Original Notes from the Author of How Kristen spend her summer vacation
Kristen Chapter #18: Changes
Letters : 6535 Words : 1110
Kristen is out of uniform, and will need to pay a forfeit
Okay, folks, Beth said. I hate to spoil the party, but I guess thats why they pay me the big bucks, right? We have a lot of work to get done, so lets get back to business.
Kristen and Janet both muttered apologies, and the assembled lifeguards quickly turned their attention to Beth.
And as I recall, the last order of business was the fact that our rookie here, Kristen, is out of uniform, Beth said. We were all waiting for her to decide whether to pay the forfeit or take a demerit.
Kristens face turned pale and her knees almost buckled. In the confusion and excitement of meeting Jannie again, she had forgotten all about this. Oh, no, she whimpered. Her mouth was dry. A forfeit? IIve heard some of my friends talk about forfeits. But its always in something like a strip poker game. Theythey play for forfeits after somebody has already lost all their clothes.
Beth gave Kristen a strange little smile, and nodded. Sure, I suppose this is something along the same lines. And since everybody here has already lost all their clothes, we go directly to the forfeits.
Kristen winced. Cant you tell me what it is? I meanmy friends have told me about some of the penalties, and some of them are, uh, awfully nasty, she said.
Beth sighed. I wont tell you what it is, Kristen. This forfeit comes from mefrom Beth. Okay? You have to decide: do you trust me? Beth fixed Kristen with a steadyand strangely sympatheticgaze. So, whats the decision?
Once again, the other lifeguards whispered words of encouragement to Kristen: Its alright. Dont worry. Youll be fine. Kristen looked at Janet, who gave a reassuring smile and nodded.
Okay, thats enough from the peanut gallery, Beth said sharply. Kristen has to make up her own mind. Once again she looked directly into Kristens eyes. Well? she asked.
Kristens face was a mask of anguish. Howhow can I promise to do something if I dont even know what it is? she moaned.
Beth studied Kristens frightened eyes for a few seconds. Jeez, she sighed wearily. Okay. Forget it. Im not going to ask you to do anything for me if its going to be this traumatic.
Kristen was startled by the intensity of the disappointment and desolation on Beths face. Beth had seemed to be on top of every situation, and the sudden look of discouragement and resignation on her face now was unexpected and almost frightening. The other lifeguards noticed it, too, and turned concerned eyes toward Beth, who seemed to slump a little.
Wait, Beth, Kristen said. Wait!
Beth looked at Kristen, but her eyes seemed dull and tired.
II want to pay the forfeit, Kristen said. She forced a smile, but there was a pained and frightened look in her eyes.
Beth frowned and shook her head. Dont worry, Kristen. Im not going to give you a demerit, she said, her voice flat and lifeless. Its a stupid rule, anyway. I know why you dont have your hat on. It was an innocent mistake, so forget it. The whole thing never happened.
For half a second, Kristen felt elated by the news that she would not get a demerit, but that emotion was quickly overwhelmed by a guilty awareness that she had been the cause of Beths obvious unhappiness. She stepped forward and put her hand on Beths arm. No, Beth, you dont understand, she said. I want to pay the forfeit. I trust youI trust you, Beth. And I want to pay the forfeit.
How can you trust me, Kristen? Beth asked. You barely know me. We only met on Saturday.
Kristen tightened her grip on Beths arm. I know you better than you think, Beth, she said. I do trust you. I have to trust you. Were lifeguards, right? Both of us? I trust you with my life!
Beth looked into Kristens eyes. She could see that Kristen was still frightened, but she wore a brave smile. Beth smiled and gently patted Kristen on the shoulder. Its okay, Kristen. Its okay. Trust is important. But dont worry about that forfeit. It was just a silly little thing, anyway.
You have to let me do it, Kristen said. She was shocked by the words from her own mouthshe should be rejoicing that Beth was letting her off the hook. Instead, she was practically demanding that Beth make her do something embarrassing and demeaning. Im sorry that I was so hesitant to answer, but this is all new to me. Butbut I never said I wouldnt do it. So you have to let me pay the forfeit. Kristen flinched a little as these last words escaped her mouth.
The other lifeguards nodded and made murmured comments: Shes right, Beth. She never said she wouldnt do it.
Beth rested her hand on Kristens shoulder. You really mean it, Kristen? she asked. You dont know what Im going to ask.
I dont want you to change your mind if you dont like it, Beth said.
Kristen shook her head. I trust you with my life, she whispered.
Okay, Beth said, smiling warmly. Heres what you have to do.
Kristen winced, prepared for the worst.
You have to play for our team in this years first beach volleyball game, Beth said. After the first game, its completely up to you. But you have to play that first game.
Kristen was so relieved she laughed out loud. Oh, thats not bad at all! she said. It ought to be fun!
Beth laughed, too, and shook her head. Well, you sure didnt feel that way on Saturday. Remember? Skins vs. skins?
Kristen searched her memory, trying to remember how she had felt on Saturday about playing volleyball in the nude. I guess a lot of things have changed since Saturday, she said brightly.