Anguished Breath:

Morgan looked down the length of the pool. The place was covered in blue and white checkered tiles. It reminded Morgan of a gigantic bathroom with an immense tub full of ice-cold water. He really felt like swimming right about now, but he knew that swimming was completely and hopelessly out of his options. His eyes scanned the room. "Keiran?!" He called, fearing his voice as it echoed off the eerie tiles. He heard footsteps suddenly and he saw Keiran emerge from the men's locker room on the opposite end of the pool. He had a towel slung over his shoulder as if preparing for a swim. As Keiran looked over in Morgan's direction to find the voice, Keiran notably sighed from annoyance, and he yelled across the pool, "Can you never leave me alone?"

Morgan shook his head and smiled as Keiran just shrugged and shifted his weight to his other leg. Maybe Keiran wasn't so mad after all. "What are you doing in here?" Morgan asked.

"Swimming is good for stress?" Keiran shrugged again.

Morgan laughed. "Really?" Morgan suddenly stopped laughing as his breath caught in his throat. What was happening? His head felt like it was swimming, just like when his knees had given out in the hallway. This was not the place for this. He put a hand to his forehead to test for a fever or something and felt nothing. It was more or else a sharp pain in the chest. Maybe he had gained weight? Morgan's thought was cut off by Keiran's voice.

"Why don't you join me for a swim?" Keiran yelled over to Morgan, as he began walking toward him. Morgan could swear he saw a sinister grin on Keiran's face.

Morgan visibly blushed and shook his head, ignoring the dizziness, "I-I can't! Uh-I-I'm allergic to ch-chlorine . . ." Wow, that was pathetic. Morgan felt his face becoming consumed by red.

"Really?" Keiran laughed to himself. She was really something. Every lie was readable on her face. "Well, that really sucks then."

Morgan suddenly remembered why he had come. "Do you really hate us?" He stammered, putting his hand over the pain in his chest.

Keiran halted in surprise, and he looked away toward the clock on the wall, "Uh . . . well, no." Morgan's face lit up and Keiran scowled, "But you all royally piss me off most of the time." Morgan smiled even brighter, and Keiran scowled more, "By most I mean ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, okay?"

Morgan grinned and laughed, "That's wonderful!"

Keiran stood aghast, "How is that wonderful?!"

"I thought you really hated me." She smiled widely and Keiran couldn't help but notice again how intriguing her smile was. He thought that was the right word, intriguing. Or maybe there was a better term? His head spun. He wanted her to stop smiling. Glancing at her, Keiran finally noticed the paleness to her face and the way her hand clutched her chest. Was she sick? Commencing to walk quicker toward her, Keiran watched the way she turned to him and then took a step, but as she took her step she swooned. Her eyes closed and her body slowly arced back, falling toward the shallow water to her right. Keiran's eyes grew wide in panic and he lunged forward, diving into the deep end as her side hit the water, her body sinking languidly. He swam as quickly as he could and he could see her slight head hit the bottom of the pool and rock back roughly.

He stroked rapidly and reached out, grabbing her around the waist, noticing the slightness of her curves. His head surfaced the water quickly and he brought her up gently. Her eyes were closed and he pressed her tightly to his body, climbing out the pool hurriedly. His heart thumped with panic as he set her down. What had happened? He didn't know what to do. "Morgan?" His voice trembled slightly as he looked down at her, and he brought a hand to her cheek. He really had no idea what to do. She was so completely pale and it reminded him of . . .

His hand retracted from her wet cheek and he backed away a little, his eyes wide and his entire frame frozen. Why now? She suddenly coughed and her eyes flew open quite startlingly, causing Keiran to jump and fall backwards even further. Morgan sprung up from the tile and started coughing into her hand, her eyes wincing from the pain. "Morgan?" Keiran asked again, his breath rapid and short.

Morgan stopped coughing finally and looked over, her eyes tearing slightly. Her chest heaved in rapid successions to recapture air and as she opened her mouth to speak, she winced, "Ouch!" She brought a hand to the back of her head and touched a spot, causing her to recoil.

"Here wait. Let me see." Keiran crawled over and pressed his hand to the back of her head, combing apart her hair to find where she hit her head. He saw a small burst of blood coming from a tiny cut where her head connected. "It's fine. Just a little cut and a bump." Suddenly he noticed his hand was shaking and he removed it right away. An awkward silence filled the air, taken up only with Morgan's deep breathing. Keiran didn't know what to say or think or do. He was so confused. Why did he freak out so horrendously? His heart wouldn't stop racing and his head was pounding. Not to mention his body was shaking from something. And that reminder was . . . what? A tremor ran through his body.

Morgan suddenly turned her head slightly and Keiran noticed a light pinkish tint to her cheeks. Was she blushing? "Um . . . I'm . . . I'm so sorry." She looked so miserable. His breath stopped as he saw her bite her moist lips and her eyebrows crease with worry. He could even see a tiny droplet of water resting on her eyelash. What the hell was this?

"Uh-uh . . . you don't need to be sorry. Are you okay?" He asked, trying his hardest to mask the sharp pang of worry in his voice.

She nodded, her hand clutching at her chest, "I just got dizzy. I'm fine."

Keiran bit the inside of his cheek. She was not fine. "Come on let-." He stopped mid-sentence as he suddenly noticed something that made his face flush with color. Her shirt was white and what did all white shirts have a habit of being when they're wet? Not that there was really anything to see, but if anyone else saw they would know something was up. Who wore a skintight vest under their shirt?

Standing up, Keiran grabbed his towel and draped it over her head. Morgan blinked stupidly and looked up, the towel falling off her head. He needed an excuse. "Cover up before you really get sick!" He barked suddenly. Eyes widening, she wrapped the towel around herself and stood up, feeling lightheaded.

"Are you-?" She didn't finish.

He sighed. What was he supposed to do? He didn't want this. He wanted his heart to stop pounding. Adverting his eyes, Keiran sighed, "Let's get back and dry off, huh? You're okay, right?" Morgan nodded, her face looking perfectly miserable and as depressing as Keiran had ever seen. "You know . . ." Keiran grabbed her arm and pulled her behind him, heading toward the door, "That look definitely does not fit you. What happened to the ridiculous smile of yours?" What was he saying? She glanced up and a smile burst forth on her face instantly.

Michael glared at Anne. He completely hated this girl at the moment, and what was taking Morgan so long? Grunting, he crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair, "So, what are you doing here?"

Anne brushed her hair behind her ears and sneered at him, "It's none of your business."

"Well, let's see. You're sitting in my friend's room like you own the place, and you just caused a hell of a commotion. I think it is my business considering that you don't even go to this school. Also, seeing as how I'm the dorm rep, well, you get the picture." Michael smirked as her eyes widened.

"That's not fair." Snapped Anne, her fingers digging into the side of the bed in fury.

"Sure it is." Michael snickered.

"Fine, I'm just here to checkup on Keiran. Is that really that hard to believe?"


"Ugh . . . Why do you have to be so difficult? Keiran was never supposed to move, okay?" Anne bit her lip, "That idiot. Why did he have to play piano better than me?!" Laughter rang through the room, and Anne looked over at Michael as he nearly fell out of his chair. "What's so funny?"

"Keiran . . . Keiran playing piano! Ri-ight!" Michael continued laughing at the thought when Anne suddenly turned quite furious.

"Why is that so hard for everyone to believe?! I don't understand. He is the best pianist I have ever met!" Anne barked out.

Halting mid-laugh, Michael frowned, "You're serious, aren't you?" Anne nodded and Michael's eyes widened. Then just as he opened his mouth to speak again, a fist slammed on the door and they both jumped from their seats.

"Open up!" Screamed Keiran from the other side.

"Damn him." Michael mumbled, "Would you just hold on!" He stumbled over to the door and swung it open. Morgan and Keiran stood looking entirely as if a torrential rainfall had chosen to give them a free shower, and neither looked very happy for it. Keiran looked positively furious and Morgan appeared rather glum.

"Thanks." Keiran grunted and shoved Morgan into the dorm. "Now everyone out except Morgan." Everyone looked at him curiously. "Morgan is going to change! So scram!" Keiran barked, his eyes flashing dangerously. Michael and Anne raced from the room as a confused Morgan's mouth dropped open as Keiran slammed the door shut in his face. Then Keiran spun around and stared grumpily at Michael who blinked stupidly at him.

"What the hell happened to you two?" Michael asked with about as much surprise as he could muster.

"Nothing." Keiran stated plainly.

Anne glowered, "You're such a liar."

Keiran's eyes slowly turned their attention to her and he glared vehemently, "Who the fuck asked you?"

Anne stuck her nose up in the hair, and Michael laughed, "Did it rain in the twenty minutes you were gone?"

"Just no!" Keiran snapped again, and suddenly as he remembered what happened, he felt embarrassed and as hard as he tried to hide the tinted reddening of his cheeks, Michael noticed.

"Are you blushing, Keir?!" Michael exclaimed rather abruptly and loudly, just as Keiran spun around.

Michael grabbed onto Keiran's shoulders. "I am fucking not!" Keiran snapped loudly.

Anne swooped around underneath and came face to face with Keiran and he flew backwards, throwing Michael off of himself, "Oh he so is!" Squealed Anne.

"Well no one asked you." Michael hissed and then it quickly turned into a snicker, "Wow, that is like a freaking first for you. I think we've made a break through. What is there some interesting story behind getting wet?" Michael smiled mockingly, "Did you and Morgan have some pool fun? I didn't think you swung that way, but you never know these days."

Keiran suddenly spun on his heel and glared darkly at Michael, "Shut the hell up!"

Shrugging, Michael smiled, "I was just kidding."

"You know though." Anne piped in, "If he doesn't like me, well there must be something wrong with him."

Michael snorted with laughter and raised an eyebrow, "I don't think a slug would find you and your snotty attitude appealing."

"Well, at least I have some sex-appeal." Anne shot back at Michael, "Have you ever once in your life had a girlfriend?!"

Michael's mouth dropped open and Keiran chuckled at this. "Oh you are so dead you little piece of trash!" Michael hissed just as the dorm door opened.

"What's going on?" Morgan asked curiously, drying his hair with a towel.

Keiran began to open his mouth but Anne giggled, "Keiran was blushing over erotic scenes of you taking a shower."

Morgan's mouth fell open like a heavy anchor falling and Michael dropped to the ground in laughter. Keiran stood dumbstruck as Morgan suddenly burst into laughter. His eyes shading over devilishly, Keiran turned on Anne, "Oh I swear if I don't slit your little throat . . ." Keiran didn't finish as Morgan swooped beneath him and peered up into Keiran's dark eyes.

"I don't see any blushing." Morgan questioned cutely.

Keiran's eyes flew open as Morgan's face was only centimeters away from his and he could feel her hot breath on his lips. Stepping back in surprise, Keiran stumbled over Michael still laughing on the ground and fell flat on his back, a searing pain ripping through him. Michael rolled over again in laughter and Morgan bit his lip to hold back the laughter. Anne giggled away, and Keiran sat there feeling intensely embarrassed and annoyed. He burst up suddenly and stalked off quickly, "You can all go to hell!"

"Kei-ir!" Morgan shouted. He ran to catch up and grabbed Keiran's slippery arm. "You're still wet. Go change, please? Sorry." Keiran turned just as Morgan dipped his head down in a polite bow of apology. Keiran soughed in disgust and walked past Morgan to his dorm, slamming the door from behind.

"It was truly great, Morgan." Michael chuckled as he got up. "I don't think I've seen him so shaken."

Morgan frowned, "From what?"

"Oh, I don't know." Michael eyed Morgan, "What did happen?"

"Oh, you know . . . Keiran was going to go swimming and I slipped into the pool when I went to go find him. Nothing big." Morgan looked away as he tried hard not to blush himself.

Anne smiled wickedly, "Something happened." She cocked her head as she peered at Morgan for a minute or so, "You're a real cutie pie, aren't you?"

"What?!" Morgan's face flushed red. Michael's eyes widened as Anne put her arms around Morgan from behind.

"Maybe I'll make you mine instead." She cooed into Morgan's ear, and Morgan's eyes widened to the size of frying pans.

"Hey, little nymphet, get the hell off him." Michael snapped suddenly and tore Anne's arms off of Morgan, who quickly retreated behind Michael.

Anne shrugged, "I was just kidding. Keir is more my type. Effeminate boys have never been for me."

Morgan blushed a darker scarlet and he looked away. Michael began to open his mouth when Keiran walked out of the dorm, "Well maybe you should switch because you seem more like a dike anyway." Michael burst out laughing and Anne remained frozen from shock as Keiran smirked, "And that's a compliment for what I should be calling you."

Anne glowered and she turned on her heel, "Oh don't worry. You'll see things my way eventually. No one says no to me." She then stuck her nose high in the air and stalked off, yelling only one thing after her, "I'll be back!"

Keiran shook his head with disgust, and Morgan came out from behind the still chuckling Michael, "What a little bitch."

Both Michael and Keiran stopped as Morgan said this and Michael smiled, "I think that's the first time I've heard a mean comment from your little mouth." He laughed.

Smacking Michael over the head, Keiran snickered, "That's one thing I will agree with you on, shrimp."

"I'm not a shrimp!" Morgan shouted with as much of a manly voice as she could muster.

Keiran sighed, "Right. So what did you want, Michael?"

A wide grin spread across Michael's face, "I'll tell you, but I'm really hungry. So let's go grab a bite to eat and I'll tell you the big news."

She once told me that she truly thought it would be amazing to visit one of those beautiful hot spring resorts. Of course she could never afford anything so rich, but she always dreamed. She thought it would be splendid to have the hot water splash across her unclean body and to breathe in the steam through her nose and mouth like a delicious soup. Trickling water through her fingers and watching each drop fall like a majestic touch on her lips. How she would love the feel of everything on her perfectly bruised and naked body.

She wanted me there with her, bathing in that same hot bath. Not the men's bath, but her bath. She wanted me there; so close that I would feel her stinging, freezing breath on my neck. Oh how erotic it all seemed even though we were only twelve. It was the fact that both of our heavenly bodies would be so close and almost but not quite touching. We would be purely stripped of everything and gazing at each other in embarrassed blushes. At least that is what I thought. She might have had a different vision, but why else would she want me to join her? Is it not the most enticing thing to be asked by a girl to join you for a bath? Or is it just two children believing bath time was for rubber ducks and plastic tugboats still?

However, imagine how utterly pained I was when she mentioned this to me. I knew we would never make it there, but it was so agonizing to know she wanted it. It was so agonizing knowing I could have that special moment yet could not and would not. All I could think of was her porcelain skin and her pink, lush lips. The way water would slowly slide down her smooth back and the curve of her neck. I imagined the way her body would be in hot water and I seriously thought I would drown in my own insanity. I wanted it so much, and all she did was banter on and on about how much she wanted it, while I remained silent! I was wrapped in my fear of longing. She was so absolutely breathtaking and stunning and innocent, and I was a freaking hormonal boy.

That was my torture as she dreamed about visiting places too exotic for her and way beyond her expenses. But that is the whim of poor and abused people, to dream. That is all they have. They can only imagine and sing their lovely requiems, and she sang all of them to me. Through them all I wept for what she could not have and for the moments I would never share with her because she could not escape her reality.

She knew however that I had means to enter a world of freedom and opportunities. She knew that simple thing because she saw the types of clothes I wore to her house. She smelled it off me like a ravenous hyena. I was everything she ever wanted. That niceness and richness of upper class, but the amazing thing was it was not the reason she stayed by me. She was there like no one else was because she was a wonderful and kind person despite her hardships. What a thoughtless person she was. She never once used me to gain what she wanted, and she never tried to hinder me from obtaining all I could. She knew I would one day be rich enough to own her precious hot springs. Yet she never once asked for anything. She wanted to see me inexplicably happy, and I wanted to see her with a million smiles on her face. We were always at war, but a loving war. For it was what we both wanted, each other's happiness.

Oh, I loved her more than words could ever express. I loved her completely and I would kiss each and every single one of her bruises if that would heal them, but nothing would ever heal them. She was broken, and I was not. These were our differences, and we fit together like two pieces of a torn heart. It was magic, and every magic trick has its demise . . . How lovely everything would have been if I could have taken her to a hot spring.