Can't Let Go GO PL(3)

By: Barbara Freethy

As she moved over to the windows, she thought how beautiful and calm the sea looked now, but clearly there was danger lurking just beneath the surface.

She jumped as her phone buzzed in her pocket, her nerves still on edge. Relief and happiness ran through her as her younger sister Kate's name flashed on the screen.

"You have perfect timing," she said, as she sat down at the table.

"Well, I don't hear that very often," Kate replied. "What's going on, Annie?"

"Not much, unless you count the fact that I almost got attacked by a shark a few minutes ago."

"No! What? Where?" Kate demanded, her voice raising in intensity with each word.

"The ocean."

"Well, I would assume the shark would be in the ocean, but you don't go into the sea, remember?"

"I didn't go into the ocean…until today. I thought it was time to get over my fear."

"What happened?"

"I don't really know. I was enjoying the water, feeling ridiculously proud of myself for actually swimming around in the current when I heard a man yelling at me. It was a surfer. I'd seen him beyond the break a few minutes earlier. He was shouting at me, but I didn't realize what was going on until he got closer to me, and he yelled 'shark.' Then I felt something bump into my leg. I cannot tell you how terrified I was."

"No," Kate breathed.

"Yes." She felt better now that she was talking it out. "I was frozen, but the surfer grabbed me, and pulled me onto his board and got me to shore before the shark attacked. When I looked back in the water, it actually seemed like there were at least three or four sharks out there."

"I can't believe it."

"It's true."

"Oh, Annie, you have the worst luck sometimes."

"Don't I?"

"At least you're not hurt, right?"

"I'm fine. But I don't think I'll be going back in the water for another few decades. I have never been that scared or come so close to dying…I know I wasn't attacked, but when I think about what could have happened when I froze—"

"Don't think about it. And don't beat yourself up for not acting the way you think you should have acted. Maybe not moving was the best decision in that situation."

She suspected her FBI agent sister had had far more dangerous moments than the one she'd just lived through. "Thanks for understanding."

"I wish you weren't so far away. I want to give you a hug, Annie."

"I wouldn't mind a hug," she said, feeling a little lonely. Her family, her friends, seemed very far away at the moment. "But enough about me. How are you? Where are you?" While Kate was based in DC, her job took her all over the world.

"I'm at Dulles Airport. I'm on my way to London. I wanted to call and wish you a happy birthday. I know I'm a week early, but I'm not sure what my schedule will be next week."

"It's sweet of you to remember."

"Like I could forget my big sister's birthday. Are you having a party?"

"No. Since I moved to the beach, I'm not really close to my friends." She didn't mention that she'd recently realized how superficial many of her Hollywood friendships had been.

"You're only twenty miles away from your last place," Kate said dryly.

"In LA traffic, that's like two hours," she retorted.

"I'm sure your friends will travel. What about that guy you were seeing?"

"Long gone."

"I'm sorry."

"Nothing to be sorry about, trust me."

"Well, you shouldn’t be alone on your birthday. Why don't you go home next weekend? Let the folks pamper you for a few days. They're still miffed you skipped Thanksgiving this year. You can catch up with the family, maybe help out with some of the wedding plans, meet the newest Callaway babies…"

It was a tempting thought. She'd skipped Thanksgiving because she hadn't wanted to go home with nothing much to show for her life. Hopefully, that would change by Christmas, but probably not too far before that. "I can't go home this weekend, but you don't need to worry about me."

"Well, I am worried about you, and so is Mia. You never really told us what happened on your last job or what you're doing now for money."