I crossed the room as quickly and quietly as I could, and slid along the wall until I was just around the corner from her.
There I could hear just fine.
"…and this is confidential, right?" Ann said, "I mean no one's going to tell him—afterward—who it was who called?"
That was all I needed to know.
I slid back along the wall until I would be out of sight crossing the room, then slipped across and out again. Once I got the door closed behind me I was across the deck and down the stairs in a half second.
I paused below the deck just long enough to grab Julie's arm and drag her to her feet.
She pulled back a little.
"Hey! What are you doing?"
I marched her toward the water.
"Come on." I said.
She dug in her heels and dragged us to a stop.
"What—Where are we going?"
"It's time for your last lesson."
"Now? I've got to get ready for the party."
I let go of her arm, and took a step closer. I couldn't afford to blow this one.
I lowered my voice, and gave it every ounce of urgency I had.
"I don't have any time left. If you are going to help, you have to do what I tell you, no questions, no argument. Can you do that?"
"But I've got to…"
I cut her off.
"Can you do that?"
She searched my eyes for a moment, and gave a quick glance back toward the restaurant.
"Yeah, okay, if it's that important."
I took her arm again, and started walking toward the water.
"Are you in love with Tim?"
"Tim? What's has that got to do…"
"I told you, I don't have time to explain. Do you love the boy?"
"I… I don't… It seems to be right for everybody. Like the right thing to do, you know?"
I took quick look back at the restaurant myself. We reached the wet sand at the water's edge.
"Okay. Walk out until the water is up to your waist."
She hesitated, then started out into the waves. When she realized I wasn't following, she stopped and turned.
"Aren't you coming in?"
The truth is, I had intended to.
"I can't," I said, "just keep walking."
A wave washed close enough to touch my feet, and I leapt backwards to avoid it.
I had less time than I had thought.