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Chapter 101: Surf Lesson

The spray of the salty water stung at Andrew's eyes as he cut his board down the face of the wave.  The fins sliced through the water and he crouched low, getting into the tiny barrel.  He sped down the face, then cut again, and the board seemed to lift into the air before landing back on the water.

Andrew laughed gleefully as the board moved.  Second to a freefall out of an airplane, this was as close to flying as he could get.

And then the wave he was riding began to die out.  As it slowed, he flipped his board back out to sea, dropped down, and began paddling. 

The Malibu waves would never be mistaken for the Banzai Pipeline, but then Andrew was hardly an expert surfer.  Competent would be the word he would use, and for competent, three- to four-foot swells were perfectly fine.
   
He rolled over a developing wave and saw one further out that looked like it might be a good one.  Turning the board back toward the beach, he positioned himself to catch the wave.  Perfect timing, he thought, as the board took off like a shot.  An instant later, Andrew was on his feet and dropping into the wave.

The air blew past his face and the water, once again, stung his eyes.  He wiped the water away and glanced toward the beach, toward Kim's house.

"Holy--" He didn't finish the sentence, because the momentary distraction caused him to lose control of the surfboard.  The wave broke directly on the board and Andrew was propelled into the air.  He crashed down into the water with a violent splash.  The tide flipped him a couple of times before he managed to find the surface.

He came up sputtering.  After regaining his bearings, he tromped through the whitewash to where his surfboard had come to rest on the sand in front of the house.  As he approached, however, he paid no attention to the board.  Andrew's eyes were only on the woman standing on the deck.

This just isn't fair, he thought.  Shivaughn was wearing only a yellow bikini that showed off everything quite spectacularly.  The color worked well against her dark skin and her long hair was being blown by the morning wind that came off the water.  Andrew felt his pulse quicken, but then reminded himself of his promise to Jeannie.  This really isn't fair, he thought again.

He reached the sand, picked up the board, and inspected it to make sure it had not cracked under the pressure of the wave.  It looked okay.

So did Shivaughn.  Actually, she looked far better than okay.

Stop it, he said to himself, reminding himself that he prized a particular part of his anatomy that Jeannie's had threatened to remove.  She was just crazy enough to go through with it and probably was already good enough at the law business that she would get off scot-free.  Still, he brushed back his wet hair and looked up at the deck.

Shivaughn obviously took that as an invitation and began walking down the stairs to the sand.  "That was . . . interesting."  She spoke in a slightly mocking tone.  "And here I assumed you were an expert surfer."

"Competent," Andrew said.  "I've got no illusions about that."  He tried not to stare at her breasts, even though they seemed barely contained by the yellow fabric of the bikini top.  "You're, um, up early.  Jeannie should've told you that there's not usually any sun until late morning or afternoon."

"Do I look like I need a tan?" she asked.

Andrew felt his cheeks grow warm, and tried to backpedal as quickly as he could.  He did not intend to insult her.  "I . . . I, um, didn't mean that. . . ."

"Don't worry about it," she said, looking at the surfboard.  "Your uncle mentioned a surf lesson."

Andrew gave her a tight-lipped smile.  He was going to strangle Bo when he got a chance.  Or maybe he would just crush his windpipe with a punch.  That was part of Andrew's military training.  "I think Uncle Bo was exaggerating."

"So you can't show me?"  She had the cutest pout on her face.

Jeannie's going to kill me, Andrew thought, but it did not stop him.  "I guess I can show you some of the basics.  But first we need to find you a wetsuit.  We keep all the old ones in a shed by the house."  Maybe the one he used when he was 16 would be about the right size.  "I should warn you that it'll probably be loose in some areas and. . . . um, tight in some others."  Andrew wanted to kick himself.  Did he really say that?

Shivaughn took it well.  Her pout turned into a wry smile.  "I'm sure I'll manage."

With a nod, Andrew headed for the shed, taking the steps two at a time.  With a smile of his own, he said to himself, "Jeannie's going to kill me."