Disclaimers: See Chapter One of Storm Surge for all the legal yada, yada.
Conner hung up the phone after talking to Sam and headed off to the shower. She had slept in this morning, and felt refreshed and relaxed. Now she was a bundle of energy, and what she needed now was some hard work to burn off some of the excess energy she felt.
When she walked in her room, she spotted Magnum, curled up on her pillow. "Hey, furball, only a few more days and papa will be home to take you away. Aren't we happy." Conner sat on the bed and petted the cat. "OK, so you're not so bad after all. Just don't get too comfortable."
While taking her shower, she decided to head over to the marina and check on the boat. It had been a while since she had taken her out for a good run. She had bought the boat when she and Sam were together. Sam loved to go out for long weekends of island-hopping, and clam-digging. Some of their happiest days had been spent on the boat. Sailing away from the shore gave them both a sense of freedom from the stresses of their jobs. Out on the water all they had to concentrate on was each other and an occasional squall that blew up.
Conner had not taken the boat out in a long time and sometimes thought of selling her. She deserved a proper owner, one that would care for her and treat her like the sleek sailing vessel that she was. Conner sometimes did not feel worthy of owning "Shady Lady." However, today she was not going to think about selling her. Conner was ready for a long hot day of scrubbing the decks, checking the lines, and getting the engine serviced. Maybe one day soon she would take her out.
Conner pulled into the Marina parking lot and was instantly eager to get to the boat. As she walked down the pier, several of the weekend warriors she used to sail with were loyally tending to their vessels. She spoke to several, but did not stop to linger. Climbing onto the deck, she could see how much she had neglected the boat, and knew she had a long, hard day ahead of her. Stepping below deck, the lack of attention was even more apparent. Dust bunnies flew off the captain's table as she walked past into the aft cabin. "Well, my lady, looks like I have my day cut out for me."
Conner decided to start below, and soon the deck of the boat was littered with trash and junk she had thrown up from down below. After several hours of scrubbing and polishing the teak woodwork, she stood back and admired her work. "Not bad, not bad at all," she said, smiling at her reflection in the brass metalwork. She closed and secured all of the hatches and moved next to the part she always like best, scrubbing the deck.
She pulled off her shoes, and T-shirt, donning only her sports bra and shorts. Although she was naturally dark, Conner never could get enough of the sun. Moving the dinghy, bumpers, and other movable parts over the side to the pier, she set out scrubbing the deck, starting at the bow. Before she had reached the beam, her muscles were screaming for a rest. She rinsed off the deck and headed to the cooler for a beer.
Sitting near the bow, she looked out over the marina and wondered if Alex had ever sailed. "Hey, Shady Lady, if tomorrow night goes OK, I just might see if the pretty lady wants to go out for a sail one day. I think the two of you would get along fine. She's sleek and sexy, and has the bluest eyes...damn, Shady Lady, I think I've been in the sun way too long today."
Conner finished off the beer and started on the aft section of the deck. She had just soaped up the deck when she heard her cell phone ring. She dropped the scrub brush and turned to reach for the phone. Just as she hit the send button, her feet slid out from under her and she went sliding toward the port side.
"Fuck!" Conner screamed as her chin hit a cleat. "Son of a bitch...HELLO." Conner barked into the phone.
"Umm, Conner, this is Alex...ahh...did I catch you at a bad time?" Alex asked, well aware that she had.
Oh, damn, great, Conner, humiliate yourself again, will ya. She thought to herself.
"Conner, are you there?" Alex heard a groan from the other end of the phone. "Hello, Conner...are you OK?" Alex was becoming a little concerned when Conner didn't immediately answer her.
"Oh...yeah, I'm fine...just had a little accident getting to the phone, that's all," Conner replied trying her best to make light of the situation.
"Are you hurt? Do I need to call someone? Do you need help?" Alex was trying to stay calm, but knew she was on the verge of panic. All she knew was that Conner lived on the island, and had her phone number. Although that was enough information to deploy the EMTs...
Conner broke into her thoughts. "Yes, Alex, I mean, no, I'm not hurt." Conner groaned loudly, deciding to just explain what happened if for no other reason but to ease Alex's mind, that she was okay.
"Actually, I'm at the marina, on my boat. It's been a while since she has had a good scrub down, I decided today was good day to get it done. I was scrubbing the deck, when the phone rang and slipped in the soap as I reached for the phone, that's all. Nothing exciting or daring, just a stupid accident." Conner winced, as she smiled. Her chin had taken quite a blow and wasn't in a hurry to stop bleeding.
Alex let out a sigh of relief, relaxing for the first time since the conversation began. "Are you sure you're OK, no broken bones, no stitches needed?"
"Well, actually my chin did stop me from going over portside by grabbing onto a cleat. I haven't looked at it yet, but I think it's OK." Conner couldn't help but chuckle at the sight she must have been.
Alex let out a laugh, as she sat and imagined Conner sliding chin first across the boat. However, she stopped short when she realized that her phone call was the cause of the entire accident. "Jesus, Conner, I am so sorry. If I hadn't called none of this would have happened."
"Don't even think about it, I'm fine...umm...and I'm glad you called." Conner finished almost in a whisper. She had now crawled over into the cockpit and was leaning against the console, using her discarded T-shirt she was attempting to stop the flow of blood dripping off her chin. "Actually, I needed a rest. It seems I have neglected my 'Shady Lady' for way too long. I'm sure somewhere deep in her hull she got a kick out of my slip and slide act." Conner winced again, as the smile that came to her face pulled against the gash in her chin.
They talked a while longer, confirming their dinner for the next night. "I really am sorry I caused you to hit your chin." You can have your choice of desserts tomorrow night. Maybe that will make you feel all better." Damn, Alex, she thought to herself, could you have worded that any worse...now she's going to think I'm hitting on her.
Conner tried to find her voice, but only managed a mumbled, "Ahh...sure, desserts always my favorite." Conner couldn't believe she has just said that and threw her head back in exasperation, instantly banging it one the console. "Fuck!" she yelled.
Not knowing what Conner what so upset about, Alex simply said, "Excuse me?"
"Oh no, I wasn't talking to you. I just hit my head." By this time, Conner was feeling like a total klutz.
"Sounds like you need to abandon ship and head for higher ground, mate," Alex teased. She knew she needed to let Conner get back to work, but wasn't ready to end the call.
"Aye, captain, I'll be heading into port soon."
"Conner?" Alex hesitated, "Will you give me a call when you get back home...umm...just to let me know you're OK?" Alex asked in a quiet concerned voice. To lighten things up a bit, she added, "Between your chin and head, I just want to make sure you don't end up dangling off the lifeline using your body as a human bumper."
"Ha, ha, ha, very funny, Agent Montgomery. One day I'll get my chance to get the last laugh, just you wait and see."
"Well, will you call me then?"
"Sure, Alex, I'll give you a call. I'll probably be here another couple of hours, so it'll probably be around six. Don't send out the calvary until then, promise?"
Alex laughed at her new friend's wit. "OK, sure...no Calvary until half past six, but not a minute later, got it?"
"Aye, captain, I'll talk to you soon then."
They said their goodbyes, and Conner remained sitting on the deck for a few minutes nursing her chin. She had been surprised that Alex had called. She really thought she would call the next day with some reason not to go to dinner, and smiled when she finally realized that they would be going out after all. OK, Conner it's not a date, for god's sake, it's dinner, that's all. Hell, the woman just lost the love of her life, not even a year ago. She couldn't possibly be ready to start going out again.
Conner crawled out of the cockpit, glanced at her watch, and knew she needed to get moving, if she was going to get home by six. Somehow, she had a feeling the calvary would be dispatched if she were a minute late.
Continue to Part Six of Storm Surge
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