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

Chapter 33

The last of April brought the end of the semesters for our college students, Annette and Wayne. We had been looking forward to their return, since we knew things were going to be getting busier soon. What with my going out with Nate fishing and everything else, we were already about as busy as we wanted to be.

I’d been looking forward to seeing Annette again. I hadn’t had any intimate time with a woman since Danielle back in February, and to be honest I wasn’t sure that actually counted. If it didn’t, the stretch went back further to Melissa, back in December. That was all right. I’d gone without for much longer at other times, so it didn’t seem imperative. But being with Danielle had given me a little more depth to my thinking about Annette. While I still didn’t think that we had the potential to be a long-term couple, I was more ready to accept her tastes in a few things.

But it wasn’t to be.

Late on the afternoon when she returned, after I’d helped her unload the old Camaro, she got me off to the side and said, “Jake, we have to talk.”

I may not have known a lot about women in the long run but I knew enough to know that those words are more often the sign of bad news, rather than good. “Sure,” I told her as I felt the boom lowering, even though I didn’t know where it was. “Let’s go sit out on the balcony so we can be alone. It’s not a bad afternoon to sit outside for a while.”

We went outside and plopped down in the lawn chairs. “So, what’s up?” I asked.

“Jake, I don’t know how to tell you this, but we’re not going to be able to see each other like we have the last couple summers. I found someone.”

“Hey, great,” I replied, realizing that the boom had somehow missed me. “You deserve it. Someone down at college, I take it?”

“Well, yes and no,” she said sheepishly. “It’s Wayne.”

“Our Wayne? The guy with the thick glasses? I thought you and he didn’t get along.”

“We pretty much didn’t,” she sighed. “OK, we knew each other, we were sort of friends, but that was about all. Actually, I think we may have known each other too well from going to school and all, and both of us were looking for someone we didn’t know. Someone new, if you know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I guess I do. I can think of several girls I went to school with who I might have been able to work something out with if Brittany hadn’t been in the way, but I guess we all knew each other too well. It’s all in the past, now. How did this happen?”

“Oh, it just happened. We were both sitting around lonely one night and we decided to go out for a pizza just to do something with a friend, and well, one thing led to another and we wound up in bed.”

“Understandable. Wayne really isn’t a bad guy, you know.”

“Actually, he’s a pretty nice guy,” she said. “He was just a little shy around girls, and I think I understand why, now. Well, after that night we got to talking some more, especially talking about sex, if you know what I mean.”

“Let me see if I can guess,” I said through a smirk. “You told him about some of your kinky tastes, and like that.”

“Well, yeah,” she replied, getting a little red in the face. “The thing of it is, as we talked about it, we began to realize that he has some similar tastes that kind of dovetail with mine.” She blushed even harder and groped for words. “Look, I know you never really cared for it all that much, you just did it for me because you knew I liked it and you were being your usual nice-guy self. Well, Wayne really does like it, at least to a point. His limits and mine are about the same, and well . . . ”

“You’ve worked out the details in practice,” I finished for her.

“Not as much as we’d have liked to,” she said. “It’s hard to do some of that stuff in our dorm rooms, after all. We’ve been, uh, sort of looking for better opportunities, and we hope we’re going to be having some fun, especially with Mom down at Nate’s as much as she is.”

“She’s down there at least some in the evenings,” I told her, trying to be helpful. “I don’t know if she’s staying the nights, but I doubt if she does very often, what with Rachel being there. I just don’t know, but there have been nights I’ve gone to bed before she got back.”

“Yeah, Wayne and I are going to have to work around that, too, though Mom has a general knowledge that we’ve been getting together, and she pretty much knows the things I like to get into. I’m hoping we can work out some opportunities.”

“You know,” I said with a shake of my head, “your mom is pretty damn cool. I can’t imagine my mother going along on a deal like that.”

“Hell,” she said with a snort, “I can’t quite believe it myself, but she’s really lightened up since Susie and I left for college. I mean, hell, she hardly batted her eye at Susie and me coming over here every now and then. She pretty much knew all about it.”

“Of course, the way you two and Debby used to bat around the details of your sex lives had to help with that. I guess that means I’m out of a job as the resident stud around here.”

“I’m sorry about that. But it’s the way it has to be if I’m going to get anywhere with Wayne.”

“Well, I’ll miss you, there’s no doubt about that,” I told her. “But it’s not like we had any future together, and we both knew it. You have fun with Wayne, but don’t let things go too far.”

“I don’t think they will,” she replied. “Like I said, we both pretty much agree on how far we want to go, we’ve talked with each other about it and it’s working so far.”

“Good enough,” I told her. “It doesn’t have to mean that you and Wayne and I can’t sit around someplace and have a beer and a bull session, though. I do that with Debby and John often enough.”

“Sure, I’ll be looking forward to it, too.”

So, Annette was out of my bed. While there was part of me that was going to miss her, in a way I was a little relieved. After all, I knew that she’d been looking for a while for a guy who would go along with her tastes, and I at least accepted that. On the other hand, I’d been feeling a little lonely in that department, and I could see ways we could both have gotten desperate enough to give it a try, and that would probably have been a real disaster. Apparently Wayne could at least put up with her compulsive writing and some of her other interests, as well as being sort of out in space once in a while.

I could make do without Annette being in that part of my life, but I knew deep inside me that I was getting a little less satisfied with just messing around for the hell of it. On the other hand, I still had a few years that it would allow me to do things like take off to Florida for the winter by myself, and it was pretty clear that having someone in my life permanently would bring those kinds of adventures to a halt. With that thought in mind, I figured I could hold out for a while.

Even so, it was still a little disconcerting at times to see Annette and Wayne sniffing around each other, and imagining what they were doing when they were alone. But I managed to live with it.

As we got into May things perked up quite a bit. I was still going out with Nate fishing on most days. We took a bad-weather day or two, but it was still fun. I told Nate about some of the tricks that I’d seen used successfully while going out with the charter boats in Florida those times. He said that most of them probably wouldn’t work on salmon and lake trout, but there were a couple that needed a little investigation and trial.

Rachel still went out with Nate on the weekends. The end of her days in school was clearly in sight, and none too soon for her. I wasn’t exactly jealous of her or anything since it was still, as I said before, a case of me being the second team. But the fact that I was available on the weekends gave me the opportunity to do a couple other things. Twice in May I made trips down south to bring power cruisers back on the weekends. One time Nate took me down to pick up the boat and drove back so he could be on the lake the next day, and the next time Wayne got tabbed to do the driving since the boat was farther south.

I made it back the next day with the first boat. It was a fast power cruiser that I only had to bring up from Port Huron. It was a long day and I got bounced around a bit, but with the boat’s speed I made it back before dark. The other one was a fifteen-knot trawler yacht that had to come from Port Clinton, Ohio, not far from Sandusky. Wayne took me down there on a Friday, and I left before dawn Saturday morning. I pulled into Harbor Beach and got a slip for the night Saturday evening since I had no desire to run all night by myself, but I still made it back to Winchester Harbor before dark the next day. Even with all my experience with the Pixie in Florida, I wouldn’t have wanted to try to deliver a strange sailboat all by myself.

Rachel and I found two or three evenings after school to get out with the Pixie, but we never went very far – it was just a chance to get out in the little boat with not enough time to make any distance. The Pixie was still more or less rigged for the cruising I had done in Florida, without having things like clothes and sleeping bags on board, and Rachel seemed to be very interested in how I’d been able to manage for so long in that small a space.

Early in May I got a post card from Lisa; their plan to bring Greg’s father’s boat north early in the month had fallen through when one of the engines developed trouble, and it was going to take a while to replace. Her card said they probably wouldn’t be coming by Winchester Harbor until after Memorial Day, but they’d be sure to stop over for a while.

As May came to a close, Memorial Day weekend rolled around. As always, we were busy. I spent some time out on the fuel dock along with Wayne and a high school kid Barb had hired to help out; at least he wasn’t a little asshole like Darryl had been, and he picked the job up quickly. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, mostly trading off with Debby and with a little help from Barb. While I’d become a good short-order cook with our limited menu, I knew I would have rather been out on the fuel dock, where I could check out the teeny-bopper school girls in their tiny bikinis; I’ll admit to missing that.

In the winter the snack bar usually closed at three, but with the first of May we extended it to six like we had done in the past years, and before Memorial Day weekend we extended it again, on to nine. We didn’t have a lot of evening business but Barb figured that it was enough to justify the effort. We added on some daily specials for the evening crowd, something we hadn’t done before. That made things a little more complicated, but nothing that couldn’t be handled.

The weekend after Memorial Day was Rachel’s high school graduation, and I’ll tell you that there was one kid happy to be through with that place! Most of us took the afternoon off from the Channel Stop to go to the ceremony, leaving only Wayne, the new kid, and Laura to get along the best they could for a couple hours. Nate had deliberately not scheduled any charter trips that day.

I know that when I graduated from high school years before, I’d thought it marked the point where I was pretty well grown up. I’d learned a lot in the passing years, and as I looked at the crowd of kids up on the stage I was just a little surprised to see that they were still kids! Even Rachel!

Rachel still had no plans to go to college, even though she was in the top ten of her graduating class. She knew what she wanted to do, and that was to work on the boat with her father. There are not many kids who get to go to work on their dream job on the day after they graduate from high school, but she did. When I looked out the window of the snack bar the next morning I could see her steering the Chinook III down the channel, and I could pick out her grin from that far away.

Rachel was out on the boat most days, usually with Nate, but occasionally with me. It wasn’t a regular, set thing. At least now Nate could pick and choose the customers who wouldn’t complain if he wasn’t along, and he tried to take advantage of that. Sometimes I’d be out on the boat with Rachel three days in a week, and none the next. Rachel took a day off every now and then, and when that happened it was usually Barb running the boat. Since I was busy in the snack bar’s kitchen, I rarely had time to get out on the Pixie with Rachel for a full day, but we managed a few short sails when we could work the schedules around. She still enjoyed the sailing, and there were times she’d get off the Chinook III after a day on the lake and within half an hour be heading back out on the Pixie with me.

A few days after Memorial Day weekend I was working in the kitchen when Wayne came in to the register to run a credit card. “Hey, Jake!” he said. “There’s a couple on the boat down at the dock looking for you.”

I was pretty sure what that meant, so I took off my apron – we weren’t busy at the time – and went down to the fuel dock. Sure enough, it was Greg and Lisa. “Got it running, I see,” I called up to Greg.

“Not without a whole new engine,” Greg said with a shake of his head. “Took them long enough, too. So how have you been? I expected to see you out here on the dock.”

“My afternoon to cook,” I explained. “It’s not as much fun as being on the dock, but I don’t get sunburned as bad.”

“You cook?” Lisa exclaimed. “When you were home you could barely put milk on corn flakes.”

“Actually I’ve become a pretty good short-order cook,” I said with just a bit of pride. “Don’t ask me for anything complicated, but I can more than handle anything that’s on the menu here.”

“Greg, we’ve got to check this out,” Lisa said. “I don’t believe it! Besides, I wasn’t looking forward to making lunch.”

“We can’t have the fueling dock blocked, but when you’re done, back that thing up to the open dock behind my little sailboat there,” I said, pointing at the Pixie. “I’ll be glad to make lunch for you.”

I didn’t get much time to talk with Lisa just then as we had several customers come in, but she spent the next twenty minutes or so standing in the door of the kitchen, mostly with her jaw hanging open. “God,” she said more than once, “Mom is never going to believe this!”

When I got a couple minutes free after I’d got their orders ready, I went over to the table where she and Greg sat, and said, “I don’t get off till nine tonight, and I’m due to go out on the Chinook tomorrow. But I can come down and shoot the shit with you for a while after I get off.”

“Yeah, we’d hoped to see you again,” Greg said. “We’ll be down in the slips in the harbor somewhere. I’m sure we’ll be up, and I’d guess you don’t want to go too late.”

“Not with the alarm going off as early as it does,” I replied. “See you later.”

What with shutting everything down it was getting close to nine-thirty before I found Greg’s boat. It stays light late that time of year. The sun was still up though it wouldn’t be for much longer. Greg got me a beer, and we settled down in the cockpit to talk for a while. “So, what’s happening around home?” I asked Lisa.

“Not a lot, although I’m not home enough to ask very often,” she replied. “I talk to Mom every now and then, and things seem to be pretty much the same. Oh, there’s a few things, like Carolyn dumped her latest boyfriend.”

“I didn’t even know she had one,” I said with a laugh. “But she has yet to show signs of finding one that will stick, and I’m beginning to think she never will.”

“Mom is starting to wonder about that, too.” Lisa shook her head and changed the subject. “Mom is a little sorry you couldn’t make it down for Julie’s graduation on Memorial Day weekend.”

“I would have liked to have been there,” I told her. “But you know what it’s like around here on Memorial Day weekend. There wasn’t any chance I could get free, and I told Mom that. She said it wasn’t a big deal. After all, I missed yours, too.”

“Yeah, you were out on some ship somewhere,” she said with a sigh. “But like I said, it was no big deal. I didn’t even go to my own college graduation. So for what it’s worth we’re all out of high school now, and the folks are not looking forward to an empty house when Julie goes to college next fall.”

“Goes with the territory, I guess,” I said. “I’ll try to find a couple days to get down and see them before summer is over with. Maybe that will make up for it a little. So any other news?”

“Oh, some stuff that mostly is about kids you probably don’t know anyway,” she replied. “Did anybody tell you that Brittany had a baby?”

“News to me. About all I know is that she married that Adam guy back around Christmas sometime, and Brittany’s mother was real pissed that she couldn’t have the big wedding she’d dreamed of.”

“She’s still not very happy about it from what I hear,” Lisa said. “I don’t really know anything about Brittany having the baby myself. I guess it just happened pretty recently, from what Mom said. It was a little boy.”

“Well good,” I replied. “I know Brittany always talked about wanting a family, so I guess she got her wish.”

“It seems a little strange to me,” Greg said. “I didn’t know Adam real well, he was more a friend of a friend, but from what little I know I didn’t think he was all that interested in girls. I don’t want to say he was gay or anything, but girls were just not very high on his priority list. Of course, that’s more what I hear than what I know.”

“Can’t say,” I said and shrugged. “Never met the guy.”

“I’ll tell you what, though,” Greg said. “They aren’t going to be hurting any. Adam’s dad owns a string of auto parts factories, and Adam is going into the family business. He ought to be a success at it. That’s what I’m told he wanted to do, and they say he tends to be pretty focused and obsessive about it. He’s going to be making some serious bucks.”

“Sounds like it worked out pretty well for her,” I said. “I’m glad to know it did. If she’d wound up with me, she would have never had that kind of money. I really doubt I’d ever be cut out to be a big-bucks kind of guy.”

“I doubt that I’m going to fall in it like my old man did,” Greg shrugged. “I have to think that Lisa and I are going to be all right, maybe nothing quite as fancy as my old man, but I’m not going to be able to sit back and do nothing, either. In fact, I sort of envy you.”

“Envy? Why’s that?”

“Hey, I know you may be a boat hand, and work on a fuel dock, and are a short-order cook,” he said. “But who spent the winter cruising around in Florida doing what he wanted, and who sat in a classroom busting his ass? And I’m still going to be busting my ass after I get my degree. Lisa and I took a look at that little boat of yours this afternoon. I agree, it’s nothing much, but it’s yours, and you get the time free to be able to enjoy it. I only get to go out in this big hog because it’s Dad’s. I’m not so damn sure I wouldn’t want to trade places with you.”

“It gets a little tough around me at times,” I admitted. “And I’m probably not going to be able to live like this forever, but I should be able to for a few years yet. Probably sooner or later I’ll find someone and settle down, but why not enjoy myself while I’m still free?”

“Yeah, and that’s the point,” Greg said. “You got lucky or got smart or something and get to do things like that. I never had the chance and I probably never will. We’re probably not even going to be able to spend much time up north this summer since I’ve got a summer class I’m going to have to waste time on, plus get some work done on my thesis. You’re going to Florida again next winter, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, probably. It isn’t all the way settled yet, but that’s the general idea.”

“I’ll be sitting in a classroom again or working on my thesis,” he sighed. “And all the while I’ll be thinking of you messing around on your little boat down where it’s warm. Don’t think that you have a bad life, because you don’t. It may not be what you want to do for the rest of your life, but you’re sure lucky to be able to do it now.”

Much of the rest of the evening was spent by my telling stories from my Florida trip in the Pixie the last winter – leaving out Melissa and Danielle, of course – and talking about plans for next year. By the time the evening was over with, I was a lot more satisfied with my life than I’d ever been before.

*   *   *

As busy as things were, the Fourth of July weekend soon rolled around. The holiday was as busy as always, with all the usual things scheduled down at the harbor. It was open to question whether I’d get to participate in any of them, because any time I didn’t spend out on the Chinook III was obviously going to get spent at the Channel Stop.

But the good part about it was that Susie was going to be home. She could only get home for the few days of the holiday weekend, and she hadn’t been home since Christmas, when I’d been in Florida, of course.

She showed up at the Channel Stop on the afternoon of her first day off, and it so happened the place wasn’t busy for the first time all day, so we all were able to welcome her home. It was good to see her again. She looked well-dressed and sophisticated, not like the rather sloppy college girl I remembered. There were hugs all around, and I waited my turn. It was only then, when she pressed her breasts up against my chest, that I happened to notice something was different. “Whoa!” I said, stepping back and looking at her, noticing that she had breasts where none had been before – not big like Debby’s or Annette’s, more like Rachel’s. “Something new has been added. Two new somethings, for that matter!”

“Yeah,” she replied sheepishly. “You like them?”

“It sure makes you look different,” I said. “Do you like them?”

“Sometimes,” she said. “Sometimes not. They’re still pretty tender, and it seems like they’re in the way all the time.”

We didn’t get time to talk just then, since a group of people came in, but later that evening when the place was quiet and I was just waiting alone to close up for the evening, she came in to see me. We talked about her life in Chicago, which she seemed to like, and her job, which was both well-paid and enjoyable, and her romantic life, which seemed to be taking off.

“I need to talk to you about something that I’d feel funny explaining to Mom or Annette,” she said. “You’re probably the best friend I have up here who isn’t family.”

“I’m always ready to listen to you,” I told her. “You know that.”

“Well, I still feel funny talking to a guy about this, but maybe it’s better than talking to a girl, especially one I know as well as Mom or Annette,” she said and sighed. “It’s about my implants.”

“I can see why you’d feel funny about it,” I agreed. “I got the impression this afternoon you weren’t quite as happy with them as you would like.”

“I’m not,” she shook her head. “But maybe it will be easier to talk about them with a guy, after all. Jake, you know that for years I didn’t think of myself as being very pretty, mostly because of my flat chest.”

“I never thought that.”

“You probably didn’t, since you’re not that kind of guy,” she smiled. “But damn it, you know there are a lot of people, men and women alike, who judge women on the size of their boobs.”

“Very true, and I’m guilty of it a little myself. Hell, I’m a guy after all, we’re built that way. Once I realized who you were and where you were coming from, I looked a little deeper and realized you were a pretty fine person.”

“That’s kind of what it’s all about, since a lot of people don’t take the effort.” She took a deep breath and went on, “I’m afraid I got to ranting about it once when we were out with friends, a mixed bunch of girls and guys, and I spouted off that I’d get implants if I had the money. Then this guy, Tony, piped up and said that he’d buy them for me if I’d let him play with them for a bit. I mean, it was just bullshitting around, or so I thought.”

“So you took him up on it,” I grinned.

“Well, yeah,” she said. “It was a little more complicated than that, but after everybody sobered up the next day, he said that he was a little embarrassed he’d said that but that the offer was still open. And, well, to make a long story short, there they are.”

“So, did he enjoy playing with them?” I asked, unable to hide my amusement.

“Yeah,” she said. “And he still does. He likes them a lot, in fact, and it didn’t take us long to go from him playing with them to going all the way. He’s really a pretty nice guy once I got past his thing about boobs. It’s too early to say yet, but it looks like we’re going to put something together.”

“Well, good for you,” I told her. “I know you’ve been looking for something permanent.”

“Maybe, as far as it goes. I’m still embarrassed that I had to do it to get a nice guy, and it bothers me a little. Like I said, they’re tender, and they hurt for quite a while since the skin was stretched so much. They don’t feel right. They’re hard and stiff, not soft and floppy like Annette’s, for example. Hell, they’re so firm I don’t need a bra even as big as I am now. I’m told that after a while the implants will settle a little and they’ll feel a little more natural, but I’m still waiting. But Jake, it bugs the hell out of me that I had to have them to snag a guy I like!”

“You do what you have to do,” I said. “Sometimes it takes making some changes.”

“I realize that,” she said sadly. “But I don’t like being judged for my breasts, rather than the rest of me. Now I’ve got that good-looking tits-on-a-stick figure, and I’m getting noticed when I was ignored before. I mean, I have a brain, I know how to use it, and it counts for shit compared to my tits.”

“I can’t say as I blame you for feeling that way,” I said. “But then I’m a guy, what do I know about that kind of thing? All I can say is that you do what you have to do. If you had to bait the hook, so what? If you got a nice guy out of it, wasn’t it worth the effort?”

“Well, maybe,” she said. “And Tony is a nice guy. I’d be tempted to let you play with them just so you’d know a little more about what they feel like, but since he bought them I figure I better let him have an exclusive on them, for now at least. I guess that means I’m not going to be going to your room while I’m up here.”

“No, that wouldn’t be right,” I said. “What we did was fun, but it was only fun because neither of us had anyone serious at the time. Now you do, or at least you’re looking at the possibility, so it wouldn’t be very fair to him if we did, would it?”

“No, it wouldn’t. I’m sorry to cut you out, Jake, but I think I’d better.”

“It’s all right with me,” I said. “And I don’t think it would be right otherwise.”

“God, you are such a nice and understanding guy,” she said, and shook her head again. “I can’t believe it. It’s just too damn bad we couldn’t make something work, but I don’t think we’d ever have been able to. You know, you’re going to have to find a girl, and when you do she’s going to be a very lucky person. Have you been trying?”

“Not really,” I told her. “I don’t see very many prospects coming through the kitchen, or even out on the boat. But I’m in no rush. I don’t mind doing a few other things while I’m waiting.”

“You can say that. I did. But Jake, don’t wait too long.” She sighed and added, “Poor you. First Debby, then Annette, then me. Guess you’re not the resident stud anymore.”

“No, I haven’t been since Annette took up with Wayne,” I said. “But I’ll live. There’ll be someone out there for me sooner or later.”

So, Susie and I didn’t get together that weekend, not that we would have had more than a night or so, anyway. I was happy to see that she was moving on with her life.

But, I had to admit that having her moving on set me to thinking. However much Greg may have envied my freedom, there were some things missing, and I was beginning to feel it more and more. It wasn’t a crying need to me, but I could see it becoming more so. But, as I thought about it, that would mean giving up a lot of things I’d come to like, such as my summers working in Winchester Harbor, and the prospects of spending winters in the south. It wasn’t a critical thing yet, but it was something that was demanding more and more thought.

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