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Cleanup after the storm; they find the wreck.
"I gotta get out of the house. Mom's in a coma, Juno's crying in her bedroom, and Bill's roaming around aimlessly. Sign me up for nitrox training."
Karen handed her a paper cup of wine. "We've got the equipment; oxygen arrived the day after the grand opening. We don't have the class schedule figured out yet, though. Wanna get tutored? We can see how good a teacher Rick is." She grabbed a couple manuals from a shelf. "Memorize these. Learn to read the dive charts. Um. Come back, hm, Friday?" she looked at Rick, who nodded. We'll give you a discount because you're our beta testee.
Dominic had been staring at Octavia. Out of the blue he said to her, "Might you be willing to join me for dinner next week?"
Octavia looked at him askance. "Only if you're the dinner. She smiled wickedly. "Would you like to be boiled or broiled? "
Giuseppe swatted his brother's shoulder. Dominic flinched. "Can't you see she's not interested? We're lucky to be even invited to their party. So keep your hands off da merchandise, as they say in New York."
Dominic rubbed his shoulder and pretended to scowl. "Someday I'm gonna hit him back, but I gotta wait until he's asleep."
"Seems to me you clonked him the other morning when he was sleeping," Rick remarked, grinning.
"Yeah! Like that! I guess maybe we're even, eh?" he smiled at his brother.
Anthony rolled his eyes. "You guys are nuts. I think maybe it's time I headed for bed." He turned to Rick. "You plan to come in tomorrow? Or would you rather do more community service?"
Octavia intervened. "Um would it be community service if you two took me out to the wreck? Maybe I could find some personal effects."
Rick and Anthony looked at each other. Neither could come up with a good excuse not to do it. Anthony said, "why don't you come by around noon? That's when light will be best." No guarantees that we can go out, though."
Everyone decided it was time for bed so they all got up. Karen thanked the brothers profusely for the wine and the witty conversation, and apologized for Octavia. "She's actually a nice person; she just doesn't know how to say 'no' without shooting the person down. I think she's actually trying to be witty." She turned and wrinkled her nose at Octavia, who curtsied as if she had been praised.
The brothers nodded acknowledgement and took their leave. Rick told Anthony he'd be there in the morning as soon as he refilled the tanks.
Octavia spoke. "Rick, I want to thank you for searching and finding my dad," and she grabbed him and planted a big mushy kiss on him.
Rick was caught by surprise and flapped his arms but returned the kiss a little from reflex. Karen stood there open-mouthed.
Octavia released her victim and smiled at Karen. "That's all he'll ever get. He managed to say 'no' without shooting me down, but I can tell he's only interested in you. Not that I was trying to make time with him. I really am grateful."
Karen pretended to look at her suspiciously, but smiled. "If you could tell with a kiss like that, it must be true," and she smiled at Rick, who was standing there blinking.
He collected himself. "Um, you're welcome, but I'd have done it for anybody. And someday some guy's gonna be pretty lucky." He nodded and smiled.
Rick thought about offering to walk Octavia home, but decided that doing so would be impolitic. Then he had an idea. "Should we walk you home? Or maybe I can ask Dominic to do it," he trailed off hopefully.
Octavia snorted. "Yes you guys can walk me home. Poor Dominic would have a heart attack if I were nice to him."
So the three walked to Octavia's place, Karen in the middle, holding Rick's hand. Conversation was mostly Octavia sharing memories of her father, with Karen and Rick listening sympathetically. At the door, Octavia gave Karen a hug and kissed her cheek. "Thanks. Give him another thank-you kiss for me, will you?" She grinned and skipped into the house.
"It's late," Karen said on the way back, "why not spend the night in the store? That's w