|Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to persons living, dead, space aliens, goats, forum posters, editors, beta readers, musicians, or writers are purely coincidental. There may be sexual content so if this, in any form, offends you, please cease reading this lest it send you screaming from the room. If you are not of legal age to read this, please don't.|
|Chapter 4: Charter|
Trevor hauled down the sails, cut the autopilot, and fired up the engines as they neared the outer channel for the Cocoa Beach Marina at Jetty Park. Motoring in, he remained at the wheel. Even though Julie was the official captain, Trevor made a point of taking the wheel when first meeting his charters; he’d found that doing so right from the start precluded any raised eyebrows when he did so later. There was also the fact that Atlantis was not an easy boat to con in tight quarters and Trevor was by far the more skilled at it.
With Trevor’s practiced hands on the wheel, Atlantis was soon alongside the public pier, an hour early.
Trevor tied up, and began to wonder if he’d done so too early, when he spotted three women, who appeared to be in their thirties, on the pier. They seemed to be very interested in the Atlantis. Trevor made eye contact and one of the women called out to him, “Is this where we bring the luggage when it’s boarding time?”
Trevor bounded onto the dock and walked up to his three charter before replying with a smile, “If you’re the charter guests, boarding time is anytime you like and I’ll be happy to take care of the luggage.”
One of the women produced the paid receipt from Trevor’s booking agency, and he nodded. The woman slipped the papers back into her purse and said, “I’m Gretchen Sandhurst, and these are my sisters, Ronnie and Melinda. Our luggage is still at the Marina Hotel; we didn’t think we’d be able to board yet.”
Trevor had been through the meet-and-greet dozens of times, so with practiced ease and a sparkling smile, he said, “I’m Trevor Carlson of Ocean Star Charters, and if you’ll take me to your luggage, I’ll look after it.”
Gretchen eyed Trevor for a long moment before saying, “I was led to believe that we’d have a female captain for this charter?”
Unperturbed, Trevor pointed at the Atlantis, “I’ll go get the captain if you like, but she’s below, plotting the course.” Trevor smiled, knowing that he was lying through his teeth. He’d sailed the planned route many times and prepping the course took seconds at the navigation console. Julie was below, but was most likely reading a novel in her cabin. Trevor liked to handle the initial greetings himself, so he had no objections.
“Oh, that’s all right, I suppose,” Gretchen said, and Trevor heard the lilt of a faint British accent. “I just wanted to be sure. You look far too young to handle a ship this size or run a diving expedition, so I was concerned. Our bags are at the Marina Hotel’s front desk.”
The comment about his age was a response that Trevor was accustomed to, but Gretchen’s inquiry had been about a female captain, not the captain’s age. Pretending to be oblivious, Trevor phoned the Marina Hotel, which was a common pickup point for his charters. He had a longstanding deal with the bellhops there, so all he had to do was ask them to bring the luggage down. After ending the call, he said, “Your luggage is on its way.”
Gretchen nodded, mildly impressed. ‘Perhaps this trip won’t be quite as awful as I expect,’ she thought.
Gretchen was not looking forward to the charter. She’d never been on a boat smaller than a cruise ship and was not fond of the sea. The trip had been her sisters’ idea from the start, and Gretchen had reluctantly agreed. Her sisters had both become divorced within the last year, and Gretchen had decided that their first vacation together since their teens had to be something her sisters would like. They loved diving so the charter had been proposed.
Like clockwork, a bellhop appeared, hauling four suitcases on a hotel dolly. As he approached, Gretchen said, “The two brown cases are mine.”
Trevor took the two brown cases, one in each hand, and took them into the salon. There, he turned left, set the bags down beside the starboard aft stateroom’s door, and then turned around and walked a few paces forward, tapped on the forward cabin’s door, and said, “The guests are early and would like to meet the captain.”
Julie ambled out, setting her novel aside. “Ready and waiting, Trev,” she said, and followed him to the salon.
It took just ten minutes to help the remaining luggage and guests aboard, show them their respective cabins, and serve them cocktails. Julie handled the serving – Due to his age, Trevor could not legally serve alcohol in U.S. waters. Having Julie serve the drinks served another purpose: she couldn’t be in two places at once, so the guests didn’t find it surprising that Trevor handled the casting-off and getting underway.
Two years ago, Trevor had installed a waterproof beanbag chair in the cockpit near the port wheel. It was his preferred spot while at sea, and in the warm, humid climate, he often slept there. Once the guests were settled in for the night, Trevor engaged the autopilot and set the radar alarms for seven miles. After a check of the decks and then balancing the sails, he settled into his beanbag, listening to the soft hiss of the water against the hulls as Atlantis stood out to sea, bound for the Little Bahama Banks, north of Grand Bahama Island.
At sea, Trevor slept lightly, a skill he’d developed. A change in the boat’s motion or condition would usually wake him, and so he remained on station through the night.
The routine was one Trevor knew well. He woke at dawn, checked the autopilot, the sails, and the weather report, and then headed for the galley. The normal procedure on an Atlantis charter was for the guests to pick from menus before the trip, a feature the guests seemed to appreciate, but that Trevor found to be a godsend because he was a poor cook. Except for sandwiches and snacks, the meals were prepared by a catering service and then frozen, ready for reheat in the galley’s dual 12-volt microwave ovens. There were exceptions, such as when a guest wanted something they’d caught, such as a lobster or a fish, prepared. In such cases, Trevor either winged it, hoping for the best, or asked Julie for help. Together, they could usually cope.
The current charter guests had made it easy for Trevor; they had selected Spanish omelets for breakfast. Trevor retrieved five from the freezer – he’d installed a larger-than-usual refrigerator-freezer on Atlantis, along with a beefed-up solar system to power it.
Trevor set the table, poured orange juice, and placed the omelets in the microwaves. When the guests were ready, all he would have to do would be hit some buttons.
Looking at his handiwork, Trevor smiled. ‘Running like clockwork,’ he thought, taking pride in the details, for one thing that Trevor knew was that running a charter was all about the details; it was the small things that kept the customers happy.
As soon as Julie was up, Trevor waved in silent greeting, and followed her out into the cockpit, where she took station at Atlantis’s port wheel, mainly for appearances; the charters generally felt reassured to see someone at the wheel on their first morning at sea.
In a quiet voice, Trevor said, “I’m going to take a shower and put some clean clothes on. Breakfast is set up in the galley; all you’ll need do is fire up the microwaves if the passengers want their food early.
Julie gave Trevor an apprising look. “The first part sounds good; can’t have you stinking up the place. The second part, however,” Julie held up her index finger and stared at it for a moment, “requires pressing a button or two, and as the official captain, I find it insulting in the extreme that you even suggest that I degrade myself by doing such menial drudgery,” Julie said, barely managing to keep a straight face.
Trevor rolled his eyes. “I’ll remember this, the next time I’m scrubbing out the heads,” he said, and smiled. Julie had an offbeat sense of humor, very much akin to his own, and their morning banter was a tradition they both savored.
Julie pointed at the main cabin. “Be gone with you, deckhand, off to the showers before you stink up the boat.”
“If you keep this up, I’ll get myself an eye patch and make you walk the plank,” Trevor replied with a grin, and then turned to head inside.
Julie waited until Trevor took a step towards the main cabin and then she said, in an innocent tone, “I’m fairly familiar with the Atlantis’s fixtures, and I’m pretty sure we haven’t got a plank.”
Smiling sweetly, nodding, Trevor turned to say, “No problem, I’ll install one for the occasion.”
With a laugh and a nod, Trevor ducked outside, via the cockpit, and made his way forward to his cabin’s hatch.
The hatch, which included a key lock, was weatherproof and made from dark but translucent plastic, which doubled as the cabin’s only source of natural light.
Trevor swung the hatch open and lowered himself through, not bothering with the ladder. As his feet hit the teak-planked deck, he reached up and shut the hatch, just in case a guest was careless and fell through.
Trevor’s cabin was smaller than most walk-in closets ashore. Located in the prow of the port hull, it was the smallest of the five cabins aboard and the only one that required going outside to access. The single bed narrowed at the foot due to the sweep of the bulkheads towards the bow. It was small, but Trevor liked it because it was his, and felt that it was big enough. His only qualm about it was that it was not as convenient to the salon and navigation station or the cockpit as the four larger cabins, so when one of the four main cabins was vacant, he used it instead.
Trevor’s bathroom was, by any definition, tiny. A small square space, not even large enough for him to spread his arms and with just half a foot of headroom, contained a toilet, a washbasin and counter, and a shower. The shower was nothing more than a drain in the floor, over which a showerhead was mounted. A circular rod held a shower curtain, which when drawn barely cleared Trevor’s shoulders. In spite of its diminutive size, Trevor’s bathroom was little different from the four others aboard. Even so, Atlantis and its accoutrements were spacious compared to a monohull yacht of similar length.
Once showered, Trevor tugged on a clean set of shorts and a polo shirt, and then ran a comb through his hair. That was all he needed – he almost never bothered with shoes while aboard Atlantis.
Scrambling up the ladder and onto Atlantis’s deck, Trevor scanned the horizon out of habit and then padded aft to the cockpit, where he sat down next to Julie. “The dive gear is ready and prepped, including yours. I’ll set it out and do the final safety check right after breakfast.” Trevor shielded the small navigation screen with his hand and added, “Looks like we’ll be at the reef in about two hours, right on schedule.”
Julie nodded, her eyes sweeping the empty horizon. “If I were you, I’d hold off on laying the gear out. Call it a hunch but I doubt all of our guests dive, so save yourself some work.”
Trevor was not inclined to press for details. He’d learned through experience that when Julie got a hunch like that, especially about diving, she was usually right.
“Just don’t forget to let go of the anchor when you drop it overboard,” Julie added helpfully.
Trevor laughed and rolled his eyes. “Are you ever going to let me live that one down? That was over a year ago.”
Julie shook her head. “Not on your life, Trev. I just wish I’d had a camera to record the moment for posterity.” Julie smiled as she remembered... Trevor had been in mid-heave when he’s noticed that the end of the anchor line had come undone from the deck cleat. Out of reflex, he’d snatched the anchor back, or tried to. The result had been a shocked Trevor, his free arm windmilling, clutching the forty-pound anchor as both he and it tumbled into the sea, a memory that still bought a smile to Julie’s face.
Getting back to business, Trevor said, “I’ll try to keep the guests occupied so you can get some unhindered diving in. I’ll take whoever’s going down, so just hang back.
Julie shrugged. “I don’t mind if they know what they’re doing, but if they’re kinda green, they’re all yours. That’s why you make the big bucks.”
Trevor laughed, nodding. “Yeah, barely enough to keep Atlantis afloat.” That was an exaggeration, as both of them knew, but not by a lot. Trevor did get the lion’s share of the charter fees but he also paid all the expenses. There was one area, though, where the income was split evenly, and Trevor shifted to that particular subject by saying, “Any read on the tip strategies yet?” He knew that Julie’s opinions on that subject were usually more accurate than his own.
Julie shook her head. She and Trevor split any tips evenly, which made them a large part of her take-home pay. Better still, the tips were usually in cash, which meant no tax bite; what they received in tips, they kept. As a result, Julie had learned to be very observant of the guests, trying to predict their likes and dislikes.
Trevor heated up some breakfast for himself and Julie, enjoying the quiet morning. The respite did not last for long; no sooner had Trevor finished eating than he heard footsteps on the deck. Gretchen came out first, and was halfway across the salon before she spotted Trevor in the galley. He smiled in greeting, and was mildly irked when Gretchen barely acknowledged him with a curt nod, slid her sunglasses on, and changed course to head into the cockpit.
Trevor watched her stop to talk with Julie, and then take a seat on the cockpit’s padded bench. He could see that they were talking, or starting to, and hoped Julie would make a better impression than he had. He’d been fast to notice that Gretchen treated him with poorly concealed disdain, and wondered why. Gretchen’s two sisters, Ronnie and Melinda, had been the opposite since coming aboard: happy, chatty, and even bordering on flirtatious after a few cocktails. Gretchen though had remained aloof and distant. She was the senior of the three sisters and had been the one to book the charter, which in Trevor’s opinion did not bode well for this trip’s tip potential. He’d been dealing with customers for long enough that he didn’t take it personally, but he hoped he’d find out the reason why.
Over the next hour and a half, Trevor served breakfast to Gretchen’s two sisters, but Gretchen remained in the cockpit, chatting with Julie, and based on what he’d seen, Trevor thought the two women were getting along. ‘Maybe the tips aren’t toast after all,’ he silently hoped.
Gretchen appeared in the galley while Trevor was finishing the cleanup, and said pleasantly, “Am I too late for breakfast?”
“Not at all, I’ll have it ready in two minutes,” Trevor replied with a smile, as he punched the button on the microwave. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed movement, and glanced across the salon to see Julie waving for him to come to her. He nodded in acknowledgement and hurried as he served Gretchen breakfast, and then poured both her and himself a glass of orange juice. She still seemed a little ill at ease around him, but as far as he could tell, the earlier icy demeanor was entirely gone. He was about to leave the tiny galley when Gretchen cleared her throat and said, “I hope I didn’t come across too badly. I’ve had a chat with your captain and assured her that you have done nothing wrong. She let me in on your situation but don’t worry, it’ll be our secret.” And then, to Trevor’s surprise, Gretchen gave him a wink.
Trevor turned in confusion, trying to form an answer, when the intercom buzzed, and then Julie’s voice announced, in a command tone she almost never used and never on him, “Trevor, take station on deck immediately and prepare to anchor.”
Trevor shrugged apologetically to Gretchen, and walked into the salon, sparing a moment to glance at the main navigational display, which clearly indicated that Atlantis was still at least fifteen minutes from the pre-selected dive site. Puzzled, but knowing that Julie must have her reasons, Trevor walked out into the cockpit.
Gretchen’s sisters had returned to their cabins, so there was no risk of being overheard. Trevor glanced about, just to be sure, and then asked, “We’re nowhere near the anchor point. What’s up?”
Julie smiled coyly. “Oh, just getting you away from Gretchen before you open your big mouth and put your foot in it, and secondly, taking advantage of the rare chance to order my boss around. First, I’ll point out that you often say ‘All’s fair in the pursuit of tips.’ And secondly... I’ve solved the diving problem, because Gretchen isn’t going. She hates the water and will be remaining aboard. For lunch, you take the sisters to the cay in the Zodiac and I’ll keep Gretchen company here. By the way, how was she just now? No more attitude, I’ll bet?”
Trevor shrugged. “She seems a lot better. Still uneasy, but no more hostility. She also said something about my ‘situation’, and it being ‘our little secret’. What gives?”
Julie resisted the urge to laugh aloud. “Follow me forward so it’ll look like you’re working.” As they walked towards the bow, Julie continued. “She didn’t say so explicitly, but here’s my read based on what she did say; Gretchen has issues with men. It’s no help that her divorcee sisters talk about little else. Gretchen picked Atlantis because the website says it has a female captain,” Julie turned and gave Trevor a smirk. “and Gretchen cannot tolerate men in positions of power. I’ll be blunt, she is not comfortable around men, and though she didn’t say I suspect she’d had a very bad experience of some sort.”
“Okay, so that explains you ordering me around. I guess you’ll have to do that for the rest of the charter.” Trevor said, and then took another drink of his orange juice.
Julie grinned. “Think I’d pass up this opportunity? But, there’s more,” Julie said, and then paused until Trevor raised his glass again. “I told her she didn’t need to worry about you, because you’re as queer as a three-dollar bill.” Trevor was halfway through taking another drink of orange juice, and Julie laughed as his eyes opened wide in shock, moments before he coughed, spitting his juice over the side.
“You what...” Trevor gasped, still sputtering.
“From what you said, it worked, and I’ll remind you what you said about tips; all’s fair,” Julie said with a soft laugh, watching Trevor carefully. “Oh, by the way, Gretchen said she wouldn’t tell her sisters, who are apparently rather taken by you. ‘No need to spoil their fantasies,’ was how she put it.” Trevor swallowed once and looked at Julie, who shrugged. “Don’t look so shocked. I solved the problem, didn’t I?” Julie asked, arching an eyebrow.
“Yeah, but you...” Trevor muttered, trying to figure out just how to reply.
“Outed you? Now how could I do that, when you’ve never actually told me?” Julie replied with a smirk.
Trevor felt his gut clench and then looked at Julie, who seemed to be enjoying herself just a little too much, a fact he found reassuring, under the circumstances. He was silent for a few seconds and then he shrugged and said, in an uncertain voice barely above a whisper. “I guess you know.”
Julie laughed. “It was an unsubtle clue when we had that hot young surfer aboard and you broke your sunglasses by tripping over your feet and walking into bulkheads whenever he was around. However, even if I’d thought you were straight, I’d have still done what I did today. Business is business, after all. The fact that I got to make you squirm is merely a fringe benefit. You don’t offer a health plan so I have to take what benefits I can when the opportunity arises.”
With a nervous laugh, Trevor let out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding. It was evident to him that Julie had no issues about his sexual preferences, but he hadn’t really thought she would.
Julie glanced at the horizon, seeing the low cay in the distance as she continued, “I’ve been meaning to broach the subject but I didn’t know how, until today. Glad I waited, because that was fun. Anyhow, the reason I wanted to talk to you about this before is business; most charter companies these days mention on their websites that they are gay and lesbian friendly. Why don’t you do the same? Business is business, as you so often tell me.”
That, indirectly, took the conversation in the direction of the real reason Trevor had kept his secret from Julie. “I never told you because I didn’t know how you’d react, and because you know my father.”
Julie read between the lines. “I take it he doesn’t know and you were worried I’d tell him? Come on Trev, that’s nuts. You’re my employer, ‘fer Chrissakes, and I’m smart enough to realize that outing your boss to his pops is a great way to get fired. Did you really think I’d do that?”
Trevor stared out to sea, his eyes, as always, scanning the horizon. “I didn’t think you would, but I didn’t really know. People of... your generation, they sometimes don’t–”
Julie cut Trevor off to say, “If you just called me old, Trev, so help me I’m going to fill your air tanks with rocks.”
Trevor smiled and held his hands up in mock surrender. “Okay, okay. Sorry, and thanks for being cool about this. As for the website, there’s no chance in hell my dad would allow it; he’s got issues with gay people.”
Julie angled her head, pausing to think for a moment before a scowl crossed her face. “And that’s why you keep your secret from him. Are you sure? That surprises me; Dirk has always struck me as an easy-going, open-minded kind of guy. You can never tell, I guess.”
Trevor sighed. “Yeah, every time I raise the issue, he gets an attitude and then he gives me the cold shoulder treatment for a long time. So, I’m keeping stuff to myself until I’m eighteen. Maybe if I tell him then, after I’ve moved out, he’ll accept it eventually.”
“Your secret is safe with me, Trev. I’ll even be more careful when outing you to guests, and only do so when there’s potential tip money at stake,” Julie said.
Trevor chuckled. “Just do me a favor and don’t out me to any guests who are disembarking at our home port.”
Julie looked at the approaching low cay, which was little more than a sand bar with a few scrubby palm trees. “I’ll bring us in, you handle the anchors. Just remember to let go this time.”
“I’ll try,” Trevor
replied with a snort, and took a step towards the port bows,
intending to unlash the forward anchors.
Trevor nodded. He’d already guessed as much.
With a smirk and a wicked grin, Julie added, “However, as soon as you’re in the Zodiac with the two sisters, strip it off. I think Ronnie and Melinda Sandhurst would like that, and as you say, all’s fair when it comes to tips. Just be sure to cover up again before you come back aboard.”
Trevor felt his cheeks beginning to burn, and knew he’d be turning crimson if not for his tan. He turned to glare at Julie. She’d never made such a suggestion before, and her grin clearly announced that she was enjoying his discomfort. Deciding to needle her back, he said, “I’m a minor and you’ve just suggested that I sell my body by visually prostituting myself. You should be ashamed, and maybe arrested.”
Julie laughed. “Stuff it, boss. I’m not buying that line and you’re the one who pushes doing damn near anything for a tip. Besides, you’re usually shirtless anyway.”
“Not when two middle-aged divorcees are ogling me, I’m not,” Trevor groused.
“Oh, hush. Look me in the eyes and tell me that you wouldn’t do this if you’d thought of it yourself. Actually... for diving and for the beach picnic, you should wear one of those tight little competition swimsuits of yours. It’s not as if you haven’t worn them for diving before–”
“Whoa, okay on the shirt, but no speedos. I’m keeping my shorts on, thank you very much,” Trevor said, rolling his eyes, unwilling to admit that Julie was probably right.
Trevor headed forward to tend to the anchors, and after that, there was little time for talk over the coming hours, as Trevor concentrated on business. He unstowed four sets of scuba gear, setting them out and checking the tank pressures and regulators.
He took his time working with Ronnie and Melinda, getting them into their gear and making sure they were competent with it.
Trevor tossed his personal set of Scuba gear into the Zodiac, and then heaved in a cooler chest containing lunch and followed it with an auxiliary bag holding sunscreen and a first aid kit, and then he lowered the Zodiac into the water from its davits.
With a single tug at the starter cord, he fired up the outboard motor, using its thrust to push the nose against Atlantis’s port aft stairs. As he held the Zodiac in place with the engine, Julie helped the two sisters, already in their dive gear, down the stairs.
The dive site was a reef just a few hundred yards away, with some jagged outcroppings just under the surface, which made it advisable to moor Atlantis at a safe distance.
With a rev of the outboard, they were off, skimming across the calm, azure-blue waters. Once clear of the Atlantis, Trevor shucked off his shirt. ‘What the hell, keep the guests happy,’ he thought, making sure to keep smiling.
As they motored across the calm waters, Trevor thought, ‘Damn it, if Julie hadn’t told me, I’d have taken my shirt off anyway and not felt like a piece of meat...’ and then Trevor put the pieces together, ‘and I’ll bet she knew that and that’s why she did it.’ He looked back at Atlantis with a wry smile, realizing that she’d gotten him, and wondering how he could return the favor.
Trevor killed the motor and tied up to the small dive buoy – a common feature of popular dive sites – and set to work getting his guests ready for their dive before putting on his own tanks and fins. After placing a red and white Diver Down flag atop the buoy, Trevor watched as the two sisters, one at a time, sat on the Zodiac’s port pontoon and tumbled backwards into the water. As soon as they were in, he followed, relishing the feel of the warm water on his skin, and then adjusted his mask as the white sand and coral formations came into view in the crystal-clear water. A few minutes later, the shattered wreckage of a freighter came into view, surrounded by myriad schools of fish.
The dive went as planned, with Trevor leading the two sisters to the wreck, and then down the face of the reef, no deeper than ninety feet: an easy dive.
After lunch on the cay and a second dive, they returned to Atlantis and Trevor remembered to pull his shirt on as he turned the Zodiac in towards the stern.
Upon returning to the Atlantis, the guests could rest and relax. Not so for Trevor: he had to fire up the compressor and begin refilling the air tanks, and then after that check out and ready the dive gear for the following day.
On the second day, as Trevor was getting dressed early that morning, he paused, and then, with a shrug, made a decision. ‘A tip is a tip, and I’m a swimmer, so what the hell...’ he thought, as he picked out a blue racing suit and pulled it on before tugging on his shorts and shirt.
The charter, like so many before, fell into a normal daily routine, each day similar to the one before. Julie did her diving solo from the Atlantis, in blatant contradiction to her frequent lectures about how dangerous solo diving could be.
Julie, a certified dive-master, was well aware of the dangers. Diving was her love, and she enjoyed the solitude of being down alone. She knew that made her a hypocrite in a way – when teaching students, she would warn against it repeatedly – but, she enjoyed it and to her, that was that.
Diving, for Julie, was the spice of her life, and money was but a means to that end. Her second love was travel, and she’d often dreamed of combining it with diving in some way, but had never been able to afford to do so. Working on Atlantis had been good to her, but that had not precluded her from chasing her dreams and sending out resumes to resorts in distant places. Nothing had ever come of it before, until the day before they’d sailed. It wasn’t a lot, just a request for a telephone interview from a major resort in Tahiti, a place she’d always dreamed of seeing. She wondered how, if she somehow got the job, she’d break the news to Trevor. However, considering it a distant long shot, she managed to put that issue out of her mind, deciding that there was little reason to worry him, yet.
By Sunday night, on the last day of the charter, Atlantis was inbound for Cocoa Beach to drop off Gretchen and her sisters. Gretchen spent much of the time on deck, looking happier than she had when outbound. Trevor watched her, wondering what her story really was and what had happened. Then, he set those thoughts aside. He was used to the not knowing; charters only lasted a few days. Sometimes they were repeats, but usually they popped into his life for a long weekend, and then they were gone. All he ever had was a brief snapshot of their lives. That was just the nature of the business, one he’d learned to accept.
After dropping off the Sandhurst sisters, Trevor reclaimed his place at Atlantis’s wheel, standing out to sea, once again in command of his pride and joy.
Julie came out to sit by him, and he asked, “So, what’s the tip situation? Anything?”
Julie nodded, pulling out four crisp one-hundred-dollar bills, handing two to Trevor. “Yeah, about average. I’m betting it would have been half that or less if I hadn’t outed you to Gretchen,” Julie said with a wink, and an air of I-told-you-so.
Trevor handed the banknotes back. “Keep it, it’s all yours,” he said, and then smiled as he pulled four one-hundred-dollar bills partially out of his pocket as he said with a bashful grin, “Ronnie and Melinda tipped me for the diving and beach picnics.”
“More likely for being good eye candy as well,” Julie said, and then chuckled.
Trevor shrugged, blushing slightly. In a way, he’d enjoyed the admiring glances from the two divorcees, but he wasn’t about to admit it. What he was even less inclined to admit was that he’d stripped down to his blue speedos for the second day’s dive, and hadn’t put his shorts and shirt back on until they neared the Atlantis after lunch on the beach and a second round of diving. If Julie found out about that, Trevor was sure she’d never let him live it down.
© 2009 C James
Please give me feedback, and please don’t be shy if you want to criticize! The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"
Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.
Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.
Thanks also to Talonrider and MikeL for beta reading.
A big Thank You to RedA for Beta reading and advice, and to Bondwriter for final Zeta-reading and advice.
Any remaining errors are mine alone.