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Chapter 109: Mental

"So I do it like this?"  Shivaughn pushed herself off the board and landed on her feet.

"Almost," Andrew said.  He reached over and put his hands on her waist.  He turned her slightly, so her feet were sideways.  "There."

She smiled, noting that Andrew had been very hands on during their lesson.  She laid back down on the board and repeated the maneuver, this time landing with her feet in the same position that Andrew had just shown her.  "How's that?"

"Perfect.  Now you just have to do it in 60-degree water with waves coming at you."  He crossed his arms and gave her a knowing glance.

"Ha!  You don't think I can do it," she said.  She would show him, she told herself.  Shivaughn stepped off the board, reached down and picked it up, and turned toward the ocean.

A minute later, she was coughing up a lungful of salt water and doing her best impression of a drowned rat.

"Not as easy as it looks," Andrew said in a mocking tone.  He pulled up the top of his wetsuit, zipped it closed, and picked up the surfboard that had come to rest near his feet.  With a grin, he carried it into the water until he was next to her.  "We'll try this one together."

With a huff, Shivaughn climbed onto the board.  "I don't need your help."  She knew it was stupid pride, but the way he was laughing at her, she was not going to accept his help.

"Suit yourself."  He motioned his head in the direction of the beach.  "I'll just wait over there for the board."

Oooohhhhhh.  She hated being mocked, almost as much as she hated not being able to do something she wanted to do.  Shivaughn fumed inwardly, but she made a concerted effort not to show her annoyance.

She pulled herself back onto the board and began paddling out to the deeper water.  She rolled over a couple of swells until she saw a wave forming ahead of her.  Turning the board, she began kicking and paddling hard.  She felt the water rushing behind her and the board started to lift.  Yes.  She had caught the wave.  As the board swept forward along the water, she did what she had been shown.  She pushed with her arms and jumped up.  Ha!  Her feet landed on the board and . . .

And she tumbled back off the board.  Her head and shoulders hit the water first and then she was flipping and spinning under the waves.  The world around her became a murky haze of water and sand.  She flipped again and tried to come up, not even sure if up was actually up.  Something hit her again and she found herself rolling again, still underwater.  She tried to scream, but her mouth only filled with water.

Then she was hauled in the opposite direction and her head breached the surface.  Alternating coughing and gasping for breath, Shivaughn barely noticed that she was being pulled toward the beach.  A moment later, she was on her hands and knees coughing up the last of the water.

"Are you okay?" Andrew asked her.  He was crouched by her side.

She tried to answer, but her words turned into a sputtering cough.  He slapped her on the back. Hard.  "Ow!" she cried, turning to face.  "What did you do that for?"

"I guess that means you're okay," he said.  She thought he rolled his eyes as he sat back onto the sand.

"What happened?" she asked, now that she could manage to breath normally.  "I couldn't come up for air."
       
Andrew gave her a sympathetic look.  "You probably got caught in the blasted riptide.  It can be pretty strong.  For a moment, I thought you had it."  At her slightly shocked expression, Andrew clarified himself.  "I mean, I thought you had the wave and were going to ride it."

"So did I."  Shivaughn sat up.  "Did the board survive?"

"Better than you, probably."  At her annoyed glance, he shook his head.  "Why don't we get you onto the deck and dried off.?"  He held out a hand to help her up.

"Excuse me," she said.  "I didn't say anything about giving up."  One thing Andrew Donovan was going to learn about her was that she was not a quitter.  "Now where's that board?"

Andrew definitely rolled his eyes this time, but he pointed to his right where the surfboard had landed.  She got up and began walking toward it.  "I'm not stopping until I can stand up on that thing," she said, as she strode purposefully toward the board. 

Behind her, she thought she heard Andrew mutter, "Mental.  Gorgeous, but positively mental."