocks my view. When the water lowers, I shake my head, but the waves keep picking up. Still, I hold up my camera and take a few pictures.
Right as he turns his head toward me, I dive underwater again.
Here, there are no boys, no girls, and no secret touches. Just me and the water, and all the beautiful creatures below that need to meet my camera.
A single picture says more than words ever will.
No matter how powerful they are.
* * *
People say it only takes a few minutes for your life to be destroyed. I never believed them … until today. With just the snap of a finger, a stupid decision and a simple push, I marked my own fate.
My body grows colder and colder the longer I stay in the water. It consumes me whole as I stray farther and farther away from myself. From reality.
I’m so damn dizzy, but I can’t collapse here. Not now, not in the middle of the ocean. I take a deep breath and peel my eyes open, forcing myself to go.
That’s when I spot her … the girl and her camera.
I cover my eyes with my hand. Salty seawater enters my nostrils and mouth as I struggle to swim.
When I open my eyes again, the girl is gone; swallowed by the same waves that drag me back to the shore.
As my feet sink into the sand and the water creeps up against my toes, I stop and turn around, clutching the long red hairs in my hand as though they’re my last lifeline.
This is now the place where not only my life changed forever.
But hers too.
The deep blue sea looks like an impregnable abyss, even from a mere image on my laptop. A beautiful composition of a whole array of colors with the occasional fish swimming through the darkness as if it’s taunting fate.
The pictures don’t compare to real life. They don’t show the feelings you had when you were there, or the taste or smell of the water. In reality, the water is cold, and the salt is harsh on the skin, and if you’re not careful, it could swallow you whole.
For a few seconds, I stare at the images, cycling through them on repeat as if they’ll tell me something that wasn’t there before. A glimpse into an unseen world, a deep, dark secret waiting to be discovered.
But a single glance at a boy walking in the water makes me close the tab and lean away.
I sigh and close my eyes for a second. Breathe.
When I open my eyes, I click and drag the file toward the bin. My finger hovers over the mouse, but I can’t push myself to throw it away.
“Samantha! Are you coming or not?”
Groaning to myself, I close my laptop and brush my white blond hair in front of the mirror. I always loved this metallic color, but I only painted my hair after I discovered my mom hated it.
I grab my bag, fill it with the stuff I need, and rush downstairs. Heading straight into the kitchen, I pull open the fridge to take out the milk and have a taste.
“Sam!” Mom snatches the carton away from me.
“What?” I mumble.
“I told you not to do that,” she says, rolling her eyes as she pours some in her coffee. “Our cleaning lady keeps having to throw it away.”
I shrug as I grab a bowl and fill it up with Cheerios and steal the milk back again. Mom approaches me from the side and plants a kiss on my temple. “And morning, hope you slept well.”
“Morning to you too,” I say, smiling sweetly even though I’m totally not, but I’ll do it for her. After all, only got one mom.
My smile immediately dissipates when I turn around and come face to face with her new boy toy crawling out of their upstairs sex cave. Just the thought of what they’re doing in there makes me gag.