I can tell I’m getting through to him. His eyes are more focused on me, and he’s got a small furrow between his brow as he thinks.
“Look, just put me on the dinghy and take me to shore yourself and take me to a police station. I’ll talk to whoever is listening. Just don’t let him be the one who takes me.”
I have no idea how much I can trust Edwardo. The fact he’s working with Don doesn’t bode well, but it isn’t as though I’m overwhelmed with options. If Edwardo knows how bent Don is, then he won’t care what I say because most likely, Edwardo is crooked, too. But if Edwardo is a good guy who already has his doubts about Don, he might just believe me.
“How can I be sure this isn’t just a trick to escape?” Edwardo says.
I jangle my cuffed wrists. “What do you think I’m going to be able to do with my hands cuffed behind my back? Besides, you’re armed, aren’t you? Men like you never go anywhere without a gun.”
He purses his lips and lifts the bottom of his white linen shirt to reveal the handgun tucked into the waistband of his pants. I suck in a breath, though it’s no more than I’d already suspected.
“So, I’m right. What can I possibly do to escape when I’m cuffed and you’re armed?”
He bites his lower lip, and glances over his shoulder toward where Don is.
“He’s distracted, focused on driving the boat. If we’re going to do it, we need to do it now. I’m not asking you to let me go. Take me on shore and straight to the nearest police station. Just do it without him.”
“Okay,” Edwardo says.
I almost burst into tears with relief. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“But we move quickly and quietly, and we go now.”
I’m not going to argue with that.
He takes me by my upper arm and helps me to my feet. My heart races, my breath short and tight in my chest. I’m fully aware this is the only chance I’ll get to escape. I don’t even care if I’m just going to end up in a police station—being away from Don is worth whatever comes next. If these drug charges are real, I’ll have to figure out a way to hire a fucking good lawyer to prove them wrong.
The thought of needing a lawyer—agoodlawyer, not some useless piece of crap the court issues—immediately makes me think of money. I was so close to getting that million bucks, but it’s all ruined now. Even if I managed to speak to Rafferty and explain what had happened, I still broke the contract by leaving. It might not have been willingly, but I still left the island.
Don is sitting at the wheel, facing away from us. He’s focused on the water and, I’m assuming, not hitting anything. It’s dark now, and I hope the gloom will help shelter us from view. The dinghy is attached to the side of the boat. It isn’t going to be easy to lower it into the water and make a jump for it, but what choice do we have?
An image pops into my mind—that of me grabbing Edwardo’s gun and shooting Don in the back of the head. I imagine Don slumping forward, his body over the wheel, blood dripping onto the floor of the cabin. It would be quick and easy, and I’d never have to worry about my stepfather again.
I’d be free.
But there’s no way I’ll get Edwardo’s weapon from him and, even if I somehow got my hands uncuffed and tried it, thing wouldn’t end well for me. For one, Don would hear the tussle for the gun, and for two, I’d then have Edwardo to deal with. I might not be a drug dealer, as Don claims, but, if I shot Don, I would be a murderer.
Edwardo jerks his head toward the side of the boat. With my arms cuffed, I’m useless. I can’t do anything but watch as he unhooks the rope tethering the dinghy. If this doesn’t work, and I end up in the water, there’s a good chance I’ll drown. I might be able to tread water for a short while, maybe lie on my back and float, but without the use of my arms, I won’t be able to swim properly, and I doubt I’ll last long.
A cooling saltwater spray hits my face, and I know—if I live long enough—it will leave white tracks over my skin.
We bump and bounce across the waves. In the distance, the first specks of light appear. We’re approaching the mainland farther down the coast, though it’s still some distance away. The island and the resort have long since vanished from view.
My heart hurts. Before now, when I’d thought of dying, my main regret was that I’d never made Don pay for what he did. Now, however, I discover a new regret. I’ll never get to find out what might have become of all of us. I didn’t think I was imagining it when I felt something growing between us all. Maybe Brody was the one to kick back against it, but his reaction was only because he’d felt it, too. It scared him, and he reacted. Were the others blaming him now? I hoped not. This wasn’t Brody’s fault. Brody might have been the reason I’d ended up alone, but ultimately Don is the reason I’m gone.
It occurs to me that Don is also the reason I met the four of them. If I hadn’t been running and hiding, I never would have gone for that job atThe Limit. And if I hadn’t needed the money so badly to start a new life for myself, and hopefully hire an investigator to put Don behind bars, I never would have stayed. I’d have heard their terms and been out of there quicker than a rat up a drainpipe.
In some strange way, do I have something to thank Don for?
Maybe, but there’s no way in hell I’m thanking the sick fuck for anything.
One end of the dinghy drops and hits the water. I suck in a breath and hold it, my entire body poised for the shout of ‘stop’ that I’m certain will come from the wheelhouse. Edwardo freezes, too, and glances over at me. I meet his eye and swallow, hard.
But nothing happens, and with a quick nod, he turns back to the job at hand to work on releasing the other side of the boat.
It drops into the water. Only a loose line prevents it from floating away.
Edwardo puts his hand out to me and beckons me forward with a curl of his fingers. It isn’t going to be easy climbing down with no hands. I want to ask him to uncuff me, but I don’t know if his keys would even work on these cuffs, and there’s no way we’re going to ask Don to do it.