As Vera waded in the water, waiting for Owen to throw her a life-preserver or stop the boat, she watched as the Sightsailer passed her by, with no indication of stress or acknowledgement that there was a woman overboard. Luckily, since they had just gotten started, they weren’t very far out to sea, so the shoreline was within swimming reach, probably 100 yards or so.
As she made her way toward the shore, Vera did a series of swimming maneuvers she had learned in swim class as a child, including the doggy paddle, the breath stroke, and the back stroke, but she really wished she worked out a bit more–or at all–because she was growing exhausted. However, the fear of sea animals and sharks spurred her to move faster.
As she swam, she also couldn’t help but think that her half-brother, her own flesh and blood, was so evil that he would jeopardize someone’s life by watching her flail over the side of the boat and not offer any assistance whatsoever–just because she wouldn’t reciprocate his advances.
Finally, she got to shore, her yellow dress clinging to her like a second skin. She felt very self-conscious and crossed her arms as beach-goers oohed and aahed at the woman who had washed up on the beach.
“Mommy, is that a homeless mermaid?” said one little girl.
“Oh, honey,” said the mother. “Homeless people don’t live in the ocean.”
Eventually, Vera made her way to the boathouse, her feet dripping wet spots all over the cement floor. The young woman at the front desk with the name tag “Chelsea” did a double-take when she saw Vera standing in front of her.
“Holy smoke,” Chelsea said. “What happened?”
“I fell over the side of a Sightsailer,” she said. “I was wondering if you could take me back out on a boat to find my party. I don’t want them to worry.”
Soon, Vera and Chelsea were walking toward the boat docks. As they passed an ice cream stand, Vera spotted Cole licking chocolate ice cream and checking his phone. Like Chelsea, he did a double-take when he spotted the drenched-but-familiar woman walking toward him.
“Owen and I had a scuffle,” Vera whispered.
“I’m coming with you,” he said.
Chelsea, Cole, and Vera eventually found the Sightsailer all by its lonesome, just chilling. As they approached the boat, you could see the five of them drinking champagne.
“Denise,” said Betsey. “We were so worried. Our cell service is terrible out here, and we couldn’t get a hold of anyone for help.”
Yet, they all were still drinking chardonnay, with no indication that they were even trying to find or help her.
“I’m fine,” she said, as Chelsea got the boat close enough for Vera to climb aboard the Sightsailer. “This is my brother, Kevin. I found him when I washed up on shore.”
“Hello,” he said.
“Kevin,” said Richard. “Do you golf? We were just talking about hitting a few rounds tomorrow.”
“I do, actually.”
“You should join us.”
Vera loved to think that while she was presumably drowning in the water, they were talking about golf.
“Owen said you’re clumsy and just fell over,” said Betsey. “Should we put you in a life preserver?”
Owen wore a sheepish grin as he put his arm around Vera.
“Sorry,” he whispered. “Don’t hate me.”
They returned to the shore in the evening, just as the sun was setting on the now lonely beach. Once they docked, the five family members walked off the boat as coldly as the nocturnal chill in the air.
Vera and Cole let the family walk ahead of them.
“These people are the worst people I’ve ever met,” he said.
“Are they really that bad?”
“You’re kidding, right? You were thrown overboard.”
“It was kind of an accident.”
Cole grimaced at her.
“What’s with you? You keep making excuses for this family.”
Vera wanted to tell him everything, but would that blow this entire assignment? She didn’t want to lose this gig and the money.
Vera and Cole approached an empty beach, with the stars popping up in the sky.
“Wanna sit a minute?” she said.
They sat and watched as the waves kept coming in and creeping back out.
“I have a confession,” said Cole. What was his confession? Please return to the top of this episode to vote on what happens next!