He was still thinking of her, eleven years later...
His voice was unsteady, his face warped with apprehension. Finally, he pointed to the slips across the water.
“Do you see that boat docked over there?”
“That’s a catamaran. It has a double-hull, so it’s more stable and smooth out on the open ocean. Good for carrying passengers.”
“Okay,” she said, unsure why he was telling her this.
He looked out at it and said quietly, “It’s for sale.”
“Are you thinking of buying it?”
He shrugged. “Or something like it.”
“What are you going to use it for?” she asked, and instantly knew the answer. “Whale watching.”
He turned to her now, his face sphinx-like.
“William. Is that what all your questions were about in the pub? Asking me whether or not I would do it if someone would hire me?”
He shifted his weight and looked back out at the catamaran.
“Oh,” she said. “Oh.”
Against her better judgment, against her will even, her spirits soared. He was thinking of her. Making plans that involved her.
“It will take a lot of time,” he said so quietly that she almost couldn’t hear him. “I would have to get a license. I’d have to actually buy the thing. We’d have to make a business plan.”
“We.” She reddened, realizing she had said it out loud.
He turned a piercing gaze on her.
“Give me a minute,” she said, sitting down right there on the pier.
To her further amazement, he sat down next to her. “If you’ll do it with me, you’ll be my business partner.”
She took a few deep breaths. Collected herself. “Forgive me, but – how are you going to buy a boat like that?”
“I saved most of the money I made in Alaska.”
Had he really made that much money? “William. Like I told you, I don’t know if I have the time or the luxury to work on this. Also, my future is a bit uncertain right now. I’m still married. I don’t know what will happen if he ever comes back.”
“Will you go back to him?”
She saw the pain in his eyes, the creases in his forehead. She drew her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them.
“This is all so sudden,” she murmured. “I need a little time. I’m not saying no. To any of it. I just need time.”
He nodded his understanding. After sitting together with him for another minute, she stood up, and he stood as well. Then she turned to go back inside.
The first thing she did was pull out her cell phone, retrieve the slip of paper with Holly’s handwriting from her wallet, and dial her lawyer's number.