And so she did—and so did I. She did not convince me to go (she never could do that), but when she revealed her plan—sneaking aboard—and proceeded to put that plan into action, I had to go with her. I could not let her go on that yacht alone. Not and still be someone I consider a friend.
And that’s what happened. She’d heard him tell the others where his boat was moored—and what its name was: Don Juan.[i] She hurried toward the dock, me reluctantly trailing behind, swiftly found the boat—a very large cabin cruiser. Incredibly, no one was watching the gangplank, and Harriet raced right up, right on board. With me, reluctantly, behind. No one seemed to be around, so we quickly found place to hide in one of the small closets below.
“Harriet, this is insane,” I whispered to her. “We are going to get in so much trouble—whether or not they find out we’re here. And what if we don’t get back by 5:30? We’re supposed to meet Father and go to supper. If we’re not there, he will be insane with worry …”
“Shhhh,” she replied. “It’s all going to work out.”
But, of course, it didn’t.
Trouble began almost immediately.
We had not been in the closet long when we began to hear other people come aboard—lots of other people. They were loud and had obviously been drinking. In the dark we could hear the clink of ice cubes going into glasses, the sound of bottle caps being twisted off and tossed aside. These were not comforting sounds, not to me.
“We have got to get out of here,” I whispered.
Harriet ignored me, then pushed the door open, just a crack, to see what was going on. I edged closer, too. And what I saw confirmed the message my ears had received: Lots of college-age people, bottles of alcohol everywhere, the smell of something a number of them were smoking, loud laughter. Someone moved near us and turned on the sound system, the booming music soon drowning out all conversation.
And then I felt something I did not want to feel: The boat was moving!
“There’s still time!” I urged Harriet. “We can run … we can jump onto the dock.”
“It’s all right,” she said. “We’ll be back in a couple of hours, and your father will never know.”
As if Father was what I was worried about.
I wanted to run myself, to sprint through the people, out to the deck, where I could jump to safety—but I knew I could not leave Harriet there alone. What would I tell Father? And her mother? And—even worse—what would I tell myself if something happened to her? I simply couldn’t run off and leave my best friend, my twin, aboard a boat full of drunks. And so I stepped back into the closet and settled to the floor and waited. Something, I knew, would happen. But what?