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Authors: Lisa Glass

Tags: #JUVENILE FICTION / Love & Romance

Blue

BOOK: Blue
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Blue

New York • London

Copyright © Lisa Glass 2014

First published in the United States by Quercus in 2015

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by reviewers, who may quote brief passages in a review. Scanning, uploading, and electronic distribution of this book or the facilitation of the same without the permission of the publisher is prohibited.

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

Any member of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use or anthology should send inquiries to
[email protected]
.

e-ISBN 978-1-62365-415-3

Cover photo © Corbis

Cover design by nicandlou

Distributed in the United States and Canada by

Hachette Book Group

1290 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10104

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, institutions, places, and events are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons—living or dead—events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

www.quercus.com

For Amelie, Alyssa,
Laura and Eve

“There's beauty in the deep;

the wave is bluer than the sky”

John G. C. Brainard, 1795–1828

Chapter One

We stared up at the twinkling lights on the ceiling. In the quiet ballroom, I could hear his deep breathing as if it was my own. If I just reached out my arm, my fingers would graze his chest. I moved my head a fraction of an inch to see him better. A couple of years older than me, he had longish brown hair, sun-streaked and wet, and a tattoo down his right forearm that said
Surf or Die
. I had no idea who he was.

This was not what I'd had in mind when I'd finally given in to Kelly's nagging and agreed to come to the yoga class at Hotel Serenity. I hadn't even bothered to put on make-up; I was expecting a handful of yummy mommies and some bendy old ladies because, well, yoga was for sophisticated ladies, right? Not in this class. Crammed into the hotel ballroom there were at least a dozen very hot guys, and the hottest one of them all had put his yoga mat right next to mine.

I looked over to my best friend, who turned up late. Kelly was in the row opposite me, grinning her head off. She'd been coming to this yoga class for a while, but she hadn't warned me. After everything that had happened with Daniel, I had barely gone anywhere or seen anyone for months. This was Kelly's way of getting me back in the dating game, I guessed.

Keep cool, I told myself. I was so busy telling myself to keep cool that I totally lost track of what the teacher—a skinny blond woman called Natasha, who was in her mid-twenties and wearing nothing but a bikini top and some yellow board shorts—was going on about.

She smiled over at me and said, “Yoga is perfect for you teenage girls. It will encourage you to be strong, brave, open to change and, most important of all: to live in the moment.”

When she turned away, I shook my head very slightly at Kelly and mouthed the words, “Is she for real?”

Kelly nodded, and mouthed back what looked like, “Trust me.”

People were moving to sit in a cross-legged position and doing something crazy with their breathing. I'd missed the instructions and sat there like an idiot.

The surfer dude turned to me and smiled. His face was a bit sunburned and, what with the wet hair and still-damp T-shirt, I knew he'd come straight from the sea, probably not even stopping for food or a rest. He was swigging from a bottle of water and he had that surfed-out, super-contented look that shredheads get after a decent session. It was the weirdest thing, but he gave off this vibe of total confidence.

“It's like this: you're sitting up really straight, taking a big breath, then slamming the air out of your lungs using your core.
Your belly is coming back to meet your spine, OK? And it's a count of eight. So—” He took a really deep breath and then let his breath out in eight sharp exhalations. I had to look away when he was doing it, because the exercise was basically really loud panting, which is not exactly a normal thing to practice with a guy you've only known for twenty seconds.

“Chick in the bikini says we'll feel it in our abs tomorrow,” he said. I detected an accent. American? Yeah, but not strong, and different somehow. Other stuff was in there too. South African or Kiwi, maybe. If he was American, then he had traveled away from home, definitely. Probably lived abroad for a while.

“Wanna try?”

“Is this right?” I said, trying to squeeze the air out of my chest without making any kind of porny sound.

“Yeah, but you need to do it harder. Watch out, it'll give you a real headrush the first few times.”

I did what he said. He was right about the headrush. I was seeing stars.

“That's it,” he whispered, giving me a fist bump.

“I've never done it before. Er,
yoga
, I mean.”

I hadn't done the other thing either, but he didn't need to know that. And anyway, that was the last thing I wanted rushing around my head as I talked to this guy. I was already about two seconds from going red.

The teacher went to fiddle with her iPod, trying to find the right hippie soundtrack for background music, so we had a few moments to chat.

“You'll get the hang of it. I'm Zeke, by the way.”

“Iris,” I said, smiling back at him and wishing I had a cooler name. I also wished I'd dressed in something nicer than a faded Maroon 5 T-shirt and my old blue running shorts. In an ideal world I'd have also shaved my cactus legs that morning and maybe put on some mascara.

“Pretty name,” he said. “I used to really dig that song ‘Iris' by the Goo Goo Dolls.”

“I think I was named after the blue flower, not the song or, y'know, the colorful bit of your eye.”

“It's kinda cool any way you look at it.”

He liked my name? Even Daniel thought it was weird.

“So, if I'm remembering my Classics right, Iris was the Greek goddess of the rainbow?”

“Yeah,” I said, impressed. I only knew that because it was on a fridge magnet my mom bought me when I was eight. “You had Classics lessons at your school?”

“We were mostly home-schooled by our mom.”

Lucky boy. More time for surfing.

The teacher's voice rang out again, and I locked eyes with Kelly, who was completely lit up with excitement. Her eyes darted to Zeke and she blatantly mouthed the word “phwoar.”

“Now if you could all move to the front of your mats, we'll begin the first round of our sun salutations. Firm your feet down into the mat, take an inhalation and reach up to the sky . . .”

The teacher's voice droned on and I tried to concentrate on her instructions as best as I could, but I kept getting distracted by the sound of Zeke moving to my left and the flashes of him I could see through the curtain of my hair, which I'd forgotten to tie up.

In many ways, yoga was a lot like surfing; it used the same muscles, required lots of strength, coordination and balance, and, just like surfing, yoga looked super-easy but was absolutely exhausting.

It would have been a lot easier to concentrate without the mirrored walls opposite us. I couldn't stop taking sly glances at Zeke. But he was totally absorbed in what he was doing, and I didn't see him look at the mirrors once.

“Now it's that time of the class when we get into pairs for assisted inversions. Today we're doing handstands! You know you love them . . .”

I turned to Kelly but she was looking at the blond boy next to her, rocking with laughter, and then the next thing I knew the yoga teacher had paired me with Zeke.

I had to turn to face him. He turned at the same moment and suddenly I was looking up into his face, all fierce blue eyes and high cheekbones.

There was a moment of silence, which I ended by saying, “How do we do it?”

He cocked an eyebrow at me and smiled, but didn't make any jokes. He was wearing a blue T-shirt and some gray baggies, hanging low on his hips, and I watched as he dragged his yoga mat toward the wall.

“Stretch into a downward dog,” he said.

Downward dog is basically making a big triangle with your body, with your hands and feet on the ground and your butt as high in the air as it will go. I had to do this facing
away
from Zeke.

I could feel the heat come into my face. Kelly caught my eye again, flashing me a funny look where she simultaneously went
cross-eyed and touched the tip of her nose with her tongue. She did things like this when she thought I was acting too serious. Message received. I would just have to get this over and done with. I bent right over in front of Zeke, put my hands on the ground and made a triangle with my body.

“OK,” I said, between my own ankles, noticing that Zeke had a couple of long thin scars on his shins, where he'd probably been caught by his surfboard fins. “Now what do I do?”

“Put all your weight into your left leg. Make it really heavy because I'm gonna hold it.”

“What do you mean, ‘hold it'?” I mumbled.

Before I could say anything else, he had taken hold of my left leg, one of his hands strong on my calf and the other around my thigh. My right foot swung up and touched the wall, and he guided my left leg up after it. So there I was, doing my first ever yoga handstand.

“Now flex your toes, and squeeze your legs against my fist.”

My arms began to shake, though I wasn't sure whether that was because of the strain on them or because there was a strange boy's fist between my thighs.

All I could think was: Oh my God, a totally gorgeous surfer dude has his hand three inches from my pants. Do not faint, sneeze, puke, fart, burp or make any other mortifying noise AT ALL.

At the same time though, and as sad as it was to admit, it was kind of nice to be touched by another human being, especially a hot male human being. I realized that since it had all gone batshit crazy with Daniel, I was seriously low on human contact. Sometimes my mom or Kelly would grab me for a hug, but apart from that, day in, day out, I was flying solo.

“The more you squeeze your legs together, the more strength you can draw on in your core, and the more stable you'll be. Feel it? Deep in your abdominals, yeah? Now bring your toes away from the wall and just balance on your hands.”

Somehow I managed to squeeze my thighs against his fist, balance for ten seconds, and then my feet went sailing to the floor with a bang.

“Aced it,” he said.

“I s'pose you don't need me to get you up?”

Honestly, it was like I could not stop saying the most embarrassing things.

Before he got a chance to reply, the yoga teacher's voice boomed: “Assisted backbends. Get into threes.”

Kelly sauntered over and was followed by the teacher.

“Zeke, will you demonstrate, honey?”

“Sure thing.”

“OK. Could you assist Zeke?” she said to me. I nodded, even though I had literally no idea what I was doing.

“Kelly, could you come around to the other side?”

“Sure.”

“Now, Zeke, turn to face the wall, please, and the girls will stand on either side of you,” she said, nodding at me.

I moved to stand opposite Kelly, just a few inches from Zeke.

“You grab each other's wrists and hold on tight so you're like two arms attached to two bodies, OK? Right, you're going to move one of your arms to the imaginary bra line. Not that Zeke is wearing a bra, of course.”

Kelly gave me her “you never know” look, but at least didn't say it.

“And the other arm goes to the base of the spine.”

At this point the yoga teacher shoved our wrists into the top of Zeke's butt, which I could totally feel under my hand. Kelly winked across at me and I knew my face was burning up.

“Zeke, put your hands into prayer position, that's it. So, we are going to concentrate on our man 100 hundred percent. Spread your legs and bend your knees a little, darling, so you have a nice stable base. Great. Now, with you supporting him, Zeke is going to lean backward. He's going to think length, stretch up and then back. That's it. When Zeke sees the floor, he's going to release his arms from prayer position until he can touch the ground, and then you'll leave him in wheel pose until he's ready to come back up.”

Zeke did this with no problem and held the wheel pose for ages. My legs were trembling from being crouched for so long with my arms beneath his back. I couldn't even risk looking at Kelly, so I stared at Zeke's feet, which had serious knots on them from hardcore surfboard action. When he'd had enough, the teacher counted to three and we whipped Zeke back up to standing.

Before anyone else could try the backbend, the teacher said to Zeke, “Let's try one more thing. Could you demonstrate scorpion pose, just to give the rest of the class something to aim for? You do know scorpion, I take it?”

“Nope. Always wanna learn though.”

The teacher loved that and said she'd instruct him every step of the way, of course she would, and there was no need to worry because he was in safe hands.

Scorpion pose, it seemed, was like a headstand, but instead of balancing on his head, Zeke had to balance only on his forearms, arching his torso with his legs held still in the air.

It looked ridiculously difficult.

“Perfect,” the yoga teacher said, grinning from ear to ear, when Zeke held the pose.

The veins in Zeke's forearms were bulging. The fabric of his T-shirt was stretched tight across his shoulders, and the bottom of it had slipped up toward his ribcage, so that everyone could see his taut stomach. Standing to the side of him, I could also see that he had a tribal tattoo curling up his back and I caught a glimpse of a weird word.

YOLO

I knew what that meant. Boys who had that tattooed on to their bodies were macho, risk-taking adrenalin junkies. It meant they lived on the edge, that they preferred stroking out to a killer wave and dying in a blaze of glory, to dying old in bed. You Only Live Once.

At least it was better than Daniel's tattoo, which was inked as a tramp stamp across the top of his butt, just above the tan line, with the hardened stokehead slogan:
Eddie Would Go
. The Eddie in question was Eddie Aikau, the Hawaiian surfer who was known for paddling out to the craziest waves on the planet. When working out if the surf was too big and gnarly for a surf contest, someone had once replied, “Eddie would go,” and the phrase was sucked into surf culture. Eddie died a hero after disappearing at sea, at age thirty-one. Still, I always thought it was a stupid thing to have tattooed on your ass. But that was
Daniel. Not the greatest thinker in the world. His other tattoo was a swirling black script written up his forearm, which said, “
If it ain't got fins, boobs or sparkplugs, I ain't interested
.”

The rest of the class looked pretty awed at Zeke's strength and balance, especially Kelly, who gave me a few vigorous nods that quite clearly told me, “If this guy is single, you are asking him out.”

The teacher gave Zeke a little round of applause, as he came up red-faced and panting.

I smiled at Zeke, and was debating whether or not to go for a high-five when the teacher boomed in my ear, “Now back to our assisted backbends. Iris, is it? It's your turn.”

BOOK: Blue
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ads

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