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I rolled my eyes at Agatha finding her statement ludicrous. It was so obvious she was planning on swimming considering how she was dressed. All my mother had to do was look out the window and see Agatha’s surfboard tied to the roof of her Volkswagen Bug.

“Agatha,” my mother laughed. “I don’t mind if Grace swims. It’s just that her father will kill me if he finds out.”

“I know all about that,” Agatha continued as she repositioned her thick glasses on her round face. “Grace told me how Mr. Waters is paranoid about the ocean ever since that fishing boat he was on years ago wrecked at sea and most of his shipmates drowned.”

My little sister, Lucy, turned to me in protest. “You’re not supposed to tell people about that!” Her brown curly cue ponytails bounced as she complained.

I shrugged my shoulders and tried to ignore her. She was right. My father was overly sensitive to any mention of the shipwreck. We never talked about it around him and he would be furious if he knew I had discussed it with others. I should have known better than to tell Agatha. As endearing as she was, she had a big mouth and very little sense of proper social etiquette.

Apparently my mother didn’t mind that I had confided in Agatha because she nodded her head agreeably and appeared unfazed by Lucy’s reprimand. “Go on girls. Just leave before Max gets back from Catalina and has a fit that I let you go to the beach in the first place. If he catches you, you better tell him I knew nothing about it.” She was plaiting her brown bobbed hair with her acrylic nails. I noticed her jeans were a little too tight, but they looked good on her slim figure.

“Thanks Mom,” I laughed lightly and kissed her on the cheek as she shooed us out of our apartment.

I was making light of the situation, but I knew that if my father ever caught me swimming in the ocean I would be in serious trouble. He was a big, hulking man with superior strength from his many years of commercial fishing. Certainly, he wasn’t the kind of guy you wanted to anger. Just his sheer size was intimidating enough and when he was inflamed with rage, his presence overwhelmed.

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