Dana’s Bathing Suit – Chapter 5 – by lostandwhatever
Continued from Chapter 4.
A week later, Tommy was back on the beach with Billy and his family. It was another sunny Saturday, just like the last one, which only made it more painful for Tommy. Since he had last seen Dana, he had missed her terribly, and being back at the beach only made him miss her more. All that week, he would daydream in class, remembering her lips pressed against his own. He would wonder where she was, who she was with, if she was happy, if she ever thought of him. He mentioned her to Billy once, but Billy just made fun of him. Tommy kept quiet about her after that.
“Come on, Tommy,” Billy said to him as he sat alone on his towel, feeling heartbroken and lost in thought. “Let’s go build another sandcastle.”
Tommy shook his head. He knew he would just miss her more if they did that. “You go on without me. I just want to sit here for a little while.”
“You still moping about that girl?”
“No,” he lied.
“What girl?” asked Billy’s mom.
“Tommy met a girl last week,” said Billy.
“She’s his girlfriend,” added Cindy, teasing him.
“A girlfriend,” said Billy’s mom. “Really?”
“She’s not my girlfriend. She’s just a friend. She’s… special.”
“I see,” she said and gave him a knowing look.
He hated her look and the smiles on Billy and Cindy’s faces. None of them understood. Dana WAS special, and now she was gone for good.
“I’m going for a walk,” he said and stood up. “I’ll be back later.”
“Tommy,” said Billy, but Tommy just walked off.
“I told you he loves her,” said Cindy, as Tommy walked out of hearing range from them all.
He walked along the shore, remembering holding her hand and walking here together. He thought about how soft her fingers felt in his hand. His mind wandered. He even remembered the times she was younger than him. How cute and sweet she had been. How much she had needed him to protect her. He wondered if anyone was protecting her now. He closed his eyes and pictured her face.
Suddenly, he walked into someone bigger than him. “Sorry,” he said, opening his eyes and squinting in the sun. “I guess I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
“Well, I was watching you,” said a familiar voice.
He looked up at her as his eyes got used to the light again. She was 14 years old and looked incredibly beautiful in her bikini. Her breasts had finally sprouted, and her curves had started to fill out.
“Dana!” he said, smiling. “Is it really you?”
“It’s me,” said Dana.
“But, what are you doing here? Won’t you change again?”
She nodded. “After Kevin took me home last week, I changed again when I saw my little brother. He’s four. After we took off my bathing suit, I eventually changed back to normal, one hour after I changed last.”
“I guess that’s the time limit,” said Tommy. “And, it didn’t happen when you weren’t wearing a bathing suit?”
“That’s right,” she said. “I even tried wearing different bathing suits, just to test if it was that bikini that was doing it. Turns out that anytime I wear any bathing suit, I become the same age as the first kid I see, and I stay that age for one hour. Then, I might change again or turn back to normal, depending on if there are any kids around for me to look at.”
“But,” he said. “What are you doing here in a bathing suit if you might transform again? I mean, you’re already, what, like, fourteen?”
“Yeah, fourteen sounds about right,” she said. “There was a girl that age in the changing room. I made sure to look at her first after I put on my suit. I have to be careful like that. You remember last time when I looked at Billy’s baby brother?”
“Yeah, how could I forget?”
“That could have been a real disaster if you hadn’t been there to take care of me. I had to make sure it wouldn’t happen again without a friend around to help me.”
“But,” said Tommy. “You still haven’t explained why you’re here in a bathing suit if you’re just going to change again. Why would you take that risk?”
“Ah,” she said. “As it turns out, there’s another part to the magic or curse or whatever. Anytime the weather is nice, I can’t help but put on a bathing suit at some point in the day and go out in the sun. I even tried giving away my bathing suits, but I just ended up buying a new one to wear.”
“You heard me. It’s like a compulsion. I can control myself for a little while, but eventually I just have to put on a bathing suit whenever the weather allows it. Like, for example, I didn’t wear one on Tuesday or Wednesday when it was raining, but I had to wear one Thursday afternoon.”
“How did that go?”
“My brother had his favorite playmate back again for an afternoon.”
“I see,” said Tommy. He could picture how awkward that might be.
“So,” she said, looking a bit embarrassed or nervous. “I’m kind of tired of playing with a four year old anytime the weather is nice. So, I thought I would come to this beach again.”
“Really?” said Tommy. “Any particular reason why?” he asked, hoping for one particular answer.
“Well,” she said. “There was this one nice boy that helped me out a lot the last time I was here. I was hoping I might find him here again.”
Tommy smiled. “I think he was looking for you too.”
She held his hand and looked down at him. He felt so thrilled to feel her touch again.
“But, what about Kevin?” he asked.
“That jerk? He’s gone. He left me after we figured out that my condition was permanent. He said he wasn’t made to be a babysitter. Good riddance. I rode here on an old bike I found from when I was a kid.”
Suddenly, Tommy heard a beeping sound. It was coming from her wrist watch. “What’s that?” he asked.
“My time’s up,” she said, keeping her eyes on him. Then, she began to shrink. In seconds, he was standing there with the 9-year-old Dana he remembered so fondly from last week. She smiled her gap-toothed smile and hugged him.
When they finally released each other, she said, “I thought we might hang out together on sunny days. Would that be alright with you?”
He smiled. “Sure.”
She held up her arm to show him the wristwatch, which hung loosely from her skinny wrist. “I have this set to go off every hour.” She adjusted the strap to fit her younger arm better. “When it beeps, I know I have a few seconds to choose someone to look at before I change again. I want to have you around to look at.”
“I would like that.”
“Also, I might make a mistake sometime and end up too young. It would be nice to have a friend around to help me out if I needed help again.”
“You might need me to babysit for you, then?”
She looked down and started twisting a foot in the sand. “Yeah, I mean, if you think it might be too much, I guess I could just stay home and…”
“I would love to,” he interrupted her. She looked up and smiled. “I promise you that I’ll be there for you when you need me, always.”
She kissed him. They held hands and walked down the beach again just as they had done the week before. He was happy to have her back, and she was just as happy to have him back. There was something freeing about being a kid again, she realized. She didn’t have to worry about her looks or her coming adulthood. She could just have fun. Both of them thought ahead to the happy times they would share together in the future. It was going to be a fun summer.
“Now what?” he asked.
She smiled at him and said, “Let’s go play.”
The two kids laughed and cheered and ran off together to have fun.