A/n: :) Hey! I'm back! I know it's been long but I've fighting a great battle of procrastination, insecurity and blocks for a few weeks now. I had to conquer all my stupid inner demons first before I could be able to submit another Fictionpress worthy story. And so here it is :)
DIVE AND LOVE
"No uh! No can do!" I wailed as an angry – furious actually – Oliver Martin, or just Ollie to me, dragged me out of my beloved water kingdom, commonly known as the mysterious Caribbean Waters.
"Be sensible, Elizabeth! You were playing tag with a sting ray! What do you suppose I should do? Watch that thing sting you?" he sneered, and I felt the anger in his voice. I was positive that he was serious. He never really used my full name unless he was extremely pissed.
"Ummm, play tag with us?" I suggested weakly under the intensity of his gaze, which just seemed to increase by a tenfold with my statement, by the way – if that was even possible.
"That's it! Under no circumstance are you going down into those waters without my supervision!" he declared, hauling me up his broad shoulders – earning him a giant "YELP!" from me. He then proceeded to climb up the deck of our borrowed yacht and not so kindly deposited me on the hard floor.
I landed with a big thud on my butt. "But… that's so undemocratic! We are currently leaving in a free country, Ollie! You can't do this to me! I can sue you for violating my freedom of playing with a very nice sting ray!" I whined.
"Ever heard of a rule against protecting their best friends since forever from attacks of sting rays?" he asked, at the same time, peeling off his black wet shirt, and showing off his sun – kissed, sculpted body.
I ignored it, from the rapid increase in my pulse to the quickening of my breath to the tingles on my body. I shoved it all off, staring defiantly into his eyes. This is my best friend here, and no way am I going to let physical attraction get in the way of our beautiful friendship. I just need a new boyfriend the moment we're back at school.
"But I was having fun!" I pouted at him, widening my eyes and pouting my lips. It's a look he can never ignore. He loves me that much.
Closing his eyes, he massaged his temples. He's gonna say he regretted saying those words, I just knew it! Then he's going to promise he's gonna play hide and seek with me and the friendly tiger shark, tomorrow. I just knew it!
"Don't give me that look, Beth. I can't just sit around and watch you get hurt by that sting ray because you think it was friendly. Hell, we all know it wasn't. You are just too stubborn to actually admit that there's such a thing as evil in these waters," he said, crouching down in front of me so that we're on eye level.
"Well, maybe I am. But you just got to give them a chance. Once they realize we aren't predators – nor preys – they're gonna come around and be friendly with us!" I reasoned.
"I feel as though I'm talking to an idealistic eight – year old rather than a practical, level – headed 17 – year old genius with a flawless record," he stated.
I rolled my eyes. "Idealistic and practical, Ollie. That's how I am. Always been and always will," then I added teasingly, "just how you like it,"
He grinned at that statement and ruffled my hair before standing up and saying, "Yeah, Champ, just how I like it," then he gave me a pointed look before continuing, "But I won't like it if you get hurt in any way. So don't make this any harder for both of us,"
I sighed and nodded slowly. How could you deny the guy when he's using the caring card to get him what he wants? Satisfied, he went inside the room probably to change clothes.
I'm Elizabeth Myers, 17, and a marine biologist in training. Most people call me El because I hate my name. Who names their daughter Elizabeth nowadays? But I go by Beth to Ollie. I'm still a senior in high school. But having a 4.0 GPA, being the running valedictorian, the president of the Science Club and the editor in chief of the school's publication has its ups. Sure you get sleepless nights and a hell lot of stress but it gives you enough recommendation to allow a prestigious university to let you take examinations for taking advanced subjects for your course.
And of course I passed, with all the flying colors. I have the brains for it, humility aside, plus I've been diving since I was eight. I could probably read the ocean better that the junior biologist they assigned to proctor me during the practical exams. The university applauded me for such performance and allowed me to pick any subject I want to take, as long as it won't interfere with my studies, and paired me with another high school student who managed to pass their qualifications.
Who would that be, other that my best friends for life, Oliver Martin? Granted, we didn't have the same recommendations. While mine were from the various academic activities I was in, his were from the swimming team, the school's student government and from the science club, courtesy of yours truly.
Anyway, that brings us to the present. It was spring break, and instead of going on vacation or getting wasted like most teenagers. We spent it finishing our research papers in the rich Caribbean Waters. I was doing one about the wild animals of the sea while his focuses more on the flora of the area. Yes, we are that different. Yet, that's how we like things between us. It breaks the monotony of our lifestyle and brings excitement into our world.
But the thing is, Ollie's weird lately. He seemed to be more distant than usual and his gestures are a lot more unpredictable than before. Not that I could read him like the back of my hand, but this time, he seemed to be a lot more mysterious than the sea and no compass in the world could direct me in navigating what's inside his head.
I walked down the aisles of our high school in my usual baggy shorts and sleeveless top. I get it that I do not have any fashion sense whatsoever, but what do you expect a girl to wear when it's boiling hot. Spring's slowly making way to summer, and the temperature's already being a bitch.
"I thought you spent your break in the Caribbean waters getting skin cancer?" Melinda Cortez, a health freak friend of mine, asked as I approached my locker just sitting next to her.
I gave her a smile, "I did spend it in the beautiful Caribbean and not to get skin cancer, Mel. But to actually gain more knowledge about the wonderful lives the sting rays, tiger sharks, electric eels and the like, lead,"
She gave her eyes a roll, "Same thing. Same thing. But," she trailed eying my skin. "How did you manage to retain such alabaster skin? Unless of course you only spent three hours underwater with those horrible sea creatures and went back to town to have some bleaching"
I laughed at her and answered, "They're not horrible! They're beautiful. And I just came home last night. The whole week I've been diving from dawn till dusk,"
"But that's so not fair! If I get as much as six hours under the sun, I already get sunburn!" she sulked and I pat her back for amusement rather than concern. How could someone love their skin more than the sea? But then again, maybe it's just me and my weird hobbies.
"Beth, hey," I didn't need to turn around to know who the person it. So instead I went on rummaging my locker managing a, "Yes, Ollie – dear?"
"Listen, I," I felt him squirming beside and so I turned my emerald eyes at him, raising an eyebrow, "Are you gonna say something along the lines of me not being able to dive this coming weekend?"
He seemed surprised and answered, "No,"
I grinned at him and answered, "Then you've got no reason to be nervous about it. You know, nothing matters to me more than diving,"
He smiled back, albeit a little strained and said, "I can't eat lunch with you today," It was so straight – forward. I didn't know what to think nor what to do. So I simply nodded, "Sure thing. No problem Oliver," then walked away cause I lied. There was a problem. I don't call him Oliver unless there was one and he doesn't ditch me for lunch like, ever.
Apparently, that single lunch – ditching wasn't the last one. He did it again and again and again for the rest of the week that I had no choice but to actually sit alone in the school's backyard munching on my lunch, refusing any invitation of my other friend on the thought that he just might be late and would join me. But the late bell rang and no Oliver Martin came to sit with me.
I guess he forgot to tell me that he wasn't going to spend lunch with me forever. And it stung.
I tried talking to him about this in class. But he was too busy with his academic endeavor to actually spare me any of his precious time. Fact is, he was too busy with everything in his life, other than stupid old me. Every time I try to talk him, he runs in the opposite direction or appears to be busily charming some pretty girl. I feel as if he's avoiding me on purpose and I hate it.
I hate that his antics are getting to me. I hate the fact that I miss him so much. I hate the misery he is putting me through just because it seemed as though he is avoiding me, and a week before my birthday nonetheless!
It was Saturday. My big day. The day when God had blessed the Myers with an emerald – eyed brunette who was too much of a genius for her own good. I was supposed to spend this oh – so – glorious day with the only person, so far, who managed to make me laugh due to utter annoyance and who made me cry due to pure bliss.
Yes, my dear friends, Oliver Martin managed to make me nuts and not in a bad way. It's just so sad that he wasn't here to celebrate this glorious moment with me. It's not every day a great Elizabeth Myers would be born.
Do not, however, get the wrong impression that I am inlove with my best friend. Of course not. Maybe he's hot, with a towering height of 6'2, fathomless amber orbs, and amazing sun – kissed body. But, c'mon, that is so cliché. The guy was there when I peed in my pants due to fear of Barney, he was alive when I cried myself to sleep because some guy cheated on me, he was present when I laughed so hard at a movie, snot and orange juice went down on my nose to land on my drink. It's gross, I believe, but it's essential to prove my point about me not being inlove with the guy. He knows every nook and cranny of my brain. However I made myself pretty for him in our dates, he'll always see the ugly child who doesn't know the difference between a blush – on or a foundation. Not that I wanted to go on a date with him, of course not.
Anyway, no use thinking of that now. It's my birthday. I should be happy. But why do I feel like crying when I'm actually all alone inside our borrowed yacht in the middle of the Caribbean celebrating my birth date. It's quite lonely when you think about it but remember that I am actually surrounded by my element and am currently in my most favorite place in the entire world.
Still, why do I feel as if there's a hole in my heart that needs filling?
Not long after, I dived. Feeling much better the moment my body was engulfed with the water. I smiled, seeing the familiar life under the sea. The colorful schools of fishes swimming by, the wonderful coral architecture and the many wonders the sea held.
I swam, feeling giddy with pleasure as a little angelfish curiously peered inside my face mask. Sometimes, I actually wished I could stay in these waters forever. That way, I don't have to think about maintaining my GPA, the infamous high school social ladder, my future in the university or what the hell was up with Oliver freakin' Martin.
I shook my head out of these thoughts as a trio of clownfish swam around me, their little probing eyes observing the intruder in their habitat. I took out my goody bag and sprinkled biscuits all around me. The response was almost instantaneous and the next second, I was engulfed with the most amazing array of colors, courtesy of the several fishes in this part of the ocean.
I enjoyed the view, dancing with the several marine fauna. Until I noticed a tap against my tank. Briskly, I turned around and saw a single golden necklace. There was a clam in the middle of it and, upon closer inspection, realized it was actually a pendant. I glanced up, sure that someone in a boat had dropped it while cruising in the ocean. But I spot no shadow of a boat other than the one Ollie and I borrowed whenever we went to sea.
So I did the only thing nosy teenagers do. I opened the locker and my breath caught in my throat as I read the inscription inside. It read: To Beth. Happy Birthday. From Ollie.
I glanced up. And sure enough he was there in all his suit, tank and face mask, staring intently at me as if gauging my reacting. I launched myself at him. He caught me and laugh, launching a mass of bubbles from his mask.
He hugged me back awkwardly, face masks colliding and put the necklace around my neck. Then he proceeded to twirl me in a clumsy dance underwater, yet I couldn't have wished for anything so romantic. Water circled around us, curious fishes were our audience and as we spun towards the surface, I realized one cold fact: I was inlove with Oliver Martin. So far gone I'd have no chance on going back. And I didn't know how he felt about me.
We were sitting in the yacht, drinking hot chocolate when I spoke up, "What are you doing here?"
He looked up and grinned, "Spending my time with my favorite girl on her birthday," My heart warmed at the statement but I narrowed my eyes. There was no use letting emotions get in the way. He was ignoring me for a week and now he was gonna get it.
"Favorite? Last time I checked you've been ditching your supposed – to – be favorite girl for a week. And I think the terms ditching and favorite kinda contrast each other," I replied, eyes cold and tone hard. He sighed and went over the wheel. "What the hell are you doing?" I asked.
He looked at me and answered, "I am going to show you why I've been so busy the whole week," Then he started to turn the wheel towards the nearest island.
"What is this all about?" I shrieked. "Are trying to shanghai me or something?"
But he merely laughed at my outburst and told me, "Hold your horses darlin'! As much as I like to shanghai you, Mr. and Mrs. Myers would not stop until they found me and feed me to the fishes. So, no. I am not. Just relax. Trust me,"
I relaxed anyway, knowing he wouldn't do anything to hurt me. My mind was in overdrive when I realized he said he had wanted to kidnap me, though that maybe due to the fact that he adores my cooking and that I was his best friend. But then these thoughts did nothing to calm my beating heart. It continued fluttering inside my ribcage doing somersaults everytime the sun caught his hair. It would have been fine if I didn't know what it meant. But now that I was fully aware of the truth, I want to do nothing more than stop it. It's an obvious fact he would never felt the same way.
I didn't realize I was actually gripping the necklace he gave me to calm myself.
He smoothly maneuvered the yacht around the small piece of land and headed towards the vast ocean behind it. Sitting in the water in all its glory was a boat, tough and beautiful in the sunlight. I admired it, thinking how lucky the owners were to own such prized possession. But then, Ollie turned and I saw the name "My Elizabeth" painted on its side. For the second time that day, I held my breath. He continued to lead the yacht towards the said boat and I marveled more at its beauty.
"Did I just read my name on the beautiful thing or was it plain pure coincidence?" I asked him, pointing at the boat. He looked anywhere but at me and muttered, "Yeah, I was trying to find you the perfect gift. Other than that necklace I gave you and saw my Grandpa sold his old boat for a few dollars. I bought it and had to use all my free time the last week to paint it and renovate it. So, yeah, I was hoping you'd like it," Eyes ending on his toes.
I remembered his Grandad's old boat. It wasn't as beautiful as the one I see now. But I knew for a fact that Ollie's painting prowess and creative mind could actually transform anything ugly to something dazzling. He always did that with my drawings. I looked at him incredulously, "And where, may I ask, did you get the money?"
He smiled sheepishly, still not looking at me, "From the fund for my future car. I figured, we were gonna be spending more time in the sea than in land when we go to university. And so I got you this boat. It's not as if you're not going to share with me, anyway,"
I blinked at him, not believing my ears. It was his all – time dream to drive his own car. He could've bought one with all the money he saved, instead he made my dream come true by buying my most coveted thing in the entire world.
"You spent all your money on me, ignored me at lunch and, apparently, the entire week just to work on that boat and except me to be so surprised I was gonna attack you with hugs and kisses?" I stated.
He looked at me, alarmed, "Not really attack with hugs and kisses, I was hoping you'd just enjoy it, Beth,"
"Did you know how bad it was eating alone in that stupid tree with my friends sending pitying looks on me every second or so? Did you know how much it hurt that you suddenly disappeared without a warning? Did you actually cared how alone I felt? Nooooo! You were too busy with your surprise that you forgot I hate spending the whole day alone!" I ranted at him.
I approached him angrily while he backed away, "Listen, Beth, I'm sorry, okay? I mean, I didn't realize that, I –"
"You were so into this surprise I actually had to suffer a week of being all alone! Damn it, Martin! You know I hate surprises! So that was why you were too quiet these past few days. Fidgeting here and fidgeting there! You didn't know if I'd like your damn boat! Of course I would! It's lovely, but the fact that you actually avoided for a week just for it made it so – "
"Why can't you be thankful for once, Beth? Why can't you be like other girls?" he shouted back irritated.
"Do you want me to be like those bimbos Ollie? Is that what you want? I thought you like me to be just me, without a fashion sense whatsoever and considered a peculiar member of the female species?" I wailed
He panicked, "No not really. I was just,"
"What?" I shouted.
And he burst, "Sorry, okay? I know it was bad. I saw you every time I went out to work on that present. You looked so heart – broken but I wanted to give you the perfect gift today Beth, because I was gonna profess my undying love for you, but you obviously don't care, seeing you're too much into your loathing me for abandoning you and everything,"
His eyes widened at his revelation and clamped his lips shut. He was back to eyeing the floor, and so he didn't notice where he was or what I was planning to do with him. He didn't realize he was already near the edge of the boat; he didn't see me reach out and launch myself at him. He wasn't expecting any of this, and so he lost his footing and we fell into the ocean in a mess of tangled limbs.
When we resurfaced he muttered, "Warn me when you do that again,"
"Did you mean that? The part where you said you were inlove with me?" I asked him my eyes lighting up and face glowing. Inside me, my head was spinning like crazy and I felt my heart stop and then suddenly went into overdrive.
He looked away, "Yeah, if you don't have any interest in me whatsoever, it's okay just –" and this is the part where I put both my arms behind his neck and dragged him to my face and kissed him.
His response was almost automatic, like the fishes in the sea when I threw the biscuits in, with all the colors present, just better and livelier. I felt all the nerves in my body tingle as I molded my body to his, felt every part of my body where his hand landed on fire, and tasted the flavor of sea and man. It was a weird mixture, and not in a bad way either. It was intoxicating and addicting, the kind that leaves you wanting for more.
And I knew I could get used to this. Heck, I'll love getting used to this. All these thoughts were flying on my head as our tongues battled for dominance and our bodies were going up and down the vast, blue ocean. If it wasn't for the fact that we needed air to breathe, we might never have broken apart.
"What was that?" he asked resting his brow atop mine, panting for breath.
I smiled. "That was the thank you for the boat," I teased and when his eyes saddened and he started to pull away, I pulled him back and muttered, "That means I love you, too. You idiot," and I proceeded to ransack his delicious lips, yet again, to which he happily complied.
Once again, I saw the array of colors inside my head, just like all those fishes in the sea. Only, much, much better.
"Mmm, if I had known I'd get you to kiss me like that if I bought you a boat, I'd have done it earlier," he stated after we pulled away from each other, intertwining my hand with his.
I looked at him unsurely, "So where does this bring us?" giving our hand a raise.
He looked at me steadily, his gaze so intense I felt I was swimming in an ocean deeper than the Caribbean, "It means we spend more time with each other exclusively not just friends but as something more. Like, say, boyfriend and girlfriend?"
The thought made me lightheaded with pleasure, "It won't be easy Martin,"
"Who says it will?" he threw back.
"I'm a practical idealist who believes there's a common ground between the factual certainties of Science and the complexities of myth and magic. You're a cynical realist who believes what he sees and acts on impulse and instinct without thinking about the future and focusing in the now," I pointed out at him.
He grinned, "We're not two peas in pod. Yet that makes me want you more,"
Why does he always know what to say to render me speechless? But I stood my ground. "Are you sure about this? I don't wanna wake up one day and find you regretting this decision, Ollie," I explained, almost teary – eyed.
"Would you, Beth? Would you risk being with me? Without a compass to help us navigate this journey? Would you?" he asked me, amber eyes searching mine, and pleading me to say yes.
I smiled, "As if I could say no. I threw all caution to the wind the moment my mom brought a month old me to your crib and I saw your month old amber eyes examining me closely. You got me pretty hard Martin. I felt like a salmon in a giant net, unable to get away,"
He kissed me in the forehead and muttered, "Then get yourself ready for the challenge, darling,"
"I'm all up for it. As long as you're in the package," I answered, meeting his lips for the third time but certainly not the last.
Done :) Hope you like it !
I don't mind you guys point out flaws and mistakes in the story.. :)
Please do point them out if you see one! :)