Authors: Suzanne Jenkins
Excitement set in right away. Not so much being with Jason, but the idea that she’d get away from the office and be on the water, getting some sun. And riding in a boat would be a real thrill, one she hadn’t had since taking a Circle Line Cruise in high school. She had already forgotten her resolve to protect Pam, lured away from common sense by the promise of a boat ride.
“Thank you so much! I can’t wait,” she said before saying goodbye.
After they hung up, she called Valarie to ask if she could spend the night, just in case the trip ran later than expected. Packing for the day was as good as packing for a vacation. Going to Pam’s house in Babylon was all she’d had to look forward to for a long time.
The next morning was sunny and clear,the promise of a beautiful fall day. A car picked her up and took her to the station and she was in Philadelphia by ten. A sudden surge of heat pulsed through her body when she saw the iconic Love sculpture triggering something she’d buried deep in her heart. Forgetting to take her birth control pills during a short business trip to Philadelphia a few weeks before Jack died, she’d gotten pregnant. The memory stung, being pregnant without him ever knowing, losing the baby, the loneliness that followed. She’d made so many bad choices based on loneliness, and now she was making yet another.
A car pulling up interrupted her sad litanies. It was Jason, more attractive behind the wheel of his Bentley.
“I guess your medical practice was a good one,” she said, sliding into the car looking around. He giggled, girlish and disarming.
“Yep, I got a few perks for my efforts. This and the boat. You’ll see my house is modest for Philadelphia.” But
was being modest. The house was a huge brownstone near the river with a three-stall carriage house behind it, the upper level converted to an apartment.
“Who lives upstairs?” she asked when they pulled the car in the garage.
“My son Aaron,” he replied shortly. Sandra thought,
Aaron, the drug addict?
He was famous for rifling through people’s medicine cabinets and had done so at Pam’s, caught red-handed. She thought Aaron lived in California.
“Pam told me he lives in L.A.”
“She isn’t aware that he’s back,” Jason said. “I didn’t want her to worry.” He sure kept a lot of secrets from Pam. Sandra hoped there was a way of warning her
without exposing how she found out about Aaron. She’d think of one.
They got her bag out and walked to the dock behind his house. “Your house is
on the river
Giggling again, Jason nodded his head. “I’d have to have a boat here or the dock would be a waste.”
“So when you say you have a boat on the Delaware River,
you have a boat on the Delaware River!
” They high-fived, laughing. “Oh my God.” She stopped short of stepping onto the dock. The boat wasn’t just a boat. It was a yacht.
“How many feet is this thing?”
“Fifty, not counting the swim platform. Let me help you get on.” A young man in white pants and t-shirt took her bag while Jason stepped down into the boat, offering his hand to help her get on board.
“This is Pete,” Jason said. “Our neighborhood boatman.”
“It started right up,” Pete said. “You have a full tank of gas, a fridge full of food, the bar’s stocked, the cooler full of ice. You’re good to go.”
“We’ll ride up top,” Jason said as they walked through the walnut-paneled pilothouse, brass gleaming, the smell of furniture polish rich and clean. A half-door lead to a staircase. She followed behind him up the steep stairs, arriving at the top deck that had a beautiful view of the city. There were two swivel chairs, a small table with navigation equipment and steering wheel in front of a huge, circular couch and round table. He shouted something down to Pete, who started to unwrap the heavy cables that held the boat to the dock from the massive concrete piers. Jason turned the key and in the distance, Sandra heard the twin engines rumble. It was a boat sound, one she’d grow fond of, that would send chills down her spine later on when memories of that day came back to her.
As Jason pulled the massive vessel away from the dock, Sandra’s phone buzzed but she didn’t hear it. The caller would next ring Sandra’s house phone, trying to return a call she’d received the day before. An innocent nanny, one whose boss had forgotten to warn her
to give details of her whereabouts to anyone, answered the phone and told the familiar Miss Pam all she needed to hear.