Excerpt: Pedicures Don't Like Dirt

Excerpt: Pedicures Don't Like Dirt

Book 3: Mapleville High

Swimming at midnight with Tad wasn’t what I’d planned when I’d agreed to go on the camping trip with his family, but I’m not going to lie, sliding into that pitch black water with only a full moon to show me the way was amazing. When he stuck his head in my tent to invite me, my first thought was that a midnight swim with bedhead and no makeup wasn’t exactly top on my list of things I’d been dreaming of lately. But, it was Tad, and he’d already knew exactly how bad I could look, right? Plus, my bee stings were killing me, and he was pretty convincing that the lake would feel good on them.

So I went.

And he was right.

It was pretty cool. 

We said nothing as we swam out into the water, going farther than I thought we would. We were pretty far from shore, but Tad was such a camping geek that I felt safe with him. Safe with Tad! How funny was that?  

He finally stopped when we were about thirty yards from shore. He turned toward me, treading water easily. “Can you float on your back?”

“Of course I can.” Did I really look that pathetic? Just because I was hopelessly inept at farming (gah! Farming!) didn’t mean I was incapable of any physical activity whatsoever. Okay, I was moderately incapable, but not completely, and that was a significant difference. “Why?” 

He pointed upward. “Do it, and look at the sky.”

I glanced up and realized the black sky was dotted with more stars than I’d ever seen in my entire life. I immediately rolled onto my back and puffed up my chest so I didn’t sink. The dark night stretched endlessly above my head, a blackness illuminated with glittering diamonds as far as I could see. Millions and millions of dots of light. It was incredible, daunting, and the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life. I felt tiny, but at the same time, I felt drawn into the magnificence of the sky, as if it were a part of me, and I was a part of it. “It’s incredible,” I whispered. 

“I know. I could stay out for hours,” Tad said, floating so close that his shoulder brushed into mine. “Did you see that?” Tad asked.

“See what?” I was too busy thinking about the tingling in my arm from touching Tad to be paying attention to anything else. 

He pointed off to the right, his hand coming across my field of vision. The rope bracelet on his wrist brushed against my nose, but he didn’t seem to notice. Weirdly, I did, and it didn’t bother me. “The shooting star,” he said. “Off toward shore.”

“A shooting star? Really? I didn’t see it! Where is it?” I turned so I could study the sky over the land. 

“It’s gone now, but there will be more. Keep watching.”

I nodded, anticipation rolling through me. “What am I looking for?”

“A streak of light.” Tad bumped against my leg. “Sorry.”

“No problem.” Really. It was no problem. Sometime between having him tackling me into the water to save me from the killer bees earlier in the day, and his incredible patience in helping me hold ice on various parts of my swollen and stinging body, it had become okay to have him touch me. More than okay. I liked it. Idly, I wondered what it would be like if he held my hand, just to hold it, and not to enact some heroic rescue—

I saw a streak of light and shrieked. “Was that one?”

“Yeah. Cool, huh?”

“Incredible.” The most mind-blowing thing I’d ever seen. It was like the universe was lighting up just for us. 

We stayed floating forever, and I saw eight shooting stars. It was, quite possibly, the coolest thing I’d ever experienced in my life. Maybe nature wasn’t so bad after all? Or maybe it was just Tad that wasn’t so bad. Hmmm…

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