DEADLOCKED: A Trial Beginning

DEADLOCKED: A Trial Beginning

A Chapter by R. M. Secor
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3 sample chapters

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 Chapter One

 

The ferry was less than a hundred yards away down a slight slope, but looked very dangerous as the rain splashed against the wooden dock extension.  Better suck it up and get down to the end of the dock.  My only reservation was breaking my new black Prada high heel dress boots that cost me three hundred dollars on sale and tumbling down on my butt.  At least I knew if I hurried I could make it to the ferry terminal and have enough time to grab a cup of coffee from Old Merl’s diner inside the terminal before the ferry arrived.

Started down the dock and noticed the rain was not letting up and the air seemed to be cooler as I could see what looked like fog rolling in from the water's edge.  Nothing more eerie than traveling across the waterway with little to no visibility and I was not the one driving. Out of nowhere a lighting bolt shattered the skyline and made the hair on my arms stand up and I stopped.  Grabbed my wits, tried to shelter my head with my purse and started to walk faster towards the terminal entrance.

My only concern now was to get out of the rain and put an end to today’s hustle and bustle. My only problem was I had rushed off and left my luggage at the spot I stopped at and didn't realize it until I heard someone behind me shouting and whistling at me. 

“Hey, you left your bag. Whistling sound rang out...hey you forgot your bag ma'am.” 

I turned around to see what the shouting and whistling was about and looked down and noticed I had not even thought about my luggage.  I am so stupid at times it scares me.

Holding my purse up above my eyes now, I managed to brush enough of my drenched hair away and out of my eyes to see this fellow walking towards me with my bag.  I could not make out what he looked like, but he did look like a younger man.  As he approached me I can see he was not so thrilled to be bringing me my bag, as he looked a little miffed.

Could be that he too isn't thrilled about the down pouring of the rain.

“Thank you so much for bringing me my bag, I am so sorry.” 

“It is all right, just hate the rain.” My feelings exactly I thought as he offered the handle of my bag towards my hand. 

In fact this young man was rather good looking and I figured if I gave him a sweet smile and thank you that would make up for him having to bring me my bag.

“Thank you again,” is what I wanted to say, but I smiled at him, took my bag and turned around and started to walk again.

I did not get but a few steps forward before I felt awkward for not even acknowledging my thanks again and decided to turn around to thank him, but to my disbelief he was gone.  It was as if he had vanished and was never there.  I realize I am standing in heavy down pouring rain, half blinded from my hair in my face, but I swear I am not imagining this.  How could this be?  Well, I am certainly not going to stew over it, I am cold and wet and need coffee, besides my arm is killing me from holding my purse up so long.  Not going to make for a productive evening looking over the papers when I am sore.

OK Alex I mumbled out loud turned around and was shattered by a horn blown from a fishing boat leaving the dock to the left of me.  I did not even see this boat that is how freaking heavy the rain is coming down. Talk about being scared shitless, I almost crapped my pants in utter fear.  Not that it matters even if I had seen it, I still would have been shaken from it.  This night is going to get the best of me and my nerves are shot.

I managed to get out of the rain as I entered the terminal entrance under the metal awning. The fog was so thick now it seemed right out of an old Hollywood movie.  Strange as I have never seen it so thick on my previous trips, but that is because I have never taken the last ferry across at night.  Typically during the day all you can hear is the sounds of boats coming and going, seagulls crying out as the dive to the dock in hopes to snatch up some morsel of food dropped by passing travelers or from the old geezers tossing scraps of unwanted leftover bait before casting their lines over the side of the dock.

The only thing I can hear now is the water running up against the dock and splashing with a distant constant bell sound possibly from an anchored boat a ways out covered by the blanket of night and fog swaying in the water.  Quite spooky if you ask me, but nevertheless, I made it and now I can go and grab a cup of “Devils Blood”.  That is what old Merl refers to his coffee he serves. To me it is a lifesaver.  The taste of the coffee is less desirable to some and can be compared to tree bark, but nothing a little cream and a whole lot of sugar to tame it.

Walking through the terminal door I almost made it through the door when the door slammed on my luggage bag as I was abruptly halted twisting my foot and my right heel snapped right off. 

“Are you freaking kidding me?  First my coat, second my bag and now my heel, this has got to be some cruel joke and I am not laughing.”  Looking around I noticed a few folks staring at me like I was an idiot. 

“What? Never seen someone talk out loud to themselves before?” Funny how quick their heads turn away as if they were not looking at me. 

After realizing how ridiculous I was for snapping out loud I bent over to pick up my heel that broke off and hobbled towards one of them to offer my sincere apology.

“I am so sorry for speaking to you that way, it's just it is getting late, I am drenched, tired and moody and did not mean it.  I am just having a bad day.” 

The little old lady that I had approached and offered my sincere apology for my outburst looked at me with a frown and said nothing back to me, just stared and shook her head as in disbelief. 

I was about to offer up my sincere apology again as the old lady turned to me, extended her left arm and pointed her wrinkled old index finger and just shook it up and down for a few seconds before mumbling the words, “You young people today have no class” and walked away.  Boy was I left with such an odd feeling and to top it off I got a finger pointed at me.  That sure reminded me of Miss Simons and the hair on the back of my neck stood up as a cold shiver ran through my body.  

Looking around I can see this section of the terminal had no seats; lighting looks to be kept at a minimum probably to save on costs.  Did not matter as the section that did have seating was behind a glass doors and at this hour is locked so no sitting down like a civilized human being and taking them off.  Funny how I never paid attention to such little details of the terminal before never dawned on me.

 I decided to walk over to a wall so I could brace myself and try to pull off my boots one by one even though I sure didn't want to.  This floor didn't look too clean, but I had no choice, it was either hobble along with one broken boot are toughen it up and go barefoot.  Besides, I am a lawyer; I am supposed to be tough and who cares if I walk barefoot.  The reality of it is I care and didn't really want. 

Trying to brace myself I tried to pull the broken boot off, but the stubborn boot won't come off. Tug after tug just made me frustrated I wanted to cry.  Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and it startled me.  I adjusted my posture, tugged on my dress and started to turn around to see who it was.  This was a little quirk I adapted over the years and was instilled by my uncle to always be a lady.  It just came natural now.  The only thing I could think of was the little old lady, but to my surprise it wasn't.

“Looks like you need saving now and not your bag.”  A slight smirk rolled upon my lips as I said with hesitation, “Ha-ha.  Sure looks that way.  My day is just not going to end well.” 

“You know I turned around to offer my thanks to you and you vanished and I never got to introduce myself.”  I offered my hand out to shake his as I mentioned my name to him. 

“Alex?  Wait isn’t that a guy's name?” 

“Well, it is, but it is short for Alexandria.” Blushing I replied to the man, “Wow, now that is a hot and sexy name like Nefertari and it fits you well.” 

“Well now, that is the first to hear my name be compared to the great wife of Ramsey's the Great.  Not sure if I should be scared, flattered or to throw myself on you and kiss you? (Grinning with excitement) So what is your name?”

It felt like minutes as I waited inpatient to find out the name of this young, handsome man that has come to my rescue twice. 

“Well, first give me your hand and then I will tell you.” 

“Oh OK," I said with hesitation as if I was not going to, but I knew damn well I was. Before I could raise my hand up all the way he grasped my left hand firm, but not too tight as I watched him bow his head with his eyes focused on mine, ever so softly caressing the top of my fingers with his thumb sending quivers up my spine, kissed my hand and said, “Alex, my name is Beauford.”

Instantly my emotions stopped like a screeching needle running across a record.  Nothing like an odd name to buzz kill this moment.  I certainly did not want to show him my emotions outwardly so I slowly withdrew my hand and pretended I was not shocked and said, “Oh, Beauford, um such a nice name.”  I could think of many things to respond with as I quickly turned my head to the side and rolled my eyes in awe, but that is not ladylike and he is just so darn handsome.

Beauford smiled as he stood there waiting for what looked like a response from me.  I did not know what to say other then I motioned myself to sit, but couldn't. 

“Here let me help you.  Take off your other boot.” 

I had no idea what he was up to, but played along and tried to balance myself and pull off the other boot.  I knew this wasn’t going to be easy and felt I was going to end up embarrassing myself if I fall over.  Suddenly after trying to pull my good boot off I lost my balance and started to fall right towards him. 

Luckily for him I fell right into his arms.  His face lit up like a Christmas tree and I on the other hand feel like a total idiot.  What is it with men?  You accidentally fall towards them and they get all googly-eyed as if you planned it.

“Whoa, easy now,” Beauford quickly responded to my dumbest act of the night.  Well, not exactly as I can fire off a few others that take the cake. 

However, even though it was an accident and both my arms landed on his shoulders as he slowly lifted me up to safety, my lips and his were so close I can feel the breath escaping from his nose so rapidly I knew he was excited by the way his eyes were focused on mine and my lips.  His heart racing vastly I needed to back off or his heart would explode.  Truth is I was excited too and started to feel a little light headed and sweat build up on my forehead.  That always happens when I get nervous or excited. 

“Oh I am so sorry.  I thought I had my balance.” 

“I don’t mind at all.  Seems tonight you have a knight in shining armor to save you.  Well, minus the knight armor and being shiny and all.”

OK, now I know he was excited about me, as he is talking awkward. Knight armor missing and not shiny.  For a moment he felt like my knight in shining armor, right up to the point he started talking like a geek and back stepping his confidence. 

“Alex, tell you what, sit down on the floor and let me help you remove your boot.  We surely wouldn’t want you to falltotally on top of me next.” Beauford blurted out while looking around the terminal as if to brag, yet there were not many folks around. 

This man is truly a geek or is instantly love struck, caution Alex is all I can think of at that second.  Well, looking down at the floor I knew I didn't want to sit on it, germs and all.  So I glanced down at my wrist as if to check the time and stall, yet I don't wear a watch.  If that wasn’t an outward cry to stall, I don’t know what the heck would have been.

I can see if his eyes he knew I was stalling and motioned me with his hands to sit on this ungodly dirty, un-sanitized floor. Fine, is the only word I can think of and blurted it out.  This way he will at least know I am going to do it, but not like it.  Just like a teenage girl refusing to hang up the phone when told to when she is talking to a boy she likes.  Same difference here, I just didn’t want to do it. 

“Come on now, nothing is going to happen by sitting on the floor.” 

So I dropped my purse to the ground, unstrapped my backpack from my back and did the same as well as Beauford offered his hand to help me down onto the floor. 

“I am good, I got it. I can sit on my own.” 

“Oh relax, take my hand and let me help you, I got you, I promise nothing will happen and you will sit down safely.”

So I grabbed his hand and slowly descended to the floor taking my focus off him and looking down at the ground.  This is going to get my dress all dirty and I am not at all amused. Suddenly out of nowhere he blurts out a yelp and jolts my arm. 

“Look out!”  I panicked in fear as if there was something there as I looked up and saw his eyes closed, shaking his head and laughing softly.  This almost made me pee a little and now my heart was beating fast.  Touché I would presume if a score were being kept.     

“Ha, ha, ha.  Not funny.  You almost made me pee and scared the crap out of me.  Now if that happened how would you rebuttal that?” quickly responded as my heart rate slowly withdrew from the edge of possible death.

Letting go of his hands I managed to sit down the rest of the way.  This is so stupid thinking that there might have been something on the ground to frighten me. 

“OK, I am down on the ground, now what?” 

“Give me your other leg and I will show you.”

Beauford reached for my leg at that moment and began slowly raising my dress up and over my knee area.  His eyes not focused on mine now, but my leg.  All I can do is watch this unfold as he managed to unzip my boot and begin to remove it. 

“You are going to have to bend your knee more so I can get a good grip and pull it off.” 

“More?  Wait, why?  Can’t you just pull it off?”  Muttering out with several questions as if to argue with him. 

Bending my knee more upward made it easier now for him to unzip the boot and pull it off.  However, I noticed his eyes light up as he stopped pulling the boot off and gazed at my now slightly exposed inner thigh revealing a little too much for him to concentrate.

“Hey, focus on my eyes not my thigh,” quickly blurting out as I tucked my dress to cover my exposed thigh. 

Starting to think this was all an act to get me to do this so he could get a glimpse under my dress, but for some reason in a quirky way it didn't bother me.  Yet I was not going to let him think he could just do that and get away with it.  He just saw parts of me you don't get to see unless I want you to.

“Wow, so what’s that tattoo all about?”

“Never mind what you just got to see and hurry up and finish with my boot.”

Beauford with a gleaming shine to his face and body language removed the boot off my foot.  What is with guys?  They accidentally get to see a part of a woman's body and they go nuts with no self-control as if they were animals possessed with perverted tendencies. 

Beauford took my boot and began to observe it like it was a piece of evidence in a crime scene as I just looked at him.  In one-second he is handsome, charming, easy speaking, then in another he is something different.  More like a young teenage boy with a high sexual drive wrapped with an outer shell of a geek.

I had no idea what he was going to do with my boot, but really was hoping he would speed up the examining, as I am dying for a cup of coffee and to get off the god forsaken terminal floor.  Snapping my fingers in hopes to gain his attention, Beauford raised my boot as I watched him slam down my boot to the floor as my eyes light up like an explosion with my jaw dropping trying to utter a few single words to save my three hundred dollar boot.

There was nothing I could do or say as I was frozen in my spot.  My mouth suddenly speechless with what felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls.  The word STOP was overruled as he spoke from his look. I have never been speechless and this was a first.  Oh my god he is destroying my Prada boots!  Does the man have no conscious to what this boot is worth?

The sound of a quick snap ringed throughout the immediate terminal area as I leaned back, slowly closing my mouth and just blinked in awe.  My breathing once again forced beyond the natural human being limitations.  My heart pounding against my chest as he brought the boot closer for me to witness the destruction that just happened.

“You see, all better.”

All better?  I wanted to lunge over and grab my decimated boot and whack him across the face and beat him to a pulp, but quickly realized that was a split second out of my body experience and looked at the boot in front of me.

“I am speechless. I...I...I...do you know...wow,” is all I could get out as he motioned me to lean back and raise my leg again so he could place my boot back on my foot and leg.  This time he will not be getting a glimpse of me. Tucking my dress completely wrapping my leg revealing not even a slight hair on my leg if there was one, my boot was now safe and sound back on me.

This whole charade from me was really silly and stupid on my behalf as it was just a boot.  A boot that I wanted for a long time, window-shopped, desired and finally as a gift to me for graduating college bought from Saks Fifth Avenue.  They were Prada boots and nothing speaks more volume than a woman wearing Prada.

Beauford stood above me reaching down as to help me get back to my feet.  Pulling me up this time I distanced myself so I would not be so close, besides I was angry for what just happened.

“There now you can walk the rest of the night without hobbling.”

Slowly moving around from side to side, he was right.  Not the best option for me of the night, but it will do. I knew I just didn't want to have to go the rest of the trip barefooted.

“So tell me Alex, now what?”

“Well, for starters, how about you buy me a cup of coffee from Merl’s and will start there?”

Beauford smiled with that over anxious, teenage geeky look again as he quickly grabbed my luggage and backpack and we headed for Old Merl’s.

 

                                                           Chapter Two

 

Walking in Old Merl’s diner I was greeted by that deep coffee smell that Merl always had brewing as the little bells above the door jingled.  The smell to me was intoxicating.  Beauford was a gentleman as he held the door for me and I could see a familiar face behind the counter peaking through the kitchen to the front.  Old Merl smiled and waved me in as he stopped what he was doing to come and greet me.

“Ah my little Bella.  Ciao, venire qui.”

That is what Old Merl called me every time he saw me speaking old school in his native tongue, which meant, “My little beautiful. Hello, come here.” 

I reminded him of his granddaughter, who he said doesn’t come around much anymore these days.  Shame if you ask me, but I do not mind bringing a little happiness to him when I get that chance to visit here.  Old Merl was an Italian immigrant from Sicily, Italy right off the boat many years ago and fell in love with Seattle and never left.

Owning a little diner next to ocean inlet reminded him so much of the time he was a little boy when his father would bring him to an old diner once a month when they visited.  His father did not leave with his mother and him so it was a treat for them to spend time together.

“Ciao Merl.”

“Ah, Bella, so good to see you, here sit...sit.” Merl motioning Beauford and me to sit down. 

Merl was always so inviting and quick to have anyone and everyone that came into the diner sit down a soon as they walked through his doors.  It was his pleasure to have them there and wanted to please everyone.

“So let me guess, a hot cup of Devil’s Blood for you.”

“Oh I would love you to death if you brought me that goodness.”

Beauford had no idea what Devil’s Blood was referring to, but seeing how he felt like a fifth wheel and left out as I didn’t introduce him to Old Merl leaned in and asked for the same.

“Ah sounds good.  I will have a cup as well,” smiling at me and sitting back in his booth.

Well, I kinda guess it was OK to interrupt as I realized I had not introduced him to Merl since we were seated so fast, but it still was a little rude if you ask me.  Old Merl just looked at him for a few seconds, no expression just a straight face.  Looking up at Merl I rolled my eyes with a smirk on my face to break his stare and it worked.

Old Merl looked back at Beauford and then back at me and smiled and said, “Two cups coming right up.”  Old Merl’s diner was also famous to me as he always had fresh cannoli’s filled with white cream and chocolate chips and I am a bit hungry so I quickly made sure to add that to my cup of coffee.

“Merl, can you bring me as well one of your famous cannoli’s?”

“Of course my Bella.”

Glancing over at Beauford across the table booth as he looked back at me I can see he was thinking the same and made a call back to Merl a second time.

“Make that two!”

“So tell me Alex, what is Devil’s Blood?  This some sort of concoction that I am going to like?” Beauford asked me in a lowered tone voice. 

Laughing slightly as I looked at him all I could do is sit there and smile.  I can see he isn't to sure about what he ordered to drink and was feeling a little uncomfortable.  Kind of how I felt when sitting on the ground as he gazed at me inner thigh that revealed my tattoo. 

Ah the mystery of not knowing, such a potent drug for the mind.  Men always going in half-cocked and not even knowing why.  What would the world be without us?  This place would fall apart and to think over a simple cup of coffee ordered without asking its contents.  Several thoughts came to mind to play with his mind and let him believe it was some sort of concoction, but right now I decided to just keep it simple. 

“Oh don’t worry, you will like it trust me,” smirking at him to keep the mystery going for a bit longer.  The look on his face was priceless.  Asking a guy who you just met not more than an hour ago to trust you without even knowing who he is.  For all I know he could be some sort of stalker, rapist or kidnapper and I was his new target.  Maybe he was a hitman and was sent to kill me as well or here’s one that is even more stupid.  Maybe he was hired by my new law firm to watch out for me and to protect me as this case that I have not even had a chance to look at it involved some sort of Mafia ties and they knew who I was and was coming for me. 

Laughing under my breath with my eyes closed for a split second I actually pondered that to be true.  I needed to know whom this person was sitting with me.  The sound of silence for a second filled my ears as I could here briefly outside the ringing of a bell as a nearby boat jostled in the water.  Old Merl had a few windows left open all the time to let out the aroma of the diner to attract people to come in.  The sound of the bell eased my concerns and opened my eyes to see Beauford still sitting there with a smile.

“You OK?” Beauford asked me as I reopened my eyes.

“Yes, I am fine.”

“You sure, because you seemed to have blanked out for a bit.”

“No am fine,” insisting to Beauford that nothing is wrong even though I was letting my mind take the best of my thoughts for a second.

Just then I can see Old Merl walking this way with the coffee and cannoli’s.  This could not have come at a better time, as I really didn't want to show Beauford I was in a vulnerable state.

“Here you go Bella and friend.”

“Two cups of Devil’s Blood and two delizioso cannoli’s.  Enjoy you have time; the ferry doesn't arrive for another twenty minutes.  Mangi.”

“Thanks Merl,” responding to Merl lifting my cup of coffee to my nose taking in a huge hit of aroma.

“Ah yes, there is nothing like a good OLE cup of coffee to wake you up!”

“Wait so Devil’s Blood is just a cup of coffee?” Beauford uttered out with a strange look on his face.

“No. Non solo una tazza di caffe’. E’ una splendida tazzi di caffe’!” Old Merl reiterated in his native tongue before walking back to words the kitchen waving his hands in the air and shaking his head, which translated into him referring to not just a cup of coffee, but a fantastic cup of coffee.  Well, I think that is what he meant; I picked up some Italian leaving with my uncle.

“Wow, what’s up with him?”

“Oh that is just Merl.  He is quite fond of his Devil’s Blood, I mean coffee (smirking) and is proud to serve it to locals.  Just a family recipe and to some it is just coffee but to him it is everything.  That's how his family survived when he was growing up in Italy.

“I guess I better go and tell him I did not mean any disrespect.”

“Oh don't worry about Merl, I will talk to him before we leave the diner and smooth things over.  Besides it sounds like to me you are not from around here are you?”

“Not exactly.”

“Well, Beauford where are you from?”

“From the great state of Texas. Corsicana Texas to be precise.”

“Texas?  What brings you to Seattle?”

“Cow Pies.”

“Excuse me, did you just say cow pies?” responding quickly as this certainly took me off guard as I continued on.

“So you are some sort of a baker?”

This image I had for this handsome man was quickly getting strewed and contorted as I tried to imagine him wearing a bakers white hat.

“I guess you can say I am sort of a baker.”

I didn’t really hear his last statement as I imagined him as a baker, shirt off showing his chest and firm abs with flour stuck to it, white hat on and looking at me with lust trying to seduce me and boy was it working.

“Hello?” Beauford interrupting my dreaming gaze at him.

“So a baker.  I would have never guessed that.  I would have thought possibly a model or a geek or I dunno.”

Beauford really didn't like my response as he picked up his cup of coffee to sip it to avoid responding back. This time not looking at me.  I decided it was time to ask him about his name hoping not to offend him, but it didn't quite come out they way I had envisioned it.

 “Oh, you wouldn't mind if I just called you Beau for the rest of the night?  Something about your name is turning me off and I can’t get past that.”

“Oh sorry, don't want to offend you with my name too.  Listen maybe this isn't such a great idea after all and I should go.  You seem fine now.” Beauford quickly moves sideways to get out of the booth and stood up.

“No, please sit down.  I didn't mean to offend you; sometimes I say things before I think and I am sorry.  Please sit back down, drink your coffee and eat your cannoli’s,” looking up at him with showing with my eyes I didn't mean it.

Boy I feel like a total jerk for saying what I just did, not one of my grandest moments.  Making this guy feel uncomfortable after he helped me out.  Beauford sat back down and took a bite of his cannoli. 

“So tell me more about being a baker.”

“I think you got it all wrong Alex, I am not a baker as in cakes and pastries.  I work with manure.”

Well, this is certainly not what I expected to hear.  He works with manure and is some sort of a baker.  Not following this and not sure I really want to know more, but I do.

“Well, gosh Beauford that must be a crappy job,” making a joking comment in hopes to see a smile on his handsome face, but not sure it worked as he paused for a second or two without speaking.  Then it happened, he cracked a smirk.

“I get it, crappy job...working with manure...I can see the connection. I like you.  You have a way with words don’t you.”

“Yes, I seem to think so,” smirking back and sipping my coffee.

“So I am not quite sure what it is exactly that you do.”

“I am an agriculture scientist that specializes in fertilizer anatomy and structure to enhance the growth of plants and crops.”

Listening to his definition of what he is seemed to lure me in as he said it with such poise and confidence.  He seemed pretty proud of his work and I yearned to know more.

“So this work of yours brought you to Seattle?”

“Well, not exactly, it was my research and experiments that I did back home that got me here.  As a boy I grow up on my granddaddy's farm in southern Texas and witnessed the struggles he and his workers went through to grow crops in the hundred degree heat and drought.”

“Wow that must have been rough.”

“It was and sad too.  Anyway, I wanted to help see him succeed, but didn’t know how.  Being related to a public figure and the thought of failure would have devastated him not to mention the media harassment.”

“So your grandfather was related to a public figure.  Who if I may ask.” I was enthralled with his story and didn’t even think about my coffee as it was slowly getting engulfed in coldness.

“You sure this isn’t boring you?  Previous women I have talked to seemed to be not interested and well, I never hear back from them.”

Looking up and to the side of Beauford I tried to glance at Old Merl’s Lighthouse Tower clock to see what time it was, but the clock was not working.  Merl had said last month he was going to get it fixed, but obviously he didn’t.  Seemed to me that thirty minutes had already past and no sign of the ferry come into port.  Usually you would hear the horn blow.  I certainly did not want to miss my ride home.

“Is something the matter?”

“Oh no sorry, was just looking for the time.  Do you know what time it is?  I am not wearing a watch.”

Beauford looking down at his wrists to see what time it was, but realized he wasn’t wearing one either.

“I don't know, I must have forgotten to wear my watch.  Could have sworn I had it on earlier.”

Beauford looking around him on the booth seat, on the floor and even stretching over to see the booth behind him, but no luck.  I need to know what time it is, but I figured if I looked outside the window I might tell if folks were starting to walk towards where the ferry would have docked.  Who knows I could have not heard the horn blast as I was enchanted by his story.  As I looked out the window all I could see was darkness encompassed with heavy fog, but I leaned further in pressing my cheek into the window as I was startled by a glimpse of a mans face protruding through the fog and threw myself back into my seat. 

“Oh my god, did you see that man looking into the window?” crying out with dazzlement in my voice.  I can see Beauford did not see as he was ducking his head under the table to look for his watch as he replied, “What window?”

“This window.  I swear at first I was looking out through a dark foggy window and out of the fog a man's face appeared and scared the crap out of me.  Funny thing, though.”

“What is funny?”

“Can you please stop looking underneath the table for a second and listen to me?”

Beauford quickly raised his head banging it on the bottom of the table causing my coffee to splash out of the cup and landing on the table and my dress right above my chest.  The table made a shaking sound and Old Merl came running out from the back of the kitchen to see what just happened.

“What happened?”

“Merl you got to go outside and check it out.  I swear I saw someone looking in the window at me.  I swear I have seen his face before, but cannot for the life of me think of where.”

“OK Bella I will go and look.  How did you get coffee on your dress?  Did he do that?  That dress is going to be ruined now.”

“Calm down Merl, it is OK.”

Merl looking down at Beauford as he held his head where he bumped it and then back at me. 

“Are you OK Bella?”

“Yes, I am fine, but I am not too sure about him.”  Looking at Beauford sitting on down rubbing his head I felt bad for asking him to stop talking and listen to me and I think Merl thinks this guy intentionally made a pass at me and for some reason that is how coffee got all over my dress as if I was fending him off.

“Merl he did nothing to me other than accidentally bumping his head on the bottom of the table looking for his watch.  I had asked him for the time...[pausing for a second to change the subject]...anyway that doesn't matter, I swear I think someone was watching me from outside.”

“I’ll go and see.”

 Beauford made his way out of the booth seat and went out into the terminal and made his way to an exit quickly walking towards the side the window stopped to look around and then darted off out of sight looking for a stranger that might have been lurking around that looked suspicious.

“Do you know what time it is?”

“Yes, it is about that time the ferry should be pulling in,” and just at that moment the sound of the ferry’s horn blasting went off.

“Hey how did you know that?”

“It’s a gift.” Merl shrugging his shoulders up and down and squinting his eyes.

“I guess I better get going, don’t want to miss my ride home.”

Reaching over to my purse in the booth, “How much do I owe you Merl for the coffee a treats?” while pulling out my pocketbook.

“Ah, it is on the house.”

“Go now before you miss your ride.”

“You are such a sweet man, love you.” kissing Merl on his cheek, grabbed my belongings and started to exit the diner and head out the terminal towards the ferry.

Merl always loved it when I kissed him.  Made him feel warm and fuzzy inside.  Pulling on the diner door the bells jingled as Merl raised his voice at me to get my attention. Turning around I see him motioning me to wait as he quickly ran behind the counter and wrapped up some cannoli's and headed back towards me.

“Here, take these and enjoy them and come back soon and make an old man smile my Bella.”

“Oh thank you Merl.  I will.”

Heading out the door with both my hands full I could hardly hold onto my stuff let alone the cannoli’s, but there was no way in hell I was dropping these.  So grasping the cannoli’s in my mouth, smiling back at him, I exited the diner and quickly darted down the terminal to the exit with my luggage bag wheels bouncing from side to side, up and down almost losing the grip on the handle several times as my backpack held onto my shoulder for dear life.

Pushing through the terminal door to outside the taste of aluminum foil literally filled my mouth along with my own saliva running down the side of my mouth, but I was not dropping them.  I didn't give a rat’s a*s what I looked like; I was not missing my way home.  Besides I had to go find Beauford too and see if he found the man whom I felt for sure was spying on me through the window.

As eerie as it felt I hadn’t even noticed that the fog was not so dense as the rain had let up as well to a mere light drizzle.  Outside the front entrance to the terminal, standing on the dock I could see the ferry lights through the fog getting brighter as it was pulling into the dock. I made my way over to where I needed to be hoping to spot Beauford.

The ferry was now pulling up beside the dock, waves crashing into the side of the dock.  Seagulls flying away into the dark in anticipation of not to get hit by the big boat.  Standing there all I can do was watch this massive ferry move in with such majestic rhythm.  Big black letters, one by one passed in front of my eyes, V.I.C.T.O.R.I.A C.O.V.E.

I had never seen the Victoria Cove pull into the dock.  In fact I never really paid attention to it in the past.  Could be that before there were many people around to distract me, but wow, this ferry was massive and such a beauty and I say that even though it is dark out. I just climbed aboard and took her for granted.  I guess I was always wrapped up in my schoolwork and never took the time to actually pay attention to it.

Many lights illuminating her outer shell and decks dressing her with poise and character as she came to a stop.  What a magnificent sight to see as at that very moment one last horn blast to alert she has arrived caught me off guard as I dropped the cannoli’s out of my mouth and watched them almost hit the ground as a hand came out of nowhere and caught them. It was my missing man, Beauford.

“Easy now.  Seems like I came back in the nick of time.”

Looking so stupid and relieved at that same time all I could do was look at him and smile.  Beauford had noticed that thecannoli’s package wrapped in aluminum foil was profusely drenched in some sort of slobbery liquid and paused for a second before handing back to me.  Little did he know it was my saliva.  Gross huh?

“Sorry.  I rushed outside to see what happened to you and to get over here for the ferry, but Old Merl stopped me and gave me a few cannoli’s for the road.  It was the only way I could think of carrying them since my hands were full.”

“Oh that’s all right.  Kind of reminded me of my childhood dog Dingo’s chew toy, but nevertheless here you go.”

OK, I deserved that.  Been taking shots at a total stranger for the last hour and it was about time I got some that handed back into my lap.

“Did you happen to see anyone that looked suspicious out here?”

“Well, seeing how dark and quiet it is out here, I didn't see anyone out of the ordinary, but...” Beauford hesitated for a second before I jumped back at him with my plea for more information.

“But what?”

“It was nothing.”

“Nothing, it has to be something or you would not have said it.  You said you didn’t see anyone out of the ordinary followed by a ‘but’ and your voice changed in pitch.  To me that means you did see someone or something.”

“What were you going to say after the but?” anxiously I was cross examining his statement looking for a response and didn't want to wait any longer to see if someone was truly spying on me.

“Easy now.  Relax.  Give me a second to respond.  Geez you would think you are some sort of lawyer by the way you hammered me there.”

“Well, kinda of sort of I am a lawyer.”

“Lawyer?  Hmm, you know that doesn't surprise me they way you been responding to me.”

Feeling rather foolish for my outburst I can see in his face he wasn’t surprised.  It’s not like I have been putting him on the stand questioning his responses and motives tonight or have I been?   I can’t think straight right now.  My feet are killing me from these damn broken boots, my back is tight from dragging my luggage around like a maniac to get out here, my mouth taste like aluminum foil and now my pride has gotten the best of me.  Hope he still likes me is all I can think of at the moment looking into his eyes as water runs down my face.

To make matters worse, the rain changed from drizzle to down pouring again.  If it weren’t for rain, what would Seattle be known for?  It was my destiny tonight to be wet, cold and humiliated by my own words and action.

“Here let me cover you with this umbrella.”

I don't recall him having an umbrella the whole time we have been together.  Strange if you ask me.  It was as if he had pulled it out of his sleeve as a magic trick.  I didn’t care, as I was delighted to have at least my head covered for just a moment out of the pouring rain.  Although I was curious as to how he obtained it.

Beauford managed to come under the umbrella as well moving in close to me within an inch or two.  This closeness jumped started my heartbeat once again as I could see and feel his breath on my face.  The warmth of his breath felt good and still smelled of Coffee let alone the heat his body was letting off thawed my chilled body as I glanced at himscooching closer touching mine against his.  I could tell from his reaction he didn’t mind. I wanted to lean over and kiss him.  That is how attracted I am with him at this moment, but I dared not.

“Now isn’t that better?”

“Much better, thank you.”

“What a beautiful sight,” Beauford whispered to me in a lower tone looking at me.

“Yes, she certainly is a beautiful boat.”

“No, I mean you.”

Chills shot up my spine and Goosebumps ran the length of my arms as my cheeks tightened up with an overwhelming desire to jump into this man's arms wrapping my arms and legs around his body grinding mine against his in hopes to arouse him.  I was so attracted to this quirky, geeky, clumsy, yet come to my rescue handsome man that I just barley met.

I do not usually fall for a guy this fast.  Something is definitely odd about him or maybe Old Merl spiked my drink.  Laughing from within I did not want to let on that I was so easily taken by him, so I did nothing and stood there for what felt like an eternity before he spoke to me again.  The rain tapping the top of the umbrella to the sounds of a snare drum marching into battle as I can see people now lining up to board the ferry off to the side.

So without responding to his comment on me being beautiful to him, I figured I would dodge that bullet, by getting back to finding out if he had seen anyone suspicious when he left the diner to look for me.

“So did you find anyone and how did you come up with this umbrella?”

“Well, not exactly.  By the time I got out here, if there was someone truly spying on you through the window, they are gone.  However, I did run into a guy around the corner that was selling umbrellas and asked him, but he said he hadn’t seen much of anyone around here other than a few folks walking about and the two of us about forty-five minutes ago walk into the terminal.”

Very odd if you ask me as I hadn't seen anyone hanging around the corner as I walked into the ferry’s terminal, but that doesn't mean there wasn’t as it was foggy and raining and I wasn't particularly looking for that sort of thing. Yet, my sense of upbringing from my childhood would have spotted that person even if it were under those conditions. I credit my time at the orphanage and my uncle’s house for that.

I had to know for myself even though Beauford mentioned there wasn’t anyone around.  The sky began to cry more as the rain intensified and I knew it would be difficult to see, but I had to know.

“Give me a minute, I need to see for myself,” quickly leaving the comforts of Beauford’s warm body and umbrella I darted off towards the edge of the building to see what or whom was around the corner.

“Alex, come back here, it is raining hard and besides I wouldn't imagine him to still be there.” Beauford shouting out to me, as he was about to drop the umbrella to chase me, but decided not to.

I really don't care at this moment about the rain.  I have been soaked for hours now, what’s the difference of standing in the rain or running it? I need to know if I was being followed.  My inner ‘Spidey’ sense was going off and I had to find out. 

Well, I rounded the corner of the building to the far east of the dock and Beauford was right.  I could not see anyone through the blurring rain and decided to walk a few feet more and stopped.  This is stupid.  Why would anyone be following me in the first place?  I have nothing on anyone, no enemies, well known that I know about and besides I am a brand new trial lawyer with no cases under my belt.  I haven't even begun to make enemies.

As fearful as I felt from letting my mind get the best of me I stood there as the rain came down even harder soaking my hair and face.  It was Mother Nature’s shower and just the simple thought of that I closed my eyes, opened my mouth and twirled right there as I did as a child.  I must have been crazy and to think I made all this up in my head.  Starting to think I am my own worst enemy.

Just then I could hear my name being called from behind me.  Beauford had come after me calling my name as he approached me.  He had all my belongings with him too.

“Alex...Alex...ah there you are.  Was starting to worry about you.”

“You were right.”

“Right about what?  Here come on tell me as we walk back to the ferry.  It is about to leave. Come here get closer, you are shivering.”

Beauford seemed to be my knight in shining armor tonight after all as he places the umbrella once again over my head and his, one arm wrapped around me and I was once again embraced with his warm body.  Strapping my backpack over my left shoulder, Beauford motioned me to take the umbrella as he grabbed my luggage in his other hand as he dazzled me with his beautiful smile.

“OK, let's get you back to the ferry.  Oh I hope you don’t mind but I stuffed your purse in your backpack.  I didn’t want to run off looking for you and leave your belongings behind.”

I wasn’t the least upset that he had done that.  Besides I had ran off leaving it all behind not thinking about someone running off with it or even that someone being Beauford.  I still had hardly any background on him, yet I subconsciously let him guard over it.

“Oh, and I also stuffed your cannoli’s as well, but I might have kind of squished them, sorry.”

“It is OK.  Thank you for being so caring.  Sometimes I run off and don’t think twice and well, you see what happens.  Again, not one of my finest moments,” smiling up and Beauford I could see he knew I must be one crazy girl.

As we walked back, rounding the corner I could see it was time to board the Victoria Cove as a few folks were walking up the connecting stairs to enter the vessel.  This was a good sight, as I knew I could rest a spell before getting home.

“So, maybe we could get back to our conversation over another cup of coffee on the ferry?  Would really like to know more about the man who has rescued me time after time tonight?”

“I would love to, but I am not going your way.”

I was puzzled, as I had thought he was going to the same place as me.  It never dawned on me to even ask him why he was at the Ferry Terminal. Wow, I felt stupid. 

“What do you mean?  So, why were you down here tonight if I may ask?”

“Well, funny thing.  I was suppose to pick up my grandmother who was traveling back to Seattle this evening, but when I didn’t see her, I decided to walk down to the terminal.”

“And that is where you ran into me and my luggage which I so stupidly left behind.  OH my god, I am so sorry, your grandmother, she must be worried about you, I feel like an idiot distracting you away from her.” pleading to Beauford as I felt so bad for my actions now.

“Relax Alex, it is OK.”

“OK?  How can it be OK?  Your grandmother must be worried to death that you haven't found her.”

“No..No. She is fine.  I had the days mixed up.  In fact I am a day to early.”

“How do you know that?”

“Well, After I went outside to check on your mystery man I didn't see anyone other than the guy selling the umbrellas, so I bought one and walked back up to the dock entrance and used the pay phone and called my family where she was staying.  It turns out she answered the phone and well, felt foolish that I had come a day early, but if I hadn't I would not have met you.”

I felt bad for him as he could have found out earlier about his grandmother, but glad he ran into me. As selfish as it sounds, glad grandmamma was not there or I would not have had the pleasures as well to meet him.

“So now what?” Asking him as if to get some sort of commitment for him to follow up to me.

“I would really like to know more about you and your manure business.”

Beauford smiles as he replied, “As well as me, I want to know more about you Alex the lawyer, and it isn’t a manure business, it is science.”

Whatever he wanted to call it, to me I could not get the image of him playing with crap, but I felt compelled to lean in and kiss him.  What was a girl to do?  It was at least one thing I could do to repay him for his kindness tonight.  Besides who would refuse a kiss from a beautiful stranger like me?  We both leaned in and about to touch each other’s lips as the horn blast from the Victoria Cove signaled it was about to depart.

“Well, I must go, don’t want to miss my last change at getting home. I have a very long day tomorrow and I haven't even read over the case,” pulling away from him I walked aboard the Ferry looking back at him.

“Wait...how can we meet again?”

“Call me, I’m in the phone book under Henson.  Alexandria Henson.”

I boarded the ferry, turned around and waved at him as he stood there in the pouring rain waving back, watching me fade away as the ferry pushed forward away from the dock engulfed once again in the Seattle fog.

 

  

                                                            Chapter Three

 

Several more horn blasts rang the night air to clear the way as the Victoria Cove came about to the left.  I can feel that she was gaining momentum and figured it was best to move away from the edge of where I boarded the vessel as Deckhand Bailey secured the area that I just boarded.

“Good evening misses Henson.  Been a month already?”

“Hi Josh.  How are you tonight?” responding as I hadn't really noticed it had been a month since I last rode the ferry.

“Oh, little tired.  Been a long day.”

“Oh I can relate. Been quite a day and night for me too.  Looking forward to getting home.  How are the waves tonight?

“Captain says it should me smooth sailing for a bit, but might be a tad bumpy once we near the strait, but other then that should be a pleasant ride.  Here let me take your luggage and stow it away behind my stand.”

“You sure, I don’t mind lugging it around.”

“Not at all, looks like to me you could stand to not have to bring it with you.” Josh smiled at me while looking down at my boots.

“Don’t ask.  Too long of a story.”

“Well, I am surprised to see you on such a late ride.  Usually you are on an earlier ride.”

“Again, long story, maybe sometime I will share the story with you, but for now, let's just not speak of it.”

“You got it miss Henson.  Look forward to it.  Hey, just to let you know since you are on the last ride, the main restaurant near the aft is closed, but the bar on the top deck near the front is open and if you are hungry they have a few snacks and some ice cold submarines.”

“Oh, OK, thanks Josh.  Not feeling hungry, but I could use a stiff drink right about now.”

Well, you are in luck as drinks from the bar are free for riders at this hour.”

“Maybe I should ride the ferry more often at this hour.  Free drinks and a handsome deckhand to take my luggage, a girl can’t go wrong,” making Josh blush a tad, I felt I would head towards the bar.

“Have a pleasant ride and when we dock your bag will be right here with me.”

“Thank you Josh.  See you on the flip side.  Time for a drink and I have got to read over some important papers or I am going to be in big trouble.”

“Oh that’s right.  Last time we talked you were about to graduate Law School and head off to London right?  So I take it you must have landed a job as well too?”

Turning to walk away from him I stopped to answer him, as he wasn’t finish conversing. I was under the impression he had, but nonetheless, I responded back. 

“Yes, and if I tend to keep my very first job as a trial lawyer I better get reading and no, no Big Ben, just the city of love, Paris.”

“Ah, yes, well welcome back and tell Jerry at the bar to hook you up with the special.  Trust me, you will love it.  Glad to see you again.”

You see Josh is an eighteen year old boy fresh out of High School working on the ferry and I think he has a crush on me and well, he will tend to distract me as long as he can to avoid doing his duties.  Been told I was rather a distraction for him in the past by his cousin, the ship's navigator. 

The Ferry is pretty much run by his family.  Seems he once told me that he was either going to have to work on the Ferry and learn respect and gain a valuable skill or be sent off to a juvenile institution as he was a teenager that seemed to run with the wrong crowd and would get into trouble. 

I believe he also mentioned that his dad is or was a detective for the Vancouver police department and this was his last straw with his son. So from what I can recall his father sweet-talked the judge in letting his son do time sort of speak here in conjunction.  If you ask me, seems Josh rather work here to avoid going to Juvie and I think he has a crush on me as well.  I don’t mind at all, I kind of like the attention he gives me.  Makes me feel safer knowing I am riding with protection. 

“Well, I best be getting back to my duties.  So good to see you again miss Henson.”

“You can call me Alex.  When I hear miss Henson, it kind of makes me feel like an old woman for some reason.”

“OK Alex, you got it.” Josh still red in the face smiled as I turned and walked into the entrance from the aft of the ferry.

I realized that Josh was just being polite and that I am going to be hearing miss Henson a lot being a lawyer, but coming from a guy few years younger than me makes me feel really old.  It’s not like I looked old, I am only twenty-five.  I work out regularly and try to keep my slim girlish figure and feel like I am sexy.  Well, not right now as I must look rather scary with my brunette hair covering part of my face and clothes soaked to the bone, but other then that I feel good about myself.

Ha, these days it seems men don’t really care.  If you smile at them they think it is a free ticket to romance or even more.  Not in my book.  If I don’t like you back, you don't stand a chance.  Makes me think Beauford as geeky as he seemed might have been a good catch for me.  Although, I might have come across a little harsh at first and a tad easy before we departed.  Just something about him that drove me crazy.

It probably won’t matter as I may not ever hear from him, but it was nice that we bumped into one another.  It isn't everyday a girl gets to experience such chivalry.  Walking around inside the Victoria Cove, I would never have imagined how nice and elegant it was laid out.  How could I have overlooked this on my past voyages? 

Could be, as I never did enter this way before.  I usually followed the crowd and just went with the flow and usually ended up in the front of the boat sitting in the chairs that faced forward.  Never really gave it much thought to getting up and exploring around other then using the ladies room. 

Of course walking through the hall up to the center of the ferry wasn’t elegant, but I noticed the pictures of old vessels hanging on the wall and some maritime artifacts as well.  I just never gave it much thought and really only thought of it as a means of getting across to home.  Besides I usually fell asleep and woke upon arriving and exiting the boat.  There is so much more to this vessel and would love to see it while there is hardly anyone aboard, but I knew if I did that I would not settle down and open my case and review it.

Seemed to me my first case is either going to be a hit or break me, but I did have a 3 hour ride ahead of me and what would another 30 minutes kill me? 

Walking into the open middle section I could actually see a bright full moon silhouetted by the night sky from the glass-covered ceiling. It just lit up the area and was a sight to see.  The center of the boat was the passenger heartbeat as I can see shops along the edge of both sides of the ferry encapsulated with hardwood floors, small tables and chairs placed about.  Elegant light fixtures lighting up the area and up and down the halls leading to other places on the boat.

Lounging chairs neatly facing one another on opposite sides of the area that would potentially spark conversation between passing riders.  An inner top deck wrapping around the entire area with a shiny brass handrail and glass below to keep little ones from falling down through. 

It was not what I would have imagined.  To some it is just a boat, like I had thought, but for some it is not just a means of getting from point A to point B, but rather a social mingling center that thrives their lives.  I can envision many people going about their way passing one another, talking, drinking and even going outside to sight see and grasp the ocean breeze and just having a good time.

“I do the same thing.” Josh had walked up behind me unannounced startling me.

“Oh my god, you scared me.”

“Sorry miss Henson, I mean Alex.”

“It is OK, my heart will stop racing in a few minutes.”

I wanted to turn around and punch him in the arm, but didn't.  I did that once in school and the boy that I was in love with him for horse playing.  Besides he meant no harm and I am just edgy so I played it off as my pulse settled back down.

“You do what the same? Not following.”

“I come here on my breaks around this time and if it is nice out, I usually grab one of the chairs and set it in the middle of this open area and look upwards starring into the night sky.”

“Wow Josh, that seems not so teenage of you.”

“What is that suppose to mean?” Josh looking at me with a bewildered look as if I was making a bad comment directed at him.

“No, I wasn’t meaning anything bad, I was actually referring to you in a good way.  What I mean is it sounded like you were an adult rather than a teenager and if your dad had heard you just now he would see that you as well.”

“Well, he really doesn’t call me very often.”

“That is too bad, he should.”  Just then I had realized I had not called my uncle Nicholas since landing hours ago andnew I was going to be in trouble.

“Oh s**t, sorry excuse my language.  Do you know what time it is Josh?” reaching into my purse I pulled out my BlackBerry and realized it was dead.  No wonder I didn't get a call from uncle.

“It is ten forty seven.”

“I better go find a place to charge my phone.”

“Wait, you can do that up in the bar area, but first try sitting down here.  Let me grab a chair.”

“No need to do that.”

“Please I assist.  You will feel much better after you have experienced it.”

“What the hell, OK,” looking at Josh I figured a few more minutes would not hurt, besides he was admit about getting me to do this so I agreed.

“OK, sit down here and look up.” dropping my backpack and purse on the wood floor next to the chair I looked up.

“Now relax and lean your head back and look up at the sky and see the stars and the moon.  Visualize that for a few minutes and then close your eyes and take in a few deep breathes and let them out.”

“This seems silly Josh.”

“Trust me, just try it.”

I could not believe I was going along with this little charade sitting down in the middle of the floor looking up at the night sky and listening to him.  There had to be a catch to this and I wasn't sure what it was.  Sitting there looking up at the sky was relaxing.  It was peaceful and I noticed that the rain had stopped and it was just a clear night.

“Now lean back keeping your eyes closed and breathe in and out.”

Josh managed to guide my head back against the top of the chair with his hands and I let him.  I didn't think anything out of the ordinary as it was the first time tonight I had actually relaxed.  Little did I know, this young man had other intentions.  Josh speaking to me softly while my eyes still shut, could not make out what he was saying, but went along with it as he moved up closer behind my head.  I had not noticed he was about to do something he would regret, but I was relaxed for the next few seconds.

Josh leaned over and was able to see my chest peeking through the top of my dress, eyes lighting up he kissed my left ear while sniffing my wet hair.  I quickly leaned forward and give him a piece of my mind.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Um, I am sorry, I meant no harm.”

“You meant no harm.  What do you call kissing my ear and sniffing my hair?” Josh stood there with a giddy look on his face grinning.

“Alex, please let me explain.”

“Call me miss Henson Josh.  I can’t believe I fell for this teenage move.  Have to give it to you Josh, that was quite smooth.” again Josh feeling quite found of his move agreed by shaking his head.

“No, stop it, Josh.  Even though this might have been a romantic gesture in your mind, it was creepy.  You took an innocent moment and twisted it.

Standing up I noticed what might have sparked all of this, as my top few buttons on my dress were unbuttoned revealing more than I would like to have shown.  Knowing that, I felt stupid and foolish for yelling at him.  Besides being a young man, this might have been a pinnacle moment for him and I just killed it.  Nevertheless, I played it off as if he was the one wrong.

“Listen Josh, I apologize if I gave you the wrong impression, but next time, try not to be so eager.  Let it lead into it.”

“So you are not mad at me?”

“No, just don't try that again mister,” smirking back at him as it was a little funny as well.

“I promise I won’t, not sure what came over me.  Must be that you are so hot.”

So much for feeling angry towards him, this young man just called me hot.  If he was just a few years older...I had to stop and refocus just then.

“Thank you Josh, appreciate the compliment.”

“No really, you are smoking hot.”

OK, I get it, thank you, but stop saying that.  You’re going to make a girl blush and get all hot and bothered by that,” figuring that was the wrong response to say to an already heighten sexual drive in a young man I quickly made a rebuttal.

“What I mean is thank you.”

“Please don’t say anything to anyone, I meant no harm. I do apologize for my actions.”

I could see in his eyes he was sincere in his apology and I was not going to alert his boss anyway, but felt I needed to play it off to him as I might have.

“I won’t, but you have to make me a promise that you won’t try that again with me or any other woman unless they let you, you got it?”

Boy I sure sounded like an adult there almost like my uncle scolding me when I would do something stupid as a teenager.

“Yes, I got it, but you did say there might be a next time, so...”

“Hey, don’t count your chickens before the hatch.

[Pausing for few seconds]

“I guess I did say that, but what I meant was the next time you find yourself in this situation you think twice, that’s all.  Don’t go all cocked in.”

Josh giggling like a schoolboy as I said that.  I just gave him the look nodding my head.  I can see in his eyes the fire was slowly dwindling and his posture was not so correct anymore.  It was as if the big let down being turned down by a pretty girl after asking her to go steady together.  I felt compelled to redeem him somewhat by giving him hope, even if I really didn’t act on it.

“Listen, tell you what.  If in a couple of years we both find ourselves still single, who knows, I might take you up on it.  I mean, for a casual date, not sex. So for now when we see each other, let’s just be friends deal?”

I knew in the back of my mind if this eighteen year old good looking man was single in a few years and looking as good as he does now, I’d entertain the thought.  Who knows he might even get lucky then if he played his cards right.  In fact I might even let him join the Mile High club, but from a maritime stand point on this vessel. Nothing like an adventure with stakes at hand.  I waited for Josh to respond as he hesitated for a moment, but responded like a good boy.

“Deal!”

‘Good.  Now tell me how to get to that bar, I am needing a stiff cold drink.”

“If you go straight across to your left, right next to the coffee shop and hang a left you will see a spiral staircase.  Take the spiral staircase to the level right up above us.  Then just walk towards the left side of the boat and hang a right passing the Le Cafe and take the next set of stairs you see.  Once you reach the top deck, the bar will be towards the front.”

“Well, that seems pretty easy.  See you in a while Josh.”

Not Really, but I got the drift of it.  Basically find my way to the top deck and locate the bar.  Can’t be that difficult?  I was actually relieved to say the most that that awkward moment was over.  Twice in one night being hit on maybe a booster for some, but under my circumstances, I was a little frazzled.  Men have no self-control and it usually gets them in trouble.

Josh left as quickly as he came and to me that was no shock.  His feathers were ruffled, but at least now he knows no to try that again.  Looking up at the level above to the left, I could see that I needed to get over to the hallway and head to the bar.  Just needed to visually stamp the path in my mind.  Still cannot get over the beauty this vessel possess and many probably will never know unless they see it the way I am.

I had no idea exactly where we were at the moment on the seas, but the boat barely bounced against the water’s skin and hardly even felt like we were moving.  Making my way to the stairs and up to the next level I could see out the windows and it was majestic.  The glow from the moon reflected on the water as the ferry glided across the water.

I see the hallway entrance as well as I walked passed an older gentleman who happened to be sitting in a lounge chair smoking a cigar.  I would imagine smoking on a vessel like this would be prohibited and enforced, but who was around to do that.  Funny how a clearly visible sign was across from him to my right, “NO SMOKING” in bright red with white letters.  A fire extinguisher right beside it as well.

A few thoughts crossed my mind to tell him to put that out as a fire would be horrific to have happen on this boat due to his ashes possibly falling on the carpeted floor due to his neglect.  As well as pulling the fire extinguisher off the wall and without asking dousing him to put it out, but those were just my thoughts and the less I mingled with what I could not control, the better I was off.

 Still I could see he wasn’t aware of the previous ashes that have fallen on the carpet, yet no burn marks that I can tell.  He just looked at me with a smile as I passed him and offered a simple greeting without showing a smile.

“Hello.”

“Marvelous evening wouldn’t say?”

“Not if you had the day I have had, you would respond differently.”

“Hmm, I guess by what I just saw done below I can agree.  Young Josh seems to have taken a liking to you.”

“Sorry, I did not realize anyone was around to see that.  Not what I expected from him.”

“Well, can you blame him?”

“Great another man on the verge of referring to the way I look.  It must be this getup I am wearing.  Broken Prada boots, drenched, coffee stained dress with buttons that seem to not want to stay buttoned.  Listen, all I just want is to go upstairs, get a freaking cold one and sit my butt down in a chair and relax.  Not looking for a romancer.”

“Easy little lady.  I was just referring to your...” I quickly interrupted him, as I knew what he was going to say next.

“I know, my beauty.  Yeah, yeah, been hearing that all night.  What is with you men?  Can’t a girl be just a girl without all the hubbub?”

“I see.  You seemed to know what us men are always thinking.  Well now, if you excuse me, I’ll be going now.”

Feeling rather stupid now for my actions I offered my apology for acting foolishly.   I could see from his wrinkles on his cheek and chin that he had to be in his mid sixties, but could not see his eyes as his fedora hat he is wearing covered them.

“Hey mister, I am sorry.  I didn’t mean anything by my words, just been a crazy day and I guess I took it out on you and you had nothing to do with it.”

“Call me Pierre.  Pierre Gustave to be exact and don’t think twice of it. I accept your apology.” Pierre removed his hat and bowed in front of me gracefully.  You don’t see that level of response anymore.

“Wait, the Pierre Gustave? Pierre Gustave the famous yacht racer?  The Pierre that crashed into rocks near the Puget Sound during the nineteen eighty-eight Canadian Sailboat Racing Olympics? No way, I grew up reading about you and your races.  You and your team were unbeaten.”

“In the flesh and blood.” Pierre bowing again while stretching his arm out with his hat.

“Shut up!”

Just then I could see the awkward response from Pierre as I meant it in no derogatory sense, as he was baffled and speechless.  He was just standing there as I think I just insulted him again.  Seems my mouth is my biggest problem tonight.

“No...No, I don’t mean that in a bad way, I wasn’t telling you to shut up, I was just reacting in a heighten moment.”

“Ah yes, I seem to have that affect on women.”  Pierre making a joke.

“Oh where are my manners?  I forgot to introduce myself.  Hi Pierre, my name is Alexandria Henson.” reaching out to shake his hand I was greeted with a kiss on top of it instead.

“Well, nice to meet you Alexandria and allow me to offer my apologies as well.”

“For what?  You didn't do anything wrong?”

“Well, that is where you are wrong little lady.  I am keeping you from your cold drink.  If I may ask, can I escort you to the bar and buy you that drink?”

I liked the sound of that and besides when a man offers to pay for a drink; I am not going to turn it down, especially from one of Canada’s famous sons. 

“I would be honored Mr. Gustave.”

“Please child, call me Pierre.  It makes me feel much younger.” smiling as he turned to put out his cigar that was still smoldering between his fingers.

“You know, smoking isn’t really allowed in here and those ashes on the carpet could have caused a fire.”

“Really, I hadn’t noticed.” Pierre cracked a smile. He knew, but didn’t seem to care.

“Well, I won’t tell the owner if you don’t,” looking at him with a firm face. 

“Good, I won't either.  I don’t think I would like it so much that I was smoking inside the vessel.”

“So, you are the owner of this vessel?”

“Indeed I am. I like to ride the ferry every now and then late at night as it is peaceful and I was actually trying out a new prototype fireproof carpet when you came upon me.”

“Oh, and to think I thought you were just being inconsiderate and dangerous.”

“No, not inconsiderate, but dangerous as a mouse.” Pierre being funny again.  Quite the joker if you ask me.

“This new carpet I was trying out would aid in keeping vessels like mine safe from passengers carelessly dropping their smoking products on the floor and causing a maritime disaster.”

“That is a great idea.”

“Enough talk about carpets and disasters, shall we?”  Pierre straightens his posture, offered up his arm standing like a gentleman as I accepted.  Pointing the way towards the hallway with his other hand, we both walked out the exit and walked up to the top level towards the bar. 

We approached the bar as I noticed a huge sign on it called the Gnarly Gar.  That definitely was fitting.  Pierre still being a gentleman pulled out a bar stool for me.  Dropped my backpack on the ground in front of the stool and sat down.

“What will it be Mattie’s?” the bartender asked us in a horrible attempted pirate’s voice.

“Well, that sure sounded like a sick pirate," addressing the bartender with a smirk on my face.

Clearing his throat after that failed attempt, Jerry the bartender replied with, “Sorry, guess I don't have to keep doing that silly voice this late at night.  The owner of the vessel sent out a letter requesting we dress and act like our names for where we work.  If you ask me I think it is silly and so do the people but I guess he doesn’t care as I have asked my boss to ask him if we could stop and well, I am here still doing it. 

“Have you ever met the owner?” asking Jerry looking at Pierre as he waved his head slightly side to side as to not say anything.

“No, I just started here a few months back and heard he never comes around.  Besides, also heard that he sort of was linked to some sort of scandal in the past and was paid off and well the rest is history as you can see from this vessel being in service.”

I can see from the dim lights from within the bar area shining on his face.  His facial reactions were not pleasant as I sat there hoping he was going to keep calm.  I was about to reply to Jerry with the fact that he was standing right there in front of the man who owned this vessel when Pierre reached over with his right arm and motioned me to quietly back off, so I leaned back and sat there with a grin on my face.

“Jerry is it?”

“Yes.”

“If the owner was standing right in front of you face to face, would you tell him again like you just did to us about his silly little gig he has you doing?”

“I might, he doesn’t scare me.  I would tell him exactly as I just did.”

“OK then, how about now?” Pierre looking at him with conviction in his eyes and voice.

“What? Now? Is he here?” Jerry not so sure of himself after Pierre asked him as he started to shake a little while rinsing a glass.

“You are looking at him in the flesh and blood.”

The look at Jerry’s face was priceless.  Not only did he freeze right before us, but I think he peed a little too, but wasn't sure.  I would have after making a remark like that in front of the owner and not knowing it.  I can see Pierre wasn’t mad at all as he felt redeemed as he saw Jerry tremble.

“I...I..am...” Pierre holding his hand up gesturing Jerry to not say anything as he replied back cutting Jerry off.

“Relax young man.  It is quite fine.  Point taken and agree you don't need to do that anymore.  I will make it official in a few days with a letter to the staff.  It takes guts to speak the way you feel especially doing it even without knowing I was right in front of you. [Giggling lightly]  I admire your confidence, however, just remember to always be confident no matter what the situation is.”

Spoken like a true mentor.  Pierre’s words even inspired me as I sat there listening and watching him conduct himself.  How could this man ever be accused of being caught up in a scandal?  He seemed too honest and professional to be that way.

“Enough of this, I promised this little lady a cold drink and by golly I intend to make sure she gets it.  What’s your pleasure Alexandria?”

“Well, Josh had mentioned to me to tell Jerry to ask for the special and I would like it, so how about that?”

“The special?  Hmm, what is the special Jerry?”

“It is my own creation. Pineapple chunks mixed with the house Rum, a tad touch of vodka, lots of ice and some lime blended.”

“Wow that sounds like a potent drink, but hasn't that been discovered already?” asking Jerry as my mouth was beginning to want that drink anyway.

“No, some have tried to make similar drinks, but all depends on the type of Rum, Vodka added and I also but a splash of chocolate sauce on top with whip cream.”

“Not sure if this is a mixed drink or a dessert, but I like the idea.  Make one for me as well.” Pierre giving Jerry a thumb up on his drink creation as we sat there for a few minutes watching Jerry make the drink before handing them to us.

“Here you go.”

“Now we just have to see if it lives up to its taste.  What exactly do you are you calling it?”

“Um, well, don’t get mad, but I kind of chose your last name and added the word crush to it, Gustave Crush.”

Pierre and I sipped our drinks and I am amazed how well all the ingredients tasted and I am blown away.  I can see Pierre is as well licking his lips and taking another huge sip.

“I like it!  This is an excellent alcoholic beverage and the name is a smart move too!  Tell you what, why don’t you add that drink permanently to the menu and I will give you rights and credit for the drink.  In fact, I will also pay you something for it as well.  Mighty fine drink.”

“Thanks Mr. Gustave, really appreciate it.”

“You are welcome, that will be all for now.” Pierre telling Jerry that he could relax now and go about his duties.

“So, Alexandria, tell me what it is that you do?”

“I just landed a job as a trial Lawyer in Seattle and my first day is tomorrow, but I graduated law school a few weeks back and went on a celebration trip to Paris.” 

 “Lawyer?  Now that seems quite the challenging job.”

“If it is anything like my life, then it will be a piece of cake since I already have the necessary skills to do it.”

“Sounds like you had a hard upbringing.”

“You can say that, but not really wanting to bore you with that.”

“No worries, maybe another time perhaps?  I like hearing stories like that.”

“OK, sure if our paths cross again.”

“Well, how about this Saturday?”

“Wow, OK.  I think I can make it.”

“I am having a get together for all my friends on my private yacht ‘Wanderer’ docked in Sooke just a half hour from Victoria near my home and welcome you as well to attend. Bring a friend if you like.  Food, drinks, mingling and overall good times.”

“That is quite the invite.  I will be there.  What time?”

“Anytime after two in the afternoon sounds good.”

“My pleasure to have met you Alexandria.  Please excuse me and enjoy your drink.” Pierre picking up my hand once again, kissing it as he excused himself and walked away towards the outside of the ferry.  I could see he was going outside this time to smoke his cigar.

What a night so far and I hadn't even realized that two hours had gone by since stepping on board the Victoria Cove.  Times flies I guess when you are having fun, sort of in a weird way.  All I know is I have got to look at these papers and needed to plug in my phone to charge it.  I can almost bet I am going to get a call tomorrow from uncle Nicholas and it isn’t going to be pleasant for not letting him know I landed hours ago.

“Hey Jerry?”

“Yes ma'am.”

“Is there a place I can sit that has enough light that I can read some papers and charge my cell phone?”

“Yeah, the table behind you against the column.  It has a candle for light and plug in the column that you can use.”

“Thanks.” Getting off the chair reaching down to grab my backpack and drink and headed to the table in hopes to crack open the envelope containing my trial defense papers.

 

[Copyright by RM & SJ Secor.  No part of this excerpt maybe reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from authors]



© 2013 R. M. Secor


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Added on July 9, 2013
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Author

R. M. Secor
R. M. Secor

Lago Vista, TX



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