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Summary: Chapter 15

Doc Hata has come with Tommy to the Bedley Run beach. While Tommy plays with other children, Doc Hata waits for Renny, who agreed to meet him there. They had spoken on the phone earlier in the day, and Renny had reported the news that Anne Hickey had been in a car accident the previous night and died. Renny asked if he would be okay, and Doc Hata responded that Anne was just an acquaintance. Later, on his way to pick up Tommy, the shock hit Doc Hata and he had to pull over. In his mind, he chastised Anne for her lack of care, feeling that she should have known better than to drive at a time when so many drunk drivers were about.

Doc Hata made a detour to the cemetery where Mary Burns and her husband were buried. He remembered when he and Mary planted shrubs around her late husband’s tomb. While they were waiting for the nursery truck to deliver the plants, Mary led him down a trail just outside the cemetery. At one point, Mary turned around suddenly, and Doc Hata walked straight into her, hitting her nose. He held her nose to stop the bleeding and thought that if anyone approached, it would look like he was strangling her.

Mary kissed Doc Hata passionately then continued to lead them down the trail. They arrived at a dense thicket with a small opening. They went in and began to kiss and remove their clothes. Doc Hata felt a sense of desire rushing in that he had wished never to feel again, and he stopped before they had sex. Although they did sleep together later, he wonders if this first interlude had already signaled the end of their relationship.

In the present, at the beach, Tommy entertains his new friends by acting like a joker. Doc Hata tries to get him to go swimming, and as he and his friends move toward the water, Tommy tells Doc Hata that he has to stay on the beach with the rest of the adults.

Liv and Renny arrive, and they tell Doc Hata about their plan to get married. They ask him if he thinks it’s a good idea. Doc Hata says he does and encourages them to get married sooner rather than later. This enthusiasm surprises Liv, who says she never knew Doc Hata was “such a carpe diem sort of guy.” Doc Hata waves off the comment.

Suddenly, one of the mothers on the beach realizes her son is missing and cries out. Renny jumps up and rushes into the water to look for the boy. As lifeguards run down the beach, Doc Hata looks around and realizes he can’t see Tommy. He rushes into the water. From a distance, Doc Hata hears Renny make a pained sound, and he realizes his friend is having a heart attack. Not trusting the youthful lifeguards, Doc Hata turns away from Renny and dives into the deeper water, where he finds Tommy. He pulls Tommy up, and two lifeguards appear and pull the boy to shore. Meanwhile, Doc Hata swims to Renny and helps him out of the water. He instructs someone to call for an ambulance just as the lifeguards get Tommy to cough out the water in his lungs. Liv cries out that Renny is dying, and Doc Hata thinks that he will reach inside Renny’s chest and massage his heart if he has to.