She and Hood are at a beach standing ankle deep in the ocean or more likely the Gulf of Mexico because the water is a crystalline azure but the waves are very small. It is a brilliantly sunny midday. Hood is a little ahead of her trying to coax her out further. Rachel, who is a good swimmer, has a fear of ocean waters that she does her best to hide from people. When she was a child there was a shark attack near where her family was vacationing. A young boy was killed so she’s stayed close to shore ever since.
“This is as far as I’m going”
“Don’t be silly, the water isn’t cold in fact its perfect”
Which it is and so clear she can see hundreds of brilliantly colored fish swimming by.
“ I don’t want to”
“ Why not? Its so beautiful. Look at all the fish.”
In Rachel’s mind small fish only lead to big fish and then bigger fish, perhaps hungry fish.
“ Rachel there are no sharks out here. No sea monsters. Nothing is going to eat you “
Turning back toward her he smiles broadly. At least he’s not laughing. Yet. As she thinks this he wades back to her, picks her up and continues to walk out into the water with her in his arms. He ignores her protests.
“There, you’re out of harm’s way. They’ll eat me first and you’ll have time to swim to shore and get help.”
He is still grinning so she gives him her most withering glare. There isn’t another person in sight.
“ Besides Rachel, there are very few places left in the world where you even have the smallest chance of being eaten alive .The Sunderban in India comes to mind but I don’t think we’ll be encountering any tigers today, do you?”
Rachel is not amused and is stiff as a board in his arms.
He sighs and then smiles.
“I know what’ll help-I’ll sing you a song”
Without hesitation he starts to sing
“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream…”
Despite her anxiety and annoyance Rachel starts to giggle. The world famous scientist can hardly carry a tune.
“Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream. Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream…”
She is laughing outright now. They have reached a point where he is chest deep in the water and Rachel can feel the water buoying her up. He keeps singing the ridiculous ditty while rocking her back and forth in the water. At one point he leans her head so far back that her hair gets wet and she squeals in protest.
“Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily…”
He has begun to turn circles and she hangs on for dear life.
“Hood! Cut it out!”
At this point having made himself dizzy he stumbles backward and they both go under. It is only a moment before Hood regains his balance and hauls the two of them back up again. Rachel sputters, speechless, and uses one hand to quickly wipe her eyes. He is still smiling at her and suddenly shakes his curly hair showering her with water just like a dog coming in out of the rain. She can’t help herself and bursts out laughing and he joins her. He suddenly bends down and kisses her a wet, salty, but infinitely sweet kiss that doesn’t last anywhere near long enough. He pulls back from her and she regards him. She is struck by the fact that he looks relaxed and happy and perhaps a little wild. She realizes that this is the first time she’s seen him when he didn’t look worried or angry or preoccupied or just tense. It is a revelation.
A sound breaks into her reverie; a bizarre, incongruous sound. Someone else is singing “Row, row, row your boat” but not very well and not in English.. She and Hood both turn their heads toward the sound and there not too far away is a little white rowboat .The person who is rowing is also singing and doing both with great energy. Which strikes Rachel as a little surprising since he appears to be quite old with a shock of white hair. He’s wearing a baggy tweed suit and it occurs to her that the language must be German since it is no other than Albert Einstein. He waves to them then continues his rowing and singing. He is going at quite a clip and it runs through her mind that she hopes she can be in that great shape when she’s been dead 50 years. Hood has watched this all in silence but he turns suddenly to Rachel and says:
“I have to ask him a question. Wait here, I’ll be back.”
He drops her unceremoniously into the water and swims off in the direction of the fast disappearing rowboat. Rachel goes under briefly and comes up treading water. As she pushes the hair out of her eyes she looks in the direction he went and sees nothing. She whips her head in the other direction but there is no sign of the boat or of Hood. Feeling panicked she turns toward shore and sees… nothing. Her heart leaps to her throat. She can see nothing but endless water and distant horizons on all sides. She screams:
She comes awake with a start and lies quietly for several minutes, letting her heartbeat come back to normal. The dream’s meanings are obvious even to her and since she doesn’t want to think about them right now she slowly sits up and feels for her slippers. A small bowl of Rocky Road and probably half an hour of some ridiculous infomercial should put her back to sleep. She slowly stands and pulls on her robe, glancing back to see if her companion has awakened. The soft snoring hasn’t missed a beat and she tiptoes to the door.
Ok this is my first fanfic-I hope I posted it right. It has a second part that I hope to post next Mon.