"Out Adam!" Lynn pointed her finger sternly to the other side of the reception area.
Adam sat on the reception desk's counter. Cassie, the young, very buxom, brunette receptionist, didn't seem to mind much judging by her wide, sparkling grin.
Adam offered an innocent glance towards his supervisor.
"Now!" Lynn insisted. "Stop hanging around reception like some bored monkey already. You're on morning pool duty in five minutes!"
Adam slipped off the desk and snapped to attention on his feet. Flashing perfect rows of smiling white teeth he said, "Mais oui, mon capitan
Cassie giggled and he finally pulled himself away. The lanky, sharp-faced young man with the scrunched-teased sandy hair casually made his way past Lynn as she stood by the reception desk's gate.
He stopped and smiled downward towards the shorter woman. "I've got the trunks on underneath my shorts," he remarked through a playful, angled curl on his lips. He always liked to sweeten his words with his curling French accent when he was like this. "I'm good to go, Lynn."
Lynn put her hand on her chest and chided, "Well, that really puts me at ease. Thank you, Adam. Now, do me a favour and get your butt to the pool."
The young man arched his sharp brow and chuckled. "Seeya, Cass!" He winked at Lynn and scooted down the corridor towards the pool.
Lynn sighed, exasperated. She steeled her dark brown eyes towards the receptionist. Cassie was already cringing. The supervisor had been on a warpath for the last few weeks and the perky girl with the round cheeks --round everything-- had caught a lot of her flak. Whenever Adam was caught lingering around her, it just added fuel to Lynn's fire.
"You know that no one's supposed to hang around back here behind the desk," Lynn said in a low, slowly seething voice.
Cassie chewed her lower lip and nodded, sinking into her chair.
"So what was that?"
Cassie's big doe-eyes pinched as she cowered helplessly. "Um...He just stopped by when you...uh...he was just here for a second," she offered, noticeably flustered.
"Adam isn't supposed to be..." Lynn caught herself, realizing the harsh tone in her voice. The girl in front of her looked like a rabbit that was preparing to be flayed alive. Calmed slightly, she started again, "Cassie, no one except you should be working behind this desk, alright?"
Cassie nodded again. The phone rang and she quickly, earnestly, answered, "Hello, Valleyview Recreation and Aquatic Centre. Cassie, speaking. May I help you?"
The receptionist smiled anxiously towards the supervisor and then turned away as she talked on the phone.
Lynn sighed as she walked away. "I 'ave got deh trunks on underneat' mah shorts," she fumed derisively, feigning a brutal French accent. Smirking to herself, she added, "God knows what else he's packing underneath his shorts."
She stumbled for a moment, tripped up by the double entendre of her flippant thoughts. Lord, she was tired, just so tired.
Summer at the recreation centre was not her favourite time of year. She wanted to be outside not stuck working in the centre all day. It was constantly busy and the patrons were more demanding as if their lives would end if they couldn't have access to the squash court. To fill the increased demand and hours, the centre offered more shifts to the part-time staff –mostly students-- which in turn meant seeing Adam more often.
This summer in particular was not going well at all for the staff supervisor. In fact, it started off as a disaster and steadily rolled down the hill from there. Lynn had pinned so many of her seasonal plans on her budding relationship with Dominic. A new boyfriend in the spring had quickened her step and made the already fun and energetic woman just that much more of a pleasure to work with. She always had a smile on her softly curved, fair-skinned face and a natural lightness in her voice. Able to deflect any stress or adversity with a simple laugh and a focused mind, everyone found her to be easily approachable.
So it was a jarring contrast when her mood suddenly took a turn just before the summer peak-period started. She was agitated and aggravated. Every word she spoke had an edge to it. Now a month into the season and everyone knew to take a wide berth when she was around, everyone except Adam. The young man seemed to relish standing on the tracks waiting for Lynn to railroad him. It was either a death-wish or a fetish.
With all her other headaches, the last thing she wanted to deal with was the young Cassanova...or at least he fancied himself that...and most of the girls his age seemed to believe that...along with some of the older women on staff. Lynn shook her head and scolded herself. This wasn't just about Adam. He was a symptom of her lousy summer, not the reason for it.
Apart from supervising his work, he was of no concern in her life.
That's what she told herself, at least.
"You're in charge of the pool staff." Lynn groaned. "Can't you do something about them?"
Olivia tapped something into her keyboard then swivelled in her chair as the two staff supervisors sat at their desks alone in the centre's office. "You mean Adam?" she asked.
Annoyed, Lynn sniffed. "No...not just Adam. I said them
Her friend and co-worker smiled and folded her arms. "Alright. Who else, then?"
Lynn was hunched over her desk. She scribbled some gibberish onto her schedules and then tossed her pencil down. Leaning back in her seat, she dragged her hands down her face. "Okay! Adam!" she moaned. "He's getting on my nerves!"
"He's always hanging around doing nothing but flirting with any young thing with breasts and a tweety-pie giggle. He moves like he's going for a stroll on a beach. He smells of smoke. Those stupid baggy cargo shorts of his...I swear it could be below freezing outside and I'd still be forced to look at his hairy white legs," Lynn bemoaned barely stopping for a breath.
Olivia continued to laugh. "You forgot about his hair."
"He must run a vacuum cleaner through it in the morning! Oh! Oh! And that crazy way he arches his eyebrow. What the hell?"
"It's like it's going to detach and fly off into space," Olivia fed her friend's annoyance, "And all those smutty men's magazines he reads?"
Lynn closed her eyes and shook her head. "No wonder he's over-sexed. Worse, he's misguided reading that garbage. I mean how many times can they rewrite the same article about how to pick up and seduce women?"
Swiveling side-to-side in her chair, Olivia looked upwards and sighed. "Ah, it does seem to be working for him, though."
"Pfft!" Lynn fluttered her lips dismissively. "Only with immature school girls who are just as over-sexed as he is."
"It must be that passionate French blood of his." Pouting her lip for a second as she thought, Olivia finally said, "He is really cute though."
Lynn said nothing. She just picked up her pencil and tapped the eraser end on the desk.
"I mean, he has the looks," Olivia mused, "Tall, blue eyes, spiky light brown hair, V-shaped build...even the little bit of scruff on his face suits him. He doesn't look nearly his age."
"He looks like an escapee from a Disney Channel show," Lynn muttered.
"Well, if you ask me..."
Lynn raised her finger aside and interjected, "I'm not asking you..."
"Quiet...if you ask me, that's not necessarily a bad way to be described. He's got Disney looks, naughty boy attitude, Euro-stlye charm, and he's also surprisingly bright. That's a pretty intriguing combination don't you think?"
"Uh-huh. It just means he's still a boy who's growing up and doesn't know what he wants to be."
"No, not a boy any longer," Olivia corrected with a coy grin, "And he's at his sexual peak."
"Ugh," Lynn replied and repeated, "He still has a lot of growing up to do."
"Well, a man your age didn't get you really far with Dominic, did it?" her friend chided. "Adam's harmless. He's playful, likes to have fun. Kind of like you...when you're not so --I'm sorry-- bitchy."
"Olivia." Lynn sighed. "I run into Adam everyday. He's cute, I'll give you that. Sort of like Bieber's evil, older Francophone brother. I'll admit it, it actually makes me laugh on the inside when he does that goofy leer of his. And there's something about him that prevents me from just wanting to kill him when he acts like an idiot."
"He's actually a pretty smart kid," Olivia interjected, "And disarmingly charming sometimes."
"I won't deny that. Sometimes he's quite fun to hang out with and to even talk to," Lynn continued, "But then he just undercuts himself by overdoing it. All I see is his over-confident grin and over-stimulated, hormonally excited swagger. Other than what he can pass off as seduction or romance or sex positions from what he's learned from magazines or television or the Internet, what can he possibly offer to a girl over the age of 16? I just wish he would grow up. He could be so much better than that."
Olivia leaned back in her chair, folded her arms and smirked at her. Lynn didn't like that look. "What?" she asked suspiciously.
Olivia shook her head and said, "Lynn, it sounds to me like you've actually thought a lot about this guy."
"He's not a guy...he's a kid," Lynn retorted, "Why would I be concerned with him?"
"You know, it's obvious that you two actually do seem to get along really well most of the time."
"I figured I'd mix it up with the times I'm usually chewing him out," Lynn smirked.
Olivia continued, "You have lunch with him, talk with him..."
"It's more like scolding him."
"It sounds a bit like that familiar story of the woman thinking she can turn the rebellious, wild-man into a teddy bear," Olivia said.
"Wow. You're positively delusional." Lynn scoffed.
Her co-worker eyed her even more so now. "I also would say that we're not talking about a meaningful relationship thing with Adam. I know I'm not."
Now it was Lynn's turn to eye Olivia. "Yes, I've been aching to try out this whole cougar-revolution going on," Lynn droned sarcastically. She quickly reversed course and snapped, "Oh my God, you've got to be kidding me! I can't believe you would think...!"
"Oh come on! You need to update your dictionary. We're sure as hell not old enough to be cougars --though personally, I would count as a MILF, if I do say so myself- and we're not doing anything bad, anyway," Olivia went on as Lynn rolled her eyes, "It's just fantasizing. The guy is cute and hot. It's just fun to imagine. Nothing wrong with that. My mother still does it and she's 60. She would be a cougar. You and I just hit 30. We're within acceptable range."
"Acceptable range for what? Here's an update: You're supposed to be a married woman with a child," Lynn looked down and shook her head, not believing what she was hearing. "You're insane."
A naughty thought entered Olivia's head. She leaned forward, the intent of twisting Lynn's screws even tighter smeared all over her grinning face. She said, "But you're not married, are you? And I think it's pretty obvious that young Adam has been entertaining his own 'hormonally excited' fantasies of a certain unattached, pretty supervisor."
Lynn's eyes widened in shock along with her mouth. She looked up at Olivia, her mouth still gaping open but nothing escaping it except for a meager squeak.
"Oh don't give me that look," Olivia waved at her, "A handsome young guy thinking of you like that...kind of flattering, isn't it?"
Lynn's eyes drifted as she thought.
Olivia arched her brow and pointed at her. "Ah-hah!" she exclaimed, "I got you thinking, didn't I?"
"This is totally inappropriate," Lynn said, shaking her head disapprovingly towards her colleague.
"Yes," Olivia nodded, "Isn't it fun?"
Lynn squinted at her and shook her head disapprovingly. "All this time, I had no idea I was working with such a perverted woman," she joked, "Wait until your daughter is old enough to understand how depraved her mother is!"
"Besides, nothing is actually going to happen anyway, is it now?" Olivia smiled and shrugged, unapologetic, and turned back to her computer, leaving Lynn to slowly untwist her incredulous smirk.
She breathed deeply and returned to her schedules on her desk. Out of the myriad number of names scattered on the timetable, she suddenly, surprisingly, realized that her eyes were only pulling out one.
She squeezed her eyes shut and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Oh for God's sake," she muttered.
"Hmm?" Olivia looked up from her desk.
"Nothing," Lynn breathed without turning around.
She redoubled her efforts to get her work done, rubbing her forehead as she tried to make sense of the schedules. She really was just now getting over her break-up with Dominic. Her mind was just clearing, the pain in her heart just easing. For the past little while she had been neglecting her work and had indeed probably been a bit bitchy around the rec centre. Now she could finally get some work done and move on with her life. Besides, Lynn had little interest in fantasizing about a jailbait teenager...
"Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!" a chorus of voices broke out in song in the adjoining staff lounge, interrupting Lynn's consternation.
"Happy Birthday dear, Aaa-dammm!"
"Oh, shit. You're kidding," Lynn thought, her eyes widening as her shoulders tensed.
"Happy birthday to you-oou!"
As the sound of clapping ensued, Lynn got up and walked to the doorway. When she looked, she saw a gathering of staff in the lounge, everyone circling a not surprisingly proud looking Adam. They feted him with hugs, handshakes, a couple of small gifts and ice cream cake, the candles shaped in the numbers '2' and '0' adorning the top of it.
Adam raised his hands and bowed his head jokingly as he accepted their cheer and declared, "Thank you! Merci! Hey, please start referring to me as Monsieur Dupuis, if you don't mind. I'm not a kid anymore, you know! Au revoir mon teens!"
The group laughed.
"Finally!" Cassie mocked, "I hate drinking alone! Worse, I hate drinking with younger men."
"Among other things," he added.
The two observing supervisors waited for it. There it was: his arched eyebrow. Olivia snickered.
Cassie punched Adam playfully, but sharply, in the arm.
Now it was Lynn's turn to roll her eyes. She continued to watch him derisively from the doorway as he sliced and served his birthday cake.
"It's Adam's birthday," Olivia said to her from behind with a soft nudge to her back.
"Uh, yeah. So I gathered."
"Did you get him a gift?"
"Very funny. Maybe I should get him some pants!" Lynn replied with a shake of her chin. She turned around to Olivia and added, "Can you believe he's 20 now?"
"Yes, they grow up right before our eyes," Olivia mocked, "Out of those awkward teen years and now a full-fledged man. He's officially legal tender."
Lynn glared at her, amazed by how low Olivia could stoop. She smirked and said, "Legal? Maybe. Tender? I don't think so! Adam's about as tender as my old running shoes!"
Olivia started to chuckle but suddenly stopped herself. Lynn didn't notice.
"It's like counting rings on a tree," Lynn went on excitedly, "He's about as old as the number of girls he's gone through!"
Lynn blinked and frowned as she looked at Olivia. He co-worker's face was frozen in a state of guilty bemusement. Lynn finally realized she was actually looking over her shoulder, behind her.
"What...?" Lynn said as she turned, "Oh...uh, Adam."
The young man stood over her holding two saucers with cake. With a slight, crooked grin, he held out a slice to Olivia.
"Thanks Adam," Olivia chirped, "And Happy Birthday!"
"Merci," he nodded curtly. Then he turned to Lynn and offered her the other slice.
Lynn met the gaze of his ocean blue eyes and quickly tilted her face down to look at the cake in his hands. She knew she was blushing but she couldn't let him see.
"Uh, thanks," she said, taking the dish. Adam turned and started to head back to the table. Lynn looked up and said, "Oh, happy birthday."
Adam turned to her and nodded. He was about to rejoin the group when he paused and smiled. He showed off his trademark arched eyebrow and said, "By the way, the legal age of consent in this country is 16."
Both women tilted their heads, brows raised, as if they had spied a squirrel in a tree singing a tune.
"But it's the thought that counts," he said, his eyes narrowed on Lynn.
Olivia hadn't noticed it --it wasn't directed at her, after all-- but Lynn saw a sharpness in his smile. It was completely different from the harmless little flirtatious winks and playful grins he had thrown her before. There was a stiff, assured line on his lips. She wasn't sure what to make of it but, unexpectedly, it made her heart skip and she was sure that her cheeks were glowing an even deeper pink.
Adam quietly turned and went back to the group in the lounge.
They both watched him. Olivia smirked. "Well, that was embarrassing." She stuffed a bit of cake in her mouth and stood beside Lynn. "Don't worry," she said, poking the flushed woman in the cheek, "He probably thinks you're cute when you blush like that."
Deflated, Lynn groaned softly and walked back into the office. She flipped the slice of cake into the garbage bin.
* * * * * * * * 3 years ago...
Three summers ago, the new junior staff of the Valleyview recreational centre were toured around the complex before the building opened for the season. Adam was with a group of three other trainees, all around 16 or 17-years old. They all had the same look about them, trying to appear cool and detached as teenagers could be, but actually nervous and anxious as hell.
Adam looked out the windows as they passed through the hallways. He had a loping gait to his walk. He was excited. His hands, stuffed in the pockets of his shorts, were clenched. It was his first paying job, he loved sports, and, since he was attending an all-boys Catholic school during the rest of the year, he finally got to spend the day with women. It was going to be a great gig working at a rec centre.
"Adam," his supervisor, Olivia Ling, called to him, "You're falling behind just a bit. Gotta keep up! Chop! Chop!"
"Sorry!" He smiled and nodded. He jogged over, his hands still in his pockets. A new female trainee in their group looked at him and grinned. He winked at the frizzy blonde girl.
They continued their tour and came across the second group of new trainees. The small group of three was led by another staff supervisor. Adam tilted his head as he looked at her. Like Olivia, she was also Chinese. She may have been a bit younger, fresher looking, but he couldn't guess her age. The two supervisors were quite similar in appearance. They were the same height and slender body shape. Both had almond-shaped, dark eyes that were gently pinched at the outer ends. Olivia was more tanned and had some freckles but they both sported shoulder-length black hair with reddish highlights.
Adam smirked. He was aware of how observant he had become of women, lately.
"Hello, Lynn," Olivia greeted her fellow supervisor, “Everyone, this is Lynn Xuan, the other staff supervisor.”
"Hey," Lynn waved back. "Breaking in the new recruits? Sufficiently putting the fear of God into them?"
"No, just the fear of us," Olivia replied with a grin.
"Oh yes, that's good. Very good," Lynn narrowed her eyes, pointed at the other woman, and nodded. She scanned over all the trainees, "Fear the Valleyview Centre dragon ladies, people. Fear us!"
There was a hesitant chuckle amongst the teens. Despite her mock threats, Lynn had a sweet, playful voice, Adam noted.
"They're so cute when they're terrified," Lynn giggled. It was a surprisingly warm and gentle laugh. Her arms folded, she continued to look at Olivia's group and her eyes stopped on him. He felt a little restless and shuffled a bit on his feet.
"Nice shorts," Lynn said to him, looking down and nodding with her lips pursed. "Looks like you're ready to retire on a beach in Florida."
Adam looked back, his face blank. The practically twin supervisors chuckled.
"You're going to make him feel self-conscious," Olivia scolded Lynn jestingly.
Adam suddenly straightened up. Through a sharp smile and a sharper angling up of his eyebrow he said, "Ça ne fait rien
. It's cool. It's nice to be noticed. Get used to them, 'cause these shorts, they are not going anywhere."
Her small lips still pursed, Lynn frowned slightly but nodded. "Well...good," she replied, "Good for you...ah..."
"Adam," he replied, "Adam Dupuis."
"Good for you Adam Dupuis. Ooh, Francophone. Quebecois?"
"From Hull," he acknowledged.
'...I really like the accent," she said with her warm giggle. "Looks like you've got one to watch out for, Olivia."
"Okay guys, tours are done," Olivia announced with a clap of her hands, "Go get things set up for the day. You have half an hour."
The trainees turned away and dispersed. Adam immediately had his arm wrapped around the shoulders of the pretty blonde trainee. "This is gonna be fun," he said. As he walked away, he could feel the eyes of the two supervisors on his back and his name whispered between them. He didn't mind at all. As the months went by, he did what he could to encourage that reaction.
Three years later, it was a skill he had mastered.
Adam pulled himself up from the pool. After clearing the public out for the indoor pool's brief afternoon closure, he always liked to do a few laps before going on break. He towelled off at poolside, but only his hair. He enjoyed letting the water dry off his skin naturally.
"Can't believe you can swim like that after all that ice cream cake," Trevor, his coworker at the pool, remarked. He sat by the wall along with two other community centre staff, Juan and Marek, who were both a couple of years younger than Adam and Trevor.
"Got some excess energy to burn," Adam replied.
"Not gonna save some of that for your partying tonight, birthday boy?" Juan said and nudged Marek seated beside him.
The buzz-cut redhead Trevor winked. "Yeah, don't want to disappoint Cassie. She's eager to celebrate with you, that's for sure."
"Cassie?" Marek asked anxiously. Leaning over and adjusting his wire-rimmed glasses he said, "I thought it was Magda?"
"Hell, I thought it was Joy," Juan added.
Adam smirked and looked down, shaking his head. "I've no idea what you guys are talking about."
The group was thumbing through one of Adam's men's lifestyle magazines, guffawing at some of the raunchier, racier articles and making lewd remarks about the pictures of the digitally enhanced models.
Adam leaned back against the wall then slid down, joining them seated on the floor. "You guys learn anything yet?"
"Yeah, don't clean your weapon with an electric toothbrush," Trevor remarked bluntly.
The four young men snickered. "Yeah, that's good advice for only 9.99," Adam sighed.
"'In Praise of the Older Woman'," Juan read the title of a magazine article, frowning, "You know, I'm not really into this whole mature women deal."
Adam reached across and pulled the magazine out of his co-worker's hands. "They aren't talking about making out with your grandmother, Juan," he joked with a slight sneer on his upper lip.
Trevor hung his head between his knees. "Man, don't even joke about shit like that!"
"It's all relative to age, isn't it?" Adam stated. "I mean guys like us wouldn't want to screw your grandmother but maybe someone around 50 years old would."
"My grandmother's 75," Marek mumbled.
"Maybe someone who's 60 will do your grandma, then."
"So what's your 'expiry date' when it comes to a woman?" Juan asked.
"What's that joke about women and Christmas trees?" Trevor interjected, "Nobody wants'em around after the 25th?"
As his coworkers laughed, Adam waved his hand dismissively. "How about this: A woman who would still look hot in a school girl kilt but would never think of wearing one at her age?"
His cohort all tilted their heads and looked upward quietly as they thought about it.
"Someone who let's you know that you're not with some air-headed cheerleader but with a woman," Adam continued, accentuating his words with his fingers grasping inwardly, "All the parts are there. The body's still as sexy as ever. Not old enough to be your mother but just definitely more mature, experienced."
Marek spoke up, "Ah...anyone at the centre like that?"
"Lynn," Juan immediately replied.
"Lynn. Fuckin'-A," Trevor concurred, "I would so hit that!"
Marek nodded. "Uh, yeah. Glad I'm not the only one."
"Make that sweet-ass China doll bitch scream! That's what I'm talking about! Mm-hmm!" Trevor growled with his fists clenched as he continued on his one man race to be the most obnoxious of the crew.
Adjusting his glasses and, after eyeing the manic-eyed Trevor warily, Marek turned to Adam and asked, "What about you?"
Adam remained silent, staring out straight ahead, a pensive gaze on his face.
"Juan and Marek!" A stern female voice echoed throughout the complex. Lynn stood across the pool from the young men, her hands on her hips. "You're not on break!"
The younger two staff members scrambled to their feet and quickly made their way towards her.
"No running around the pool, guys," Adam remarked, still seated. Trevor chuckled.
From the other side of the pool Adam could see Lynn glare at him.
"You were supposed to clean up the equipment in the gym!" Lynn berated Juan and Marek.
"Sorry! We thought the class was still going on!" Marek piped in, his voice pitching higher.
"It ended ten minutes ago," the supervisor quipped, "That means all the stuff in the gym should have been put away nine minutes ago."
"Go!" Lynn snapped, "Now before I get my baseball bat!"
Without another word, Juan and Marek tucked tail and shuffled quickly from the pool area. Lynn stood at the pool and lowered her forehead to her palm. Her sigh drifted across to the other side.
Leaning over to Adam, Trevor whispered from the side of his mouth, "She really is fucking hot. Crap, now I can't get that thought out of my head. Wish I could fuckin' do her in the showers right now, man."
"Ça ne se fera pas
," Adam remarked with a low, detached voice.
"What?" Trevor asked.
"Nothing," Adam said, patting him on the shoulder, "Aim high, guy."
As his coworker snickered to himself, Adam stood up, keeping his eyes on the slender supervisor standing at the other end of the pool. He saw her look up towards him and for a moment he stood still, letting her get an eyeful of his lean body. She continued to watch him as he pulled on his T-shirt. Adam nodded then walked out the side exit of the building, knowing her eyes were still on him as he left.
"She's not even that old," Adam mumbled to himself as he crouched down against the outside brick wall of the complex, tanning himself under the bright sun. He cast his blue eyes across the parking lot, long lost in thought as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it in his lips. Opening up the magazine again, he thought of Lynn, saw her smooth, heart-shaped face and sweet-yet-sexy smile in his mind, and grinned.
He didn't even notice when a pair of smooth legs came up and beside him.
He turned his head and raised it slowly, starting at the person's feet and moving up her legs and body until they settled on her face. Lynn looked down at him, arms crossed, eyeing him suspiciously.
"Salut. Beaut of a day, eh?" he greeted her. He shaded his eyes with his hand.
Lynn looked up, squinting from the glare of the sun shining through a shimmering haze. She turned back to the young man and said, "Uh-huh. Are you supposed to be out here?"
Adam smiled and held up the "peace" sign with two fingers. "I'm on lunch," he said.
She nodded. "Okay," she grumbled, "Sorry to bother you."
Adam winked and waved off her apology. "Just doing your job, boss."
"Could you at least put on your T-shirt?" she added, looking away toward nothing in particular.
He chuckled and then put on the staff shirt.
For whatever reason, his flirtatious response and easy-going smile actually seemed to relax Lynn a bit. She definitely had been having a tense morning. She sighed, and could almost see a black cloud of air slip through her lips. She dropped her hands to her hips and chided, "That looks like a really nutritious meal. Poutine just doesn't cut it?"
Adam looked at his cigarette then back up at the supervisor. "Helps keep the calories off," he replied, "Gotta watch my figure."
Lynn leaned forward. "You, mon ami, don't have to watch your figure," she said, "Myself on the other hand..."
"Don't have to watch your figure, either," Adam slipped in. He always had a ticklish rasp to his boyish voice, possibly a combination of the smoking and his accent.
The woman threw him a sceptical grin. "Oh, 'don' I?" she chuckled.
"Leave the watching to someone who can appreciate it," he added.
Lynn paused, her fine brows frowning slightly, only the dark circles of her pupils seeping through the edges of her narrowed eyes. A cautious thought germinated in her mind.
Adam could sense the hesitancy in the woman. "You want one?" he asked offering a cigarette.
Lynn blinked and, after a noticeable pause, shook her head. "No thanks."
"Ah, that's right." He nodded. "Health freak."
"No. No not really. I mean I try," she said, leaning back against the brick wall, "I used to smoke...a pack a week."
"Used to do a lot of things which weren't so good for me," Lynn continued as she looked ahead. There was a slight grin on her face as she sifted through her memories. She sighed, rolling her eyes, and giggled quietly then looked down at Adam. "It was when I was still very young and very stupid."
Adam grinned and nodded appreciatively. He already knew that Lynn had a bit of a mischievous side. He experienced it first hand. A couple of years ago, she nearly side-swiped him and cut him off at twenty kilometers over the neighbourhood speed limit during his driving lesson. She even turned her head to wave back at him. She was always teasing him about his clothes and hair as well.
"Now I'm just old and stupid," she said, looking away again.
The young man shrugged. "Older, not old," he corrected.
"Thank you, Adam," Lynn replied politely. There was a pause then she added, "Uh...excuse me. What about being stupid?"
He shrugged again and chuckled. "Not gonna argue."
Despite herself, Lynn laughed and poked Adam playfully on the side of his head. He barely flinched.
"Hey, you know, nothing wrong with being stupid," Adam remarked, "Stupid can be fun. Stupid can be exciting. Stupid can be naughty and sexy."
"'Naughty and sexy'? Oh, give me a break!" Lynn scoffed. She slid down the wall and sat beside him. Snatching the magazine from his hands, she asked, "Did you learn that stuff from this?"
"Yup," Adam said, exaggerating a nod, "That and how to keep my hair well-groomed."
Lynn frowned at him, her mouth at a crooked angle. "Pfft. You've been suckered, buddy."
"Eh. C'est possible," Adam offered, unfazed, and took another drag of his cigarette as the woman flipped through the pages of the magazine.
"Do you really need this to teach you how to get a girl's attention?"
"I've graduated from pulling on pony-tails," he shrugged, "Need new material."
"I think you're doing pretty well on your own talents," Lynn said, half-sarcastically as she continued to examine the magazine. Then her face suddenly froze, her eyes widening slightly and her small lips ajar in a crooked grin. "Oh wow," she breathed, "'A Position-A-Month'?"
"Good article," Adam said, giving her the thumbs up.
Lynn tilted her head as she looked at the article, her expression shifting from shocked to quizzical. She caught herself thinking just how effective some of the 'techniques' actually were.
"Don't tell me they don't talk about stuff like that in those chick mags," Adam scoffed.
"Yes. Yes, you're so right," she replied. She continued to read the article intently then added, "It's just that the pictures aren't as...uh...graphic as these. Also, they're not written as if it sounds like you could be servicing your car. I mean, come on...'Welding her chassis?'. Yuck!"
"Guess it's geared towards hip young studs." Adam grinned. "Like me."
"I'm also quite amazed with how many ways you can refer to male and female genitalia," Lynn remarked as she continued to flip through the magazine. After a pause, she raised her brow and asked Adam with a saucy tone, "So, do you have a name for...yours?"
Somehow, the way she asked the question, playful yet provocative, left the young man speechless for once.
Lynn bit her lower lip. A second removed from speaking, she suddenly realized the question was more than a bit inappropriate. She stared blankly at the open magazine, unable to look at the young man, unsure of how to move past the moment of awkward silence.
He recovered quickly, however, and flashed her a very wry grin as he bounced his eyebrows up and down. "I just refer to it as Fred."
Adam's boyishly coy response was enough to break the tension. Lynn rolled her eyes and laughed. "Here, 'stud'," she said and slapped the magazine dismissively against the young man's chest, "Obviously that magazine isn't geared towards people like me. I couldn't even begin to relate to the sexpot bombshell on the cover."
"You have more style and class," Adam said.
"Good answer!" Lynn replied, smiling. "Style and class don't sell too many men's magazines."
Adam shrugged. "I'd buy it if you were on the cover."
"Why thank-you, Adam...a kind of creepy thought, but I'll take it."
He grinned and bounced his eyebrows up and down adding, "I'd immediately flip to your pictorial to see if they got you into a leather thong and bra!"
Lynn rolled her eyes. "There you go again..."
"Then I'd read what your likes or dislikes are in the bedroom," Adam continued.
"Stop...right there!" Lynn insisted, lowering her head and holding a finger up in front of his face.
"Just kidding, Lynn."
"You'd better be."
She breathed a noticeably loud sigh.
"Not having a good day?" Adam asked.
"No. Not 'aving' a good day," she said mimicking his accent, "Not having a good month! Not having a good year!"
"Partly because of work," Lynn said, "I feel like I've been managing puppies in a pet shop...but nowhere as cute and cuddly."
Adam angled a smile and spoke through the corner of his lips, "Some of us are cute and cuddly, no?"
Lynn rolled her eyes. She looked away and said, "Sometimes cute, maybe. Definitely not cuddly."
"I can live with that," he replied. After a moment, he added, "You okay? Want to talk about it?"
Lynn heard his voice and frowned. He sounded remarkably sincere. She was sure that if she turned and looked at Adam he would have been sporting some sort of goofy expression on his face, so she didn't bother. "It's okay," she answered, "I'm good."
"Seriously, my advice can be just insightful as Oprah's," Adam said, "And I'm not some fat megalomaniac bitch."
"You know, you're much easier to talk to when you're not being an obnoxious punk," Lynn sighed.
Adam suddenly looked remorseful.
"The thing is, Adam, you sometimes just push things too far. You're obviously smart and you're funny and charming as it is," Lynn scolded as she stared out into the parking lot, "If you weren't always playing such an ass you'd be really...."
She caught herself as she looked at him. He was looking back at her with a disarmingly solemn expression.
Adam blinked and frowned as he looked away. "Sorry. C'est vrai
. You're right."
Lynn watched him for a moment and nodded her chin slightly. She may have been unexpectedly harsh with her words. Also, she didn't quite know what she was about to say if she hadn't stopped herself. She let it go.
Adam reached into his shorts pocket. "Sure you don't want a cigarette? How about a maple candy?"
Lynn looked at his hand as he held out a couple of small, leaf shaped, beige candies to her.
"I shouldn't." She winced.
"Oh, yeah, you should."
"Fine," she sighed taking a piece, "You're always carrying around these things. Don't suppose you have anything stiffer in your pockets?"
Adam's brows angled sharply. "Not at the moment, but that can quickly change," he sputtered into a laugh.
"Oh for God's...totally inappropriate!" Lynn rolled her eyes and groaned, exasperated. "I meant a bottle of rum or something!"
"That would be a little harder to come by," he replied, composing himself.
Lynn shook her head, but looked away to hide her own grin.
The two sat there for a minute, soaking in the sun, re-energizing for the afternoon. It always struck Lynn how odd it was that she always seemed at ease when she was alone with Adam. During work, he was a constant source of frustration, often the epitome of it for her. He was the mischievous gnat who had to be swatted away from buzzing around the other staff. His cockiness as he hovered around others, especially the females, was an annoying act to witness as a supervisor. Yet, talking like this --hanging around together like this-- that act seemed to give way to a natural, cool confidence -- a little edgy, a little charming...undeniably attractive.
And as long as no one else was around to see, what was the harm in hanging around an attractive young man?
Adam flicked away his cigarette and pulled out his cell-phone.
"Planning out your evening, birthday boy?" Lynn asked, eyeing his phone.
"Not going to do anything special tonight?" Lynn mused, pouting her lips in mock sympathy. "It's your 20th. Not going to whoop it up with friends or one from your harem?"
Adam muttered something under breath and grinned.
"What?" Lynn frowned.
His brow arched high as his grin sharpened. He turned and gave her a very deliberate and lingering look with his cool green eyes. "Nothing," he said, shaking his head very slowly.
Adam's look caught Lynn off guard. There was transparency in the look, but she didn't want to see through it. Even as she felt her own eyes linked to his, she leaned away slightly as the young man's gaze push-pulled at her. She remained unblinking for a moment as Adam returned to tapping away on his cell phone.
Trying to think of something to say, she finally remarked aimlessly, "I can't believe you're 20."
"And you're 30," Adam said, still thumbing buttons, "So what?"
Lynn finally blinked. "How did you know I was 30?"
Adam shrugged and side-stepped the question. "Wasn't your birthday at the beginning of the summer?" he asked. "I don't remember you making a big deal about that. No ice cream cake in the staff lounge for you."
The woman looked down and away. "No," she said quietly, her thoughts trailing, "I didn't want to make a big deal about it."
"Don't worry," Adam sighed nonchalantly, "You absolutely don't look 30."
Lynn chuckled at the off-the-cuff compliment. "Oh yeah? What does a 30 year old look like?"
He tilted his head to look at her. "Not like you," he replied.
Lynn matched his gaze in silence, not quite able to smile and laugh off his remark. She looked away. Damn this kid. So far during their short conversation, the young man had been pulling her up and down emotionally like a yo-yo, allowing her to relax before snapping her back to a wilting anxiety with seemingly calculated remarks and glances. It always seemed to go that way whenever they talked. She realized that they had talked often during the three years that she knew Adam. For a person she claimed she could never be able to relate to, she had actually spent an awful lot of time chatting with him as compared to everyone else at the centre. A lot of their talks could have actually been considered a breech of professional conduct if she were to be honest. She couldn't help herself.
He could see the air seep out of her as she lost herself in thought. After a moment, he scrolled through the menu of his phone and then clicked on something. A tinny audio track started to play through the tiny speaker.
Lynn frowned. Sensing something familiar about the sound she leaned over and asked, "What is that?"
The two of them looked at the little screen of the cell-phone while a video-clip played. There was a lot of muffled laughter, unintelligible talking, and other audio garbage, and the video jostled about wildly with frenetic action. Lynn had to listen carefully and squint. She leaned up against Adam's shoulder to gain the best viewing vantage on the glossy screen.
After a moment, her mouth stretched into a wide-open, delighted smile. "Oh my God! Is that from last year's Staff Challenge day?" she asked.
"My hair was longer then. Didn't like it," Lynn said, pulling one side of her currently shoulder-length dark strands around her ear. "This was the final event, wasn't it?"
Adam nodded again. "Yeah, it's the tug-of-war. That's when we kicked the supervisors' asses," he joked.
"Hey! Not nice." Lynn scowled playfully. "Half our team was made up of women. You guys loaded up your side."
There was some shouting and more laughter coming from the video-clip as one-by-one, the supervisors were dragged into a pool of water and mud. Two hoses sprayed them down mercilessly. Lynn winced at the memory but couldn't help but laugh. She pointed at the screen and said, "We actually held our own for a pretty long time. See? There, I'm the last one, still pulling, hanging on for dear life!"
Adam grinned crookedly then said, "But then..."
Suddenly, Adam appeared on the screen and came up behind Lynn. He grabbed her around the waist and hoisted her up. The supervisor screeched and everyone else laughed as he carried her into the spray of the hose. She continued to yell and struggle in Adam's clutches as she was doused relentlessly with water.
"That was you?" Lynn's smile softened as she watched the video.
"You couldn't tell?" Adam cocked his head. "Wait. You didn't know that it was me?"
She shook her head. "My eyes were closed because of the water spraying in my face and I was laughing so hard, I couldn't hear or see who had picked me up like that."
Adam sort of expected Lynn to blow up on him as she realized only now who had done that to her. Yet, instead, she continued to watch intently as the video showed him dumping her unceremoniously into the mud-pool with everyone around them breaking into hysterics.
Lynn cocked her head slightly as she watched. The water had been so cold. The memory of someone holding her from behind in a solid clutch was still a fresh one. It had been Adam. A year later, the young man was even bigger than he was in the video, stronger.
Adam's own broad grin eased slightly as he looked at Lynn, a shifting, subtle frown on her face as she watched the video. He couldn't tell what she was thinking. His own memory of the event came to mind. She had been lighter than he expected, so easy to lift, but he noticed her slender and soft-skinned form beneath her shirt, the smell of her hair, the hysterical yet easy laughter of her voice. He had actually held her as long as he could before it seemed too obvious to the others watching that he was enjoying holding her a little too much.
"Sorry 'bout that," he said with a genuine contrite tone that seemed to surprise them both.
Lynn simply shook her head and offered him a tight, closed lip smile. "No, it's okay," she said, as she took the phone from him, "It was all in fun. It's actually kind of hilarious."
Adam's cocky grin returned. "Yeah, you know Lynn, you look pretty good covered in mud," he joked, "Have you ever thought of doing some bikini mud wrestling?"
"No, I 'aven't'!" She clicked her tongue dismissively and eyed him. "Sick perverted puppy. Still such a boy," she said. She looked at the phone again and added, "I can't believe you saved this."
"It's always good to have something on your boss. Don't know when you'll need to cash in with a little blackmail, eh?" Adam said, nudging her shoulder.
"Yeah well, forget that, little boy," Lynn remarked as she began to thumb the phone's buttons, "How do you delete stuff on this?"
"Hey! No way! Give that back!" Adam quickly reached for his phone. The woman tried to keep it away from him but he snatched it from her hands.
"Adam!" Lynn laughed. "You have to delete that! It's humiliating!"
"No kidding!" the young man goaded with a goofball, wild-eyed glance. "Why the hell do you think I want to keep it?"
"Come on!" Lynn pleaded, a pained smile on her face, "I'm serious! Give it up!"
Adam leaned to his side and held his phone away with his arm outstretched as Lynn tried to grab it. She reached across him grasping for the phone. She pushed and poked him and they both laughed as Adam continued with his game of keep away.
"Adam!" Lynn chuckled, her eyes creasing to fine, upward curved lines as she smiled. "I'm not kidding!"
"How much do you want it? How much do you want it, huh?" he teased, making goldfish kissing motions with his lips.
"You're such a brat!" she scolded through her laughter.
She leaned harder against him and he slipped to his side onto the ground with her falling against him.
They both lay there for a moment laughing, Lynn still pawing for the phone. Finally, she gasped and inhaled deeply, catching her breath and composing herself. She opened her eyes, focused, and immediately looked into the crystalline green eyes of Adam, just a few inches away. The grin on his lips, the narrowing of his eyes and angle of his brow reminded her of the look he gave her during the birthday party. She could smell the chlorine from the pool on his skin, could feel the ruggedness of a young, lean body beneath his clothes.
Both of them forced out a couple more stilted chuckles. They continued to gaze at each other, Adam gripping her arms tightly. He saw her lips draw apart. Without thinking, they began to angle their mouths towards each other.
Lynn gasped again and quickly pulled herself off of him. She shifted slightly in her seat putting obvious distance between her and Adam.
He sat up, still keeping his eyes on her even though she was turned slightly away from him. He could see her breathing deeply as she adjusted her shirt and fixed her hair.
"Adam," Lynn said softly, her face still turned away, "Can you delete that? Please?"
He grinned. "No way."
"I want you to delete it."
"Adam!" she snapped. She stood up and over him. As she looked down, there was nothing but a serious mask on her face. She demanded, "I'm telling you to delete that -- NOW!"
His grin softened as he looked up towards her for a long moment. With a curt nod, he sucked in his lips, and keyed something into his phone. Then he held it up to her, proving that the file had been erased.
Lynn breathed out deeply. "Your break is over in 15 minutes," she said flatly, "Make sure you gargle or brush your teeth. Your breath smells of smoke. And stop distracting the other staff."
She turned on her heels and strode away. Adam watched her go from his seated position. "Sorry for being a distraction, Lynn," he called out..
Lynn didn't stop walking. When she disappeared around a corner, Adam returned to staring across the parking lot, his thoughts trailing after his supervisor. To be continued… From the author: The next chapter will be submitted in a day or two. Yes, it does get a bit steamier after this slow burn. Patience, my LS friends. Thank you very much for reading and please leave a comment if you feel so compelled!
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com
with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/the-summer-boy.aspx">The Summer Boy</a>