The Unrelenting Blue

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by templemarker

Notes: Eden/Anne Marie, for Hope in Yuletide 2005. Read it there.


story the first: before

Anne Marie’s mother had promised her that she could swim in the ocean when they got to Hawaii. Anne Marie’s mother promised her a lot of things, and she had learned quickly in her six years to not always expect what her mother promised her. But this time she could really believe, because there was the ocean, right there. Anne Marie’s little palm pressed against the glass of the airplane, and she could almost feel it rippling against her hand. She was so excited about the beautiful ocean, right there waiting for her. She was so happy.

Of course, other things her mother promised–a big house, something more than peanut butter every night, never being alone–didn’t come true, but Anne Marie expected that. There was the ocean, though, the one thing her mother gave to her that made Anne Marie love her all the same. She adored the ocean, playing in it all day and night until her mother finally called her in. She didn’t mind the times they slept on the beach, because it meant that she’d be near it the whole night.

Anne Marie absolutely hated school, because it meant for seven never-ending hours a day she couldn’t swim or surf or run around on the beach. Instead of sun on her back there were only flickering fluorescent lights, and her teachers never understood why the joyful girl they saw at the beach every Saturday became so sullen and unresponsive in the classroom.

She was in love with the ocean as much as a ten-year-old could be, and she began sneaking out of their house at five in the morning to surf and skipping Fridays to surf and practically running from the school buildings every afternoon at three to surf. Her mother put up with it, as the self-involved do, and signed the papers that allowed Anne Marie to surf in her first competition.

Anne Marie never stopped being in love.


story the second: during

Eden can’t remember a time when Anne Marie wasn’t a part of her life. She knows, of course, that there were ten years in there where Anne Marie didn’t figure at all, but they’re just a hazy blur that brightened the moment this blonde-haired, blue-eyed white girl came into her line of sight. Before she knew what she really felt, she sought out Anne Marie for friendship. They were instantaneous companions, and Eden felt like more than just the city-girl transplant she was when she was with Anne Marie.

Eden can look back on that time and smile, because she remembers being so naive to think she was the center of Anne Marie’s world.

As they grew older, their relationship changed, and there was a press of lips against a water-cracked mouth as the sun rose on the beach. Anne Marie gave her a soft smile and Eden stopped being afraid, and they were young and in love but still there was a part of Anne Marie she just couldn’t get at.

They hit sixteen and met Lena, met the beach crowd, and got pulled apart by stupid arguments and even stupider boys. They didn’t last, of course, and their friendship was both stronger and less stable than before.

But when the ocean betrayed her, Eden was there.

And now that Anne Marie is too confused to see what she really loves, what has a hold on her deeper and more profound than any person could, Eden knows that it’s her job to remind her of what she’s running from, even if it means she has to play bad cop. Because it’s not her dream, it’s not her living through Anne Marie–it’s loving her enough to make her see where her heart truly lies.


story the third: after

Penny’s going to college. It’s totally her sister’s thing, but whatever. Three years after Pipeline and Anne Marie’s got enough sponsorship and competition winnings to send Penny wherever she wants to go, so she picks the mainland because it means she’d get away from this island and all their history here.

She’s not sorry to leave it behind, because it’s not as if anything’s really keeping her here anyway. Anne Marie’s gone intermittently through half the year, Eden with her; Lena sticks around and watches the house, pays the bills with the money Anne Marie sends, takes Penny to school. They become friends, not just friend-of-sister and friend’s-annoying-sister. It’s something Penny doesn’t think she’s ever had before, something she thinks she really wants.

After Pipeline, the first one, Penny parties less and studies more, finds that she actually likes to read and enjoys the smiles of encouragement and pride her teachers give her when she starts to give a shit. The principal almost has a heart attack when she comes out of sophomore year with straight A’s, and she swears she sees a tear in his eye when she scores highest on the SAT’s. He helps her fill out her application to the University of Southern California in Marina del Ray, where she figures she can still surf if she wants to, and do other things if she doesn’t. She likes playing pool. She likes writing poetry. These are things she never planned to admit to anybody, but they seem less scary when she’s going someplace else.

Three years later and she’s boarding the plane, saying goodbye to her sister who’s home on vacation and Eden who has a possessive arm around Anne Marie’s waist and Lena who just gives her a big grin and a tight hug, whispering goodbye in Hawaiian. They all wave goodbye and Penny doesn’t look back, only looks forward. She’s never been on a plane before.

In the luggage compartment of the plane, there’s a surfboard that had to be specially tagged, and in her backpack there’s a laptop that was a present from her sister for getting into college. As she watches the ocean shining in the sunlight from the glass window, Penny knows she’s ready for whatever comes at her, and it’s a good feeling, better than anything she’s felt before.


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