The morning air fills my lungs as I take deep cleansing breaths, and the sand is cool under my bare feet. Storm and I take our places and bow in salute. Dad nods, and I let Storm get the first throw in. As I fall, my foot contacts his legs and sweeps them out from under him. We’ve been using both the Shotokan techniques Dad has taught Sky and me all our lives and the mixed martial arts moves that Storm is familiar with. The combination is exhilarating.
“Enough,” Dad calls, after what seems like an hour of sparring. We bow again, and make a run for the water. Storm’s a strong swimmer, but I outclass him, having grown up near the beach. He lived in Oklahoma before moving to the Cherokee reservation in Blue Mountain, North Carolina. No beaches in either location. We swim out a hundred yards to deep water when I feel the mental link open.
I’m beat. Heading in. Storm’s thoughts are clear in my mind.
Right behind you, I say, and then press the face of my wristband to close the connection before turning back to shore. He rarely uses the link anymore. Since the cavern, there hasn’t been an urgent reason to. We’re all dealing with anger and grief in our own way.
The sand has warmed up considerably by the time I reach it and collapse, leaving Storm floating on his back in the calm, shallow water. Jewel would love the color of the ocean here. It’s the color of her eyes.
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