Fawn watched the gathering dark clouds with a worried frown. A raindrop splattered on her forehead “looks like it’s going storm.”
Frowning Peter glanced at his phone pulling up his weather app. “According to this it should blow over.”
“Are you sure that app is accurate” Francesca asked a worried tone in her voice
“As accurate as any weather man I guess” shrugging he couldn’t help but laugh as the clouds chose that moment to deluge them with water. “Girls you should probably go below until this blows over” he shouted over the wind and rain.
“What about you” Francesca demanded letting the rain pelt down on her.
“I’ll be fine,” he assured her with a quick kiss on the cheek “go”.
Meanwhile Fawn was already climbing down the ladder when a large wave splashed over the side of the boat causing her to swallow water. Her hands were losing the grip on the metal rungs as she tried to catch her breath. Another wave lapped up against the boat causing her to lose what little strength she had.
“Fawn” Francesca screamed running for the side of the boat as she swayed with the bucking of the boat. Once the boat settled down after the wave she leaned over the side catching a quick glimpse of her friend before the girl was lost beneath another wave.
Strong arms pulled her from the side of the boat. “Put this on” Peter shouted thrusting a life jacket into her arms.
She tried to push it away struggling to see where her friend was. His persistence paid off as she finally allowed him to slip it over her head. “What about you” she shouted as the rain pelted them
“I’m an expert swimmer” he assured her like that would make a difference if he was knocked overboard.
She made to pull it over her head, “I’m not wearing it if you’re not.”
“Ugh fine” he grunted slipping one over his head “better?”
“Much” she turned to lean over the side of the boat once more. “There” she pointed at a spec in the distance.
Nodding Peter lifted binoculars to his eyes. Grimly he moved back to the helm to turn the boat around. “Keep an eye on her,” he handed her the binoculars “I’m going to radio for help.”
Worry gnawed at the inside of her stomach. She should have insisted she wear a life jacket. Maybe they should have double checked the weather before setting out. There had to have been something they should have done that should have prevented this from happening.
Her hands clamped around the binoculars keeping an eye on the girl in the water, wincing each time a wave washed over her. Each time the head went under she held her breath waiting, hoping to see it come up again. In the distance she could see another boat. Were they coming to help? Would they see her in time?
“Sorry guys” Lee pointed towards the darkening sky “we’re going to have to turn back.”
“But the weatherman said it’s going to pass” Edelle pouted. “Can’t we just wait it out?”
“I think the weatherman is wrong” Lee shrugged “I don’t want to chance it.”
The wind was picking up, whipping her long blonde hair around her face. He was right of course. She was just a little disappointed. Once he suggested going out on his boat she had to admit she was looking forward to it. It had been a spur of the moment decision and Prisha had been willing to watch Avery for the weekend. Glancing over at Castel she could tell he was nervous. “Looks like we’ve been rained out” she smiled at him “Lee thinks it’s best that we turn back.”
Nodding Castel breathed a sigh of relief, “do you have any rain gear” he asked.
“I don’t think umbrella’s are going to do much good” she shouted back as the wind picked up.
“No not that” he shook his head “raincoats?”
“Here” Lee approached them handing them each a life jacket. “Put these on.”
“Is it going to get that bad” Castel asked putting the life jacket on.
“Better safe than sorry” he said with a grin. “We probably won’t need them.”
They were all wearing life jackets by the time the first drops of rain began to fall. “Is that another boat” Edelle asked pointing ahead of them.
“Looks like it” Lee nodded “we’ll want to keep our distance. We don’t want to run into them if the wind picks up. Handing Castel a pair of binoculars “keep an eye on them for me.”
“Oh no” he groaned “I think someone fell overboard.”
Lee’s muscles tensed as his jaw ticked as he absorbed the news. His knuckles turned white as he steered the boat towards the other. “Keep an eye on them and warn me if I’m overtaking them to quick.”
“What about the girl” Castel asked “Shouldn’t we try to rescue her?”
Reaching for the radio he called the coast guard giving them their coordinates. “That’s all we can do for now. Keep watch on that boat. I bet anything they’re turning around. The last thing we need is for them to collide with us.”
“Right” Castel nodded pressing the binoculars to his eyes. “I see her” pointed “she’s struggling to stay above water.”
“Must have fallen in before putting on a life jacket” Lee muttered. “I’m going to lay anchor. The current will bring the girl towards us.” He took off his life jacket, then his shirt and shoes.
“What are you doing” Edelle demanded of her cousin.
“I’m the best swimmer here” he shrugged “that girl doesn’t stand a chance if we don’t do something quick.”
“But” she snapped her mouth shut. “Do what you need to do but wear this” she handed him his life jacket.”
Turning the weather channel off Mindy turned to Coral. “We can’t go out with that storm coming in.”
“It’s going to be that bad” Coral asked setting her tablet aside.
“It’s not so much the storm as it’s my limited boating skills” she admitted. “Maybe if I knew more this little storm wouldn’t be so bad.”
“It’s okay” she smiled looking relieved “I didn’t really want to leave dock.”
“Why is that” Mindy asked sitting beside her.
Sighing she stared at her hands “it’s hard to explain. I mean I never had a near drowning experience or anything. I just don’t like water.”
“Is that why you never go swimming” Mindy asked curious now that it wasn’t some dramatic event in her girlfriends life.
“I guess” shrugging unable to look up. “When I was a kid I had this fear that my shoes would fall in the water and soon everything else would follow.”
“Why didn’t you just wear the shoes” she asked reasonably.
“I don’t know” she huffed “I know it’s stupid. I don’t even know why I was so worried about losing my shoes”
This time Mindy didn’t even try to hide her amusement. “I’m sorry it’s just so funny.”
“I know it’s stupid she covered her burning cheeks behind her hands.
“We’ll have to work on that” Mindy said once she’d quit laughing.
“Now that you know my unreasonable fear you have to tell me something.”
“What do you want to know” Mindy asked.
“Hmm” she thought for a moment. Turning to look at the woman beside her “why do you work so much? It’s like you never relax and enjoy life.”
“Relaxing means I’m not accomplishing anything” she said “since we’re not going out I really should go back to work.”
“Do you measure your success by how much work you do” Coral asked keeping her from retreating to her drafting room. “What about family and friends? Having fun?”
“I really don’t have family or many friends” pausing she took Coral’s hand “except for you. I don’t really need anything else.”
Grant hadn’t heard from January since the night she left with her brother. How could she not see the guy was no good? He could understand it though. He wouldn’t be able to believe his brother Rex being that way. Not that Rex would ever be like that.
A feeling of restlessness came over him causing him to pry himself from the bed he’d been glued to for the past week. Had it really been that long? He’d ever been that messed up over a girl before or anyone for that matter.
The house was silent as he made his way outside. He was sure Rex and Sandy were asleep. From the sounds from their room the night before they’d been up all night. Breathing deeply, he filled his lungs with the early morning breeze coming in over the ocean. Humming softly he began walking along the road. A casual stroll to the beach would do him good.
He needed to get back into a routine. He had no reason to feel guilty over what happened. He hadn’t done anything wrong. He had tried to stop them from leaving. He’d been hit over the head while they left him behind. His only hope was that January didn’t waste her life trying to help someone who didn’t deserve it. Unfortunately that’s exactly what it looked like she was doing.
A blast from a car horn scattered his thoughts as he jumped grabbing his chest in surprise. The car came to a screeching halt inches from him. Shaking his head he wondered how he’d managed to wander out into the road.
The driver got out “what the hell’s wrong with you?”
Flinching at the man’s angry words Grant shrunk back. “Sorry. I guess I wasn’t paying attention.”
The anger in the man’s eyes faded “are you alright? Do you need help?”
“I’m okay thanks” he turned around “I should probably go back.”
Nodding the man watched him “I’m on my way to the Hollis Resort. I’m attending a business convention.” He paused “I could skip the meeting if you’d like to join me. I could use a relaxing day on the beach.”
“Um I” Grant stumbled over his words but nodding at the offer. “I’d like that. I could use some fresh air.”
“Hop in” he motioned towards the car. “I’m Kade by the way.”
“Grant” he introduced himself “what kind of business are you in” he asked as he got into the car.