This section is from when Carly agrees to sail again after her terrible accident.
Carly looked at him as he sailed. He said he loved her, but he was in love with the girl he used to know, the risk taker who leant backwards over the edge of the boat, head inches from the waves, wind whipping her hair.
“I need to go back,” she said.
Reaching into his bag, Daniel held out a flask of coffee. “Drink this first.”
With trembling fingers, she poured a cup, breathing in the rich sweet scent. Thick with sugar, it settled her stomach and as the waves raced past, she clutched the warm cup to her like a safety belt. Against her own wishes, she had sailed again, not completely successfully, but it was a start; next time it might be easier.
Wrapping her jacket tighter around her shoulders, she watched him alter the sail. Behind him, in the distant town, street lamps were switching off as the pale sun rose high in the sky. She and Daniel had always sailed early, creeping out their houses to meet on the common, grasping hands so they could run to the harbour, hair flying, legs racing. Daniel used to kiss her before they set sail, his lips warm against her cold mouth.
He had been the centre of her world, she needed no one else, neither her mother nor her absent father. In her young dreams, she pictured them winning together and later, married with children of their own. But that terrible December day had changed everything; the life she had planned out wasn’t going to happen anymore.
Their small boat drew level with the harbour entrance and she stared at the ocean, its waves choppy under an increasing sea breeze. Grey shapes flickered in the mist above, crying out with the peculiarly mournful lament of a sea bird, and brief flashes from the lighthouse shone in the distance. They had come far, further then she intended.
“Do you want to take the tiller?” Daniel said.
“Not today.” But another day, she might.
Carly ducked as the boom swung over and automatically sat on the opposite seat, it had been an easy move, one twist of her good leg did it.
“Home now,” he said.
Weak winter sun glowed from the water, Carly rubbed her cold hands together and pulled her hat down over her numb ears. Daniel swung the tiller to avoid a buoy, long muscular hands on the wood, a narrow white scar on his wrist. It was a rope burn, she remembered. What other scars did he have? Raising her head, she caught his gaze and excitement bubbled in her stomach like the water under the stern. With a bump, their dinghy hit the pontoon and Daniel tied it up, before reaching for her hand. She shivered at his touch.