The Forgotten Daughter - Page 27

The first hiss startled her, but only because she’d been thinking about other things. Dac had lit the sky rockets. The pop and a flash of light high above them were quickly followed by a second, third and fourth.

Brock then lit four Roman candles, each one shooting ten small balls of fire into the air that all burst apart high in the sky. Scooter then set off four torpedoes. They whistled as they shot upward and the boom that followed was louder, as was the roar of the cheers coming from the crowd on the beach. As soon as the last torpedo shot out of the metal stand Scooter had built, he lit two mortars.

The crowd really cheered then. The mortars were the ones they’d come to see. High above the lake, they exploded with a great bang and illuminated the sky with red and green sparkles that reflected off the water, making a spectacular show.

Dac lit off his sky rockets again, which were followed by Brock’s Roman candles and then Scooter’s torpedoes and mortars. The men set a steady rhythm that was timed perfectly so there was always a firework exploding, even before the previous one faded. Besides the crowd cheering on shore, several other boats were on the water, with people watching the show.

“Wow,” Ginger said. “This is fabulous.”

“Yes, it is,” Josie agreed, scooting herself forward so she could lean her head against the back of the boat. “It really is.”

Ginger was lying in her boat, in much the same way. “This is the best way to watch fireworks, don’t you agree?”

“I guess I do,” Josie agreed.

“The only thing that would make it better would be if Brock was lying next to me,” Ginger said wistfully.

“Then there wouldn’t be any Roman candles,” Josie pointed out. “Be happy he’s standing next to your feet.”

Ginger giggled. “You’re always the sensible one. Happy with whatever you have. Making the most of everything. Sometimes I wish I was more like you.”

“No, you don’t,” Josie answered honestly.

Ginger was quiet, perhaps because Scooter had let off two more mortars and the booms were loud. When the quieter sky rockets shot into the sky, Ginger asked, “Why do you say it like that? Is something wrong?”

“No,” Josie answered. Knowing her sister wouldn’t give up without a reasonable explanation, she added, “No one should ever wish to be like anyone else. You are your own person. Appreciate that.”

“Now that sounds like you,” Ginger said. “The sensible one.”

Silently they watched the sky light up again. Josie couldn’t help but wonder if that was what was wrong with her. That she was tired of being the sensible one. When two mortars exploded simultaneously their blue and white lights intermingled, along with their booms. Oohs and aahs floated from the watchers on the beach. Josie closed her eyes as the lights faded, holding the sparkles in her mind for a second longer. She took her own words to heart. No, that wasn’t it. Sensible or not, at this moment she was very glad to be who she was. Where she was. Glad that she hadn’t crept away. Doing so would not have been sensible. Then again, she hadn’t been overly sensible lately.

She didn’t want to admit that. Didn’t like admitting it. But it was the truth. Whether she wanted to believe it or not. Getting involved from the beginning hadn’t been sensible, but she liked helping others. She liked knowing she was making a difference to even one other person in some small way. Going to Duluth was exciting, and the secrecy had been challenging and thrilling, until lately... Scooter was right. It had become dangerous. She wasn’t a fool, and only fools continued when they knew they were in over their heads.

But she couldn’t stop. It was impossible. It was also a part of her. A part she liked.

She’d liked tonight, too. Especially being with Scooter. Fighting or not, with him at her side she didn’t feel like the odd man out. It had always been that way with Scooter. His mother and hers had been close friends, and Josie clearly remembered being little, very little, and telling her mother she was going to grow up and marry Scooter. A crazy notion, dreamed up in a child’s mind. He’d probably stopped one of her sisters from picking on her or something—

The boat rocked hard, and her eyes snapped open as she shot upright.

Scooter was yelling. So were Brock and Dac.

Josie stood. A boat, with a motor, sped toward them. “Who is that?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” Scooter yelled, before shouting for the boat to slow down.

From that moment on, everything turned crazy.

The boat didn’t hit them, but the wake it left as it swerved sent the raft and all three of the boats tied to it rocking uncontrollably.