Darkness soaks across the bay and settles in swathes over the heaving oily water. Chelsee stands in the seaweed layered beneath the pier, away from the reach of the moon, and listens as they talk.
“Course I don’t love her,” he says, his voice as oily as the waves. “Never did. I was just being kind, you know. A charity job.” A bubble of laughter from them both then the smooth drag of clothes against skin as Chelsee waits in the brine-spiced darkness, water seeping into her shoes, and presses the back of her wrist to her mouth.
Later, when they have finished, when they sit silently in the shelter of the rocks, their cigarettes punctuating the darkness, Chelsee circles behind them and flings a fistful of gravel and sand at the two bright spots of flame. She hears its wet weight shower over them in the dark; the girl’s shriek rising above his barking curses. Chelsee is out in the moonlight now and when he stands he sees her there. Stares at her for seconds as waves break softly beyond them on the shore: then he says to the woman beside him,
“There’s no one there. No one at all.” His eyes locked to Chelsee’s as he speaks, his voice as cold as the sea, watching as she turns and runs away.