Laurel and Irving rode their bikes out of the Village Estates five minutes apart each day and headed for their grandparents' cottages down Shore Road a piece. They'd meet at the top of the driveways and ride into the yards, Irving heading for his grandfather's place while Laurel visited with her grandmother next door.
When the visit was over, the two adolescents would leave the yards together but they would only ride a little ways together before Laurel would speed ahead so she could arrive home first, alone.
The two both commented on the noticeable change in the demeanor of Irving's grandfather and how sometimes they would find their grandparents together when they arrived for their visits – either sitting in the lawn chairs in front of Deena's cottage talking, or sitting on one of the docks barefooted with their feet dangling in the water chatting away.
One day, Laurel and Irving arrived at their pre-determined time only to discover their grandparents out on the lake in a canoe together. They stood on the shore watching in amazement until Laurel finally let out a puff of air.
"Well, who would have thought?" She asked.
"They're just friends," Irving reasoned.
"I suppose we're going to have to tell our parents," Laurel sighed. Then she scratched her chin. "Does this mean we become related if those two get together?"
"We wouldn't have to be secret private friends if they did," Irving remarked.
"You can't go skinny dipping with your relative, Berlin," Laurel pointed out.
"Are we going to go skinny dipping?" Irving inquired.
"Shut up," she grumbled.
Irving grinned, knowing he finally had the upper hand with Laurel after all these years of her dominance. He could easily embarrass her just by mentioning the idea of skinny dipping together and he knew what her fanny looked like which kept her at a disadvantage too.
They watched as the canoe made its way back to the dock, their grandparents' voices carrying across the water surface as they talked and paddled at the same time.
Laurel and Irving stepped onto the dock and they helped moor the canoe against the side of the dock. Both occupants of the craft had wide smiles on their faces.
"What a surprise to see you two together out there," Laurel remarked, her eyes flicking from her grandmother to Irving's grandfather, although the youngster could never quite look at The Colonel normally after seeing what she had seen of him.
"I guess we caught you at a bad time," Irving said.
"There's no such thing as a bad time seeing you two," Deena smiled.
Norman climbed out of the canoe and then helped Deena onto the dock.
"Come up to the cottage for some of my killer lemonade," Deena told the kids as she and Norman walked off the dock together.
Laurel stood with her hands on her hips as she watched them go. "You don't think they're doing it, do you?" She asked Irving.
"I hope they are," he said.
"What!?" Laurel asked with shock. "How can you say that?"
"Come on," Irving said, rolling his eyes. "My grandfather was miserable when he got here. Now look at him! And aren't you happy for your grandmother? Don't you want her to be happy at this stage in her life?"
"What do you think they were doing on the dock that night?" Laurel asked.
"I don't want to know," Irving replied. "But I can see now that they have fallen for each other and I say good for them."
"Maybe we should make one more nighttime run," Laurel said.
"Didn't you hear what I just said?" Irving groaned.
"Not to see them, Berlin," Laurel explained.
Irving's eyes went wide.
Come on," Laurel said with a smirk. "Let's go get some lemonade."
Irving didn't know what to expect as he followed Lauren along the path that night through the various properties toward Deena's cottage. Would Lauren really go skinny dipping with him? Would he have the guts to go through with it even if that was her intention? Was this some sort of final ritual together as friends before they became quasi-relatives if their grandparents got together?
It was a warm summer night and Irving noticed that Laurel was wearing bikini bottoms underneath a long black tee-shirt and sandals. He was wearing shorts and a purple tee-shirt to help stay masked in the dark.
They didn't talk as they made their way through the woods and lakefront properties and when they finally came close to Deena's property, Laurel once again darted behind the tree.
"Oh, God," she said, grabbing Irving by the wrist and pulling him into the tree.
"What?" Irving asked.
"Look!" Laurel groaned, gesturing toward Deena's dock
Irving saw Laurel's grandmother and his grandfather standing on the dock together in the moonlight, both of them naked. The Colonel was kissing Deena and they were talking quietly but because the night was so still, their voices traveled through the night and Laurel and Irving could both hear them giggling about love.
"I didn't know men his age could still get erections," Laurel whispered, watching as Norman reached out and touched one of her grandmother's breasts.
"I guess they're young at heart," Irving shrugged, fascinated and yet horrified by the sight in front of them, staring at the naked Deena as she took his grandfather by the hand and led him toward her cottage.
"Well, mission accomplished," Laurel said as they both watched their grandparents walk up the hill and disappear into the cottage.
"Do you mind telling me what that was all about?" Irving demanded. "Why you insisted we come out here like this for half the summer?"
"I wanted to prove my hypothesis," Laurel said, still staring up the bank to make sure The Colonel and her grandmother were really gone.
"What hypothesis?" Irving frowned.
"That you're never old to go skinny dipping," Laurel said with a smile. Then she sucked in her breath. "But I had to amend my hypothesis," she revealed.
"What is it now?" Irving asked.
"That you're neither too young or too old to skinny dip," Laurel said, chewing on her lip for a moment before she pulled her long black tee shirt off over her head.
She shimmied out of her bikini bottoms and pranced naked to the shore, quietly wading into the water as to not make any noise as Irving admired her skinny body.
He knew it was his moment of truth and he figured if his military man grandfather had enough courage he could it too. He peeled out of his clothes and joined Laurel in the water.
"Don't be telling anybody about this, Berlin," Laurel said as they treaded water together, deep enough in the lake to keep themselves covered by the water. "Don't be telling your new homo friends at the homo school what we did."
"I won't," he promised. "But maybe we don't have to be private secret friends anymore either," he said hopefully.
"We're going to be grandchildren together, Berlin," she said.
"I can live with that," Irving said with a smile.
They stayed in the water for a little while but they both knew they were going to have to get out eventually.
"Well, might as well get it over with," Laurel decided as she swam to the shore and Irving watched her thin fanny as she sashayed her way to the tree and Irving realized as he stepped out of the water that he had an erection just like his grandfather.
Laurel cleared her throat when she saw that reality. "Berlin, my second hypothesis is that you can be too young to have sex," she let him know.
"I agree," he grinned. "But isn't it nice to know it's the thought that counts?"
She smiled and they went quiet looking at each other until they were air-dried enough to put their clothes back on and return to Village Estates.
Lauren and Irving couldn't know that their grandparents were making love inside Deena's apartment with the light of the moon spilling across Deena's bed where they lay. They slept until noon when they finally exhausted themselves of their desire, their bodies entwined together.
Norman woke first and he kissed his lover awake. When her eyes opened, he smiled and Deena sat up, her soft breasts exposed. She rolled over on top of him and she kissed him good morning before she left the bed, found her robe and went into the kitchen to make some coffee.
A few minutes later, she sensed Norman behind her.
"Deena." He kissed the back of her neck. "I'm glad that you are in my life."
"Not as much as I am glad that you are in mine," she said, turning from the counter to face him. "Welcome to Paradise."