(edited and reposted)
Vanessa Hudgens, her friends Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, and her sister Stella all went to the awards ceremony together. They made a big splash as the four of them were seen thoroughly enjoying themselves. Afterwards they all went to a party before making their way back to Vanessa’s residence where her sister was staying with her.
It was getting late as the four girls sat around the patio of Vanessa’s backyard in the warm night air. They sipped on drinks as they chatted and gossiped with each other. There was much gaiety and laughter as they enjoyed each other’s company, no one feeling like calling it a night just yet.
The subject of conversation soon turned toward the Spring Breakers movie Vanessa and Selena had worked on together. They jokingly told Stella she would not be able to see it until she turned 18. She responded teasingly that she wasn’t sure it was that good of a movie to begin with considering she knew who two of the actresses were.
Harmless shots and zingers began to fly back and forth. Vanessa and Selena soon started teasing each other over who was the better actress and how many guys each one thought she could attract over her rival. The four girls were soon on their feet, doing some good-natured pushing and shoving and laughing at each other.
They got a little close to the backyard pool as bodies were pushed dangerously close to the water’s edge. There were cries of “DON’T YOU DARE!” and “NOT WITH THE DRESS I’M WEARING!” But for the moment there were no accidents and the surface remained undisturbed, the water calm as the underwater lights gave the pool a bluish illumination.
It would probably have been better had the topic of conversation changed to something else. But Vanessa couldn’t help getting in one more dig at her friend and movie costar. Selena responded instinctively, giving her friend a push backward. This time Vanessa was too close to the edge of the pool, and she went over backwards into the deep end with a shocked cry.
She came up sputtering, treading water as she angrily glared at her friend. Selena was mortified and began apologizing profusely. But when she leaned forward to offer a helping hand Vanessa grabbed it and jerked her into the pool. Selena let out a cry before another splash indicated there was now a second occupant in the water.
The two costars instantly began grappling with each other as accusations of “YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE!” flew in both directions. Their friend Demi stood on the edge of the pool laughing at them both, telling them their tight dresses were no match for a proper bikini if they really thought they wanted to go for a swim this time of night. That’s when Stella gave Demi a push in the back. She toppled over head first into the water to join her friends.
She came up sputtering, gasping that she dearly wanted revenge. Stella wisely backed away from the edge of the pool, determined to be the only one to stay dry. That’s when her sister told her soaked friends, “LET’S GET HER, GIRLS!”
Stella let out a squeal as the three swam for the side of the pool and climbed out after her. She tried to run but there was no place in which to escape the vengeful trio. They grabbed her and dragged her kicking and screaming over to the edge of the deep end. Then they grabbed arms and legs and swung her back and forth between them like a hammock, tossing her into the water.
Stella came up sputtering, mad enough to spit nails. Then Selena pushed Vanessa back into the pool. Demi pushed Selena into the water and then jumped in herself.
The four girls started wrestling with each other, splashing and laughing. The underwater lights illuminated their form-fitting dresses as they pushed each other down below the surface. Stella’s anger soon bled away as she gleefully joined in, pushing down on her sister and then being pushed under by one of the others.
The dunking soon became more aggressive as girls were pushed deeper and deeper. Bubbles spewed up everywhere as arms and legs flew every which way. Then Demi and Selena decided that since it was Vanessa’s pool she should be the one to suffer the most. They ganged up on her while Stella took the opportunity to swim over toward the side of the pool and climb out, panting heavily in an effort to get her breath back.
Vanessa cried out a flurry of bubbles as her two friends playfully pushed her under before she burst back up. But it wasn’t long until they all began to tire. There was one final proclamation of “Let’s push her down really good and see how long she can hold her breath!” Then Demi and Selena jumped her, pushing down hard on Vanessa’s shoulders and sending her wriggling, squirming body all the way down toward the bottom of the pool.
There was a froth of bubbles as they worked together on shoving her down. Then they let her go and shot back up to the surface. They burst up gasping, sputtering and laughing before tiredly swimming over to the edge of the pool, panting heavily for breath. Oddly Vanessa did not immediately surface with them. But they were too distracted with exhaustion to notice.
Down on the bottom Vanessa tried to push herself up off the pool floor. But something was wrong with her foot, specifically one of her heels! She tried to jerk her foot free but it seemed to be stuck in something, causing her to grunt in alarm.
She looked down in surprise to see one of her spiked heels had penetrated through the grating of the drain and had become wedged in place. She grunted anxiously as she tried to jerk it free. But it refused to come loose. Her dismay at the idea she might break off a heel to a valuable set of footwear quickly gave way to the realization she was almost out of air.
She grunted again, losing a mouthful of bubbles as she tried to reach down and unstrap her heel from her foot. Then an ominous convulsion hit her hard, almost bending her over at the waist. She grunted again as panic quickly set in, causing her to frantically wave and flail upward with her arms. She needed air; gawd, she had to get to the surface right now!
Up at the surface Demi and Selena panted heavily for breath, gasping and laughing at each other over how they’d succeeded in pushing Vanessa down. But when they looked around they discovered their friend had not yet surfaced with them. Her sister Stella made the same observation at virtually the exact same moment as she looked at the water in confusion… “Where’s Vanessa?”
Demi and Selena looked all around in surprise, Demi muttering, “Didn’t she come up with us?” That’s when a sudden burst of bubbles erupted up at the surface.
All three looked down into the pool toward the source of the bubbles. That’s when they saw Vanessa waving frantically for the surface. A moment later she spewed another huge burst of air.
For a split-second they all thought she was playing a practical joke on them. Then there was another burst of bubbles. It looked like her body was jerking around down there, but they couldn’t be sure due to the water rippling across the surface.
Selena was caught by surprise… “What the hell is she doing down there?!” Demi couldn’t believe she hadn’t come up yet… “Is she still down there?! Damn, Stella; how long can Vanessa hold her breath??” Stella just stood there in shock, trying to figure out what her sister was doing.
If finally occurred to her something might be very wrong. She cried out her sister’s name in growing alarm as a surge of panic swelled within her. Without a moment’s hesitation she dove head first into the water, pulling hard with her arms toward the bottom as Demi and Selena called out, “Stella; what’s wrong??”
She swam straight down, taking in the situation in an instant. She grabbed her sister’s arms and then desperately trying to drag her back up. But Vanessa wouldn’t budge; something was holding her down as she violently thrashed about!
Stella tried to grab on and pull her up… “Sis; what’s wrong??” She was frantic to pull her up, but she seemed to be stuck somehow. At first she couldn’t see the problem; what the hell was holding her sister down??
As she desperately tried to ascertain the problem she felt the presence of Demi and Selena on either side of her, the two of them grunting in alarm. Quickly they grabbed onto Vanessa’s arms, jerking hard in a frantic attempt to pull her up. She was clearly running out of breath.
Vanessa suddenly coughed up bubbles, her stomach heaving as she gurgled water down her throat. Her body immediately went into violent spasms and convulsions as she started coughing up water and bubbles. Stella screamed in helpless frustration as her sister started to drown right in front of her. Demi and Selena frantically tried to pull her up, grunting in anguish while wondering what the hell was keeping her down.
Stella looked down until she caught sight of her sister’s pointed heel wedged into the grate of the pool drain. She clawed her way down her sister’s spasming body, jerking on her the whole time in a frantic effort to pull her free. She grabbed her sister’s leg, tugging on it like crazy as she grunted and bubbled. But it just wasn’t happening; the spiked heel wasn’t coming free.
Stella heard her sister gurgling, saw her body spasming and convulsing. It made her sick inside as panic threatened to overwhelm her. Then she got a clear view of the spike of the heel disappearing down into the drain. It looked to be wedged in tight.
It finally registered in her mind what needed to be done: either free the heel or free the foot! But now she was running out of breath herself. Grunting anxiously as bubbles streamed out of her nose, she reached down and began fighting with the straps to her sister’s shoe, desperate to pull it free.
Demi and Selena grunted as they both pulled hard, staring in horror at the look of shock on Vanessa’s face. Her eyes became glassy and lifeless as she went limp in their grasp. But for some reason she was not coming up no matter how hard they tried. Both grunted anxiously, renewing their efforts until their friend spasmed gently, a few stray bubbles slipping out past her parted lips.
Both let out a cry of horror when they realized she had drowned. Then they looked down to see Stella frantically working on something down near the drain. They both began screaming at her to hurry up as they set about to jerking once again on Vanessa’s lifeless body.
Stella discovered the straps were exceptionally tight. It was a combination of the footwear being underwater while the other two kept trying to pull her up. There efforts were applying tension on the heel, making it difficult to pop the strap.
She didn’t understand why it was so hard loosening the strap and freeing Vanessa’s foot from the heel. All she knew was her sis would drown if she couldn’t get her free in time! And now her own lungs were on fire. It scared her what might happen to her sister if she was forced to surface for a breath.
All of the sudden the straps became easier to work with. Demi and Selena had been forced to abandon them both to get another breath. Stella wanted to join them; she needed air in the worst way. But she wasn’t about to leave her sister, at least not until that damned foot came free.
With one hard, determined yank she actually tore one of the straps completely off the shoe. It was enough to loosen her sister’s foot from the wedged heel. Stella jerked hard on the leg, pulling the foot entirely free of the spiked heel jammed down into the drain.
She turned and kicked hard for the surface, spewing her breath away as she instinctively wrapped an arm around her sister. She suddenly coughed and gurgled, swallowing water as she reached the end of her breath-hold limits. That’s when the other two suddenly appeared.
Demi wrapped an arm around her as she started coughing and gurgling while Selena grabbed Vanessa. Then the two of them frantically hauled the sisters back up. They all burst up at the surface, Demi dragging a violently coughing Stella over to the edge of the pool while Selena struggled to get Vanessa out of the water.
Stella went into a coughing fit, gasping and sobbing. Selena manage to roll Vanessa up out of the water onto the edge of the pool. She quickly got out, knelt over her dear friend and started doing CPR as Demi helped Stella out of the water.
Selena checked for a breath, found it was nonexistent and began doing chest compressions. Demi came over, almost in tears. Stella was still coughing and sobbing as she crawled over.
Selena gave five quick chest compressions as Vanessa stared lifelessly up at the night sky. She paused long enough to wait for a response. When there was none she quickly bent over, sealed their lips together and blew two deep breaths into the lungs of her friend.
Vanessa’s chest suddenly heaved as though she was trying to vomit. Her eyes blinked as a flash of life flickered in her pupils. Then she coughed up pool water.
CPR was no longer needed as Vanessa went into a severe coughing fit. At least she was trying to breathe on her own. Selena told Demi to call 911, causing her friend to rush over to her iphone and quickly punch in the number.
Stella came over to hover over her sister, tears streaming down her cheeks as she kept crying out, “Vanessa? Sis?? Nessa?”
Vanessa’s coughing lessened as she tried to rise up. Stella and Selena helped her to sit upright, both feeling anxious as she coughed… took in a couple ragged breaths… coughed again… and then started breathing better.
“What happened?” she finally gasped. “Which one of you… pushed me… all the way to the bottom?” She had a weak smile on her face.
“Take it easy, ok? Selena told her. “We called an ambulance!!”
“I don’t think I… need an ambulance.”
“You swallowed water, sis; you damn well do!” Stella was sobbing with relief as she hugged her tight.
“I just called them; they’ll be here in a few minutes!” Then Demi came back over to the waterlogged group, a mixture of worry and relief in her features as tears welled up in her eyes.
“Geez!” Vanessa finally gasped, looking all around at them as if in a daze. “What did you guys do to me?! It feels like an elephant sat on me!”
“We were just mad because you’re a better actress than I am!” Selena told her with a half-hearted laugh, trying to keep from bawling tears of joy. The other girls chuckled with nervous relief.
“Where’s my shoe?” Vanessa asked in confusion, looking down and noticing her bare foot. “What happened to my heel? Those shoes are expensive!”
“It’s stuck in the pool drain, silly,” Stella said through her tears. “Don’t you know better than to go swimming in your heels?” Then she hugged her sister tightly again while sobbing openly, relieved her sister was going to be ok. A moment later all four of them heard the sound of an approaching siren entering the neighborhood…
© 2013; 2016 (written for jqpublic Jan 27 ’13; ed. Apr 11 ‘16 by riwa)