Aboard the luxury yacht The Great White North, Trevor and Joel were enjoying their beers and the company, when a clanging sound interrupted them. François appeared, ringing a crystal dinner bell. In a heavy accent, he announced, “Dinner is soon to be ready, and I will begin serving in ten minutes. I have prepared the table, please follow me.”
In the saloon, they took seats at the linen-covered table as François, with a formal flourish, lit a set of candles. The candleholders were silver, with concave bases designed to catch any wax set free by the motion of a boat at sea. François then, with an ostentatious air, popped the cork on a bottle of red wine and began pouring.
When François had left for the galley, Melanie said, in a hushed voice, “He’s an excellent seaman. He’s from France originally but he lived in Quebec for several years so his cooking is Québécois. Tonight, he’s preparing what he considers to be the official national dish of Canada.”
Trevor noted Bob’s tight-lipped expression, but before he could puzzle over it any further, François appeared, carrying two plates, which he served to his employers. “Poutine et chien chaud. My specialty.”
François returned with Trevor and Joel’s plates, proudly serving them. Trevor glanced down, looking at his plate with a perplexed gaze.
Bob chuckled, and then whispered, “It’s poutine; large, thick cut potato wedges, lightly fried in heavy oil, so that the insides are still soft. The white blobs are cheese curd, all smothered in brown gravy. The chien chaud, which is François’s specialty, means ‘hot dog’ and you’d find a diced-up one underneath. Like I say about François; as a cook, he’s one hell of a good sailor.”
Melanie gave her husband a light kick in the shin. “Bob, he’ll hear you.”
Bob rolled his eyes. “He says worse about me, and won’t even let me in the galley of my own damn boat.”
Melanie shrugged apologetically. “He’s a very good sailor, even if he can be a tyrant at times, and say what you will, he’s better than either of us are in the kitchen.” Turning to Trevor and Joel, Melanie added, “Bob and I can’t cook worth a damn, and François’s cooking isn’t that bad, once you get used to it.”
François, his own plate in hand, popped his blond head out of the galley, and his cherubic face lit up with wry smile. “I hear you. It is hard to cook aboard a ship, and harder still to find ingredients in foreign ports.”
Melanie and Bob nodded agreeably, though Bob rolled his eyes. Bob leaned closer to Trevor and Joel, and whispered, “He’s no better in Canada. Maybe once we get to France he’ll improve, but I’m not counting on it.”
Trevor and Joel smiled, and then dug in, finding the poutine a little strange, but not that bad. The heavy, soggy, oily French fries were the most difficult, but they managed to eat them along with the rest and keep smiling.
The conversation turned to Italy, and Trevor talked at length about the Strait of Messina, which was of concern to Bob and Melanie, who planned to transit it. Then, Trevor and Joel took turns answering questions about Gibraltar, and finally, Trevor added his observations on the Strait of Gibraltar. By the time they were done, it was ten o’clock, and Bob’s stifled yawn made Trevor realize it was getting late. He thanked his hosts for the dinner, wished them a good voyage, and then, as he and Joel made their way aft, Bob handed Trevor the map cartridge and a note containing his phone number and the name and contact information for a Suez Canal agent. “Make sure that cartridge works in your system, and have a safe trip, Trev. Have a good flight home, Joel, and if either of you ever come to Vancouver, please look us up,” Bob said, as Trevor and Joel cast off.
With a turn of the key, Trevor started the outboard, and after a final wave and a shouted ‘Thank you’ to Bob and Melanie, turned the Zodiac towards the center of the caldera, taking his bearing from the town lights on the towering cliffs above.
Glancing nervously out into the darkness, Joel said, “I can’t see Atlantis. Are you sure you’re going the right way?”
“Yeah, sorta, but close enough. We’ll see the lava island in the center of the caldera first, and then track its shore to the left. We’ll see Atlantis’s mast lights when we get closer. Don’t worry, we’re in a giant bay, we can’t get too lost,” Trevor replied, as they bounced across the choppy waters.
Joel decided that now was as good a time as any, and gave voice to his concerns. “Pirates and floating debris... Dude, are you sure you want to do this? Maybe you should turn back.”
Trevor sighed; he’d known from Joel’s expression that this was coming. “You heard Bob and Melanie; I’ll be fine if I join a convoy to the Seychelles and go slow. Plus, I can outrun any pirates if I have to. I’ll be okay, honest.”
Joel chewed on his lip for a few moments, and then replied, “What’s bugging me is that you didn’t know any of that stuff. I know you’re a great sailor, but you don’t know what it’s like where you’re going. What if there’s more stuff you don’t know?”
“Yeah, good point, but this taught me something important; talk to other cruisers. I’ll make sure I do, especially to ones coming from the route I’ll be taking. Joel, I don’t have a lot of choice. I can’t go home until I’m eighteen unless Dad emancipates me, and my dad won’t let me have my money unless I keep going, and if I try hanging around the Caribbean for a year, I could be in danger there too. Besides, I want to meet my mom’s family, and who knows, maybe they know something about what happened. Joel, I have to do this.”
Joel shook his head. “Okay, I get that, but I don’t like it. Can’t you find another route? That Southern Ocean stuff sounds like hell.”
“Lots of yachts use that route, I’ll be fine. If I have to put on some speed to run clear of a storm, I will. Hitting a log at speed could stave in a bow, but there’s a collision bulkhead about two feet back from the prow of each hull, and it’s watertight. Besides, I’m going to take Bob’s advice and hang out on that island and wait for a weather window. Also, you heard him say forty south, right? That’s also called the roaring forties. I’m planning to cross at the northern fringes of the westerlies, at about twenty-five degrees south, which puts me about a thousand miles north of the roaring forties. If a storm comes up, I’ll see it on my weather set days in advance, giving me plenty of time to cut north and out of its path. My route from Florida to the Azores was nearly as long, and those seas can be rough too, but I was fine,” Trevor said, regretting his choice of words the moment they left his mouth.
“Do I need to remind you that you nearly fucking died out there?” Joel shot back, in an angry tone.
Trevor shook his head. “I know, but that was due to me being dumb, not anything to do with the weather or the area. You know I’ve learned my lesson on that.”
Joel sighed, and waited a few moments, thinking, before saying, “Okay, I’m just worried about you, man. I don’t feel right, leaving you to go through that alone.”
Trevor smiled in the darkness. “You’ve got to go home, man. Lisa needs you and we both know it. If it makes you feel any better, you don’t have a choice. I’m dead serious; I won’t let you stay on Atlantis past Cyprus.”
Joel looked out onto the dark waters, and then back at the cliff top town lights. “You’d really kick me off?” Joel asked softly.
“Count on it,” Trevor replied. Joel’s leaving was something Trevor dreaded, but he knew he’d never forgive himself if he messed things up between Joel and Lisa, or if he put Joel at risk. “Lisa needs you, and even without that, there’s no point in you screwing up your life by missing your senior year of high school. I have to, you don’t. I’ll be okay, I swear. I’ll see you in the spring when I get home. It’s not all that long. Besides, I’ll meet up with other cruisers. Bob and Melanie were really nice, and cruisers tend to be friendly and help each other out. I’ll be fine.”
Joel gave Trevor a skeptical look in the darkness, and then looked ahead, seeing the mast-top light on Atlantis half a mile off the Zodiac’s bow. “Dad said I could use his frequent flyer miles, so I think I can come out to you on the next long school holiday, at Christmas. That’s better than you being alone for most of a year.”
Trevor wanted to accept, but hesitated. “What about Lisa? You’d be leaving her alone for Christmas.”
“What do you think Lisa will say about that? She’ll want me to go. Hell, maybe by then her father will let her come too, which would be perfect, but even if not, we both know Lisa would want me to go. What would you do if it was me?” Joel asked.
Trevor couldn’t help but smile, already looking forward to seeing Joel again. “Thanks, man. I’ll even take you clothes shopping in Australia.”
“Damn, that means you’re truly desperate,” Joel replied, his mood lightening. “And I accept. Don’t try to weasel out of it when I get there, either.”
Trevor laughed, as they approached Atlantis in the dark.
Once they were aboard, Trevor tried the map cartridge, beaming with delight as his system loaded it. “It works! I’ve got the Indian Ocean maps and charts. That’ll get me to Australia, and you can bring me one for the Pacific from Dad when you come out.”
“I don’t want to come out, I’m not gay, and that counts as sexual harassment,” Joel replied, snickering.
Trevor crossed his arms. “You promised you’d spare me any accusations of sexual harassment for a week if I won the shooting match, which I did.”
“I didn’t accuse you of it; I was just observing that what you did qualified as sexual harassment,” Joel said, and then laughed before adding in a serious tone, “But I’ll bring you the Pacific map cartridge when I visit you at Christmas, and if I can’t get it from your dad, I’ll get it somewhere.”
Trevor grinned, glad to see that Joel was back to being his normal cheerful self. “Okay, decision time. We can stay here in Santorini for a while, or head out.”
Joel nodded solemnly. “I think we should definitely do one or the other.”
Trevor laughed and rolled his eyes. “Yeah, we pretty much have to. Okay, I’m a little nervous here; we’re not in Greek waters legally, this is a busy place, and there are patrol boats. I’ve got the AIS transponder off, and we’d probably be fine here for another day, though.”
Joel shook his head. “We’ve seen a lot, so let’s be safe and head on out. Got a route and destination in mind?”
“Yeah, I do. We need to change out those exhaust stacks, so I found a sheltered beach. It’s in Rhineia, about sixty miles north of here, in the Cyclades. It’s just west of Mykonos, and between Rhineia and Mykonos is Delos: the island with all the ancient temples and stuff. I found a bay on the east side of Rhineia that opens to the south, so it’s sheltered from the north winds we’re expecting in a couple of days. From that bay it’s less than two miles to Delos, and there’s a ferry from Delos to Mykonos town, which is just a couple of miles further. I figured we can take the Zodiac around and see stuff; it won’t draw attention from the customs or port police like Atlantis would. Besides, Rhineia should be fun to explore; it used to have some farming and a small town, but it’s been totally uninhabited for over twenty years.”
“Sounds great to me, and it’s close. From the look of your weather display, we’ll be there before dawn,” Joel said.
Trevor shook his head. “We’ve been drinking, and I don’t want to try that anchorage in the dark. Our route takes us through two straits, which can be tricky at night but fun to see in the daylight. Dawn should be at about six in the morning, so I figured I’d grab some sleep and sail around five, that way we’ll see a lot of stuff.”
“Cool, but wake me when you get up. I want to see us sail out of here. G’night, Trev,” Joel said, heading for his cabin.
Trevor awoke at five, and stumbled into the galley in his boxers to find Joel making coffee. Trevor gave Joel a sleepy grin. “Now I know why I’ll miss you; I’ll have to make my own coffee once you’re gone.”
With a laugh, coffee mugs in hand, Joel followed Trevor out into the warm, humid air.
Atlantis sailed just before dawn, with Trevor at the con for the difficult channel, and Joel by his side. Under engine power, they motored out, towards the narrow northwest pass in the caldera. The moon was up, and the view was spectacular; the lights of the towns were partially obscured by clouds that hugged the cliff tops, and Joel tried to take pictures with his phone. It was a good try, but the motion of the boat and the dim light made for a blurry photo.
They threaded the narrow pass and set course for Rhineia, and Trevor unfurled the sails as Joel took the con.
Twenty miles north of Santorini, they had a spectacular view of the rugged island of Ios as it rolled past in the morning sun, a mile off their starboard beam.
Another twenty miles took them through the narrow strait between the islands of Naxos and Paros, as Atlantis churned through the choppy seas, hove close to the north wind, following a slightly zigzag course to keep an angle on the wind.
After a morning of sailing between islands, they arrived at Rhineia in the early afternoon, and motored into a wide south-facing sheltered bay on the east side of the island. They pulled in close to the beach, as Trevor kept a close eye on the depth gauge, and then, fifty feet offshore, Trevor reversed the port engine and began turning Atlantis away from the beach.
After looking at the barren, deserted hills and the aquamarine water, Joel had just one word, “Awesome!”
The low rolling hills of Rhineia, one of the largest uninhabited islands in the Aegean, lay spread out before them, and Trevor pointed at some derelict buildings. “There used to be farming here; those must have been farmhouses.”
“I can see the remains of walls dividing the fields,” Joel declared, pointing further inland.
“The waves and winds in the Aegean can be tricky this time of year, and I want to make sure Atlantis is solidly anchored. I’m going to move us offshore about thirty feet, then heave the bow anchors as far as you can to the sides. Then I’ll back away, towards the beach, to set ‘em. Then we can swim a line ashore and tie it to a rock; that’ll hold her fast.”
Joel trotted forward and, at Trevor’s signal, hurled the port anchor from the tip of the bow as hard as he could outboard, and then raced to do the same on the starboard side.
Trevor powered down and secured a line to the starboard stern post, and then pulled the heavy coil of mooring line over his head and one arm.
Joel, with two pair of flip-flops in hand, followed Trevor over the side for the easy swim to the pebble beach, just fifty feet away, where Trevor pulled the mooring line taught and tied it off to a large boulder, securing Atlantis.
Walking inland under the hot sun, they made their way to the nearest ruined farmhouse, and then walked back along the beach, to the eastern point at the edge of the bay. Looking southeast across the water, Trevor pointed at an island a mile and a half away. “That’s Delos, where all the temple ruins are.” He then pointed west, at another island, five miles away, “That’s Mykonos, which is a tourist Mecca. They’re both within range of the Zodiac. First though, I’d like to get those exhaust stacks changed out.”
“How long will that take?” Joel asked.
Trevor shrugged. “Half an hour to an hour for each one if nothing goes wrong. The hull ports are below the waterline, so we’ll have to plug them from the outside. I’d have preferred to just beach Atlantis and wait for the tide to go out, but I kinda forgot that there is almost no tide in the Mediterranean.”
Joel laughed, hard. “The great and wise sea captain, exalted crosser of oceans, forgot about tides? You’ll be hearing about this a lot, you know that, right?”
Trevor nodded as his cheeks began to redden. “Yeah, I pretty much figured that.”
Joel turned to glance at Atlantis, riding at anchor on the calm waters. “Let’s get it done today, and then tonight, beer!”
Trevor laughed and nodded. “Sounds good to me.”
Plugging the exhaust ports was easy enough; Trevor carried a set of tapered rubber bungs for use when seacocks or other hull openings needed to be temporarily plugged for repair work.
While Joel installed the bungs, Trevor retrieved the two stainless-steel exhaust parts from his supply bin, along with a toolkit. Once Joel was back aboard, dripping wet, Trevor opened the port engine compartment hatch and leaned in, as Joel squeezed in beside him.
Pointing at the exhaust manifold, Trevor said, “It’s a wet exhaust system. Hot seawater from the cooling system is mixed with the exhaust gasses, and then it runs through the stack – also called an elbow – and out the underwater exhaust port at the stern.”
As Joel watched, Trevor removed the old stainless steel pipe and put a new one in its place, getting his hands covered with grime in the process. He pointed at a plastic box fixed to the wall next to Joel and said, “Do me a favor and get me a rag out of my rag box, so I don’t get this dirt everywhere.”
Joel reached into the open-topped box and pulled out a tattered pair of gym shorts. “Here, but I’ve seen your wardrobe and I think you’d be better off using all of it for rags.”
Trevor made a point of flipping Joel off while wiping his hands on the old shorts. “Says you, who stole my green t-shirt.”
Joel shrugged. “Only after I’d improved it by cutting the sleeves off – which reminds me, I’ve still got to take a pair of scissors to some of your other clothes.”
Trevor rolled his eyes, and then tossed the rag at Joel, hard. “Here, put it back. I only throw ‘em out when they get real dirty, or any kind of oily. There’s a rag box in both engine compartments and in both main bilges. They’re one of the first things I put in, right after making an oily mess one day. I stick all my junk clothes, towels, and bedclothes in them.”
Joel nudged Trevor’s bare shoulder with his own and snickered. “If you really put all your junk clothes in there, that’d be everything you’ve got.”
“Hey, whose red shorts did Lisa like on you? Mine!”
“The exception that proves the rule,” Joel shot back, and then he snickered again.
Trevor opened up the starboard engine hatch and began working before saying with a chuckle, “You just like to drive me crazy, don’t you?”
“Took ya long enough to figure that one out,” Joel replied, laughing in the sun.
Altogether, the work took a little over an hour, but when it was done, Trevor examined the two old exhaust stacks in the sunlight, and then pointed inside one as Joel leaned in to look. “There’s heavy pitting inside. I think these would have lasted another few months, but they were due to be replaced and I feel better having new ones in. I’ll keep these for spares.
With Joel by his side, Trevor did a thorough inspection of Atlantis, looking for anything that might need work. A few small things such as lubricating pulleys and oiling winches did, and together, they fixed them.
By five in the afternoon, with the sun lowering over Rhineia, they were done... almost. Trevor casually asked Joel, “Take a guess what you forgot?”
It took Joel a few seconds, and then he got it. “Duh, the exhaust bungs. I’ll get ‘em, and then it’s beer time... after dinner, anyway. Want me to nuke some of that lasagna I made the other day?”
Trevor nodded eagerly. “Yeah, that was awesome.”
“I’m a good cook,” Joel said, stepping out onto the port stern and puffing his chest out with pride.
“I can’t argue with that,” Trevor replied from the cockpit.
Joel glanced down into the clear water and after a moment’s thought, casually shucked off his shorts. Naked, and with an evil grin, he turned to face Trevor. “No need to get my shorts wet again, right?” Joel said, and then laughed at Trevor’s open jaw before doing a back flip into the sea.
A minute later, Joel scrambled back aboard, bungs in hand, and picked up his shorts before padding into the cockpit, where he handed Trevor the bungs. “Here, go put these away before I start yelling ‘sexual harassment’.”
Grinning, Trevor ran his eyes slowly over Joel’s naked body. “Hey, if I’m going to get blamed for it, I might as well do it,” he said, and then turned to toss the bungs into a storage compartment.
With a bemused smile on his face, Joel toweled off. While tugging his shorts back on, he said, “Looking at me while I’m naked, you should be ashamed, you perv.”
“Go nuke us some dinner, damn it,” Trevor replied, starting to crack up.
Under the searing Florida sun, Bridget and Lisa were walking away from Bridget’s tennis court after their game. Bridget noticed the dreamy smile on Lisa’s face, and guessed that it had little to do with her victory on the tennis court. “What has you so far away and happy today, Lisa?” Bridget asked, already guessing the answer.
“Joel will be back in less than two weeks, and I can’t wait. I miss him so much it hurts. I think about that, and I’m on top of the world, but... then I remember that Trevor will be going on, all alone. He’s going to miss Joel a lot, I know he is. Then there’s my father... He has issues with Joel, and that’s the source of a lot of problems.”
They walked into the kitchen, where Bridget served iced pink lemonade before asking, “If I may ask, why does your father dislike Joel?”
Lisa squirmed for a moment, and then, blushing slightly, replied, “My parents married very young, and it didn’t work out. My mother left him and then remarried. She lives in France now, and doesn’t want anything to do with Daddy or me. I’m not much older than they were, so my father keeps insisting I’m too young to be in love. He’s had major issues ever since he found out that Joel and I, uh...”
Bridget smiled in understanding. “I can guess, Lisa. I know this may be hard to believe, but I was once young myself, you know. Perhaps, with Joel having been away for a while, your father will be less opposed to your relationship?”
“Maybe. He seems like he is, but my guess is, the minute he starts thinking that Joel and I are, uh, sleeping together again, he’ll start hating Joel again.”
Bridget, unperturbed, nodded somberly. “And I remember all too well how it was to be your age. Expecting you to refrain is not realistic. Perhaps, as the saying goes, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him? Just be discreet.”
Lisa nodded, frowning. “We’ll try, but it’s not easy. Daddy is sure to come home unexpectedly from time to time, on purpose. There’s always Joel’s house, and his parents don’t seem to mind, but if I’m over there, or just not home, Daddy is going to know, or at least be pretty sure.”
After thinking for a moment, Bridget stood up and said, “Come with me; there’s something I wish to show you, which might be of interest to you.”
Puzzled by the sudden apparent change of subject, Lisa walked out into the front garden with Bridget, to a small building surrounded by oleanders. Bridget took out her keys and unlocked the door, ushering Lisa inside. “This is my guesthouse. It’s a little stuffy at the moment; it hasn’t been used in ages. It’s rather small; just a bedroom, bathroom, and sitting room. As you can see, it is very private; it’s close to the street, but these oleanders screen it from my house.”
Confused, but beginning to hope, Lisa nodded and replied, “I’ve seen it when I park in the street, and I wondered what it was.”
Bridget fished the key off the ring and handed it to Lisa. “For when you and Joel need some time alone. I’ll let my housekeeper know to add it to her rounds, and it will be ready before Joel’s return. If your father has any questions regarding your whereabouts, just tell him ‘I was at Bridget’s house’, because this is part of my property, and it is sort of a house, in a way. If he wishes verification, I’ll provide it, along with an earful regarding over-controlling parents.”
Lisa, grinning broadly, turned completely around, looking at the guesthouse, and blurted, “Thank you so much, Bridget!”
“I’m delighted to be of aid to young love, my dear,” Bridget replied, with a knowing smile. “All I ask in return is that you keep this strictly to yourselves.”
Giddy with anticipation, Lisa replied, “Of course. I won’t even tell Joel until I pick him up at the airport.” Lisa was too thrilled with the use of the guesthouse to think of much else, and was already imaging the day of Joel’s return.
“I’d very much like to meet Joel after he’s had a chance to rest up after his journey. He sounds like a wonderful young man,” Bridget said, walking out of the little guesthouse and then waiting while Lisa locked it up and put the key on her own key ring.
“I know he wants to meet you too; and thanks,” Lisa replied, and then added, “I’m supposed to meet with Officer Gonzalez in a couple of hours. I just wish I had something to tell him that could get Trevor’s father arrested, so Trevor could come home.”
As they walked back to Bridget’s ornate, imposing front door, she replied, “I certainly wish that were the case, as well. Do bear in mind when speaking with the officer, though, how incompetent he and his department have been thus far. It may well be that if we are to make any progress in bringing the killer of my husband and Trevor’s mother to justice, we could need to play a more active role. Your records searches are promising, though that is something the police ought to have done themselves.”
“I wonder... What do they know about Trevor’s parents filing for divorce a few weeks before she died? I assumed they know all about that, because Officer Gonzalez didn’t react when I mentioned it in the first interview, but... I wonder if he ever really looked into it?” Lisa asked.
“That preliminary filing, self-prepared and asking for a judge to decide both asset distribution and custody issues, is certainly something of which they should be aware. That however by no means assures that they are. I do know that they are aware of a divorce filing, but the issue of requesting a judge to decide things... that indicates they both wanted the divorce, though could not agree upon the divisions. That is indeed a motive for murder,” Bridget said, thinking that it couldn’t hurt to refresh Officer Gonzalez’s memory.
When Lisa arrived at the police station, Officer Gonzalez greeted her warmly and ushered her into an interview room. He waited until she sat down and then took a seat opposite before asking, with a smile, “So what’s this information you have for me?”
Lisa slid a copy of Atlantis’s title across the table, and said, “Trevor has always been listed as the owner of Atlantis, even though he was a little kid at the time. I also noticed that Bridget is listed as the seller of Atlantis, though it wasn’t called that, then. I asked her about it, and she said her husband used to buy and sell yachts, and her brother handled the details of winding down the business after her husband’s death, so she wasn’t aware of it until I reminded her.”
Officer Gonzalez was intrigued, but didn’t let it show. In an offhand way, he said, “This would have been a couple of years after her husband’s death... Did she mention anything else? I’d like to know more about Dirk Carlson’s interactions with his attorney.” Officer Gonzalez watched Lisa carefully for any change in body language.
“No, Bridget didn’t say anything other than I should bring the title copy to you. How would she know anything about Trevor’s dad’s lawyer? Speaking of documents... you do know that Trevor’s parents were in the process of getting a divorce, right?”
Officer Gonzalez glanced up at Lisa to reply, “Yes, I have a copy of the filing papers. Have you found anything new?”
“Not really, but you’ve read them, right? And you know they were asking for a judge to decide the asset split and custody? But Trevor is listed as the owner of Atlantis, from years before, so maybe his mother was planning ahead, and maybe that’s why his father killed her?” Lisa asked, a hopeful, almost pleading, look on her face.
With a sympathetic smile, Officer Gonzalez replied, “I’m not allowed to discuss the investigation with you, but I can confirm I’ve read those papers, all of them, in detail. Let me guess; Mrs. Bellevue thinks I’m not digging hard enough?” He watched Lisa closely, to gauge her reaction.
Lisa scowled and glared at Officer Gonzalez. “I’m worried that you’re not. You didn’t know about Trevor being listed as the owner of Atlantis when his parents bought it, did you? That’s a public record too...”
Officer Gonzalez nodded. “Actually I did, and if you like we can go to my office and I’ll show you a copy. I know you’re trying to help, and I have no objection if you keep digging, so long as you aren’t putting yourself at risk in any way.”
Lisa just nodded, staying silent, but thinking, ‘Bridget’s right; he’s not trying hard enough so we’ll have to get more involved.’
Officer Gonzalez gave Lisa a wistful smile, and looked her in the eyes, hoping that she’d believe him, but suspecting that she wouldn’t. “Lisa, be very careful around Mrs. Bellevue. She’s a suspect in the murder of her husband.”
Lisa snorted. “Yes, she told me that herself. Why can’t you see that it had to have been Trev’s father?”
Ignoring the question, Officer Gonzalez continued, “If you ever find anything implicating her, don’t tell her or you’ll be putting your life in grave danger.”
“Bridget is my friend, who just wants to see her husband’s killer caught,” Lisa replied, more certain than ever that Officer Gonzalez was wrong.
Officer Gonzalez asked a few more questions, before standing up and showing Lisa to the door.
Walking out to her truck, Lisa felt frustrated, certain that the police were not taking the Carlson case seriously. Fuming, she called Bridget to tell her what had happened.
After the interview, Officer Mike Gonzalez returned to his small cubicle, and decided that it was time to put the Canary Trap to use. He glanced at his notepad, on which he’d previously crossed off the initials of several people who were on his initial suspect list, based on the contents of the anonymous e-mail Jim had received. One that was crossed off was G, which stood for Detective George Alfred, who he’d given a specific date of transit to, and he’d also told that Dirk and Jim were a couple. The anonymous e-mail to Jim had contained a different date, one he’d given to Sergeant Pierson, in dispatch.
Officer Gonzalez began planning his next step, trying to decide how best to make use of the situation he wrongly believed existed.
Bridget heard the rumble of familiar engines, and looked out her window to see the bow of Sea Witch approaching her dock. She walked down to the dock, and George Alfred walked up to meet her halfway. She walked with him to her kitchen, where she gave him a kiss, and then asked, “How did it go this time?”
Detective Alfred shrugged. “Kind of rough; there’s a rage sea so it slowed us down a bit across the strait, but everything’s done. We’ll be going again tomorrow night.”
Bridget smiled and nodded. “I’ll go with you; I haven’t been in a while. Any news from Gonzalez’ investigation?”
Detective Alfred nodded. “Yup. I’ve been looking into the lawyer, Ainsworth. Checked his records, the works. No indication he’s the violent type, he’s back in the U.S., and he hasn’t made any flight reservations for Egypt, or anywhere else. I think you’re barking up the wrong tree there.”
Bridget shrugged. “It was worth a try, but I suppose it was overly optimistic of me to think they’d be that sloppy, though the e-mail at least served to deflect suspicion from you. However, I remain convinced that Dirk killed Rachel, so there are other angles worth pursuing. Oh, in that light, just so you are aware, I’ve given Lisa and Joel the use of my guesthouse.”
Detective Alfred arched an eyebrow. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
Bridget angled her head slightly, turning to gaze out the window. “It was a needful one. I’m not overly concerned. You most often arrive by boat, and you can’t see the dock or any of the rest of the back side of the property from the front of the house. There is no way through from the front other than via the house; I had the side path walled up years ago. They will only be using the guesthouse occasionally, and the arrangement is temporary. I feel that the risk is minimal, when compared to the possible need.”
Detective Alfred leaned back in his chair, and then after thinking for a few moments, began to nod.
Bridget smiled confidently as she added, “Judging by what Lisa told me about the most recent interview, Gonzalez still appears to be investigating me with at least as much interest as he is showing in Dirk. That needs to change. So, seeing as I’ll be in the Bahamas anyway, perhaps it is time to involve our associates.”
Aboard Atlantis, Trevor and Joel lounged on the moonlit deck, drinking and laughing, after four beers each. Joel looked up at the mast, and then asked Trevor, in a serious tone, “How come you’re still worried about money, now that you’ve got your ATM card working again? It’s a debit card too, right?”
Trevor patted the deck. “I’m okay for the short term, but all that card does for me is give me access to my own account. I should be fine until I get back to Florida, but my insurance will be just about due, which is several thousand, and I’m sure there will be some costs to get Atlantis ready for charters again after going around the world. It’ll be tight, but I should be okay until I can start chartering again, if I’m careful.”
“You’ll be ready for summer, which is prime season, and you can count on Lisa and me to help any way we can. You made decent money before, even though you couldn’t charter very often and had to pay Julie, but when you get back, you’ll be able to go out whenever you’ve got a customer.”
Trevor nodded. “Yeah, once I get going again I’ll be doing great. Don’t forget though; you, me, and Lisa are taking Atlantis out on a birthday trip, starting the day Lisa and I turn eighteen, wherever you guys want, for a couple of weeks.”
“Utah,” Joel replied, and then began laughing.
Trevor chuckled and leaned over and gave Joel a light punch in the arm. “I meant anywhere on the sea, you ass.”
“So what’s on for the next few days? You up for a trip to Mykonos tomorrow?” Joel asked.
“Yeah, we can take the Zodiac over, and I can top up on gasoline and propane, plus I need some anti-algae diesel treatment. It’s the one thing I forgot when we went to that marine store. Diesel can get algae growing in it, especially in hot climates, so I’d better stock up. They’ll have it in Mykonos, probably,” Trevor said.
Joel gave Trevor a bemused look. “It’d be great to check out the town and then doing some grocery shopping. I was thinking more along the lines of a real Greek restaurant than a fuel dock, though.”
Trevor laughed. “We can do both, we’ll just have to keep an eye on the Zodiac once the fuel is onboard.”
Joel took another drink of beer. “Yeah, that’s a plan, and I’ll bet they’ve got clothes stores there too,” Joel said, just to make Trevor cringe, which it did.