Listen to Your Heart

Page 27


“Nothing makes sense. We’re still trying to get answers. I’ll meet you down there.”
She was right. Nothing made sense. I changed into my suit, pulled on a windbreaker, and slipped into a pair of flip-flops. In the hall I met up with Max, who had bedhead and was mumbling about sleep. Together we went out the front door, around the corner, and across the street to the marina. As I passed through the gate and onto the dock, I paused to look at the padlock. It was cut and hanging lopsided on the latch.
Inside the shop, my dad stood talking to my aunt and uncle. CD came over and nudged my leg with his snout until I petted his head. Then he moved on to Max.
“Hey, kids. Any idea how this happened?” Dad asked.
I looked at Max, who shrugged. Why would we have any idea?
“Friends playing a prank?” Max offered.
“Friends playing a …” I closed my eyes. “Frank?”
“You think the Young boy did this?” Dad asked.
“I don’t know; he’s the only one I can think of,” I answered, my suspicions growing the more I thought about it. “He was here at the marina the other day, saw how we kept things.” Plus, he’d been nosing around our house the night before; maybe he’d seen the inventory list dad kept with the ledger. “He has a boat and a WaveRunner. He could’ve easily done this. And you know his family has an in with the Patrol and a problem with us.”
“I hope you’re wrong,” my dad said.
Suddenly, I was sure I wasn’t. “Where’s Mom?” I asked, glancing around the store.
“She went to make a report. Uncle Tim is going to take a boat out to the first WaveRunner and drop you off. You’ll drive Max to the next WaveRunner. Take walkie-talkies. I’ll direct you both from there. Don’t tow more than two at a time, please.” He looked at his watch on his wrist. “Hopefully, we can get this done before we open.”
On Saturdays, we opened at six a.m. Mainly for our fishing boats and supplies, but also for the hardcore skiers who liked their water like glass, unaffected by the choppiness that more boats on the lake produced.
Uncle Tim patted his leg and CD ran over to him, his tail knocking against some swimsuits, sending the hangers swinging.
Aunt Marinn stilled the hangers. “I’ll drive,” she said, shoving my uncle so she could get out in front of him. He chased after her.
My dad handed me two sets of keys, for the first two WaveRunners he was directing us to. We could tow in the rest without powering them on. Max retrieved the life jackets and ropes, and we all, including CD, boarded one of our three powerboats, which were nowhere near as nice as Frank’s. Uncle Tim shoved us off from the dock, and we were on our way.
The sun would rise over the mountains any minute now, which I was glad for. I may have loved the lake, but the thought of riding alone on it in the dark wasn’t an appealing one.
“Looks like we’ll avoid the lake monster,” I said, poking Max in the ribs. He wasn’t a morning person so I knew that was about all the teasing he could probably handle.
“Now we’ll just have to deal with the forest one,” he said, surprising me. I should’ve known he’d jump on the family stories. He was a storyteller, after all, with his comics. “She stays out until at least seven.”
“Yes, she steals as many fish as she can.”
“You two are scaring CD,” Uncle Tim said, covering the dog’s ears.
“You’re right, CD is kind of a wimp.” He hid during Fourth of July fireworks, and every time there was a thunderstorm.
“There’s one!” my aunt called, pointing out the windshield into the distance. “That’s good to see.”
My uncle nodded at the sight of the WaveRunner up ahead. “I know. I thought maybe they’d taken the GPS trackers out and thrown them in the lake.”
I hadn’t even considered that possibility. So we weren’t dealing with real thieves, just pranksters. Which made me even more certain it was Frank.
Aunt Marinn pulled up alongside the WaveRunner, and I peered over the side.
“Can you get me any closer?” I asked. End of season water was warmer than beginning of season water, but still, it was too early to get wet this morning.
“Who’s a wimp now?” Uncle Tim said.
Aunt Marinn circled one more time, and my uncle was able to reach over and grab hold of the handlebar. I climbed on and Max followed behind me.
The next test was seeing if the runner actually turned on. I stuck the key in the ignition and it powered to life. I breathed a sigh of relief. My uncle handed me the walkie-talkies and ropes I had left on the seat in the boat. Then he and my aunt drove away the boat, waving to me and Max.
I radioed in to my dad to find out the location of the next closest vehicle. It was in the cove.
As Max and I took off, the water was still black, the sky barely a light gray. I thought it would be brighter, but the sun hadn’t quite made it yet.
“This is how you wanted to spend your Saturday morning, right?” I called back to Max over the wind.
“You really think Frank did this?”
“Yes,” I said. “You don’t?”
“I don’t know.”
“Who else would?”
Max didn’t answer, probably because he knew I was right.
For the second time in a week, when I rounded the outcropping of trees and rocks to get to the cove, I saw a boat floating beside our WaveRunner. This time, it was a small fishing boat. No lines were cast and the occupant—a dark-haired guy my age—was sitting on our WaveRunner. He was studying the metal placard we had on all our power vehicles, the one that bore the name of our marina and our phone number. The guy had his phone in the air as if that would help him get a better signal.
He turned at the noise of our arrival. To my surprise, it was Diego.
“Hey!” he called out, obviously recognizing me.
“Hi,” I said.
“I was just trying to call the marina.”
“There’s no signal here in the cove.”
“I was learning that.” He looked at my brother behind me. “Hey, Max, nice to see you again.” Diego stepped off our WaveRunner and back into his boat.
“Hey.” Max climbed off the back of one WaveRunner and onto the other.
“You’re out early,” I said to Diego.
“I have to beat the forest monster to the fish,” he said.
Max’s eyes shot to Diego. That was a family story. I was surprised, too.
“Where did you hear that?” I asked.
“It must’ve been your mom who told it to me a couple summers ago when I was buying bait at the marina,” Diego said. “I didn’t know it was your mom at the time, but she looks a lot like you.”
“Yes. She does.”
Max used the key I handed him and the engine turned over.
“What happened with the WaveRunner?” Diego asked, nodding toward the one Max was on.
“We’re not sure. How long have you been out here?” I asked.
“About an hour or so.”
“Did you see anyone out on the lake this morning?”
“I saw a big fancy boat first thing, but I think it was heading in.”
I tried to keep my grumble to myself but it was hard.
Max had his own walkie-talkie and he gave me a questioning look.
“Yes, you’re good to go,” I told him.
“See you around,” Diego said, and Max waved at us before taking off.