Indigo Waters – Chapter II

Indigo Waters by Sandy LoIndigo Waters is now available on Kindle.

Everyone fears something. Indigo Waters is about taking life adventures and the people you want with you along for the ride. Full synopsis here.

Chapter II

            The flight to Fort Lauderdale was a restless one for both girls.  Cosette’s stomach was tied up in knots about the thought of spending most of her summer on the water.  As for Madeleine, she hated sitting still.  She just wanted to get off the plane and smoke a cigarette already.

            The plane landed at seven-fifteen-am.  Not only were the girls on edge, they were also exhausted from the early flight.  They had to make it to the executive airport by eight-thirty.  From there, they were taking a charter plane to The Biminis, a small chain of islands in The Bahamas.

            “I still don’t understand why Mom didn’t fly us in last night,” Madeleine gave her signature eye roll as she hoisted one of the suitcases off the baggage carousel.

            Cosette stared at her, “Maddie, do you think Mom wants us alone in Florida for long?”

            “Ugh!  That woman is so aggravating,” she said.  “I’m not a kid anymore.  I understand you are, but I’m nineteen now.”

            “I’m more responsible than you,” Cosette argued, grabbing a floral suitcase from the carousel.

            “Pfft,” Madeleine said, impatiently waiting for her third bag.

            Cosette crammed everything into two bags while Madeleine contemplated bringing a fourth oversized suitcase.

            “If you don’t like Mom’s rules, move out,” she shrugged her shoulders.

            “I wish I could,” Madeleine mumbled, finally seeing her last bag and retrieving it.

            The girls hurried to the taxi area.  Cosette approached a driver from behind.

            “Excuse me, Sir,” she said softly.

            No response.  Madeleine patted the guy’s back somewhat roughly.

            “Buddy, can you take us to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport?”

            He was about to whirl around and give the rude Northerner a piece of his mind.  When he saw the light blonde beauty, he changed his mind.

            “Sure thing, miss,” he responded, immediately helping the girls with their luggage.

            “Speak up, Co,” Madeleine laughed.

            Cosette didn’t respond and just got inside the taxi.  The entire ride to the smaller airport, Madeleine decided she needed to lay down some rules for her younger sister.

            “Don’t go all traumatized kid on me in front of everyone, okay?”

            Cosette glared at her, speechless.

            “If something needs to be done in the water or even close to it, I’ll take care of it.  Mom said she told Cappie about your issue, but if he pushes, I’ll volunteer.”

            Cosette couldn’t figure out if Madeleine was being protective of her or was simply embarrassed by her.  The way she said “issue” made Cosette feel like she was handicapped or had a mental disorder.

            “…And try not to act like a total dork or try to be my mother on this trip.”

            “Are you done?” Cosette asked.

            “For now,” Madeleine smiled curtly.

            “Good.  My turn.  How about you don’t try to sleep with every guy on the boat?  Um, and try not to buy any pot from the Bahamians.  I don’t need you getting arrested in a foreign country.”

            Madeleine tilted her head to the side, squinted her eyes and curled her lips.  Another signature expression of hers.

            “Oh, and the same goes for me—I already have a mother.”

            Madeleine scoffed, “Not a very good one.”

            Cosette bit her tongue, “I turned out okay.”

            “Right, because Cosette is perfect.”

            And Madeleine is fearless, Cosette thought.  She didn’t say it, though, afraid a compliment would go to her sister’s head.  And why should she compliment the bitch anyway?  All Madeleine ever did was insult her.

            They arrived at the airport and gathered their luggage from the trunk of the car.  Cosette began to walk away with her two bags as Madeleine struggled with her three.  She took one look at the tiny charter plane she’d have to get on, and her stomach tied itself in more knots.  We’ll be flying over the ocean in that little thing?

            Just as Cosette approached the door to the building, it swung open.  Captain Lawrence Hughes stood there with a warm smile on his face, his bald head shining under the Florida sun.  Cosette barely remembered him grabbing her out of the water five years ago, or him at the funeral, but his face was most recognizable from so many Navy photos she had seen.  Of course, Cappie had hair then.

            “Is that little Cosette Hadley?  My God, girl, you’re practically a woman!”

            Cosette smiled shyly, “It’s good to see you, Captain Hughes.”

            He pulled her into a hug, catching her off guard, “Call me Cappie.  Captain Hughes was my dad.”

            Cappie came from a long line of Navy captains.  His tall frame engulfed Cosette’s petite one.  He spotted Madeleine smoking a cigarette.

            “Ah, there’s your sister.  The feisty one,” Cappie remembers the small blonde with pigtails, who was as stubborn as her father and as quick tongued as her mother, even at seven.

            At the funeral, she had quite the chip on her shoulder, but Cappie passed it off since she had just lost her father.

            “Feisty doesn’t even come close to describing Madeleine,” Cosette said before walking inside the airport, which consisted of three small rooms.

            “Come on, girly!  Yoo-hoo, Madeleine!” Cappie yelled out to her.  “We have to get you checked in.”

            Madeleine huffed and put her cigarette out before lugging her bags.  Cappie grabbed two from her, groaning as he did.

            “Shit girl, how much crap did you bring?”

            “We’re going to be gone for two months.”

            Cappie chuckled, “This isn’t a beauty pageant, Barbie.”

            Madeleine could tell already that this guy was not going easy on anyone.  He seemed warm enough and passed everything off as a joke, but she could see he was a hard ass.  She knew the type well, having enough authority figures coming down on her over the years.  Cappie was putting on a show for the other passengers sitting in the airport, who would be guests on the boat.

            “I don’t like him,” Madeleine said to Cosette, sitting down next to her.

            “Cappie?”

            “Yes.”

            “Why?  He was Dad’s best friend,” Cosette said, as if that automatically made him likeable.

            “I don’t care,” Madeleine shrugged.

            “I remember him being nice.”

            “What?  When you were five?” she rolled her eyes with a laugh.

            Cappie walked over just then.

            “Madeleine, just so you know, no smoking in front of guests.  Whenever we dock, you can get off and do what you have to do.  You hear me?”

            She held back her eye roll, knowing Cappie was her free ticket to Bimini.

            “Yes, Cappie.”

            “Good girl,” he nodded at her before walking away.

            “I don’t like him,” she repeated her earlier statement.

            Cosette laughed, “Oh, because he said no to you about something.  How dare him!”

            “Shut up.”

            Cosette looked around the small room.  She wished Miranda was there.  She was always shy around new people, and it wasn’t like Madeleine had anything pleasant to say to her.  There were a few older couples along with a mother and daughter who seemed to be speaking German.  Cosette knew this trip wasn’t going to be what Madeleine expected.  She was fine keeping to herself; that was easy.  Madeleine figured the trip would be like a cruise with college guys on vacation.  Cosette knew better—she did her research.  She knew exactly the kind of boat they would be on.

            “Where are all the young people?” Madeleine whispered.

            “Oh, I’m sure some of them are already in The Bahamas, you know, get some time on the beach before the big dolphin expedition,” Cosette said, placating her sister.

            One by one, people were called up to the desk to weigh their luggage and have their passports checked.  Madeleine wouldn’t sit still as they waited to board the plane.

            “Is this your first time on this expedition?” An older woman asked.

            She looked to be in her mid-sixties.  Cosette had heard her talk to everyone else in the room, including the Germans.  She already knew her name, Peggy, and that she had been on the expedition three other times.

            “Yes,” Cosette answered shyly.

            Madeleine instantly jumped into the conversation.

            “We’re apprentices of Cappie’s,” she bragged.

            “Oh, how nice.  Are you girls in college?” Peggy asked.

            “I’ll be going to the University of Miami in the fall.”

            “Wonderful.  How about you?”

            Madeleine shrugged, “College isn’t really my thing.”

            She instantly felt judged by Peggy, who went on to speak to Cosette about her Ph.D. in biology.  Peggy did most of the talking, and Cosette listened politely, but by the time they were boarding the plane, she was relieved.  It was exhausting hearing about Peggy and her husband, Harold’s travels around the world.  Harold, who wandered around the room with a giant camera hanging around his neck, for his part, grunted or mumbled a sentence out here and there.

The plane ride over to South Bimini was under a half an hour.  Madeleine got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat, where she asked a ton of questions.  Cosette was clutching her seatbelt the entire ride.  She could hear Cappie trying to call things out to her, but she just kept her eyes closed.  Flying wasn’t a fear of hers, but with the plane being small and hovering low over the ocean, it was terrifying.  She kept picturing herself in the ocean, trying to rescue herself and Madeleine out of the crashed plane.

            She heard Cappie laugh before she felt him pat her shoulder.  She wasn’t used to being touched.  Her father was always affectionate, but the rest of the family was not anymore.  Physical contact from strangers, especially from a man, made her feel slightly awkward.

            “Co, we’ve landed.  You can open your eyes.”

            She looked over at him and nodded silently as she undid her seatbelt.  Her relief only lasted a moment before the knots in her stomach twisted into ones of the bulky Double Fisherman’s variety.  Her face became paler, knowing in just a short time they would be boarding a boat—one she would spend more time on than land for the entire summer.  She immediately felt sick.

            “You don’t look so good,” the German teenager said in a heavy accent.

            “She’ll be fine.  I’m Madeleine,” she introduced herself to the tall fair-skinned girl with bright red hair.

            “Isabel, nice to meet you,” the girl smiled.

            They began to talk, but Cosette zoned out as she followed behind.  She was trying to breathe deeply.  They went through the customs process with the Bimini officials before boarding a bus.

            Cosette tried to focus on the Island as they drove through—the colorful houses and the Bahamian children running down the street.  There wasn’t much to look at though.  There were no big landmarks or hoards of people.  There were just trees, flowers, and beaches.  It was such a tiny place, not like Portland, Maine.  Cosette instantly thought back to living on small Bailey Island.  She loved being surrounded by water and boats.  She knew it was ironic that she no longer wanted to go near either of those things.  When she really thought about it, she felt betrayed by her mother for sending her on the expedition.  If Mom was in the water that day, would she be able to go back in?  She wondered.  Cosette wished her family would just understand.

            The bus stopped in front of the dock; at the end sat a blue yacht with the word “Indigo” on the side.  Cosette imagined her father inspecting every inch of the boat and insisting Cappie let him have a spin.  A smile crossed her face before quickly fading as she saw her dad’s body in the water; sinking them both.

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