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"GULP....Gulp...Glug!" Van gasped, as he sank down into the pool water!
"It's Okay!" Mab cried. "Relax! I've got you!"
Mab quickly put his arms under Van's armpits and lifted him up to the surface. He knew from what Avery Goldman had said that Van needed help with his swimming, but there was something more troubling going on here!
Van gasped for air and leaned his head back. Mab could feel that Van was shaking all over!
"Your Okay!" Mab said in a kind tone. "Just relax, Van! I have you. Your safe."
"I thought I was going to drown!" Van answered. "I don't know what happened!?"
"Are you sure you won't wear the flotation device?" Mab asked. "Then you wouldn't have to be afraid of going under!"
Van paused. He had refused to put the flotation ring on and had insisted he could swim just fine!
"You were swimming great!" Mab said."Then suddenly you just went under!"
Van suddenly realized that Mab had his arms under his and was supporting him. Van glanced over and looked right into Mab's eyes. His face was so close to his!
"This is the terrible!" Van thought. "The man I despise the most, who I blame for my downfall has seen me fail miserably! And if that wasn't bad enough, here he is holding me up and protecting me!"
"I can tell by your form you know how to swim!" Mab said. "What made you go under like that?"
"Oh! Wouldn't you like to know!" Van snapped. "That would be another thing you could laugh at me about! You can tell everybody at the Academy about it!"
"What are you talking about?" Mab asked. "I've never laughed at you! I just met you today!"
"Liar!" Van said as he squirmed out of Mab's protective arms holding him up. "My Dad told me how you made fun of me! How you told everyone at the scholarship competition what a loser I am after you defeated me!"
"Scholarship? You mean the Tryon Planetary Scholarship?" Mab said with an astonished look. "I didn't even know you were from Tryon!"
"Really? I am sure Avery would have told you!" Van snapped.
"Avery doesn't talk behind people's backs!" Mab answered. "I swear to you, Van! I never did that! I would never would do something like that!!"
"You must have known about me!" Van answered. "We competed against each other!"
"The competition is sealed, Van! Everyone is given just a number and nobody actually sees who they are competing against!" Mab answered. "I never knew you even tried to win that scholarship!"
Van could tell that Mab was telling the truth, but something deep down within himself refused to accept it. There was a long pause and then suddenly Van blurted out:
"Ansor Provence!" Van stammered. "I was in the flood of Ansor Provence!"
"Van! That's why you are afraid of the water!" Mab said.
"Yes! I really don't want to talk about it. It was a miracle I made it out of the flood waters!"
"Van, don't you see that you faced a situation like that and survived?!" Mab said. "That experience can give you confidence instead of fear!"
Van looked at Mab and felt a strange effect come over him. In his heart and mind he accepted what Mab said as true!
"Your right, Mab!" Van said. "I did survive! I swam my way out to safety!"
"You faced that flood and lived! Swimming in a nice pool is nothing to you, now!" Mab said. "You know it's true!"
Van felt an ocean of strength and confidence well up within him. He stretched his arms out and started swimming laps with no fear at all!
"Look, Mab! I'm swimming!" Van cried out in joy! "I'm swimming and I am not afraid!"
Mab smiled and watched Van carefully.
Van Swam back and forth with ease, but deep down in his mind he could feel his hatred of Mab gnawing and clawing to get out!
To be Continued!