Beyond the Ocean's Depths (Not an Average Shifter Romance)

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Chapter 59: Rescued at the Rehab

RAINIE

I was still trying to process my transition, painful, yet amazingly natural and comfortable at the same time, glad that if I had to go through it without Grandma or Dad, that I had two of the best friends a girl could ask for and a lovely grandma of a dolphin there to support me. But I didn’t have long to stay in this stupor with the three of us sitting on the bench near Delilah’s pool, as we soon heard voices coming from the other side of the enclosure we were still hopelessly locked in. Without hesitation, we jumped up, yelling at the top of our lungs, hoping whoever was on the other side could get the door unlocked.

“Help! Help! We’re in here!”

“Rainie! Anne! Kyle!” Grandma’s voice hollered back over the others as the three of us jumped for joy, grinning ear to ear. We were rescued!

The latch to the door finally unlocked and the first person to come in was a policeman; the familiar blue uniform of the Navarro Beach police department was a wonderful sight! I didn’t know the regular cops as well as the officers who worked with Dad on the Marine Patrol, but I was thrilled to see any officer at this point.

Once he cleared the enclosure, making sure we were all by ourselves, he let the rest of the group inside, Grandma being the first.

“Rainie!” She called a bit shakily as we both fell into each other’s arms and cried. In turn, she pulled Anne and Kyle into our hug, and I knew it was over. We didn’t have to worry about that pirate anymore.

Another officer soon approached Kyle first, asking his name and stuff like that, and I suddenly realized that the rest of the Rehab crew weren’t here. “Chuy?! Vickie?” I asked simply, scared that Chuy had died from his gunshot wound.

To my relief, Grandma smiled. “It’s okay. They’re out in front with the ambulance. Vickie had him patched up pretty good before the cops arrived using strips of his t-shirt, so the medics won’t have much to do.”

A weight lifted from my shoulders, but only for a moment as Anne timidly stepped forward again. “What about my mom?”

Both Anne and I searched Grandma’s face for information, but she simply frowned, pulling my friend into another squeeze. “I don’t know, honey. The last we saw of her he was taking her back into the building after locking us up in the penguin enclosure with Carl. I’m guessing she must’ve been able to tip off the police somehow, because they knew to come help us out.”

“And Dad?” I chimed in, knowing that if he knew something had happened to us he should be here now, too.

Grandma simply shook her head. “I don’t know for sure, but half the force got a call to head out to you and your mom’s house,” she nodded to Anne. “I have a feeling he went out there, knowing that she… she was kidnapped.” She struggled to say the words out loud.

I put my arm around Anne’s shoulder, giving her a hug before she could cry again. “It’ll be okay, Anne. If my dad is heading out there, then he’ll make sure she’s okay.”

I don’t know if she believed me, but I believed myself. Tobie was his soul mate and he was the bestest, bravest officer on the force. That’s why he was promoted to Chief.

Turning the conversation, Grandma rubbed both of our arms, asking with real concern, “Are you kids okay? He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“No, he just locked us in here,” I answered truthfully.

Then Grandma eyed me up and down, her brows knitting with confusion as she pulled me in front of her. “Rainie, you’re all wet. What happened?”

Anne and I shot each other a nervous look, and I glanced over to Kyle who was still giving his personal account of things and his parents’ information to the lady officer who was taking notes.

I took a deep breath and pulled both Grandma and Anne over to the side, away from everyone and whispered so that only the two of them could hear. “Grandma, I did it. It was an accident. I think. But I transitioned!” I searched her eyes for any sign that she was upset.

At first she looked confused, as if she didn’t understand what I was talking about. Then fear crept into her eyes as she wet her lips and shot Anne a quick look before returning her attention to me. For some reason, I just knew I was going to be in trouble as soon as I understood what was happening to me earlier. We were never, ever supposed to tell pure humans about our abilities, let alone transition in front of them. And I did!

“I didn’t mean to, I promise!” I quickly blurted in a loud whisper, while Kyle, now free from being questioned, quietly approached standing next to Anne, both of them looking troubled as Anne probably explained to him what our conversation was about. “Delilah helped me, I mean she helped Ruby, my dolphin,” I continued without taking a breath, then nodded to my friends standing to the side. “And I swore both Anne and Kyle to secrecy and they promised that they won’t tell anyone, ever. I just couldn’t help it! Please, Grandma, don’t be mad!”

Instead, Grandma’s eyes began to tear and her face softened as she swept me up in one of the biggest hugs I think I ever had in my entire life. She pressed her lips to my forehead, then cupped my face so that I couldn’t help but look her in the eye.

“It’s okay, sweetie. You were beyond stressed out and… well, sometimes these things happen and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

“You’re not upset?” I asked, still unsure about it all myself.

“No, Rainie,” Grandma laughed a little tearfully, hugging me again before pulling away and holding me at shoulder’s length, eyeing me up and down with a big smile on her face. “Ruby? Is that her name?”

I nodded, my own happy emotions finally letting loose now that I knew Grandma was happy for me. “Yes, Ruby! And she is wonderful!” I cried, a bit overwhelmed. “And she got to meet Anne and Kyle.” I frowned again. “So… now what? Now that they saw?”

Grandma closed her eyes briefly, obviously thinking, then glanced over to the pair standing hesitantly next to one another by the wall. “Come here, you two,” she beckoned, opening her arms welcomingly.

They shuffled over, unsure of how they would be received now that the secret was out. Even though they knew Grandma really well, they seemed hesitant and probably felt a little weirded out by the entire situation. Looking them both in the eye, Grandma’s expression grew serious again and she took a deep breath, apparently trying to figure out what to say.

“Are you two alright? Today has been very scary and it’s not over yet. Anne? Are you okay?” She asked first, knowing that her mom was possibly still in trouble. At this, Anne simply melted with heartache and tears began to fall as Grandma wrapped her in her arms, holding her tightly.

After a moment, Anne pulled away, feeling a little better and looked up at Grandma. “Do you think she’s okay?”

Grandma smiled at her and carefully, but kindly replied. “Your momma is a very smart lady and I’m sure she’s doing everything she can to get back to you. When we’re done here, let’s go talk to the officer in charge and see if they can give us any information, okay?”

Anne nodded, sniffling slightly before giving Grandma a weak smile. I grasped her hand tightly as Grandma put her hand on Kyle’s shoulder, asking if his parents had been notified, and we all felt a little better knowing they were on their way.

Finally, Grandma looked at both my friends again. “We don’t have a lot of time to go into this right now, but I guess you know the truth about Rainie and our family.” The pair nodded silently before Grandma continued, “We’ll talk about it more later, and I know Rainie has already made you promise to keep it a secret. But, it is very, very important that you do just that. Other people can’t know.”

She looked like she was having difficulty putting her thoughts into words, apparently never having to explain the topic to a couple of pure human kids while police work was going on in the background. So instead, Kyle piped up. “Miss Rhonda, Anne and I already agreed that it would be very dangerous for your family if the truth that you guys are… are what you are, got out to the wrong people. Rainie is our friend and we wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to her, or you and Mr. Torin, either. You can count on us to keep it quiet. We won’t even tell our parents, isn’t that right, Anne?”

She nodded with enthusiasm, crossing her heart with her finger, and I almost laughed out loud as surely her mom would have to know someday if Dad and her were ever going to get married. They were soul mates, marriage was inevitable! Gina had to find out that Onyx was a shifter and she seemed just fine with it. I was sure Tobie would be, too. Especially now that I knew Anne was cool with it.

Grandma let out a sigh. “Okay, you two. I believe you and I trust you. Thank you.” Then smiling at me she added, “And thank you for helping Rainie today. A first transition can be very scary and I’m just glad she had two of the best people I can think of to be there for her.”

At this, Anne finally smiled and so did Kyle - a wonderfully big, white smile that made me melt just a little inside. But I didn’t have a chance to think about it for long. Mr. and Mrs. Hudson burst into the dolphin enclosure, worried and scared, and looking frantically for Kyle. Breaking away from us, my friend ran to his folks, embracing them both in a giant hug as his mother exclaimed how happy she was that he was okay. Seeing his dad made me think of my own, and I felt my stomach tighten not knowing where he was right now, which made me worry even more.

Anne was soon proffered away to answer questions of her own and Grandma and I decided to meander over to Delilah’s tank, watching as she swam back and forth serenely. I knelt briefly to give her my thanks once more before returning to Grandma’s side.

“You okay, Rainie?” Grandma asked again. “Did it hurt much?”

I could tell she felt a little bit like she missed out or maybe a little guilty, like she thought she was supposed to be there for my first transition and thought I might be hurt because she wasn’t. I didn’t want her thinking that. She couldn’t help today!

“It was really painful, but yeah, I’m okay.” I smiled softly. “I was scared, but once Ruby came out all the way, it didn’t hurt anymore, and it happened so fast that the pain didn’t last long.” I laughed a little. “I think I was more worried about transitioning right here and with Anne and Kyle being there, since they’re pure humans and all, but I guess it seemed to go pretty smoothly. I’ll be able to control it better than today, right?” I worriedly asked, suddenly fearful that I might transition in the middle of school or at the grocery store or something.

“Oh yes, it’ll get much easier to control soon enough, and we’ve been practicing on your meditation, so you’ll have it mastered in no time.”

I breathed a sigh of relief just before the moment was interrupted as Anne found us after having finished with her questioning.

“I’m back,” Anne murmured unhappily, as worry apparently ate at her insides. Talking about everything that led up to us being locked up in here was bad enough, but talking about her mother was more than painful for her, and my heart went out to my bestie. I felt guilty as heck, knowing she had suggested turning in the treasure to the adults right away, but that I had talked her into jumping onto the Pirate bandwagon with Kyle instead of siding with her. She had been the voice of reason that day, and now she was paying for us not heeding her advice more than any of us.

Following behind her, Officer Williams approached, not giving me time to think on this further. He had just gotten off the radio and looked a little concerned. Pulling Grandma aside, he tried to talk low, but Anne and I could still hear him.

“Ms. Waters, I just got word that Ms. Davis was reported as being at her house with the perpetrator, a Mr. Hank Jimson. Apparently, he still has her hostage and stole a boat from a neighbor’s house, making an escape when Chief Waters and the detectives from Miami who’ve been tailing Jimson, tried to apprehend him.”

Anne grasped my hand, squeezing tighter than ever, and I squeezed her back, both of us worried for our own and each other’s parents.

“Uh,” the officer continued, “it sounds like Chief Waters and one of the detectives are in pursuit, but that’s all I’ve got.” He glanced at Anne’s pale face, eyeing him with a look of sorrow. “Um, if we can speak with Rainie for a minute, just to get her side of the story, we’ll be done with you all for now and you can head home. Um, do you know if Anne has anyone to...”

“Yes!” Grandma interrupted Williams’ attempt to smooth over the fact that Tobie was in a lot of danger and that Anne had nowhere to go. “She’s coming home with us and has a place to stay for as long as she needs.”

Williams smiled softly and nodded his thanks, before turning to leave. I left Anne in Grandma’s capable hands, telling the cops what happened, from the moment we found the treasure to the second they rescued us, leaving out the bit about Ruby’s introduction to the physical world, of course. Grandma, Anne, and I were ready to leave, but I wanted to say goodbye to Kyle. From the look of things over in the corner where he and his parents were talking, I guessed that he’d told his parents the whole story, for they seemed pretty upset from the little bits of their tense conversation that drifted our way.

His dad said, “You should have known better,” while his mom added, “Why didn’t you tell us?” Their looks of relief and fear had been replaced with anger and disappointment, and I realized that Kyle was getting in trouble for not turning in the treasure when he found it. I knew eventually I would also be in trouble for this, especially when it came out that Anne wanted to turn it in in the first place, but since Dad and Tobie were still in danger, Grandma wasn’t going to make an issue of it just yet.

Returning my attention to Kyle, he simply looked down at his feet, and I knew he blamed himself for the whole thing. Sure, he’d found the treasure and suggested taking it first, but I didn’t think it was his fault that this Jimson guy showed up. How were we supposed to know? I mean, what were the chances that someone really would come back for a treasure nowadays? I knew I was just trying to make myself feel better at this point, but I honestly didn’t want his parents mad at him. He had done so many other good things since then. Surely, that mattered more in the long run!

Making up my mind, I quickly jogged over to them, leaving Grandma and Anne at the door. “Kyle,” I huffed out, before politely saying hello to his parents. “Uh, we’re leaving now, but I just wanted to say thank you for everything today. You’re… you’re a really good friend.”

I gave him a quick hug, and just as quickly turned and jogged away, before he could say anything in return. I felt very confused inside, unsure of my feelings which seemed to be happy and sad and a jumbled combination of who knows what. Today was a mess. So, I buried my feelings beneath a smile meant to give Anne some confidence that everything would be okay, then looped my arm through hers as we followed Grandma to the car, happy for the first time ever to be leaving the rehab behind.

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