Be sure to read the first part of this story, Swimming Without Floaties. Link is down below.
Three days had passed since she took out all her anger at Tyler. And he didn't even do anything to deserve it. In fact, he sent her one of the sweetest things she had read in a long time. She didn't have the heart to text him back. She wanted to, but her heart ached every time she tried. She wanted to apologize to him and get to know more about him. But her attitude ruined it. She tried to swim her troubles away to get her mind off it. After swimming the length of the pool about 15 times, her arms felt like lead and her mind still brought her back to that night. She hadn't been able to stop tearing up when she thought about how she acted. But she kept swimming through it.
After three hours at the pool, she dried off and changed into her regular clothing. She left the gym and realized it had gotten dark out, the walkway illuminated with the amber lampposts. She saw the coffee shop in the distance. She walked towards it in hopes that he would be there. But all the lights were out inside. It was closed.
"No..." she quietly said to herself. She pulled her phone from her pocket and looked at it. 11:13. She unlocked it and looked at the number that he texted from. She swallowed a lump in her throat as the tears welled up again. She took a deep breath and dialed the number, bringing the phone to her ear. It rang multiple times before a male voice came on.
"Hey, you've reached Tyler, leave your name and number, and I'll get back to you."
A beep sounded through the earpiece and she began to speak, her voice shaking.
"Tyler... it's Mandy. Look, I'm sorry. I had no reason to treat you as I did. I just... I had been so frustrated at men betraying me so many times that I forgot there were sweet guys like you out there somewhere. I know that's not a real excuse, and I'm really sorry." She sniffled as tears fell down her face. "I want to talk to you again. I want to give you an actual chance, not treat you like I would've treated an ex. Just... please, give me a call back when you get this."
She hung up the phone and sighed, tears streaming down her cheek. She couldn't believe she was acting like this. She didn't even know the person, and she was sitting next to a coffee shop crying. She couldn't get her mind off of him. She was trying to think of what was making her act this way. She thought it was just because she'd had a lack of companionship with anyone for a long time, or that it was because she really did feel that bad for how she acted. Then she thought maybe it was because she was actually attracted to this person. His blue eyes, his short brown hair. His body wasn't skinny, or buff, but he wasn't that big either. His shirt still hung from his chest down. She looked down at her phone, hoping that a text or call would come in. But eventually she stood up, wiped the tears from her face, and slowly walked back to her room, ready to try and get some sleep.
The next day, she kept checking her phone every 15 minutes, but it was still clear. No texts or calls. This went on through all of her classes She tried calling him again after her last class but got his voicemail. She hung up and threw herself back into the bed, trying to get some sleep. She couldn't handle crying again. Her eyes closed as she fell asleep. She was walking down a dark, doorless hallway, unable to see where she was going or what was going on. A light shone from a far distance, a white light. She walked towards it and suddenly water flooded in from behind her. Her instinct kicking in, as the water lifted her, she swam hard towards the light, the wave pushing her faster, the light getting brighter and brighter. As she reached the light, a door opened, and she was flung into a white room that was so brightly illuminated it blinded her for a second. As her eyes adjusted, she saw the water being held back in the doorjam by some invisible force. She looked around the room. It was a tall room, and in the middle was a bed. It wasn't empty though. She walked slowly towards it, and as she approached the side, she saw Tyler, lying there. He looked so peaceful. She sat at the edge of the bed and reached out, touching his cheek. It felt warm. Then things changed. Underneath her, the bed turned cold and elevated itself. She blinked and it was a gurney, with the metal sides up around him. Then blurry figures appeared around her. People dressed in light blue clothing. The figures became clearer every passing second, then she heard voices speak. "What do we got?" She wasn't able to identify any of the voices. "Male, mid-20s, friend found him unconscious in his bed." A breathing apparatus appeared, covering his nose and mouth. "Get him hooked up." Wires appeared from nowhere and attached themselves to his skin, his shirt dissipating from his body. "Pulse?" "35 BPM" She looked around quickly. "No... this can't be." She blinked again and found that doctors had surrounded his body, and hospital curtains surrounded him. Her body was able to phase through the curtains. She looked outside and found a male staring intently at the curtains, his body shaking. A man in a long white coat approached him. "Sir, how did you find him?" The young male spoke. "I don't know, man, I just found him lying there." His voice was shaky as an earthquake. "I was going to ask if he wanted to get something to eat, but he didn't wake up..." The doctor wrote down notes. "Was he taking any medication?" He shook his head. "No... but a bunch of my hydrocodone was missing..." A loud tone echoed from behind the curtain. She went back to his body. The doctors were working furiously. "Get me a defib!" A cart appeared from the other side of the curtain and he took two paddles into his hands. "Give me 150." A high pitched whirring noise emanated from the machine. "Clear!" He pressed the paddles to his body, and his back arched, but went back down, the tone still echoing. "Again. Clear!" Same result. She went towards the body, and found a note stuck to his chest, something that hadn't been there before. In shaky handwriting, it read: "Not every guy is out for sex. But when you're treated like you're one of them, it makes you think that it is true, and you feel like you're one of them. And I won't be like that." As she read this, the doctors worked around her. Finally. he heard one say, "That's it. I'm calling it. Time of death, 2256."
She sat up in her bed again, her body covered in sweat and breathing heavily. She sat in a curled position, her knees holding her head up. She had no more tears to shed. For five days she had beat herself up and she felt so stupid. She wanted it to just stop. To stop feeling like this, and to stop caring so much.
It was night again. Why am I always going out at night, she thought to herself. She went outside and saw someone else walking towards her. She looked hard to make out who it was.
"Mandy?" A voice sounded from that direction.
She walked towards him, not giving any sort of reply. They looked at each other as they approached. She stopped. "I've been trying to get a hold of you."
"Well, why didn't you answer?"
He looked at her with a look that said 'Are you serious?'
She sighed and hung her head. "Did you at least listen to the voicemail?"
"Yes," his hand extending to her chin and meeting her eyes with his. "But I want to hear it in person."
She looked up at him and saw his shining eyes pierce the darkness. Her character turned to mush and she started stuttering. "I...I'm s-sorry."
"For?" he asked.
She sighed. "For treating you like you were a bad person even though you had done nothing wrong." Tears formed as she sniffled her way through the sentence.
"And I really would like to get to know you better too. It's just been too long since I've let a guy know me."
She looked up at him. "And what?"
His face broke into a smile. "Nothing. I'm just seeing what else you admit to."
She shook her head. "You're a real smart ass."
He held his arms open for her and she walked into him, his hands wrapping around her, her hands resting on his chest as they embraced each other. She sighed, finally happy to be rid of the burden of guilt she put upon herself. She felt his heart beat through his chest as she wrapped her arms around him too.
"So does this mean you've changed your mind about that date?"
"Yes," she said hurriedly.
He laughed softly. "Where and when?"
She pulled away from his chest and pointed at the coffee shop. "There. Now."
He smiled brightly as they walked towards the small shop. Part 3 to come soon.
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/swimming-without-floaties-part-ii.aspx">Swimming Without Floaties Part II</a>