Wandering Home

WHbookcover12/01/2012  Wandering Home is the final work based on The Wanderer Threads it is now published and available on Amazon.com. Click here for the book or Here for the Kindle version.  What this does mean though is that I have to take Part II and Part III off the blog.  I’ve tried to keep the price reasonable, $3.99 for Kindle and 13.75  for the paperback. This is the first 20 chapters.

The post about the Writing of Wandering Home is here

Chapter 1 The Long Reach

Run Before the Wind

April 27th 2017 in the blue water near 20 degrees latitude

There is a point in the day on the ocean where the sun hangs just above the horizon, not quite yet setting.  The sun casts a long golden reflection across the ocean if the seas are down and the weather fine.   It’s only a few minutes but like no other during the day on a sailboat.  This story starts in that moment.

Webb turned the boat slightly to catch the best wind on the beam.  The Wanderer was making 18 knots again.  The 80 foot cobalt blue sloop was in her element the mast creaking, the white sails rippling.  She was rigged main sail and jib tight against the lines.  The boat was heeled over to starboard, her white cabin showing the pink of the sun starting to set in the west. Webb stood at the port wheel watching the sails.

Webb was trying to get the most he could out of her before nightfall.  He was tired.  The Wanderer was six days out of the Bahamas heading south.   She was averaging almost 200 miles a day.  He should make landfall tomorrow.  Webb was ready for a few days ashore, a little golf, fine food, a desk that didn’t move when you typed.  People, Webb was ready to see and talk to other people for a few days.  He loved to sail.  The Wanderer was set up to be single manned but he did get lonely after a week or so.  The boat was equipped with satellite internet so he could keep in touch with folks.  There was even a live feed from the mast and cabin cams that went out to the web.  This had been an idea of his friend Keith to put the voyages of the Wanderer online for people to see.

Webb just ignored the cameras most of the time.  It wasn’t like he went around the cabin naked anyway.  It was pointed at the main cabin area.  The part of the boat he only used at night.  The Wanderer was his home now, though he still had the beach house in Malibu and the apartment overlooking Central Park in New York.  The apartment was leased at the moment.  The beach house was empty, awaiting his return in the fall where he’d spend the winter.  The Wanderer had wintered in the Bahamas last year after he had taken her around Cape Horn.  That was a hard sail to be sure, but you had to do it once in your sailing career.  He had done it the prior winter, taking the long route then up the coast to the Caribbean.

Webb had flown back to LA for the winter from there.  The Wanderer escaped hurricanes and the storms of the fall in a not so safe harbor.  But now he was bringing her home this spring, south but then through the Panama canal this time.  He had written two books over winter and was trying to finish the third as he sailed south.  Maybe in the resort he could finish it then start on something new.

Webb settled back on the seat of the cockpit before correcting the wheel again.  He felt at ease on the ocean but as always just a little edgy.  You may love the sea but never trust her.  This was his fifth year sailing The Wanderer.  His divorce finalized just over six years now, at 42 he was at ease with his decisions in life.  His ex-wife had remarried and was apparently unhappy.  They were still friends in an odd way.  No children after 4 years of marriage probably helped, well that and distance.  Jennifer still sent him the odd late night email when she’d been drinking.  Slightly pornographic usually, stating she missed him.  He never responded to those, waiting for the apologetic one the next day.  He would still send her manuscripts to read and comment on.  She was a very good editor and critic, her ideas and comments always cogent and helpful.

Webb reached for the tablet next to him to check his twitter feed and email.  The usual on twitter a follower commenting about the latest book, another follower on the Wanderer account asking a question.  He responded to both quickly.  The beauty of twitter is that all your responses had to be short and to the point so you were thoughtful but curt.   The email was light, a confirmation of the hotel reservation at the resort, another note from his agent about some offers for one of the Robert Flint novels from Hollywood.  Webb kept three twitter accounts.  The first was for the Wanderer and her travels.  The second for his primary pen name Robert Flint.  The third for his other pen name Alice Chanceby the most popular of the three.

Alice was by far the biggest seller of his pseudonyms.  The books written under that name were romantic novels with drama and angst.  They were mostly serialized with one character right now going into the eighth book, it would be her last.  These actually were the most enjoyable to write.  He could let his romantic nature go wild.  They were quick paced and enjoyable, even though they even made him cry occasionally.

The wind shifted and Webb reached over to correct the course slightly. He looked at the Nav system to see how it compared to his desired course.  It was taking him slightly west.  Webb adjusted the sails to get back on the desired course.  The speed slowed by about a knot.  He was still on line for landfall tomorrow.  Webb looked to the west as the sun started to dip below the horizon.  The large orange disk started to melt into the sea producing, orange, red and golden hues across the horizon.  Webb lived for the sunset on the ocean.  It and the sunrise were one reason to sail, the peace and challenge being the other.  He settled back to watch knowing he’d be up into the midnight watch again.  Then he’d rig her for the overnight to get four or five hours of sleep.  Such was the way of the solo sailor.

He knew he should feel complete and comfortable, but she was still there never forgotten, he had moved on without her but had never really moved on.  He wondered what Kacey Lawrence was doing right now.  He really had no clue but it was something that he’d thought about every night for the last 17 years.

Stress Relief

Kacey settled into the seat again after returning from the bathroom.  The first class seat was comfortable she wiggled around to find the best spot.  This was the final leg of the flight from LA to Antigua.  The short layover at Dallas had been spent talking to her agent and publicist.  Then she had twittered her sister who was supposed to be flying in from New York to meet her.  They both lived in California but her sister was there doing a gig with her band.  The vacation together in Antigua planned months ago for when her TV series finished for the year.  A week in the sunshine relaxing by the pool was what was called for.  She could hardly wait to get there.

She opened her tablet back up to the book she was reading.  The last in a series from Alice Chanceby called Last Chances.  The woman’s titles always seemed to be a play on her name she thought.  She had read the seven books leading up to this final installment.  The culmination of a love lost, found then lost again.  She thought about her own life to this point, a Californian girl born and bred in a small town in Northern California.  Tule Lake had been a quiet place to grow up.  Her family had a wheat and garlic farm just south of the Oregon border.

She had left for LA when she was eighteen and never looked back.  Her career as an actress had been a hard climb.  First in commercials and extra parts in movies, she had finally got her break into a sitcom as the older sister.  Not a full time cast member at the time but it had grown.  She was then a regular cast member appearing in almost every episode caring for her character’s younger sister the star of the show.  When the show ended she had been in several movies before landing her current sitcom.  She was one of the regular cast now, one of the stars.  Her own sister a struggling singer/songwriter was finally gaining some traction in the record business.  They were close, the entire experience in Hollywood and the entertainment industry a shared affair between the two of them.   She was tired, the end of the season a closely packed month of table readings, rehearsals and taping sessions.

She started to read the story from where she had left off then paused for a minute.  She clicked over to the browser pulling up the website from her favorites.  The pictures from the Wanderer were on the screen.  They updated every five minutes during the day.  The view from the mast of the cockpit showed a solitary figure sitting by the helm.  He was staring to his right a soft glow on his face.  She knew he was watching the sunset.  Kacey also knew who he was.  Webster Robert Flynn an engineer and solitary sailor she knew.  She had known him much better once when she was 17 and he was 25.  He had been her savior and her frustration.  There had been many boyfriends since then.  But she still followed what he was doing.  He sailed about six months of the year now.  She knew his last marriage was over and once again Webb was following his star whatever it was.  Kacey had broken his heart when she had left for LA.  One of several regrets she had.

She switched back to her book and started reading, two more hours to go until paradise.

Under the Stars

Webb watched the stars, knowing he could have navigated by them if he had too.  It had really never come up yet with the modern GPS and Nav systems Wanderer had.  He still did it occasionally just to stay in practice but tonight he just admired their beauty.  He had her rigged down now to just the main.  The autopilot would keep her on course and he could watch from the cabin but he just stared at the night sky for a little while longer.  Webb looked at his watch 11:00PM he’d stay up a while yet check the long range radar and the Doppler weather radar.  He could set both to wake him should a target get within 30 miles.  A little bit of sleep would be gotten tonight at last.

He looked at the stars again and sighed wondering what he would do with the rest of his life.  He had turned 42 last year sailing in the Carib.  The road that led here had been a long one.  He had a four year BS degree from Oregon, then onto Stanford for his Masters in electrical engineering and computer architecture.  He’d spent a summer at home in Klamath Falls, Oregon after that.  He’d met Kacey that summer it had been both the best and worst time in his life.  He didn’t dwell on it.  He had spent the next seven years designing systems for Sandia National Laboratories.  That was where he had met Keith and where a couple of simple ideas turned into millions.  Their company United Cell Circuitry owned the patents used by every cell manufacturer in the world.  They had both tired of the work a few years later.  Webb had gone back to writing and then sailing.  Keith had moved onto raising horses and now 4 children.

Webb set the autopilot before heading into the cabin for some sleep.  He looked around the boat one last time.  He did a 360 circle seeing nothing but the moon and the stars shining on the dark ocean.



Chapter 2 Landfall

Comfort Zone

It had been close to midnight when Kacey finally got to her room at the resort.  It was a lovely suite looking out upon the bay the entire side of the living room facing the ocean.  There was a large patio with a round table with six chairs made of white painted wood along with 2 matching lounges.  The suite itself had two large couches in an L shape around a coffee table with an arm chair opposite.  The fabric was all white with dark brown wood that matched the coffee table.  The floors were a light hardwood with area rugs in an island theme red, orange and black.  Behind the couches and up one step was the square dining room table with eight chairs two to a side.  Beyond that was a fully stocked wet bar with the door to the suite and a small half bath next to it.  Off each side of the living room were the bedrooms each with a large covered bed, couch, dressers, a doorway to the side of the bed leading to each bedrooms own private bath. There were double glass doors leading onto a private veranda separate from the main patio.  The color scheme was the same white upholstery and dark wood. The bedroom veranda had its own round table with two chairs.  The veranda was recessed from the living room patio with its own view of the bay below.

Kacey chose the bedroom on the left as she entered and had the bell hop place her bags there then tipped him.  She walked out on the living room patio and stared down at the dark ocean.  To her right she could see one of the resort bars was hopping tonight.  Live marimba music wafting out from it with people milling around or sitting at tables by the pool next to it.  The evening trade winds were blowing keeping her cool against the tropical heat.

Kacey went into her bedroom and placed her bag on the bed.  She quickly retrieved her pajamas for the night then moved to the bathroom to put them on.  Kacey caught a look at herself in the mirror after she changed. She had on her black running shorts with the blue stripe and a loose fitting LA Lakers t-shirt.  Kacey looked into her own green eyes and at her face.  She still didn’t have any noticeable wrinkles.  Her skin olive colored, the golden blonde hair shoulder length cascading around her face. Kacey backed up a step to see more of her 5’8” frame in the mirror.  “Pretty damn nice for 35” she thought.  Kacey laughed, “Well with my sister not arriving for three or four more days I may have to see what kind of companionship I can find”  Her sister Kari had texted her earlier.  The band was being held over for three more nights.  So she was on her own for now.

Kacey went back into the bedroom and turned down the bed.  She crossed to the veranda doors, opening them to let in the breeze and the subtle hints of music from the bar.  Kacey put her luggage back on the floor before grabbing her tablet.  She turned on the bedside lamp then slid under the sheets and comforter.  There was only a three hour time difference so it only felt like 9:00 but she was tired anyway.  Kacey checked her email and twitter accounts.  She saw nothing that couldn’t wait until morning.

Kacey pulled up the Wanderer’s website.  The outside cam showed a dark and empty cockpit.  The cabin cam showed a tall man curled up on the couch staring at his laptop.  It wasn’t the best picture but she could see his features.  He still had sandy brown hair now with a touch of grey at the temples.  He was sporting a moustache on his otherwise clean shaven face.  His face and arms were tan and brown.  It was a shame she couldn’t see those grey eyes very well.  Webb always had the most beautiful eyes.  The picture changed and the cabin was dark except for the glow of the outside running lights through the windows.

“Goodnight Webb”

Kacey put the tablet on the table and turned off the light.  She let the soft marimba music sooth her into sleep.

Running Downhill Hard

Webb awoke to the radar target alarm.  He rolled off the main cabin’s couch and moved to the inside Nav station.  The target was a big one just over 28 miles to the west moving fast and away from him.  “Cruise Ship” Webb thought too fast for a freighter and right on the edge of the shipping lanes.  He checked the digital chronograph, it was 0450.  “Well I almost got five hours sleep” he thought.

Webb checked the inside instruments, he was making just under 10 knots southward with a westerly drift.  He pulled out his tablet to check the weather.  The seas should be running 8 or 9 feet.  He looked up at the anemometer reading the wind was from the east and looked to be steady at 20 knots.  He shook his head it was going to be a little wet this morning when he turned toward the west for the downhill run into English Harbor.  If he got the spinnaker rigged he could get 15 maybe 17 knots out of the girl.  He looked at the Nav computer screen.  That should put him in port near 10:00 if the wind held.

Webb stepped to the locker then started getting out the foul weather gear for the morning.  The spray of taking the boat downwind was going to be pretty constant in that high of sea.  Webb grabbed some beef jerky and crackers that he shoved in his pocket before he fired off the coffee maker.  He washed his face and hands in the sink then rubbed his face.  He’d need to shower and shave when he got to the anchorage.  He filled his thermos with coffee then headed for the cockpit.

Windy Morning

Kacey climbed out of bed and called room service ordering coffee, fruit and muffins.  She wrapped herself in the thick grey robe the hotel provided.  Kacey went into the living room then out onto the patio.  People were already congregating on the beach and by the pool staking out their spots.  The wind was blowing this morning creating small white caps on the bay.  The beauty of the place stunned her.  She could see now that the suite was at the extreme edge of the building.  Next to it a lovely villa with a large patio could be seen below.  A large table and lounge chairs arranged on its stone surface.  Kacey looked back at the bay, several catamarans and few smaller sailboats were bobbing at anchor.

The knock at the door roused her and she let the room service girl in.  She poured herself some coffee from the pot, grabbed a muffin then went back on the patio.  Kacey set her coffee on the table before walking back to her bedroom while eating her muffin.  She retrieved her tablet from the nightstand then returned to the patio sitting down at the table and took a sip of her coffee before starting the tablet.  The tablet’s browser was where Kacey had left it on the Wanderer web site.  The picture refreshed and she saw Webb standing behind the wheel.  The sails were down.  He had on a blue rain coat with the hood pulled back staring intently.  Kacey prepared to read her emails.  She took a moment to look up at the bay again.  Her eyes went wide.  Coming around the head into the bay was a large cobalt blue sail boat.  The boat’s sails were down and it was motoring toward the resort pier.  Kacey gasped then went back to the website.  She went to the position page to see where Wanderer was.   It had just the longitude and latitude coordinates.  She copied them and pasted them into the search engine.  The answer came back at once, English Harbor, Antigua.

“Oh crap he’s here” escaped her lips.

Reefed Sails

Webb eased Wanderer up to the pier throwing the stern line to the men on the dock.  He idled the diesels then skittered forward tossing the bow line over.  The men struggled to pull the 15 ton vessel quay side.  Webb knew he would have to move her back into the bay to anchor but he could unload his gear here first and get it taken to his lodgings.  He spoke to the attendants on the dock in flawless Spanish to wait a moment and then went down into the cabin.  He reappeared then handed down to them his duffel bag and golf clubs.  Webb shook both their hands and asked them to send a cutter to pick him up.  They released the lines and eased Wanderer off her bumpers.

Webb steered the boat to his designated buoy in the bay.  Number 14 was red and bobbing as he approached.  Webb cut the diesels, grabbed the boat hook and snagged the line on the buoy.  He attached it to the stern cleat.  When Wanderer started to pull against the line Webb hit the switch releasing the bow anchor.  He winched it in several feet to make sure it was set then gave it several feet of slack.  Webb moved down into the cabin and started shutting everything down.  The Nav system, fresh water, even the computer and cams, in the end only the chronograph was still on.  Webb locked up the boat then sat in the cockpit to wait for the cutter.

Detached Observer

Kacey watched as Wanderer stayed at the dock only a few minutes then was under way again heading back into the bay.  She watched with interest as the anchor was let go as resort’s boat went out toward the big blue sailboat.  Kacey watched him climb into the boat and it returned to the dock.   Then she watched him shakily step onto the dock then the long strides he made as he walked up the dock and disappeared.

Kacey walked back into the suite and picked at the fruit tray on the table.  Her internal dialog raged:

“So he’s here, I probably won’t even see him.”

“Jesus what are you afraid of, it’s been over 17 years you need to talk to him at least.”

“Just keep it casual, god I’m a basket case.  I’ll just do what I planned today, sit by the pool have a few drinks and soak up the sun.  If we bump into each other fine I’ll deal with it then.”

Kacey walked into her bedroom then out on to the bedroom’s veranda.  She stared at the Wanderer bobbing out in the bay.  Kacey turned to walk back in and looked down at the villa’s patio next door.  Laying back on the lounge chair, in khaki shorts and a t-shirt was Webb staring at the ocean.

Kacey watched him for a second then turned toward the bathroom.

“Well a least I won’t need to wonder where he is”.

Shore Side

Webb lay on the lounge chair just looking at Wanderer riding at anchor.  He’d ordered room service from the front desk when he checked in.  Now he was waiting for the two BLT sandwiches and three beers.  Webb ran his hand over his stomach it was sunken in below his ribs.  A solo run usually cost him at least two pounds a day in weight.  If you were running hard as he had been the last seven days it could be even more.  He was hungry and thirsty for a cold beer.  The breeze felt good now that it wasn’t blowing spray down his neck.

There was movement in the corner of his eye that made Webb look up at the hotel on his right.  A grey clad figure was just walking into the room from the balcony.  Webb wondered how long they had been there.  Then the knock on the door came and he was up to eat.

Webb brought the room service tray back onto the patio, sat at the table and dug in.  The sandwiches were scrumptious.  The bacon still hot and crispy, tomatoes firm and the lettuce crunchy they were as close to perfect as you can make a BLT.  He started in on the homemade potato chips and his second beer.  The plan for the rest of the day was pretty simple.  Send out everything but 2 golf shirts, 2 t-shirts and shorts to be laundered.  Then into the shower, shave, and then hit the rack until something woke him up.  Tomorrow golf at the crack of dawn with a 7:00AM tee time then back here to relax and write all afternoon.

Webb started to get up when he again noticed movement on the hotel balcony.  He caught a glimpse of blonde hair and a blue bikini then she was gone.  Webb finished the second beer then opened the third to drink in the shower before heading inside.



Chapter 3 A Fine Wire

Restless waiting

Kacey had watched Webb eat for a few a minutes from the bedroom veranda.  He must have been hungry because had inhaled the two sandwiches.  He had slowed down on the chips and second beer.  Kacey thought about how few times she had seen him eat when she watched the Wanderer website.  But it wasn’t like she spent her every waking moment watching, only a few times a day.  She did have to wonder what drove him though.  Kacey was sure he had gotten a glimpse of her when she turned to come back inside.  She was going to have to quit spying on him.

Kacey grabbed her bag with her tablet, sun screen, and lotion.  She put on the big floppy sun hat, large framed dark glasses then headed for the pool.  She reached the lobby unrecognized.  This resort though large was favored more by Europeans than Americans so she should have the anonymity she sought on vacation.  She stopped at the Concierge desk on the way through.  The man at the desk looked up and surprised her.

“Hello Miss Lawrence what can I do for you today?”

Kacey looked back over at him, a tall attractive black man in his early twenties with a dazzling white smile.   “You recognized me?” she looked down at his name tag.  It read Jorge.

He continued to smile, “We take the time to learn our VIP guest’s faces Miss Lawrence.  Most of the staff and all of the Concierge staff will recognize you.  There here to insure your privacy and comfort.”

She felt better now and leaned over the counter.

“What can you tell me about the man in the villa next to my room Jorge?”

Jorge continued smiling at her.

“Not a lot actually he is also a VIP guest.  He has stayed here several times before.  He sailed in today with plans on staying at least a week though he booked the villa for two weeks.  He comes here to rest, play golf while he works for several days to a week.”

Kacey was confused.  She knew that Webb had no real job anymore since he’d sold off his company.  “What kind work is he doing?”

Jorge continued to smile, “I believe he is a writer of some kind.  Is there anything else I can help with?”

Kacey moved away from the counter, “No thanks Jorge, I just wondered who he was.”

Kacey walked through the lobby to the pool that looked out onto the white sand beach.  She found an open lounge chair near the bar and got settled.  The heat felt wonderful and she could feel it soaking into her.  Kacey just closed her eyes feeling herself start to perspire as the heat and humidity did its work.  Her mind was still trying to wrap around Webb being a writer.  He had written her poetry when they were together they had been wonderful and she still had them somewhere.  She thought perhaps he was writing pieces for one of the sailing journals or perhaps something technical he was an engineer after all.  Kacey shook her head trying to get him out of her mind.  She got her tablet out and continued to read her book Last Chances.

Research

Kacey spent over three hours by the pool.  She read and drank several beers.  When she felt too hot she’d go in the pool up to her neck to cool off.  She switched from beer to an Antiguan Smile cocktail with rum and fruit.  Kacey realized pretty quickly that she should take it easy on these.  She found herself staring at Wanderer in the bay trying to remember how big it was.  Kacey finally pulled the website up and looked.

The Wanderer was the first sailing yacht of this class of 4 built.  The other 3 are outfitted for luxury and would sleep 8.  Wanderer was custom built and outfitted to be a solo blue water sailing cruiser. Her forward staterooms converted to storage for food, extra water and fuel. She could only sleep 4, two in the masters suite under the stern and two in the bed like couches in the main cabin.  Wanderer was just 80’ 6” at the waterline 92’ 11” at the deck.  She was 21’ feet across at the beam and had an 11’ foot draft.  Wanderer could make over 20 knots under sail and she had two diesel engines that could power the boat at 12 knots for motor cruising.  She was owned by a Cayman Island company called Chances Are Ltd.  Wanderer weighed in un-laden at 15 tons.  She was designated K93W and had her sea trials in 2012.

Kacey got most of it she wasn’t exactly sure what a knot was.  She tried to put some semblance to the dimensions.  Her current bedroom was probably about 25 feet across so that’s how wide it was.  Then over 4 times that long for the length. Kacey got up and went to the edge of the pool.  She started taking long stride toward the beach stopping at 30.  When she looked back she knew just about how long the boat was. It was a big boat but if at its widest its only 21 feet it didn’t seem so big.  Kacey had never been on a sailboat before though she had been on a few power yachts that were that big or larger.  They had all been owned by rich entertainment executives that had a captain and crew aboard.  Their purpose was for entertaining and the occasional trips to Catalina or Mexico.

Kacey returned to her lounge chair and gathered up her things.  She wanted a quick workout in the gym, then a shower before dinner.  She had called down in the morning and made a reservation at the ocean side Spanish cuisine restaurant for 7:00.

Kacey changed clothes in her bedroom into her black running shorts and pink tight fitting work out shirt and bra.  She went out onto the veranda sitting down to put her shoes on then stared over at the villa.  Webb was nowhere to be seen.  In fact all the doors to the villa were closed and the drapes drawn over the windows.  Kacey went back in and sat on the bed with her tablet.  It took her a moment to find the Wanderer twitter feed.  She didn’t follow it but she pulled up the time line to look at the latest tweets.

Arrived English Harbor, lunch then sack time”

Kacey smiled, he was sleeping.  She scrolled back to earlier tweets they weren’t like a ship’s log as she expected but more of a narrative.  From early that morning on:

0510 Sea is up and it’s going to be a wet rolling downwind run today

0530 Suns coming up, sails rigged running fast.  The spinnaker will go up at 6

0630 Making 20 plus now, Jesus it’s a wet one 10 foot sea.

0940 Spinnaker down, running jib and main Antigua on the starboard

1005 Sails reefed slow 4 knot crawl into English Harbor

That was the end of the morning 5 hours and 6 tweets.  Kacey put the tablet down, grabbed her key card and headed for the gym.  If she worked it right she’d get a workout then back for a shower.  She would then have time for walk on the beach before dinner.  Perfect.

Searching

Webb woke late in the day he was actually cold.  The air conditioning in the villa was set to its lowest setting to help him sleep.  He rolled out of bed stumbling.  “Damn Sea Legs”, he croaked as he caught himself.  It was going to take a bit to walk without the deck moving.  Webb turned off the air then opened the doors out to the villa patio from his bedroom.  The air immediately warmed him.  He turned back to the bedroom retrieving his khaki shorts and a fresh cobalt blue Wanderer t-shirt.  Webb dressed then slid on his sandals, before venturing out onto the villa patio.  He looked at the sky and checked on the boat.  She looked fine and from the sun it must be around 6:00.  He felt hungry and decided to start searching for a meal.   Webb walked off the patio onto the beach pulling his hand through his hair straightening it as much as possible.

Webb started up the beach toward the resort’s bars and restaurants when he saw her.  A blonde woman stood on the beach staring at the ocean.  She had on a lovely short light blue diaphanous sarong.  She was holding heels in her left hand and had a bag over her shoulder.  He kept walking for a few more steps then stopped and looked over at her again.  She continued to stare. The only thing in her view besides the ocean was his boat.  Webb was close to walking over and striking up a conversation.  It wouldn’t be the first time Wanderer had landed some companionship.

She turned then and started walking up the beach toward the resort.  It was the way she moved that struck him.  Her steps languid and easy, like a cross between a ballet dancer and an athlete.  Something about how she walked was so familiar almost haunting.  She stopped again then looked in his direction.  He felt like he should look away but he didn’t he just held her gaze as she started walking toward him.  When she was within 10 feet he knew.  He went to take a step backward then promptly fell on his butt.

Kacey walked up and smiled down at him.

“Hello Webb”

It’s Just Dinner

Kacey tried hard not laugh but a small titter still escaped her lips.  She reached out her free hand to help Webb up.  He looked to be in shock but recovered enough to take her hand to stand back up.  When he did Kacey suddenly remember at 6’1” he was taller than she was.  She could see confusion in the grey blue eyes.  He stammered for a moment she heard him say under his breath.

“Damn sea legs” then “Kacey well, it’s really you.  I thought for minute there when I watched you walking but.  Wow sorry I’m a little tongue tied right now.  How have you been?”

Kacey did laugh this time. “I’m great I’m on vacation.”  She wished she felt that great.  Kacey was fine when he was down on his butt but now she was getting nervous.  She wished she had a character to play for this moment.  Improvisation was really not her strong suit.  Kacey really couldn’t ask about the weather but came up with the next best thing.

“Where are you off to?”

Webb’s eyes had gone from surprised to comfortable.  She noticed he was still holding her hand.  Kacey really hoped at that moment he would continue too.  His touch was electric to her though his hands were different, rougher more callused.  He reached over patting her hand softly with his other hand then let it slide back to her side.

“I was just going to go hunt up some dinner actually.  The restaurant here has excellent paella.  How about you are you hungry?”

Kacey could see he thought better of this as soon as he said it.  She knew he would assume she wasn’t here alone.  Before he could withdrawal the invitation she jumped in.

“You can have dinner with me.  I even have a reservation.  My sister stood me up, she got hung up in New York for a couple of more days.”

Webb smiled and Kacey felt something pull in her chest.  That old smile on this more weathered face was just the same.

Webb offered his arm and she slid hers through it.  He patted her hand very softly.

“So how is your older, little sister Kari?”

They started to walk up the beach.  Kacey started talking about Kari but kept saying to herself as they walked, it’s only dinner.



Chapter 4 Spicy Sausage

Spanish Flyover

Kacey looked over her menu at Webb after they were seated for dinner.  The restaurant was right at the edge of the beach.  Their table had a 180 degree view of the whole bay and ocean beyond.  The face before her was older very tan and weathered, Webb’s blue grey eyes had crow’s feet and a certain permanent squint now.  His hair was starting to go from brown to sun bleached sandy with a touch of grey.  The moustache and small soul patch he was sporting already golden.  Webb was holding the menu at arm’s length and looked up at Kacey.

“I left my reading glasses in the room I’m afraid.”  He smiled that goofy grin of his at her and lifted his eyebrows. He then continued to look at the menu squinting harder to make out the lettering.  The waiter arrived with water, bread and two Red Stripe beers.  Webb looked up at the waiter.

“Cuál es la noche paella?” Webb asked in Spanish.

The waiter answered in English “A conch with a spicy sausage senor”

“Well that will work for me,”

Kacey’s Spanish was only passable useful only in finding the bathroom, ordering a drink or asking for directions.  She looked at Webb funny for a second then he blushed.

“Sorry I asked what the paella was tonight, it’s always good here.”

“Well I’ll try that myself, should we have a bottle of wine?”

Webb nodded yes as Kacey peeked at the wine list then ordered a reserve Tempranillo by pointing it out to the waiter.

“Does a nice Tempranillo sound good, Spanish wine with Spanish food?”

Webb smiled back at her, “Sounds wonderful”

The waiter left and Kacey wondered where to start.  Webb as usual jumped right in though.

“So how long are you here for?”

Kacey could see he wanted to start with chit chat.  It seemed appropriate.

“I’m here for 10 glorious days actually.  The season just ended and this is my first break in about 6 weeks.  We actually have been planning it since last year.  Where are you on your way to?”

Webb sat back smiling at her again, “Do you want the final destination or the route to get there?”

She smiled back watching his eyes they were sparkling now like they used to.

“Why not tell me both you never say on the website where you’re headed?”

He looked flustered for a second.

“You’ve been following Wanderer this season?   Wow I’m going to have to wave more.  I like to keep people guessing about landfall.  From here I planned on Martinique to stop and see some friends.  Then a long downhill run to Aruba for a week or so.  From there I’ll either go right to Panama or stop at Cartagena in Columbia on the way.”

Webb took a drink of his beer, half of it really, then went on, “Through the canal and then I’ll head north from there.  I’m really not sure the stops in the Pacific yet but Cabo San Lucas for sure.  Then home port for the fall and winter at Marina Del Rey unless I decide to head west over the big blue Pacific.  But that may be next year.”

Kacey was thinking hard about that route, she couldn’t quite picture a map of the Caribbean well enough to put the ports of call on the map.  But she certainly knew where Marina Del Rey was.

She gave him a small frown, “Sounds like a pretty long journey how long will it take?”

He looked serious for a few moments. Kacey realized he was calculating things.

“If everything was perfect, which it never is, about two and half months.  I’ll be ready for a long break then.  The boat will need to be hauled and heeled then the diesels given an overhaul anyway.  So I should be home in at most 3 months.”

Kacey smiled again thinking of Oregon where Webb was from.

“So then back to Klamath Falls or Portland?”

Webb laughed now shaking his head, “Too cold for me anymore I have a beach house in Malibu.  I hold up there most of the fall and winter with the occasional trip to New York and Seattle.”

Kacey was slightly stunned for a moment.  Her house in Sherman Oaks was less than 40 miles from Malibu. She gave Webb a hard look, he blanched slightly.

“How long have you been in Malibu?”

Webb looked back questioningly, then he must have made a connection and smiled.

“Since my divorce about six years ago, but I’ve been on the boat a lot the last five years.”

He was still smiling. Kacey was getting a little irked.  She decided she just better get it out.

“So you’ve been in LA for six years and you haven’t tried to get in touch with me?”

Webb laughed at her and she really started to feel her anger swell.  She was just about to get up and stalk out when the food came.  The waiter set the large platters before them then opened the wine offering to pour Webb a taste who pointed over to Kacey.  She watched him as the wine was poured.  His face had changed he still had a slightly amused look but warmth was there also.  She remembered that look he got it when she would act silly when she was seventeen.  It was his patient look.  He used to get it when she overreacted to something.  She tasted the wine then nodded at the waiter.  He was right.  She looked back over at him and tried to smile.

“Sorry about that, I guess I’m not exactly in the book.”

Webb reached over and covered her hand with his.

“I actually did try to figure out a way, but could never quite come up with anything.  You should think about this though.  Why would I move back to Southern California when most sailors haunt Florida and the east coast?”

He had a serious look on his face his eyes were intense now as he stared into hers.  Webb started to remove his hand then she grabbed it with hers.  She actually felt like blinking back tears but fought it off.  A single tear slid down her cheek.  Webb he reached over and wiped it off with the finger of his other hand.

He smiled at her now, then looked at his finger that wiped away the tear, “Happy or sad?”

She smiled back, “Both actually.”

He sat back and she released his hand, “Okay then let’s eat I’m starving”

Reversing Tack

Webb had to make himself slow down on how fast he was eating.  On the boat he always ate quickly then was back in the cockpit.  He slowed down and took sips of wine between bites.  The paella was really excellent, the wine a perfect match, the two complimenting each other.

He kept looking at Kacey in between bites.  She was eating slowly also now looking at him and then out into the bay.  He wondered where this was all going to go.  He had relocated from New York and away from Jennifer after they separated to Southern California for a couple of reasons.  But at the top of his list was that Kacey was there.  He really had thought of ways to let her know he was there.  But there had been the writing and sailing, he had never really thought it would happen, even if it did then what.

I guess I’m at that point now, he thought, where does this lead?  What was he going to say, “Hey I want to see you again, I still love you, oh and by the way I’m going sailing for the next 90 days.”

Yeah that was bound to work, he smirked to himself.  He looked over at Kacey again.  She had put her fork down, had her wine in hand staring at the bay.  No he thought she was staring at Wanderer in the moonlight.

He put his fork down also picked up his wine glass then looked at the boat.

Webb then looked over at Kacey, “She’s a beautiful boat isn’t she?  A real thoroughbred in a good wind, in smooth sea she just leaps into the wind.”

Kacey looked back at him and smiled.  It was a soft smile her sparkling green eyes shining back at him.  He just continued to stare into them.  There was a time where he would get lost in them, it hadn’t changed.

“She’s a lovely boat Webb, the love of your life?”

He shook his head at this, he was looking at the love of his life right now and should say it but.

“No just a boat but she does have certain way about her, I can’t explain it to you but I could show you.”

Kacey tipped her head to the side as she had always done when she was amused.  The smile continued she’d been teasing him.

“Does that mean you’ll take me sailing?”

Webb thought about it for a moment, calculating the distance and time involved.

“If you’d like, I’d be glad to.  We can go out tomorrow for a lunch cruise, then beat back up the coast before catching the trade winds back in the late afternoon?”

He watched her face, she hesitated.

“What if I get seasick?”

He laughed again, “I’ll give you some patches before we get on the boat, you’ll be fine.  Have you ever been sailing before?”

She shook her head smiling back.  The waiter came by inquiring about dessert which they both declined.  He left the check which Webb promptly grabbed and signed.

“Can I walk you back to your room?”

Kacey put her glass down, giving him a little leer as she stood.

“Of course you’ve always been a perfect gentleman.”

Webb knew that was a small dig but he just smiled then took her hand as they started walking toward the lobby.

They didn’t talk much on the way back to her room.  She stopped at the door then turned to Webb kissing him gently on the cheek.

“What time tomorrow?”

Webb thought it over for minute, golf at 7:00 then get a shower have lunch made up to take with them.

“How’s noon sound, I’ll meet you at the dock then the cutter can take us out to the boat?”

She nodded and smiled again.

“Goodnight then”

She shut the door. Webb just stood there for a moment in the hallway.  He looked at his watch it was only 9:00.  He turned and walked down the hall.  Webb was trying to think about his story line so he could write for a couple of hours tonight, but all he could see was her smile and her eyes.

Rapid Heartbeat

Kacey stood leaning on the back of the suite door she was breathing hard her heart felt like it was racing.  It had been very hard not to take things farther.  She moved to her bedroom and changed into her pajamas.  Kacey flopped herself on the bed.  Her mind started moving things around.  Am I really going to start something up with Webb then watch him sail away?  She also knew she desperately didn’t want to hurt him again or get hurt herself. Kacey lay on the bed for a long time then decided to venture out onto the veranda.

She crept out and peeked over at the villa.  Webb was at the table on the lighted patio typing on his laptop feverishly.  He would type for several minutes then stare out at the ocean for a moment.  Then he would start typing again.  Kacey watched him for several minutes.  Whatever he was working on he was doing it intensely absorbed in the process.  She moved back into the bedroom and grabbed her tablet.  Kacey piled the pillows on the bed up then started reading her book again, just a few chapters left she thought then I’ll need something new. There was part of her that wished the evening had not ended. She was still thinking this as she finished Last Chances.

 



Chapter 5 Fan Deck Fandango

Re-edited Works

Webb finished the chapter he was working on and looked at the clock in the corner of his laptop.  It was ten minutes after midnight.  He clicked the save button, shut the lid to the laptop then looked back up at the ocean.  Webb knew it was time for bed he’d be getting up at 5:30 to meet two of his sailing friends for golf.  He picked up the laptop as he walked to the door then looked at Wanderer one more time before heading inside.

He never noticed the figure sitting on the hotel veranda watching him as he got up.  Kacey stood and walked back into the bedroom the only light was from the bathroom.  She’d finished her book then went out on the veranda to check on Webb, spending over an hour watching him write.  Kacey grabbed her tablet and typed in a familiar topic into Goggle, Webster Robert Flynn.

The usual things she’d already seen came up, pictures of him sailing, articles about his old company, and even his divorce notice.  She added writer to this name before searching again and was surprised at the results.  What returned were some rumor and gossip tabloid pages from literary circles.  The rumors had it that the pen name Robert Flint was really Webb.  The tabloids also went on to say it was not his only pen name but the publisher was being very secretive about any others.

Kacey Goggled Robert Flint.  He had written 5 novels all tech themed thrillers two had made the best sellers list.  Both of the best sellers had sold their film rights for movies to producers though they weren’t clear on who had purchased them.   Kacey went to her reading app and typed in Robert Flint.  She purchased the first novel to be published, “Winter Harvest”, and began to read.

Preparing to Launch

Webb was getting his duffle together for the afternoon sail.  His morning golf game had gone as expected.  Whenever he came off a sail his sea legs messed with his swing.  He’d shot a respectable score but had been bested by both his friends.  It had felt good to walk the fairways and get some exercise even as his partners had rode in the golf cars.  He’d gotten back, taken his shower and gotten dressed for the day sail.  He had on his ever present Khaki shorts with a green Oregon Ducks athletic department t-shirt and sandals.  Lunch would be waiting for him on the dock.  He’d ordered a variety of sandwiches, pasta salad, and brownies for dessert.  Webb had skipped breakfast, now he was salivating just thinking about the food.

He grabbed the duffle and his sunglasses then headed to the dock.

Kacey stood on the dock waiting for Webb.  She was a little early but had been up late reading his first book.  Kacey had finally got up close to ten again and had a light breakfast in the room.  She stayed away from the bedroom veranda all morning not wanting him to know yet she had been watching him.   She’d put her bikini in her shoulder bag along with her tablet, sun screen and lotion.  Kacey had picked out the white shorts and a short flowered pink tank top that stopped just above her belly button.  With her sandals on, floppy hat and sunglasses in her hand she had left for the dock.  Kacey looked from the hotel to the bay staring at Wanderer and the ocean.  The wind was blowing softly in her face when she felt his hand softly on her bare shoulder.

“Are you ready for this?”

Kacey turned toward Webb.  He was standing very close to her looking in her eyes now.  He reached and lifted her chin.  She feared he was going to kiss her, well maybe not feared but it would feel rather awkward here next to the dock attendants.  He didn’t.

“Hold still for a second.”

Webb reached his hand softly behind each ear attaching a very small soft patch to first one side then the other.  He stepped back from her and smiled.

“That should take care of any motion sickness.”

Kacey looked at him almost wishing he had kissed her.

“What kind of medication is it, will it make me sleepy?”

Webb smiled back at her, “No meds, they’re pretty new actually they give off small electrical impulses you can’t feel to stabilize your inner ear.  They designed them for fighter pilots.  I use them in really rough weather myself.  They’ll work for several days before they need replaced.  Come on let me show you my boat.”

He stepped into the cutter and turned around to offer his hand to help her in.  She stepped down into the small boat and they were off.

Under Power

Webb got half way up onto the boat via the stern ladder, hung off to one side and waved Kacey forward.

“You need to time it a little with the swell, grab the ladder first then step as the boat starts to go down.”

It looked harder to Kacey then he made it sound with both the cutter and Wanderer bobbing in the water.  She did as he said grabbed the ladder then stepped onto the stern board as the boat went down with the swell.  Kacey was a little unsteady as the boat lifted her back up but she could feel his arm around her waist, his hand on her hip.  She climbed the three rung ladder and was on the fan deck in a crouch as the boat moved.  He was behind her helping her stand and moving to the middle of the deck.

“You’ll feel better away from the edge.”  Webb closed the stern rail behind her.  “See you’re totally enclosed, I wouldn’t let you fall off.”

Kacey was getting used to the swell moving up and down.  She took his offered hand and he led her into the cockpit.  Webb got her sitting at the right side wheel then moved toward the cabin.

“Just let me get her fired up.”

She watched him unlock the cabin door then return to the fan deck for his duffle and a canvas picnic bag, which he carried with him into the darkened cabin.   The lights inside came on then she heard various tones and beeps as he moved around.  Then he was coming back up the steps smiling at her as he went to the wheel and console on the left.  Webb switched several switches then she felt the boat rumble as the engines caught.  Kacey could feel a low thrumming vibration coming through her feet.  He looked over at her and grinned.

“Ready to go?”

She tried to smile big not really sure if she pulled it off and nodded.  She turned watching him go back and unhook the rope from the back. He skipped back to the wheel and moved the large red lever forward.  Kacey could feel the engines rev up then back down.  She watched him hit a switch that produced a mechanical whining sound. He was watching the front of the boat a little tense.  He looked over at her. “Breaking the anchor free” He looked back at the front talking to himself, “Come on baby break loose”

The sound of the winch changed and he smiled. In a few moments she heard a clank then several more before the winch stopped.  Kacey looked back over at Webb and he smiled at her.

“Well let’s get you rigged out.  He opened the seat beside the wheel removing a vest that he put on and zipped up.  Then a small red thin looking long collar with straps, the whole thing was flat and less than 2 inches wide.  Webb came and kneeled down beside her.

“Here we need to put this on you.”  He slid the collar around her neck as she leaned forward for him to put the strap around her waist.  His face was very close to hers their noses almost touching.  She heard a click and he sat back looking at her.

“That’s your life preserver, you don’t have to do anything, it’s automatic if you were to end up in the water it will inflate.”

He moved back to the left wheel stood behind it and pushed both red handles forward.  Kacey felt the engines rev up and Wanderer started moving.  She watched him.  Webb turned his head and shoulders all around in both directions. Then he turned the wheel and Wanderer’s bow swung toward the opening to the sea.  After a few moments he turned the wheel back then relaxed.

Webb looked over at her tilting his head as if he was waiting for a question.  She realized she had several.

“So what happens if you fall overboard, where’s your life preserver?”

Webb patted the tan khaki vest he had on and smiled. “It’s built into the vest it’s the same concept as yours but it gives me a place to keep a bag of peanuts and a flask.”

She giggled slightly at this then asked her next question, “When do we start using the sail?”

He frowned for a moment, “Well we have more control with the engines and the channel is rather narrow.  We could sail out if it was allowed.  English Harbor requires us to be under power and stay at only 4 knots or under until we reach the open sea.  Sorry it’s going to be a rather slow start.”

That brought another question to her mind that she had the other night, “What the hell’s a knot is it like miles per hour or what?”

Webb grinned at her.  “Kind of, a knot is a nautical mile per hour.  A nautical mile is longer than a land mile by about 15%.  A land mile is 5280 feet a nautical mile is about 6076 feet.  So when I say we’re doing 15 knots today we’ll be doing about 17 miles per hour.  I can give you the reason if you like it’s based on lines of longitude at the equator.”

Kacey shook her head.  She’d forgotten that Webb was quite the egghead in some ways.  You always needed to be ready for the full explanation when you asked certain kinds of questions.  Kacey looked around realizing they were moving between the narrowest parts of the bay.  She looked back over at Webb who was turning the wheel slightly looking down at the screen in front of him then back up.  He looked over at her.

“Come over here and you can see what we’re doing.”

Kacey stood a little unsteadily and moved over beside him leaning against the bench seat behind him.

“Put your arm around my waist and you’ll feel steadier.”

She slid her left arm around him.  It felt good on a lot of levels let alone the fact that he was rock steady and it kept her from moving.  She looked down to see a screen with a chart before her, a blue dot flashing on a dotted line.

Webb took his right hand off the wheel and pointed at the dot.

“That’s us and we’re supposed to be right on the dashed line for the next mile or so.  Now look over the bow and you’ll see channel marker buoys every quarter mile or so.  When we clear the last buoy we’ll be in the open sea.”

Kacey looked up and saw the buoys on each side.  She looked at the chart again and saw the little numbers everywhere.  She pointed to them.

“Those are depth right?”

He looked over at her grinning, “That’s right.  It’s set to feet right now usually its fathoms that are 6 foot increments.  But the channel here is only 14 feet deep and we need”

“At least 11 feet, I read that on the website.  So we need to be real careful and stay right in the middle of the channel?”

Webb smiled at her now, “Exactly if they had a real low tide we would have to wait until high tide to sail at all.”

Kacey was happy suddenly and leaned into his side squeezing him tighter with her arm. He took his right hand off the wheel sliding it around her shoulder.  Kacey was stunned how good this felt and a remembered feeling popped into her head.  This was way too comfortable to be wrong. She would need to be careful.

Under Sail

They cleared the last buoy 20 minutes later.  Webb didn’t say anything at first just scanned the horizon in all directions then looked over to her.

“Okay were going to start sailing, the winds today are going to let us reach for a while.  That means the wind will come from the side.  Up until now with the motors the boat has been flat.  When I raise the sails and turn her north the boat’s going to lean over to the left at an angle.  It won’t be too much unless the wind gets stronger.  We’ll move over to the Starboard wheel then and steer her from there.”

Kacey nodded and Webb throttled back the engines to an idle.  He flipped a switch.  The sail directly in front of her started up the mast.  It got to the top and he cut the engine, it was suddenly very quiet.

“That’s the main sail it does most of the work now we’ll put up the jib”

He flipped another switch. The jib sail from the front went up the wire slowly.  He was using the switches gently his eyes never leaving the sails.  He finally looked over at her.

“Okay let’s go to the other wheel.”

Webb stepped around her and got behind the other wheel before he motioned her over.  Kacey moved over putting her right arm around his waist as he turned the wheel.  The bow of Wanderer moved toward the right then she heard a huffing sound and the sails filled with wind.  The entire boat leaned to the left and started to move.  The only sound now the splashing of the waves against the boat and a low whistle of wind.  She looked up at Webb he was smiling down at her.

“See I had to show you, I really can’t explain it.  You want to steer?”

Kacey was nervous and excited at the same time.  He moved over letting her behind the wheel.  The console had the same chart and radar as the other.  Webb took her hands placing both of them on the wheel.  He pointed at the chart screen.

“Try to keep us close to the blue line, just small adjustments.”

Kacey started watching the Nav screen intently.  He put his hand on her shoulder.

“Relax just watch the sails most of the time and the bow.  If the sails start to luff, lose air, turn her into the wind a little until they’re full again.  There’s no precision here we go with the wind and we’ll adjust later.  You have 500 miles of ocean in front of you.”

He let her go, she turned her head seeing him sitting on the fan deck watching her and the sails.  Kacey could feel the power of the wind in the wheel.  She also felt the up and down of the waves rushing below her through her sandals.  The sails started to lose wind then, Kacey gently turned the wheel to the
right and they filled again.  Looking down at the Nav computer she saw it redraw the line back through the dot.  Webb was beside her again.

“Very good, I’m going to go set up lunch just keep sailing that away.”  He swung his left arm lazily toward the bow.  “If a little dot shows up on the radar don’t worry it’s set at 30 miles right now and I’ll see it in the cabin.”

He never gave her a chance to object just scampered forward into the cabin.

Kacey at first was uncomfortable but after a few minutes she was really enjoying herself.  She started to get a feeling for the boat, predicting when the sails were losing wind.  Correcting moments before the sails luffed.  Kacey looked toward the cabin door seeing Webb standing several steps down smiling at her.

“I see you’re enjoying yourself so I’ll bring a sandwich to you.”

He turned and went back down.

Damn right Kacey thought, I’m not going anywhere this is awesome.



Chapter 6 High Seas

Learning to Tack

Kacey saw Webb come out of the cabin then back to the wheel with a plate of sandwiches with two open Red Stripe beers in his other hand.  She watched how he walked as if the boat wasn’t leaning at all.  That must be what he meant by sea legs.  He got up on the seat behind the wheel, sitting on top of the cushion behind her to the left.

“Let’s see we have egg salad, roast beef and a BLT, what’s you pleasure?”

Kacey kept her eyes on the sails and spoke over her shoulder.  “A BLT sounds good.”

Webb handed it around her to her left hand. She took the sandwich bringing it up to her mouth.  Webb leaned around very close to her shoulder sliding the beer bottle into a cup holder attached to the console.

“If you want to use both hands to eat just pull out the big black knob on the left.  That’s the autopilot she’ll steer for you.”

Kacey looked back over her shoulder seeing Webb woofing down a sandwich then drinking his beer.  His eyes never left the sails as he did so.  She looked back forward then adjusted the wheel slightly to the left.  Kacey suddenly felt the need for a drink.  She reached for and pulled the black knob then let go of the wheel.  The wheel adjusted for a moment then was steady.  Kacey looked back to Webb who was smiling at her.  She sat down on the seat retrieved her beer then took a long pull.  It was ice cold and tasted wonderful.

Webb had stood up and was looking all around the boat again.  He did that a lot every few minutes.  He sat back down before looking over at her. He must have seen her questioning look.

“You have to keep an eye out for stuff in the water, don’t want to hit some piece of crap and put a hole in her.  It’s a habit you get into.”

He smiled at her then took another pull on his beer.

Kacey finished her sandwich and watched the sails, they started to luff, the wheel turned all by itself and corrected.  She looked back up at Webb.

“The autopilot is a computer she senses the sails and corrects the tension or course.  She’ll even change the tack if the wind changes if I let her.”

Kacey shook her head, “What’s a tack?”

He patted the top of the cushion beside him. Kacey got up and set next to him.

Webb looked at her holding her eyes with his perhaps a moment to long, before looking at the sails then back at her.

“So are you ready for sailing 101?”

Kacey nodded and he began:

“The front of the boat is the bow, the rear the stern.  The floor here is called the deck.  Everything on a boat refers to looking toward the bow.  So looking toward the bow left is port and right is starboard.  The tack is the direction the wind is coming into the sail.  The easiest way to know what tack you’re on is which side of the boat the sail is on”

He pointed at the main sail.

She got it at once, “So we’re on a port tack?”

He nodded.

“So if we want to go from one tack to another we would turn the wheel and the boom would cross over our heads.  We’d give slack to the forward sail and then the boat would be on a starboard tack. We’d be sailing somewhere up to180 degree opposite of what we are now.  That’s called a jibe or tacking if we do it with the bow going downwind.  There are three ways to sail, a reach like we are now with the wind coming from our side.  A run which is running with the wind behind us so a downhill run is downwind.  The last is beating which is running against the wind then we run left and right reaches like a zigzag.  We reach on a port tack then a starboard tack.”

Webb finished his beer then pointed to the cabin.  “Want to see the rest?”

Webb let Kacey go first. She got to the cabin and went down the steps.  What surprised her was how big, beautiful and actually elegant it was.  The stairs led into the main cabin on each side were two long plush leather tan couches with a table in front of one.  This was the one the camera pointed at.  Forward of that was the galley very efficient looking lining both sides of the boat with a small island in the middle facing toward the main cabin.  All the counters had edges on them including the table in the main cabin.  The island contained the canvas picnic bag and several containers.  At the far end of the galley was a door going forward.

Kacey looked left and right there were doors beside the stairs on each side.  Webb walked over and opened the one to port then switched on the light.  It was a bathroom and was unexpected.  There was a large glass enclosed shower, toilet and sink but actually very opulent more like what you would see on a pleasure yacht.

“Wow this is plush?”

Webb smiled, ‘The master suite and bathroom are the only stock items on the boat.  They’re very comfortable.  I tell the other guys they all have heads and I actually have a master bath.”

Webb opened the other door then turned on the light for the master suite.  It was large with a queen sized bed raised high off the floor.  Large built in dressers, cabinets, book shelves and a small couch.  There was a ladder that went up to a hatch she had seen in the fantail.  The bedding was all white and tan matching the leather on the couch. Kacey walked in and patted the bed, it was soft.  She looked around the cabin then saw the picture on the bookshelf.  It was of Webb and her back in the day.  She had the same picture at home they were sitting together under a huge aspen tree just staring out at the lake.  Her sister had taken the picture it was the middle of summer then.  Kacey looked over to see Webb staring at her a small grin on his face.  She smiled back at him before walking back into the main cabin.  To the starboard of the stairs was a desk set into the side with three large computer screens and a chair.  The wall next to it contained gauges, meters, switches and a digital clock.  Kacey looked up and realized all around the main cabin were the windows you could see from the outside.  The whole room was bathed in natural light.

“It’s really lovely Webb.  I was expecting something austere reflecting the life of the solo sailor.”

She watched him blush.

“Compared to the luxury version of this boat it really is.  It is comfortable and roomy for just one or two people but after ten days or so you’re ready to walk more than forty feet in a straight line.”

Kacey looked back at the desk, “What’s all this looks like NASA?”

Webb pointed her to the chair and she sat down.  Webb touched each screen and they came to life.  One screen was the Nav computer just like at the wheel.  The one in the middle was split with two radar screens.  The third showed three cameras and weather information split into four screens.  She recognized two of the cameras the main cabin and the cockpit.  The third was a wide angle looking forward with just the tip of the bow in the picture.  The weather portion had barometric pressure, temperature, wind speed and direction.  She looked over at him he was watching the bow picture.

“So can you steer from here?”

Webb nodded, “You can control almost everything from here except the anchor and the spinnaker sail.  But you really just manipulate the autopilot.  It’s not the same as steering her you have no feel like you get at the wheel.  It is convenient though when you’re tired or having a meal.”

Kacey smiled up at him, “That’s why I never saw you eating.  You sit here when you’re eating.”

Webb just nodded and moved toward the galley. “There’s another screen in here with the bow camera so I can cook if I want to.  Would you like some pasta salad or another sandwich?  We also have brownies for dessert and I have some rum ice cream from the Bahamas in the freezer.

Kacey stood and started up the stairs, “Just bring me another BLT and a beer I want to drive awhile again.”

Jibing to starboard

Kacey used one hand to eat the sandwich and the other to steer.  The wind was picking up.  Webb had gone back in the cabin for a few minutes.  When he appeared behind her she was almost startled then she remembered the hatch in the master bedroom.  He sat at the port wheel working on his tablet then touching the Nav screen.  Kacey saw the blue line change it showed a gentle curve to the port.  She looked over at him.

He smiled back, “Ready for your first jibe?  We’re going to start going to port very gently at first.  Then when I say jibe you’re going to put the wheel to port about half a turn.  The boom will swing over our heads then bring the wheel back to starboard until we’re back on the blue line.”

Kacey looked over at him, nervous now but he just smiled.

“Okay now you can start turning to port very gently and don’t worry about the sails I’ll take of them.”

Kacey turned the wheel gently to the left.  She saw Webb hit a switch and the forward sail started luffing.  When the boom started to swing to the right she heard him.

“Now Jibe”

Kacey turned the wheel harder to port.  The Wanderer shuddered then the stern pushed against the waves.  The boom swung fast now over to starboard then she started to turn the wheel back.  Webb hit two switches and both sails tightened then caught the wind.  Kacey looked at the blue line realizing she needed to turn more to port. She moved the wheel slightly left.  The boom swung further to the right and she was on the line.  It was then that Kacey realized they were going much faster.  She looked over at Webb.

He had a huge grin on his face.  “Nice jibe lady were running downwind now about 4 knots faster.  I’m going to get the spinnaker up and we’ll see what this girl can do today.  Just keep on the line for 5 minutes.”  Webb was up, he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, “By girl I meant you.”

Kacey blushed as she watched Webb move forward around the bulge of the cabin then was suddenly out of sight.  She could feel herself blushing and the heat on her cheek where he’d kissed her.  Kacey looked down then adjusted the wheel to keep her on the line.  She heard the big sail before she saw it.  A large woofing sound then above and in front of the bow was huge cobalt blue sail with Wanderer in white letters across it.  Kacey could feel the boat’s speed increase like a turbocharger in a car.  She suddenly felt the wind in her face increase and little sprays of water on her.  Webb came around the cabin and back into the cockpit then pointed at the port wheel.

“Pull the autopilot and steer her from over there Kacey and you won’t get as much spray.”

Kacey pulled the black handle then moved to the other wheel, the handle had come out there also.  She took the wheel and pushed it back in.  Kacey could feel the sails straining against the mast, the boat sliding upon and through the waves.  Webb had gone in the cabin then came back with a blue jacket for her.  He slid behind her.

“I’ll take her for a second while you put this on you’re going to get cold even in the tropics standing in a 20 knot wind.”

He took the wheel and she slipped on the windbreaker, so that’s where the name comes from she thought.  Kacey stepped back into the wheel and he gave it to her then sat back on the top of the cushion behind her.

Webb leaned forward with his lips next to her ear. “Watch the upper corners of the spinnaker if they start to collapse turn it opposite to the side that’s collapsing.  You’re doing great you have a sailor’s touch.”

Kacey felt herself blush again.  She watched the sails and then the Nav screen.  This was intoxicating, just an incredible feeling to harness the wind.  Kacey knew now that this could become addicting.

Webb sat back for a moment watching the spinnaker.  He turned his head and looked all around the boat.  Then he watched her.  Kacey’s golden hair flying in the wind behind her, it was a lovely sight like a statue where the hair of the goddess in permanently blown behind her and off her face.  She really had got the touch very quickly a gentle hand on the wheel.  He wished he could see her face then realized he could.  Webb reached down to pick up his tablet. He pulled up the cockpit camera and there she was. He zoomed in on her face. He could see intense concentration but also a huge grin.  He clicked a screen grab then saved it then took it back to the normal cam.  In the left hand corner was a counter, 25 seconds before the camera uploaded to the web.  He got up then stood beside Kacey and showed her the tablet.

“Get ready we need to wave at the fans in about 10 seconds.”

She glanced at him and smiled, they both waved as the screen grab was sent off via satellite to the website.

In Southern Kentucky a man in his early fifties watched the website update and smiled.  His friend seemed be having a good day.

In New York City there was a woman who was not so pleased.


Chapter 7 Another Level

 

Chap Stick

Kacey loved steering Wanderer as Webb looked on.  She made adjustments to the wheel as he occasionally tightened or loosed the sails with the switches on the console.  He was standing beside her now.  Kacey found it funny how she would sway with the waves but it seemed he never moved.  It was like he was glued to the deck.  Webb would watch the spinnaker then look back and watch her. Webb leaned over to her.

“Why don’t you head below deck there’s some lip balm in the bathroom.  I’m sure you have lotion you should put some of that on too.  The wind will dry you out and chap your lips, I’ll take her.  The autopilot can’t handle the spinnaker for very long.”

She looked up at him, he was grinning as usual and it did work for her.  A bathroom break was needed after the two beers.  Webb took the wheel as she made her way a little shakily to the cabin then down the steps.  Kacey grabbed her bag off the couch where Webb had placed it and went into the bathroom.  She used the toilet then looked in the mirror.  Her hair was everywhere.  Kacey found a brush in the cabinet ran it through her hair then tied it back in a ponytail with a hair tie from her bag.  She looked at herself in the mirror.  Webb had always liked her with a ponytail or with her hair up.  He’d said she had a beautiful long neck and she should show it off more.  She put lotion on her face, arms and shoulders.  Kacey found the lip balm in the cabinet, coconut flavored of all things.   She put an excessive amount on with a wicked idea running through her head then turned to go back to the deck.

When Kacey got back on deck Webb was actually leaning against the side of the boat behind the wheel, his right hand on the wheel staring down the side of the boat.  Kacey moved up next him and smiled. He leaned over to her.

“I think you may need some lip balm too”

Kacey kissed him, her left hand looping behind his head pulling him gently but firmly onto her lips.  She kissed him for a very long moment then pulled back.  Webb had a twinkle in his eye.  She saw him put his left foot on the bottom of the wheel he turned toward her.  His arms went around her waist pulling her to him.   Both of her arms went around his neck.

Webb spoke as he kissed her again, “You missed a spot.”

This had more passion than the first though she found it hard to believe.  He held her and kissed her for what to her seemed like minutes.  Webb stepped back, put his left hand on the wheel and made room for her.  His eyes were smoldering with a sparkle now as he smiled at her when she took the wheel.  Kacey could feel him move up close behind her.  He wrapped his arms around her waist for a moment, put his lip to her neck then nibbled just below her ear.  Kacey shuddered, that had always been her most sensitive spot.  Well mostly.  Webb whispered in her ear.

“Glad to see the nape of your neck is still tasty.”

He let her go then moved to the center of the boat fishing around in his vest pocket.  Webb pulled out some dark wraparound sunglasses then handed them to her.

“Their polarized and will cut the glare.  I don’t want you getting squinty like me, besides you might get a headache and that would be a really clichéd excuse.”

Kacey could feel herself blushing.  She reached over, took the glasses and put them on.  He was right again the glare from the water was cut way down.  She hadn’t even been aware she was squinting before.  Kacey looked up at the sail and then she saw the small camera enclosure just above the cabin.  She wondered if that made it to the internet.

Back to a Reach

Webb had gone back in the cabin after that.  He was gone for a long time then came back out and got up on the cushion behind her.  He touched her arm softly.

“We’ll need to take the spinnaker down in a minute and turn toward home if we want to get back by nightfall.  It’s a little tricky but you can handle it.”

Kacey looked over at him he didn’t look too serious but then she noticed he had on a harness around his waist and legs.

“What’s that for?” she pointed down at the harness, he leaned into her.

“In case I slip, I’m going to be all the way at the point of the bow pulling the spinnaker down.  I’ll have a safety line on. No worries I haven’t went over the bow in a long time in fact ever. But I have to reach over and try to keep the spinnaker out of the water when it comes down.”

Webb reached over to the radar screen tapping it several times until there was the picture of the bow.  He pointed out toward the bow on the screen.  “I’ll be right here and start reefing in the sail when you see me start it will help if you deflate it.  Just turn the wheel to port until its starts luffing then just hold that course until I get it down then you can turn back starboard and pick up the wind.

Kacey nodded and he smiled at her.

“Remember I do this by myself all of the time it’s going to be a lot easier with you here.”

Webb turned and started forward.  Kacey watched the camera. She saw him get to the bow and attach a line to the harness.  He looked up at the camera then started circling his hand.  Kacey started to turn the wheel to port then remembered to look at the sail.  It was deflating and coming down.  She stopped turning then watched the monitor.  Webb was pulling the sail down quickly, stuffing it into a forward hatch.  When it was all the way down Kacey turned the wheel back to starboard, the main sail then jib filled with wind.  The boom creaked as it moved farther to starboard.  Wanderer jumped back into the wind and started making way again.  Kacey looked at the monitor but Webb was nowhere to be seen.  The hatch was closed.  She felt panicky for a few minutes then she looked up as he came out the cabin door.

Webb walked over and must have seen the concern on her face.

“Hey you did great.  Normally I have to drop half of it in the sea and drag the wet bastard aboard.  That was much easier.  What’s wrong?”

Kacey looked at him she realized how close she had been to a panic.  She reached over and pushed him.

“You didn’t tell me you were going to disappear.”

Webb looked hurt then stepped forward, pulled the autopilot on then wrapped her in a hug.

“Sorry you would have seen me go down the hatch but you were being a good sailor and watching the sails as you turned back to the wind weren’t you.”

Kacey suddenly realized that’s exactly what she had done.  When she turned the wheel back she had done just as he had showed her all day, watch to see how your turn affected the sails.  She hugged him tighter.

“Sorry just thought I lost you there for a minute.”

Kacey looked up into his eyes.  He reached over taking her glasses off and kissed her.  Kacey melted into him, her arms up underneath his arms onto his back.  He kissed her then broke the kiss turned his head and kissed her again.  He finally started to let her go but she refused to be released.  Kacey turned her head into his chest holding him tightly a tear sliding down her cheeks.  The truth was she thought she’d lost him again this time forever.  But now that she had him again what was she going to do.

Moonlight Sail?

Finally she stepped away from Webb and went back to the wheel.  He tilted his head looking at her.  Webb wasn’t quite sure what to think right now.  No one had cared for him in a long time.  He thought that over.  The truth was he hadn’t let anyone care for him.  There were always attractive women who wanted to sail on Wanderer.  Most of the time it was just a little day cruise for an hour or two.  Let them steer the boat under his watchful eye.  Bring it back in to port then dinner and sex that night.  Webb tended to let this happen the last couple days in port.  You could sail away then promise to keep in touch and that they could follow along on the website or twitter.  Webb got behind her sitting on the fan deck and started to survey the ocean around them.  His mind was wandering though. He really wasn’t a womanizer but he did have needs, companionship and closeness to someone even for a while was more important than the sex.

But this was different.  Kacey was someone he had loved and truth told someone he still loved.  There was a time where she was the love of his life.  He would have followed her then if she’d let him but she pushed him back.  She had told him that his career would just not work with hers. He had known then that it was a lie.  It was something about her, and her sister.  He had never made the connection then and still didn’t have a clue.  He looked at her from an angle she’d just turned to see where he was.  She smiled at him then went back to sailing. Webb had never taught anyone how to sail the boat like he had her today.  It had felt good to share that knowledge with someone.  Even if it was about one hundredth of what you needed to learn he had enjoyed teaching her. Webb looked at his watch.  The numbers flew though his head doing the math and navigation issues to get back to English Harbor before the moon set.

Webb walked to the cabin then grabbed his tablet from the desk and started working it out.  It would be close.  He went back, stood next to Kacey then moved close to her.

“It’s about time for a break I think.  We need to beat up wind for the next 40 minutes to get back east for a reach north to English Harbor by nightfall.  I’ll show you how but we’ll need to do it together.”

Kacey looked at Webb frowning.  She looked back at the sails and then him.  The look on her face was shy but then she raised her eyebrow at him in a slight leer.

“Anywhere else we can go, we don’t have to go back tonight do we?”

She smiled at him then, a very sexy and knowing smile.

He looked back at her then merely nodded his head.  Webb got very close to her, reached over touching the Nav screen and pulled up St. Kitts-Nevis.  The islands were only sixty miles from Antigua.  They were actually closer to St. Kitts right now by an hour or more than English Harbor.

“Do you have your passport?”

Kacey shook her head no.

“Okay we’ll have to stay on the boat and anchor in the duty free for the night.  We’ll work something out but tonight just anchorage and power.”

Kacey pulled the autopilot and stepped into him, her arms reaching up around his neck. She looked into his eyes her grin a little crooked and wicked.  Her eyes were shining.

“Sleeping on the boat was just what I had in mind, about time we did this.  I can’t think of a better place.”

Kacey stepped into him further grinding her hip into him. Webb was aroused and she certainly knew now through the thin khaki shorts.  There were times where underwear would have been handy as usual he’d just skipped it.  He looked down at her and their lips met.  This was a French kiss now and he was lost for a few moments.  He heard the autopilot adjust the wheel but didn’t even look.  He stepped back from her.

“You take a rest and let me drive for a while. We’ll see just how fast this lady can really go.”

She took a seat behind him, “I hope not too fast”

He gave her a leer and lusty smile then cranked the wheel harder to starboard. The Wanderer heeled over another five degrees and the speed shot up.  She was running hard before the wind to the west.

Kacey watched him he hit the Nav computer for several seconds plotting the course then put her over to starboard a little more.  The speed increased further and spray started coming off the bow.

He looked back at her and she could see a huge smile spread on his face.

“Outer marker buoy in about 40 minutes, anchorage in 20 more.  Get me a beer and I’ll cut 5 minutes off that.”

Kacey got up and headed for the cabin.  She felt herself grinning.  All those years ago they’d done just about everything but have sex.  Tonight was the night and it was going to be onboard the Wanderer.



Chapter 8 Journey Home

Time Together

Kacey’s eyes fluttered open and she took a moment to remember where she was.  There was a faint light filtering in from somewhere.  It struck where she was when he moved ever so slightly behind her.  She felt his hand on her tummy and her back against his chest.  Kacey could feel his rhythmic breathing then realized her head was on his left arm that was under her pillow.  She inched back into him more placing her right hand on his.  Still sleeping she thought, she smiled to herself they had both stayed up rather late.

Kacey started to wrap her head around the night before.  They had sailed into the sunset arriving at Charlestown just at twilight.  He had turned on the running lights then the string of lights on the mast as they had gotten close.  She was sure they were quite the site from land.  Charlestown harbor was really just a pier coming out from the land.  No bay or channel to traverse.  Webb had called in, tied down before dropping anchor at a buoy several hundred yards off the town.  It was lit up and festive looking even from there.  She wished she’d brought her passport so they could go exploring but she knew they both had other things on their minds.

Webb had secured the boat then made one more call before he seemed satisfied.

“You can go ashore tomorrow even without your passport it’s all arranged.”

He had smiled a wicked little smile at her as they had moved toward the cabin.  Webb seemed to be rather pleased with himself.  She went down the stairs which he called a ladder first into the cabin talking over her shoulder.

“How’d you manage that?”

He didn’t say anything but as he got to the bottom of the stairs he gently grabbed her arm and spun her back into him. His lips were on hers in an instant and that’s how it had started.  She knew their clothes were all over the cabin floor still.  Kacey thought about how they had made love the first time.  It had been urgent but not quick.  She could feel herself quiver just a little at the thought.  The second time had followed almost immediately.  It had been slower and experimental in many ways.  They had both lay together after for a long time before Webb got up.  He had leaned over kissing her head then mentioned food as he headed to the galley.  Webb had returned with bananas, cheese and a bottle of cold white wine.  Vovray was what it was she now remembered.  A bottle of French wine on a sail boat in the Caribbean after sailing all day then making love, days just don’t get a lot better than that.

Kacey felt him move again then he held her tighter to him.  They had made love again before falling asleep.  She really couldn’t remember nodding off just cuddling into his shoulder facing him before closing her eyes.  Kacey suddenly felt his lips on her ear, a light kiss.

“Good morning lady, sleep well?”

Kacey purred for a moment just making contented sounds as she nodded yes.  His right hand slid down her stomach onto her bottom then down the outside of her thigh and back up over her tummy to just below her breasts.  His hands seemed softer now but strong and large. Kacey covered his hand with hers again.  She moved his hand onto her right breast.

“What’s the plan for this morning honey how about a shower?”  She let that hang there for a moment, “together of course, need to conserve water on the boat.”

Kacey moved to get up pulling the sheet with her.  She looked back seeing him laying naked on the bed smiling at her.

He laughed, “Oh yes especially when you’re in port” he moved to join her as Kacey headed for the shower.

Morning Coffee

Kacey sat on the couch behind the table in the main cabin sipping her coffee.  Webb’s cup was on the table also as yet untouched.  He was topside as he called the deck checking something.  Then he was coming down the stairs then slid in next to her.  Webb lifted his right arm onto the back of the couch, Kacey snuggled into his shoulder.  He reached for his coffee and took a large swallow.

“Oh that tastes good this morning.  I hope you’re getting hungry breakfast is on the way.  They ferry it out to you, I ordered for two so there should be plenty.”

Kacey looked up at him as he took another swallow.  “What are they bringing?”

Webb shrugged his shoulders, “I didn’t ask you don’t get a choice really, it’ll be mackerel and potatoes most likely but usually some fresh bread and fruit as well.  It’s fisherman food really local and spicy.  I just waved at the lady when she was delivering to the next boat that’s all it took.”

Kacey took another sip of her coffee realizing something very strange.  She’d never been this comfortable in the morning after with anyone.  Even when she’d had a live in boyfriend she had never felt this comfortable.  Kacey tried to tell herself it was the boat, sailing, being on vacation but knew none of that was it.  It was him, dammit it was him.  She felt his arm slide down around her shoulder as he gently squeezed her into him.  That made her mind up just go with it you have nothing to lose.

Breakfast was interesting, small fish with the bones still in them covered in thick gravy over fried potatoes.  There was fresh fruit and a wonderfully still warm loaf of sweet crusted bread.  She watched Webb eat.  He avoided the fish but ate the potatoes then dipped his bread in the gravy.  Kacey found the gravy spicy. She even tried some of the fish it all tasted very good.  She did realize one order would have probably been enough for them neither ate too much.

Webb sat back then looked over at her beside him on the couch.  “So would you like to check out Charlestown for a little while?  The sail back to English Harbor will only take us about four or five hours. We have plenty of time.”

“You never did tell me last night how I’m supposed to go ashore without my passport?”

Webb blushed reached in his back pocket. He handed her an official document that stated she had cleared immigration and was free to visit for up to 3 days.

He smiled at her. “I used an alternate from of passport called cash.  It works wonders down here sometimes.  I should tell you though we are actually at the Island of Nevis it’s the federation of Nevis and St. Kitts.  They can be a little touchy about it sometimes.”

Kacey gave him little bit of a pout then cheered back up, “What’s there to do?”

Webb shook his head.  “I don’t have clue never been here.  It is very old though with lots of old buildings dating back to the 18th century.  The shopping will probably be good though it is their commercial center being the capitol and all.  It was on my list to stop and check out someday.  So we can explore it together just need to sail about two-ish.”

Kacey leaned over to him and looked around, “Is the camera on?”

Webb shook his head before he could speak she kissed him softly.  “Let’s do it”

Afternoon Sail

They returned to the boat just after 1:30.  Kacey had gone below to put her bags away.  She had bought three pair of sandals, several sarongs, shorts and tops.  Webb had loosened the stern line.  He was getting ready to fire the diesels when she came back on deck.  She walked out on deck in some short khaki pants and one of his cobalt blue Wanderer t-shirts.  Kacey had knotted the large shirt just above her navel and looked relaxed.  She walked up and stood beside him at the port wheel sliding her arm around him.

Webb looked over at her, “You look great, remind me to get some of those shirts in your size.”

Kacey cuddled into him.  Webb hit the anchor winch switch. The anchor broke loose at once and came up.  He turned to her then stepped back.  “Take us out lady each of the red levers is one propeller you can steer with them or the rudder.”

Kacey took the wheel as he watched. She pushed both throttles forward about a quarter and the boat started to move.  She looked all around her then turned the wheel.  Webb watched as she got the boat on the Nav line then she corrected it a little.

Webb leaned over they were clearing the anchorage now.  “Go ahead and bring her up to full speed honey, get a feel for it.”

She pushed both throttles all the way to the top. The boat started to move much faster.

“That’s better, sails in about ten minutes then we have to beat against the wind for about four hours.  We’re going to do a lot of jibes today.  She’s going to be all yours.  Kacey looked over at him with a huge grin.

Webb got up on the cushion behind her then picked his tablet up off the seat.  He checked the weather reports and everything looked good.  He finally opened his email and had a look.  There was one from Keith with the subject “I see you’re enjoying yourself”.  Then there were three from Jennifer the first two subjects dripping with sarcasm, “Hope you bought condoms”, “Is she a real blonde or did it come out of a bottle?”  He actually laughed at them both.  The third one was serious though, “Did you finish the book yet?”  No he hadn’t worked on it for several days now and felt a little guilty.  It was close though he just needed to write for four or five hours then it would be done.  Webb didn’t even bother with the twitter accounts he just put the tablet down and watched the love of his life steer his boat, in a few minutes he’d watch her sail it.

Turning for Home

Kacey could feel herself getting tired.  She had just made her latest jibe and could see land ahead off the port bow.  It had been a long sail going first one way then the other against the wind.  The Nav computer telling her when to turn, Webb had never interfered.  He’d showed her how to loosen and tighten the sails, then how to turn either the bow or the stern of the boat onto the new course.  It was a much tougher sail than yesterday.  They had sailed 3 times the distance they could have done in a straight line.  The sun was setting behind them as Webb touched her shoulder.

“It’s time to go over to power.  You did great.”  Webb reached over and fired both diesels.

“Okay bring the jib down first then the main, I’ll go up front to make sure they’re secure.”

Kacey hit the switch then held it watching the forward sail come down under tension.  She held down the main sail watching it come down and retract into the boom.  Kacey reached for the red throttles.  She pushed both about half way forward then got the dot back on the line.  Kacey looked over grinning at Webb.  He smiled back and nodded, “Very nice Kacey, I’ll be back in a minute.”

Kacey reached over and touched the radar screen until it showed the bow camera.   She watched as he made sure the jib had retracted into its container then turned to come back.

Webb was back beside her a minute later and looked at the radar screen.  “That’s good you’re watching out for your sailing partner.  Making sure the old guy doesn’t go over the side.”

He moved behind her then took the wheel with his left hand.

“Go get a sandwich and a beer, relax for a bit.  This is actually the tricky part the outer buoy is about 10 minutes away got to get her lined up just right.”

Kacey leaned up and kissed him softly on the cheek then headed for the cabin.  She went to the fridge, skipped the sandwich for a Red stripe then settled onto the couch.  Kacey wondered how you do this by yourself sometimes two weeks or more in a row.  She was both exhausted and exhilarated by it all, sailing, the boat, and especially Webb.  What would happen when they got back?  Did she go off to her room for the night, stay with him?  It was complicated, her sister should be there tomorrow and how would that work out.  She hadn’t asked and he hadn’t offered anything about his writing.  It was going to be an interesting few days.

Kacey got back up then went out on the deck.  Webb was intently watching the Nav screen.  No need to watch the sails now she thought.  The sun was sliding into the ocean off the stern.  She came up and set behind him on the seat as he looked back at her.

“Hey do me a favor, watch the sunset for me it’s my favorite part of the day.”

Kacey smiled at him then turned to watch the sun slip below the horizon a brilliant orange and red ball that looked to be dipping into the ocean.  She reached over running her hand up the side of his arm.

“Anything for you honey, anything”, then thought to herself, is that true?


Chapter 9 Decision Points

At Anchor

Kacey was in the bedroom of the Wanderer putting her clothes and purchases from Charlestown in her bag.  Webb had made up the bed earlier and neatly folded her clothes from yesterday on the bed while she sailed the boat.  She shook her head he had never been this neat when he was younger.  It was probably something about living on a boat where everything had its place and needed to be there.  Kacey took a pair of khaki shorts, sandals and a blouse she’d bought then looked around the room.  Where was her place?  She walked to the dresser then opened the bottom drawer.  There was not much there just a couple pair of slacks and dress socks.  She made room for her clothes then put them in.  Kacey closed the dresser and wondered about what she’d just done.  She wanted to come back here and she wanted him to know it sometime in the future.

Kacey heard the anchor go down then the diesels rev before they shutdown.  They were back, now what would she do?  She walked into the main cabin with her over-stuffed bag as Webb was coming down the stairs.  He tilted his head funny at her, “I see you’re ready to go, let me get my duffel bag and I’ll hail the cutter.  Any plans for the evening?”

She could see Webb was little uncomfortable, hell she knew she was.  It was a transition point a decision point.  Do they continue and see where this goes or go back to their old lives now, her on vacation, him writing and then sailing on.  Kacey dropped her bag on the floor he turned toward her as she eased herself into his arms.  She hugged him tightly then buried her face in his chest as his hands ran over her sides and up her back gently.

Kacey pulled back from him and looked in his eyes.  They were shining but sad, she couldn’t read what he was thinking but she knew him.  She would have to make the first move.

“Why don’t I go back to my suite and change?  Then I’ll meet you at your villa. We can have a lovely dinner out on the patio?  We can talk about things it’s going to be complicated isn’t it?”

Webb looked at her for few seconds, his eyes softer than before.  “The really important things in life always are.”

He hugged her tightly to him for a moment, and then whispered softly. “Why don’t you wave from your balcony before you come over then I’ll know you’re on your way.”

She pulled back from him a little shocked, “How long have you known that was my room?”

Webb laughed, “Since I walked you to your room, am I going to get to see the blue bikini soon?”

Kacey blushed, bent over and retrieved her bag.  She reached in then pulled out the blue bra of the bikini.  “You mean this little thing, play your cards right and we’ll see.”

Webb just smiled as he grabbed his duffel.

Trying not to over think it

Webb walked into the villa bedroom tossing his duffel on the chair then started stripping off the salt covered clothes.  He had them off leaving a trail as he went to shower.  He stepped in and turned the water on hot then stood under the head.  Webb took up the soap and started to scrub but his mind was on the shower this morning.  All he could think about was her wet blonde hair in his hands and her slippery body against him.  Webb stopped and shook his head reaching for the little shampoo bottle then washed his hair.

Webb was out of the shower, dressed in fresh pair of khaki shorts, a blue pullover silk shirt from the Bahamas and sandals.  All of his laundry had come back and was stacked neatly wrapped in brown paper on the dresser.  He got his duffel off the chair pulling out the other dirty clothes then picking up the ones he’d shed earlier. He put them all in the closet.

Webb made his way out onto the patio and looked at the veranda next door.  No sign of Kacey yet.  He went back in grabbing a beer out of the now stocked mini fridge then settled on the patio lounge chair to wait.  He really wasn’t sure what was going to happen or even if it could.  Would she wait for him to sail back and then try to get together?  He wasn’t even sure it was what she wanted let alone what he wanted to do.   Webb tried not to think about it too hard.  There really was no easy solution here.  “Hey you” he heard faintly.

Webb looked up seeing Kacey at the rail of the veranda.  She waved and he waved back then she turned and was gone.  I guess we’ll work it out soon enough, or just talk about it.

Butterflies

Kacey came in from the veranda and grabbed her bag.  It had her tablet, phone, makeup bag, toothbrush and a change of clothes.  She had little doubt that she would not be returning tonight.  Kacey looked around the room then started for the suite door when she looked across at the other room.  There was another complication.  Kari would be here tomorrow.  Her sister was her best friend but like a lot of best friends she was the more dependent of the two.  She considered herself an artist with a big A and could be a pain in the ass sometimes.  How would Kari take her seeing Webb again, it could bring out some pretty old feelings?  Kacey knew what they would be, old scabs being ripped off.  She hoped it wouldn’t happen but she’d be ready for it.

The walk to Webb’s villa was short just down the stairs then out the door.  The villa’s front door was at the end of the path.  She walked up and would have knocked but the door was open.  Webb was standing in the hallway beyond with a beer held out to her.  Kacey came in and dropped her bag on the table.  She was nervous now, butterflies in the stomach her old acting coach had called it.  Webb solved the problem by leaning over and kissing her softly on the lips.

“Hungry?  We should order our dinner.”

Webb moved to the white couch just like the one in her suite then settled down.  She sat beside him.  Webb opened the room service menu and they decided.  They would split seafood pasta and a local conch salad.  Kacey picked the wine, a Californian chardonnay from Napa.  Webb picked up the house phone and ordered while she snuggled into his left shoulder sipping her beer.  She reached over taking his left hand it was rougher than the other.  Kacey turned his hand palm up and saw a long deep scar running from the crease of his thumb across the entire palm about a half inch wide.  She turned it back over and could see more scars on the back.  His hands were very muscular, but covered with small scars and gnarled knuckles.  Webb hung the phone up and looked over at her.  She turned his hand palm up again then looked at his face.

“What happened here?”

Webb smiled at her, “Line cut it down to the bone off Brazil last year.  They patched me up in Rio but it took me 4 days to get there.  Could have been worse might have lost a finger but I had the line in my palm.  It played hell with my golf game.”

Kacey looked up at his face frowning then took his other hand in hers.  It was the same as the left lots of scars and a gnarled knuckle or two.  She held both hands to her face then looked up at him again.

“You had beautiful hands when you were younger, is this all from sailing?”

He nodded his head, “Mostly all, most of the scars and broken parts are boat related.  When you cruise blue water you’re not just the sailor.  You’re the mechanic, cook, janitor and whatever else comes up.”

He pointed to a long straight scar on his left index finger, “Take this one for example.  I’m in the galley cutting up an onion and the boat lurches from a rogue wave.  Most of them are from lines and sails though.  Wanderer is pretty smooth now but the new main and jib systems have only been in the last 3 years.  The old ones got stuck more often.  Then there you are climbing the mast beating on it to go up or down when it’s blowing 30 knots.”

Kacey held both his hands in hers still, “Do they hurt?”

Webb just shook his head, “They may someday when the fractured bones calcify more or arthritis sets in.  I could still go in and get them worked on I suppose but I’d hate the downtime.”

Kacey thought about writing and typing it seemed just the right way to broach the subject.

“So when you’re writing does it hurt to type?”

Nom De Plumes

Webb looked over at Kacey.  He tried hard to not look shocked but then remembered the veranda.  She’d seen him working the other night.  He could pass it off but decided he wouldn’t

“No they don’t hurt.  You know almost all my secrets now.  My life the last 5 years has been sailing, writing and playing a little golf.  Pretty simple life really but all three require a certain dedication that I find appealing and satisfying.”

Kacey smiled at the reply but she was digging now and she’d always been like a dog with a bone.

“Webb you loved playing golf back when I knew you, sailing I understand now it is incredible.  I never knew you liked to write though.  What is Mr. Flint working on these days?”

Webb gave her a sideways smile, “Mr. Flint really should write another novel soon maybe this winter those require a lot of research.  But you don’t know the other pen name do you?”

She shook her head and watched him.  He grinned at her, patted her leg then walked over to the table picking up his laptop.  He opened it and pressed the on switch.  He brought it back over with him and sat down.

“I’m just finishing this one but I have to swear you to secrecy about not revealing that I write them.  That would cause me some problems with the publisher.”

He pulled up the manuscript and handed her the laptop.

Kacey looked at the screen the title told her right away what his other pen name was:

“Chance Encounters, an Alice Chanceby Novel”

Kacey could feel her mouth hanging open now.  She brought her hand up to cover it then looked over at him.  He was blushing but he had a large smile on his face as well.  He started laughing and leaned back.  The knock and “Room Service” coming from the door made him look up.  He stood and went to the door.

More Questions than Answers

Webb had room service lay out dinner on the patio as they had discussed on the boat.  They both sat down and started eating.  Kacey was hungry and she was eating but she wanted to talk.  Webb was going to town on his pasta in between sips of his wine.  She watched him eat for a moment.  Remembering how thin he was yesterday, well not thin but very lean he’d told her he lost a lot of weight when he sailed and had to eat when he could.  Kacey reached over putting her hand on his.  He looked up and blushed again.

“Sorry you have to slow me down sometimes.  It’s odd I’m only like this after I’ve been sailing.  I slow down in a day or two.  Okay spill it.”

He had tilted his head again and grinned at her.

She wasn’t exactly sure where to start when she did she sounded like one of her own fans.

“I love your books, I think I’ve read them all, I just finished Last Chances the other night and started reading Winter Harvest when I figured out it was yours.”

Webb smiled modestly, “I’m glad to hear you like them though you haven’t read them all quite yet.  I wrote two more over the winter, the one on the laptop will make three and then I’ll work on something new.  Mr. Flint may rise again.”

“Why the pen names you should let people know it’s you?”

Webb shook his head, “I even deny the Robert Flint rumors.  I love to write and create the stories but I loathe the attention.  The publisher has been hounding me to come out as Robert Flint and promote the books.  That’s just the thing I don’t want to do.  If people enjoy them then it’s enough for me I have no ego about them.  The royalties and movie rights mostly go into Wanderer anyway she’s an expensive past time.”

Kacey smiled shaking her head again, “Okay I get it, but past time?  I think more like an obsession but I understand it now.  Why a woman’s pen name for the Chance books they’re not overly sappy in fact there are times I thought they might be written by a man.?”

Webb laughed this time then took a drink of his wine.  “It was my editor’s idea her first name is Alice and she said I take a lot of chances. When she read the first one she thought that Flint had a good niche and wanted to start another line.  That’s when Alice Chanceby was born.”

Kacey brought her hand to her mouth, “Oh my God the company that owns the boat in the Cayman Islands is Chances Are.”

She had put it all together now. Kacey sat back to enjoy her wine and pick at her pasta more.  Webb leaned forward then started eating again slower this time.  He looked up at her from time to time.  Kacey could feel herself grinning.  She had always felt connected to those books and characters.  Now she knew why, someone she loved was writing them.  When the L word crossed her mind she sat up straight in the chair then looked at him closely.

She shook her head knowing it was too late, crap I’m in love with him again.



Chapter 10 Tangents

No Dessert

Webb looked up at Kacey as he finished off his Pasta.

“Hey what’s up you looked a little spooked?”

He saw her relax again then give him a dazzling smile.  That’s not a real one he knew, that’s the practiced one.

“Okay so now are you going to tell me where you went there?”

She stopped smiling now then leaned forward placing her hand on his.  Her face was very serious but soft as if she were considering.  She looked down at his hand then back up at him again.  Kacey seemed to be struggling where to start.  These had never been his finest moments in the past but he’d learned how to talk to people since.  What could he say to help?

“Whatever it is it’s just you, me and the Caribbean night right now?  You had fear in your eyes a minute ago.  I know fear all sailors do.  If you want to tell me go ahead or not I just want you to feel at ease, not have to act it.”

Kacey was stunned for a moment then shook her head.  She started to speak very softly.

“I just realized I was falling in love with you again it was kind of unexpected and yeah scary.”

Webb tried to give her his best smile, at least he thought it was but those things usually came out goofy on his face.  He turned his hand under hers over and as gently as he could grasp hers.

“That’s actually pretty nice to know considering I’ve never stopped loving you.”

Webb let that hang there between them.  She looked serious for a moment then she started to grin at him then leaned forward.  Webb leaned over and kissed her, his lips just very softly sweeping across hers.  He sat back then smiled again, “Kacey I can’t think of anything to be more afraid of.  I’m scared too.”

Webb looked around the table, “You know we forgot to order dessert.”

He looked back over at Kacey. She had that wicked little grin.  Kacey stood up still holding his hand.’

“I think I can help with that, come on”

He followed along as she led him toward his bedroom.

“Okay but chocolate lava cake would have been good too”

Her laughter echoed through the villa.

The Balance is fine

Kacey pulled the sheet up around her then sat up looking at Webb.  He was half under the sheet, one leg out, his chest exposed.  She smiled at his odd tan lines, a sailor’s tan from the elbow and upper thigh he was dark.  The rest of him was white he always had on shorts and a shirt at least or the vest. She thought he’d fallen asleep until the breeze blew in the open patio doors.  His eyes snapped open as he turned his head then rolled up onto his left side looking at her.

“Trade winds just reversed, somewhere there’s a captain cursing.”

He smiled at her in a lazy way.

“Come back over here I’m kind of missing you next to me.”

Kacey slid over and into him but far enough away so she could stare at his face.  His eyes and face were soft.  Maybe it was the sex but she’d seen him the same way when he’d watched her sail his boat.  When she’d remarked on it he’d said it was like watching a dream.  She considered that, she was his dream?  What was her dream?  Kacey had a feeling about what it was she wanted but was it her dream.  She wanted to be with Webb again, now and going forward.  Kacey had only felt that way one other time.  The last time she had walked away for the sake of her dreams and Kari. She’d walked away from him.

Kacey looked into his eyes again.  It was time to start talking about it.

“Webb, I’m not sure how to start.  I’m not sure how I got here.  It wasn’t my intention even when I knew you were here to get back with you again.  In fact I had envisioned several things happening and lying in bed next to you wasn’t one of them.”

He nodded at her smiling, “Gee that was the first thing on my mind and I didn’t even know it was you yet.”

She knew he was trying to keep it light.  Kacey reached over pushing him and he chuckled.

“Seriously, now that I’m here I really don’t want to leave.  Kari will be here tomorrow, that may be a little awkward.  Then in seven more days I have to go back.  When were you planning on leaving?”

Webb’s expression didn’t change, “I have the villa for two weeks but if I had finished the book I would have sailed the next night, so if you weren’t here I’d already be on the way to Martinique. But I know right now I can’t leave as long as you’re here.”

He suddenly grew very serious the look in his eyes went steely grey.  She’d seen that look before resolve was what it was.

“Kacey if you ask me to fly back with you next week I’ll go, just to be with you I’d anchor Wanderer at St. James and go. I do have some ideas that are floating around in my head though.”

Kacey felt tears come to her eyes, just like before he was willing to sacrifice something to be with her.  It was his first real job the last time, the fruition of six years of education and work.  She’d made a sacrifice too then though he knew nothing of it.  They’d have to talk about that too someday.  She shuddered slightly then reached over and touched his face.

“Tell me the ideas.”

Webb looked past her for a minute.  She could see he was doing some kind of math in his head.

“We keep this going email, twitter, text, satellite phone however we can.  I’ll be in Aruba in 30 days.  Meet me there we’ll spend a few days on the beach then we’ll sail to Cartagena in Columbia. The whole trip should take 3 weeks tops.  Then when I get into the Pacific the ports are closer together then you could do some week trips if you wanted.  I’ll fly you private jet anywhere you want to meet me.”

Kacey gave him a huge grin.  She had forgotten that he had means beyond being a writer.  Kacey had bigger plans in mind though.  It was going to drive her agent and publicist nuts. Kari was going to be appalled, maybe even manic.  She ran her hand down the side of his face onto his arm.

“Honey I want to sail back with you, all the way to California if we can get there by July 24th.  I’d have to get mail somewhere along the way for scripts but I told you I didn’t want to leave.  I mean it we stay together from now on every chance we get.”

Webb just looked at her a certain surprise on his face.  Then he got another kind of serious look this had concern and caring.

“Kacey we had a nice cruise the last couple of days, but the blue water she’s a lot rougher.  There are going to be squalls and storms.  Sometimes even a white squall or rogue wave, bad things can happen on the big blue ocean.  I don’t want anything to happen to you, ever.”

Kacey touched his face again then leaned in to kiss him.  She pulled back then looked into his eyes.  Her mind was made up, no going back now.

“That’s why I’m going with you then I can make sure nothing happens to you either.”

She snuggled in close to him now running her hand down his chest.

He was quiet for a long time.

“Okay then, whatever happens, will happen to us together.  It’ll let us know one thing if we can get along for three months in under 1000 square feet of living space we can get along anywhere.”

She giggled then ran her hand down his chest under the sheet, “Oh I don’t think we’ll even use all of that.  I do have one request though”

Webb’s voice caught slightly as her hand moved lower, “and that would be?”

“I want some butcher gloves for when I’m in the galley, no cuts like yours on these smooth hands.”

Webb chuckled, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

A larger plot

Kacey woke up late again the sun already filtering in through the half closed patio door.  The first thing she noticed was that Webb was not beside her.  She ran her hand over the spot where he’d been.  Kacey sat up looking around then slid out the side of the bed.    Kacey walked toward the living room and caught a look at herself in the mirror.  She had on a cobalt blue Wanderer T-shirt that came down to her thighs.  Her hair was a wild mess but she knew it was a pretty sexy look.  She smiled at herself then walked into the living room.

Webb was at the table typing intently on his laptop, ear buds in his ears oblivious that she had entered.  Not exactly the effect she was looking for.  On the table was a room service tray with coffee, bread, muffins and fruit.  When she got closer he looked up then immediately stopped typing.  He reached up, pulled the ear buds from his ears and gave her as close to a leer as she’d ever seen from him.  That was more like it.

She gave him a cute little smile and sat at the table reaching for the coffee.

“Sorry to interrupt you, working on the book?”

Webb leaned over to her kissing her gently but then with a little more passion.  He sat back then looked at her again grinning.

“It was worth it, your look, umm, let’s see now, tasty?”

Kacey felt herself blush then she saw a handwritten paper in front of her.

Shoe size:
Pants Size:
Shirt Size
Glove Size
Inseam:

Everything you might want or need?

“What’s all this?”

Webb looked over at her still grinning.

“Shopping list, we’ll order the clothes and have them overnighted. But make a list of anything you’ll need for a 30 day sail.  We have to take it all with us.  You should include the foods you like, snacks stuff like that.  The sizes are for your foul weather gear.  Oh and what color would you like, I believe they come in grey, yellow, red or orange.”

Kacey started to fill out the sizes and looked over at him, “Do I get a vest like yours, I like peanuts?”

He chuckled, nodded yes then turned back to his laptop staring at it for several moments then typing away again.

Kacey started putting down things she’d need then he looked over after she wrote tampons.

“Make sure you give a brand preference, we already have tampons but you should get the kind you want”, his grin was a little wicked now but he was serious.

She raised her left eyebrow at him, a practiced move for her from her first sitcom.  “And you already have tampons from the last girl that sailed with you.”

Webb at first gave her a shrug but when she raised her hand to smack him he held out his hands.

“They’re part of the first aid kit they work great on puncture wounds for stopping the bleeding.”

Kacey giggled then went back to the list putting down the crackers she liked, other snack foods, fresh fruit and even her favorite brand of vodka.  She looked over the list and handed it to him.  He looked at it then laid it with some others he had beside the laptop. Webb stared off for another moment then started typing for a few more minutes while she ate a muffin.  He finally stopped, hit the save button and looked over at her.

She gave him a crooked little grin she knew he’d loved years ago. He smiled back then handed her another slip of paper.

“This is the courier company we’ll use for any mail you need to come to you.  It’ll be in port when we get there the whole way.  Your people just need to get it to them a day before we’re due to arrive.  We’ll email them from the boat a couple of days before we make landfall.”

Kacey took the slip and put it down then looked over at him.

“You’ve been a busy guy this morning.”

He grinned at her again.  “I embrace the change you already know what it’s like out there.  The winds change direction and you have to go with it.  Last night I was worried now I’m excited.  It’s like living the dream, I can hardly wait.  I can already see you laying on the bow in that blue bikini when we have a low wind day.  Me sitting there drinking a beer beside you watching the autopilot sail her and of course you.”

Kacey could see he really meant it he’d worked it through, now it was a new adventure.  She stood, reached over, grabbed his hand and started to pull him up.

“Time for a shower you.  My sister will be here at 3:00 and you’re going with me to the airport.”

Kacey pulled him toward the bedroom door and the bath beyond.  She didn’t have to look back to know he was less than pleased about picking up her sister.  The shower would just have to make up for it.



Chapter 11 Extremes

 

The Arrival

Webb stood outside the doors of the arrival area at the airport holding Kacey’s hand. They waited for Kari to appear through the doors from customs with her bags.  Though Kacey had been a fixture in his head for years Kari had not entered his mind since then.  Kari was the older sister of the two.  She stood three inches shorter than Kacey at 5’5” and his memory recalled she was a little fireball.  He’d personally rescued her from bad situations at least three times.  She had been the drinker of the two back in the day.  He’d taken her home several times from parties when she’d been out of control.  That’s how he’d met Kacey the first time when he’d taken Kari to her home and dropped her off.  Kacey had been staying at her sister’s apartment and answered the door early in the morning.  Webb had just been standing there carrying a passed out Kari.

Even then Kari had fancied herself a singer she certainly had the voice for it, soft and alluring with a blues quality that couldn’t be denied.   Webb had actually fought off her advances then his desire being for her younger sister with her long legs, golden hair and green eyes.  He smiled then squeezed Kacey’s hand at the memory.  She had been so different than her sister.  Kacey had been quiet and soft around the edges.  Sweet and perky were the words he wanted to use though he knew he would never say that to her.  Webb had always thought of Kari as cute and Kacey as beautiful.  It was a huge difference in his mind because it was more about their personalities than their looks.  Both of the sisters were lovely but Kacey had some inner quality that always shined through.

Kari came through the door dressed in a very short black dress and she was not alone.  Kari looked good with dark brown hair and green eyes.  Still very thin and lean like she had been years ago. Maybe a little worse for wear around the eyes, but Webb thought who wasn’t

Webb looked at her companion.  He was young early twenties maybe.  Tattoo sleeves up both arms dressed all in black.  He had on black skin tight jeans with a retro Led Zeppelin t-shirt and dorky black watch hat.  Rocker thought Webb she’d brought a young rocker with her. Kari was all smiles until she saw Webb then she frowned at him for a moment then embraced Kacey.

“I brought a friend of mine with me from New York this is Giles he plays the bass.”

She looked at Webb, “Hi Webb what are you doing here?”

Kari had smiled as she asked the question but he could feel the animosity in her voice.  He smiled back at her.

“Just passing through actually, then I met a girl”

Kacey grabbed his hand again and squeezed it looking over at him.  Webb saw her give her sister a large smile.  If there was ever a smile that said make something of it that was it.  Kacey was in command here.  She gave Giles a light hug then started walking them toward the exit.  Webb let Kacey lead the other two following along with their bags.   When they got to the taxi Webb introduced himself to Giles. Webb knew immediately that Giles was from Australia the certain twang to his accent said Northern Territories but he couldn’t be sure.  Webb actually liked him at once when he started talking. He was polite and actually rather eloquent in his speech.

The taxi was actually a large white van that sat at least ten.  Kari and Kacey had taken a seat together and this put Giles and Webb behind them.  Both sisters talked all the way back to English Harbor.  Webb didn’t listen intently to them but turned to Giles, “So Giles where did you go to school?  I hear something other than Aussie there, Oxford or Cambridge?”

He saw Kari’s head perk up then she looked back at them.

Giles actually blushed then looked down.

“I read mathematics at King’s Cross in Cambridge for three years then moved over to music.”

Webb was impressed at this as mathematics was one of his own fields when he was in school.  He was starting to like this young man.  He realized he shouldn’t let Kari know it or whatever they had going was going to be over.  They were both quiet the rest of the ride back.

Moving the Story forward

Kacey had watched and listened to her sister all the way back to the resort.  There had even been a point where Kari had looked at Webb then rolled her eyes.  Kacey had given her that up yours grin again.  Kari knew exactly what that smile meant. Kacey and her sister had lots of shared signals.  The rolling of the eyes meaning this guy’s a square or jerk.  That smile from Kacey meant literally “shut up”.  They had been using them for years at the functions, parties and clubs.  At one point Kacey shifted her eyes toward Giles then raised her eyebrows.  Kari had smiled back then said wow with her lips.  That meaning he was great in the sack.  Kacey had shaken her head at her sister almost laughing.  Her sister would turn forty this year and she was already a cougar.  But Kari always looked young, she could still pass for late twenties if she wanted and apparently had.

At the resort Webb helped get the bags organized then Kacey decided to give him a break.  She walked over to him and he turned to her.  Kacey moved in close to him then wrapped her arms around his neck.  She kissed him very passionately a long wet kiss.  Kacey could all most feel her sister’s eyes drilling into them.  That should do it Kacey thought, get out any ambiguity right now.  She stepped back from Webb then gave him that crooked little smile.

“Thanks for coming with me to the airport sweetie.  Why don’t you go work on your book or something for a while?  I’ll get them settled then be over there in a bit so we can plan dinner.”

Webb smiled back at her a comfortable smile.  He knew what the kiss had been about, wow this guy was more observant than he used be.

“Sure, I’ll be out on the patio give me a yell.

Kacey let him go and he headed for his villa.  She took Kari and Giles to the suite.  They both seemed pleased with both their bedroom and suite in general.  Her sister moved to the bar and started to make a drink.  Giles stood out on the patio and was staring at the ocean.  Kacey went out and stood behind and to one side of him.  He wasn’t a real tall kid maybe an inch or two taller than her.  He was rail thin though with black hair and piercing blue eyes.  She bet his hair was dyed for the effect.  It was a good one the blue eyes with the black hair.  Giles looked back then smiled at her.  He had a nice smile too, very gentle looking.

He turned looking back out at the bay.  She now realized he was looking at Wanderer.  Kacey moved next to him.

“She’s a beautiful boat isn’t she, her name is The Wanderer.  That’s Webb’s boat.”

Giles looked over at her questioningly then back at the Wanderer.

“What is she an 80 or 90 foot sloop, looks rigged for a solo.  She’s got a radar dome on the back and a satellite dish.  She must be a bloody shark in a good wind.”

That was the first time she’d heard a colloquialism come from him.  Kacey looked back at him for a moment.  “She’s 80 feet at the waterline and can run over 20 knots downwind.”

Giles looked over at her, “You’ve been out on her?”

Kacey nodded her head, “I got to sail her the last two days but she’s Webb’s boat you should ask him about her.  Do you sail?”

Giles smile widened, “I did when I was a kid my uncle had a forty footer I crewed for him in the summer sometimes.  I got to go to New Zealand one summer with him.  The boat broke in a squall 100 kilometers out though then we had to motor in, took almost month to repair her so I missed the trip home.”

Kacey smiled to herself, Webb was really going to like this kid but if that happened Kari was going to find Giles less desirable.  Just like every boyfriend Kari ever had when she was younger.  If their father liked them Kari would break up with them.  Her father god rest him had loved Webb.

Kacey moved back inside then into Kari’s bedroom looking for her sister.  She found her on the veranda of Kari’s bedroom sitting at the table nursing her drink.  Kacey watched her for a moment then walked up and put her arms around her from behind.

“I’m glad you made it, Giles seems nice was he the reason you got held over in New York.”

Kari patted her arm with her hand.

“No the band really did get held over for two more days, he was just a side benefit.  He’s very sweet but he does have some issues.  So how did you meet up with Webb and what was that kiss in the lobby about?  Did you finally bed him after all these years?”

Kacey moved over into the other chair to sit facing her sister.  She thought about explaining the whole situation.  How they’d met on the beach, the sail to Nevis and all of it but she didn’t.  Kacey wanted that memory for herself.  She decided she might as well just jump in.

“I’m in love with him again Kari, we met by chance here and I fell back in love with him.”

Kari didn’t seem shocked but she had a smirk on her face.  Kacey prepared herself for the biting criticism that was to come.  What Kari said actually hurt more than any criticism.

“I’m glad you found a vacation romance it might have been awkward with me having Giles and you being all alone.  But Webb was always such a square honey shouldn’t you find someone you can have some fun with?”

Kacey felt her anger swell.  She’d always had a short fuse.  She also knew no one was better at lighting it than Kari.  Kacey looked at her sister. She had that condescending smirk on her face still even as she lifted her drink to lips.  Instead of going off on her she decided to just try again.

“Kari this isn’t going to end with my vacation.  I’m talking for keeps here I love this man and he loves me.  Aren’t you happy for me?”

Kari looked at her very serious now then she laughed.

“Kacey you’ve known this man what three or four days again and your talking for keeps.  Next week you’ll be back in LA and you’ll be dating some screwy guy again.  What is Webb now fifty, he sure looks it.  You’ve always been into the artistic type anyway, musicians, actors someone with some insight into who you are.  This guy’s an engineer, an egghead as you used to call him.  Besides he lives across the country last I heard.”

Kacey sat back giving her that screw you smile.  Kari frowned at her then took another drink.  Kacey really was starting to get pissed.  She also knew Kari knew it, she could see her sister backing off already.  Her sister could be such a bitch sometimes.  Kacey thought about the best way to put it, but in the end she just chose the truth.

“Kari you see that boat out in the bay, the big blue one.”

Kari looked out in the bay then looked back at Kacey, “Yeah, so?”

Kacey used the smile again.  She could feel steel in her eyes.  This time though it wasn’t acting.

“That’s Webb’s boat and when you fly back to LA next week I’m going to be on that boat and we’re sailing her back to California.  I’m going to spend the rest of the spring and summer with Webb sailing home.  Oh and he lives in a beach house in Malibu now and is 42.  I have no clue how it’s going to work out when we get there but it’s going to work this time”

Kari looked stunned now just the look Kacey was trying to achieve.  Kacey sat back in her chair waiting for the response.

She knew what it would be.

Kari started to cry.



Chapter 12 Soothing Arms

A Nominal Approach

Kacey sat back watching her sister for a few moments.  Kari crying was always her first attempt at manipulating her.  It hadn’t worked in years, now was no different.  She waited for her to stop and talk again.  It only took a few minutes with Kacey making sure her face was neutral the whole time.  She was acting now playing the character she’d practiced with Kari many times.  Kari finally looked up at Kacey, her eyes rimmed red.  She really should have been the actress Kacey thought.  Kacey decided she should start talking before her.

“So you know everything now I’m sure you’ll get used to the idea.  We should be thinking about dinner.  Webb said he knows some places here we would like or we can all eat at the resort.  They have several restaurants to choose from.  I need to go let him know if it’s all of us or just me and him.”

Kari’s reply was biting, “Whatever you two come up with is fine.  It seems I don’t have much of a say, are you sure about this?  Have you told him everything?”

Kacey had known it was coming.  The passive aggressive bullshit her sister could put out.  She loved her and most of the time they got along great but the co-dependency was still there.  Kacey saw the opening then took it.

“No we’ll talk about the past when the time comes.  Kari this isn’t about you we will go forward just like we always have.  You’re my sister but it’s time for me to back up a bit.  We both have our own lives, this part of my life I gave up once.  Don’t think about me giving it up again.  I won’t, no games, no bullshit we’ve been all through that in therapy.  I realized in the last three days I need this.  I need somebody who’s real for a change.  I couldn’t find a way to make it work all those years ago.  I will this time.”

Kacey reached over taking her sister’s hand, “We will, we can both be happier.”

Kari looked at her with more tears in her eyes but grinned then nodded her head.

“Give me and Giles a little time to lie down to rest then we’ll be ready for dinner.”

Kacey smiled at her sister, got up then headed for her bedroom.  She saw Giles laying on the bed his arm across his eyes.   She walked to her bedroom then out on the veranda.  Kacey saw Webb sitting at the table with his laptop.  He had a beer in his hand but there was wine in an ice bucket with two glasses on the table.  Webb was looking up at the veranda. He waved for her to come down.  Kacey grabbed her bag then headed for the door.  He’d certainly looked happy.

Cheers

Kacey found the door open to the Villa.  She tossed her bag on one of the couches before heading out to the patio.  Webb was still sitting there a soft smile on his face as she got close he spoke.

“It’s done, it was close this morning but now it’s done.  Want to do the honors?”

Kacey came around to his side putting her head next to his then her arms around his shoulders.  There was an email on the screen addressed and ready to be sent.

“Just click the send button and it will be on its way to Alice.  We’ll get the edited version back in a week or so.”

Kacey reached over clicking the send and it was gone.  The email made a whooshing sound as it went.  Webb turned his head kissing her softly then gently turned her until she was sitting in his lap.  He didn’t seem interested in anything but kissing her.  She was starting to get in the mood very quickly feeling rather hot suddenly.  Her arms were around his neck as his hand softly moved over her tummy and sides.  They never did break the kiss when Webb suddenly stood up with her cradled in his arms.  He finally stopped kissing her for a moment as he reached the door.  He spoke with their lips still touching almost a mumble.

“We’ll come back for the champagne later.”

They lay entwined half under and on top of the sheets on the bed.  Kacey ran her hands through the hair on his chest.  She remembered when he was younger it had all been black now she saw a few grey hairs intermixed.  His hand was on her thigh the other arm under her head.  Kacey didn’t want to move she wanted to capture this moment.  She kissed his chest and he returned it by kissing the top of her head.

“Are you ready for some champagne to celebrate young lady?”

Kacey grinned into his chest though he couldn’t see it, “Young Lady, I’m not quite that anymore.”

She felt Webb massage her thigh a little harder moving up then sliding his hand over her rear.

“Kacey you will always be that young lady to me, every time I look at you.  I’ve seen your face every time I’ve closed my eyes for years.”

Kacey thought about that for a moment “Even when you were married?”

“Especially when I was married, it reminded me of what I really wanted.  That’s not why we divorced but it was always there.  We just couldn’t find a way to get along or a shared vision of what we both wanted.  Jennifer was a really nice person and we’re still friends but she was and is a debutante.  All the society functions of New York and New Haven, after a few years it was pretty clear I didn’t fit into that crowd except at the yacht club.  There were just too many assholes frankly.  But you were always there every night on the ocean you were who I thought about before I went below for the night.  So when it ended I simplified my life back to what I loved to do.  I must be pretty lucky though I never really think about it, but I must be because now I have you.”

Kacey was running this through her mind.  She was thinking about the relationships she’d had over the years.  Kacey was shocked to realize she had always been thinking about Webb during them.  Comparing the person she was with to what she thought she wanted then it had always came back to him.  The way he treated her, spoke to her and trusted her for one fabulous summer.  Kacey suddenly remembered that Kari would be expecting them to take her and Giles to dinner.  She rubbed her hand over to his shoulder.

“You should open the Champagne then figure out where we’re going to dinner.  I’ll call Kari and let her know we’re getting ready.”

Webb leaned over giving her a soft kiss then rolled out of bed.  She watched him pull on his Khaki shorts as usual with no underwear.  Kacey wasn’t even sure he owned a pair. He looked back over at her with a grin.

“We could just call them room service and hope they have as good a night as we will?”

Kacey laughed but he wasn’t done.

“Don’t get up or dressed I’ll be back with the wine so we can have a toast.  What kind of dinner fancy or tasty?  If you want both there’s really only one place.”

Kacey thought for a second, the room service idea did have some merit but it was Kari’s first night she needed somewhere special.

“Let’s do both.”

Webb started out the door, “I’ll see what can be done.”

Kacey lay back on the bed pulling the sheets up over her.  In a few moments she heard the pop of the champagne cork then saw Webb walk back into the bedroom with the ice bucket and glasses clutched awkwardly in one hand.  He had his phone in the other hand up to his ear.

Webb set the phone and champagne on the nightstand then poured two glasses.  He handed one glass to her then tapped it with his own.

“To Chance Encounters, Cheers”

They both drank.  Kacey knew the champagne was excellent when it hit her palate.  She was good with wine and she knew fine quality.  “What kind is this?”

Webb smiled down at her, “Roederer Cristal 2000 I think it’s always been my favorite.”  He finished his glass then poured another before topping off Kacey’s.  Webb looked very solemn for a moment then tapped his glass to hers again.  He took his glass and drank again.

Kacey took a sip then looked in his eyes, he was smiling now.

“What was that last silent toast for honey?”

Webb blushed but continued to smile, “To your beautiful green eyes, dinner’s at 8:00”

Kacey put her glass on the nightstand then pulled him to her spilling his.  She kissed him before moving her lips to his ear.

“We’ve got time.”

La Cap Horn

Webb held the door to the taxi as they left the restaurant.  It was the only French bistro on the Island.  La Cap Horn, The Cape Horn was a place to accomplish one of two things.  They had both pizza on one side and an upscale French restaurant on the other.  They had dinner in the French side.  The food had been delicious though the company rather quiet.  Kari had talked mostly to Kacey about New York and how the band had gotten good reviews.  They were planning on going into the studio to record when everyone was back in LA.  Giles was going back to his band in New York.  They were an upcoming group on the club and party circuit there, he was doing studio work.  Webb had been quiet most of dinner holding Kacey’s hand in his under the table most of the time.

Kacey had ordered the wine with dinner, a very nice Rhone that everyone enjoyed.  Kari had several cocktails then switched to the wine.  Giles didn’t drink he said and had tea and soda.  He wondered about that kid he seemed intelligent but he was real quiet like he was out with his aunts and uncles or something.  He had asked Webb if he could go out to see Wanderer.  Webb told him he was going to take her over to the commissary dock to get her provisioned and fueled if he wanted to come along.  He had agreed then seemed to brighten up for a few minutes.

Kari had treated Webb sweetly but he wasn’t quite sure about trusting it.  Kacey had warned him not to bring up how long they’d known each other.  Kari had told Giles she was the younger sister.  Webb didn’t think the kid was really buying it though.  But who was he to say.

Giles sat next to Kari on the way back.  They snuggled and made out some in the seat behind Kacey and Webb.  Kacey had her head resting on his shoulder they’re fingers interlaced together.   Webb could feel the smile on his face the whole way back.

They exited the taxi at the resort with Kacey grabbing his hand and looking over at him.

“Let me get a change of clothes and I’ll be over.”

She looked over at her sister, “What are your guy’s plans?”

Kari looked over at her sister, grinned and raised her eyebrows.  “I think we’re a little tired.  We’ll try not to keep you up.”

Kacey smiled back at her then gave Webb a soft peck on the cheek before they split up.

Webb walked instead of the Villa to the resort restaurant.  The hostess retrieved a chilled bottle of champagne for him then he proceeded to the villa.  Webb went out on the patio and popped the cork then looked over at the veranda.  Kacey was standing there leaning on the railing her suitcase beside her.

She called down to him, “What you doing sailor?”

Webb picked up the champagne and held it up to her.

“Just getting ready to take a moonlight walk on the beach, now if a green eyed young lady would show up the evening would be complete. “

Webb watched her turn toward the door.

He went back into the villa and retrieved the champagne flutes from the bedroom.  His was still on the floor where it had dropped earlier.  He heard the villa door open then close.  She walked into the bedroom dropping her suitcase.  Kacey had changed clothes into white shorts and a yellow tank top.

Kacey looked at him a little blush on her cheeks.

“I just brought everything hope you don’t mind?”

Webb smiled at her, “Oh it works for me, I’m tired of coming home alone, now how about that walk on the beach?”

They walked out onto the patio.  Webb poured champagne into the two flutes then grabbed the bottle and his flute in his right hand.  Their hands met, interlaced as they started walking up the beach.

On her Veranda Kari watched them walk by waiting for Giles to get out of the bathroom.

Kari felt a tear run down her cheek.

“I really can’t stop this, it’s too late god dammit, it’s too damn late.”



Chapter 13 Preparing to Sail

Morning Air

Webb woke with his face in Kacey’s hair.  It had the smell of lilacs from her shampoo mixed with the salt air from the walk on the beach the night before.  She was laying very close to him just as she had went to sleep, spooned with her back to him their legs touching his knees behind hers.  Both their heads were on the same large pillow his left arm above it his right across her body with his hand just below her rib cage.  Webb held his breath so he could feel her breathing.  There was the soft in an out of each breath softly pushing against his chest as she slept.  Webb moved slightly and she murmured his name.

“I’m right here”

Her hand covered his then he could feel she was asleep again.  Webb thought about getting up and ordering breakfast but thought better of it.  He’d rather wake up with her instead.

Webb closed his eyes and tried to get back to sleep.  His mind went to sailing.  He hadn’t had any crew on Wanderer in a long time.  The sail to Martinique would be a nice one for her to get to know the boat better.  That and the cycle they would have to work in.  He had already decided they would sail her together with no watches.  Sail each day until they tired then rig the boat for the night’s sleep.  If the weather stayed good it should be a nice three or four day reach, of course the sea and the weather never really cooperated with you.  The sea might tolerate you for a while but it and the weather would turn on you then try to kill you from time to time.

Webb felt the scar in his left hand.  He really hadn’t given her the whole story.  His hand had been in the bite of the rope.  If he hadn’t cut the line with his knife quickly it would have been much worse.  He could have the nickname one hand Flynn.  Webb would watch out for her to make sure she was safe.  To do that he would have to play it safe himself, it was the leg to Aruba that was his worry.  Lots of weather blows up in that part of the Carib.  You can get storms from both sides.  Webb put the thought away in his head he’d watch the Doppler radar and follow the weather reports that’s all anyone could do.

Kacey moved suddenly, stretching against him.  She rolled away slightly then turned over snuggling into him.  Her face in his chest with her hand on his lower back, one leg slid in between his.

“Hi” she whispered into his chest, “glad to see you’re still here.”

“Where else would I be?”

“For a minute there I thought we were somewhere else, the boat I guess or my bedroom in the suite.”

“Or maybe the bedroom in your home, you get left alone a lot the next day?”

Kacey just nodded into his chest, “I actually used to prefer it that way.  No need to talk about last night.  I was covering up there I thought I was home, that we were there.”

Webb ran his right hand down her back then pulled her a little closer.

“When we’re there I promise I’ll be there to wake up with you.  Should I order coffee and something for breakfast?”

He felt her kiss his chest, “In a few minutes I’m not all the way awake yet.”

He felt her settle back into his chest as her breathing became soft again. Webb closed his eyes and drifted off.

When Webb awoke next Kacey wasn’t there.  He rolled on his back looking up to see her come through the bedroom door.  She had on the white silk button up shirt he’d worn to dinner last night. The white silk against her bronze skin, long golden blonde hair down over the collar, those long thin tan legs showing all the way to the middle of her thigh, it suited her.  She crawled back in bed and into his arms with her head on his chest again.

“I ordered breakfast and a pot of coffee.  We’re having cheese blintzes and toast this morning.  I need to fatten you up for sailing.”

Webb ran his hand over her thighs then up beneath the silk shirt. She giggled for a second then pushed on his chest.

“Hey wait for breakfast. It should be here in a minute afterward I’ll let you take this shirt off me.”

Webb pulled away and stared at her his hand continuing to slide up her thighs.  Her hands were starting to work around his body now.  He rolled her onto her back as the knock on the villa door came.  Kacey laughed as she wiggled beneath him, “Told you.  Do you want soggy blintzes?”

Webb rolled back on his side then Kacey was off to the door.  She returned several moments later with the room service tray. Kacey sat it on the dresser pouring them both a cup of coffee. She handed Webb his then put hers on the nightstand.  Webb had sat up in the bed covered with a sheet from the waist down.  He drank his coffee then watched as Kacey started getting a plate together.  He still loved the way she moved.  A certain bounce in her step but a subtle soft way of moving.  Elegant and graceful were the words he came up with.  She turned then came back to the bed sitting beside him next to the night stand.  Kacey had a plate of cheese blintzes in her hand slowly eating them with a fork.  She offered Webb a bite on the fork then she fed him.

Webb watched her in silence.  First she would take a bite, give him a bite put the fork on the plate then get a drink of her coffee.  This continued until the plate was empty and she sat it on the nightstand.  Kacey picked up her coffee and finished it.  Kacey looked over at Webb with a leer on her face now as she put the cup down.  She leaned over kissing his lips softly then moved to his ear running her tongue around it.  Webb shuddered.  Kacey whispered very softly to him, “now for something in more of a French style.”

She started at his navel kissing then nibbling him moving downward.  Webb was suddenly very glad he’d stayed in bed this morning.

Refreshments in the shade

Kacey stood on the pier in her blue bikini covered in a white lace sarong.  She watched as Webb and Giles got the Wanderer ready to motor over to the harbor and the commissary dock.  Webb had filled her in on the details.  Dump the grey and black water tanks.  Fill the fresh water, fuel tanks then load all the non-perishable and frozen items.  It would take a couple of hours at least then they’d be back.  Kacey was going to meet Kari at the pool then sunbath while putting back a few cold drinks.  She watched the anchor pull free of the water as Giles cast off the stern line.  Webb raised his arm and waved as Wanderer started to move.  Kacey waved back a little bit sad she wasn’t standing there with him.  She turned then headed for the pool.

Kacey found Kari actually sitting in the shade of the umbrella.  She had obviously been in the lounge chair earlier.  Now she sat at the table a fruity iced drink next to her staring at her tablet.  Kacey walked up taking off the sarong before she settled onto the lounge chair.  There was another beside it.  She stared at the ocean as Wanderer was turning toward the main harbor. Kacey watched until she was gone from sight.  It pulled at her heart for a moment then she heard her sister’s voice in her ears.

“I hope Webb isn’t trying to turn Giles into a sailor.”

Kacey smiled to herself, if only she knew he’d already been one.

“I don’t think there’s much chance of that only enough room for two on that boat.  I think I’ve got better legs than he does and that would be the deciding factor.”

She giggled as she said it then Kari actually laughed as well.

“So you’re really going to do it, sail in that boat all the way home?”

Kacey just nodded looking over at her.  “Webb would take us for a day sail if we asked him to.  Are you interested?”

Kari shook her head, “Did that in Hawaii a few years ago not enough excitement for me.  Don’t you think you’ll be bored all that time?”

Kacey sat up and waved at the waiter.  He came over then she ordered a Red Stripe and lay back in the lounge.

“I’m sure there will be times when I’m bored.  I would be at home too.  But think about this I’m going to spend some time ashore in Martinique, Aruba, Columbia, Panama for sure.  We don’t even know where we’re stopping on the Pacific coast yet.  It’s going to be an adventure Kari that Webb and I will do together.”

Kari gave her a scowl, “What if you don’t get along?  You get past the honeymoon period then you don’t like his wrinkles or gnarled up hands.  Whatever it ends up being then what?”

Kacey looked over her sunglasses at her sister, “Well I could call my sister to come rescue me, Oh wait I’m the sister that rescues her guess I’ll be shit outta luck.  But I’ve been doing him pretty good maybe he’ll fly me home.  Nope you told me that about the producer that you went to Mexico with.  I’m pretty sure I’d just fly home.  If we can’t be in LA by July 24th I’ll have to anyway to make my first table reading.  But you know what that isn’t happening.  There’s something real there that I’ve been looking for since I found it the first time.  I just realized it yesterday I’ve been looking for him in every man I’ve ever been with.”

Kacey turned back toward the ocean, slid her glasses back up then took a drink of her beer.

She heard Kari sit down in the lounge chair beside her, then her hand clasping hers and squeezing.  Kacey squeezed back then continued to hold it.

“Kari I’ve got a chance to redeem something, a hurt I caused to him and to me.  I know, it’s bringing back memories that are pretty horrific for you but they can’t haunt us forever.  Are you going to be there for me or not.”

Kacey heard Kari sigh. Kacey looked over at her sister. She looked at peace for the moment then smiled back.

“Tell him everything Kacey, They were his friends.”

Kacey felt herself choke up, she fought it back.

“I will after Martinique probably maybe on the way to Aruba, maybe earlier.  I’ll decide when.”

Kacey looked at the ocean wishing for Wanderer to come around the head and into the bay.

Moonlight without Room Service

Webb could see her on the pier as he headed into the anchorage.  Standing right where she had been when they’d left.  He’d missed her on the boat today.  It felt pretty strange to him to miss having someone on the boat.  It was late afternoon getting close to 5:00. Webb turned over to Giles who was sitting in the other cockpit.

“Do you think you can keep Kari busy tonight the restaurant here is nice and there’s music in most of the bars?”

Giles looked back and smiled, “No Worries Webb she had plans for that tonight anyway.”

Webb nodded, “We’re going pier side for a minute, in and then out you can get off then and help Kacey up. Can you handle the bow line?”

Webb watched Giles nod yes then head for the bow, he grabbed his phone and called the resort for a couple of boat handlers on the dock.  He swung the wheel over to make the turn for the dock and throttled back.

Kacey watched as Wanderer suddenly moved left away from the anchorage toward the pier.  What’s he doing she thought.  Two of the dock attendants hurried by, she could see Wanderer had her bumpers out.  Webb was going to dock her for some reason.

She walked down the pier and waited. Webb brought the big sailboat in close then threw the stern line over as Giles threw the bow line.  The attendants pulled her over to the dock.  Webb stayed in the starboard cockpit smiling down at her.  Giles came to the rail offering his hand as Kacey stepped up onto Wanderer.

Kacey looked at Giles, “What’s up?”

Giles gave her that gentle smile then nodded toward Webb, “The boss is taking you sailing”

He stepped outside the rail then closed it before nimbly stepping down to the dock. Giles and the attendants threw the lines back aboard as Webb pulled the Wanderer away from the dock.   Kacey moved next to Webb in the cockpit sliding her right arm around his back.

“Where are we going?”

Webb never looked over just kept his eyes on the bow as he turned for the channel.

“How About Tahiti I hear it’s nice this time of year?”

Kacey increased her embrace, “Sounds like a long way in just a sarong and bikini but I’m game.”

Webb glanced at her for a second then back to the Nav screen.

“You’re probably right.  So how about we sail into the sunset, get a bite from the massive amounts of food we just put on board then a moonlight sail back here tonight?  Be anchored and in bed by midnight.”

Kacey leaned into him, “Sounds Perfect”



Chapter 14 Shadows of Moonlight

A Star to Sail Her By

Kacey sat with Webb on the fan deck behind Wanderer’s two wheels and cockpits.  The boat was on autopilot as the sun set into the western sea.  The winds were light and the course set to a slightly starboard tack on a north by northwest line.  They could have gone faster by turning more westerly but then Kacey knew the main sail would obscure the sunset.  Kacey sat with her back to Webb between his knees, her hands wrapped around his shins.  His arms were wrapped around her shoulders, his head next to hers.  She watched as the sun slowly at first disappeared below the ocean.  The sky was red, orange and pink, high clouds to the south reflected it as the water shimmered.  Webb’s lips touched her ear as the sun finally disappeared though the colors and a glow still remained.

“That was a good one tonight I’m glad you’re here to see it with me.”

Kacey grinned then decided to use his own answer from this morning, “Where else would I be?”

Webb squeezed her gently with his legs and arms.  “That’s a really good answer, once you get used to watching the sunset almost every day why would you be anywhere else?  Now with you here I may never want to go back.”

Kacey laid her head on his arm, rubbing her right hand up and down his shin.  “What is the old saying red sky at night?”

Webb laughed, “It’s red sky at night sailors delight, red sky in the morning sailor take warning.  It’s a bunch of crap, should be more like black in morning or night run like hell, and white is worse than black.”

Kacey heard the laugh but it was gallows humor, a sailor laughing at death respectfully.  Webb was quiet again.  She thought about it, “White is worse than black, you said that the other day white squall what’s that?”

Webb was very quiet she could feel him hug her tighter, “It’s a myth with a basis in reality, most times on the ocean you can see a rain and wind squall coming for miles.  Big dark black clouds come at you.  With radar and satellite now you can try to predict its path, maybe see the edges and skirt the worst of the weather.  A white squall is a clear microburst storm supposedly.  No one has ever recorded the event but I can tell you what it’s like.”

Kacey turned toward him so she could see his face the last of the sunset light sitting on it.  She could see him looking off toward the south now, the orange light flicking in the corner of his eyes.  Kacey could see he was speaking from memory.

“It’s a clear day and you’re sailing with a light wind.  You’ve got as much sail on the boat as you can get tacking over as far as you can go.  The first sign something is wrong is that you suddenly see white capes, broken water and foam.  That’s the white part of the squall then the wind hits you 70 knots plus and its clear air.  You don’t see it coming and it rips your boat to shreds or capsizes you.  The only thing you can do is start cutting lines and dropping canvas because unlike the old days these Kevlar sails don’t rip away.  If you’re lucky you drop the sails before it flips you over or drops the mast on your head. Then hit the diesels and turn the bow into the wind.”

Kacey waited for him to come back.  He finally just turned his head a little sideways like he does then looked at her.  She knew he was waiting for her to ask a question.  Kacey put her hand on his left hand then turned the palm toward her.  Webb just nodded his head.

“It took 4 days on the diesels and one hand trying to re-rig her, sweetie can you do me a favor and never grab a sail line on this boat.  You let me do it if it has to be done I won’t make the same mistake twice.”

Kacey looked at him and could see concern in his face, “What was your mistake, you sounded like you saved the boat?”

Webb just shook his head, “I grabbed the line and cut it below my hand instead of above.  It looped around my hand and slid across my palm.  It had me in a bite and would have taken the hand or me if I hadn’t cut it again above.  It was a small mistake and I was in a rush but a mistake none the less.”

Kacey grabbed his hand before she held it to her cheek then kissed it.

“So if you’ve been in one why is a white squall still a myth?”

Webb smiled now, “Every sailor has his white squall story they’re all a little different.  I guess it’s more of a phenomenon than a myth.  They don’t show up on radar or on the satellite afterward if you look for them.   I think the writer side of me would go with enigma something unexplainable.”

Kacey considered this for a moment or two.  She smiled and looked up into his eyes.

“Kind of like women.”

Webb nodded at her again then smiled back, “Yes an enigma wrapped in a mystery someone once said.”

She elbowed him and he feigned hurt than grabbed her holding her close.

Anchors Away

They were back at the resort.  Kacey looked at the horizon as the moon was setting.  Earlier in the evening it had been so bright upon the ocean it made shadows on the deck.  Webb had let her sail the Wanderer all the way back in.  A reach or beating against the wind the whole way.  He’d taken the boat into the channel then the bay afterward.  Webb came up from the cabin and locked it up.  Kacey looked at the resort.  The lights were off in the suite so Kari must have had a good day or evening anyway.  It was close to midnight so another day had slipped by.

Soon it would be her and Webb slipping out of the bay for the last time then heading south.  Webb walked up beside her, she felt his arm slide around her then his hand moved down and softly rubbed her bottom.  Kacey felt herself shake momentarily as his hand moved slowly up to her side.  She knew he was in the mood again, after this romantic moonlight cruise she certainly was.  The cutter was on its way out she saw or she would have taken Webb back inside and used the master suite.  She smiled they’d have lots of time for that soon.  Kacey actually was having some nasty thoughts about doing it on the fantail or bow actually.  Maybe even in the cockpit, couldn’t have a better name for that sort of thing.  She had actually giggled when Webb looked over.

He must have seen her look, because he just leaned over then nibbled her neck again.

“Soon” he said.

They walked up the path to the villa hand in hand turning the corner in the path to the front door when they saw her.  Kari was sitting in front of the door, arms wrapped around her knees, head down upon them.

Kacey ran over to her.

“Kari what’s wrong, where’s Giles?”

Kari looked up mascara had ran down her cheeks, her hair was matted around her face.  She just shook her head then started sobbing.  Webb got beside her and unlocked the door.  He leaned down sliding his arms under her knees then around her back before picking her up without even a grunt.  Kacey just looked over at him.  She’d never realized how strong he was he was always so gentle.  He carried Kari to the couch, softly sat her on one end then stepped back.  Kacey got on her knees next to her sister putting her arm around her shoulders.  She looked up at Webb who shrugged then sat on the other end of the couch.  Kari was calming down now, she looked distraught but calmer.

Kacey hugged her, “What’s happened Kari?”

Kari looked at her frowning tears still running down her face.

“I happened, I tried to get him to loosen up and have a few drinks.  He said he wouldn’t so when he went to the bathroom I ordered him a rum and coke instead of just coke.  When he got back he took a drink thinking it was just soda.  He got really mad, started yelling then threw the drink in my face and stormed out.  I looked everywhere for him but can’t find him.”

Kacey looked over at Webb he returned her gaze a certain sadness in his eyes.  Then he stood up.

“I’ll see if I can go dig him up, see if you can get her back to the room and get her cleaned up.”

Webb stepped closer he gently lifted Kari’s chin to look up at him.  Kacey could see his face had a gentle grin.

“Go with Kacey and get cleaned up Kari, I’ll find him.”

Weak Moments

Webb stepped out the front door then started walking toward the grove of palm trees opposite the villa’s front door.  He’d seen him standing under them smoking when they’d walked up.  Webb hadn’t been sure who it was until he saw Kari then he knew.  He walked over to Giles who was standing back in the trees.

“I didn’t know you smoked?”

Giles threw down the cigarette then stepped on it.

“I haven’t in a couple of years but it was that or get drunk so I chose nicotine.”

Webb stood beside him looking at the villa door as Kacey walked out with her arm around Kari then turned toward the resort.  Webb waited until they entered the building then patted Giles on the back.

“Come on let’s go inside, I’ve got mineral water, no soda I’m afraid but there’s always room service.  How long have you been sober?”

Giles walked with him to the villa.  They entered then Giles took a seat on the couch where Kari had been.  Webb moved to the mini fridge grabbing a beer for himself and mineral water for Giles.  He handed the mineral water to him then sat on the opposite end of the couch and waited.

“I guess overreacted is probably the word I should bloody well use.  I’ve been sober going on three years in June.  No alcohol or drugs not even aspirin crikey what was she thinking.”

Webb saw he had tears in his eyes, sadness or anger it was hard to tell.

“You must care for her Giles or you wouldn’t be standing there watching her.  Did she know you’ve been on the wagon that long?”

Giles shook his head then looked away.

“It’s really never came up.  She knew I didn’t drink or do drugs.  We’ve been hooking up every time she comes to New York or I’m in LA for a couple of years now.  Nothing serious she’s not that way I didn’t think I was either.  Your right though I care for her.”

Webb just nodded pulling on his beer.

“You know her better than me Giles. This is the first time I’ve seen either of them since.”

Webb caught himself, he almost said kids.

“A really long time I guess.  Kari even then was pretty good at pushing people’s buttons though.  It sounds to me like you both need to talk about what hasn’t been said.  Though I’m no one to talk”

Giles just nodded before draining his mineral water,

“I guess we should go up to the room then”

Webb shook his head before finishing the Red Stripe then got up, retrieved another and a mineral water from the fridge.

“Let’s wait for a bit and let the sisters get cleaned up first.  No hurry here you want her calmed down a bit first.

Shower and a robe

Kacey got Kari in the shower.  The first thing she noticed was though Kari had been drinking she wasn’t horribly drunk.  She waited for her sister to get out of the shower then wrapped her in the hotel’s soft grey robe.   Kacey got her settled on the couch in the living room.

“Do you want something to drink Kari?”

Kari gave a half smile, “No soda thank you, a juice would be good.”

Kacey brought Kari an orange juice from the bar and sat down opposite her sister.  She could see she was still upset.  Kacey wondered about this.  Kari usually didn’t worry too much about her boy toys.  She sat close to her then wrapped her arm around Kari’s shoulders.

“You really like this guy don’t you, does he know?”

Kari just shook her head but kept from crying.  The knock on the door made Kari look up expectantly.  Kacey went to the door and opened it. Webb led the way in with Giles behind him.  When Kari saw him she jumped up from the couch then threw herself at Giles wrapping him in a hug.

“I’m sorry honey, so so sorry.”

Kacey looked at Webb who just smiled back reached for her arm steering her toward the door whispering in her ear.

“They need to talk for a while”



Chapter 15 Windows on Moments

First Chapter

Kacey snuggled into Webb’s shoulder yawning.  He was still awake and seemed restless.  She ran her hand over his chest his chest hair running through her fingers.

“What’s up honey you don’t seem tense but not relaxed either didn’t we do it right?”

He chuckled when she said it, leaned over kissing her head, then lay back on the pillow.

“I’ve got something in my head tonight.  Would you mind if I left you here and wrote for a little while.  I really should get it out.”

Kacey rolled up on her elbow looking over at him.

“Okay I’ll come too. I’ll lay down on the couch and watch.”

She pushed on him to get him up then he started to look for his shorts.

“Oh no, if you’re getting out of bed with me you have to write naked.”

He laughed at her now then walked toward the living room.  Kacey grabbed the comforter off the bed along with a pillow then followed along.  Webb sat at the table and pulled out his laptop then a notebook out of his bag.  Kacey walked over to look over his shoulder.  The notebook was new, bound moleskin with lined paper a quarter inch thick.  He opened the cover then wrote in pen.

Chances Taken”

Webb turned to the first page then wrote at the top:

Blain McAllister, Englishman, 29 years old, musician, mathematician, recovering alcoholic.

Webb started writing other character details.  Education, parents, likes, dislikes, and other small details in a tight script.  Webb stopped for a moment then looked over his shoulder at her cocking his head.

Kacey could almost feel her mouth hanging open.

“You’re using Giles as one of your characters?”

Webb nodded, “As the main character but the similarities will end there.  They’ll be bits and pieces of everyone I’ve ever known in there.  A little of me always slips in too. “

He opened the laptop then once it was up created a new folder called “Chances Taken”.  Webb opened up the word processor then started typing, “Chapter 1 I’ll think of a name later”.

He hit enter then stared off for a moment before typing, setting a scene in Manhattan.

Kacey watched until he finished describing the street scene.  She had been there,at least she felt like she had.  Kacey curled up on the couch next to the table and watched him as he stared off again.  Before he started typing again she decided to ask.

“Is that how it always starts, you just sit down and start typing.”

Webb shook his head for second then turned toward her smiling.

“Kind of, the story starts in my head, a character and a conflict or something that is unresolved.  Then I flesh out the first character and start from there telling a story.  When I add another character I flesh them out then or as I write them but try to stay true to the first character.”

Kacey nodded her head then sat up looking at him, “Am I going to be in this book too?”

Webb got up then came over and gently pushed her back on the pillow. He kissed her ever so softly lingering on her lips then smoothed her hair with his hand.

“You’re always in all of my books every heroine has pieces of you in them, always have.”

Webb stood back up went and sat down then started typing again.

Kacey lay her head down then thought about his books she’d read.  She saw it, of course I am.  I just didn’t know it until now.  Dammit.

She continued to watch him type then fell asleep as he worked on.

Waking to Walk About

Kacey eyes opened and she realized she was back in bed.  Webb was cuddled up to her back with his arm over her.  It seemed to be the way they slept together.  Always ending up spooned together which she should have found odd but it was somehow comforting and secure.  Kacey could almost remember him picking her up and carrying her back to bed.  Maybe she just hoped he did.

He stirred beside her then pulled her back close.  That explains it he’s the spooner and I’m the spoonee.  She smiled at that.  Kacey had always liked some space when she slept with people how was he different?  He just didn’t allow it and she loved it.  She ground her bottom into him. Webb stirred again his hand moving to her breast then back down to her pelvic bone above her thigh.

“Morning” He said softly behind her. “Were you serious with that or just trying to get my attention?”

Kacey giggled then ground her butt into him again, “Both, what’s the plan for today?

“Well from what I gather so far where going to have sex then get in the shower, perhaps not in that order.  Then I thought we might go into St. Johns for the day and look around I think you’ll like it.”

Kacey knew that St. Johns was the capital, that’s where she’d flown into.  It looked like both a very new city and a very old one.  It sounded like fun besides she never passed up a chance to go shopping.

She grabbed the sheet then escaped his grasp to head for the shower.  He snatched the sheet away and she stood before him.  Webb was looking her up and down.  Kacey frowned at him then turned toward the bathroom.  She walked a few steps then looked over her shoulder. Kacey gave him her best practiced lustful smile that the actress in her had.

“Coming?”

St John’s Cathedral

Kacey got out of the taxi first.  It was the same one that had taken them to dinner and back a few nights earlier.  Webb then chatted several minutes with the driver.  They had slept in late almost to 10:30 that morning.  By the time their shower was over it was close to noon and they both were hungry.  Kacey called Kari to invite her along but she and Giles were apparently going to spend the day by the pool and beach.

Kacey had asked her a few questions:

“So did you guys work things out or just get back into bed?”

Kari had sounded a little shy for her then answered very quietly in a single word, “Both”

“Well if he’s right there call me back when you can talk.”

She heard Giles in the background now, “Just bloody well tell her Kari.”

Kari sounded happy, the top end of bi-polar Kacey thought, “We talked until the sun came up.  Then he asked me to marry him.”

Webb had looked over at Kacey then, apparently ones mouth is not supposed to touch ones chest.  He turned his head and mouthed “What?”

Kacey closed her mouth, “What did you tell him?”

Kari had giggled, “I said yes but we needed to live together in a LA for few months first.  I’m so excited I hope the dogs like him.”

Kari had a lovely standard poodle and pit bull mix she had rescued.

That’s when Kacey had congratulated them both then asked them to come along today.   She had told Webb the news he was stoic for several moments then smiled.

“Good for them.”

She stood looking around the old town part of St. Johns it was a mix of 18th century buildings and much newer construction.  She looked over at Webb who was studying her.

“What?”

“Oh I was just wondering how great you’d look in a bridesmaid’s dress that’s all.”

Kacey slapped his arm then grabbed it pulling him close to her.

“You’re pushing your luck today.  So how come we keep getting the same driver, friend of yours?”

Webb started walking with her on his arm.

“My first visit he took me every place I wanted to go, was always waiting for me when I was ready to leave. He gave me his card then I got to know him and his family. I call him every time I’m here.  His names Raul and he has a lovely wife and five children.  He lives in English Harbor and his father was a fisherman.”

She just looked at him and laughed, “Have you put him in a book yet?”

Webb shook his head then kept walking.

“Why do they tear down the lovely old buildings, seems like it would have more charm if they didn’t.”

Webb looked over at her again this time more serious.

“Earthquakes honey, they have them down here from time to time and they’re big ones.  You’ll see when we get to the cathedral that’s where Raul will be waiting for us.  Come on let’s get something to eat”

They walked around all of St. John’s that afternoon eating at street vendors and a small café.  Kacey shopped buying clothes, shoes, and jewelry.  Web watched and did the haggling when it was required.  They went up to St. James fort, or what was left of it. There was a lovely view of the harbor and port.  There was little left of the fort a few old cannons and places where the walls had once stood but the view was magnificent.

They finally ended up at the St. John’s Cathedral a little foot sore but it was worth the walk.

“I saved the best for last rather imposing for such a small city isn’t?”

The Cathedral had two massive stone towers and its huge walls made for an impressive sight.

Kacey read the information board in front.  It had been destroyed in two prior earthquakes and rebuilt on the same spot.  The current version was built in 1845.

Webb walked her around the side to the rear of the cathedral.  The old church yard burial ground was a rumpled piece of earth.  The old tombs and gravestones stuck up and down at odd angles all cracked and crumbling.  There really wasn’t a flat piece of ground to be found. Kacey noticed the dates on many of sepultures, tombs and gravestones went back into the 16th century.  They strolled through the old and broken tombs.  It was a peaceful place, a palm tree and elms here and there.

Webb looked over at her then pointed at the ground.

“Apparently this was all flat at one time. You can see where the earthquakes have heaved it up and down.  Each time they have one it becomes a little more broken.”

Kacey thought about the earthquakes she had been in.  They are just a fact of life in Southern California.  She pictured the images from the quake in Haiti.  A little twinge of fear went through her.

They continued to walk around the cathedral as they neared the front Raul was there with the van waiting.

Dinner In

Webb pushed open the villa door with one arm his other containing bags that had come back from the many merchants in town.  They had almost all of Kacey’s new treasures sent back to the resort.  Webb piled them onto the table as Kacey flopped on the couch.

Webb shook his head then looked at her, “Going to need a bigger boat.”

Kacey gave him a rueful grin, “I’ll start shipping stuff home if you like?”

Webb laughed, “No I think we’re all right for now.”

He grabbed two beers from the fridge before flopping down on the couch beside her.

“That was fun today. I rarely get to take anybody the places I’ve been.  We’re going to visit a lot of new places on the sail home.  Those will be fun to explore though my French is lousy so dickering in Martinique may be a little harder.”

Kacey took a long sip of her beer.

“Why don’t we eat in tonight sweetie, I’ll read more of Winter Harvest and you can work on the new book.  We can get settled on the patio and enjoy the sunset.”

Webb pulled her close, “That sounds nice I’ll get the menu and set us up outside”

Kacey pulled him back down as he tried to stand wrapping him in a hug.  She kissed him hard on the lips then ran her hands down his face and chest.  Webb pulled back and looked into those green eyes.  He could feel a heat in his face and everywhere her hands touched.

She sat back up letting him rise then gave him a quirky little smile, “Just checking.”

Kacey slid off the top of him leaving him lying on the couch and turned for the bedroom.

“Checking for what?”

She gave him that lustful smile again, “Just checking to make sure you still loved me.  I’m going to change clothes and I’ll meet you on the patio order me something.”

Webb picked up the menu then ordered them conch salad, the fresh fish of the day which was Ahi tuna and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  Webb picked up his laptop and story notebook then went out on the patio putting them on a chair.  He settled into the other chair then sipped his beer staring at Wanderer and the ocean beyond.  Webb had loved spending time with her today.  He’d been surprised how many old memories came flooding back.  Time spent together just doing random things, just moments really.  Trips across the cascades to Ashland and Medford to go shopping, other times they’d spent at the lake or some other quiet place talking, necking.

Webb felt her hands wrap around his neck then her lips on his cheek as she kissed him.  Kasey came around the table.  She’d been wearing a yellow sun dress all day, with matching yellow sandals.  A very attractive outfit to be sure but how she was dressed now was like something out of his past.  She had on cutoff jeans very short the edges frayed and one of his Wanderer T-shirts again knotted above her navel.  Her hair was in a ponytail held with a clip then she looked at him with that crooked little smile.

She said teasingly “I was feeling kind of nostalgic I thought maybe you were too.”

Webb smiled before pulling her onto his lap his hand sliding over her, her arms around his neck.

The knock on the door didn’t faze him.  He stood with her in his arms then stopped kissing her for a second.

He raised his voice as he carried her inside, “Just leave it at the door.”  Then he looked back in her eyes.

“Hope you like cold fish.”



Chapter 16 Tides and Time

Weather Reports

Kacey sat on the couch watching Webb working on his tablet and laptop.  He wasn’t writing today but was fairly intent on what he was doing.  Kacey took another sip of her coffee.  She pulled the comforter around her bare legs that were wrapped up under her.  Kacey had put the Wanderer t-shirt back on this morning.  For the first time they hadn’t made love in the morning.  In some ways it had even been better.  They cuddled in bed waiting for room service, snuggling would be a good word for it.  His head had been buried in her hair and neck, her face in his chest.  It was nice just being held tightly watching the sun creep through the open patio doors listening to waves lap the shore.  They had laid entwined legs and arms softly caressing each other, giving her an overwhelming feeling of comfort and warmth.

Webb finally turned from what he was doing, stood and joined her on the couch with his coffee.

“Hey you”, She said smiling up at him.

Webb wrapped his right arm around her pulling her into his shoulder

“You should get some sun time today we got weather coming in tonight or tomorrow.”

She looked up at him as he sipped his coffee looking out the window at the ocean.

“How bad of weather, was that what you’ve been doing?”

Webb turned his head at her and grinned.

“The weather forecast only took a few minutes.  It’s bad enough I’m going to put the reserve anchor out.  It looks mostly like rain squalls and wind for 8 hours or so.  But they’re predicting 30 knot winds it’ll be breezy it’s what’s called a near gale.  The rest of the time was emails and twitter feeds.  People following Wanderer have been asking about you, apparently a few may have recognized you.  Jennifer certainly has recognized you, but she likes the latest book.  She’s making notes to send to Alice.  My partner Keith says to say hi. ”

Kacey looked over at him.

“You sent you latest book to your ex-wife?”

Webb chuckled then sipped on his coffee again, “Alice sent it over to her, you pretty much have to Jennifer is my literary agent.  Always has been since before we were married.  We’re still friends.  We had a very amicable divorce.  We both knew it was just time.”

Kacey raised her left eyebrow at him, another practiced move she’d perfected over the years.

Webb laughed again, “Ooh I like that one, what show is it from?”

Kacey cracked up then shook her head.

“I guess I’m going to have to work on some new ones for you.  Did you watch my shows?”

Webb shook his head, “I saw a few of them over the years, it never felt like you though, just you playing a role.  Maybe this winter I’ll catch up and watch them.”

Kacey smiled at that but teased him anyway, “You shouldn’t then you’ll always know when I’m acting, it’s bad enough already.  I need to have a few secrets you know.”

When she said it she thought about the secrets she did need to share.  She thought not yet.  When were on the boat where’s there’s nothing he can do about it.

The Other Patio

Kari sat looking at the ocean and beach below her room.  She was glad Giles was in the shower it gave her some time to think.  Kari sipped on the bloody Mary she’d made and continued to stare.  Her mind for a change not on her past but her future, she felt healthy and vibrant this morning.  Giles had that effect on her. He had since the first time she’d met him.  Perhaps if she hadn’t been quite so insecure they could have gotten together sooner.  Old habit she supposed, use them like they’ve used you then move on.  She knew she was being hard on herself. She really wasn’t a hard hearted person just very protective of herself.

Giles was different she knew.  Though she’d never seen him angry before the other night, Kari was determined not to let that happen again.  She started thinking about Webb.  She’d really had a crush on him after high school.  He hadn’t even showed up until he was a senior, even then hadn’t taken an interest in her.  She’d still been a freshman but she’d noticed the new kid from Portland.  It was later when he came back from college that she’d had a crush on him.  But then she’d had crush on anybody with a nice car and his own place.  He drove his grandpa’s old pickup but had little else. He’d just been partying with his old friends and waiting to start work in the fall in New Mexico.  Webb had never had eyes for anybody else but Kacey once he met her though.

She was suddenly very jealous of her sister but then she was happy for her too.  Maybe she would get back what Kari felt she had taken from her.  Kari made a mental decision, a promise to herself.  Those she always kept.  If Kacey was happy she’d be happy for her.

Kari’s cell phone buzzed and she looked at the screen, Kacey was calling they always seemed to be connected.

“What’s up sailor girl?”

“Webb says the weathers going to hell tomorrow, want to do the pool and beach today?”

Kari and Giles had planned on doing that today anyway.

“Sounds good Giles and I are in.  What about that able seaman of yours?”

“I’ll ask him but I want him to go play golf.  He hasn’t got to since we got together and it’s not like he needs the sun.”

“Fine the three of us then in about an hour?”

“See you there”

Kari ended the call then took another sip of her drink, “Golf and sailing, what was her sister getting herself into?”

Giles could hear her laughing as he came out of the shower.

Fairways and Greens

Webb walked up the 18th fairway staring off at the ocean in the distance.  He was glad now that he’d let Kacey talk him into this.  It felt great to stretch his legs and he was even playing descent today.  He’d been wiping up his three playing companions after they had talked him into wagering on the first hole.  They were all nice guys from Wall Street on vacation with their wives and kids.  None of them lost a large amount.   Webb knew he would spend his winnings buying them a late lunch and drinks after this hole.  Though he didn’t intend to stay with them just cover the check with the club house restaurant after having one drink.  They’d find out when they went to pay the check.

Webb grinned then hit his final shot to the green ten or so feet from the hole. The rest of the group got on the green.  Webb stood over his putt, the sea legs were finally gone he wasn’t swaying like he had been last time he played.  He stood over the put then drained the ten footer for birdie to a choir of, “Nice putt,” and “Not again”.

Webb handed his putter to the caddy who had been driving the mandatory golf car while he’d walked all day.  He tipped him and pointed out the white van that was beside the club house.  Raul was there waiting patiently for him to finish.  He followed the guys into the club house for his beer and to set them up.

On the way back Webb sat up next to Raul in the front.

“How are Maria and the kids doing man?”

Raul gave him that toothy grin of his, “Good senor Webb, very good.  Thanks to your help last year she’s doing very well.”

Webb sat back and smiled, he’d found out last year that Raul’s wife Maria had TB. Webb had paid for the doctor and all the medication required for her treatment.  They were both wonderful people, poor but better off than most in the Caribbean.  The van was almost paid for, the kids healthy and in school.  Webb had been happy to help.

“Your senorita seems very nice are you thinking of marrying the lovely lady?  You seem very much taken with her.”

Webb looked out the window and smiled, Raul was simple and to the point.  His answer was short but it started him thinking.

“Maybe”

Webb started mulling that one over.  Would that be something either of them was interested in?  He’d been married, she hadn’t but their feelings were certainly headed in that direction.  He put it in that little box in his head.  The time on the boat would probably answer that question.  Then it came to him that something else was coming up.  Kacey’s birthday was in May.

“Raul would you take me into English Harbor I need to go shopping.”

Raul looked over and nodded, then pulled over to make the U-turn.

Rainy Evenings

Kacey looked around the table on the villa’s patio.  The remains of a lovely custom dinner Webb had ordered were on the table, one empty and one half empty bottle of wine.  She looked over at her sister and Giles who had moved close together now.  Webb was holding her hand on the table quietly watching the ocean.  The dinner had been delightful. The hotels head chef had made it for the four of them and had it served in the room.  There had been four courses starting off with a crunchy calamari salad, then squab.  The main course had been seafood pasta in a wonderful pesto cream sauce and by far the heaviest of the courses.  Dessert of all things had been chocolate lava cake.

Kacey had laughed when it was announced and served.  She had given Webb a little leer and he had smiled smugly back at her.  She knew then that he had requested it.  Her sister was clueless and gave her a questioning look.  She had shaken her head slightly meaning I’ll tell you later.

Webb squeezed her hand then leaned forward and had one more bite of the dessert.  When he sat back he looked at her with a touch of chocolate still on his lips.  Kacey reached over wiping it off his lips with her finger then put the finger in her mouth.

“Umm good, are you happy now?”

He looked back over at her a funny smile on his face, “Oh I may need some additional dessert later but overall very happy.”

Kacey felt the breeze pick up on her face but Webb had sat up in his chair.  His eyes had narrowed as he looked at the ocean and sky.  He reached for the half empty bottle of wine then started to stand.

“Damn storm is here early, time to get inside folks unless you want to be very wet very shortly.”

Webb took Kacey’s hand then led her inside followed by Giles and Kari.  The wait staff that had been in the villa moved to the table quickly cleaning up. Kacey watched as Webb went into the bedroom and closed the bedroom patio doors.  The wait staff finished with the table then closed the patio doors from the living room.  Webb went to the door and looked out.  Kacey came up behind him grabbing his hand entwining her fingers with his.  Suddenly rain lashed at the windows then the first winds hit them rattling the big glass panes.  Webb reached over and locked the deadbolt then squeezed Kacey hand.

Kacey watched with him as the palm tree outside bent with the wind.  The bay had become a churning sea of whitecaps.  Soon even Wanderer was not visible as the rain came down in sheets.

Kacey looked over at Webb. He cocked his head waiting.

“If we were on the boat right now what would it be like?”

Webb let her hand go putting his arm around her shoulders pulling her close.  Kacey could feel how solid he was.

“Well we’d have seen it coming for about an hour before it hit us.  I’d have tried to skirt it but sometimes you can’t.  I’d be in the cockpit with the harness and lifeline on.  We’d have it down to just the main but the diesels would be up and running.  Then I’d try to take the waves at an angle to the wind.  It’s like surfing up the wave’s face then you crest before going down the other side.  You just keep at it don’t let the beam get sideways in the trough and ride it out.  Like a real long rollercoaster ride but a lot wetter.”

Webb looked down at her now, “You can decide where you want to be.  The cabin is more comfortable but you’ll hold on for dear life or you’ll be in your own harness and lifeline in the cockpit with me.  You’ll probably do both.  In a really bad storm we’ll drop the sail and motor the boat.”

Kari was standing behind Kacey watching and listening.  Kacey could see her reflection in the glass pane.  Horror was written across her face.  Beside her Giles just had a small grin on his face as if remembering.



Chapter 17 View to departure

The Ebbing Tide

Kacey awoke to find Webb standing at the patio door.  It was still dark she could see he was watching something.  It was now that she noticed the windows were no longer shaking, the sound of rain no longer pounding against the window pane.  He continued to stare out as she watched then unlocked and cracked open the door.  Kacey could feel a light breeze from the door.  She just watched Webb intently as he walked out onto the patio in just his khaki shorts.  He stood there for several more minutes then turned back to the villa.  Webb slipped in then closed the door behind him.

Last night after getting Kari and Giles back to their room they had both settled down on the couch finishing up the wine while watching the rain pound the windows and doors.  Kacey had finally nibbled on his ear offering, “I could go for some more dessert.”

Webb had smiled before picking her up then started toward the bedroom.  Kacey thought that if he keeps carrying me I’m going to feel Jane to his Tarzan.  But she liked it, her arms around his neck with her head on his chest.

Now Kacey watched this as he walked to the bed then knelt next to her.  She could see he was in a very gentle mood.  He pushed the hair out of her face.

“I see you’re awake, storms passed through, Kacey I need to go check on the boat.  She’s right where I left her but I don’t like surprises when it comes to Wanderer.   I can’t see well enough.  I have to make sure another boat or some piece junk isn’t hitting her.”

Kacey eyes got wider, “When did it stop?”

Webb rubbed his hand down her shoulder, “About an hour ago. I’ve been waiting to see.  I can see her but dawn is 3 hours away.”

Kacey was surprised she thought it was later.  She started to turn toward the clock when he touched her face.

“It’s 4:15 I think you should stay here warm and dry.  I’ll be back before dawn most likely.”

She nodded.  He leaned in and kissed her lips, “Love you, don’t worry been here before.”

Kacey watched him walk to the patio door then start through still in just his shorts.

“Aren’t you going to put a shirt and shoes on?”

He looked back at her and tilted his head. “Ever try to swim with shoes and a shirt on?”

Then he was gone.  Kacey jumped out of bed moving to the patio dragging the sheet and wrapping it around her.  She stood in the doorway looking for him.  Webb was nowhere to be seen so she leaned out looking at the dock.  Webb appeared walking quickly to its end.  Kacey realized it wasn’t cold outside but balmy.  The bay looked more or less flat again there were a few white caps but it was calm compared to earlier.  Kacey watched him get to the end of the pier and then she thought he looked back before launching himself into the water.  She knew Wanderer was at least 200 yards off the pier.

Kacey couldn’t see him swimming in the dark water.  It seemed to her forever before she saw that he was standing on the fantail.  She continued to watch relaxing slightly when she saw the mast light up and the running lights come on.  Her phone rang beside the bed and she went back into answer it.

She picked it up then went back to the window there was no caller ID just some odd numbers so she answered.

It was Webb, “Everything is fine Kacey, lay back down.  You look very cute wrapped in the sheet though.”

Kacey realized he was looking at her with binoculars from the boat.  She could just make him out standing on top of the cabin next to the mast.  He waved then and she waved back.

“Is the Wanderer all right, hey and don’t scare me like that.  You could have let me know you were going to swim out.”

She heard two clicks and then she heard him, “I’m calling you on the VHF set so we can’t both talk at the same time.  The boats fine but there’s bunch of small boats and crap floating around, I think even the resort cutter might be loose.”

She walked to the bed still looking out at the now lit up boat.

“Why don’t you snag one of those small boats and come get me.   I’ll sleep better there than here without you.”

She heard the clicks again, “It’s going to be okay give it a few hours.  The harbor patrol is already out rounding up the flotsam and strays.”

Kacey sat down on the bed holding the phone to her ear.  “Okay, I’ll wait.”

“I’ll be back soon I promise and don’t worry I’m going to turn off the lights so I can see better.”

She heard a click and the call ended.

Kacey laid her head back on the pillow before turning out the light.  She could still see his silhouette for a moment and then the mast and running lights were out.  Kacey’s eyes adjusted slowly then she could see him again this time on the bow.  She would just wait and watch.

Big Breakfast

Kacey stood on the patio and saw the cutter being returned to the dock by the harbor patrol at 8:15.  She went quickly back into the bedroom dressed in her white shorts and the Oregon Ducks t-shirt he’d had on last night.  She smelled him on the shirt as she put it on, tears coming to her eyes.  Kacey moved quickly to the bathroom to comb her hair and brush her teeth.  She turned to leave and Webb was standing in the bedroom room.  He’d just came in the open patio door, standing there dripping on the carpet looking toward the living room.

Kacey felt her heart catch, “Over here.”

Webb turned his face solemn then it lit up when he saw her.  He took two quick steps toward her wrapping her in a wet hug lifting her off the floor.  Kacey could feel the water soaking through her shorts and shirt. She held on around his neck lifting her legs and wrapping them around his back.

Kacey whispered in his ear, “Want a shower?”

Webb shook his head carrying her toward the bed, “I’ve had quite enough water for the morning but not near enough time with you.”

After getting the sheets wet in the bed they had found the dry comforter on the floor then moved out to the couch.  Webb had fallen back to sleep as Kacey lay with her face to him, she was eye to eye with him for a change.  Kacey closed her eyes trying to remember what day it was then realized it was Wednesday the 3rd.  Tomorrow they would have flown home.  It was the last full day for Kari and Giles maybe her too if they sailed tomorrow.

Kacey was suddenly nervous.  She knew where she wanted to be, that was with him.  The storm had scared her a little and Kacey hadn’t talked to him about it, she needed to.  She laid her head on his chest breathing slowly in and out just as she’d been shown.  Kacey felt calm now.

She slid gently from under his arms heading to the bedroom.  Kacey called room service ordering a full breakfast with coffee, eggs, potatoes, and spicy Spanish sausages.  She asked them to just leave it at the door without knocking.  Then Kacey changed into a new pair of tan cotton shorts and a cute blue top with red waves sewn into it.  One of her purchases from Charlestown in Nevis.

Her phone buzzed there was a text from Kari.

Last Day, what’s the plan?”

Kacey had no clue right now but then thought that she wasn’t the one going home.

She texted back, “Replay of yesterday, pool sun and beach, say after lunch we’ve been up late.”

LOL oh you lucky girl, me too, how about 1:00 at the pool, then dinner in the restaurant tonight?”

Kacey texted her agreement and went back out to check on Webb.  He was still sleeping on the couch, his chest slowly going up and down.  She went to the door the room service tray was there so Kacey put the tray on the table then poured two cups of coffee.  She took both and put them on the coffee table then slid back in next to Webb.  Kacey kissed him gently on the lips then sat back.  Webb’s eyes fluttered open.  She stared deeply into his eyes.  Kacey could see he was tired, if he had slept last night it wasn’t much.

She rubbed her nose on his, “I ordered a big breakfast I think you need it.  Coffee’s on the table I’m getting in the shower.”

Kacey slid out again and headed for the bedroom.

Webb sat up and reached for his coffee.  He took a long sip then felt better it had been a long sleepless night.  Webb hated being ashore during storms.  The boat was more comfortable it rocked and rolled but you were there, not needing to worry about her.  He thought about eating but decided to wait for Kacey.  He’d really been stunned by how much he’d missed her on the boat again.  Webb shook his head it was going to be damn hard sailing solo again.  Webb smiled at the thought though, what he’d been looking for at sea where there is no one was actually someone.  He knew he’d wanted someone to share it with all along.

Webb rattled that around in his head while getting another cup of coffee then sat at the table staring at the bedroom door waiting for her.  He pulled his tablet over and looked at the weather for the next three days.  It would be clear with moderate seas and winds.  That would make for a nice trip south.  Webb quickly dispensed with his twitter and email then she was coming through the door.  Kacey was in the same outfit as earlier but with her bikini under it from the looks of the halter strap.  She gave him that little grin he loved then sat beside him.

They both started eating.  Webb tried to eat slowly and though he was starving he managed to maintain a slower pace.  Kacey ate more than her usual she was hungry this morning.  When she finished Kacey noticed he was watching her.  Kacey blushed then reached for his hand.

“Tell me we would have been all right in that storm last night if we’d been on the boat.”

Webb thought about it and gave her a serious look.

“Yes, but the absolute truth is the sea and weather can take a boat anytime she pleases.  The Wanderer would put up a hell of fight.  She’s got too much keel weight to go over easy and even then she’s mostly water tight.  Unless she’s holed she’d roll back up.  That was a much worse storm to be on land with the boat at anchor then in the blue water.  It actually might have been fun the first couple of hours out to sea, then you get tired and you have to fight it.  But in this bay with a flat bottom the anchors slip, other boats break free, it’s shallow and a big swell can pound the keel on the bottom.  You have a lot more options on the open ocean including EPIRBs on the boat and life raft should everything go wrong.”

Webb looked in her eyes he could see he had made Kacey feel more at ease.

Kacey looked at him, “What’s an EPIRB?”

Then she caught herself, “The short version”

Webb laughed realizing he was about to tell her the whole technology involved from satellites to radio frequencies.  He kept it simple.

“It’s an emergency beacon that deploys by itself if the boat were to sink.  There’s another one on the life raft and built into your vest.  You have to activate the one on the vest but the rest are automatic.  Then the coast guard knows where to rescue you.”

He smiled at her now, “You’ve realized we’ll be leaving tomorrow haven’t you.  We can go to a different plan if you want.  Something in between but don’t worry the Wanderer has been around the horn and skirted two hurricanes she’ll get us home.  What are we going to do today?”

Kacey seemed better now he thought.  She poured another cup of coffee then squeezed his hand.

Resolved to a Resolution

Kacey did feel better.  Webb had put things back into perspective.  She was again looking forward to being on Wanderer with him every day.  To visiting whatever new place they would make landfall at.  Kacey had actually watched him working some of the options on his tablet for when they were in the Pacific.

“Kari and Giles would like us to join them beside the pool for one last day before they head back. Is there something you’d rather be doing?”

Webb now gave her what she knew was a teasing leer then nodded, “It sounds fine, relax put back a few beers before we leave tomorrow.  What time do they fly out?”

Kacey thought about it, unless something had changed 10:30 in the morning.  She texted Kari quickly then looked back at Webb who now had his tablet out.

“Kari says 10:30 they leave for the airport at 8:00.”

Webb looked back at Kacey a huge grin on his face,

“High tides at 11:00 should be ready by then.”

Kacey looked over at the tablet it had the weather and sea report up.

“What’s left to do?”

Webb pulled up a list on the tablet, “We’ll get the perishables delivered and stored.  Then we top off water and fuel.  That only leaves loading and storing Kacey’s shopping purchases should only take an hour or so.”

His mocking grin caused her to slap his arm, “Did you expect me to walk around in my bikini every day?”

Webb gave her a different kind of look, this one looked like he was considering that option.


Chapter 18 Fondling Sea

 

On a starboard tack

Kacey turned the wheel slightly the speed indicator on the Nav showed 11 knots.  She smiled that was her goal keep the speed on this tack over 10.  Kacey wasn’t just steering anymore she was sailing.  Webb had showed her the fine adjustments on the sails, how to tighten or loosen the sail corners.  She was learning how to luff them or make them run hard changing the pitch he called it.  She looked at the Nav and they were on the blue line heading a little west of south with a wind from the east letting them reach to starboard.

Kasey adjusted her vest it was tan like his, a little stiffer than she thought his was.  Webb had remarked the first rain squall would solve that.  They had motored out of English Harbor, Antigua at 11:30 and went onto the sails before noon.  Her sister had tears in her eyes when she’d hugged her goodbye.  Kacey knew they were real tears at their parting, a parting perhaps in many more ways than for just a few months.  Kacey really hoped she’d found the right guy at last.  Kari certainly thought so, we’ll see, she thought.  We’ll see if he’s strong enough to hold onto her when she was low or would Kari not try to chase him away at those times.   That was the crux she knew, the lows.

Kacey watched the sails while thinking.  She found another part of what Webb loved you could sail and let your mind work.  It was easy multi-tasking when the weather was good and the wind brisk.  Kacey saw Webb finally come up out of the cabin.  He stepped next to her then pulled the autopilot on.

“How’s she running sweetie, looks fairly fast.”

Kacey nodded proud of herself then looked back at him, “Could you make it go faster?”

He looked back at her with slight grin and a blush.

“I’ll show you how later but first I need you to put your harness on and get it adjusted.  Then I’ll rig the lifeline so I can show you how and when to clip into it”

Kacey went with Webb into the cabin. There laid out on the table were her foul weather gear which she had gotten in yellow, a harness, hat and sunglasses.  The hat had a hole for a pony tail, was cobalt blue with Wanderer scrolled in a small script on the brim.  Beside the hat were half a dozen t-shirts in her size, smaller versions of Webb’s shirt with the more rounded sleeve and collar of a woman’s t-shirt.

“How did you manage all this?”

Webb just chuckled, “Credit card and the late night infomercials mostly, you’d be amazed what those shipping and handling charges can get you.”

Kacey jabbed him in the ribs then he moved toward the table.

“Put your harness on it should be snug but not tight.”

Kacey put the harness on stepping through the leg loops then sliding the buckles together with a loud click. She looked up at Webb who nodded his approval then stepped close sliding his fingers between the harness and her waist.

“It feels pretty good, no pinching?”

Kacey slid her arms around his waist then ran them up his side.

“Oh it feels just right and I don’t mind a little pinch now and again.

Webb leaned over and let her kiss him.  His hand was now stroking her lower back.

She stepped back then turned a circle, “So how does it look?”

Webb smiled shaking his head, “Very demure actually could make the yachting girl centerfold.”

Kacey laughed, “So show me what I do with it besides modeling for horny sailors”.

Webb just chuckled again then started up the stairs to the deck.  Kacey followed him up and into the cockpit.  Webb rigged the safety line that ran down the middle of the boat to the fan deck.  He took a shorter orange line that had carbineer on each end clipping it to the line then to metal ring on Kacey’s harness.

“Okay this keeps you from falling overboard and being left in the boats wake.  Kacey during bad weather you need to always have a line attached.”

Kacey was a little scared for a second then she understood he was keeping her safe.

She looked at him then narrowed her eyes, “I’ve seen you in storms before on the website.  I’ve only seen you have the harness on a couple of times.”

Webb shook his head, “Sometimes you just don’t have the time when you’re alone, worse comes to worse I’ll tie it around my waist.  I need you to be safe so stay clipped in when the weather goes iffy.”

Kacey was happy with his answer she knew he was worried about her.  She clipped herself in and out of the rope a couple of times then looked back to Webb.

“Okay so if I end up over the side on the line then what do I do then?”

Webb smirked at her, “Climb your cute little ass back on board in a hurry.  It’s best not to go over the side just hang onto some old guy you’re sailing with.  The safety line shouldn’t let you get pulled over, but it might get you outside the rail, I’ll have a hold of you by then.”

Kasey felt better just figuring out how it all worked.

Webb pulled her to him then kissed her softly, “I meant that you’re not going to be out here by yourself if the seas are up.  No way am I losing you to her.”

Webb just nodded to the ocean around them.

Kacey followed Webb back to the cabin then he showed her the best way to put on the foul weather gear. Then he showed Kacey how to activate the EPIRB in her vest.  He sat at the table then smiled up at her.

“You want to sail or cook dinner tonight?”

Kacey smiled, “I’ll sail”

Stars in Her Eyes

Kacey was in the bathroom taking her hair out of the ponytail running a brush through it.  She felt the boat turn slightly then slow down.  The door was open and she saw Webb come down the stairs in the mirror.  He went to the Nav table and worked while she finished brushing out her hair.  She went over to him putting her arms around his neck and he leaned back into her.

“You did great today over a 140 nautical miles, we get sixty out of her tonight we’ll be doing 200 miles a day.”

He turned off all the cabin lights from the Nav desk but the light over it was still on.  Webb checked that the autopilot was holding course.  He stood then took Kacey’s hand leading her through the master suite then up the ladder to sit on the fantail.  Webb had been in the cockpit since dinner.  Kacey had cleaned up after dinner then relaxed for a while getting on the internet sending email and tweets to friends and her sister. She had joined Webb behind the wheel and they’d watched the sunset together.  They sat in the cockpit watching as day turned into night the red sky truly was a sailor’s delight for its beauty.

She wasn’t quite sure how’d he’d managed it but a blanket, a bottle of red wine and two glasses in a carrier sat upon the fantail.  Kacey turned then grinned as she sat down cross legged on the blanket next him.  Webb poured the wine then offered a toast.

“This is to your first starry night under sail.”

She tapped her glass against his then watched him look up at the night sky.  The stars were vibrant from horizon to horizon.  Only on the ocean or the desert do you get that canopy of stars.  Kacey looked up, it was almost overwhelmingly beautiful.  She knew if she started asking the constellation names he would know many of them, instead she just laid her head on his shoulder.  Kacey sought out then clasped his hand in hers and stared at the stars.

They sat and drank their wine in near silence.  The only sounds the creaking of the sail lines and the constant whooshing noise of the bow cutting through the waves.

Sleeping at an Angle

Webb could feel Kacey start to nod off on his shoulder.  He knew she would be tired tonight.  It took a lot of energy holding yourself against the pitch and swell of the boat.  She would actually have sore hips and legs tomorrow he knew.  He went through it when he started each sailing season after taking an extended break.  Webb kissed the top of her head.

“Come on bedtime for you, I can’t carry you on the boat.”

Webb opened the fantail hatch then went down the ladder first helping Kacey get down.  He held her and softly kissed her.

“Okay jammies for you while I clean up the deck and take one last look around.”

Webb went back up the stairs then to the port cockpit. He checked both the Nav computer and radar.  He then stood up high in the seat before looking around in a complete circle.  Webb was satisfied with his sweep as he returned to the fan deck.  He picked up the wine bottle, glasses, and blanket then headed down the ladder.  Webb secured the hatch tightly then turned to the bed.  Kacey was half under the sheet and comforter waiting for him.  She was wearing his Oregon t-shirt again a half grin on her face.  Webb tilted his head when she gave a very sexy smile, her eyes smoldering.  He started to strip which didn’t take much.

Webb slid into bed facing her, his hands sliding under the covers to her hips.  Her right hand slid around the back of his head at the base of his head pulling him toward her.  Kacey’s left hand slid up his chest.  Kacey kissed Webb softly at first then with a building passion.  He moved his hand from her side to her round firm bottom.  Thoughts of ever sailing solo again were fading very quickly.

Radar target

Kacey was awakened by a high pitched buzz and beep.  She heard just the buzz a second time then it stopped.  Kacey knew Webb was already up she couldn’t feel his arm over her or his chest against her back.  She slipped out of the starboard side of the bed.  She was finding it funny that even the bed had sides.  Kacey thought of it as the downhill side of the bed she understood now why it was soft.  If the bed had been too firm you would feel like you were sliding off.

She found Webb sitting at the Nav console staring at the radar and bow camera.  There was a small recurring dot on the radar.  Webb was watching it intently as Kacey put her arms around him from behind.

“What is it?”

Webb shook his head, “Don’t know yet but it’s a slow mover either a freighter or another sailboat with its radar reflector up.”

He continued to watch as the dot got a little closer each update of the screen.  Webb looked back at the Nav screen and changed the course slightly and the autopilot put the boat on the new course.  Kacey could feel the boat move a little faster.

“What are you doing now?”

Webb just continued to the stare at the screen, “I put us on a broader reach for a few minutes it will swing us west a few miles.”

Webb reached up and held her hand for a second then pointed at the radar display.

“She was east of us heading north north-west.  I put us a little more toward pure southwest its gives us more speed and will open the gap quicker.  It also takes us off our course for a bit but we’ll turn back and catch up the distance.”

The radar display refreshed and Kacey could see that the distance was getting further from the center to the dot.

“Oh we’re the center of the screen.  Now I see it whatever it is will go behind us.”

Webb nodded, patted her hand then stood.  She watched him grab a large set of binoculars then head up on the deck.

He looked over his shoulder, “Want to come see what it was?”

Kacey nodded but headed back to the bedroom and retrieved her t-shirt.  She went up the main cabin stairs and found Webb standing by the cockpit.  He had the binoculars to his eyes staring east and slightly north.

“It’s a sailboat with a reflector, maybe a forty footer rigged for night.  Somebody just like us getting a little sleep.  May not have radar or she would have altered course.”

Webb handed her the glasses but she wasn’t sure where to look.  He leaned next to her pointing into the night.

“Look for a red and white light.  He’s got his port side to us and that’s always red.   The white light shows where the stern is.”

Kacey saw it, she could make out the main sail and the running lights but little else.

She turned back to Webb, “Now what?”

Webb put his arm around her back then turned her toward the cabin.  He walked next to her his hand moved down pinching her bottom and she jumped.

“Hey what was that for?

“You said you like the occasional pinch, now let’s reset the Nav and get some more sleep or something like that.”

The mast camera recorded them disappearing into the cabin and the door closing.



Chapter 19 Squall

Swelling

Kacey woke alone it was still early she knew.  The first thing she noticed was the smell of coffee.  Kacey had on Webb’s Oregon t-shirt again and nothing else.  She slid out the low side of the bed noticing Webb’s spot was still warm.  Kacey almost walked out into the cabin when she remembered the cameras then checked the length of the shirt.  It came half way up her thigh if she bent over or reached up they would need to change the rating on the website.  She grabbed her bikini bottom off the dresser, slipped it on then walked out.

Webb was in the kitchen scrambling eggs. Kacey started toward the galley. The boat had its usual side to side motion and she felt wobbly.  Her legs and thighs were a little sore this morning so she held onto the table to stay steady.  Webb looked up from his pan smiling, “Hey you ruined my plan to get back in bed and wake you up to another kind of room service”

He scooped some eggs onto a plate then grabbed a cup of coffee.  He walked over to Kacey who was beside the table looking her up and down.  Webb leaned over and kissed her longer than a peck but softly.

“Here’s eggs and coffee, the toast will be up in a couple of minutes you look good are your legs sore?”

Kacey nodded then sat on the couch.  Webb sat next to her taking her left foot in his hands then started massaging the calf and thigh.  It felt wonderful and as he worked his way up her thigh erotic though soothing. She looked behind her, “Don’t go too far there sailor, remember were on camera.”

Webb shook his head, “I’ve been turning it off when we come in for the evening.  I won’t turn it back on until we get ready to go on deck.”

Kacey smiled now, she knew it wasn’t his practice before, but apparently a certain amount of privacy was now a concern.  She found it touching that he’d thought about it.  Kacey started on her eggs as Webb started on her other leg.

He was smiling up at her, “This will get better in a few days you’re going to have beautiful sea legs lady.”

Kacey could feel herself blushing when she heard a ding.  She looked around behind her towards the Nav station.

Webb chuckled at her, “It’s just the toaster.  I’ll be right back”

He brought back his own plate and coffee as well as 4 pieces of whole wheat toast.  Webb sat down beside her then moved close to her.  Kacey looked back at the Nav station it was early the chronograph reading 0555.  Webb saw her looking then reached over squeezing her thigh gently.

“You can get up later tomorrow, going to catch the sunrise this morning.  We have a rain squall to the east it should be a real beauty of a sunrise.”

Kacey went back to eating, grabbing toast off his plate then sipping her coffee.  Kacey made herself slow down when she realized she was woofing her food down.  Webb though was eating at a normal pace.  She understood that this adventure required a lot of calories.  Kacey grabbed another piece of toast and saw that she was out of eggs.

“Anymore eggs honey?”

Webb took another bite then tipped half of his onto her plate.  He smiled at her then went back to eating.  She smiled back at him wondering if he would get enough. Then thought, well I’ll do a big lunch for him today.  Webb did finish first this time then got up putting his plate in the galley before filling his coffee back up.  He moved to the Nav station pulling up the weather radar and nodded.  Kacey watched him as she finished her eggs.

Webb looked up and grinned, “Time to try your rain gear and harness out we’re going to catch the edge of this squall.  It’s about 30 minutes out maybe a little more.”  Webb stood then opened the cabinet by the stairs grabbing his foul weather coat.  He turned for the stairs talking over his shoulder.

“Sunrise in ten minutes”

Then he was out the cabin door.  Kacey put her plate and cup in the sink then went into the bedroom to pull on her shorts and one of her new t-shirts.  She bundled her hair up as she walked to the bathroom then tied it into a ponytail.  Kacey stopped at the cabinet and pulled on her harness.  The foul weather coat was next then she headed up to join Webb.

Rising in the East

Kacey walked up to Webb in the cockpit.  He was looking to the east the horizon was a mix of black and grey clouds just starting to turn pink and red.  She saw that the safety line was up but Webb didn’t have his harness on yet.  Webb motioned to the starboard wheel, “We’re going to jibe onto a port tack and take it south east if we catch the edge it will push us further out.”

Kacey moved over to the other cockpit then looked back at him.  Webb had a huge grin on his face, “Okay were jibing.”

Kacey saw him not just move the wheel half way like he’d taught her but spin it three quarters of the way to port.  The bow suddenly sunk lower digging into wave throwing a huge wall of water and spray over Webb and the front of the boat.  The boom swung violently over to the port as Kacey felt the starboard side rise.  The pitch of the boat was very steep and Kacey could feel her start to speed up.  Kacey looked at Webb then he pointed at her wheel and she took it.  The sun peeked above the squall in the distance the clouds a dark vibrant red with orange and pink reflections above.

Webb reached over and clicked the orange safety line on to her harness.  He stood beside her pointed at the edge of the clouds to port.

“We won’t use the Nav line Kacey you’re going to steer her right at that edge.  The squall is moving west northwest and we just went over to east southeast.  We’ll keep cutting south until it hits us then the fun starts.”

Webb sat on the cushion behind her and pulled a harness out from underneath it then slipped it on.  He connected his safety line to the stern of Kacey’s then stood up beside her.

Kacey was nervous she watched the sails and the horizon.  She was correcting more southerly every few minutes and it looked clearer now to the south.  She looked over at Webb who was looking east.

“Honey should I steer more south?”

Webb looked over and pointed at the Doppler radar picture, “No it would hit us from the side we’re going to skirt the edge and then turn southwest and it should spin us out south.  Even small storms have a rotation we hit this one just about right it’s going to get bumpy in a minute mind if I drive?”

Kacey let Webb behind the wheel he cranked the wheel over so much to port that the boat heeled over several more degrees.  Kacey looked to port and the west.  She saw the size of the swells and was surprised.  The sea before the squall looked like house sized lumps piled randomly on top of each other.  The wind was blowing the tops off the waves creating foam and white tops everywhere. Webb turned toward port just a touch more now.

She suddenly felt Webb grab her hand.

“It’s time to start hanging on. Put your arm around my back and grab my harness with your other hand. “

Kacey did and she felt more secure.  She looked forward as they climbed to the top of the first wave.  Webb turned the wheel to starboard catching more speed as they crested then held it steady hitting the top covering the boat in spray.  Kacey felt her body get lighter as the boat fell away beneath her before starting down the wave slope.  She could hear Webb almost yelling over the wind.

“Now we surf down the face of the wave when we get near the bottom we’ll point the bow at the next wave.”

Kacey watched as they hit the bottom of the wave then ran with speed across the trough before starting up the new wave spraying more water on them both.  It was exhilarating climbing then falling over and over. They were on a never ending rollercoaster but you couldn’t predict the next wave.  Kacey noticed he always caught the next swell at an angle to the bow, each time Wanderer would dive under and shudder before covering them in spray.  She saw clear blue sky suddenly to the south and knew they were coming out of it.  Webb had seen it also then leaned over next to her ear.

“We’re going to jibe back to starboard when the waves quit piling up. I’ll stay here and you can take her at the other wheel when we do.  She’ll be real fast when we jibe afterward we may even be downwind.”

It was several more minutes and some big waves before they finally saw clear sky then the waves start to become more rhythmic.  When they jibed it was gentler than the turn into the squall.  Kacey moved to the other wheel and took her.  They were on a broad reach now to starboard and they were fast, the Nav said 17 knots.

Webb sat back then started removing their safety lines.

“Hell of a way to start the day isn’t it. Want another cup of coffee?”

Kacey nodded then stepped up to the wheel and adjusted it slightly to give the boat more tack angle, the speed jumped up another knot.  She knew how he got more speed then.  Webb would run the ship more on the edge, Webb grinned then nodded as he started moving toward the cabin.  Kacey looked down it was 8:00.

Oh my god she thought what just seemed like 20 minutes was over an hour and half.  She was unable to explain it other than being caught in the moment.  Webb had made small adjustments in the squall as the boat fell or went up the waves but otherwise held the course.

Webb retuned with two cups of coffee, now out of his weather gear.  He sat back sipping his coffee looking out over the stern.  She felt his hand rubbing her lower back then then bottom.  Kacey turned to look back at him.  She pulled the autopilot then sat down beside him melting into him.

He handed her the other cup.  It tasted so good, strong and black.  She leaned against his shoulder.

“So your first squall what did you think?”

Kacey really hadn’t put feelings to the experience yet, she went with her gut.

“I was terrified at first when I saw the size of the waves.  It’s exciting though like surfing or sail boarding but on a much bigger scale.  It was a rollercoaster that I thought might never stop.”

Webb nodded then continued to sip his coffee.

“Remember you asked me what being in the storm the other night would have been like?  That squall had bigger seas and stronger winds than the Antigua storm it was just smaller in area with less rain.  Next time I’ll stand with you and let you sail her through one.”

Kacey felt nervous but excited at the same time.  He would be right there so she would do it.

She snuggled further into him.

He pulled her closer running his hand up her arm to her head then turned to kiss her.

“Why don’t you go hop in the shower, even lay down for bit if you like.  Then come back up, lay on the fantail and sunbath.  I’m going to let her sail herself for a while and just watch.”

It sounded wonderful to Kacey she wanted him to come to the shower too, but she knew he wouldn’t when Wanderer was full rigged and carrying so much speed.  She tried anyway giving him a suggestive raised eyebrow and leer.

Webb just returned the leer then laughed, “This afternoon after watching you in a bikini lying behind me then a shower will be a necessity.”

Kacey thought of her naughty thoughts from the other day.

“Turn off the camera and we can do it on the fantail?”

Webb’s grin broadened, “Deal”


Chapter 20 Ventures

Awakenings

Kacey woke in the morning to Webb holding her to him.  They were spooned as usual but she was on the starboard side for a change.  She felt his breath on the very top of her head as he exhaled.  Webb’s left hand was low on her hip right next to that sensitive spot on her pelvis.  Kacey knew he’d been up in the middle of the night.  He’d told her it was really nothing and to stay in bed.  She’d been really tired last night.

Yesterday Kacey had a nice late morning and early afternoon sunbathing on the fan deck.  Webb had sat on the back of the cockpit seat sailing the boat and watching her.  After several hours she had turned and asked if the camera was on or off.  Webb grinned, “I’m feeding the bow and cabin cameras to the web.”

Kacey removed her bikini top then started to rub lotion into her skin starting at her shoulders, then arms, breasts, stomach and legs.  That was all it took for Webb to pull the autopilot and join her on the fantail.  They had actually ended up in the cockpit then finally the bed in cabin before they were finished.  Dinner and the rest of the evening had been quiet.  Kacey had sailed the boat the rest of the afternoon into early evening.  They’d made sandwiches for dinner then sat watching the sunset.  Webb was in the cabin most of the afternoon while she sailed saying he was working on a project, but had brought out lunch.

They sat out in the cockpit together later watching the moon rise.  Webb had sent her off to bed first last night.  He said he had to work out the course changes for tomorrow on the Nav.  Kacey had laid down to wait for him and was fast asleep.

Kacey moved her bottom back then rubbed into him to tease him for not waking her up when he came to bed.  She realized her mistake when he tightened his arm around her then turned her into him.  He really hadn’t been asleep he was just lying very still.  She ran her hand down his chest and he stopped her.

“Happy Birthday, let’s go open your presents and have coffee.  Then we’ll see what other presents I can provide.”

Kacey moved her hand down anyway, he moaned softly when she’d found the target of her desire.  She smiled at him then started to roll out of bed.

“I can’t believe you remembered it was my birthday did Kari tell you?”

Webb shook his head, “Added it to my calendar when we met, I’ve never taken it off.”

Kacey stopped then turned back toward him wrapping her arms around his neck.  Her lips were all over him then she started pushing him back onto bed.  Kacey finally paused long enough to sit up and look into Webb’s eyes.

She couldn’t get over how romantic and slightly sad that was.  Kacey gave Webb a wicked grin, “My birthday, my rules I want this present first.”

Webb just smiled beneath her before she started kissing him again.

The Exchange

Kacey led the way from the bedroom into the main cabin then stopped with her mouth open.  In the middle of the table was a vase with daisies her favorite flowers.  Beside it were two wrapped gifts and a small chocolate cake with a single large pink emergency candle in its center.   She looked back at Webb whose grin was wide and beaming.

“Sorry about the candle I forgot to get those.  I used one from the survival kit.”

Kacey looked back at the table then back at Webb again, “So this was your little project you were working on yesterday?”

Webb continued to grin, “I hope chocolate icing is alright, you used to like chocolate cake as I recall,”

Kasey walked to the couch behind the table then sat down patting the seat next to her.  Webb came over and sat close.  She touched his leg, leaned over then kissed him.

“Thank you honey, I never celebrate my birthday much but this is the best ever.”

Kacey cut the cake while Webb quickly got up and went to the galley turning on the coffee maker, then returned with 2 plates and forks.

They ate together enjoying the treat.  Webb reached over and pushed the larger gift toward her.

“Open this one first?”

Kacey took the gift it was roughly the size of a large thick notebook perhaps an inch thick.  When she opened it she saw it was a loose bound copy of “Last Chances” and he had signed it in his own name below Alice’s.  It was a strange book smaller printed pages on the large 8×10 sheets.  She leafed through it for a minute then caught a note in the margin.  It said “Font Change Issue”.  Kacey looked over at Webb.

“It’s the last galley proof of Last Chances.  The mark ups are mine but I was at sea when they wanted them so I had to email them in and kept the galley.”

Kacey held it to her chest looking at him, “Thank You honey, it’s really special and you signed it too.”

Webb just nodded, “Yeah if someone requests an autographed copy of one of the books my editor Alice usually signs them or gets her assistant to.  Open the small one now.”

Kacey picked the other smaller package up.  It was light and in a larger packaging than the box inside.  She opened the package and the first thing that slipped out was a platinum bracelet.  It had a heavy chain and name plate but was very feminine.  The top of the plate had printing in script, “Wanderer Crew 2017 KLL” on the back side it read, “Love Always, Webb”.

Kacey looked over at Webb while she put it on her wrist, “It’s lovely honey, I’m crew now that’s a step up from passenger?”

Webb grinned then got more serious, “There’s more in there.”

When she got the small box out she knew why he’d gone serious, it was a jeweler’s box that you would either get ear rings or a ring in.  Kacey was sure Webb had not got her ear rings.  She sat the box on the table then looked back at him.  A tear slipped down her cheek, “Honey are you sure about this, really, really, sure.”

Webb just nodded so she opened the box.

The ring was gold, two dolphins facing each other, in the setting between them was large ruby cut dark blue sapphire surrounded by small diamonds.

“It’s lovely Webb, so lovely”

Webb was serious again, “Kacey I want to ask you to marry me but maybe it’s too soon.  I felt like I was pushing so this is for your birthday.  You can wear it on any finger but know I’ll be asking that question when we get back to LA.”

Kacey felt more tears run down her face, “You know don’t you that the answer will be yes?”

Webb nodded at her then wrapped her in a hug.  Kacey still had the ring in her right hand while she kissed him with her arms around his neck she slid the ring on her left ring finger then kissed Webb even harder.

Slight Breeze

Webb sat at the port wheel hanging over the port side watching the water slide beside the bow.  Wanderer was making 8 knots Webb holding her steady on a mild tack to keep the galley as level as possible.  Kacey was making lunch, chicken salad sandwiches as well as some pasta salad.  He wanted to keep the pot from sloshing too much while she boiled the pasta.  Those butcher gloves didn’t protect against burns.  He watched out for rogue waves and had left the intercom open so he could talk to her.  She knew he was listening.

“Lunch is ready baby, want to come down or eat on the fantail?”

“It’s really nice right now, let’s eat up here. “

Webb was about to give the boat a touch more pitch when first the jib then main sail started to luff.  He cursed and felt the trade wind die, just a slight breeze from the Northwest.  Webb adjusted putting her downwind still on the starboard tack but the speed fell rapidly.  He tightened her up, but in the end 3 knots was the best he could get from the light wind.

Kacey came up from the cabin then with two plates looking at the sails and then at Webb.

“No wind sweetie, we’re not becalmed but at 3 knots we might as well be.  Webb put on the autopilot and walked toward her.

“Yum, this looks good.  Put them on the fantail and I’ll grab a couple of beers.”

Kacey shook her head with a little grin then turned her back to him.  In each back pocket of her khaki shorts was a beer.  You could see them sweating through the material.

“Do you mind grabbing these they’re freezing my ass off?”

Webb grabbed both beers then held them in one hand.  He used his other hand to start rubbing her bottom.  Highly doubtful it was helping but she did back up into his hand and make a small mewing sound.

“I bet you do this for all your serving wenches.”

She turned walking toward the stern then put lunch on the fantail. They both sat on the fantail with their legs hanging in the cockpit.  Webb started eating before taking a drink of his cold beer.  He looked over at Kacey.  She was looking at him for a moment then at the deck, then back at him again.

Kacey looked up at Webb again wondering if this was the right moment.  The boat slow and eating a meal seemed like a pretty good time.  She looked at the ring on her finger and back at Webb.  He cocked his head at her like he always did.  She had decided but she wanted him to talk to her first.

“Webb I want to talk to you about what happened to us the first time around.  Why I couldn’t let you come with me to LA.  I want to tell you all about what happened and what I put us both through.  But I didn’t meet you until you were 25 years old.  How did you end in up Klamath Falls you’ve never talked about it?  Why were you living with your grandfather so far away from Portland?  How did you make friends?  I need to know that before I talk about what happened to.”

Kacey was flustered for a second.  If she said us was she talking about her and Kari or her and Webb?  She finally finished it a different way.

“About what happened to cause me to split up with you.”

Webb wasn’t taken aback but he looked very curious.

“I’ve always known it wasn’t what you said you know that, I told you then.”

Webb thought it over for few minutes.  He’d talk to her about it he thought but he didn’t want to.

Webb shook his head to clear it then looked at Kacey.

“Do you know what happened to my parents?”

Kacey shook her head.

Webb really wondered if he should use the old car accident excuse or some other such thing he’d made up many times.  He looked at her and could see love and hurt in her eyes.  He went with the truth for the first time in; he couldn’t even calculate the years.

“Let’s start with this.  Flynn was my mother’s maiden name.  My grandfather Ralph Flynn was her father.  The last name I was born with was Lorenz.  My father’s name was Robert Lorenz.”

He looked at her and knew it didn’t ring a bell.  She had been 10 or 11 when he came to live with his grandfather.

“Kacey when I was 17 years old I lived in Portland with my mother and father.  He was a financial advisor, she was a technical writer.  They fought all the time.  One day when I was at school they met at the house apparently to discuss divorce.   The discussion must not have gone well.”

Webb stopped for a minute just looking at the sails wishing the wind would suddenly pick up.  He didn’t get his wish so he looked back over to Kacey.

“My father shot and killed my mother then shot himself.”

Kacey’s hand shot to her mouth then tears started falling.  Webb moved over to her and hugged her.  She hugged him tightly and pulled him close.

It took her a few minutes but she finally stopped crying.  He sat back and looked at her.

“So let’s start right there with how I ended up in Klamath Falls, Oregon.”

12/01/2012  Wandering Home is the published work based on The Wanderer Threads is now published and available in on Amazon.com  Click here for the book or Here for the Kindle version.  What this does mean though is that I have to take Part II and Part III off the blog.  I’ve tried to keep the price reasonable, $3.99 for Kindle and 13.75 for the paperback. This is the first 20 chapters

Revision 12/03/2012

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