I can’t believe I swam in the ocean because it was almost like flying. The saltwater buoys you up more than pool water, and I remembered from high school chemistry that it’s a density thing, but experiencing it as a new swimmer was completely different. Plus, Keith stayed right beside me the whole time we were in the water, and he shouted encouragement when I began to flail. It was his words, and knowing that his strong presence was by my side, that helped me finally make it to the boat.
Then there was the boat ride itself. I didn’t even feel uncomfortable being topless in front of the captain, which is new because usually I’m so sensitive about these kinds of things. But maybe it’s the island doing it, or the magical spell of the afternoon. I lay on the bow of the boat sunning myself and drinking champagne with my girls out and didn’t even feel self-conscious. Okay, Keith and I did disappear below deck for another round of mind-blowing sex, but it was worth it. The taste of salt on his skin cemented my newfound love of the ocean, and he’s promised many more trips like this out on his yacht, which is apparently much bigger than the boat we were on yesterday.
To top it all off, when we anchored in deeper water, I saw fins, about fifteen of them in the distance. Freaked out, I panicked and swam back to the boat, but then Keith laughed at me and told me to wait and watch. I trusted him but trembled as I tread water with one hand on the ladder. Then I saw gray arched backs breaking the surface of the water and let out a gasp of surprise. They were dolphins! It was so beautiful and an absolutely magical end to the day.
But then, everything changed a bit. We went back to the hotel, and I was floating on air, but the expression on the hotel manager’s face made me stop short. He had a couple of messages for Keith and told him our plane couldn’t leave tomorrow because New York wasn’t accepting international flights.
Fantastic, right? We could spend more time in paradise, maybe? But Keith read his other messages and his face darkened in a way I haven’t seen before. I’ve seen brief flashes of anger when he gets irritated, but this was different. There was something dangerous below his calm exterior, simmering just below the surface.
He ordered me back to my room because he had some calls to make. Usually, I would smart at him bossing me around, but I did as told this time. I didn’t see him for hours, and when I went to knock on our connecting door, I found it locked. What the hell? He was in his room, talking in a hushed voice, but I couldn’t make out the words. Was it pandemic related?
Francesca came by a little later with a nurse from the local hospital. Evidently, Keith managed to secure a private plane for us, but I had to be tested for the virus before we could board our flight back to New York. Of course, I complied and was negative for the virus, but still, my mind whirled. Why weren’t we using this opportunity to stay in paradise longer? Why were we rushing off to get back to New York?
We had a quiet dinner in my room that night. Keith told me how proud he was of me, and we had a little bit of normal. But after dinner, the billionaire got up, his features neutral. He said we should sleep in our own rooms so we could get back on East Coast time. It was the first time in this trip I slept alone, and it felt so lonely. I tossed and turned, and didn’t get a wink.
Now, we’re aboard the charter and we’re half-way to New York. We’ve barely spoken. Keith’s been on his laptop nearly the whole time and I would swear, he’s avoiding me. What’s going on? I need to summon the courage to what’s going to happen to us when we get back home because living in this purgatory is not okay. I decide to be blunt.
“Keith, who were those messages from yesterday?”
“They were from my dad,” he answers, not looking up from his computer.
I gasp. It’s clear from his demeanor that I’m being dismissed, but I won’t go down that easily.
“Is he okay? Does he have the virus? Is that why you seem so off, because you’re worried about your dad? Why won’t you talk to me?” I ask, taking a seat across from him and covering his hand with mine.
He glances up at me for a second, but then turns back to his laptop.
“No, Kelsey, my dad is fine.”
I’m confused that he offers no more information. I don’t like being shut out like this. I thought we were building a connection.