Recently graduated from high school, Holland Monroe had no expectations for her last summer before heading off to college to be anything but ordinary.
Until she got a job as a waitress at the local country club to make extra money for school.
Milo Davis was smart, cute, and absolutely not interested in Holland. At least that was what she believed. But the day she started working at the restaurant, everything changed.
Finally together, they were left with only three months to spend time together before she moved away.
Good thing they decided to make their time as memorable as possible.
But will they remain friends? Or will checking off items on their summer bucket list lead them to something they didn’t expect — Falling in love.
“Have you ever gone swimming at night?” he asked.
Slowly I shook my head and looked over at him. All my fears, real and completely irrational, were beginning to choke me.
“No.” It was the only thing I was able to eke out.
“You don’t like it,” he questioned, but it was more of an observation.
“I’m terrified,” I admitted.
“But you can swim, right?”
I laughed, thankful he had lightened the mood. I nodded and turned my attention toward the dark abyss in front of me.
“What scares you?”
“Whatever might be in the water. Like the Loch Ness Monster.”
Milo laughed and reached for my hand. “Not real.”
“I know that,” I scoffed. “Doesn’t make me any less scared.”
“I’ll protect you.”
Milo opened his door, and reluctantly I opened my own. As I stepped out of the car I felt the fear travel up my spine, but I wanted to overcome it. He stood at the front of his car and waited for me to join him. Every step I took toward Milo felt heavier than the last until I finally reached him. He took my hand in his and carried a large backpack over his other shoulder.
“What’s the bag for? Are you going to kill me?”
Milo threw his head back and laughed hard. “You’re awesome. And no. It’s towels and some snacks.”
“Why night swimming? Isn’t it dangerous?”
“Well yeah…that’s why it’s the perfect date,” he answered.
My stomach flipped, and not because he was holding my hand. I found my nerves were working overtime and a flood of possibilities came to mind.
“Doesn’t sound so perfect.”
“Trust me,” he said as we continued to walk.
When we got to the shore, the water looked like glass, barely a breeze to make the surface move. Milo spread out a large blanket and set the backpack on top of it while I looked out at the horizon. In the distance, I could see the lights shining from homes across the way. The lake had few public spots that were accessible, and the park always closed at ten. I glanced at my watch and sighed because it was only eight. We had plenty of time to drown before anyone found us.
Milo pulled off his T-shirt and tossed it to the side by the bag. I tried not to look, but when I was caught staring at his stomach, I was thankful for the moonlit darkness.
“Are you going to get in?” he asked.
“I’m not sure.”
I figured he would be frustrated or that he would sulk because I didn’t jump at the chance to go with him. Instead, he walked over and kissed my cheek before walking toward the water.
As he took his first steps into the inky darkness, I watched his figure, admiring the way the moon illuminated his physique. Milo was not one to show off the muscles that he wore beneath his clothing, but they were on full display for me. I wanted so badly to follow him and let go of my fears, but all I could think of were the wild creatures that I saw in movies.
“It’s a little chilly,” he said as he stood waist deep, looking back at me.
“Not helping,” I laughed.
“Not trying to,” he answered with a chuckle.
I grabbed one of the towels that he had set out and opened it up so I could sit down. The warm air covered my body and I started to sweat. Maybe I was sweating because I was nervous, but whatever the reason I began to grow increasingly warm. Milo was still walking deeper into the water when I took off my cover-up, revealing my black bikini.
“Grow up,” I muttered to myself, hoping to gain some courage.
“How you doin’ over there?” Milo asked from the water.
“Great,” I said unconvincingly before laughing softly. “How ‘bout you?”
“Not too bad.”
His body disappeared beneath the water and I watched, waiting for him to come to the surface. When he didn’t come up right away, I sat up a little taller to see if there were any ripples in the water. Panic began to course through my veins and I started to get up as I searched for him in the darkness.
“Milo?” I called out, trying to contain my fear.
I walked toward the shoreline, the water lapping at my feet. Just as I started to take a step in, he surfaced with a loud splash.