Once upon a time…
It’s how all the best stories start, right?
Or maybe, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
Or maybe you want to do the Wayne’s World wavy lines and wiggle.
However you get there, imagine if you will, 1989. A young nerdy girl in the summer between middle and high school, heading off to Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama.
And it’s not her first time.
But this year, even more adventure awaits! Part of the training now offers campers a chance to learn the basics of scuba diving and then spend a couple of hours submerged in a small version of the diving tanks that astronauts use to train on working in anti-gravity.
I was skeptical, at first. Mostly because of the wetsuit, not gonna lie. But once the water closed over my head and I could still breathe? And I hung suspended in the water…I was hooked.
It would a handful of more years before I could get back to it, but after a couple of years of, ummm, persistent suggestion, my hubby and I did our basic certification. Then advanced. Then a couple of other optional ones like night diving and wreck diving. And we spent some fabulous time diving with the local scuba shop here as well as in Florida.
But life gets busy. And scuba skills decay if you don’t use them. And it’s been a lot of years since I’ve managed to strap on a tank and take a giant leap into the water.
But I still dream about it.
So, when, in The Billionaire’s Nanny, Wes Allen randomly mentioned that he wanted to quit his software job and open a dive shop, I have to admit I was surprised. Then when he actually went through with it? I was even more surprised. But also a little excited. Because maybe, even if I couldn’t get out and dive myself any time soon, I could write about it.
And boy oh boy, when it came time to write Wes’s book, The Billionaire’s Teacher, there was a lot more diving than I expected. And I loved every minute of living vicariously under the water with Wes and Sunshine.
I hope you will, too!
To whet your appetite a little, how about an excerpt?
I put my goggles in place, popped my snorkel in my mouth, and stood. I circled my index finger and thumb and took a big step out into the water. I dropped down under the surface for a second before the air in my vest popped me back up. I spit out the snorkel and treaded water while I waited for Wes to join me.
When he was in the water, he flashed the OK sign back at me with his thumb and index finger.
I reached around behind my neck for the group of hoses connected to my air tank, found my regulator, and put it in. A quick exhale to clear out water and I was ready. I pointed my thumb down, waited for Wes to return the motion, then began to slowly let air out of my BCD, letting gravity and the weights integrated into the system pull me under the waves.
This was my favorite thing.
It was as if all the cares and worries of the world stayed above the water. So now, as I descended, I just had to focus on my rate of descent, clearing my ears, and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.
Curious angelfish fish darted over to investigate our bubbles and the bright splashes of color on the sides of our wetsuits. As we neared the reef, I slowed my descent even more until I hung suspended at the best depth to move around without having to make a ton of adjustments.
Wes overshot slightly and it took him a minute or so to tweak his buoyancy to match my depth. He flashed OK. I returned the gesture and signaled in the direction that we needed to go if he wanted to see the sunken glass-bottomed boat.
I wasn’t sure that he cared about that, but it was a nice path through the area that would show off the animals who made their home here. And he could get a feel for the current, such as it was, at this dive site.
Wes swam beside me. I appreciated that he didn’t lag behind or zoom ahead. And he had a good mastery of the kicking technique needed to propel himself through the water without stirring up a lot of the ocean floor. As dive partners went, he was the closest to ideal that I’d had since Luca.
My mind shied away from that comparison.
Instead, I focused on breathing easily and admiring the fish. A flash of color made me pause and reach for Wes’s arm.
He turned and I pointed to the green snout of a moray eel that had darted back into its hiding place as we swam by.
Wes’s eyes brightened.
It was almost more interesting to watch him watch the fish as it was to see them myself. He had a visible appreciation for everything around us, despite the scuba equipment he wore. I couldn’t explain it—years of diving with groups had honed the instinct. It was something in the eyes. And the speed that he swam. Wes was enjoying being down here, not simply zipping from one thing to the next to say he’d done it.
I waited until he made eye contact again and we swam on, the warm water surrounding me like a gentle hug.
The Billionaire’s Teacher will release on September 26th. I hope you’ll take a chance on Wes and his forced proximity, age gap, stranded romance.
Have you ever been scuba diving? Or do you have an unusual hobby? Tell me in the comments!