“It’s not like any of us will know,” Sophia reassured her.
“Okay, everyone, find a comfy position and face your palms to the sky.” Kate demonstrated the motion.
Paige dissolved into a spate of giggles and Lennon, not so discreetly, shoved her in the ribs.
Kate took a deep breath. “On your next inhale, I want you to feel the warmth of the sun on the top of your head and accept its power into your hands. Absorb its unstoppable energy and, as you exhale with purpose, be confident that you are as strong as any sun. Your smile is bright, your energy is warm and you are ready to embrace when the new day dawns.”
Not a single one of them said anything. The only sound audible was the waves splashing around the yacht in the background.
“When you are ready, join hands and get ready to jump in. As you jump, I want you to scream as loud as you can. This will make sure you leave behind all negative energy and when you resurface, you will feel renewed and ready to face anything.” Kate's voice grew in energy.
Sophia took Kate’s hand and whispered so as not to break the mood. “You don’t have to jump if you don’t want to.”
“I know. I kind of feel like I should, though.”
“If you want to stay here with me, everyone will understand.”
“No, I’m doing this. The girls will pull me up. I trust them.”
Sophia nodded, understanding why Kate wanted to go through with the final part of the ceremony. If she was well enough, she too would have jumped in. She imagined the cold of the water would feel refreshing on her skin and was excited to see her best friends jump together.
They locked hands.
Lennon and Jayda squeezed tight hold of Kate’s. “Are you sure you want to do this?” Jayda double checked with her.
Kate nodded. “The ceremony has already brought back a piece of my old self. Being with my friends reminds me I'm more than just Daisy’s mum.”
“On three,” Callie declared.
“One,” Paige yelled.
“Two,” they all joined in.
“Three,” everyone yelled before letting out the loudest, longest scream. Sophia joined in, screaming as loud as she could and hoping that there was something in all of this that would work. She knew it was too late for her, but she wanted her friends to be refreshed and have the best life possible. In her eyes, they deserved it more than most.
She watched the girls resurface one by one and panic set in when she realised Lennon and Jayda were still screaming. Their arms were flailing as they thrashed around in the water, and there was no sign of Kate.
Everything happened in a split second, but it was a second that would stay with them all for the rest of their lifetime.
Callie and Paige soon realised that Kate hadn’t resurfaced.
Lennon and Jayda struggled to try to pull her out of the water.
The captain ran to the deck to see what all the commotion was, and a shadow flew off the rocky edge they were facing, like a swallow; diving gracefully into the water and resurfacing with Kate wrapped around him like a terrified baby koala.
The swallow was dressed in red swim shorts and a white tee shirt that was now see-through and clinging to his tight abs. Once he lifted Kate onto the deck of the yacht, he climbed up behind her as though only the two of them existed.
Sophia lifted the blanket from her shoulders and threw it over Kate. The muscular stranger wrapped it around her shoulders and pulled her upright so her back was against his chest.
“What happened?” Sophia asked.
Kate coughed up some water and the mysterious stranger pulled her in closer, using his body heat to try to warm her and his masculine presence to calm her down. She was trembling from head to toe, and Callie scrambled around to grab more towels to pile over her.
The captain set to work grabbing a foil blanket saved for emergency use and probably never used before tonight to wrap around them.
“She just let go. We were both holding on as tight as we could, but I think she panicked.”