Jacob could feel the heat from the explosion that shook the yacht. He ran to the railing and looked down to see the dock was on fire and collapsing under the mangled remains of what was once a car.
“It missed, you idiot!” The echoing voice from the parking lot at the marina was none other than Jacob’s own brother, Liam.
“You were the one driving!” David Ashish accused. “How was it my fault the car hit the dock instead of the boat?”
They were both slurring their words and staggering, far enough away they couldn’t see the people on the boat they had just tried to destroy.
Liam tipped a nearly empty bottle back and drank the last swallows then threw the glass bottle toward the yacht. He was short by at least a hundred feet but the string of obscenities he shouted carried all the way to the upper deck.
“Y’er so drunk you can’t even hit the broad side of a boat.” David doubled over in laughter.
When sirens sounded in the distance, Liam and David took off running.
“Pull the anchors and get those stern lines unhooked!” Captain Arnold called from the bridge. “We’ve got to pull the boat away from the dock or she’s going to catch fire.” He ran into the cockpit and crew members rushed from all corners of the boat, most barefoot, some wearing only boxers and t-shirts.
Jacob felt completely inept to be of any assistance, and in shock that his brother and David had tried to destroy their yacht. Didn’t they realize there were people onboard? Were they trying to commit murder? Or just destroy the boat their father loved?
He sat down hard, and his elbows rested on his knees, his hands gripping into his hair as if he could pull the images and sounds from his head. The crash of glass and metal, the boom of the explosion, the heat of the fire that still burned just out of his line of sight, the call of his own brother’s voice, and the knowledge that all this destruction was deliberate and vindictive.
Jacob was barely aware of the yacht motoring away from the dock and the night becoming a little darker and colder. Deck crew members still scurried around, and sirens sounded closer. New lights flashed, lights that seemed to travel and flicker, appearing and disappearing and reappearing in circles around the fire trucks.
None of the events made any sense. Liam and David. The car. The explosion. The obscenities. The implication. Jacob wondered if he was the only person on deck who recognized the voices and knew the man driving the car had been his brother. They must have jumped out of the car at the last minute, had cruise control set, had some sort of accelerant on the car in order for it to catch fire that quickly and burn so strong.
Liam must not have known there were people aboard. He wasn’t a murderer. Was he? Jacob couldn’t fathom his brother would kill someone, but he also couldn’t fathom Liam would destroy their yacht.
“Jacob?” Maryam was there and tried to pry his hands from his hair. “It’s over now. We’re away from the dock and the firemen are putting out the fire. The boat took minimal damage.”
“It was Liam,” Jacob choked out. “And David. How could they?” He didn’t realize tears were flowing down his face until sobs racked his chest and Maryam held him.
“I know. I’m sorry.” She rocked him in her arms like he was a scared little boy. Not far from the truth.
“Were we the only ones who saw him?” Jacob lifted his gaze and met Maryam’s eyes. “Were we the only two witnesses?”
“I don’t know.” She shook her head gently.
“I have to be the one to tell my parents,” Jacob said. “This is more than just trying to destroy my father’s yacht. This is going to rip apart our family.”
“I know. I’m so sorry.” Maryam pulled him back into her arms
When he finally calmed down enough to stand, Jacob staggered over to the railing to watch the hoses dousing the flames that consumed the wooden dock.
“The only thing that saved us was that bollard.” One of the crew members pointed in the direction of the dock.
The singed end of the stern line that had been holding the boat to the dock was a startling reminder how close they’d come to having the car explode after crashing into the boat rather than hitting the post. Two feet in either direction and the Lady Bountiful would have been in flames.
A stand alone novella in the All's Fair in Love and Sports Series by Julie L. Spencer.