Darioush leaps up from the blanket where they are eating and smiles at Emily as he strips. “Come swim with me.”
She shakes her head. “You’re supposed to wait after you eat. What if we get a cramp?”
“If you do, I can fix it for you.” He waggles his eyebrows.
“Darioush!” Emily throws her napkin at him and laughs.
“Just do it, Em. The water’s perfect.” He turns and jumps in without waiting for her to respond.
Emily sighs and takes off her clothes. I can’t deny him whatever he wants, no matter how hard I try. She admires her reflection. He has a tough time saying no to me, too. Then, she dives into the deep waters below and returns to the surface, sputtering. “You said the water was perfect!”
Darioush grins. “It is. Once you paddle around in it for a few minutes.”
“Jerk! You know I hate the cold. I’ll get you for this!”
“Catch me first!” Darioush starts towards the opposite shore.
“Darioush! Darioush, stop! It’s not safe after a meal!” She watches for a minute as he moves further and further away. Darioush, please. She waits a little longer before she accepts he isn’t turning back. Despite her misgivings, Emily launches after him.
She warms up as she alternates her strokes to reduce her chances of cramping. Backstroke, sidestroke on the left, breaststroke, sidestroke on the right. It is nice once you swim for a minute. She squints and sees Darioush in the distance.
He knows he’s a faster swimmer than I am, and stronger. It’s dangerous when we’re this far apart. Emily continues her pattern.
After a few minutes, she looks ahead again and realizes she can’t see Darioush anymore. Where did he go? She now feels like she’s in a hot tub instead of a lake. “Darioush? Where are you? Something’s wrong. This water is too warm. We need to head back.” When she turns around to swim to shore, Darioush is behind her.
“Agh! What the hell, Darioush!” She splashes him. “Not funny!”
As the splash rolls over him, she realizes blood plasters his hair to his face and drips from his eyelashes. “Darioush…” Emily looks down and discovers that it coats her skin as well. The lake is filled…