Hey ya'll, this is the longest chapter yet, you get to find out more about Caroline's past, and her family as well as why she left the island as a child. Hope you like it!
When I woke up, I was tucked into Matt's arms, my leg was hooked over his waist and he was snoring. "Matt," I said softly. He grunted in response making me smile. "Wake up."
"We have to go see Quint today."
"In that case..." he said, as he pulled a sheet over us. I laughed and pulled back. He groaned as I pulled away. "No," he held his hand over my leg. "It's too early to wake up, it's only seven." he whined. "Come on, five more minutes."
"Okay," I agreed. "Five more minutes." I started to pull away, but he held onto me, wrapping one arm around my waist, and using the other to hold my leg where it was. "Matt…"
"Five more minutes, remember?" he asked into my hair.
"Fine." I said and let him pull me close. "Are you sleeping?" I asked a minute later when his hand moved up my hip, his fingertips tickled lightly, making me squirm.
"Yes." he said, though I could hear a smile in his voice. "I'm just having... A very good dream." his hand slid up my tank top.
"Matt," I said warningly.
"A great dream," he continued, catching my lips with his. I grinned into the kiss. "The best dream." he opened his eyes, smiled and then continued to kiss me. I stopped trying to pull away and let my fingers run through his hair. I let out a small groan when the phone rang. I reached over him, and answered it while he kissed my neck.
"Yeah?" I asked breathlessly.
"Is this Caroline Quint?"
"Yes, this is she."
"Ms. Quint, this is Dr. Stone from the university, we met a few days ago?"
"Yeah, yeah, Dr. Stone, I remember." I said making Matt pull back quickly.
"This is the number Matt Hooper left for me to contact him, is he available?"
"One second Dr. Stone." I said and looked at Matt who was pulling the sheet off of the two of us. "Babe, are you available?" I asked softly.
"Yeah, thanks Caroline." he said, sitting up. I lay back on the pillows as he took the phone. "Dr. Stone, hi." he said into the phone quickly. "Yes sir. Yes. The island has hired someone to catch the shark. Yes sir. Yes, I understand. I will be going with them." he said and at that I sat up quickly.
"Excuse me?" I asked. He finished his conversation and hung up the phone a moment later.
"Caroline, I have to go."
"No, Matt, you really don't." I said.
"The shark research panel has requested I stay on this one."
"Why can't they send someone else? Someone who's done this before?"
"Isn't that why they're hiring Quint?"
"The only reason they're hiring Quint is because he's the only one dumb enough to go after it, and because the shark killed everyone else off." I explained and he sighed.
"What's the real reason you don't want me to go?"
"You've never had any experience with my father. You don't know what he's like." I explained.
"Well Martin is coming as well, he'll probably be pretty good if the chief of police is around, right?" he asked and I stared at him for a second before I got out of bed and walked into my bathroom. After showering and pulling on some clothes I brushed my hair into a ponytail and looked at my arm, the large scar over my left arm, the few other scars I had that were visible right now, none of that had mattered to me before, and it didn't matter to me now.
"You never told me what happened." Matt said as we drove to Martin's.
"What?" I asked and looked at him.
"With your parents." he continued and I thought for a moment before I shook my head.
"No, I didn't." I said and cleared my throat. "They met when my mom was very young. Her friends were Islanders, and she had come to visit them for the summer. After a week of being here and knowing my dad she declared her love for him; She climbed onto a bridge, over the water, where he was fishing with his friends, and told him how she felt, she told him she would rather die than not be with him, and that she was prepared to do just that."
"What did Quint do?" he asked softly and I looked at him.
"He laughed." I said and he stared at me. "He thought it was funny, he married her that day." I said and shook my head. "He uh, he didn't realize how sick my mom was when he married her, they had me pretty quickly, my mom's family objected to the marriage, and me, of course, uh, for four years it was all over the place with my mom, she would be the perfect wife and mother for a few months, and then she would decide that she needed to be an artist, or a model and she would get these crazy ideas about how I was holding her back- Quint loves to tell a story about her pulling a knife on us when I was about three." I nodded and Matt stared at me.
"She was the one who brought you to live with your aunt." he said softly and I shook my head.
"No, she left; going to pursue a dream of becoming a folk singer, and my dad took me to live with my aunt. A few weeks later my grandpa tracked my mother down to Ohio, living in a hotel room with all of the windows boarded up, she hadn't bathed or eaten or anything in far too long, and uh, Grandpa had her committed." I nodded. "She signed the divorce papers in a moment of lucidity and my dad told my dad's family he wanted me summers and holidays, but otherwise I should stay with them."
"Why didn't you ever tell me that?" he asked as we pulled up outside of Martin's house.
"Because you know how I was raised with them Matt," I said looking at him. "You don't talk about mental illness and you sure as hell don't admit someone in the family has an illness." I shook my head and he took my hand comfortingly. "I think it contributed to my dad's drinking. But the drinking hasn't helped his disposition, as you'll see." I nodded and Martin walked outside, he got into the car and smiled at me.
"Thanks for driving Caroline, I think Quint would react better to you being there." he said and I nodded as I started to drive.
"No problem Chief, but don't expect any miracles with him." I said as we drove. "Morning." I nodded to Quint's mate who nodded at me. "He in?" he nodded again and I opened the door while Matt and Martin both looked at the mate momentarily, and then followed me inside.
"What are you doin' here?" Quint asked when I walked inside the covered patio.
"Nice to see you too." I said sarcastically.
"You're not usually one for pleasantries."
"The want to hire you." I said softly before Matt and Martin walked in. "Hear them out." I said.
"$10,000, 200 a day whether I catch him or not." Quint said when he looked at Martin.
"You've got it." Martin replied as Quint started to walk up the stairs into his house. He opened the door, the three of us followed as he walked through it.
"Get the mayor off my back so I don't have anymore of this zoning crap." Quint demanded.
"You've got that." Martin agreed as he took his glasses off and looked uncomfortable at the smell of dead fish that seemed to come off of every surface in the house.
"One case of Apricot Brandy, and you buy the lunch." his mate walked through the house looking for the dog, wherever the little salty mutt went I wanted nothing to do with it. There was a scar on my foot from the little bastard, and that was given to me on a good day.
"Two cases, and you get dinner when you get back." Martin negotiated. Matt was staring in awe and impressed fascination at the collection of shark jaws hung up along the walls.
"These are amazing." he said as he traced the teeth of one such unfortunate sand shark with his finger, and looked at me while my dad barked out demands.
"Yeah," I said as I crossed my arms over my chest and looked around.
"I always used to wonder what you did during the summer when we were kids." he sighed. "This is remarkable."
"I'm glad you're so enthusiastic." I said before hearing my name. I turned around and walked over to my dad who was holding out a shot glass. "Thought you'd never ask." I said as I walked over and took it from him.
"Hey chief, you try this, made it myself." Quint said and Martin watched as I threw back the liquid like a pro. Looking back on it, I think Quint gave me the first shot to make Martin think it was an easy drink to swallow, which it wasn't.
"Thanks." Martin accepted the shot glass and Quint quickly filled mine up again.
"Here's to swimming with bow-legged women." he said as he held his shot up, a sly look crossing his eye. Martin seemed to realize it because Quint and I both drank our shots a little slowly while Martin only sipped half of his, a horrified looked crossed his eyes as the taste and I couldn't help but smirk lightly. I blame my genes. "Excuse me Chief," he said as he moved around to the pot rattling on the stove. As he turned his back, Martin quickly spit the drink out into a metal vase and looked at me.
"How do you drink that?" he asked and I shrugged.
"I grew up on this stuff. Years of practice." I smiled. Quint pulled out the jaws of two sharks he was boiling and promptly dropped them back into the boiling water again before putting own his tongs.
"Can't get a good man these days under 60." he grumbled as he went to the stairs. "All gone at least 35 years." he climbed the stairs as Matt walked over to Martin and took the shot.
"Don't drink that." Martin advised Matt as he smelled the remaining liquor. He stuck his finger into the shot glass and tasted it before looking down at the small amount of liquor.
"Mr. Quint," Martin called up to my father who was taking his thick apron off. "Mr. Quint!" he called trying to get my dad to stop mumbling, Matt took the shot as Martin called up to him.
"Mr. Quint!" Matt gasped and coughed a little at the drink. He shot me a look as I stood there casually pouring myself another shot. Like father like daughter I guess. "You're gonna need an extra hand." Matt said.
"This is Matt Hooper-"
"I know who he is." Quint shot me a look and I smiled innocently.
"I've crewed three Trans Pacs."
"Transplants?" Quint asked and I scoffed lightly.
"No no no no, he's from the Oceanographic Institute." Martin tried to reason with my dad.
"And an America's Cup Trial." Matt said trying to get Martin to stop with the scientist angle and plead to my dad's boating side.
"Mr. Hooper I'm not talkin' about pleasure boating or day-sailing." Dad said as he picked up a large bag. I set down the bottle and stepped next to Matt.
"Be Aggressive." I said softly into Matt's ear.
"I'm talkin' about workin' for a living, I'm talkin' about sharking." he tossed the bag down at Matt who caught it quickly.
"Well I'm not talking about hooking some poor dogfish or sand shark." he threw the bag to the floor and Martin looked down at it, slightly impressed and slightly surprised that Matt had done it. "I'm talkin' about finding a Great White." he put his hands on his hips and stared up at my dad.
"Porkers? Talkin' about porkers, Mr. Hooper?" Dad asked as he walked down the stairs slowly. He grabbed a rope that was hung off a railing and tossed it to Matt. "Just tie me a sheepshank." I could see by Martin's face he had no idea what Dad was talking about. Matt sighed as he started to tie it.
"I haven't had to pass basic seamanship in a long time." Matt said as he looked from me to Martin while Dad went to check on his boiling shark jaws. "You didn't say how short you wanted it." he said, his voice laced with slight annoyance as he turned to look at my dad. He pulled the knot tight and tossed it at my dad. "How's that?" he asked as he threw it. Dad threw it to the ground and he walked over to Matt.
"Give me your hands." he demanded sharply and I rolled my eyes as he took Matt's hands in his, feeling his palms. "Dogfish?" he questioned. "You got a $5,000 net and you got 2,000 worth of fish in it." Matt grinned lightly, like he couldn't believe what was happening, and looked at me with the amused smile before looking back to my dad. "And along comes Mr. Whitey, and by the time he's finished with that net, it looks like a kiddies' scissor class has cut it up for a paper doll." he grumbled. "You got city hands Mr. Hooper. You been countin' money all your life." Matt jerked his hands away from my dad and stepped back quickly.
"All right, all right, hey! I- I don't need this!" he said looking slightly astonished as he looked from my dad to Martin. "I don't need this working class hero crap!" he said and Martin stepped forward.
"You- You're not going to do this aboard the ship are you Mr. Quint?" Martin asked and Dad sighed looking at both Martin and Matt, then to me.
"Maybe we should go alone." he said as he put his hand on my shoulder. Honestly, I had been expecting him to say that. Not about going alone, though it wasn't exactly surprising when he did, but about bringing me in. This was the first summer that I hadn't been working for him, and he had been quick to remind me of that at every opportunity he got. Martin looked at my dad for a moment, and then to me. I felt my jaw clench slightly but I met his eye.
"Well it's my party, it's my charter." he said finally.
"Yeah, it's your charter, it's your party." Dad nodded. "It's my vessel." he said strongly. "You're on board my vessel I'm mate, master, pilot, Captain," he put his hand back on my shoulder making Martin and Matt look at me. "And our First Mate." he said and I crossed my arms, but nodded. "I'll take him for ballast, Chief."
"You got him." Martin said with a small nod after a moment.
Please don't forget to review!