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Shoulders bent, Sonora stood at the water's edge, her feet firmly planted in the light-tan sand. She faced the open ocean, her blonde hair dancing as the wind came off the water. Behind her lay her family's homes, her grandfather's, her parents and her aunt and uncle's. All the porches were empty but one. Sonora's Aunt Claire and Uncle Devon sat on their porch swing enjoying the evening and sneaking a look or two at their troubled niece.

Sonora wiggled her toes as the warm waves barely swept over them carrying little bits of sand and rock that lightly scraped against her skin. Lifting her foot, she swirled a toe through the small eddies the water made on its inward trek. This is as much ocean as I can handle now.

It had been a month since she'd been back. And while she'd thought Atlantis would just fade away like the dream it had seemed to be, it continued its hold on her. But it was not only the city that invaded her thoughts but also a certain inhabitant.

Sonora had walked out of the ocean and into her family's arms, literally. They had all been peering into her car as she had crossed onto the beach. It bothered her that the moment she saw them, she had started lying to them. She felt like she hadn't stopped since.

First, there had been about a million questions concerning where she had been. She couldn't exactly tell them the truth. Oh yeah, Mom and Dad, a crazy non-breather dragged me to his ocean home against my will. Turns out it's Atlantis, yep that's the one! And he wants to be my boyfriend or something. 

Yeah, that gets me a trip to the looney bin.

So Sonora told them a version of the truth. She got hit by a small rogue wave, and a man named Ian saved her. She had still been disoriented, not enough to go to the hospital, but a bit dizzy, so his family had kindly taken care of her. And it was too bad, but they had just missed meeting him.

From the questions her family continued to ask, Sonora could tell something didn't seem right to them. Not to mention the strange look her Uncle Devon had given her. 

She had moped around the house for days before deciding that she might as well add to the lying. With Sierra's help, she was able to get into a couple of Marine Biology classes at the college. Now all she had to do was keep them a secret from her parents and make excuses for her absences.

Between classes and work, her busy schedule helped keep her mind off the ocean and what was below it. Still, whenever Sonora had a moment to think, there was only one place her mind went, and now her brooding had turned to anger.

She hadn't asked him to show her his world or tell her about his feelings. She hadn't wanted that. He had forced it on her.  

If he had been a normal person, they could have had a relationship. But no, he had to be... Atlantian. It felt strange for her even think the word up here. 

Admittedly, he was an extremely attractive, kind, attentive Atlantian. Who thinks that humans are below him, including me. How would that work? Not well, I'm thinking.

Sonora drew back her leg and kicked at the water as hard as she could. Then she huffed out a sharp sigh before turning around and heading for the house.

Seeing her aunt and uncle on the porch swing, she went and plopped herself down between them, something she had done since she was a child. Since Devon and Clare hadn't had any children of their own, they often said they viewed Sonora and Sierra as more than merely their sister's children and they welcomed their nieces at every opportunity.

Once Sonora was settled, they both put an arm around her. She laid her head first against her aunt and then her uncle. 

"Oh you poor dear," Aunt Claire said, "Tell us what's upset you. You haven't been the same since you've been back."

Sonora stilled for a moment, worried she'd been revealing too much of her agitation. Everyone thought she was traumatized by the water accident and that's how she left it. She figured she might as well build on that. She lowered her eyes as she said, "I don't know. I think I'm a little afraid of the ocean now. After the wave and all. It's upsetting."

Uncle Devon patted her head as he gave her a sidelong look. "Yes well, if that's all it is, I'm sure you'll be past it. It will just take a bit of time, Sunny."

Tears welled in Sonora's eyes. Unknown to her uncle, those were the same words she'd been telling herself every day. And the same ones her grandfather had said to her this morning.

Sonora and her grandfather had often taken a morning walk on the beach together. Since she had returned from Atlantis, however, it was a daily occurrence. For as long as she could remember, her grandfather had always been there for the family and now, keeping true to his nature, he was here for her.

Sometimes they chatted, and sometimes they just walked, him lending her more of his quiet strength with every step they took. Occasionally, Sonora wondered if he knew something more had gone on then what she had told them. She was certain he suspected. 

As they'd walked this morning, the air around them was foggy, and it seemed as though more salt then usual hung in the air. Grandpa had put his arm around her and said, "You'll be fine, girly. I know you will."

Sonora had nodded as she had raised her arm to his waist and returned his hug.

"You know, Sunny, you've always been the most like me, even more than my own children. Funny how it sometimes turns out like that. You and I, we feel things deeply, don't we? I know your hurting, but you'll mend. Healing takes a little bit longer for you and me."

He smiled down at her, and she saw something in his eyes, something ancient and tragic. Sonora wondered if he meant when he lost grandma. The question was on her lips when one of his friends had walked up to them.

"Blake Karras, as I live and breathe, it certainly had been a while!"

Sonora smiled and shook the man's hand when her grandfather had proudly introduced her. Then as the old men reminisced, her gaze moved out to the sea.

A/N: Thanks for reading Sea Bound! If you enjoyed the chapter, please press the little star below. :)

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