I wasn't real y sure I wanted to take off my sundress in front of al these people. My hand me down red bikini wasn't nearly as skimpy as the ones the other girls were wearing, and I didn't fil one out like they did either. I thought of my long skinny legs in comparison to the curvy large-chested girls lying out and wanted to keep my clothes on. However, I also wanted to make friends and not let Marcus down, so I needed to lay out or swim. Since swimming kept me covered most of the time, I decided it would be the best option. "Swimming sounds good." He grinned and pulled his tee shirt off to reveal a very tanned and muscular chest. I swallowed hard and wished I didn't have to do this but I knew I would have to sooner or later. So I slipped the sundress off and laid it beside Marcus shirt. I didn't want to make eye contact with anyone and wished I could just go jump in the water without having to actual y walk calmly over to it and get in.
A low whistle from behind startled me and I heard an "ouch." I turned to see Marcus glaring at Dwayne and Preston.
"Sorry, Sadie, these two have no manners." He took my hand again. He always held my hand casual y. It'd never bothered me before, but being half naked made it uncomfortable.
"Come on. Let's go swim." He grinned at me and didn't even pay attention to my body. It relieved and embarrassed me at the same time. I didn't want Marcus to like me as anything more than a friend, but I also didn't want to be so boyish in my bathing suit he didn't notice me at all. I decided to stop thinking about everything so hard, and I followed him into the water via the stairs. We joined in on a game of basketball with a floating goal in the middle of the pool. I stunk at it, but no one other than Marcus and a guy name Rick seemed to be any good, so I didn't worry too much.
After racing Marcus the length of the pool and winning one out of three times, we got out to get something to eat. I walked over to my sundress about the time Marcus came up behind me and wrapped a towel around me. "Thank you." He smiled. Our friendship was working out nicely, and it made me smile a little brighter. Maybe my personality wasn't as bad as Jessica said.
Marcus leaned down and whispered into my ear, "Burger, ribs, or both?"
I thought of the mess ribs make and all the people in the small backyard. "Burger," I whispered back. He nodded and made his way to the grill. He got me a burger and a slab of ribs for himself.
We walked over to a table set up with stuff to put on the burger, and I added a little ketchup and cheese. Marcus grabbed us both a drink, and we headed over to an unoccupied shaded area. We sat down and ate in silence for a few minutes. I watched him go through at least fifteen napkins and laughed when he reached for more and all the clean ones were gone. "You think my mess is funny, huh?" I shrugged and let out another laugh I couldn't hold back. I reached under my plate and handed him my napkin.
"Thanks." He took the napkin and cleaned himself up. "Are you having fun?" he asked after he cleaned the barbecue off his face.
"Yes, I am. I feel like the youngest one here, but I am having fun." Marcus nodded. "You are the youngest one here. I forget my old crowd has all aged just like me." "No, I have real y enjoyed myself." Preston, whose attention seemed to be focused our way, shook his head.
"I'm afraid my friend over there likes you. You're going to have to just ignore him." I frowned.
"He likes me! With all these older, more attractive women around?" Marcus cut his eyes back at me and studied my face a minute, and he smiled. "You real y believe that, don't you?"
"You believe the other girls here are better than you." I laughed and shrugged. "I'm not blind, Marcus." Marcus raised his eyebrows. "Either you are blind, or you don't have a mirror at home. Keep doing stuff as sweet as blushing, and you're going to have Preston singing love ballads outside your window."
I laughed and shook my head. "I seriously hope not."
Marcus looked at Preston. "He really likes legs, and you happen to be attached to the best pair I've seen in a real y long time. But I think you hooked him when you batted your baby blue eyes at him and smiled." I frowned. "I don't recall batting my eyes at anyone, and my legs are just long and skinny." Marcus smiled.
"I hope you always stay this way. Sweet and innocent. But I want to be the one to enlighten you. Your legs are sexy as hell, and your eyelashes are so thick and long that when you blink it looks like you're batting them, and it is very attractive." I wasn't sure I believed him but I smiled anyway.
"You're a nice guy. Thanks for trying to make me feel better." "Is that what I'm doing?" he asked with a teasing grin. I smiled. "I think so."
He laughed and shook his head. "Sure, whatever you say, Sadie."
On Wednesday night, Marcus came to find me in the garden. “Hey, Sadie, the Stone family is dining at a friend’s house tonight, so I'm heading out early. How much longer until you get off?”
I glanced over at Mr. Greg who seemed to be really suffering from his arthritis today and I knew I couldn’t leave early. It wouldn’t hurt me to ride my bike home this evening. “You go on ahead. I have some work left here. Besides, I want to stop off at the grocery and pick up a few things on my way home.”
Marcus frowned at me as if he were trying to decide something. Finally, he said, “I really don’t like the idea of you riding home after dark, and then trying to ride a bike with bags of groceries.”