smaller boat tied up beside the Lucy T.
"That cute little Seafarer belongs to the minister. I've been giving
her private lessons and she's turning out to be a heck of a sailor."
Darby glanced at the twenty-four-foot vessel and then back at
Mark. "Is that how you've been spending your time, teaching and
taking care of Fairview?"
Mark jumped aboard and glanced quickly at his cell phone,
before jamming it into a pocket. "Pretty much. I still teach at
the yacht club, too." He flashed the grin she remembered so well.
"Guess I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my life. Having a significant trust fund makes it that much harder to find motivation, not that I'm whining about it or anything."
Mark grinned again and wiped off the canvas seat of a director's chair with his hand. "Come aboard, Darby. We'll sit out here in the fresh air." He darted quickly below deck, emerging with a
folder of papers which he placed on a small side table. "You do any
sailing in California?"
Darby hesitated, still on the dock, her heart beginning to thud
in her chest. With the exception of the ferry ride, she hadn't set
foot on a boat for more than ten years. She'd convinced herself
that it wasn't fear that kept her off the sea, but a lack of interest.
When invitations came her way to sail in the bay of San Diego, she
politely declined, thinking to herself that she had better things to
do. Now she knew the truth. She was petrified.
Mark misinterpreted her delay. "Hey, don't worry about your
shoes. I'm not one of these boat owners who care about that.
Come on, climb aboard."
He reached out a hand and Darby grabbed it.
"Thanks," she managed. She wondered if Mark could see how
her legs were shaking. She sank into a deck chair and waited for
her body to return to some degree of normalcy.
"Thirsty? I've got some drinks below."
"Sure" She took a deep breath and felt her pulse slowing.
Mark disappeared below deck, and Darby heard the clink of
glasses. She took out her cell phone and called the office of Willis
Foster, the Trimble family lawyer. "Have him call me as soon as
possible," she told the secretary who answered.
She glanced idly at the papers on the table. On top was a file
folder, the same kind Jane Farr used. She looked at the tab. File 2
was written in neat letters.
Mark reappeared with two glasses of an amber liquid, one of
which he handed to Darby. "Ginger ale." He raised his glass in a
toast. "To old friends," he said.
"To old friends," echoed Darby. She took a sip, feeling the crisp
carbonation on her tongue. What was Mark doing with Jane Farr's
"Your boat's a real beauty," she said, admiring the pristine condition of the Lucy T. Every inch was scrubbed and shining, from
the aft decks to the polished stairway banister.
Mark grinned. "Thanks" He snapped his fingers. "I almost forgot. I've got some nibbles for us." He hopped up and went below
deck. Darby heard him rummaging in the boat's little galley. Carefully, she lifted the cover of the file folder.
Inside was a contract for the sale of Fairview. Darby scanned
the page and stopped, confused. The name of the buyer was not
Peyton Mayerson, but an Emerson Phipps, III. She let the folder
Mark Trimble emerged from below deck a minute later carrying a tray with a few cheeses, crackers, and some sliced fruit.
He eased himself into a deck chair next to Darby and offered her
the plate. "You never answered my question. You do any sailing in
"No," she admitted. "I admire the boats from the shore, but I
haven't been on the water in a long, long, time." There was an awkward silence. Darby spread some aged blue cheese onto a rice cracker
and popped it into her mouth. "So who is Emerson Phipps?"
Mark managed a shaky laugh. "How did-"
"This folder is twin to one in Jane's office and I've been looking
for it. I recognized it immediately, and yes, I looked inside. I don't
mean to snoop, but I'm now the listing agent