A white grin split his dark beard. “Just about to wake you up for the sunset. Look, we’ve got company.” He gestured.
“Oh!” Ariadne pushed the blanket off and leaned over the side.
Two dolphins rode the bow wake. In a gleam of arrowing bodies and foaming sea, they dove. Curved dorsals broke the surface as they arched up again to cross before the boat, trails interweaving. They skimmed alongside.
One swam so close Ariadne couldn’t resist reaching out a hand. A squeal as the slippery head tossed, brushing her fingertips with a tingle of effervescent glee. A dark eye glimmered up at her.
The dolphin dove under. Then both leaped into the air in a breathtaking living geometry of line and curve, gilded with sunlight. They plunged, and vanished into the depths.
“Ah. . . .” Ariadne strained after them over the side.
“Incredible, aren’t they?”
She threw out her arms, laughing up at the sky. “It’s a blessing, Petro! Dolphins bring luck.”
She sat back on her heels, trailing a hand in the cool sea. “When I was a girl, I was swimming one day and they were all around me, a family of them, leaping in the sun. They were dancing with me. And for those moments, I was a creature of magic, like them. When they left, I wept because I couldn’t follow. . . .”
“Sometimes I wish I could be one of them.” He smiled down at her as a freshening breeze filled the canvas, and he balanced with the dip and sway of the boat. “But not right now. Don’t move, Ariadne. I want to remember you just like that.”
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