She was under the water, this end of the pool 3 meters deep. She moved her arms and legs, trying to get back up to the surface. Her face broke the surface, causing her to splutter, before she went back down. Then an arm was around her waist and she was above the surface, breathing, and clinging to a ledge.
"Are you okay?" Albus' green eyes were peering at her, his arm still partially around her.
"Yeah," she said, breathing heavily. "I can't swim."
"I'm sorry, I didn't know…"
"It's not your fault. I didn't tell you." She pulled herself up onto the ledge. "I didn't really think about it until I realized you weren't going to let go."
Albus remained in the water, but rested his arms on the ledge. "So, shallow end?"
"Sure," Amelia said. It was a little embarrassing, being fifteen and not being able to swim. Albus joined her on the side walk and they went to the 1 meter side of the pool. There were mostly young children here, and it felt a little embarrassing. At least when Astrid was with her, it wasn't as bad because she was playing with her little sister and had an excuse.
"Sorry about this," she said, blushing.
Albus shrugged. "About what? Me almost killing you?" She smiled. Albus was at least nice about it. "Tell you what, why don't I teach you?"
"Teach me?" she asked. She wasn't so sure about that.
"Come on, it's easy." He walked over to her and squatted down; laying is hands out, palms up, in front of her. "Just lay back. I won't let you fall."
He was offering to teach her. And she could stand in this water, even if she did go under. "Why do I need to lie on your hands?"
"So I can teach you to float. I'll hold you up, while you try to float on you back."
Amelia took a deep breath and decided to trust Albus. She lay down on the water, Albus' hands supporting her. "Chin up…there you go. You're letting your butt sink. Don't hold your breath, just breath. Now extend your legs. Chin up now, you can't tuck it into your chest and float." And so it proceeded until it seemed Amelia was in the position Albus wanted her in.
Slowly, so she wouldn't notice, he moved his hands and grinned. She was floating. "You're doing it," he told her. She opened her eyes in surprise lost her concentration, causing her to sink. "Well, you were floating. You did well for your first time."
She smiled. "Really?"
"Thanks," she said, splashing him. And so they played for a while, then Albus insisted on her practicing floating some more.
She wanted to learn to swim now. She had never really cared before, but now that she had a reason to- because she could see Albus look at the deep end some-and it would be a great way for them to spend time together.
"Is this what you thought you would do with your summer? Teach your neighbor to swim?" she teased as they got out to go back to 'base camp.'
"No, it's not. But I don't mind helping a friend out."
Friend. Well, that was a start. It was the first part of her plan, become his friend. And it had been easy enough. Ginny was there, even though it was only two. "Albus, I've been looking for you. I need to talk to you." She glanced at Amelia. While Ginny and Albus walked away, she started to feel that awkward feeling again. Like she didn't really belong there.
Did she think there was more going on than swimming lessons in the shallow end? What could they do around a bunch of kids? Or was it something else? She sat on the ground and dug out her phone from her bag, thinking she may just call Hayley and have her come get her. Say she's feeling sick or something and leave the Potters to their family outing.
Albus came up beside her just as she finished the text. "Sorry about that. Mum said Dad had to leave, so she's riding with him to work and brining the car back."
So that's what it was…but why had that needed to be a secret?
"What does your dad do?" Amelia asked.
"No he's not."
Albus gave her an unbelieving look. "Yes he is. He's my dad, I think I know what he does."
"My dad's a cop, and I know most of the local force, and the quite a few of the uppers. You dad has never been mentioned or in any photographs or at an award ceremony or anything."
Why was Albus lying about what his dad did? Was he lying about what his mum had said? What else had he lied about? "Why are you lying?"
"It's complicated, and I can't tell you. I really can't, Amelia. I wish I could. It would make things so much easier if I could. But I can't."
"Is your dad a secret agent or something?"
"Nothing secret about him," Albus mumbled, but she could tell he hadn't wanted her to hear. "Not really. I can't say. It's…"
"Just please, don't ask questions. Okay?"
They sat there in tense silence. She didn't like that he was lying and wouldn't answer questions, and she wondered if he was who she made him out to be after all. Amelia excused herself to go to the restrooms a few feet away. When she was coming out, she could hear James talking to Albus.
"What do you mean you don't know if you can be friends with her. You guys seem to get along great," came James' voice.
"She asks all the wrong questions, though. Where I go to school. What dad does. And she's smart."
"I know what you think about her, Al, and I've heard enough of it. I don't want to hear how pretty she is, or how cool she must be, and how she doesn't know anything about us so she'll like you for you and not your name."
"It's just so hard keeping it all a secret. I don't know how long I can do it."
"Don't you dare tell her," James growled suddenly.
"I won't," Albus exclaimed. "I'm not an idiot. I know she can't know. Merlin."
She thought that was a good time to come out of the bathroom. The boys were glaring at one another. "Something wrong?" she asked innocently.
"No," Albus said quickly, smiling up at her. "Let's go back in the water."
She wasn't sure what that conversation had been about, but it scared her a little. It seemed the family might be into something dangerous. She wondered if Lily was. The girl was only twelve, so maybe not. But from the sound of it, they were all in on the act.
"Are you okay?" Albus asked once they were back in the water. "You're acting nervous."
She shook her head. "I'm fine, honestly." In truth, she didn't know what to think. Maybe this would be the summer she forgot Albus Potter instead.
The car ride home was a quiet one. Ginny attempted to start conversation, and Lily answered most questions. Amelia couldn't get over the car though. There was one less person in the back seat, since James was up front now that Ginny was driving, but there were only three seatbelts. She could have sworn there were four before. And there seemed to be the same amount of room as when they drove to the pool…
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