Chapter 3

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Camila knocked on the side door of Jupiter Surf at 7:58 a.m. The air was warm and breezy, and she'd braided her hair to keep some semblance of control over it. She opened the yellow door and stepped hesitantly inside when nobody answered.

There were blankets on the green couch, like somebody had slept there, and Camila recognized Lauren's surfboard-dripping wet and propped precariously against a crowded bookcase.

"Lauren?" Camila called, moving towards the hallway. "Hello?"

She spied the bathroom Lauren had taken her through previously and two other doorways. One led to the shop floor, and Camila peered into the other, surprised to find Niall lying on the floor with one eye closed, studying the surfboard in front of him.

"Niall." Camila chirped and smiled when he looked up.

"There she is!" He proclaimed. He gestured for her to join him and she frowned in confusion and shuffled over to kneel by the surfboard. "Alright Camila, you gotta tell me if this looks even. 'Cause I can sand it down more, but I don't wanna sand it too much, you know."

Camila hummed like she did know. She furrowed her brow and studied the small board, not willing to lie completely flat like Niall because of the dress she was wearing.

"I mean I'll measure it when I'm done to be sure, but this is just like the first step."

"It-I mean, it appears even." Camila offered hesitantly. "But I'm not really sure how you can even...tell. Obviously I'm not well-versed in this trade."

She tilted her head and frowned at the board, ignoring the sand digging into her knees.

"That's good, that's good." Niall nodded thoughtfully. He patted the board. "I think I'll do FCS for this. It's for a kid, so better not to glass in the fins, right? I used to reef mine off all the time."

Camila nodded blankly. She stared at Niall's bobbing blonde head. "You...reefed...what? Sorry, I'm not sure I-"

Niall glanced at her. "Oh yeah, of course!" He smiled and pushed himself up to his knees and pointed at the tail of the board. "You can either have glassed-on fins, which are permanent, or a fin control system, where the fins are removable. FCS is way more common now. You can smash up your tail in the reef without buying a new board each time."

Camila nodded slowly, pleased that he was teaching her. Two minutes in and she'd already learned something.

"Is Lauren around?" she wondered, following suit when Niall stood up.

"In the shower, I think. Waves were breaking nice this morning."

"She's been surfing already?" Camila was an early riser, but she couldn't fathom rolling out of bed before the sun to jump in the ocean.

Niall laughed and led her through the hallway to the shop floor. "Four a.m., dude. I don't even know if she sleeps."

"Does she live here?"

Niall bobbed his head back and forth, crossing the crowded surfboard section of the shop to get to the register. "Technically she lives with me, but she's like a nomad, so just...wherever."

"Oh yeah, Lauren's a vagabond."

Camila turned at the new voice. It belonged to a smiling guy hanging wetsuit booties on the shop wall. He bounced forward and held out his hand.

"Hey, I'm Louis."

"Camila." She smiled brightly, intent on good first impressions.

"Holy shit, that bitch."

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