Chapter 11

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"What are we waiting for?" Camila whined. She stared impatiently at the breaking waves and tapped her hands along her surfboard. "Let's just go."

Lauren shook her head. "We have to wait for a lull to paddle out."

"How long will that be?"

"I don't control the ocean, Camila." Lauren rolled her eyes. She scanned the horizon again and then glanced down at Camila, who stood in the knee-deep water fidgeting like a four-year-old. Lauren knew she'd be far less eager to learn a trick once she was pummeled by one of the head-high waves.

She also figured Camila would do it over and over again until she got it right. Lauren just hoped to keep her from drowning.

"Follow me when we paddle out, okay?" Lauren nudged Camila's arm, eyeing her seriously. "No lolly-gagging. If you get tired or scared, say so, and we'll try to make it back in before the set hits."

Camila scoffed. "I won't get scared."

Lauren hummed indulgently.

Camila narrowed her eyes. She could see Lauren's lips curved into an amused smile, eyes bright and sharp and focused on the waves. Her cheeks were red and her hair was tangled, and Camila forgot what she was going to say.

"Ready, Camila Cabello?" Lauren wondered, bending over to tighten the leash around her ankle.

Camila's eyes landed on her ass, naturally. She thought about buying Lauren a new pair of red shorts.

"Ready?" Camila echoed absently.

Lauren took a few steps forward, shortboard tucked snugly under her arm. She lifted a knowing eyebrow at Camila and gestured towards the waves. "It's flat. Time to paddle. Pick it up, lady."

Camila gasped excitedly. "It's time!" she yanked on her leash and dragged her longboard after Lauren to the waist-high water. Lauren moved so lightly and quickly, skimming along the surface of the water as she paddled, flashing her toned arms with every stroke.

Camila struggled to keep up, barely convincing herself not to just grab onto Lauren's ankle and let Lauren tow her out past the break. She repeated everything Lauren had ever taught her- stay balanced, go steady, kick your feet, don't fall off. Her arms burned, but she managed to keep up.

"There are some swells coming." Lauren called, glancing behind her to make sure Camila was still there. She was, and her pretty little face was breathless and alert, clearly very determined.

Lauren nodded to herself, pleased. "They won't break on you, even if looks like they're going to." She said loudly. "I promise."

Camila's eyes widened once she realized what Lauren was talking about. The swells were much larger out here than they appeared from the whitewater. They were overwhelming, huge and looming and ready to crash down on her if she didn't move fast enough.

"Lauren." Camila called anxiously, barely making it over one of the swells before it broke.

"Almost there, Camila."

"How big are these?" Camila asked loudly as she crested another one, jolting forward on the other side. She cleared her throat because her voice was unnaturally shrill.

Lauren glanced behind her again. She wondered if Camila could tell how proud she was of her. "About four feet."

Camila's jaw dropped, and she swallowed a mouthful of saltwater and coughed immediately. "Four-that-only four feet? That's it?" she sputtered.

Lauren finally stopped paddling. She sat back on her board and glanced around to take note of her location- she was lined up perfectly with the end of Jupiter Pier- and she smiled when Camila's board bumped into hers.

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