Dancing With Danger (143)

Annette and Redmond looked at each other. The charming man before them was so unlike the one they had seen earlier that day. Davi Cabral was glowing, enjoying every moment of the party he was throwing. Beautiful women were dying to dance with him and important men were jumping at the chance to talk business with him. This was his world, a world of wealth and beauty.

“You two should have a dance before we get down to, as they say in your country, brass tacks,” said Davi. With that remark, he placed his glass of champagne on a waiter’s tray and was whisked onto the dance floor by one of countless South American beauties.

“As much as I hate that this guy thinks we were born yesterday, we’ve got to give him what he wants, make it look like we’re at his mercy…would you like to dance?” Redmond winked at his wife.

“Not exactly the most gracious of invitations but…yes, of course. We’ll play along.” said Annette. A flurry of strings erupted from the tiny orchestra, signaling a waltz. “You don’t know how to waltz, do you, Red?”

Redmond’s head hung low. “No.”

“Well in that case, follow my lead,” said Annette. She took hold of Redmond and guided him out to the middle of the dance floor amidst the sweeping motions of men and women they never would have met in Huntsport. “You’re not so bad,” said Annette, “Very light on your feet.”

“I said I couldn’t waltz, I didn’t say I couldn’t dance.”

The couple whirled around the room, attracting the attention of the finely dressed men and women around them. Soon, they became the central attraction of the night. Had they had connections, they might have been a famous couple of the silver screen.

Interrupting their reverie was the incessant twinkling of a spoon against a champagne glass. Davi Cabral stood once again on the landing, smiling, and holding a familiar piece of paper in his hand.

***

Samantha stood knee-deep in the murky waters of the Amazon that had seeped on to her boat, watching in horror as baby Olivia Gardner’s bassinet teetered on the edge of a partially submerged sofa, inches away from the dangerous depths.

“Oh my God, Foley! Foley! Get down here! Now!” shouted Samantha.

Foley stormed into the cabin, only to be slowed down by the murk. “Jesus! What happened? Oh! Oh crap!”

“Foley what are we gonna do! I can’t just wade over there and pick her up! The bottom of the boat might not even exist anymore! I might die trying!”

“Well you gotta do something! If this thing moves, that baby’s gonna fall off and drown!”

Samantha looked frantically around the room, searching for an answer that was not going to materialize. With a deep breath, she took another step further into the cabin towards the crying infant.  The water surrounded her, chilling her up and down her spine. “Foley I can’t do this! I can’t!”

“You have to! What about that fresh start you wanted? You can’t do it without her! Do it for her!”

Samantha waded deeper into the flooded room, taking small, careful steps, keeping her eye on the child she had grown to love as a mother would. Foley watched with frustration, only to be mortified when she disappeared beneath the water.

“Sam! Sam? Sam!” shouted Foley. Samantha emerged from beneath the water, drenched and miserable.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” said Samantha, regaining her bearings.

“No! No, Sam, look! Above your head!”

Samantha slowly turned her head upward to see a network of pipes and valves with an unwelcome visitor coiled around them. An anaconda stared back at her, displeased to have company.

“Foley,” whispered Samantha, “Tell me that’s not a snake. Tell me that’s not a snake.

END

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