She just wanted a little midday me time at the community pool. So did he.
Tropes – Rivals to Lovers, Meet Cute
There’s no day like a pool day.
It was still too cold to go to the beach. Luckily, the Lakeview Community Center has an Olympic-sized swimming pool in the basement. Nestled between aquatic pilates and Mommy & Me swim time on Wednesday afternoons was the best time to take advantage of the pool.
She’d been going for a little over a month now. She had the perfect ritual:
Park in the back lot in the spot closest to the back door. (The women’s locker room is closer to the back so it’s a quick in and out.)
Speed walk to her preferred locker. Three rows in, two to the left. It was one row away from the pool entrance, and six lockers away from the stalls. She showered and took care of her business at home so she could skip the toilets on the way in.
Then, she’d throw off her bathing suit covering and dash into the pool in 4 minutes flat. 3.5 minutes on average. She’d timed the first 3 visits to establish a baseline. She had a cute, black one-piece bathing suit and a matching black cap to contain her frizzy curls.
And she always brought a book into the pool room, just in case the pilates class ran over or they were cleaning the pool. Today she brought Pride & Prejudice but she didn’t need it. The pool was blissfully empty. The water hugged her like a tepid, lukewarm friend. It was heaven.
Not 5 minutes later, she was leaning against one end of the pool, lazily kicking her legs, when there was a splash from the far side. Some guy dove into the deep end and was stroking his way down towards her in the next lane. She froze. This had never happened before.
He stopped about two feet away from her and pulled his head out of the water. His dirty blonde hair was plastered to his face until he brushed it back. He seemed surprised to find her staring at him, like she hadn’t been there first.
When he recovered, he smiled. His cerulean eyes crinkled at the corners. “Oh, hi there. Don’t usually see anyone here at this time.”
She raised both eyebrows. “I’ve been coming here every Wednesday at this time for a month. I’ve never seen you here.”
He wiped water from his nose and stretched out his shoulders, eyes already on the far side of the pool planning out his next lap. “I was visiting my parents over the holidays but guess I’ll see you next week.”
He threw her a wink, pushed off from the wall, and lapped away.