I swallowed hard, touching his hand. “I’m sorry.”
He brushed me away, walking to the opposite end of the boat as we entered the harbour. I decided to leave him alone for now. He needed space. I went and stood next to Micah in the control cabin. He was eyeing the boats nearby.
“So how do we know which ones are empty? And which can be stolen? Which have people on them already?” I asked.
He shrugged. “We’ll just have to make a guess.”
I didn’t like the sound of that. We’d stolen too much in the past few days already. I really didn’t want to have to steal an expensive yacht.
“We should only take a small boat,” I said.
But Micah’s eyes were already widening on seeing a beautifully crafted yacht a few meters away.
“That one’s small,” he said, pointing to it.
He was right. It was small in size, but it looked terribly expensive.
“We should find one less… valuable.”
“Rose,” Micah said, turning on me, “we need a boat that’s not going to break down on us. One that will take us to Panama, and then all the way back to The Shade. Most of these boats clearly aren’t designed for long-distance travel anyway… We need to find the best boat for the job.”
I wasn’t happy, but I also didn’t know how to argue.
“Okay,” I breathed, more to myself than to Micah.
“Caleb,” Micah called, pointing to the yacht. “What do you think?”
Caleb stared at it, then shrugged. “It looks good enough.”
“Let me check it out,” Micah said. He drifted our boat parallel to it, then, with one leap, he climbed aboard. He was hardly acting like a man who’d just had his leg ripped open by a leopard. Then again, he wasn’t a man.
After a couple of minutes, Micah landed with a thud back on our deck.
“No, that boat’s security is too tight. It would take too long to figure out how to start it. We need to move on.”
We moved from boat to boat. Micah only made it to three more boats before he turned back into a wolf, and Caleb took over after that. It seemed that all of these had the same type of security. And soon there were no more eligible boats left in the small harbor to check. Caleb navigated the boat back out of the port and continued sailing along the beach.
“We’re almost out of fuel,” Caleb said. “We should hit the beach and keep searching for a boat on foot. We’ll be faster that way.”
Caleb navigated the boat to a sandy white beach and we all jumped out. The beach was empty, and we had to hope it stayed that way. Anyone who caught a glimpse of Micah running toward them in the dark might die of fright.
As I’d become accustomed to by now, I pulled myself onto Caleb’s back and we began running, Micah keeping up to our right as he bounded along the sand.
“Over there,” I said, squinting and pointing toward a dark shadow floating in the water in the distance.
The beach we were running along stopped abruptly as we reached a cluster of rocks. Caleb and I entered the warm sea and began swimming, Micah splashing at our side. We swam around the rock and appeared on the other side. I realized that this was a private beach. There was a large villa built on a hill with an infinity swimming pool out front, overlooking the ocean. As we approached the boat in the water, Caleb climbed aboard while I waited with Micah floating in the waves.
This looked no less luxurious than the others. If anything it was more. It also wasn’t too large. I was relieved when Caleb looked over the side of the yacht a few moments later. “Okay, this will do. There’s also spare fuel below deck.”
Caleb dove back into the water and helped me onto the boat. Once he’d set me down on the deck, he returned to the side of the ship to help Micah up. Micah unfortunately was not so adept now that he had four paws. It proved to be quite a struggle. Micah had no problem leaping out of the water, but he kept slipping as he reached the edge and falling back into the water.
“On three,” Caleb said. “One, two, three.”
Micah leapt and this time, Caleb gripped the fur behind his neck and hauled him over the edge, head first. Not the most elegant of deliveries, but he did the job. Caleb hurried away and a few moments later, the boat was moving.
Perhaps since this was their private beach, the owners had been more lax on security. Or perhaps they were even going to use it this evening. A pang of guilt stabbed me as we glided away in the beautiful vessel.
I headed with Micah to the control cabin where Caleb sat, studying the controls intensely. I didn’t want to disturb him while he was concentrating, so I spent the next hour exploring the yacht with Micah, while Caleb made some headway getting us back on course toward Panama.
The boat was much bigger on the inside than it had looked from the outside. There were actually three levels beneath deck, all containing beautifully designed bedrooms—five in total—and sleek marble-paneled bathrooms with hot water. I locked myself in one and took a shower, relishing the feeling of hot water seeping through my greasy hair and running down my back. I lathered my hair with a fruity-smelling shampoo and massaged it until my hair felt squeaky clean. Once I’d finished in the shower, I dried myself with one of the big fluffy red towels and tied my hair up in a bun. I rummaged through the closet of the bedroom next door. I found a silk dressing gown and slippers which I changed into. More guilt tore through my chest. I hoped that somehow, once we returned to The Shade, we’d find a way to send money anonymously to these people, and hopefully return the boat.