Lena looks up from her guitar and her fingers go still on the strings. Anne Marie ducks her head, heat rushing to her cheeks, and glances at Lena through her lashes. They’re alone in the house, Eden and Penny are off doing something somewhere. Anne Marie doesn’t want to think too hard about that, because Penny is her baby sister, she shouldn’t be hanging out in the places Eden frequents.
Finally Lena shrugs. “Okay.” It’s easy for her to forgive and forget. She’s always been like that, from the very first time Anne Marie met her, way back in elementary school. Mom dragged them from Kauai to Oahu. At the time, she said it was because there were more jobs, but now Anne Marie knows better. It was for a guy. Everything Mom’s ever done has been for a guy.
Anne Marie feels every so slightly ill, but pushes that thought away too.
“I really am. Sorry.”
Lena runs her thumb lightly down the strings. Faint notes follow, and even though she’s not doing anything special, it sounds like music.
“I know.” Anne Marie smiles, relieved, and looks up, but Lena’s expression is thoughtful. No big smile for Anne Marie, which is what she expects. “I’m not the one you need to apologize to.” She meets Anne Marie’s gaze calmly, and looking into her eyes, Anne Marie remembers that for all that Lena is flighty, for all that she is bad with money, for all that she is happy go lucky and swims through life like it’s one big ocean, no one gives her enough credit, because she’s smart and sharp and observant too. “You just came to me because it’s easier. Because you’re scared.”
Oh. Until that moment, Anne Marie hadn’t realized it herself. She flushes and presses her cool fingers against her cheeks. Yeah, that’s subtle.
The corner of Lena’s mouth quirks and she looks down at her guitar. “I wrote a new song,” she says, cutting Anne Marie a break. Which Anne Marie totally doesn’t deserve and she knows it, but appreciates it anyway.
“Oh yeah? Want to play it for me?” Of course Lena wants to play it for her, Lena wants to share everything, she’s so open to the world. But it’s nice to ask, nice to let her know that, no matter how she’s been acting, Anne Marie wants to know about her life, too, not just babble on about her own.
Really, she used to be much better at thinking of others. When had she changed?
The sound of her head on the coral is almost a phantom memory, the sharp crack and the thrum of her pulse in her ears and all the pressure of the water on her head. She touches the spot gingerly, but it’s long healed, leaving behind only a little scar.
A little scar and a personality change, maybe, but that’s not a damn excuse.
Anne Marie sits down next to Lena and focuses hard on fully listening to her play.
It is tough as hell getting Eden alone now. At first, Anne Marie thought they were okay. After that one great wave at Pipe, Eden celebrated with her, holding her tight, and when Anne Marie stroked her hand along Eden’s face, she thought the touch said it all. Forgive me and Thank you for pushing me and I’ll never do it again.
But either Eden’s got some sort of secret life as a superhero or she’s still pissed, because anytime they might accidentally be alone together, she’s never around. She’s gone most nights, and though on the weekends she takes Penny with her sometimes, during the week, she’s off by herself, because Penny’s got school and Lena lingers around the house with her new rescued dog and her guitar and her songwriting. In the mornings, if Eden’s home, she’s in her shop before dawn until time for her and Lena to go to work and half the time she’s not around anyway, though Lena says she shows up for work on time and gets the cleaning done without too much griping.
Sometimes they all surf together, but Anne Marie finds herself alone a lot more often than she likes. Matt’s long gone back to the mainland and though her heart gives a little twinge if she thinks about his smile or the way he cupped her face so gently, that’s nothing on how she feels when she realizes she might have really fucked up her family.
Anne Marie wants to wait, to find the right moment, but she’s never been very patient except in the water. So it’s not really a surprise that she does a little investigating and tracks down Eden one night.
What is a surprise is that she finds Eden with Kala.
Anne Marie finally finds Eden at her favorite little locals only cove. It’s not that Anne Marie hasn’t checked there before, of course she has, she’s not dumb, but Eden’s never been there when she was looking. But this time, either Anne Marie finally wore Lena down or maybe Lena just took pity on her, because Lena gave her the heads up that Eden mentioned heading there to try out a new board.
Eden never lets anyone on her boards until she’s tested them, so it’s a good bet she’s alone. That’s why Anne Marie grabs a case of beer and some fried chicken before she heads out. Maybe they’re bribes, but Anne Marie prefers to think of them as part of the apology.
It’s dusk by the time she makes it out to Eden’s spot. The sun lingers elsewhere, but here the trees rise up high and close enough to the path that she needs light to see. As she pulls up to the edge of the beach, her headlights sweep over two people making out. He’s got his big hands all over her, one hand on her ass and the other sliding from hip to breast to the back of her neck like he was made to touch her. She palms the back of his head with one hand and has the other down his trunks.
Anne Marie sits and stares, the car rumbling as it idles. It needs a tune up, and for once she can afford it, but she’s not sure why she’s thinking about her car when Eden’s jacking off Kala right in front of her. She doesn’t even think about turning off the lights or anything until Eden turns and squints. Anne Marie’s heartbeat thuds in her ears so loud and they're far enough away that she can’t actually hear what Eden says, but from the twist of her mouth, it was probably What the hell do you want?
She shudders and throws the car into reverse, not even watching as she stomps on the gas. She’s lucky as hell she doesn’t hit a tree before she drags her eyes away from Eden pressing her body all over Kala.
It’s not that she’s jealous exactly. It’s that she didn’t know, because Eden didn’t tell her. It’s that Eden always used to tell Anne Marie everything.
Anne Marie pretends to be asleep when Eden comes in that night, but either Eden doesn’t buy it or she just doesn’t care, because she flops on the end of Anne Marie’s bed anyway, landing so hard Anne Marie’s bumped into the wall.
Very quickly, she considers lashing out or pretending Eden just woke her, but she quickly rejects both of those as too difficult (and unlikely to work anyway). Instead she rolls over and stares at the ceiling.
“You peeled off in a hurry,” Eden says. Her voice is rough and a little husky, like she’s been smoking or maybe like she’s had a dick in her mouth too much lately. Anne Marie’s cheeks burn and she has to close her eyes.
“You were busy,” she mumbles.
The bed creaks as Eden moves around, trying to get comfortable. Anne Marie doesn’t dare sneak a peek at her, not now.
“Yeah.” Anne Marie can actually hear the smirk. “Best kind of busy.”
There’s nothing to say to that.
“Why’s it okay for you to fuck haole boy but you’re all pissed off about Kala?”
Her eyes snap open. She didn’t expect anything like that from Eden, not because Eden isn’t direct -- goddamn is she direct -- but because she didn’t think Eden had noticed.
“I’m not pissed.” It comes out sounding weak and it’s pretty damn obvious she doesn’t believe it herself.
“Yeah, okay, not pissed, but whatever this is. What, you got yourself a pretty tourist and now the locals aren’t good enough for you?”
If only she knew. But how can Anne Marie expect her to know when she’s only just figured it out herself.
“No.” She tries that again, putting some force into it. “No. I just didn’t know you and Kala got back together.”
Eden shrugs and leans back against the wall. Her shirt rides up a little, baring her belly button. “We’re not exactly together,” she says. “He’s just a hell of a fuck.”
“I’m sorry,” Anne Marie bursts out. “I was a shit.”
“Yeah.” Eden shrugs again, all easy. “You were.”
“I just got scared.” Of more than she realized at the time, but there’s no point in saying that, not with Eden so comfortably heterosexual, flaunting Kala and not even caring who sees her touch him.
That’s not fair, Anne Marie knows, but she’s not feeling very fair. Or very rational, for that matter.
Eden watches her a long moment, her mouth twisted up and her eyes so penetrating Anne Marie wants to blush and squirm and get up off the bed to put on some damn clothes. Then something almost gentle breaks across Eden’s expression.
Before Anne Marie can even try to figure it out, Eden leans forward. “You still scared?” she asks, so close Anne Marie can feel her breath.
Yes, Anne Marie thinks, but what comes out of her mouth is all bravado. “Hell no.”
Eden laughs, the corner of her mouth quirked up into a grin, and then, without any warning, except she’s been broadcasting this for weeks -- for months, for years -- with her jealousy and the weight of her attention like a caress, Eden closes the last of the distance between them and kisses Anne Marie.
Anne Marie’s so startled she just freezes, her body perfectly still. That only lasts a few seconds, because Eden slides a hand into her hair, gently working her fingers through the tangles, and that sends chills through Anne Marie’s body. She opens her mouth because she’s gasping, but then Eden’s tongue is right there, teasing her lips and her tongue, and she sinks into the kiss.
It’s not that everyone else Anne Marie’s kissed was a bad kisser. It’s just that Eden is kissing her and touching her and Anne Marie feels like she might explode from it.
Her hand shakes when she reaches up and presses her fingertips to Eden’s cheek, but she never even considers pulling away.