I danced over the cold paving stones, not wanting to stay too long in one place. My toes were already soaking up the chill, but another few steps brought me to the gazebo and the Jacuzzi.

It was a damp, chilly March evening, and tiny drops of ice-cold rain fell against my bare skin. I wore only a cute blue bikini and a towel wrapped loosely around my chest, since it would just take a moment to fold back the hot tub cover. Even so, I did an Oh-God-I'm-So-Cold dance to keep from freezing as I lifted up the heavy mat and flipped it over. I didn't bother to take it all the way off – having it half-covered still left me plenty of room. That done, I pulled off my towel and set it on the edge of the blue, white-speckled plastic.

Not waiting to test the water, which looked pretty warm if the steam rolling off of it was any indication, I threw one leg over the side and slid in. My skin burned at the sudden heat, and I winced until the rest of me warmed up, which only took a moment. I couldn't help but sigh at the delicious heat, and let myself sink in a little deeper. The air might have been frigid, but my head and shoulders were nice and toasty, except for the spots hit by the occasional drizzle of rain.

Now that I was no longer suffering in the cold, I figured it would be a good time to put my hair up a little better. I could feel a few loose strands sticking to the back of my neck, damp from the edge of the Jacuzzi. I pulled my arms out of the water, tingling slightly from the heat, and took the elastic out. I shook my hair loose, and pulled it all back into a high, tight ponytail so it'd stay dry. It wasn't that long, just a bit above shoulder-length, but I couldn't wait to grow it out longer. It was wonderfully thick, and the prettiest golden-brown you've ever seen, and it really was a shame to have it so short.

Still, it was good to have it out of the way for a while. I maneuvered myself into a comfortable spot, lying length-wise on the bench seat, and checked the temperature. The little digital numbers glowed 103° – perfect. I reached around in the darkness, feeling for the buttons to turn on the jets. I finally pushed the right one and heard the jets rumble to life. In the soft, silvery light, I watched as streams of white bubbles rushed out of their little tubes and started to collect on the surface of the water.

I eased myself back in my seat, the back of my head nice and dry on the plastic headrest. The bench was kinda shallow and not that long, so my knees poked out a bit from the water, but I didn't mind. I could feel the streaming water glide along the small of my back and around my legs, and I watched idly as mats of foam and bubbles drifted past me. It was a nice feeling, the flow of water like massaging hands all over my body. I adjusted my top, and admired the shape of my bare legs in the moonlight. It wasn't every day that I could get away with wearing an itty-bitty bikini, and summer and warm weather were still so far off. That, and my parents would probably pitch a fit if they caught me in something so revealing. I was lucky enough to have the house to myself tonight – Mom and Pops were out, and my little sis had gone to a slumber party with her friends. It was nice to finally have a little "me" time.

Chilly weather aside, it wasn't that bad of a night. As I relaxed in the hot tub, I glanced up to watch the night sky. There was a half-moon out, still partly obscured by a thin, wispy layer of clouds. It was a hazy kind of night, the moon surrounded by this huge pearly halo. The rain, which hadn't been that strong in the first place, was beginning to let up, though the occasional icy drop still fell gently against my face. It was actually pretty bright out, and my whole yard, fence and shrubbery and all, looked silver-blue and pretty where it wasn't in shadow. The only other light was the yellow-orange glow from the windows of my house; I'd left a few lights on, because having everything dark when you're alone is too creepy.

After a while I got tired of watching shining droplets fall from the bare beams of the gazebo, and I turned my attention back to the water itself. Ghostly wisps curled and floated just above water-level before dissolving into nothingness a few inches higher. I amused myself by trying to catch and keep the steam under my hand, letting it slip through my fingers and making little eddies in the air so I could watch it dance around.

Eventually the purr of the pumps subsided, the trail of bubbles dying off. The water stilled, and I let myself fall back into the silence. I became aware of the distant hooting of an owl, the dripping of water from the trees, and the goose bumps on my knees. I closed my eyes in bliss. It was such a quiet, wonderful night; the kind that you wish could last forever.

Of course, they never did.

Out of the still night came the faint crunch of gravel. I froze. Was it a neighbor, coming home for the night? Or maybe—

Then came the slam of a car door, too close to be from across the street. It was too early for them to be back already. I lurched upright, ears straining to confirm my fears. A jingle of keys, a door opening…

"Johnny, you home, boy?"


"Yeah Dad, outside!" I yelled towards the house while stripping off my little blue top. I grabbed the pair of hibiscus-print swim trunks from under my towel and hurriedly pulled them on before jumping out of the hot tub, towel around my waist. I was halfway to the house before I remembered to hide my top in my waistband and yank out the hair elastic. Oh, my poor father would have a heart attack if he found his quarterback son in drag! (Even if he looked amazing in it.)

Well, Mom and Pops were supposed to be out of town next week...