She had long legs, the kind that went on forever, and she knew it. Her foot tapped to the mellow sounds drifting from the radio, and he fell a little bit in love with her pinky toe. The tiny nail was painted cotton-candy pink, and Jason tried unsuccessfully not to stare.
It was the summer he turned sixteen, and he was floating on a raft in his best friend’s pool. He came here during the part of the afternoon that was too hot for skateboarding. In Southern California, you either surfed or skated. He had tried surfing, but could never entirely overcome his fear of sharks, not that he’d admit that to anybody. Maybe if he hadn’t seen Jaws the weekend before his first try up on the board, he’d be surfing right now instead of drooling after his best friend’s older, and completely unattainable, sister Megan. Maybe if he hadn’t been so busy trying to impress an uninterested girl with cannonball splashes, he would have been in the right place to stop what happened. The maybe’s and what-if’s of that day tormented him for years, and did nothing to undo the worst event of his life. He was a boy doing what boys do, making memories in a sunlit afternoon. He had no way of knowing that four miles a way, a darkness was circling like a shadowy shark in the depths, coming to steal his happiness.
It was the last day of light, the last day of youth, and he never saw it coming.