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Winchester Harbor book cover

Winchester Harbor
Book One of the Full Sails Series
Wes Boyd
©2011, ©2013

Chapter 9

It was a while before Susie and I had a chance to talk again, and it wasn’t a very long talk, but it proved that she’d been thinking. “Hey,” she said, “I’ve got an idea. You think your sister is coming back up here to try to talk about getting back together with your old girlfriend, right?”

“Yeah, and just to chew my ass,” I snorted. “I’m surprised she’s not back up here already.”

“Look,” she grinned. “When she shows back up here again, let’s act all boyfriend-girlfriend, all lovey-dovey and kissy-face. Maybe that’ll send the message that it’s a hopeless cause.”

“Not bad,” I grinned, a load coming off my mind at the thought. “That’s the sort of evil idea I’d expect you to come up with. It ought to give her something to think about, anyway.”

“We probably won’t have to fuck each other in front of her,” she laughed. “That’s more Annette’s style anyway; she’s the exhibitionist, after all. But we can darn sure look like that’s what we’d be doing if she wasn’t watching.”

“Look, one thing,” I warned. “I don’t want to come right out and accuse Brittany of cheating on me, although I’m dead sure that’s what happened. From what I can tell she hasn’t admitted it to my family yet, and my family apparently still thinks she can do no wrong. That’d just open a can of worms that doesn’t need to be opened.”

“OK,” she said. “We’ll just have to play it as it comes.”

It took longer for Lisa to show up than I expected. It was a while before I realized that she had to have found the nearest phone to call home, probably to report on me and to quiz Brittany about what I’d said. Before Lisa showed up, Susie found the time to go up to the snack bar to fill in Barb, Debby, and Annette on what was going to happen and told me later that they’d agreed to play along if the need arose.

It continued busy as hell for much of the rest of the afternoon, almost always with two or three boats lined up to get to the fuel dock. After a while I happened to look up and see Lisa sitting in the shade at a table on the balcony in front of the snack bar. She was still wearing that tiny bikini but with a man’s white shirt over it, unbuttoned and hanging open so I still could see how little it covered. It wasn’t until the second or third look that I saw she had a medium-height dark-haired guy with her. I guess they could see we were busy, and didn’t want to bother us. However, Susie also noticed they were there, and every time we got close to each other we’d exchange a quick peck-on-the-lips kiss or a pat on the ass, just to send the right message.

It wasn’t until around dinner time that things started to slow down to where there was an occasional break in the action. Just about then Barb came down to the fuel dock and said, “You guys have been working like dogs all afternoon. Why don’t you take a few and go grab something to eat? I can take care of the fuel for a while.”

“Talked me into it,” I said, realizing that Barb had seen that Lisa and her guy friend or whatever he was had plans to wait us out, and that we might as well get it over with.

“Yeah, I could stand the breather, too,” Susie said with a smile, obviously ready to put on the act we’d been talking about. We gave each other another quick kiss and walked hand in hand up to the balcony and plopped down at the table with Lisa and her guy.

“Jesus, lover,” Susie said as soon as she sat down. “We’re not anywhere near done yet, and I want a shower, a beer, a quick fuck and a full night in bed with you.”

“That’s about my list, babe,” I said. “But we’re not going to be able to do anything about it for a while yet.”

“You guys are . . . oh, my God . . . ” Lisa said.

The bomb had dropped on her that quickly. I realized just exactly what Lisa was saying but chose to ignore it. “Sorry we’ve been so damn busy,” I said, “but this is Susie, my girlfriend. We’re both working here and staying together. So, who’s this you have with you, Lisa?”

“Oh, this is Brian,” she said, nodding toward the dark-haired guy. “He’s my boyfriend.”

If Lisa had a boyfriend when I’d been home two months before, it would have been news to me. The romance had either come about awful quick, or she’d been keeping a few secrets of her own. Knowing Lisa, I could believe either one. “Good to meet you, Brian,” I said conversationally, giving him something of a size-up in the process. He wasn’t a bad-looking guy, and there was something about him that smelled of money – maybe not big money, but money. If he really was Lisa’s boyfriend, and not just a guy who had invited her along on the boat for a party, it might be she’d made a real catch. “So how’d you wind up making this trip?” I asked.

“Greg is a friend of mine from high school,” Brian replied. “He had to bring the boat up north. He invited some friends along and told us to bring someone.”

“Been having a real party, huh?” I asked. Just from that I got the idea that it wasn’t real serious between Lisa and him, but I could have been wrong.

“Pretty good,” Brian said with a grin, glancing over at Lisa, who got a little red in the face. That told me as much as anything.

“Looked like it from what I saw,” Susie said. “Boy, I’ll tell you, I’ve seen some boats come through here on those kinds of trips that looked like they were nothing but sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” She smiled at Lisa, and added, “Especially the sex part. I’ll bet that boat is going to be rocking tonight!”

Lisa got even redder in the face, and it didn’t take me much to figure out what was really going on. She knew it, too. “Jake,” she said. “It’s not quite what you think.”

“Hey, no skin off my butt,” I said. “You have to get your good times when you can, and a trip like that sure counts as a good time. Do the folks know you’re on this trip?”

“Well, yeah,” she admitted. “I guess I sorta let them think that Greg’s parents were going to be along.”

That was about as clear an admission as I needed. Whatever Lisa thought she had on me, I now had something on her. That was going to make things a whole lot easier.

Just about that time Annette came out, carrying menus and an order pad. “Well, the lovebirds are finally taking a break,” she grinned. “Any of you want anything?”

“Yeah, sure,” Susie said. “Burger, you know how I like it, and fries. I’d really like a beer but we’d probably better not till we knock off. Just a small Coke, I don’t know when I’d get the chance to pee if I had a large one.”

Susie was really laying it on thick, I thought. She sounded almost like Debby. “Same thing,” I said. “I’m too tired to get creative.”

“All right, I’ll get Debby right on it,” Annette said. “You probably shouldn’t leave Barb out on the dock by herself for very long.”

“We’ll be filling them up as long as they come in,” I said. “Gotta do it when we can, but boy, is that bed going to feel good tonight. Right, Susie?”

“It sure will, lover. You can give my back a good massage before you do my front, and I need both. You’re so good with your hands and your mouth it’s not funny.”

Lisa’s face had lost most of the red color caused by our previous comments, but now it returned in full force and then some. “H-have you two been together long?” she said, knowing as well as I did when I’d gotten out of the Navy and when I’d left home.

“Oh, just since I got up here, but lightning struck,” I said with a smile and gave her a quick kiss. “We’re taking hold pretty good.”

“It might be because Jake is easily the best lover I’ve ever had,” Susie grinned, sticking the needle in. “I’m not going to let him go easily. Boy, that gal who got him in the back sure missed out on a winner.”

“Her loss and my gain,” I smiled at her. We exchanged grins. Though we hadn’t planned it, this looked to be going better than I thought it could.

“Look, I talked to Brittany,” Lisa said, obviously trying to change the subject back to what she wanted to accomplish. “Jake, she’d really like to have you back. She misses you, and she says she still doesn’t know what went wrong with you two.”

“Like I said, she knows what went wrong, even if she won’t admit it, even to you,” I said flatly. “But there’s no going back, and that’s fine with me. It turned out there were better fish in the lake, and I wound up getting a big, lanky, and very pretty one out of the deal.”

“So, uh, do you guys have any plans?” Lisa asked. Once again, it was no great trick to figure out what she meant.

“Not right away,” Susie said. “We’ve pretty well decided that we’re going to live together for a while and see what happens. I lost my last guy because he was running around on me, so Jake and I have made up our minds that we’re not going to let someone burn us again. I know he feels pretty burned about what that friend of yours did to him, and we need to get that shit out of his system, first.”

“Yeah, she hurt me pretty bad,” I agreed. “But like I said, that’s in the past now, and the past is a good place for it.” I looked over at Susie with longing eyes, and added, “What’s important is the future.”

“But . . . what am I going to tell the folks?” Lisa asked with a little desperation in her voice.

“That’s a good question,” I said to her with a grin that could be interpreted as evil. “It also begs the question of what am I going to tell the folks, doesn’t it?”

“Jake, don’t,” she pleaded. “It’s . . . it’s not what it looks like. Brian and I, uh, we’re just having a good time.”

“Well, I guess everyone deserves their good times, don’t they? Even Brittany, I guess. Once again, it’s in the past.”

“But Brittany . . . she says she never did anything to you.”

“That’s right, she didn’t,” I said, deliberately misinterpreting Lisa’s comment. “And unlike what you seem to think, I never asked. I respected her wishes, Lisa. It would have been nice if she’d respected mine, but that didn’t happen, and the way things worked out I’m better off for it. She made her choice, just like you’ve made yours and I made mine. We’re just going to have to go on from where we are. Now let’s drop it and talk about something nice. How did you like the boat ride today?”

“Oh, damn it, Jake,” she said. “You make it seem so . . . I don’t know.”

“Like I said, we’ve been over this ground before, and there’s nothing new to add.”

“Hey lover,” Susie butted in. “Here comes Annette with our burgers. We’re going to have to eat and get back on the dock.”

“Yeah, only a few more hours though, sweet lips,” I smiled at her. “That bed is going to feel mighty good.”

“Lisa,” Brian said softly. “I think we’d better be getting back to the boat. They’re going to be wondering what happened to us.”

“I guess,” she said in a sound of defeat. I could see a tear in her eye as she went on, “Sorry to have bothered you, Jake. I don’t like what’s happened with any of us, but I guess we’re going to all have to live with it.”

Annette put a welcome break into the conversation by setting the burger baskets down in front of Susie and me, and I could see that Brian was urging Lisa to go, like he had something else on his mind. Lisa wasn’t putting up much resistance, either. “Hey, look,” she said as she stood up. “In spite of everything, it’s good to see you again and know that you’re all right.”

“You too, Lisa. Party hearty. We’ll be thinking of you.”

Susie and I ate our burgers, while keeping an eye on the departing couple. In a minute or so we saw them walking up the road in the direction of the harbor. They didn’t exactly look cuddly or anything, or hand in hand. It was easy to see that Lisa was not exactly happy. “You know,” Susie said, “somehow I think that guy isn’t going to get any tonight.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me any,” I replied around a mouthful of French fries. “That’s the first I ever heard of the guy, so I have to wonder if it’s something special or just a weekend fling.”

“If you’re interested in pure women’s intuition, I’d have to bet on the latter, especially on a party boat like that,” Susie opined. “But I think we got the message across.”

“Yeah, with any kind of luck that ought to be the end of that,” I said. “Not that it really solves anything, but at least she won’t be on my ass about it for a while. Thanks, Susie. That went pretty well.”

“I thought so. Not bad for a quick, dumb idea.”

“It worked for today,” I agreed. “But if she shows up again or somebody else comes around anytime over the rest of the summer, we’re just going to have to do it again.”

“No big deal, we’ll just do it,” she said. “But what happens after I go back to school?”

“Well, I guess we’ll have broken up or something. I can find some kind of excuse, college girl versus non-college guy, or something like that. It doesn’t matter since I probably won’t be here very long after the season dies down. I don’t know where I’m going after that. Maybe back to the Navy, maybe not, but for sure not home.”

We didn’t say much more just then. We finished our food and headed back down to the fuel dock where business had perked back up – we had a line of boats waiting downstream, mostly people who had been running all day and were looking for a place to hole up for the night. Barb was getting swamped, and it was about all the three of us could do to keep up with everything.

Finally, after dark, and long after the time we would normally have shut off the sign, there were no more boats to fuel, and no one seemed to be coming up the channel. “Let’s shut off the sign and get out of here before someone else shows up,” Barb suggested. “Anybody else who wants fuel can damn well get it in the morning.”

“Talked me into it,” I agreed. We closed up the dock, turned off the sign, and I headed to my room. What a pisser of a day this had been. I was so tired at the moment that I didn’t even want to take a shower, so I just grabbed my pack of cigarettes and my Zippo with the idea of going out on the balcony to have a weed or two and unwind.

I’d barely plopped down in the folding chair and got one running when I heard the door open behind me and Susie’s voice. “Got another one of those?”

“Yeah,” I said, holding the pack out to her.

She smiled as she took a cigarette from the pack. “It’s strange to be smoking tobacco. It’s usually grass, and not that often.”

“So what brings you here?” I asked as I held out the Zippo.

She got the cigarette going and replied, “I just thought that tonight you needed a girlfriend to spend the night with.”

“I don’t want it to sound like I’m turning you down,” I said, “but I’m so tired I don’t think I could get it up. But yeah, I’d really rather not be alone tonight, either. It’d be nice to really have a girlfriend, even if it’s just going to be for tonight.”

“To tell you the truth, I don’t think I’m up for sex tonight either,” she said as she sat down in the other lawn chair. “As soon as I get on my back I’m going to be falling asleep. Just honestly sleeping together is about all I can handle tonight myself. Well, that and maybe having someone wash my back.”

“Same here,” I admitted. “Hey, Susie, I just want to thank you again for coming through for me this afternoon.”

“She’s still bugging you, isn’t she?”

“Who, Lisa?”

“No, that Brittany chick. She really hurt you, didn’t she?”

“Yeah, she did,” I said. I took a deep drag on the weed, let the smoke out, and went on. “And yes, she’s still bugging me. Don’t get me wrong, Susie. What she did put her behind me the minute I realized what was going on. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss her, and I especially miss what she represented. Look, I enjoy hanging out with you and your sister and Debby, and we have something I never even thought of having with Brittany. But, she represented a permanence, a stability, or something like that. Something I don’t have with any of the three of you, and it’s what I miss.”

“A future, like you told Lisa.”

“Yeah, that’s probably as good a term as any to use. The three of you are fun to hang around with, and I’ve learned a hell of a lot from you. We’ve done things that I probably never would have done with Brittany, even if I’d had the chance. But I’d be a liar if I said that I can see the kind of future I saw with Brittany with any of the three of you.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” she replied, taking a drag of her cigarette, then flicking the ash over the balcony. “Jake, you’re a hell of a nice guy, and you really turn me on in bed. But I don’t think we’re heading toward the same place. I mean, I can’t make myself look up the road a few years and see myself as Mrs. Jake Lewis. You make a good friend and a great fuck buddy, but I don’t think we’d better let it get very far past that. And, as far as that goes, I have even more problems imagining Annette with you in the long run. And, as for Debby, well, if she doesn’t get John back she’s going to be carrying a torch for him for a long time to come.”

“That’s just about how I see it,” I said. I tossed the idea around in my mind for a moment, then added, “I do have to say that if I had to pick one of the three of you for a long term future, you’d be the one. But I don’t think we would be a particularly good match. You’re right, we’re headed in different directions, even if neither of us really knows what they are.”

“Then I guess we see it pretty much the same way.” She sighed. “Shit, I wish I knew what I wanted to do. I’ve said for years that I’d like to find a guy with some money like that Greg guy, but it would be nice to love the guy, too.” She was silent for a moment before she added, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to manage it in college, or what. I sure haven’t gotten very close so far. I’m just sure that wherever it is, it isn’t going to be here. This may be a good life for Mom, but if I learned anything in college, it’s that I’m not wired right to make a life in this place.”

“The hell of it is that up to, oh, three months ago, I could see me making a life in Wychbold or a place like that with Brittany. I mean, the regular job, the house full of kids, the whole deal. Ultimately, I still want something like that, but not there, and not with her. That’s what she fucked up by fucking around with that guy, and that’s the part that hurts. I’d carried that dream for years, clear back into grade school, all those fucking months I was riding around at sea someplace. Sometimes knowing that she was waiting at home for me was all that kept me going. Then I got home, and she just pissed it away like I didn’t count for shit. Now I have to find something to fill the hole she left behind when she walked into the motel with that fucker. While I like the hell out of your mom and the rest of you, I don’t think this is going to be the place, and none of the three of you are going to be the girl.”

“That’s a little more serious than just losing the girl, isn’t it?” she asked. “That’s got to make it a lot harder. Jake, you’re a good guy, you really are, but I can see it’s still going to take a while before you get over her.”

“That’s the good thing about this place, and about the three of you girls. You’re at least reminding me that there’s something else out there, including honest women. This isn’t it yet, but at least it’s helping to put that cheating bitch behind me.”

“The hell with it,” she said, tossing her cigarette over the railing; she probably hadn’t taken more than two or three hits on it. “We’re both too tired to be agonizing over this shit. Come on, boyfriend for the night, let’s take a shower. You can wash my back, I’ll wash yours, and then we can cuddle up for the night. It’s a hell of a lot better than nothing.”

“Especially tonight,” I agreed.

The alarm went off too damn early the next morning, and I woke up snuggled up close to Susie, my head almost buried in her long black hair. “Crap,” I heard her say. “I guess that means we have to get up. Would you believe me if I said I wanted to stay right here?”

“I could hack that,” I replied, then added, “You know, Susie, for just being a girlfriend for the night, you’re pretty damn cool.” I took my arm from around her and rolled over to get up.

“You make a pretty good boyfriend for the night, too, even if it’s just to sleep with,” she smiled as she got up. “Are you going to be a good enough boyfriend this morning to let me have the first crack at the john?”

“If you’re quick about it,” I told her. “I have to go, too.”

We were upright, both of us still nude but not getting around very well when Susie looked up the channel. “Hey,” she said. “Here comes that party boat with your sister on it.”

“Good,” I replied. “At least I won’t have to be looking out for her today.”

“I wonder if I should,” she said, musing aloud.

“Should what?” I asked, a little dense through the waking-up fog in my mind.

“Oh, what the hell,” she said with a grin. “It’ll just drive it home to your sister. Let’s go wave goodbye to them.”

I don’t know if I would have done it if I’d been all the way awake, but right at the moment it seemed like a good idea. I followed Susie out onto the balcony, just as nude as she was. We made it out there just before the boat was directly across from us. The whole group was out on deck, Lisa among them. It was too far away to hear anything, but I could see her get a glimpse of the two of us waving at them. Her jaw dropped and she turned away, unable to make herself look at us again.

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