Logan leaned against the stone wall surrounding the pool, finishing off his soda. He would much rather have had a beer, but this was after all a birthday party, and soda was the extent of the liquid refreshments. He watched his young charge, today a year older. Francis puttered around in the pool, happier than a pig in shit. This was his day. He had chosen this day as his birthday, because he did not know exactly when his real birthday was. It was just "sometime in August." So, after much deliberation and consideration, he chose August first.
Logan watched as some of the boys got together and tossed their little friend into the water, ready to act if needed. He wasn't. Francis popped up from the water, laughing and sputtering. Logan was surprised that the kid had learned to swim so quickly. He swam like a fish, and in fact spent most of his free time in the water. Jean said it was good for him, to build himself up, strengthen him. Since he had come to the school eleven months previous, he had filled out quite a bit. He was no longer a thin, frail boy. He was still small for his age, and that would probably never change, but he was a bit heavier, and much healthier. He could run like a gazelle, and swim like a fish. He had a lot of stamina for a little guy, and it seemed he was quite the closet athlete. He lacked the physical strength of some of the others, but made up for it with speed and endurance. Given time, he could probably outrun Logan himself.
Scott attempted to sneak up on Logan, a pointless endeavor, for even with the noise and chaos going on around him, Logan could hear and smell the man approaching.
"Don't get any ideas, dickhead. I ain't goin' for a swim just yet."
"I wouldn't think of it. Kinda like trying to move an elephant."
Logan made sure to let out a loud burp, directed at the man behind him.
"Jesus. What a pig." He stepped along side of Logan, dripping wet from his own little dip. "So, Francis is fourteen now. He sure has come far." Logan only nodded, never taking his eyes off the kid. "Having the time of his life. His girlfriend is cute. What's her name?"
Both men turned their attention to a petite girl, mouth full of braces, chasing Francis around the pool. And then their attention was drawn to Stephanie's mother, sitting alone on the opposite side of the pool. She sat under an umbrella, watching the chaos nervously.
"Mother's nice too."
"Uh huh." Logan allowed a slight smirk to appear on his face. Scott noticed.
"Oh no. You're kidding! Don't tell me-"
Logan glanced at the man next to him, and sneered. "Ain't my type, pal." The smirk reappeared. "A little too uptight for me." He got up, and began walking toward the table where the woman was sitting. Scott watched as Logan crossed in front of her, and stood with his back to her. He looked at Scott, and winked as he slowly removed his shirt, dropping it by his feet. He placed his hands on his hips, and stood there, watching the activity in the pool. Scott glanced at the woman, who began to run her hands through her hair, all ajitter. Just then, Jean walked up to Scott.
"What's going on?"
Scott shushed her with a wave of her hand. "Shh. Watch this. Do you believe this? Look at him. He's such a bastard."
Jean looked over at Logan, still standing there, hands on hips, bare-chested, watching the kids in the pool.
"Is that Stephanie's mother?" Jean asked as she leaned against the wall. "He has no shame what-so-ever."
Scott nodded in agreement. "I think she's going to need a tranquilizer in a minute." Both watched as she tried to avert her attention elsewhere, but could not. In the span of two minutes, she knocked over her cup of soda, dropped her towel twice, and crossed and uncrossed her legs no less than six times. Logan just stood, his back to her, grinning from ear to ear.
Finally, Logan turned and slowly walked to the deep end of the pool. He adjusted the waistband on his cut off shorts, and knifed into the water. Anita craned her neck, watching the spot where he entered the water, her mouth hanging open, waiting for him to come up for air. He did not. She leaned forward a bit more, searching the water for a sign of the man. She began to look a little panicked and confused. She stood, and slowly moved to the side of the pool, still focusing her attention on the spot he entered.
Jean and Scott watched with interest. Jean began to snicker. "What a shit."
Scott too began to chuckle. "Should we warn her?"
"Naw, he'll be mad. Let him have his fun."
Anita was now at the side of the pool, searching the bottom. Her eyes were wide as she scanned the water. She could see no sign of Logan anywhere. She looked up, and saw Jean and Scott across from her. Her face revealed she was in a full blown panic now. She turned to run to them, and slammed face first into the brick wall that was Logan's dripping wet chest.
Logan took her by the shoulders. "Oops. Something wrong? You look upset."
She looked up at him, and stammered. "I...you....sorry...I thought.....no.....sorry......" She pulled away from him, and tried in vain to compose herself. "I'm sorry....I didn't....know you......you were there...Mr. Logan."
Logan smiled his smarmiest of smiles. "Just Logan. Next time I'll wear a bell." He turned and walked away from her, his shorts dripping and clinging across his behind just right. She watched him walk away from her, staring, her gaze never waivering, even when her daughter walked up beside her, and nudged her elbow.
"Mom, stop it. You're embarrassing me." It was then, and only then, that she returned to her seat, looking extremely shaken.
Logan walked over to where Jean and Scott were sitting, shaking the water out of his hair. Scott gave a shake of his head. "That was awful. How could you do that to her?"
Logan looked shocked, and confused. "Do what?"
"You can be such a prick."
"Hey, I don't know what you're talking about."
It was then that Logan was nearly toppled by a flying Francis, who grabbed him around the waist in a bear hug.
"Thanks for letting me have a party. This is great. When do we have cake? When can I open my presents? Can I do this again next year? This is great."
Once more, as had happened so often in the past, Logan had to peel the boy off of himself. "Easy, Jesus Christ. Don't thank me. Thank the professor. He gave the ok."
The boy was still dripping wet, and bouncing in his joy. "I never had anything like this. This is great."
"Yeah, we get the message."
Jean rose from her seat. "Well, I guess we could get the hot dogs started. The kids are getting hungry," she paused and glanced at a still bouncing Francis, "and the natives are getting restless."
Logan grabbed a towel, and dried off a bit. "Grill's going. Hey, kid? Round everybody up, huh?"
Francis bounced a final time. "Ok." He trotted off, to tell everyone about dinner.
Logan peeked over at the table where Anita was sitting, and caught her glancing at him once more. He developed a lopsided grin, and again looked at Scott, giving him a wink. He watched as the woman picked up another cup, and was about to drink from it. He picked that time to give out a shrill whistle and call to her. "Hey, Anita? Time to eat!" The woman jumped at least six inches off her chair, and spilled the remainder of her soda in her lap.
Logan began to walk away, chuckling. Scott followed behind him. "You are disgusting, you know that? She's a married woman for crying out loud."
"Separated, pal, separated."
Scott stopped, and his jaw dropped open. Under his breath, he muttered to himself as he watched the shaken woman dry her lap. "Uh oh. This is not good."