Charlie made sure the passengers were treated then goes up and reports to Helen. He eventually returned to the station finding Sam answering calls.
"Where's Casey?" he asked.
Sam shrugged, "I thought she was with you." Seeing the look on his face, Sam hung up the phone. "Charlie?"
"She went back to the boat to get the radios, but that was like 20 minutes ago."
Charlie looked at Paul and they both grabbed their spot lights and a radio and bolted from the station to the wharf. Charlie looked in the boat and called Casey's name. Paul walked up the wharf flashing his light into the water also yelling.
Charlie's radio crackles: "Is she there?" Sam's called in panic tone.
"No," Charlie answered and headed in the other direction down the wharf.
Helen sipped her coffee looking out only to see lights flashing on the wharf. She called down the stairs to see what they were doing, but got no response. Sam didn't know what to say, and Helen all of a sudden had an uneasy feeling.
The boys returned to the boat and flashed the lights in, something catching Charlie's eye. He jumped in and touched the red stain on the side of the boat. He leaned over not seeing anything.
"Oh fuck…. Oh fuck, no," Charlie stepped back and fell against the storage pit, latching it down tightly to stop any more water from getting in. His radio crackled.
"Charlie what's going on down there?" asked Helen.
Charlie looked at his radio and swallowed, "We can't find Casey."
Helen held the radio away from her mouth, her mind trying to get around Charlie's words.
"What do you mean you can't find her? Why would she be out there?" panic crept into her voice.
Charlie shook his head, "Because she went back to the boat for me, to get the radios I left behind."
Helen breathing quickened, "How long?"
"20-25 minutes ago," he answered.
"Have you looked the full length of the wharf, she has a yellow buoyant jacket on. You should be able to see it."
Charlie stalled, "Um she took it off and wrapped it around a little boy we bought in. She didn't have it on her Helen."
Helen thoughts raced, knowing that she couldn't swim. "Have you checked along by the pylons on the wharf? She may be hanging on."
"Helen, I believe she hit her head and went overboard. There is blood, a lot of blood." Charlie's breath quickened, his stomach felt sick. "Paul and I going to take the boat out, will search the.."
Helen voice remained calm, "No Charlie. It's too dangerous. I will not risk anyone out in that weather."
Charlie cursed, "Helen…. I will find her, I can find Casey."
"No… come inside."
"That's an order senior constable, return to the station."
Helen put down the radio and looked over at Sam. Tears welled in Sam's eyes and she looked down, breaking contact with Helen. The sergeant returned to her office and sat down, her thoughts numb.
Charlie raced upstairs to Helen's office, "Helen… I want to go out, I want.."
"No Charlie, when the weather improves then you can go and look for her."
"Helen, I'm so sorry."
Helen watched out the window to the sea and said nothing further.
It had been 3 hours since they lost contact with Casey. Sam continued to monitor the phones. Charlie gave Helen a coffee and sat in her office. Neither said anything at first.
"In another few hours, she would have been in Thailand," Helen said in a low voice.
"I know. Why did she come back, Helen? It wasn't like it was a crisis we couldn't handle," Charlie lashed out, getting angry at no one in particular.
"She came back to give me one last chance, and I told her I would discuss it when all this was over," Helen's eyes watered.
Charlie frowned and then he got it, "Helen I had no idea. Oh, this is just awful."
Helen shook her head, "It's not your fault, you have nothing to feel guilty about." Helen wiped her eyes.
Ten hours had passed since Casey had disappeared. Helen stood on the wharf with her portable radio. Charlie and other search crews had been out on the water for 2 hours searching. Helen was tired, all she wanted to do was go to sleep but knew the moment she closed her eyes she would see Casey. Then she would have to admit that she was gone.
"Ummm Sergeant, thought you like some soup," a voice appeared next to Helen.
"Thanks, Constable Jones," Helen's voice strained.
"Still no word from Charlie."
Helen held up her portable, "I know, I've been listening."
Charlie and Paul watched for anything in the water that looked like a body. Suddenly, Charlie spotted something floating up ahead and slowed the boat. Helen was sitting on the bench when the radio crackled.
"We pulling up on a body now, stand by," Paul's voice came through,
Helen closed her eyes and waited.
"Ummm negative, it's a male. We will keep searching."
Helen turned to Sam, "Your shift has changed over constable, you can go."
"I'm not leaving until they…. find her."
Two more hours had passed when the patrol pulled up and Helen helped secure the boat. They removed the bag with the body and Charlie looked at Helen, devastated. Helen nodded.
"She's either caught under something or washed out to sea. Her body will surface in a few days." Helen said bravely but then collapsed on the bench.
Charlie put an arm around her, "I'm so sorry Helen, I'll never forgive myself."
"I was going to tell her that I was falling for her, that I wanted to take a risk and be with her. I was going to tell her once this was over. This is like some terrible, horrible dream that I can't wake up from. I want to wake up and be that first morning we were together. I wanted to feel that way again, but if we don't find her I never ever want to feel that way." Helen finally broke and sobbed into Charlie.
Paul came back down, "Ummm, I'll just fuel up and we head out again."
Paul stepped into the boat and heard a faint knocking sound from side of the boat. He peered over the side to see if the boat was rubbing against the wharf, when the sound came again.
"Charlie, come here."
Charlie stepped in the boat and waited.
Helen stood up "What…."
This time a sound came from somewhere deeper and a louder bang.
Charlie all but ripped the hatch off the storage pit and looked in but it was too dark. He called to Paul for a torch and looked around. Towards the front of the boat lying on some old anchor ropes he could make out a dim sillouette. Charlie climbed down the narrow pit and crawled along until he reached the person.
Shining the torch, he breathed a sigh of relief, "Oh Casey, you are a sight for sore eyes."
Casey grimaced and groaned.
"She's here….. she's bloody well down here! We need emergency assistance," yelled Charlie.
Helen waited anxiously as Charlie raised Casey's limp body up. Paul grabbed her and stepped out the boat. Helen looked at her bloody, swollen face, her clothes wet and stained with blood. Her body cold, shivering.
"Get her inside," ordered Helen.
Paul carried Casey's weak body into the lunch room and put her down on the couch. Helen wrapped a blanket over her
"Casey….. Casey…. You're safe."
Casey opened her eyes and looked around the room. "Oooh my head, " she said, trying to sit up.
"Shhhhh, you're going to be all right," cries Helen, looking around at the staff gathered around them and swallowed nervously at their attention.
"Bloody miracles, " growled Charlie.
Casey finally focused on Helen, "So I have to fall down and knock myself out to finally get your attention?"
Helen cried: "Not anymore sweetheart, never again," grabbing her hand and kissing it, not letting it go until help arrived.
Helen stood back as the paramedics took Casey off to hospital.
Two weeks later, Casey was leaning over the balcony of Helen's apartment. She was enjoying her new home now that Helen had finally come to terms with their love. It was dark, the distant sound of a ship's horn echoed as it travelled down the channel. Casey noticed the lights in the apartment went off, signalling it was bed time. She didn't move, enjoying the peace and quiet. She felt a hand under her shirt stroking up and down her back.
"You ok? You been out here a while, " asked Helen.
"Hmm, its so peaceful, " Casey turned around and gasped
"Helen you are, oh my god naked," Casey stepped forward and wrapped her arms around her unclothed partner.
Helen laughs and kisses her, "Hmmm I know, it's such a nice night to do something kinky."
Casey still didn't let Helen go, "Ok, lets go to the bedroom."
Helen pushes Casey back, "There is nothing kinky about a bedroom."
Casey looked about the district, various apartments lights were on. Her attention taken back when Helen pulled off Casey's shirt exposing her. She licks hungrily at each nipple. Casey's skin goose pimpled letting Helen know that she had successfully turned on her young lover.
"Helen, what are you doing…? What if someone out there is watching us through a telescope?"
Helen smirks and pushes the hesitant woman to a seat and drops down removing her pants. Her hand rubs through Casey's patch, separating her lips and sinking her tongue in. Casey bucks up and grabs each side of the balcony railing.
Helen surfaces, "Well if anyone is watching, we don't want to ruin their night."
She dropped her head down into Casey's crotch again and went back to loving her.