Rosa hopped on the bus in a huffy mood. Her chocolate brown hair blew in the wind coming in through the open windows, and her deep brown eyes scanned for a place to sit. Then she spotted a free seat, way at the back of the bus. It was so hot that almost all the windows were open. Although the breeze felt good, she got annoyed with her hair constantly blowing in her face as she sat down.

"What do you think you're doing, Rosie?" asked Sarah angrily. "That is my seat. Only I and a few choice people are allowed to sit there, and they are…. just me"

Sarah was the most popular girl in the 9th grade, but she was by far the meanest. Anything she wanted, she almost always got. Although Sarah was the type of person that you would think didn't have a care in the world, she harboured a deep dislike of Rosa. Rosa wasn't as beautiful or as popular as Sarah was (at least that's what she thought), Rosa was more outgoing. She was also more well-liked among the people at Gailington North-Eastern Elementary School because of her gentleness and her kind disposition. Even with a calm, serene side to her, Rosa had more bravery than most of the jocks at G.N.E.S, and was the only one with enough gumption to stand up to Sarah.

"What are you going to do about it? The seats on the bus aren't assigned, Sarah, and people can sit anywhere that they want," she replied. "And by the way, the name is Rosa."

Sarah spluttered and fumed but there was nothing she could do that would get her to move. She decided to try one last thing, and went up to Mary, the bus driver, and complained about Rosa sitting in the wrong seat. All Mary did was simply state that what Rosa said was true, that you could sit anywhere on the bus as long as no one else was there. Completely and utterly defeated, she had to sit in the middle with what she called "the lowly people," the ones who weren't as popular as her. She was completely embarrassed about it and swore (yet again) that she would get revenge on Rosaline for this latest slight.

Meanwhile, Rosa had settled down into her seat. As the bus stopped and picked up more students, she thought quietly about what her mother might be planning for tonight's party. When the bus finally reached the school, she walked silently down the aisle towards the door. As the students flooded off the bus and onto the school grounds, she hung back for a moment and wished Mary a happy day. She was the only one who ever took notice of the old driver, who would be retiring after today.

As soon as she stepped into the classroom, Rosa knew that something was different. Instead of all the students talking over Mr. Macdonald and not listening to a word that he said, they were paying attention and listening with everything in them. When she walked in, Mr. Macdonald said, "Oh, good. You're finally here. You weren't here when I mentioned it earlier, but I managed to book the local swimming pool for our class for an entire hour and a half. It was hard since all the other teachers wanted it, but I managed to do it."

The local pool was the best place to go swimming during the school year, but it was hard to book it since so many other people used it for birthday parties and other special events. The Grade 9 class had only gotten the pool once before during that school year, but even so everybody had kept a swimsuit at school for when they did get it. This was quickly turning into the best birthday ever, since Rosa loved to swim and took to it like a fish to water.

"Now if everyone could grab their bathing suits, we'll be on our way," Mr. Macdonald continued.

All the kids jumped up from their desks and ran to their lockers in the hallway. They opened them and grabbed the bags containing the swimwear, then sped down the hallway, down the street, and to the pool. Once they were there, everyone went into the change rooms and put on their swimsuits. Rosa had been blocked from reaching the girls' change room by all the people rushing to them, so she was the last one to change and jump into the pool. A splash rose up from where she had entered the pool and sprinkled anyone nearby with water.

Rosa started to dive, spin, and do all sorts of underwater tricks. She dived under and did a handstand at the bottom of the pool. She somersaulted, she leaped, she spun, she cart-wheeled. She lost herself in the mere joy of being in the water again.

She could have swum forever, but she eventually got out and took a little rest before jumping back in. It went on like this for a while, with her performing tricks and then getting out to rest for a few minutes before plunging back in.

Just as she had jumped in for the fifth time and dived under once more, Sarah swam out in front of her and purposely kicked her in the stomach. Rosa's breath rushed out of her mouth and rose out of the water in bubbles of air. Reacting instinctively, she drew in a breath like she would have on land, but instead of breathing in oxygen, she inhaled water. She immediately started to panic. She had to get to the surface, or she'd drown! She had to get there now! She started hyperventilating, but how was that possible without air? Then it hit her. She was breathing in something, but it wasn't air; it was water. It seemed impossible, but it wasn't. She, Rosa Carlson, was breathing underwater!

Wait, this wasn't possible. It went against the very laws of nature for a human to breathe underwater unaided. She panicked again, and kicked her way to the surface. Everyone stared at her as she broke the surface, and she couldn't understand why. They were all still in the water, but they were silent and had cleared away from the spot where she was. What is going on? Rosalie asked herself quietly. Then she got her answer from the one place that she least expected it; she got it from Sarah.

"Who do you think you are, Rosa Carlson? This morning you took my seat on the bus, and now you have the nerve to challenge my record for staying underwater the longest? This is the last straw. You're going down, girl, and you're going down hard," she yelled bitterly at Rosaline.

"What are you going to do, throw cupcakes on me? I don't care about your stupid record, Sarah. You can have it back for all I care. I don't care about your records, but I'm not something that you wave in the air and toss away when it isn't interesting anymore," she replied angrily. Sarah had struck a nerve with all the 'I rule and you don't attitude', and it was about time that someone took her down a peg or two. Rosa would be the one to do it.

"Oh, so you think that you're better than me all of a sudden? After school, I'll meet you at the beach if you're not too chicken. Whoever can stay underwater the longest is the better person. Obviously that person will be…. me."

"You got yourself a challenge. See you there, fish-breath."

"Ladies, enough of this or you can get out of the pool and stay out for the rest of the block. Am I understood?" Mr. Macdonald said.

"Yes, Mr. Macdonald," they replied at the same time.


After the fighting stopped, all the other kids started to swim around and have fun again, but there was one thing that was on everyone's mind: Who would win the challenge; Sarah, the school champion, or Rosa, the feisty kid with the guts to stand up to her? People started talking about it; anyone in the 7th grade class had to be there.

Arrangements were talked about, excuses made up, and parents were called after the kids had changed. Time dragged by as kids waited for the day to end. The time crept by, and each second lasted and hour. Finally, the bell rang and school let out for the summer holidays.

Instead of hopping on the buses, almost every kid in the 9th grade started the short walk to the beach. Down the street, turn left onto Maple Drive, turn right on East Birch Avenue, and continue down the street. Right there was the beach. Rosa and Sarah went into the changing rooms. They walked to the shore, dropped their bags of clothes in the sand, and then waded into the water. When both girls were up to their waists in water, they stopped and turned to face the shore. The people that remained on the beach counted '1, 2, and 3'. There was a splash and a ripple, and then the surface settled as the girls dived under.