Go to the police.” Maddie sat up and turned away. “Let’s not go through that again”
Finn had intended to sip his gin but he looked at the glass and it was almost finished. “What did Claire say?” Maddie said. “She denied everything, said she didn’t know Kevin was dead.” “You believed her?” “She seemed genuine.” “She’s a good liar when she needs to be. I found that out the hard way.” Finn wondered if the same applied to Maddie. He narrowed his eyes. “How did you two become friends?” Maddie drank. “What do you mean?”
“You don’t seem very alike, that’s all.” She looked at him. “You don’t know me and you don’t know her.” “So tell me.”
Maddie waved a hand at nothing. “I don’t know, proximity, I guess. There’s not exactly a lot going on in Stromness most nights. We met at the bar in the Royal one night. Kev and Lenny already knew each other, so we all just fell together.”
“Wait,” Finn said. “Lenny is Claire’s husband?” “Didn’t I say that already?”
“The same Lenny that Kev was running the salvage thing with?”
“And you never thought to tell me?”
Maddie frowned. “I thought I did.”
“I met him, at their house.” Maddie finished her drink. “How was he?”
Finn shook his head. “This is a mess. I still think you should go to the police.”
“And tell them what?”
Maddie went to pour another drink. She was standing at the window now, the sea view behind her. If Ingrid or Freya or anyone walked round this side of the house, she’d be visible. “They won”t believe me,” Maddie said. “We’ve been through this.”
Finn handed her his empty glass and watched as she poured him another. Her hand was unsteady. How many had she had?
He went to the kitchen and came back with the tonic and ice. He finished the drinks off and they picked them up but didn’t clink this time. The rush of the wind outside was a faint tremble in here, clouds racing east out the window. The hail he’d outrun at Brodgar would be here any minute. “What are we doing, Maddie?” he said. “What do you mean?” Finn waved around at the ceramic dolphins on a shelf, the frilly lamp, the matching easy chairs. “What’s the plan? We can’t go on like this.”
He realised that she didn’t have the bag of money with her for the first time since they met. She must’ve hidden it somewhere in the house.
“You have to get me off Orkney,” she said. Finn breathed through his nose. “How? You can’t get on a plane.”
“Boat.” She put her glass down and touched her hand to his arm. “They’ll be watching the ferries,” Finn said. “And I can’t leave the island so I can’t smuggle you in the car boot.” “Not like that,” she said, stroking his arm.
Finn looked at her hand then her eyes, misty with alcohol. “I’ll tell you later,” she said. She took his hand and placed it on her breast. Finn could feel her heart underneath, and her scent filled his nose.
“You can’t just...”
She stretched up and kissed him, long, then pulled away and placed a finger on his lips. “I want you,” she said.
He thought of the bodies piled up in the hospital mortuary in Kirkwall, the dead passengers and crew. He thought of Kevin lying in a pool of his own blood at home. He thought about Maddie and the money, the crash and the police and the journalist and everything he’d let himself slide into without fighting. But he didn’t stop, just kept going, letting himself sink further into Maddie.
“You are out of your mind,” he said. He tried to give her a serious look but his eyes moved down her body. She was darker-skinned than Amy, more curvy, and her eyes just killed him. “My face is up here,” she said, a deliberate echo of their first meeting. She kissed him. “Don’t,” he said but he didn’t mean it.
Finn looked round. They’d made it to the Lewises’ bedroom, just, and fallen on to the flowery duvet. Now here they were, little ornamental seals on the bedside cabinet staring at them. Finn looked from the ornaments to her. “You’re going to take your husband’s boat and sail it to mainland Scotland.” “Yeah.”
“What kind of boat?”
“A wee thing with a cabin and an outboard motor.” “And you’re going to take it across the Pentland Firth, one of the most dangerous stretches of water in Europe, in the middle of winter.”
“What else can I do?” Finn shook his head. “Anything but that.”
“There isn’t anything else. I need your help.” “No way.”
“At least take me there. I can’t get to the boat unless you drive me. You don’t have to do anything else. No one needs to know we’ve been in touch. Just drop me at the boat and I’ll take it from there.”
“Do you have any experience in boats?”
“I’ll work it out.”
“You’ll die on the firth.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“You need maps, GPS, distress flares.” “They’re on the boat, I think.”
“Kev used it all the time for salvage and that was at night so it’s obviously possible.”
“It’s different taking a boat out in the shelter of Scapa Flow if you’re experienced.”
“I don’t have any option.”
“Go to the police.” Maddie sat up and turned away. “Let’s not go through that again.”
Finn ran a finger down her spine. He thought of the bones in the tomb up the road, imagined a Stone Age man doing the same thing to his wife thousands of years ago. “You think you can just make me do whatever you want?” he said.
He felt her body stiffen and she flinched from his touch. She picked her panties off the floor and pulled them on, then her jeans, whipped her blouse over her head and pulled her hair back into a ponytail. “Is that what you think this is?”
“Isn’t it?” He felt vulnerable, lying naked on the bed, now that she was dressed. Maddie swore at him. She walked out of the room in her bare feet. He threw his clothes on and went after her, found her at the drinks cabinet fixing another gin. “Maddie.”
He touched her shoulders and realised she was crying. She whipped round and threw a punch at his chest, then another.
Both hits screamed in his body and he felt a pop at his ribcage. His hands went to his sides. “I wish I”d never met you,” she said.