“I thought you quit smoking.”
“Your mother thinks so too.”
He carefully packed the tobacco into the bowl and placed the box back under the seat. We walked down the driveway and around the tall shrubbery before he pulled the lighter from his pocket and took a draw from the Jack Black blend.
“Aaahhhh.” He smiled at me.
After a few more houses, I stopped and looked at a home on the north side of the street, a stately two-story brick home with large white columns and ivy growing on the west end. Dad just stood and waited for my explanation.
“I used to know a girl who lived there,” I confessed.
“I know. She’s married now and has four kids.”
“Damn! Four kids?”
“Yeah. Her oldest boy sort of looks like you.”
Chapter one. Louis first meets Riki in the Bahamas
She told me that her family was from Ukraine and they were chartering the catamaran with another family from Portugal.
“The boat is really crowded, and there is no escaping the constant talking and arguing,” she said. “Do you have this whole boat to yourself?”
“Yes. But I own this boat. I paid it off years ago.”
“What do you do for a living?”
“Different things? Mostly I am a painter!”
“Like walls and houses?”
I laughed. “Hell no! Although I’ve done that too! I do paintings of things and places and sell them to the tourists.”
“David and I came out here today and fished, right here. We had a really good time and I could not believe how well we get along. He’s a smart kid!” I looked back down into the water.
“He should be… he has a very intelligent father!” She said sweetly.
“Yes… you and Andres are great parents.” I said.
I looked at Loren. She was shaking her head back and forth at me.
“You are so damned blind!” She said, as her attitude did a 180.
“Where did that come from?” I asked.
“Haven’t you noticed that David’s hair is a little bit light for a Costa Rican child?”
“Yes… but I thought maybe it would darken with age.”
“No stupid… have you noticed that he has flat feet?”
The color suddenly left my face. I stared at her and could not speak.
“Yes, the answer to your question is, yes!”
“I want another #baby.” She said from nowhere.
I rolled over onto my back as she put her head
on my shoulder.
“Aren’t we getting a little ahead of things?” I said as my
“Maybe . . . . but I do! Sooner or later you are going to figure
out that you have always loved me, and I have always loved you.
We have each taken the long way around getting here . . . but
here we are! We already have a son together, and I am perfectly
willing to raise Lisa’s son as my own. I think momma likes you
better than me now, so what is keeping us from making all of
this . . . real?” She asks with a serious look.
There was a long silence in the cabin as both of us faced each
other on our sides with our elbows in the mattress, and our heads
propped up on our hands. I stared into Loren’s big brown eyes for
a long time, as she did not even blink. I squinted my eyes at her and
slowly flashed her a full smile.
“I can’t think of a damn thing!”
I took several photos of the rest of our adventure. Somehow I was panicking that I was losing such a free-thinking lover. I had never been with anyone quite like her. We took photos of us together and images of me being happy. It would be hard to sell them to Riki as depressed.
Berlin was also slowing down. I suspected she would miss me too. She spent the first day along the Keys, lying in the sun and watching the bridges and mangrove trees pass from a distance. She slept with her head on my lap during the night watch, and I kept my hand on her thigh when I slept.
In the morning, she came to me at the helm and told me it was time for one last game. “It’s called Not Yet! We can do anything we want to each other, and the other cannot deny any act you wish to impose. The only rule is that no one can climax until nine o’clock tonight. Unconditional, higher restrictions!”
We sailed back out to blue water and started the long trip back to the Keys. We sailed nonstop for days while the wind and seas were accommodating. On the third day, the skies stayed cloudy, and the wind speed increased. That evening it started raining… sideways!
The visibility dropped to a couple hundred yards. I was glad I had the chart plotter and radar. We hunted for an island to hide out on for a while. I searched the charts, and we were in the middle of nowhere. We were northwest of Puerto Rico and northeast of the Dominican Republic. From the depth meter reading of fourteen thousand feet, I confirmed we were over the Maimon Basin. We were getting tired, and it was too rough to sleep on night watch changes. The whitecaps were splashing across the deck. The water was cold, and we broke out our heavy weather gear.
I already had the main sail reduced into the mast as we still did seven knots across the big rolling waves. We were considering going back to Puerto Rico when the radio started screaming, “Mayday! Mayday! We are taking on water. Mayday! Mayday!”
I laughed. “Hell no! Although I’ve done that too! I do paintings of things and places and sell them to the tourists.” Her body language took a major change.
“Can you paint me?” she whispered.
I sat and looked at her from head to toe as she modestly held the beach towel over her bikini. She assumed that I didn’t think she was pretty enough, but I was trying to evaluate if I could do her justice with a paintbrush.