"You may think that you have read a similar story before...privileged son, getting away with a crime..yet, this story felt fresh. The characters seemed real. The emotions raw." Jayme, Goodreads
Published: May 1st, 2018
CAUGHT IN THE BACKWASH, THEY HAVE LOST CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES…
For fans of Megan Abbott and Chris Bohjalian comes a novel of moral complexity about friends who must choose between self-preservation and doing the right thing in the wake of a fatal boating accident. Set in the moody off-season of Martha’s Vineyard, Everything That Follows is a plunge into the dark waters of secrets and flexible morals. The truth becomes whatever we say it is…
Around midnight, three friends take their partying from bar to boat on a misty fall evening. Just as the weather deteriorates, one of them suddenly and confusingly goes overboard. Is it an accident? The result of an unwanted advance? His body disappears quickly, silently, into the dark water. The circumstances are murky, but what is clear is that the other two need to notify the authorities. Minutes become hours become days as they hesitate, caught up in their guilt and hope that their friend has somehow made it safely to shore. As valuable time passes, they find themselves deep in a moral morass with huge implications as they struggle to move forward and live with their dark secret.
Six hours later, a fist pounded on the front door of the shop, sending a bolt to Kat’s fogged consciousness. The first thing she saw as she opened her eyes were those blue and green shower tiles…and then she remembered the puking…and the wet trek home…until she’d walked backward in her mind all the way to the panic in Kyle’s eyes. The memory of his eyes sent another tsunami of guilt over her aching body.
Another friendly knock came from outside.
Kat pushed herself up and reached for the knob of the bathroom door. She needed to go see who was there. She had to act normal. She was an innocent person who’d made a mistake.She had noreason to avoid a knock at her door in the early morning. But then she saw her reflection in the mirror—her stringy hair matted around her forehead and lidded hangover eyes. On one cheek was a fresh bruise from when she’d passed out on the tile, and on the other, the dried stomach bile she’d been sleeping in. It wasn’t an innocent look. She waited for the knocking to stop. Then she counted to one hundred and left the bathroom.
The apartment was flooded with morning light. The storm had moved on.
Through a kitchen window, Kat looked down at two men and a woman standing at the side entrance to the shop. The people who’d been knocking, she presumed. They all wore the same windbreakers, which said Woods Hole Erosion Team across the back. She’d seen them around town for the past three days, ever since the landslide on their beach. At the reminder of the landslide, Kat felt another wave of panic, this one mixed with despair. There were suddenly too many unsolvable problems before her. And those problems were intersecting in troubling ways. Ever since the landslide, area beaches had been crawling with police, scientists and cleanup crews. People were watching those beaches with greater attention now. They were seeing things that might normally go unseen. Things, she worried, like late-night boating excursions.
No, she reminded herself. There was no one else on the beach last night. She definitely hadn’t seen anyone else.
Kat watched the three windbreakers below. They were discussing something; it looked lighthearted. The older man told a joke and the other two laughed. The woman pulled out a flyer and stuck it in the doorjamb. They walked away, laughing again.
Relieved, Kat went to the kitchen sink and drank a tall glass of water. Then she walked back to the bathroom, turned on the shower and let it run while she peeled the damp clothes from her body. She needed to see Hunter, but she couldn’t leave the house looking filthy and wild. She just needed a few minutes to pull herself together, then get out there into the world anddo what needed to be done.
The sun was shining brighter when she emerged from the bathroom and she worried that she’d taken too much time. Kat wanted to look like she was in a rush when she arrived at the police station. She was in a rush.
A short walk to Hunter’s house at a brisk speed. Nothing strange about that.
By Kat’s calculation, it was 7:50 when she knocked on Hunter’s door. She knocked loud and without any pauses because the minutes were moving faster than she’d anticipated, and eight thirty was her new arbitrary deadline for getting to the police station. After that, it would look too casual, like it hadn’t been a priority.
The door swung open and a tall man in a pressed oxford shirt greeted her.
“Please. Come in,” he said.
“Is Hunter here?” Kat had never seen this guy. She stepped inside and let the man close and lock the door behind her.
“Hunter’s resting,” he said calmly.
A family doctor, she considered…buthe didn’t seem like a doctor. His clothes were too sharp, his wristwatch too ostentatious.
“I’m an associate of the senator’s,” the man explained.
Kat looked past him, around the grand entrance of the house, up the stairs. “May I talk to Hunter, please?” She didn’t want to act alarmed before this stranger.
“Let’s have a quick chat, first.”
About the author:
Meg Little Reilly is the author of the novels EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS and WE ARE UNPREPARED. She's a public radio commentator, essayist, and outdoors enthusiast. Prior to writing novels, Meg worked in national politics and the White House. She holds a B.A. from the University of Vermont and an M.A. from the George Washington University. These days, she lives in rural Vermont with her husband and two daughters.