By the time the first rays of sunlight pierced the crisp dawn and illuminated the lone cotton candy streak of clouds, Alasdair slung his crimson backpack over one shoulder and darted out his door only to collide into Rearden and send him sprawling against the opposite side of the hall. "Why are you up?"
"Going with Gavin to the Morgans. Where are you going?"
"The Jones family is teaching me to surf," a smile accompanied the spark in his eye. He gave Rearden a slap on the shoulder and rushed to embrace his mother as a second horn beeped outside. After a chirp of departure, he dashed out into the cool morning air and sprinted across the dewy lawn to the station wagon with the surfboards strapped to a rack on its roof.
The last of the stars disappeared to the melody of "Drifting" by Jimi Hendrix as the station wagon rolled down the highway. Alasdair stared out the window, too exhilarated to slump against the backseat like Tyler, or snore as much as Tori as she was sandwiched between the two boys.
The sun warmed the clear sky and shined down on the azure waves tumbling below. With a sealed iPod on his hip and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles in his ears, Alasdair planted his palms on the rainbow longboard and sprang into a crouching position. His heartbeat almost hummed in his ears as the wave rolled up beneath him, and he rose with outstretched arms. He released a smile as he was raised and carried toward the shore. This must be what Poseidon would have experienced!
In an instant, the longboard shot out from beneath him, and he dropped beneath the crashing wave. The icy ocean shot through his body and nearly stole his breath. The Beatles started playing "I Feel Fine" as he kicked his way upward until his head pierced the surface and he gasped for breath.
"You all right?" Tyler asked when he removed one ear bud. He straddled his crimson board as it coasted onward. Alasdair made his way toward his board, which Tori had laid a hand on to keep still. Her layered dirty blond hair drifting on the breeze and the lemon tank top and shorts with cherry polka dots almost prevented him from regaining his breath.
"Yeah, I'm all right," he answered as he pulled himself up on the board and collapsed with his cheek against it. Denim seemed to be plastered against his legs by ice. Paul ran a hand over his bristled auburn goatee and chuckled as he paddled closer on a retro board, scalp shining beneath the sun.
"You know, you are the first person I've ever seen surf in jeans, kid."
Alasdair laughed and pushed himself upright to straddle the board. "Well, I wear what I've got."
Tori surveyed the sea on her flaming board with hazel eyes. The wind ruffled her bangs, so she blew them upward to keep them from prickling her eyes. She seemed pleasantly unaware of the frigid waters that made Alasdair's teeth chatter.
"Do you regret not renting a wet suit yet?" Andrea suppressed a perceptive smile atop an ivory board painted with a china design.
"No," Alasdair blew through his lips with an emphatic nod. "It's all good. I only wonder how the sun could be so hot while the water is so cold."
A chuckle erupted from Paul and rippled among his family. Alasdair savored the moment with a smile and considered the people around him with an appreciation of their similar interests. He laid himself back down on the board and paddled toward the horizon until another wave emerged out of the sea.