I’m sure I couldn’t afford it if it were.  “I just wanted to hear it, that’s all,” I said.

“Can’t help you there either,” she sighed, impatiently reaching into the case to pull out the box.  She spun the little silver handle as she looked me directly in the eyes. “There’s no cylinder in it.”

She tapped the ratchet lever and let it spin freely.  “See,” she said, putting it back in the case.

My cheeks flushed.  “O-kay,” I drug out the word, wondering which nerve I struck. “Thanks for the demo.”

The sarcasm was obvious as I rolled my eyes.  Nice, I thought-concluding that her face was much prettier than what lay beneath.  Annoyed and somewhat embarrassed, I started for the front door.

“Hey,” her tone more animated as she called for me.  “Aren’t you the one that almost got nailed by a Jet Ski a couple of weeks ago?”

I was tempted to lie and continue walking out the door, but I was curious.

“You saw that?”  I asked skeptically as I turned to face her.

Her eyes grew bright.  “So, it was you,” she said.  “I never forget a face.  I’m Pepper by the way, and you are…?”

Her demeanor shifted towards the friendly side, which made me automatically suspicious.

“Never forget a face?” I asked, and was sorry I did.  My heart raced and palms grew sticky with sweat at the image my own question provoked.  It was Pepper’s exact shade of blonde, bound in a wetsuit zipper.  The coincidence goose-fleshed my skin.  She looked at me longer than necessary to answer.  She looked like she was mentally editing her answer.

“Someone I know caught it on their phone,” she said matter-of-factly.

Why did everything feel like a lie lately?

“You saw it then?”

“Just part of it,” she answered.  “But I was impressed by how you managed to out maneuver Grim.”

I attempted to clarify.  “Grim?”

She raised one of her arched brows in a look I could only interpret as being appalled by my ignorance.

“As in the Reaper type,” she added impatiently.  “Knock it if you want, but he was there, and he wanted you.”  Her statement sounded like some kind of warning, and I wondered if I was supposed to know what that meant.

“Um, okay,” I said confused.  “I’ll keep an eye out.”

Grim Reaper, huh?  I could practically feel the waves of crazy rolling off of that explanation, so I decided it was time to go. I gave the quirky-haired girl an abbreviated wave.  “Nice meeting you,” I said, and headed for the door again.

“I’ll see you around,” she called back, as though stating a fact.

I found no need to explain that I was leaving soon, so I left it at that.

I ventured back down to Bay View Street heading for the wharf to snap some pictures before Alex arrived.  I cut across the parking lot and passed the Harbor Master when I saw the sign for the restaurant Constance mentioned.  ‘The Atlantica’. A much classier place than my wardrobe permitted.  I looked down at my flip-flops, grumbling that I would actually need Evie’s help.

Floating in at the end of the dock, I caught a glimpse of a blue sail boat and thought I recognized Alex on it.  The wharf was busy today.  There were a few groups getting ready to sail, a man refinishing the wood on his boat and ton’s of tourists doing exactly what I was-gawking at all of the beautiful ships parked in the harbor.

I recalled my dad mentioning that Alex sailed, but the boat I envisioned resembled more of a dingy.  This monster though, was probably a cover model for sailing digest.  With its deep, Atlantic blue paint, cherry wood deck and crisp white sails, the craft rang true as a classic beauty.  I quickly snapped a picture with my phone before Alex could object.

It wasn’t something I noticed until I was standing right next to the boat, but now, my heart lurched at the most staggering and unexpected sight.  It was her.  Chloe.

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