She swam in the marina while he tinkered with the boat. She was a strong swimmer, so why did she drown just as she was about to climb out?
Of course she was a strong swimmer. She swam fifty lengths a day without even thinking about it. It helped that they had a full size swimming pool in the grounds.
Yes, they were rich. Or at least he was. She married him for his money. He married her for all sorts of reasons. Love was in there somewhere. A certain kind of love. His kind.
As a girl, she had swum for the county. Butterfly was her stroke. She made it look easy.
She was thirty two at the time of her death. Physically, she was in excellent shape. And you may construe that last sentence however you wish.
The guy who came to clean the pool construed it one way. Then found lots of other ways to construe it. Usually when her husband, the man who paid his wages, was out.
She liked the way the guy who came to clean the pool construed it. As far as she was concerned, he could construe it any way he wanted. He frequently did.
Then one day the husband came home early. He looked in the pool house and saw something that could only be construed one way. It involved a certain up and down motion of a certain pool cleaner’s buttocks.
The accompanying sounds were not the sort a husband likes to hear from his wife as another man’s naked buttocks heave up and down on top of her. Moans modulating into groans ending in yelps. All of pleasure.
Sounds he had never heard from her when his own naked buttocks were doing their best to perform a similar motion.
Of course, he did what any well-adjusted psychopath would do. He kept it to himself. Said nothing. Didn’t betray his discovery by the slightest change in his behaviour towards her. He was no more or less himself than ever.
He was impeccably, unnervingly, chillingly the same.
He bided his time. Psychopaths are extraordinarily patient and, if he was anything, he was a consummate psychopath.
So when he suggested they go away for a few days on the yacht, she suspected nothing.
Of course, it would be just the two of them. The yacht, the Juliana, was an old folly of his. At 64’, she was smaller than he could afford, but she was perfect for two-man crewing. Also perfect for one-man adulterous-wife-murdering.
If she was worried about being on her own with him, she didn’t show it. Besides, there were compensations. She liked to sail. She liked to swim off the boat. She particularly liked to sail and swim off the coast of Mexico, which was where he proposed for their little voyage. Oh, and she liked to shop at the ports they put in at. And eat in the restaurants.
And despite her antics with the pool guy, she liked to show her gratitude now and then by being nice to the man who paid for it all.
She wasn’t a bad person. Just not exactly a good person either. She figured what he didn’t know couldn’t hurt him. Unfortunately, she didn’t take into account what he did know.
She liked to swim. That was fine. Let her swim. He had work to do on the boat. Another one of his eccentricities – as well as owning a boat that was much smaller than he could afford – he liked to tinker with the mechanics himself. He’d been an engineer before he was a billionaire, after all. He liked to keep his hand in.
Under a clear blue sky, the kind of sky the word azure was invented for, she dived off the side of the boat into water as clear as liquid glass. She swam among a shimmering lattice of sunbeams trapped beneath the surface.
“Don’t go too far,” he had been heard to shout to her, just before disappearing below decks to get on with his tinkering. He knew she was a strong swimmer, but still he worried about her. Or so he wanted witnesses to think.
There was something wrong with the electrics. At the marina they were plugged into the mains, but some of the sockets weren’t working. She couldn’t use her hairdryer, for example.
He could have got an electrician in. In hindsight, should have. If he had his time over again, would have. Then at least he would have been on deck and he would have seen her when she slipped off the ladder and banged her head. He might have been able to save her, even though she was a far stronger swimmer than he.
As it was, her death was unexplained. And he didn’t have the pleasure of seeing her thrown from the metal ladder that had suddenly become live.
There was no post-mortem evidence of electric shock. As he knew there wouldn’t be, from the internet sites he had consulted on freak deaths by electrocution in marinas.
The shock didn’t kill her outright. What killed her was not being able to move a muscle to save herself. Despite her excellent physical strength. Despite being a strong swimmer. She just sank, like the dead fish that were found around the boat.
Paralysed, the butterfly sank.