Chapter 5:

Pool Party

The Lonely Lovers Club

The pool was packed. Dozens of high school students ran around the backyard of Jaime’s house. More splashed around in the water. Music blared, no doubt disturbing the neighbors.

The Lonely Lovers Club arrived ready to swim. Everyone was wearing their swim trunks and bikinis. Towels draped around their necks. Sunglasses covered their eyes. Chelsea accompanied them with a similar look. A one-piece suit with shades and a tote bag full of pool gear. They all knew this was a serious mission for the Lonely Lovers Club, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t enjoy themselves before the summer weather disappeared.

Willie spotted Jaime in the crowd. “Hello, Jaime. Thanks for letting us crash your party.”

Jaime didn’t look too happy to see them, but was friendly all the same. “Yeah, but there's a lot of people here, so be cool.”

“Jaime,” said Ginko. “We’re cool. We’ll fit right in.”

“Right,” said Jaime. “I know you guys have your crazy stunts. Let's not go crazy, alright.”

“Don’t worry,” said Willlie. “We have no crazy stunts planned for today. Just a simple dialogue between two future lovers.”

“Speaking of which,” said Maria. “How’s Rose?”

“She’s great,” said Jaime with a smile.

The Lonely Lovers Club’s first mission this year was setting up Jaime with Rose. By now, the Lonely Lovers Club had blissfully forgotten that their attempt to set up the two using beaver costumes had failed. They simply chalked that one up as a success since Jaime and Rose were happily dating.

“She’s in the pool now with some of the other field hockey girls,” said Jaime.

“Ah those are my peeps,” said Sandra, seemingly unconcerned that the Lonely Lovers were here on a mission.

“Ahem,” said Willie. “No running off yet. We have a plan to discuss.”

“Fine, but I’m still gonna get in some pool time before we leave.”

Maria looked over at Jaime. “Would you like to help us unite some lovers?”

Quickly, he said, “No thanks. You guys go ahead. Just don’t do anything crazy.”

Jaime headed off into the crowd leaving the Lonely Lovers Club alone with Chelsea.

“Perfect,” said Willie. “Let’s get started.”

“Are you ready, Chelsea?” asked Maria.

Everyone turned their attention to Chelsea. Although she was dressed for poolside fun, she did not look like she was having fun. Her nervous gaze was focused on the pool. Willie could understand how she felt. All these kids splashing around in the pool would only be obstacles between Chelsea and Brad.

“Um, yeah,” she said. “I guess I’m ready.” Chelsea's breaths seemed to get heavier. She gripped her tote bag tighter. “So what should I do?”

“Easy,” said Willie. “Just talk. As we know, you and Brad don’t get to speak together often. So take this opportunity to just chat. Communication is key in any relationship.”

Sandra rolled her eyes while Maria stared intensely at Willie. Ginko smiled and nodded along with everything Willie said.

Willie continued, “the trick here will be getting Brad’s attention. We won’t be able to get him alone with this many people, so we’ll have to be assertive.”

“How do you plan on doing that?” asked Sandra.

Willie looked around, scanning the crowd. There Brad was, in the pool. He was leaning against the pool’s wall, no doubt, surrounded by friends and girls of other sports teams. It would have to be something big to get his attention away from all of those people, but Jaime said no wild displays. They would have to do this old school.

“Chelsea, get ready to swim. The only option is the direct way.”

Chelsea shifted her feet. “Okay, but I’m not really the strongest swimmer.”

“I don’t think the swimming part is really that important,” said Ginko. “Just grab something to float on.”

“Right. Go on and get ready. We’ll hang out nearby.”

“Wait,” said Chelsea. “What am I supposed to talk about?”

Maria stepped in, “Anything sweetie. Just talk to him like you talk to anyone else. Start by making a comment about this party or the pool. Ask if he’s having a good time. Just be natural.”

Chelsea’s deep breaths were anything but natural. Yet she still said okay and went off to get ready for a dip in the pool.

“You got this, Chelsea,” said Ginko as she walked away.

Willie sighed. If it wasn’t for Jaime’s nothing crazy rule then this could be a lot more successful. Willie could imagine a plethora of ways to win someone over in a swimming pool. The “she needs CPR” play or maybe a synchronized swimming routine. The options were endless. It brought back memories of lifeguarding over the summer for Willie. Sitting up in the lifeguard’s chair he would watch couples and daydream all summer long. He had already compiled a few dozen pick-up plans appropriate for a swimming pool.

But Chelsea would have to settle for playing the slow game. Just be friendly with Brad today in hopes to win him over tomorrow. It was not extravagant, but a necessary step.

“Great,” said Sandra. “I’m gonna go swimming with my friends. Okay bye.”

Sandra ran off before Willie could protest. She grabbed Ginko’s arm and pulled him with her. He disappeared with a wide-eyed expression as Sandra talked about how good she will look in her new swimsuit.

Maria slipped her hand into Willie’s. “So,” she said, stepping closer to Willie. “You wanna grab a chair next to the pool?”

It must have been more of a suggestion than a question because Maria began walking before Willie could respond. Just like Ginko, Willie was dragged off in an instant. But Willie was still focused. He kept his eye on Brad, looking for any opportunity to help Chelsea.

“Here we go,” said Maria. She threw her towel over a chair and sat down. She began to lather on sunscreen. Willie looked at Brad on the other side of the pool. Between him and Brad, kids kept running around and splashing in the pool.

“Hey, we can’t sit here,” said Willie.

“Why not?” asked Maria.

“Look,” he said. Willie pointed towards Brad. “You can’t even see him from here. There’s too many people in the way. Besides, we wouldn’t be able to hear anything Chelsea says.”

“Ok, but there’s no open chairs over there. This is the best we can do.”

Willie took note of all the chairs. The party was packed. Pretty much every seat was taken. It was almost a miracle they found these two.

“We have to get closer,” said Willie. “We’ll have to sit on the ground over there.”

“On the ground?” Maria said. She was clearly appalled by this idea. “I just wanted to sit next to the pool with you for a little. Summer weather won’t last forever. And with school we’re always so busy.”

Willie thought about this and looked at Maria. Even through her knock-off designer sunglasses Willie could see her brown eyes. It looked like they were glowing the way the sun hit them. Willie always loved that, but it had been a while since he’d seen her eyes like that. They rarely had time to simply relax together. Since school started, Maria was always studying with teachers after class and working for her family over the weekend. This school year was just like the summer when they struggled to spend time together.

But they still had a mission. Willie couldn’t give up on Chelsea just yet. He had to give her all the support she needed. He had already lost the help of Ginko and Sandra. He needed to be ready. But it still wouldn’t be any fun without Maria.

Willie sighed. “You’re right. How about we just head over that way until Chelsea and Brad talk. It’s pretty hot, so we can hang our feet in the water. Maybe go for a little swim once they’re finished. Then we just hang out the rest of the day.”

“Alright,” said Maria. “But I'm leaving my stuff here to save our seats. And I’m only doing this to help Chelsea.”

“Sounds good,” Willie said with a slight laugh. “Lets go dip our feet in. Chelsea should be jumping in by now anyways.”


Chelsea wandered around the pool house. It was filled with a variety of pool toys and cleaning supplies. Just grab something to float on. Ginko’s words echoed in Chelsea’s head.

“Yeah,” she said to herself. “I just need to float around and Brad will think I’m casually swimming around. Now which to choose?”

Luckily the pool house was filled with a variety of floats. There were ones big enough to lounge in. That would be ideal, but there were far too many people in the pool to use that. There were smaller ones, like kick boards. That would work, but it didn’t seem casual enough. She didn’t want Brad to think that she was a professional who was trying to swim laps.

“Ah here we go,” she said, spotting the right one. “This will do…”

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon