Oasis Springs

Maybe Babysitting Isn't So Bad

These kids were going to drive me insane.

“Vic!” one of them whined from the backseat. “When are we gonna be there?”

As soon as I realize where the fuck I am. “Don’t worry, Kathy. Good ol’ Vic will have us splashing around in no time,” I replied calmly, using the rearview mirror to eye the five-year-old in her car seat. She was already in her swimsuit and flip flops and an adorable pair of sunglasses just her size. Who could stay mad at that?

Kathy made another annoyed sound and folded her chubby arms, pouting. I couldn’t restrain myself from smiling; little kids really were adorable. My smile quickly diminished as the other one, an eight-year-old, piped up.

“Do you even know where you’re going?” asked Sandra, quirking an eyebrow at me.

“Of course I do. I used to go to Oasis all the time. Don’t worry so much.”

Sandra actually rolled her eyes at me, slumping down in her place next to Kathy’s car seat. I felt another flare of annoyance burst inside of me—I was like twenty years older than her and she was still giving me attitude!—but I shoved it back down, out of the goodness of my heart.

It won’t do to start telling off the kids, I told myself, gritting my teeth and putting on my left turn signal even though I was only about seventy percent certain that I needed to turn left at the next light. I was the one who had volunteered for this stupid babysitting job; it had been a favor to my parents’ best friend, whose wife it was that had given birth to the little monsters. It wouldn’t be right for me to throw a tantrum now that I was actually obligated to be in charge of the girls.

Also, I needed money. Not gonna lie; that was the main reason I’d been so quick to take responsibility for the little munchkins for the entire day in the first place. And I needed to do a good job now that I had them, in case the parents ever needed a babysitter again in the future. Really, this was quite an important event for me. Like a job interview. It wasn’t like I was going to make a lot of money off of my plays, anyway, even if my cowriter Tony insisted that they were going to take off in no time, so I might as well start watching kids, just for something.

My best friend and roommate Jaime had laughed his ass off when, after walking out of my bedroom in my swim trunks, I told him where I was going today. “Babysitting?” he’d exclaimed. “Really? You’re sinking to babysitting?”

“What’s so wrong with babysitting?” I’d shrugged, shrugging into a loose tank top and grabbing my sunglasses.

“Half the people we know already think you’re a woman, dude.” Jaime had shaken his head like I’d disappointed him. “Now you’re playing house, too?”

“Fuck off. I need the money, and besides, the kids are pretty cool.”

Now Kathy kicked her feet impatiently, sending her flip flops flying all over my car, and moaned, “Are we there yet?”

“Yes!” I said, as astonished as anyone when I passed the Oasis Springs Waterpark sign. “See? I told you I knew where I was going.”

“You just guessed!” accused Sandra, although she too was laughing and getting excited for a fun-filled day of swimming and slides and all sorts of watery adventure. I shrugged, grinning and pulling into the parking lot, squinting at the traffic directors as I followed the orange flags.

“I wanna go on that big one!” exclaimed Kathy, pointing at the elaborate tube of blue snaking around the other two, less formidable slides. I knew she would want to ride that one; hell, I wouldn’t mind grabbing an inflatable raft and whizzing down a few of the more temptingly-extravagant waterslides, although I knew to do so would be neglectful of my duties as their babysitter.

“Maybe,” I hedged in answer to Kathy.

When we finally found a parking space that wouldn’t require a half-hour of walking just to reach the gates, Sandra unbuckled her seat belt and threw open the car door before I’d even put it into park.

“Whoa, wait a sec, Sandra!” I called, my stomach flipping nervously as I hurried to turn the car off and chase after the little devil. She stood about ten feet away from my car, inching in the direction of the gates, bouncing on the balls of her feet. I continued, “The park isn’t going anywhere. Wait ‘til we get your sis unbuckled, and then we can run over there as fast as you want. Okay? We’ll have a race!” I added on a sudden inspiration.

Her face lit up. “Okay, you’re on!”

“Can I race too?” asked Kathy as I struggled with the buckles in her car seat, the same ones Jaime had laughed at me over while I strapped the kid into my car back at the apartment, fingers fumbling over the belts.

Kathy sighed and pushed my hands away, unbuckling herself expertly, and I said, “Sure, Kath. You can ride on my shoulders.”

Her eyes widened in excitement, and I felt an inkling of joy inside now that both the girls were happy. I’d never thought of myself a child-friendly person, even though others said kids loved me. But maybe I was pretty good at this stuff. Maybe I could make my living as a babysitter.

She slipped past me and out into the parking lot, running to catch up with her sister, who was now thirty feet away and moving exponentially faster and faster towards the gates. “Hang on, guys!” I called, almost panicked. I quickly grabbing their beach bag, filled with sunblock and towels and a change of clothes, and then my own similar bag. I also quickly threw myself over the seat to snatch Kathy’s abandoned flip flops.

When I finally had my shit together and turned around to face the girls, Sandra was already running full-speed toward the park, and Kathy was galloping after her on those cute little sausage-legs, and I groaned, already exhausted while I locked my car. These fucking kids. If they ran away now and I lost them . . .

I set off at a jog and quickly caught up to Kathy. She shrieked enthusiastically as I scooped her up, shifting both bags to my other arm. “Come on, we gotta catch up to your sister!”

Kathy wrapped her arms around my neck and cheered me on as I ran lazily down the parking lot, between rows of cars all lined up, some passengers of which stared at me as I easily caught up to Sandra. The older girl cried out indignantly as I passed her, and when the race ended at the front gate even I was slightly out of breath.

“You cheated!” Sandra laughed, panting with her hands on her skinny knees. I set Kathy down and high-fived her for good teamwork before setting the bags down and digging out the money their parents had given me to pay our way in.

The park was extremely crowded, which was to be expected on a hot summer Saturday, but that didn’t lessen my apprehension at having to navigate the throngs of people with two little girls in tow. I held both of their hands on either side of me as I fought my way through the people to the locker room where I remembered my parents storing our stuff when they brought Mike and I here as children.

“You guys okay?” I asked, sitting down on a bench next to the lockers to get our stuff in order after we had made our way through the crowds.

“Yeah,” they answered, more anxious than ever to go down some slides. Well, I knew Kathy probably wasn’t old enough for the pretty intense slides at Oasis, but maybe we could find a kids’ area with some more appropriately-sized activities.

After taking some of their things and transferring them to my own bag, I threw the kids’ larger bag into the locker, locked it, and turned to the children with my eyebrows raised. They stared up at me, wide-eyed, almost shaking in anticipation.

“Well,” I said, shouldering my bag and allowing my face to split into a grin. “Who’s ready to go have an awesome time at Oasis?”

They both cheered and whirled, sprinting out of the locker room and towards the nearest attraction. I followed at a quick walk, realizing that I too was pretty pumped to play in the water.


Everything was going smoothly. After spending a good minutes deciphering the map of the park, I did indeed find a kid’s area where I felt I could let Kathy play safely while I kept an eye on her from the edge of the two-foot-deep pool. I sat propped up on my arms, feet resting on the pool’s floor, enjoying how the cool lapping of the water on my calves complimented the heat of the sun beating down on the rest of my dark body. This really was the life.

Babysitting wasn’t turning out to be so bad; all I had to do was watch the girls while they played, meanwhile relaxing in the summer sun and enjoying the view of the hot lifeguard perching lazily under his umbrella, doodling on a scrap piece of paper. Even Sandra was having a good time despite the fact that she was perhaps a bit too old to be in this area of the park. She had engaged a few other kids in a game of Marco Polo in the miniature wave pool and was currently cheating badly, but hey, I wasn’t here to teach the kids ethics.

“Vic,” called Kathy, and I looked up to see her tiny, dripping form waddling toward me. “Can we go over there to the animals?”

She was referring to the fountain area to our right, where there were large plastic creatures spewing water at seemingly random intervals while toddlers shrieked and ran around them in circles. There were a couple of tree-sized mushrooms constantly streaming water circular in sheets like a shower. A larger structure shaped like a whale in the middle of the area had a slide protruding from its mouth.

“Sure, let’s do it,” I answered, grunting as I heaved myself to my feet and took her hand. I spared a backwards glance for Sandra, who was arguing with a kid who was way older than her about the rules of Marco Polo, and then shrugged and led Kathy to the animals.

There were some picnic tables under umbrellas around the edge of the sprinkler area, so I claimed one as my own and sat my bag on the table to half-watch Kathy and half-watch the lifeguard, who was now halfway across the kids area and much harder to see. What can I say? I was bored, and besides him there weren’t any guys except overweight-yet-still-shirtless dads in the immediate area. I had to have something pretty to watch until lunchtime.

Even with the entertainment of watching the lifeguard, I still grew bored incredibly quickly. Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome that Kathy and Sandra were having so much fun, and it was kind of nice to watch them to an extent, but personally I was going out of my mind. About ten minutes later I had my phone out and was texting five of my closest friends purely for entertainment value. And, sadly enough, one of those friends was my brother Mike.

Hey, I’d texted.

Aren’t you supposed to be babysitting? he texted back. I winced, knowing he’d caught me even though he wasn’t even here.

I glanced up at the scene around me, scanning for the girls. Kathy I saw immediately; she was the little daredevil going down the whale’s tongue slide on her belly, to the awe of the other toddlers. I wondered if I should be doing something to reprimand her for that kind of behavior, but anyone could see that she was perfectly fine. If anything, she should be rewarded for being the bravest kid in the bunch. If I was a kid, you can be sure as hell I’d be doing backflips off the top of the whale’s back.

I glanced over to the wave pool and didn’t see Sandra, but wasn’t too worried about it; she was eight, she could take care of herself in a tiny pool like that. Just ten minutes ago I’d seen her holding her own in an argument against an eleven-year-old. She and her little sister were two of a kind.

They’re fine, I texted Mike back. So what’s up?

Actually I have some news that might interest you.

Oh? What??

That guy from the party, Brandon… I think he likes you dude.

I could feel my heart skip a beat. Brandon, the cute guy from the party? The one that I had tipsily asked Mike if he was single? He liked me?!

Before I could text back, Kathy ran up to me saying she needed to go to the bathroom, and that was the end of the conversation.

“Let’s find Sandra and tell her where we’re going, okay?” I said, more to myself than the toddler, as I led her by the hand past the wavepool.

I frowned as I passed it; still no sign of the eight-years old.

When Kathy and I returned from the restrooms five minutes later and, even after I cupped my hands over my eyes and squinted over the heads of the people wading or splashing in the clear water, I couldn’t even catch a glimpse of Sandra, I began to feel the panic tightening my chest.

“Do you see your sister anywhere?” I asked the five-year old, who was still clutching my hand, so large over hers. She put her hand up over her eyes, mimicking me, before shaking her head no.

I took a sharp intake of breath involuntarily. Okay. Okay. This was fine. Everything was fine. She was around somewhere. Maybe she just went to the bathroom . . . No, Kathy was just in the bathroom and hadn’t said a word about seeing her sister.

Great. So she must have wandered off, then.

. . . or gotten kidnapped.

No no no no, I couldn’t think like that. I had to concentrate on finding her. There was no use in dwelling on the worst possibilities.

“Come on, Kathy. We gotta find her,” I said to the little girl, who looked up at my solemnly, the teensiest frown wrinkling her soft forehead, and nodded. We went back to my table to pick up my bag, before beginning to wander in a loop around the kids’ area. We walked past the sprinkler animals, the jungle gym, the wavepool—nothing. No Sandra.

Now there was real fear vibrating through my torso, like my lungs were shaking as I tried to focus on inhale and exhale. What was I going to do? What if I couldn’t find her? What if I got arrested for neglecting a little girl who wasn’t even mine? Could that even happen? Where the fuck was the fucking kid?!

Perhaps I was walking a little too quickly for Kathy to keep up on her short little legs as I exited the kids area and entered into the real park, where all the grownups and fucking teenagers came to play. I didn’t even know where to begin with my search now; as I mentioned before, the park was absolutely packed with people; it would be hard enough to find a standard-sized person among the endless sea of people, but a kid? There was no way. It was impossible.

I knew I had to try anyway. I scanned the face of every person who walked by who looked about Sandra’s height, and ordered Kathy to do the same, and we meandered slowly down the streets of the park. As far as I could see, there was no trace whatsoever of the little girl, although truth be told I could have easily missed her among the hundreds of people we passed.

Who knew what sort of trouble she could be in at this point? She was probably lost and scared, just wandering around the park . . . Everything probably looked so big from her perspective . . . I couldn’t imagine what it must be like, though the vast fear burning incessantly in my stomach must have given some indication. Kathy didn’t seem too freaked out, but I doubt she understood the seriousness of the situation; she probably just thought we were playing a game.

I was just about to start making plans to change my name and move to Mexico to avoid whatever consequences I would be facing because of today’s fatal screw-up when a voice squawked from a loudspeaker next to me. “We have a lost child at the information center, I repeat, a lost child whose guardian goes by ‘Vic’. If you are Vic and you have lost an eight-year-old girl, report to the information center immediately. Thank you.”

Oh thank Jesus.

I actually grabbed Kathy in my arms to make my beeline to the information center quicker, and even then I had a hell of a time getting there what with the masses of people and my general lack of a sense of direction. By the time I reached the glass door of the air-conditioned building, it had been ten minutes since the announcement and I was a little frantic. What if I really did get into trouble?

As soon as I stepped into the room I froze.

Sitting on one of the chairs lined up against the wall, wearing red swim trunks and a white T-shirt with a cross on it, with Sandra curled up comfortably in his lap, was the hot lifeguard from the children’s’ area earlier. He looked pretty content, muttering something to the kid in his lap and eliciting a giggle from her.

“Sandra!” yelled Kathy from my arms, struggling to be free of her captor. I let her go and she bounded across the room toward her sister. The older girl’s eyes widened and she propelled herself off of the lifeguard’s lap—earning a wince from the man in question—and went barreling toward her sister to almost tackle her to the ground in a bear hug.

The lifeguard stood up, smiling at their reunion, and began to head toward me. I felt an unfamiliar feeling tug at my chest when his smiling eyes met mine; he had removed the sunglasses he was wearing when I saw him earlier, and now as he got closer to me I could clearly perceive a pair of bright blue eyes.

“Hey,” he greeted casually when he reached me. “So you’re Vic, then?”

I cleared my throat; why was I so nervous suddenly? Like a fourteen-year-old pubescent girl. “Uh, yeah, that’s me.”

“Awesome. So I assume this charming girl is yours, then?” His skin was so pale, for a lifeguard. I marveled at it while I tried to form a coherent response to his question.

“Yes, they’re mine,” I stammered out finally—I must have just been nervous because I was afraid of getting in trouble for losing Sandra, and besides, I was still recovering from the trauma of my panicked search. I then backtracked hurriedly. “Well, not, like, mine. They’re not my daughters, they’re, um, my dad’s friend’s . . .”

He was laughing. Gorgeous. He really was attractive, more so than ever now that he was up close; his features had a childlike innocence about them, a unique, happy-go-lucky beauty that you don’t find in a lot of grown men. “Yeah, I didn’t think they were yours,” he chortled. “No offense, but they don’t look much like you.”

Now I felt stupid. But I laughed right along with him all the same. “Yeah, you got a good point there. So, uh.” I swallowed and found myself lowering my voice, like the lifeguard and I were in cahoots. “Am I in, like, serious trouble for losing her?”

His lips morphed into sly half-grin while his eyes danced. “Well, you would be . . . if such an awesome lifeguard hadn’t found her, and if said lifeguard didn’t promise to keep his mouth shut . . .”

He stopped talking as I threw my arms around his shoulders; I could hear his breath catch in his throat in surprise as I tightened my grip around him. I was surprised at how good it felt to hug him; it had been an impulse, a spontaneous, celebratory act. But now that he was here, wrapping his arms hesitantly around my middle, I didn’t want to let him go.

It far exceeded the standard hug duration, and by the time we let each other go his cheeks were adorably flushed and I could feel my arms tingling where his small form had been a moment before. I noticed with intense alertness that he let his hand rest on my bicep for a moment longer than necessary.

“Thank you,” I said, though the words were redundant at this point.

He grinned at me, suddenly shy. “I said I’d keep my mouth shut . . . I didn’t say it would be without a price.” He met my eyes and I felt my brain turn to liquid. How did he manage to pull it off, gazing at me from under his eyelashes like that? It was mesmerizing and stunning and, if I didn’t imagine it, quite sexual. I felt my hands twitch at my sides, suddenly longing to touch him again, but prolonged this time, slow and gentle and private and wow, I didn’t even know this guy’s name. Classy, Vic.

“I’m Kellin,” he said as if reading my mind—though I hoped to god he wasn’t. The lifeguard held out his hand formally and I took it, tingling pleasurably with his touch.


“Yeah, I know. She told me.” He gestured at Sandra, who of course I had forgotten was even there. She and her sister were barely paying attention, just rocking back and forth uninterestedly. Kathy had actually plopped down on the floor, her eyelids drooping.

I headed over and scooped her up into my arms again, saying, “Yeah, I guess she did.”

“So are you their nanny, or what?” smirked Kellin teasingly.

“Their babysitter!” I objected, then frowned when I realized that that wasn’t much better. “I don’t do this a lot. They needed someone at the last-minute—”

“I think it’s cute. I love guys that are good with kids.”

I blinked at him, breathless, knowing that I looked like an idiot but not caring because he was flirting with me, and no one had flirted with me since—well, since Brandon at the party, I suppose, but we had all been drunk and I hadn’t even comprehended his hints at the time. This was different. We were both perfectly aware of ourselves and what was going on, and I was loving every minute of it despite the nerve-wracking jitteriness of it all.

“Um,” I couldn’t think of anything better. I shifted Kathy in my arms; she was already half-asleep against my shoulder.

Kellin flashed me that angelic smile again and then turned his attention to Sandra. Crouching down next to her, he said in a serious voice, “Now, don’t go wandering off again, okay? Vic needs you to be good for him.”

I bet you’d be good for me.

Sandra was nodding solemnly, and then Kellin quickly grabbed her hand and whispered something short in her ear, not meeting my eyes but grinning wider than ever. Then he stood up and said. “I gotta get back to work. Be more careful next time, okay, Vic?”

I grinned, loving how my name sounded in his voice. “Got it. Thank you so much again.”

He nodded modestly. And then, in such a small, bashful voice it melted my heart to hear it, he said, “Goodbye, Vic.” I watched him leave, unable to help glimpsing his admirable little ass as he pushed the glass door open and walked knowledgeably back in the direction of the kids’ area.

I felt someone tap my arm, snapping me out of my daydream, and when I looked down Sandra was offering me a slip of paper. “He told me to give you this.”

Heart lurching, I grabbed the paper, which had been written on part of the back of a job application and ripped off, unfolded it, and read the small, slightly messy handwriting:

I get off work at two. Call me?
-Kellin :)

I was smiling like an idiot while I read the few words over and over again, and even though our encounter had been brief and I could easily have imagined everything, all the chemistry between us while we small-talked, I knew that there was something special about Kellin. Something that I had never seen before; something that deserved to be shown to the entire world, but that I still wanted to keep all to myself.

Then it occurred to me; when had the lifeguard had the time to write this note? I hadn’t seen him write anything since he came in.

Then, with a deep warm feeling in my chest, I remembered how Kellin had been writing something back when I was watching the girls in the kids’ area. Had he noticed me even then? Had he actually considered writing down his number and giving it to a complete stranger before he even knew my name? Could it be possible?

I didn’t know. But I would sure as hell ask him when I called him later.

With a last smile, I pocketed the number, grabbed Sandra’s hand in my own, and left the building.

The End.
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Shitty, I know. I wrote it weeks ago but didn't post it because I thought it sucked. But since I have not posted the latest chapter of my main fic yet and I will most likely not have it for a few more days, I thought I would throw this out there for funsies.

On a semi-related note, I had a dream about Kellin Quinn last night. In it, he lived down the street from me with his boyfriend (probably Vic) and their dog. It was awesome.

Aaaanyway, Thank you so much for reading, and comments are appreciated. Love you :)