Ch. 31 cont.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The rest of Ch. 31--at last!
You are all so awesome for being so patient. Here's the rest of Chapter 31! I hope you like it. I brought back the whole gang.
Ch. 31 cont.
Ch. 31 cont.
MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG – VOLUME 10
Dive Buddy: Leesie
Location: Grand Cayman
When I steer the boat close enough to shore to get cell coverage on our way back in from the afternoon trip, I pick up a text from Leesie.
J’s son in rstrnt calling Pres B
Jaz’s son? Do I know Jaz has a son? I think so. What did they say about him? Restraining order? That’s it. He can’t come near his mother. No one ever said why. That’s why I was nervous about Leesie staying there. I forgot all about it as soon as I met Jaz. She’s overpowering. Did he hurt her? Threaten her? Where has he been? Why is he there now? Freak. I think Leesie’s alone there.
I dial Leesie. Her phone goes straight to voicemail. She always forgets to charge it. Way to go, babe.
Or maybe the dude turned it off.
I try Jaz’s land line. It’s busy. Off the hook? Cut? Freak. Freak. Freak.
I push the boat into high gear.
I’m working today with Gabriel and Cooper. Alex drove Leesie back to Jaz’s for me this morning.
Cooper yells, “What are you doing? This is a no wake zone.”
“I think Leesie’s in trouble.” I toss him my phone and explain.
Gabriel joins us at the front, catches the gist of the situation. He examines the text. “Who’s Pres. B?”
I concentrate on the steering the speeding boat. “The guy from her church.”
Cooper puts his hand on my shoulder. “Calm down then. He’s handling it.”
I shrug him off. “What if he’s not? What if she didn’t call? Or he didn’t pick up? I gotta get over there.”
Gabriel hands back my phone. “We’ll go, too. You might need us.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, dude.” Cooper slaps my back and yells, “Hang on tight! We’re coming in hot!”
The divers in the back sit down and grab something.
Cooper gets his phone out of his dry bag and starts dialing the guys. He gets a hold of Brock who promises to have Ethan and Seth ready to go as soon as the boat touches the dock.
Gabriel grabs hold of an overhead bar for balance as I slam the boat through the cut in the reef and speed across the flat lagoon to the dock.
Dani’s there to catch the ropes and offload the divers. “Go, go! I’ve got this.”
Gabriel, Cooper and I tear out of the boat and up to the parking lot. Ethan, Seth, Brock, and Alex wait by my car.
Gabriel greets Alex with a hug. “Don’t worry, mi cielo, I’m sure we’ll be fine. See you later.”
Alex glares at him. “Like hell you will.”
“You’re not going.”
“And who’s goingto stop me?”
Aparently not Gabriel. All the guys cram into my car, and I take off—heading North. It’s a mile or two longer but there’s no traffic and the road is open so we can speed. Gabriel and Alex follow in his sleek red porche. I wish this bucket I’m driving had that kind of speed.
Ethan’s in the front seat beside me. I chuck my phone at him. “Keep trying to call her.”
The car is silent except for the sound of muted dialing and the obnoxious engine. I grow more and more tense. Grip the steering wheel so hard my knuckles turn white. My arms ache.
“Freak!” A slow car ahead blocks my progress. I pull into the oncoming lane and zoom around it. An approaching car lays and its horn and brakes hard.
“Watch it.” Seth yells as a whip back into my lane and the car I passed starts to honk.
I ignore him and press down on the gas, check the rearview mirror. Gabriel aims his porche at the gap in the middle of the road between the slow car and another car coming the other direction. He pulls up close behind me.
I focus on the road ahead. This piece of junk I’m driving shakes too much at 90 mph, so I ease it back to 85—keep it there the whole way.
I pull up to Jaz’s, bail out and sprint around back. “Leesie?” I yell. “Are you here? Leesie!”
The porch is empty.
The living quarters, too.
I hear noise in the restaurant.
I burst through the door screaming, “Leesie!” with all the guys and Alex at my back.
Leesie and Aunty Jaz sit at a table eating fish.
I turn from them to find a massive black guy with a head full of dreds barreling down on us wielding a fish cleaver.
“No! No!” Leesie leaps up, gets between us. “It’s okay.” She backs hard into me and holds her hands up to ward off the guy. “Didn’t you get my text?”
“That’s why we’re here!” I hold my arms out to keep the guys back.
The fish guy backs off.
Leesie turns around. “Why didn’t you call?”
I grab her shoulders. “I did.” I shake her. “A thousand times.”
“Oh, no.” She sticks her hand in her pocket and pulls out her cell phone. It’s dead. “I didn’t realize. I’m so sorry.”
I’m shaking I’m so upset. “I tried the landline, too.” I get a hold of myself, stop shaking her.
“Jaz has been using it.” She takes my hands. “I thought you were still on the water.” She peaks around me at all the guys and Alex—fists clenched, panting—ready to defend her. Her face goes crimson. “I’m so so sorry.”
“Well, now,” Aunty Jaz pipes up from her table, “now that you’re here, you can help celebrate. Junior’s come back to me—and he’ll make fish for you all.”
Junior smiles like Aunty Jaz. “Of course. Of course. Come in. We’re re-oping the shack tomorrow. You’re our first guests.”
I collapse at a table in the back and slump down on it. Hide my face in my hands. Leesie introduces everyone to Aunty Jaz and Junior.
A few minutes later, Leesie scoots a chair close to mine. She strokes my back. “I can’t believe I put you through that.”
“Freak, babe. It was hell.”
She combs my hair with her fingers. “I didn’t know my phone was dead.”
“You could have sent another text. Or left a phone message.”
“You’re right. I’m so stupid.” Her voice shakes.
I look up. She’s gone really pale. “Are you okay?”
“I am now.” She squirms close.
My arms encircle her. “Were you scared?”
Her head bobs up and down, bangs my chin. “I heard him in the kitchen, got a look—hid out back. Sent you the text. Called President Bodden. He was concerned and told me to stay put until he got there. He was fast—twenty minutes—but it seemed like forever.”
“He just showed up by himself?” I rest my cheek on her head. It’s sweaty. Poor, babe.
“One of the members is a cop. He came, too. They told Aunty Jaz to stay put, but she got here about the same time.” She puts her hand on my neck.
I cover it with mine. “They confronted him?”
She shrugs. “They made me stay in the cop car until it was safe.”
“Thank God, you’re okay.”
“They all just left like five minutes ago. I should have called you, though. I wasn’t thinking. Will you forgive me?”
I kiss her forehead. “Uh-huh. I would have come anyway.”
“But not with the posse. I feel like a fool.”
“Are you kidding? They’re getting the best fish on the island. Look at them.” I loosen my grip on her so she can peak over my shoulder. “They’re loving it.”
“She offloaded the boat, so we could leave right away.”
Her forehead wrinkles up. “Isn’t there a night dive scheduled?”
“Dani can guide it. They’ll find somebody to drive.” I squeeze her hand. “No big deal.”
She snuggles close to me. “It is a big deal. You should be really mad.”
“I know.” I release her hand and tip her head back so I can see her face. “I’m just glad you’re safe.”
She kisses me. “Thank you.”
“I love you.”
“I know.” She kisses me again.
Junior puts a plate of steaming fried fish on the table in front of me. “You want more, Sister Leesie?” He waits beside the table.
She lets me go and sits up. “I’m stuffed. Thanks.”
I bend over the plate, inhale the spicey aroma, suddenly starving. “Thanks, man.”
Junior grins. “You know my mum’s fish?”
I nod while I load up my fork and shove it in my mouth. I close my eyes and chew in bliss while the sweet, tender fish and crips spicey coating part in my mouth.
Junior’s off frying more fish by the time I open my eyes and start digging for another bite.
“Oh, crap!” Leesie jumps up, knocking over her chair. “Kim!” She runs through the door into Jaz’s living quarters. I follow with my fish.
Leesie’s laptop is dead, too. I plug it in for her and watch over her shoulder. Kim’s frantic. Steamed at first like I was, but calms down when the whole story comes out.
She wants to know Junior’s story. I do, too, so I eavesdrop.
The gist of it is he took his dad’s death hard. I can relate. Junior got mixed up with drugs, stole from Jaz, threatened her. She turned him in. The judge imposed a restraining order. He got probation and community service and left the island, ashamed, as soon he could. Poor, Jaz. That must have killed her. He got a job frying fish in the Bahamas, cleaned up, worked hard. Came home as soon as he heard about Jaz’s foot. He called his sister—homesick for news.
I bend over and kiss Leesie’s cheek. That could have been me if it wasn’t for her. I took my parent’s death hard. But she was there.
Leesie signs off with Kim. We sit out on the back porch holding each other—not talking or even making out. Just being.
That’s all I really want.
To just be.