The Worst Kind Of Surfing
The next day, Dylan had to stop by the Aleppo Park recreation center to turn in some paperwork for his job as a swimming instructor for the summer. He was lucky because it was a dream come true position where he would give lessons in the morning and help lifeguard the large Olympic-sized pool during the afternoons. But the Parks and Recreation Department was looking for dynamic college students, and they paid well above minimum wage. Dylan, with his swim team stats in high school and placement on the JV water polo squad at Cal-State Long Beach was just what they were looking for.
Bill Towers, the man in charge of the summer program, looked haggard. “Hey, what’s wrong, Mr. Towers?” Dylan asked.
Bill exhaled loudly. “That kid, Trevor, who has been training for the last two weeks to help Coach Abel out with the baseball camp just called and said he’s taken a full-time job working for his stepfather. So now, the program starts on Monday and I’m down one college student. Coach can’t do it with only four assistants.”
Dylan immediately thought of Jake. “I might know somebody,” he said excitedly. “The cousin of my best friend just moved to Aleppo Park. He lettered in baseball at his high school up north and was a freshman at the university on a scholarship last year. He needs a job too.”
Bill looked at Dylan thoughtfully. He didn’t like hiring someone off the street, so to speak, but he was desperate. The program needed young people to work under Coach to teach various skills, and even one employee dropping out meant extra work for everyone as well as the likelihood of the children not enjoying their camp experience. Besides, Dylan Moore was a good kid, dedicated, well-skilled and hard-working. If he vouched for this new boy, he would probably work out.
“I’ll tell you what, Dylan. You get him in here, and I’ll take a look.”
“Yes sir.” Before he was even out the door, Dylan was calling Marcus on his cell and telling him about the job.
“Explain that again.” Jake was eating lunch with his cousin at the kitchen counter.
Marcus rolled his eyes at having to repeat himself twice. “Okay, let me say this slowly, and I’ll use small words this time. Dylan called me. He has a job at the rec center. He teaches swim lessons. They have day camps all summer. One is for kids learning to play baseball. Do you follow me?”
Jake shook his curls out of his face and smacked Marcus on the arm. “Very funny. But go on.”
Marcus explained how the center was in a bind with the kid who had given notice without having worked a day. “Dylan says the job is practically yours. They’re desperate to fill the position immediately. All you have to do is go down and apply.”
Jake sat there with his mouth open. Not only would a full-time job pay well and help him with college expenses in the fall but it was one in which he’d see Dylan every day. It would look really good on any resume he filled out after graduation and he could spend the summer with the boy he worshipped. He’d keep his baseball skills current, improving his chances to actually play during his sophomore year, and maybe he and Dylan could become closer friends.
An hour later he was standing in Bill Towers’ office, freshly showered and dressed in his best pair of jeans and a white button-down directing him to the online Madera Tribune prep sports newspaper archives on Bill’s computer. Jake’s name popped up frequently from his junior and senior years of play for the West Madera Wildcats, and there was no doubt in Bill’s mind that Jake was exactly as Dylan had described him. His stats were excellent in both batting and defense.
“So what position do you play?” he asked.
“I was a shortstop in high school, but in college, I’ll play anywhere they let me.”
Bill smiled at his enthusiasm. “Do you have any pitching experience?”
“Not since ninth grade,” Jake acknowledged quietly, hoping this wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. “I grew up here in the county but when I was fourteen we moved to Madera. In my sophomore year, they had more pitchers on the school team than they knew what to do with. I could tell if I did straight pitching I’d never start. My arm wasn’t fast enough and my curveball sucked. I had already played at other positions so I didn’t even mention it to them. I enjoy shortstop. It’s never boring.”
“That’s good to know,” Bill replied, appreciating his honesty. “We have two pitching assistants already, but in case one of them takes a day off, it would be nice to have a back-up who at least knows what he’s doing.”
When Jake walked out of the office, he had the position. He was literally jumping for joy as he danced through the front door of his aunt and uncle’s house. “Text Dylan and tell him thank you for me,” he crowed to Marcus, his jade eyes sparkling. Omigod, he was going to see the Moore kid every day for the rest of the summer. Every day! It felt like he was rounding third base and scoring the winning run of the championship game.
“Text him yourself, homey,” Marcus replied, pulling Jake’s cell out of his shirt pocket and programming in Dylan’s number.
Jake did better than that. He called him.
“I hope it’s okay that Marcus gave me your number,” he said after hellos were exchanged.
“Sure, that’s solid,” Dylan answered, smiling broadly at the optimism in Jake’s voice. “Did you get the job?”
“Yes, and thank you so much for suggesting me.”
Dylan grinned, pleased to have brightened Jake’s day. He hadn’t made a friend this fast or with such little effort since first grade. Jake was really a wonderful guy. Their personalities were in sync, they got each others’ jokes, and it was like they’d known each other forever. He was thinking of having somebody he knew to eat lunch with at the recreation center on week days between their morning and afternoon sessions.
“It was nothing, one of those right place, right time things. So what’s your schedule like over the next couple of days?”
Jake groaned. The other camp assistants had been training for two weeks, and he was expected to catch up in three days. It was going to be grueling, but he knew he shouldn’t complain. It was what he wanted, and he had a real job, thanks to Dylan.
“I’ll survive,” he said once he itemized his workload. “And I’ll be ready for Monday when camp opens.”
On Tuesday, Jake was up bright and early, arriving at the stucco and brick recreation center at 8:30 on the dot. He met Coach Abel, filled out reams of paperwork registering him for the program and getting him insurance. He was sent to the sheriff’s department substation in San Clemente for fingerprints and given a long list of dos and don’ts with the kids before they came back clean. “Be here dressed to play ball tomorrow,” Coach advised him. “I’m going to put you through your paces to see where you fit and if I need to teach any bad habits out of you before you can work with the kids.”
Tamping down on his minor irritation, Jake realized the wisdom behind his words. Okay, if that’s what Coach wanted, that’s what he’d get. He didn’t think he had much in the way of detriments, but in the meantime he might learn something useful.
No sooner had he arrived home than Marcus was pounding on his bedroom door. “Get changed into your board shorts. We’re all grabbing some fast food for dinner and going up to Dana Point to surf. The radio surfline says it’s shoulder-high with a southwest swell.”
Jake sighed. He really was tired but he didn’t want to give up an opportunity to get in the water. Who knew when he’d have another chance now that he was working steady?
They grabbed Subway sandwiches and soft drinks and met up with Noah and Luis at the breaks at six. Jake was happy to also see Dylan there, and they talked about the day camp as they ate. They were just about ready to put the food away and take their chances with the high waves when Spencer, Sage and Kelsey arrived.
Everyone greeted each other, the guys with hand signs and Sage with hugs all around. Kelsey waved from the rear as if she was afraid of coming in contact with them. Jake wondered if this was her normal or if she was subdued because of him. He grimaced at the dirty looks she was shooting him when she thought nobody else saw and looked away.
Sage and the men wriggled into their wetsuits and ran to the water. They rode barrel after barrel until a change in wind direction combined with a weak groundswell dropped the corners and turned them soft and inconsistent. By then the sun was just a mild salmon glow below the horizon and the water was empty of everyone but them and a few sun-wrinkled gonzers in their forties who never met a wave they didn’t like.
They regrouped on the beach, casting off their neoprene and heading for the outdoor showers to rinse out the sand. Kelsey, the only one who had not gone into the water, struck an alluring pose when Dylan returned and trained her eyes to make it look as if she was glancing at something over his shoulder when she was actually staring right into his beautiful face. Jake smiled to himself at how artless she tried to be without much success.
“Say-ya,” Luis hailed the group as he headed in, the last to rinse off. “How was Sunday on the Moore’s yacht? Where did you go?” The question was innocent, and the Hispanic kid flicked them all a curious glance as he re-braided his damp hair.
Kelsey hadn’t appeared to be paying attention, but she had quickly picked out the words ‘Moore’s yacht’ and grasped the truth right away, especially when everyone around her froze in shock.
Whipping around to stare at all of them, she shouted, “The yacht? You guys went out with Dylan on Sunday and didn’t invite me?” Her rage was met by dead silence.
Noah decided it was time to man up since it was his idea. “Kelsey,” he began. But he didn’t get a chance.
The tiny girl whirled on Jake. “This is entirely your fault, you fucking bastard. You showing up here and wheedling your way in with my friends and taking them away from me. Why don’t you go back to wherever the hell you came from!”
Jake opened his mouth and shut it again, unable to say anything that would settle the situation and willing himself not to give in to her irrational anger. He felt like an insect specimen pinned to a display board and unable to escape. What he was most aware of was six pair of eyes swiveling between the two of them, and he glowed an uncomfortable shade of crimson.
“Stop, Kelsey…” Sage started over.
“Fuck off, Sage!” the brunette shouted. “I’ll deal with you all later, but for now I want to know what Jake has to say about this. Do not make apologies for him. I want to listen to this whiny bitch spout his lame-ass excuses for why he got to go with you and I didn’t.”
Jake stared at the girl with misgiving in his heart, feeling sick about the disagreement he didn’t cause but knowing he’d never convince her. Somehow he had to calm her down before she spewed all over everyone and turned her friends into enemies. He was going to lose them anyway- all of them- once they were forced to take sides and make a choice. Even worse, he was going to lose the camaraderie of the person who meant the most to him. Dylan!
“I am truly sorry,” he answered softly, staring frankly into her hazel doe eyes. “I had nothing to do with Sunday…”
“Oh sure you didn’t,” she said mockingly, flipping her hair back. “What did you do, Jake? Refuse to go out on the yacht if I was invited? Because you’re a little prick who can’t take some teasing?”
“Hey,” Spencer interrupted darkly. “That isn’t what…”
“Kelsey, that’s enough.” Sage’s voice was outraged.
“Can we dial this down a notch?” Dylan entreated. He was just as guilty as Noah was; he’d given the okay to leave Kelsey behind, and it stung him to watch her light into Jake who, although he was guiltless in this debacle, was turning pale and looked as if he was going to fall over.
But Jake’s voice floated over all of them. “No, I’ve got this.” He faced Kelsey directly with a determination to make this right no matter how much at the moment he felt like throwing up. He wasn’t going to let her walk all over him, but he wasn’t going to stand back either and watch this group who had been friends forever quarrel and fall apart because of him.
“You can believe whatever you choose, Kelsey, and I don’t much care either way. I didn’t tell any of them not to invite you, but before you go blaming me, maybe you should look at the pleasant way you’re acting right now. They have been your friends for much longer than mine.” He said the last without a trace of irony and let the words sink in for a few seconds before he continued.
“I don’t get why you chose to hate on me before you even knew me but you did. I would like to get along. If anything I said or did hurt you, I’m sorry. The last thing anyone wants is you all fighting because of me. Maybe I’m just in the way here and it would be better…”
Jake felt himself beginning to lose control and he certainly was not going to break down in front of Marcus’ friends. “Uh… that’s all, I guess. I’ll talk to you later … or maybe not.” And he leaped away from them, breaking into a fast sprint within a few yards of their gear to get down the beach as fast as possible.
Marcus twisted so fast in the sand to face Jake’s accuser that nobody saw him move until he was right in her face, and his green eyes were furious. “Kelsey Burns, you’re lucky you’re a girl, or I’d beat the crap out of you for what you just said. Jake never did anything to you even though you deserve it. He’s right; nobody asked you to go on Sunday because of the way you dissed him at the movies, but instead of learning from your mistakes you just made everything worse.”
By this time Marcus was thoroughly worked up and not even thinking about much beyond his anger and the hurt he’d seen blazing out of Jake’s eyes. “If you truly had any idea of what my cousin’s gone through this summer and why he is in Aleppo Park in the first place instead of at home, you’d feel so awful for making more trouble for him. That is, if you had any kind of sympathy for someone besides yourself.” Marcus balled his hands into fists and took a step backwards because he felt a strong desire to hit her, regardless of her gender.
“All he wanted was a few friends to hang with. Instead he’s left fending off wild, untrue accusations because you decided to be a bitch. It just goes to show what a classy guy he is to blame himself for your mistakes. Something your tiny, narrow mind cannot begin to understand, and that’s your jealousy and pettiness. You just better learn to deal with it now, princess, because Jake is more decent than you’ll ever be.” He addressed the rest of the crowd. “Now if you will excuse me, I have to find my cousin.”
Marcus took off in the same direction that Jake went, knowing he was down the coastline somewhere even if he couldn’t see him in the dark. “Hey, Marc, wait up,” called Noah, preparing to follow. “I’m coming too.”
Behind them, Kelsey’s brain went into overdrive, calculating quickly as she surveyed the damage that Jake had caused. It left her with one option to restore the battle in her favor before all was lost. She burst into tears. “I’m sorry,” she sobbed, burying her head in her hands. “I’m just so confused by why this is happening to me.”
“Shut up, Kelsey,” Sage ground out, taking an unusual stance against her best friend. “This isn’t ‘happening’ to you; you caused it. All of it.” She tied the sash of her light mesh cover-up and ran off looking for the boys.
“You believe me, Dylan, don’t you?” Kelsey was peeking at him from out between her fingers. But Dylan wasn’t paying attention to her. Luis was apologizing over and over for his misplaced remark, and Dylan was looking rather dazed and telling him that everything would work out all right.
“Everyone’s just tired,” Dylan explained soothingly. “Saying things they don’t mean.” It was the only line he could take because his mind refused to admit what his eyes had just seen: Kelsey viciously turning on Jake for no apparent reason and sending him rushing down the beach as if he was being chased by demons. But why was she acting like such a spoiled brat and climbing up his ass? Kelsey had always been a nice girl. Maybe selfish and melodramatic at times, but not acting out in this kind of mean, vindictive fashion.
”You’re right, Dylan,” Kelsey moaned, shifting quickly to get back in his good graces. “It’s been such a bad week, and I didn’t mean…”
Spencer frowned at her scathingly and saw right through her act. “Why won’t you shut the hell up! Didn’t you cause enough mischief with your big mouth? If I don’t have to listen to you for the next two weeks it won’t be long enough.” He looked between Luis and Dylan apologetically. “I’m out of here. Marcus is right- this is all her fault, and I’d rather hang with them.”
Luis, who by now was feeling like a total snake in the grass for accidentally starting the feud, gathered his board and surfing gear. “It’s been great, really,” he grunted in scorn. “Let me know the next time we decide to have this much fun.” He made it halfway across the sand and turned around, exasperation pouring off him. “You know, Dylan, the least you could’ve done was let me in on the secret. Like, tell me you purposely didn’t invite Kelsey so I don’t stick my foot in it.”
Except for the noisily crying Kelsey, Dylan was by himself surrounded by his friends’ surfboards. Deserted and unsure about how the night had gone so wrong, he felt helpless, caught in the middle of an argument that was anything but necessary. How was he to reconcile what his eyes saw- Kelsey enjoying herself tormenting Jake- with what she was claiming? It didn’t add up. The problem was the tension that had been building between them ever since he had moved to the area, setting them on a collision course, but why? The two brought out the worst in each other, like throwing gasoline on an open flame. If only he had resisted Noah’s suggestion and invited Kelsey along on the trip to Catalina, but would that have even been wise? It was like she wasn’t even trying to coexist peacefully.
Kelsey, who noticed that she was alone with her Dylan and happy with the outcome if not exactly with all the earlier drama, tucked her head and coyly threw herself in his arms to cry loudly on his bare shoulder. Snuggling closer and puffing out little bits of fake apology, she never failed to stick the knife figuratively into Jake and lay the blame at his feet. He was the one causing strife and breaking up the group. Jake hated her and wanted to take her friends away.
And Dylan just stood there, his arms full of sobbing girl, feeling like a heel and automatically patting her on the back. He hoped what he said to Spencer and Luis was true. They were all tired and on edge; soon everything would calm down and be back to normal. Unfortunately, he already realized this was pie in the sky. What he wanted to do most was follow the rest of the teens and make sure Jake was okay. Assure him that this wasn’t his fault and they’d work something out. Do anything to take the misery out of those vivid green eyes. But he couldn’t. Not with Kelsey holding on to him as if her heart was breaking. It would be cruel to abandon her. But damn if he didn’t feel trapped between the two sides. And how did this get resolved in a way that didn’t mean ditching one of them as a friend?
Jake sped down the shore as fast as his legs would carry him, but running in the deep sand was soon killer on his calf muscles. He couldn’t see the dips and rises beneath him and stumbled several times until he finally slowed to a walk. His lungs burned with the effort to pull in air and he bent over, placing his hands on his knees and breathing raggedly. Maybe if he passed out from lack of oxygen he wouldn’t hurt so badly over what he’d left behind.
What he’d left behind was the most incredible man on the planet who was probably as confused as he was over Kelsey’s accusations. Unless of course, he believed her more because that was what boyfriends did for their girls- trust them. Which Jake wouldn’t blame him for one bit. It seemed to be his lot in life to fall for beautiful guys who weren’t gay and had loads of hang-ups. It didn’t matter, they were all unattainable.
Once Jake got his breath back, he realized he didn’t want to walk anymore. Instead he looked out to sea where it was so dark under the overcast night sky that he could barely see the phosphorescence in the tips of the whitecaps. Low tide had been over four hours ago and the cold water was rushing around his feet and causing him to sink into the damp sand.
Jake knew that Kelsey’s behavior bordered on clinically narcissistic and tried to reason that she was just upset knowing she’d been left behind on Sunday. He was already taking note that his response to her had been less than stellar, extending his claws rather than showing her his vulnerable belly which, he was sure, she would have gleefully ripped out. The only thing he had ever done to her was show up out of the blue, be introduced as Marcus’ cousin and hope his friends took to him. He never expected someone to dislike him so harshly without giving him a chance.
He’d had such hopes after the pool party - was it really only eleven days ago? He’d fallen in love with Dylan, but he would settle for being friends, if that was possible. Being at the beach and surfing with him, working at the recreation center, motoring on his yacht; they had all become part of the most intense and enjoyable summer he’d ever experienced and it was only the first week of June. If he had to give it all up and find other people to hang out with…
“Jake!” He looked up to see most of the tribe running at him. Marcus, Noah, Sage and Spencer all smiling in relief as they surged around him, slapping him between his shoulder blades and forming a protective squadron at his back. Marcus wrapped his arms around him fiercely and then made room for Sage to give him a gentle hug. Everything they felt for him was in her eyes. Trust, belief, sorrow, compassion. His own filled with the long-threatened tears.
“Don’t take her shit seriously,” Marcus advised. “Kelsey is a real whack-job.”
“Jake, just to let you know,” Noah told him sincerely, gripping his bicep and staring into his eyes. “You’re solid. Still a solid guy after four years, is what I guess I mean. What went down tonight was totally skeevy and all her doing.”
Jake shook his head. “But that’s just it. I don’t want to come between you and her. It shouldn’t be this way. You’ve been friends with her for a long time. And then I come in and…”
“To be honest,” Spencer chimed in, “it was good seeing Kelsey taken down a peg tonight. Well, uh, not that it will make a difference to her.”
“I think she’s going through a rough time at home right now too,” Sage offered.
Her brother looked at her in disbelief. “Stop making excuses for her.”
But Jake wasn’t really listening to them. He was peering down the beach in the direction they’d come from hoping to see a tall blonde boy in a pair of blue board shorts strolling towards them to offer his own support and say it wasn’t his fault. Straining his eyes, Jake stared fruitlessly into the darkness. But Dylan wasn’t there. All Jake saw was sand.
Like most upsets between friends of this age, the episode blew itself out over the next couple of days. Jake worked his butt off at the recreation center conferring with Coach Abel and showing off his baseball skills. Coach was impressed and only needed to tweak a few things with his batting stance that even Jake realized gave his swing more power. When quitting time rolled around on that last afternoon Jake was positive he was ready for Monday’s first day of camp.
Early on Friday, Noah woke Marcus up with a cell phone call informing him of excellent conditions on the breaks at Doheny State Beach, and did they want to try to head out there for a couple of hours? Marcus conferred with Jake who thought it would relax some of the week’s tension away.
“Who is going to be there?” Jake’s face took on a pinched look. He had told the crew that he was steering clear of Kelsey, and Noah had informed him it wouldn’t be a problem. Sage had yelled at her for most of the fifteen mile trip home on Tuesday night and told her a repeat of her behavior wouldn’t be tolerated again.
“Just the four of us,” Noah explained. “You, me, Marcus and Dylan.”
Jake was still hurt over Dylan not coming to find him on Tuesday. He knew he was being petty and taking everything too personally. But if Dylan believed Kelsey’s story over his own, they had little chance of even sustaining a friendship. However, he had been looking forward to a chance to surf with Dylan for more than just a quick evening since he met him, and today would be a perfect opportunity.
When the boys arrived at the beach, the first thing they noticed was that the waves were breaking farther out from the shore than usual. The sets were good and the surface, glassy, so Jake and his friends headed for deeper water. Tube after clean tube rolled towards the beach, and they were whooping it up with wild abandon. These were the best breakers they’d seen all season, and a grin wreathed Jake’s face as he sat in the channel, lined up his markers and waited his turn.
The anxiety in Jake diminished quickly as he saw Dylan treating him the same as ever. There was a lot of good-natured teasing stemming from that first afternoon when they’d issued surfing challenges to each other. Still, both boys were responsible and knew the difference between having a good time and being foolhardy.
Sighting a large swell Jake began to quickly paddle, maneuvering into it as the lip climbed and formed. It was going to be a bomb. He carefully faded back a little and angled inside, hopping into a crouch. He knew he would be able to drop into the slot right on time. He cut away from the shoulder and angled for the face as he stood tall and cheered.
Instantly, he knew something was wrong. His position. Perched too far forward, the momentum of the powerful wave was lifting the lip steeper than he could manage. He tried taking a few cross-steps back, but he was already nose-diving as the tail of his stick rose up and over him. His foot still tethered by the leash, he was being drawn down into the huge crashing wave that flung him straight into the impact zone. The water pummeled and sucked at him violently as he was dragged along underwater. He felt his head, neck and shoulders make hard contact with the sandy bottom and his vision went gray.
Watching Jake get thrown off his longboard, Dylan, Noah and Marcus broke into hearty guffaws of laughter. “Dude, he got axed,” Marcus crowed.
“Totally drilled,” Noah agreed, leaning back as his own perfect swell came out of nowhere and began to build. He went to meet it. “Rib him good for me, guys.”
Dylan had watched the whole sequence in awe. One moment, Jake was poised in the barrel’s lip on the cusp of a perfect ride, the next he was getting worked in the sharp pitch and disappeared underwater. In a matter of seconds, the familiar yellow and two-toned blue epoxy fiberglass popped free. Dylan shook water out of his face and opened his mouth to let the teasing fly as soon as his friend’s head broke the surface. All he saw was water.
Where was Jake?
A few seconds went by. Dylan’s eyes casually swept back and forth across the soup, expecting to see the black wetsuit-clad body stagger out of the ocean closer to shore. Nothing. With the force of a sledgehammer, understanding hit Dylan. Jake was still down there.
”Jake,” he screamed frantically as he dug his hands into the surf to make his board slice across to where he’d last seen the nineteen-year-old. “Jake!”
Marcus’ head whipped around and took stock instantly of the situation. Oh my god, what… He didn’t see Jake either. Paddling madly, his peripheral vision caught Noah pulling up as soon as he heard Dylan’s anguished voice and begin to kick his way over to them.
It wasn’t easy, but in what seemed like minutes but was only seconds, Dylan caught up with Jake’s floating board. He slid his leash off his ankle and fell sideways into the sea, reaching out to grab the second tether and use it to guide his way down. There, in front of him, neoprene and brown curls drifting with the wake of the combers above him. Jake seemed to be unconscious… or dead. There was no telling what kind of injury he was suffering from or whether he’d swallowed any water and no time to finesse the rescue. Dylan grabbed him up quickly by his torso and pushed him upward.
Noah was already there and waiting when they broke the surface. ”Here, take him,” Dylan ordered. “Carefully.”
Grabbing Jake’s arm and gently lifting, Noah slid Jake’s longboard under his upper body as Dylan quickly moved around them and took the position at his head. He knew he should immobilize his neck in case of spinal cord trauma, but there were other, more pressing problems. While he could detect a weak pulse on the side of Jake’s slender throat, it didn’t look as if he was breathing. Time counted here urgently, and he quickly helped maneuver the helpless boy’s limp body so he was fully lying on the hard shell that would give him purchase if CPR became necessary.
But here or wait until they reached shore? The four of them were still in deep water where they couldn’t touch bottom and were using their boards to keep them afloat and together. Ideally, Dylan knew he should have solid ground beneath his feet if he needed to perform rescue breathing, but if they swam Jake any closer in they would be fighting the breakers. It was not an easy choice.
”Wave!” Noah called. The barrel hadn’t begun to form, so they rose harmlessly with the swell and settled back down.
Dylan glanced up at the beach and noticed for the first time that a crowd was gathering. One lifeguard stood ankle-deep in the wash talking on a cell phone, probably calling emergency services. Two others had launched a small rescue craft but they were fighting heavy waves. It would take too long to get here. He could hear Marcus openly sobbing next to him, his hand stroking his cousin’s still fingers and his voice, wobbly and heartbroken. “Jakey, wake up. Please wake up.”
There was no time to lose.
(To be continued...)