Cruel Summer

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A large gust blew the large red sail back across the bow in a sweeping, dramatic motion.

“Duck!” I quickly yelled, almost with humor. Mom gave a hysterical expression of surprise before ducking with at least a second to spare as the sail mast blew towards her direction on the starboard side. The boat rocked with the new gust of wind, and I grabbed the side railing as did Carol Magness. I laughed as she grabbed her railing with a look like she had just been personally offended at the audacity of the wind.

She made a motion she was returning to the much calmer, quieter, back portion of the Fury, and I nodded to her, not even trying to raise my voice above the sound of the fresh, powerful wind. Watching her walk back, Jackson, caught my eye through the window of the shelter, and signaled to me to lock the sail down. I gave him a thumbs up and began to tie down the sail, watching the dramatic and rousing coastline of Southern Australia as we sailed alongside.

I cinched the line a final time and made sure the sail wasn’t going anywhere before returning to the rail to watch the Great Australian Bight pass by. Tall cliffs with rock towers rising from the ocean stood out in the shoreline. I spied a line of cars as other tourists chose to drive along the panoramic view by land rather than by sea.

From the back of the boat, loud noises of excitement could be heard above the wind. Someone shouting with glee, or excitement and I leaned over the railing to see what the fuss was. Cameron Magness had a tight hold of a smaller fishing pole, from behind struggling to pull it up and out of the sea. I watched with amusement as his back showed the strain of trying to reel in what was probably a mediocrely sized fish.

After a few more minutes of struggle, the end of the line emerged onto the back deck and a medium-sized fish of shining silver came struggling onto the boat. Dad stepped away from the edge, while the blond-haired toddler held the fish up with a smile for the camera. Jack Junior spotted me along the rail and held the fish up high, a big smile on his face, quickly removed as the fish struggled out of his grip and I laughed.

Grandma and Grandpa quickly stepped in to help their only grandson secure the fish for tonight’s dinner below and I leaned over the railing again to close my eyes against the spray. Jackson’s cold hands came up behind me and slipped under the hem of my fleece, grasping the warm skin of my waist.

“Arghhhhh!” I exclaimed, trying to swat him away, but he held on tight and pressed us harder into the railing for no escape. After a moment, his hands warmed up while we watched the coastline pass by. “What was that for?” I asked, feeling his chin press up against the side of my head near my ear, when he whispered.

“Did you once tell your father that you would only get married for the sake of the baby?”

There was humor in his voice, and I laughed at the memory of trying to irk my father.

“Of course I did, darling. You don’t think I would marry you for anything less, do you?”

“No, I didn’t suppose so. Someone in your position would of course have no other recourse than to marry a felon for him to support them. Of course, I totally understand.” he nodded in deadpan, eyes still out to the cliffs. I broke out into a big grin.

“Felon! You did one month! And you seem to have a very stable job now, I’d say. Quite reformed.”

The bow of the Fury hit an oncoming wave and water burst up onto the top deck, water hitting our deck shoes. Jackson turned out to look at the water before Triton’s Fury as it sailed its way down and around the Southern Coastline of Australia. Rough seas, but the potential was undeniable.

“Speaking of work, boss, wasn’t I supposed to take us to some offshore Tidal Current Turbine Station, or something like that? You need to give me more directions than ‘South Australia’.”

I clasped him one more time, and nuzzled into his own fleece sweatshirt. “Can we just keep sailing for a few more days? I’ve never been swimming with Whale Sharks, and it’s the season in Western Australia, you know? Jack would loooooove it.” I crooned into the wind. My husband shook his head at the request, his stern, businessman side emerging.

“Uh-uh, no way. For the President of the new Australian division, you do a shocking amount of little to no work. Your father is going to start regretting expanding out here and think I’m a terrible influence.” he rounded on me, our bodies facing each other as he shielded me from the wind. “He won’t be in grandfather-heaven for much longer. Be proactive Mrs. Vail.”

I gave him a grin and together we watched the rough waters part for Triton’s Fury as it sailed us into the future.



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