Natalie stirred in her sleep, forcing her eyes open at the sound of her husband’s voice. He was already leaning up in the bed and looking down at her.
“What’s up?” she was a little worried – she thought he’d want to sleep in.
“I’m gonna take the boat out again before we have to take it back,” Taylor kept his voice down, “mind holding down the fort?”
“Are they awake?” she rubbed her right eye as she focused.
“Not yet. You should get some more sleep.”
“Okay,” Natalie wasn’t about to argue.
Taylor leant down to plant a kiss on her lips before rolling from the bed and grabbing his phone from the table. Already dressed, he headed for the door.
“Be careful,” Natalie murmured after him, causing him to look back.
“I will,” he offered her a smile before closing the bedroom door behind him.
He quietly made his way through the apartment to the kitchen area where he’d left his sunglasses on the bench. After slipping them onto his head he made his way to a nearby chair that held one of his camera bags.
He almost jumped out of his skin. When Taylor looked over his shoulder he realised that River had been standing by the fridge the entire time and he hadn’t even realised.
“What are you doing awake?” Taylor’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.
“I wanted a drink. Couldn’t sleep,” River replied before Taylor saw the cup of water in his hand, “where are you going?”
Taylor thought it over before sliding the camera bag over his shoulder and heading back to the bench for the keys.
“I’m taking the boat out again, want to come?” he offered.
River’s eyes immediately lit up and Taylor knew it was a yes.
“Go and get dressed, I’ll tell your Mom,” Taylor hushed, “but don’t wake anyone up.”
“Okay!” River agreed, almost throwing the cup down and rushing back to his room.
Taylor quickly went to rinse the cup out of habit before heading back to the bedroom.
“Nat?” he called softly, unsure if she were still awake or not.
“Hmm?” came the non-committal reply.
“River’s awake so I’m taking him with,” he said quickly, “don’t freak out when he’s not here, okay?”
Taylor wasn’t entirely sure she got the message, so once he closed the door and returned to the kitchen he quickly scribbled out a note to leave. By the time he was done River had returned and he made sure his son had a jacket before ushering him out the door.
It was still dark as they made their way down the promenade toward the docks. Though there were many fishermen heading out Taylor kept River well in his sights until they reached the hire boat. Taylor helped him up the step and watched as River jumped in before passing him the camera bag, making sure he found a life vest to wear, and casting off.
“Where we going?” River called out, no longer worried about keeping quiet with the morning hustle and bustle of the marina.
“I figure we’ll head out onto the straight stretch and get there in time for sunrise,” Taylor grinned as he jumped aboard.
He finished tying off before heading upstairs to the helm. River took up his favoured spot at the bow as his father started the motor and they waited for another boat to pass before turning into the bay and heading on out. After a quick radio call to the marina to let them know where they were going, Taylor focused on finding the perfect spot to photograph the sunrise from.
“Dad!” he heard River call when they were just out of line from the bay.
Taylor stayed where he was but leant forward enough to spot his son’s head. River was pointing out off the starboard bow, and when Taylor followed his eye line he could see some dark shapes breaking the water. Worried for a moment that they might be sharks he grinned when he saw the shape of the fins in the small pod.
He kept his eye on River as the seven-year-old excitedly watched the dolphins follow the boat. They weren’t travelling very fast so the sea mammals easily overtook them and looped around the vessel. Taylor had a perfect view from the helm and he once again felt the sadness creeping in – telling him they’d have to leave it all behind and head home again that day.
The sky was starting to turn golden before they could get too far out, and Taylor soon decided it was far enough. He turn the boat to port and shut the engine off before heading downstairs to drop the anchor.
“We’re stopping?” River asked when he saw his Dad fussing around.
“Not for too long,” Taylor assured, “just to watch the sunrise and take some photos. Keep an eye out for those dolphins and see if they come back.”
Taylor finished setting up before going for his camera bag. He pulled out the gear that he planned to use and quickly went about cleaning it before switching up his lenses. He took a couple of practise shots using the lights on the boat before settling to wait for the sun to come up a little further.
“Do we have to go back today?” River asked when he realised his Dad had stopped.
“Yeah we do,” Taylor rubbed his head, “gotta get back to work, and you need to get back to school.”
He smirked at River’s grunt in response.
“We can’t holiday forever kiddo,” he insisted.
“I know,” River grumbled, resting his chin on his arms as he looked out toward the line of gold.
It took Taylor a moment to realise he wasn’t just watching the sun. His eyes narrowed as he stood on the deck, leaning against the cabin as he focused off starboard. There was definitely another boat far off in the distance and it was headed in their direction.
Taylor made sure to keep his eye on it as the lights drew closer, breathing a sigh of relief as it turned off toward the stern when it must have sighted them in return. By the time that was over the sun was starting to make an appearance.
“Dad?” River caught his attention.
“Yeah Riv’?” Taylor lifted his camera and began adjusting the settings.
“This is pretty cool, huh?”
“It is,” Taylor agreed, kneeling down beside him and using the side of the boat as a tentative tripod.
As the sun rose he quickly began snapping away, soon pulling his sunglasses from his head and setting them over River’s eyes while he insisted on looking toward it. When the globe finally developed to the full over the horizon Taylor concentrated on both the shadowy landscape and the reflections in the water before finally sitting back and taking a look at what he’d accomplished.
“Any good?” River asked when he realised he’d stopped.
“Not too bad,” Taylor reasoned leaning over to show him a few.
“They’re pretty dark,” River pulled a face.
“Because it was dark,” Taylor ruffled his hair.
The steady hum of an engine caught his attention, and when he looked up he saw another boat approaching from port, towards the marina. Able to see better now that the sun was in the sky he saw that it was similar in size and colour to the one they were on and headed pretty much straight for them.
Feeling a bit of a chill but brushing it off as the sea air he began to pack up his camera.
“We should get back and take everyone some breakfast,” he told River.
“Okay,” his son went straight up to sit on the bow again.
“Hey Riv’?” Taylor called out again, “you wanna go and make sure we haven’t left anything down in the cabin while I get us going?”
Taylor started packing up his camera bag, keeping an eye on the incoming vessel as he did so. He set the bag down behind a bench seat on the deck before standing and heading for the anchor as he heard the motor on the other vessel slow.
He made momentary eye contact with the boat’s skipper and gave him a quick wave, expecting them to divert course and move on. When he did as expected Taylor breathed a sigh of relief before starting to wind the weight up.
“Nothing down here Dad,” River soon appeared from the cabin door.
“Did you double check the bedding?” Taylor asked.
River groaned and headed back down. Taylor smirked to himself as he finished what he was doing before heading up to the helm and starting her up.