My curiosity was piqued, to put it mildly. Why was John hanging out at the club with Catherine when his wife was in hospital needing him, and why was he going to the Atlantis? Just as interesting, why was Trent following him? Looking up the top of the dock, I was happy to see Thomas chatting with some other club member. I wondered if I could get to the Atlantis and back before he returned. I did, after all, have a good reason to go to big Hatteras yacht: someone had make sure that John was told about his wife; he couldn’t possibly know or he would be by her hospital bed. Jumping off the boat, I walked quickly to the Atlantis. Thomas would be furious to learn that I was following Trent who was following John when I should be minding my own business and packing up the boat.
Looking back, I was happy to see that Thomas was still deep in conversation and that several other club members had joined him, forming a small circle at the top of the dock. So I quickly darted up the dock that the Atlantis was moored on, relieved that I was now out of Thomas’s sight.
I was surprised to see that the dock was empty, with the exception of the small overnight bag that John had been carrying. Looking very out of place, the bag was just sitting in the middle of the dock, and I wondered why John would drop the bag there. The Atlantis was the only boat on this dock, which was the last dock in the marina, so there was nowhere else for him or Trent to go. They had to be on the boat, or else they would have had to walk past me as I made my way here.
My eyes moved again to the overnight bag and then to the 100 foot yacht Atlantis. Should I pick up the bag? It would give me another reason for boarding the Atlantis…. If I didn’t do something quickly, I might as well go back to our boat. So instead of standing around looking foolish, I picked up the bag, thinking to myself, John must have gotten distracted, talking to Trent perhaps, and put the bag down and forgotten it, so I should just take it to him; I need to tell him about his wife anyway.
Taking a deep breath to steady my nerves, with bag in hand I walked to the stern of the boat and boarded. The boat was quiet, too quiet; where were the crew? I walked up the stairs through the outdoor seating and dining area to the main cockpit sliding glass door and knocked and knocked, but no one came, and when I finally tried the door I was surprised to find it locked. What should I do now? I could see into the main salon and dining area through the sliding glass door, and the rooms were deserted. Now what? Where could they all be? I wondered, as I looked around the marina. All the neighboring boats were buttoned up tight and clearly empty. With a sigh I decided to put the bag on the cockpit table and turned to return to our boat.
It was as I was walking to the table that I heard the bang, followed by a muffled scream—a woman’s scream of “Noooo!”—It definitely came from somewhere below. My first thought was Catherine: Was she in trouble again? Still clutching the bag, I turned and ran along the narrow side deck to the side door where the galley was. Darn, locked again!
I continued, circumnavigating the yacht, past the bow lounge seat and back to the cockpit and up the long curved stairway to the pilothouse deck. Finally I found an open hatch. Quickly I went down the inside stairway to the glamorous main deck landing. I decided that the main salon, dining room, and galley were empty, as I had already seen inside those rooms through doors and windows as I ran around the outside of the boat. So I turned in the opposite direction, heading toward the bow and master stateroom. Here I collided with Trent, who was just leaving the master stateroom.
“Trent, what are you doing here?” I stammered.
“Why do you have Wiffy’s bag?” Trent wheezed simultaneously, holding his stomach and looking at the bag I was still carrying, which had swung forward and knocked the wind out of him in the collision.
“Wiffy’s bag?” I repeated, looking at it. “No, it’s John’s.”
Still breathless, Trent pointed at the dirty and worn embroidery. Looking closely at it, I saw that it was a stylized GB3.