Part Six - Einstein never did understand how a sailboat sailed into the wind.
On Sunday evening, when the skyline was exploding with the pinks and purples of an autumn sunset, they sailed into the Milford marina. Dana and Grace used the three days of the return trip becoming closer friends. They both enjoyed the cold evenings, especially Dana, who learned all of the intimate things Grace would allow her to do to her body. Grace made headway as well, managing to get to second base, only to be thrown out whenever she tried to steal third or led off the bag too far. And when they were not between the sheets fooling around, they were setting up a plan to investigate whoever was framing Dana for the waitress' murder.
"So," Grace said when the boat was docked and her belongings and dirty clothes had been packed in her car. "Where are you heading off to now?"
"I'm going to get a room and take a long, hot shower," Dana said, flinging her small duffel over her shoulder."
"You don't want to come home with me?"
"I figured you wanted to settle in and get ready for work in the morning."
"No. You figured wrong, smartypants."
"I'm certainly glad you're here to set me straight."
Grace smiled. "Get in the Jeep," she commanded, and Dana practically ran to get into the vehicle. The fact was that she had been dreading the separation. She knew it was inevitable, but as a well-practiced procrastinator, she felt that later was always better than sooner.
Dana hopped into the shower while Grace checked her phone messages and watered her plants. The digital memory of the recorder was nearly full with sixty-eight messages, most of which were from her sister and mother, and the news they brought was dreadful. By the fifth message, her sister finally revealed that their father had had a heart attack and asked her to call as soon as she received the message. Joy must have tried her at work as well, and she kicked herself for not calling from the sea at some point.
She put the replay on hold and phoned Joy's house nine hundred miles away in Kentucky. It rang several times and was picked up by the answering machine. Since it was Sunday, they were likely at a church dinner. Grace left a brief message for Joy to call her and then tried her mother's house.
"Wilsons'," the soft Southern drawl of Faith Wilson came across the line.
"Mom, it's Grace," she said, her throat tight from holding back tears. "I just got in. How's Daddy?"
"He's bad, Gracie. We had to take him to the city. He wants you to come home as soon as possible."
Tears began to flow down her cheeks, and she sniffled. "I'll leave right away." She imagined her father on life-support waiting for her to arrive so that they could say good-bye to each other. When Grace was growing up, he never left for the office without kissing his daughters goodbye, and she knew he would never leave life without that either.
_ October 1998 by Jules Mills
Nano Book 2 Equilibrium - Moment of Force
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