After 1 year away from the immature boy, I moved back.
Back to the swim team room.
I was dreading seeing him. Would we repeat all the exhausting, obnoxious interactions we had gone through before? My initial hopes of him dropping team were dashed when I realized he'd been training all summer to break 2 school records. No matter how much I disliked him, I couldn't deny that the boy could swim. He was good. Very good.
But the moment the boy finally appeared in the room, everything changed. One year had transformed him into...something else. Gone was the lanky, thin boy. He was tall, broad shoulders, sharp face, strong arms and when he looked at me with clear green eyes and said, "Hey Rachael" in the nicest, deepest voice...
But nothing happened. The fireworks had gone off, the light switch was flipped, bridges were mended. But nothing happened. I was kind of seeing someone else and I was pretty sure he was interested in another girl.
Except the boy and I started talking. A lot. We were swim team captains. So we had to talk, we had to plan, we had to spend time together. A comfortable friendship developed. Yes, he was amazingly good looking, but for years the boy had seen me in a swim cap, goggles with 5:00 AM breath. Love would never blossom under these conditions.
Towards the end of the year we went on 2 group dates together. 2 dates with A LOT of other people. And this other girl on the swim team really liked him. Plus I didn't want him to know that I was already in the habit of leaving my AP English class right when the bell rang so I could make it to hallway A before he crossed hallway B so we would pass each other. He smiled and said hello to me every time.
Graduation was weeks away. We lived on opposite sides of the city. Sure, we were both going to Brigham Young University - along with 24,998 other students - terrible odds when you want to "accidently" run into someone.
Turns out my stealth work and scheming was all for nothing. 3 weeks after graduation he called to ask me out.