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Story Notes:
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, of course.
Dedication: Written for a prompt nikitangel gave me a long time ago. (I think; I couldn't actually find the post with the prompt.) The prompt was: Eden waking up early to work on her boards while the other girls sleep (or while Anne-Marie works out on the beach).
I. Before

Anne Marie talked in her sleep.

Well, she kind of mumbled a little when Eden sat up and knocked her elbow against the edge of the bed. She said a bad word, one her mother tried not to let her hear when she said it, but Anne Marie didn’t wake up. She just rolled over toward the wall and pulled the pillow over her head.

Eden crawled out of her sleeping bag and stood up. The floor was rough with loose sand under her bare feet, and in the bathroom she tripped over the tangled pile of bathing suits. They were still wet, and had a weird smell.

Eden peed, washed her hands, and hanged the suits over the edge of the tub. She knew they wouldn’t be dry before they had to put them on again.

Mrs. Chadwick kept cereal in the pantry. It was like paradise, row after row of sugar-coated treats. There wasn’t always milk, and there was almost never any other food, but even though Anne Marie complained, Eden thought cereal was even better dry.

She grabbed her favorite, Captain Crunch with the Crunch Berries, and took the box outside. The house was too quiet; she liked to chew loud, and it would wake everyone up. Anne Marie would be grumpy because they had stayed awake until midnight for New Year’s Eve.

Mrs. Chadwick would be grumpy, too. She didn’t like kids very much, sometimes. Other times, she was a lot of fun, taking them surfing and making them sandwiches just the way Eden liked, white bread and mayo and cheese and crumbled up chips.

It wasn’t bad, being banished outside. It was better out there, the air and the sky and the ocean. God, Eden loved the ocean. Maybe, once she finished eating, she’d go wake Anne Marie and they could swim. They weren’t actually allowed in the water until the sun came up, but Eden loved it at night, the coral just under the surface, and the bite of salt in her eyes.

She liked it best when she floated on her surfboard and closed her eyes, an island in the middle of the water.

II. During

Anne Marie slept on her side, the sheet knotted around her legs, and her mouth open.

Eden eased the sheet off, untangled it, and spread it along Anne Marie’s body again. She smoothed her hair back, away from her face, and watched as some of the frown lines disappeared.

She checked on Penny, face down in her pillow, blanket over her feet only, and Lena, curled in a ball, arms pressed against her stomach.

They never woke up when she did. Anne Marie would be up soon to work out, but the others would sleep until noon if they could.

Eden couldn’t wait that long. After a couple hours in the sun, her workshop would be an oven, baking her boards, baking her skin. Sometimes she was glad she had to leave for work, to get away from the heat rising and filling the only space which was truly hers.

If she took a break and stood in the doorway, she could watch the sun rise.

She almost never did that. If she was going to waste valuable time she could be working, she was going to watch Anne Marie train. Sometimes she stopped to help her. Sometimes she just wanted to take a look at all that talent in one beautiful body.

Mostly, she wanted to get the damn curve right on her board, and make sure Anne Marie won the competition.

That wasn’t asking too much, surely.

III. After

Hawaii time was a hell of a lot earlier than anywhere else in the world. If she wanted to talk to Anne Marie at a decent hour – decent for Anne Marie, that is – Eden had to either stay up late or get up early. Either way, she didn’t get much sleep. It was a good thing she didn’t need it.

She sat in the backyard to talk on her shiny new cell phone, paid for by surfing money, from Anne Marie’s sponsor and Eden selling a couple boards. They got free nights and weekends, but the night part of it rarely worked very well.

Eden watched the stars while they talked. She remembered a couple constellations from high school science, the popular ones: Orion’s Belt. The Big Dipper. She should probably learn more, if she was going to spend so much time outside listening to Anne Marie talk about the circuit, or the other surfers, or how much she missed home.

“I miss you,” she said, and her voice was low. Eden gripped the phone tight.

“You too.” It’s not what she wanted to say, but it had to be enough.

End


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