Matt paced back and forth on the boardwalk as he waited for someone to answer the phone. Cmon, Benny Ray, where are you? His handsome features wore a frown of concern as he frantically searched the beach as he paced.
Thank God. Matt thought he saw something and ran for the end of the boardwalk.
Major? Benny Ray sensed the urgency in Matts voice. Whats wrong?
Its Margo. Matt came abruptly to a halt as he realized hed been mistaken; it was a stranger. Shes missing.
I dont know what happened. Matt slapped his forehead. One minute she was standing right next to me, and the next, gone!
You checked the ladies room? The snack bar?
Ive searched the whole park. Matt leaned against the fence and watched a couple walk by arm in arm. I need your help. Please, Benny Ray.
Relax, sir, Ill be there in 5 minutes.
Ill meet you at the front gate. Matt paused and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, and thanks, Benny Ray.
No, problem boss. Benny
Ray stood and grabbed his car keys. Dont worry,
Matt was waiting for Benny Ray as he pulled up to the front gate of the park. As Benny Ray leapt from the car, Matt strode over, the concern obvious on his face. He nodded his thanks as Benny Ray handed him his portable com unit.
Have you called the police? Benny Ray was also fastening his gear on.
The park police said theyd have a look around, but they said they cant really do anything until 24 hours has passed. He bit his lip and clenched his fists. I cant wait 24 hours. What if someones got her? He turned away from Benny Ray and whispered, I cant lose her.
Benny Ray pretended not to hear. All right, Major, lets be logical. Well take this park apart looking for her. Got a map? Matt handed him a map of the park. You take from the Dragon Coaster to the Ferris Wheel. Ill take from the front entrance to the Ferris Wheel. Then well both search the beach.
Right. Matt took off at a run.
I checked first aid, too, theres no sign of her. Matts face was gray. There was no doubt, she was not in the park.
Dont you think its time to call in all the troops? Benny Ray stressed the all.
Not yet. Matt turned slowly. We know she would have answered if she could hear us, and was able to.
So we have two options, Benny Ray nodded as he thought, either shes here and she cant answer us, or shes not here. There arent any places left to look in the park, lets get to the beach. Benny Ray slapped Matts shoulder in support as the two men ran for the beach.
Boss, weve got to call for reinforcements. Benny Ray bent over his knees to catch his breath. Theyd run from Playland to the end of the public beach, and back. Shes not here.
Matt had turned to a commotion on the pier. There were two lifeguard rescue boats and a small crowd had gathered on the beach, watching.
Benny Ray noticed Matts preoccupation and stood up to look. A knot of fear in his stomach, Benny Ray gestured to Matt, Cmon, lets go have a look.
Matt raced over to the crowd. What happened?
A gray haired woman answered. Someone fell off the pier and drowned.
Benny Ray watched Matts face
turn to a mask of horror. Im sure it wasnt
Matt turned as someone touched his shoulder.
It was a uniformed policeman. Mr. Shepherd? When Matt nodded, the policeman nodded for Matt to precede him. Would you come with me, please? He gestured toward the water.
Matts face clenched in agony as he walked. Not Margo, please not Margo.
Benny Ray put one hand on Matts shoulder as they reached the edge of the water. The lifeguard boats pulled up on the beach. The lifeguards were bent over a wet figure dressed in sneakers, jeans and a t-shirt. There was a blanket around her shoulders. Neither Matt nor Benny Ray could see her face, but it was obvious that this woman was alive. Matt was breathing a sigh of relief when Benny Ray grabbed his arm and pointed to the other boat.
A voice piped up from the back of the second boat. Daddy? A small girl stood up and held out her arms.
Margo! Matt grabbed her from the boat and hugged the child to him. Dont ever do that again! Do you hear me? He continued to hold her tightly.
What were you doing on the pier, darlin? Benny Ray patted the childs head as she lay her head on her fathers shoulder.
I saw that lady fall in the water. Shes got her fathers eyes, Benny Ray thought. But her mothers spunk. I jumped in to help.
You did what? Matt held the 5 year old up to look in her eyes.
Its true Mr. Shepherd, the policeman stepped forward. When the lifeguards arrived, your daughter was treading water, holding the womans head above water. The officer shook his head. Ive never seen anything like it. She must have been in there for 25 minutes before someone noticed. She saved that woman's life. He smiled at the small girl, once again held in her fathers arms. Youre a heroine, young lady. Margo smiled back, her smile mirroring the one on her fathers face.
4 Seasons Hotel
Matt held a sleeping Margo in his lap as he and Benny Ray played cards. They both looked up as the door opened. Margo senior walked in. She smiled as she saw the scene before her.
Did you have a good day? She whispered after kissing Matt. He didnt answer, only pulled her back for another kiss.
How was she? Margo caressed her daughters face lovingly.
You know our daughter, Matt chuckled, wanting to do everything.
I hope she didnt tire you out. Margos smile spoke volumes.
So, did you have fun? Margo looked back at her husband.
Oh sure, Benny Ray answered for him. It was just a day at the beach. He got up, winked at Matt, kissed Margo on the cheek, and patted little Margos head. Ill see yall in the morning. Benny Ray left quietly.
How was your day? Matt patted the couch next to him, and Margo snuggled in, leaning her head on his shoulder.
Oh fine. She replied lightly. Did you really have a good day?
Margo wants to tell you all about it in the morning. Matt smiled as he predicted his wifes reactions to her tale.
Im glad you had fun. Margo snuggled closer and whispered in Matts ear. Are you sorry we named her Margo?
Never. Matt turned his head to kiss her gently. I couldnt love your name more than I love you.
Good, Margo smiled and kissed him again. Because its your turn.
My turn? Matt whispered wonderingly.
Your turn, Margo smiled mischievously. Little Matt or Mattie is due in May.
Matt didnt say a word. His eyes were full of love for this woman. For his wife.
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