Grace wasn't sure how long she had been under but she could feel the pressure on her lungs, the ache in her chest and the need to draw in each breath slowly and intentionally. Devin had challenged her for the 100th time to a "hold your breath" contest. This time, she was determined to win. She had been practicing every day, desperate to add to her 45 second record. Devin had at least 10 seconds on her each weekend and she was determined to finally beat him.
"Ready, set, go", deep breath and they were under water. The pressure the water adds to the hold makes each second feel like minutes. She waited for what felt like a minute before opening her eyes. She knew from experience that to watch Devin made it harder for her to keep her breath. So she waited, eyes closed, dreaming of the ice cream she knew her mom would buy her at the end of the day. Excited about the trip to the fair her parents promised on Sunday. When her head started to go light and her chest started to scream she slowly opened her eyes. Devon was no where to be seen. She didn't know if he was teasing her, psyching her out so she waited until she couldn't wait any longer and then slowly came up for air.
As Grace tried to get her air back she looked around for Devin, wondering where he had been. As her eyes settled on the form perched on the edge of the pool, she saw Devin, arms folded in front of him, lips in pout position.
"You cheated" he said with a touch of anger and jealousy.
"How long have you been out?" Grace asked, a little dumbfounded by what was going on.
"Long enough to get out of the pool and sulk." said Devins older brother, Josh, from above. "I think you beat him by a good 30 seconds. I was beginning to think that I needed to come in after you. You hiding gills under there?"
Grace was sure that her cheeks had turned blood read. She sunk slowly back into the water, allowing her win to settle in and her cheeks to cool off. Then a soft scream of joy bellowed under the water. She had finally beat Devin at something and the satisfaction was enough to last her weeks.