Enzo fumbled with the tools again and dropped the tension on the tumbler. There was a fine film of sweat on his face, a mixture of the exhilaration and frustration at his fifth failed attempt. He gave the tools to Gina with a sigh.
“I just can’t do it.”
“Yeah, you can. It’s your first attempt, so give it time. I’ll do it so we can get inside before we’re seen, okay?”
He nodded and stepped back, watching her closely while she worked. After she had taken care of it, she let him walk ahead into the quiet building.
He stopped inside the door, looking around at the quiet pool room. As opposed to the library, this place wasn’t entirely dark, but lit by lamps on the sides of the pool walls. The light was a soft blue and streaked by white lines that danced with the movement of the water.
Gina motioned for him to follow, though he stayed on his feet for a while, watching her while she took off her shoes and dipped her feet in the water.
“You can join,” she said.
He eyed the water and shook his head. “I’ll pass.”
Still, he sat down by the edge of the pool and turned towards her. Even though he looked around at the slightest sound, he seemed more comfortable today.
“I’ve never been to the community pool,” he said watching her feet that kicked in the water. “Not in the daytime, either.”
Gina smiled. “It’s a lot cooler with no people here. I was here with my siblings as well one time, but it was in the daytime and it was full of people.”
“You go here with your siblings at night?” he asked.
“No, they don’t want to do crime. It’s just me and dad doing all that. Marta, my sister, is a private detective and my brother…” she sighed deeply. “Well, he’s totally lost it. He wants to be an accountant.”
Enzo laughed. “I’m going to be a lawyer. Have I lost it, too?”
She bit her lip.
“A little bit. It sounds pretty boring, though it’s not as boring as accounting. Why do you want to be a lawyer?”
Enzo lowered his hands and ran his fingers through the water, then shrugged.
“It’s what we do in my family. My dad studied law as well before he took over granddad’s estate and he thought I should, too. He’ll get me a job when I’m out of university and then I’ll work there until he passes and I get the estate. I’m the oldest boy, so that’s why I inherit it.”
“It sounds like you don’t want to be a lawyer.”
Gina kicked, causing the water to ripple and rings to spread around her feet. For a while, the splashes were the only sounds around them.
“I’m okay with it.”
“But you don’t want to, right? Like, my brother seriously thinks accounting is the coolest thing ever and he loves maths and stuff. Really weird shit. But you don’t think that being a lawyer is the coolest, do you?”
Enzo shrugged. “I suppose not.”
Gina lay down, still splashing with her feet and stretching like a cat before settling with her hand on her stomach.
“You could do something else.”
Enzo snorted. “No, I couldn’t.”
“What if you tell your dad you want to do something else?”
She propped herself up on her elbows. “No, it isn’t.”
“What if you told your dad you didn’t want to be a criminal? What would he do?”
“He’d tell me to do some other thing instead. I’m not forced to be in the gang at all – it’s because I like it and I want to. My brother and sister want to do other stuff, and that’s cool by him.”
A wrinkle between his brows told her that she might as well have told him that the pool was filled with molten lava, so foreign was the idea to him.
“My dad would disinherit me and give the estate to my younger brother if I did something like that,” he said then, as matter-of-factly as if he were talking about the weather. “And then I’d have nothing.”
“Not nothing,” she said. “You can always get a job. Or, hey, you can join our gang.”
He looked away, though there was a small smile on his face.
“I can’t even pick a lock.”
He nodded slowly and said:
“Your family sounds cool. Tell me about them.”
Gina smiled and obliged him, telling everything she could about the best family in the world, for that was how she saw them. Her dad was her best friend and her siblings were amazing as well – even though she teased her brother about the accounting thing, she didn’t mean anything by it. He was happy, and that was all that mattered.
The only thing she left out was her mother who was alive and well, but pretending to be dead. She may sneak out without telling her dad, but her mum’s being alive was a well-kept secret and one thing that couldn’t ever come out. They always called her ‘aunt Lucia’ to everyone else.
“Your family sounds pretty perfect,” Enzo said when she stopped chatting.
Silence fell again, and this time Gina broke it:
“I’m sure yours is perfect, too.”
He shrugged. “I guess they are.”
He didn’t say anything more, and Gina didn’t prod, because it didn’t seem like he had anything else to say. She changed the topic to keep the awkward silence from gaining too strong a presence.
“Want to go somewhere else tomorrow?”
“We could go somewhere with an alarm this time and we can try and disable it. I might fuck it up, though, so we have to be ready to run for it.”
Enzo chuckled and said: “Let’s do it.”
The next evening they broke into the town gym and it was a big night for both of them. She disabled the alarm system without triggering it, and once they had made it in, Enzo picked a lock on one of the gym lockers. It was all she could do not to laugh when the last pin clicked into place, and he gaped at her in amazement.
“I did it!” He handed the tools back with hands that still couldn’t keep steady. His forehead was beaded in sweat and he had the face of a guy who had never really lived before now.
“I can’t believe I did it!”
She hugged him, and it was only after his muscles tensed that she realised she hadn’t done that before. Maybe this was one of those times she should have asked first instead of just acting. However, then he loosened up and hugged her back.
“Thank you,” he said.
His gaze was still dreamy as they walked upstairs to where the exercise equipment was and sat down on the hard, black surfaces of the treadmills. The smile was etched on his face.
“This is the most insane summer ever,” he said, sighing, and then he looked over at her with a look that made her blush and said: “You’re cool.”
“Thanks. So are you.”
His turn to blush. “Not like you. I mean, I couldn’t even steal a car.”
“You could if you learnt how. It’s not so hard.”
“You want to teach me?”
Their eyes met in the dim gym, and the silence wasn’t bad this time. Gina had thought he looked good all along, and she had considered the possibility of a kiss, but now she really wanted to kiss him. She wondered if his lips would be as soft as they looked, and she had to look away so her face wouldn’t betray her.
“What?” he asked.
“Nothing,” she said smoothly. “It’s just… why does your friend call you Enzo when your name’s Vincente?”
“It’s a joke.” He leaned on his elbows. “He’s called Lorenzo, and he thought I should be called Vincenzo instead; then we could be Enzo and Enzo. So he calls me Enzo.”
“And you call him Enzo, too?”
“Nope. Just Lorenzo.”
Gina laughed and shook her head. “What, he doesn’t have a fancy long name you can use?”
“Oh, he does. All my friends do. Well, except you.”
She turned away again. Then she asked him to list them all. He did: Name after name, one more ridiculous than the next. By the time he said it was time for him to head home, her sides ached from laughing so much and his face was flushed with joy. Outside the gym, he pulled her in for a hug and when he let go a hand lingered on her arm.
Author’s notes: Will you believe I don’t have much to say to you guys today? It probably helps that this is a fairly quiet, uneventful chapter. It’s mostly here to develop the relationship slowly and steadily. Next week will have a lot more ‘action’ so to speak. Not really action, but more stuff will happen. I thank you for reading if you made it this far, and I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’ll see you for the next post.