Love Struck

the sequel to
The Day Lucy Broke Down


d a m n a t i o n

06.02.01 - 07.02.01

Warnings and Disclaimers: This story picks up about four months after The Day Lucy Broke Down. It is essential to read that before proceeding. [ You may also see it as a ploy of mine to make you read more of my stuff :) ] The story is highly influenced by an all time favourite show of mine, Cupid Love.

Like all my other stuff, it is of an alternate nature; don't read it if you don't like it. Violence is limited to cat scratches, jabs and slaps. No biggie.

Yellow Island is a made up place, so please don't mail me to tell me that you can't find it on the map. *grin* I am also a boat moron, so excuse me if I termed any part of the boat wrong. Better still, inform me of the right term(s) and I'll do the necessary editing.

The song used in this story is not mine. It belongs to Linkin Park. Punk rock rules!

Seeing that I just finished this story today and am all too anxious to post it up, it follows that it hasn't been beta-ed. Same old, same old. Excuse any errors if you come across them... if they're too drastic, do e-mail me and lemme know before I embarrass myself further? *grin*

Acknowledgments: To Daphne, for introducing the song In The End to me. To the many people who wrote me, asking for a sequel. I can only hope that it measures up to the first story. Also, to the people at Gabwhackers who did a review on The Day Lucy Broke Down. It gave me the motivation to write this. P.S. Mach is Uber X, dunno about Kell though. [ Although I secretly want Kell to me be for obvious reasons. *smirk* ] Okay, I'm done.


I think it was a character in Moulin Rouge who said love is a many splendid thing. Or was it a character in one of Shakespeare's plays? Hm. Well, someone said it, that's for sure. And before you think you got my number, no, I don't think that it's bullshit. Neither am I too hardened for love, or the likes of it. In fact, I relish being in love. I look forward to that topsy turvy feeling that makes your head buzz and body hum... In fact, I think it is the only thing I look for in this dull existence.

I just don't like having it for too long.

Just what the hell do I mean by that? Simple. I love falling in love but I scram after that initial high dies off; catch my drift? I hate it when the buzzing stops, and the meetings get obligatory. I hate it when a once passionate kiss turns vaguely comfortable just because the participants are getting familiar with each other. I hate it when morning breath starts to matter, and you are expected to spend the night. Falling in love did not scare me because I always knew when to leave.

So when the high of falling in love did not die its natural death this time round, I freaked out. What if I actually grew so attached to someone that I would choose to stay? If I had the power to choose, then the same power would be extended to the other party, would it not? I guess when it comes down to the crunch, I am a big scaredy cat after all, huh?

If you want me to name one rule that I follow religiously, it would be my rule of never buying anyone flowers. Flowers are... stupid. Period. Just what is so enticing about dead matter? Would you like it if someone gave you a dead chicken with its claws trimmed? Or a dead rodent, wrapped around your head? Wait a minute... there are people who are into that. Scrap that, then. Let us just go with the chicken example. You can never go wrong with chicken.

Anyway, flowers are stupid. Darrell Mach never, ever bought anyone flowers and she ain't gonna start anytime soon. So when I found myself walking towards this flower shop with the intention of purchasing like... a dozen stalks of those dead things, it was like a blast of cold air hitting me squarely in the face. I fell from the cloud that I had been floating on for the past couple of months and started evaluating the going-ons in my life.

I had fallen in love with Kelly Preston, that much I had known some time ago. But, I was still in love with her after three months and it was not giving any signs of letting up. On top of that, she almost made me break my flower rule. I started asking myself if I could afford giving someone the power to hurt me as deeply as my father did when he left and I came to a conclusion.

Something had to give.

So I did.

I broke up with her.

Talk about stupid decisions.

"Just what the hell were you thinking, Mach?!" I frowned at the shrill voice in my ear and scrubbed harder at Betsy, my monster truck who got her name from the jalopy in Archie comics. "She's probably the best thing that has ever happened to you and you..." I never knew Jordan could be this concerned about someone else. It was just so... not her. Maybe Kelly was a witch. I widened my eyes at the idea. That would explain why I miss her so much it hurts... Argh!

"Funny. I can just as confidently tell you that the best thing that has ever happened to me... is me. And guess what? I have a feeling that I'm the better judge since..." I widened my eyes for effect as I whipped around to face my half-cousin. "... I'm me!"

I turned back to my truck, saw a glint of silver on her, stopped my movements abruptly and gawked. Did I just scrub the rust and the paint off Betsy?! Sidestepping Jordan, I made as if everything was under control as I went to get the garden hose to rinse Betsy off.

Jordan threw her hands up in the air, exasperated. "For heavens sake, Mach! Stop being so full of yourself! Did it ever occur to you that because you're you, you don't see things in perspective?"

I dragged the hose over to where Betsy was and shrugged. "Honestly, Jordan. I'm sure no one can tell me better how I feel about someone, right? It's too bad that I don't feel anything more than... what I feel for her." I shrugged nonchalantly as I turned off the hose. "She's a good kid. We're just not suited for each other, that's all."

Jordan threw her hands up in exasperation but I knew that there was nothing much she could say. All she had to base her argument on was how she saw Kelly and I when we were together, but I could just as easily turn the tables on her and call her bias. We were happy together... it was just time for me to move on. Although this time round, I was more anxious to do that because I did not want to do it. Makes sense?

"How is she, anyway?" I asked in an off-hand tone. I started giving Betsy a rub-down. It had been two weeks since I told Kelly it was better if we could stop seeing each other because all I felt for her was platonic love, and it was two weeks too long a time not to see her. I even missed that cat of hers, although I remain firm in my opinion that he needed a therapist.

"Why do you care?" Jordan growled at me, frustrated. She must have heard something my tone of voice, however, for she continued. "She isn't even communicating with Lucy," she said gravely, conveying the seriousness of the situation. I stared at her to ascertain her statement. No Lucy? Is that possible? That laptop of hers was her life! Jordan nodded. "Now do you see why I'm so worried?"


I walked past her place twice this evening, but I did not get past the doorstep on either occasion. The first time, I could not even bring myself to lift up the latch to the gate. The second time, I got hissed at by an evil looking, ginger-colored tabby that promised me tattered clothes and torn skin if I lifted my fist to knock on that door. Jordie even scratched the air before him for effect. That cat is violent and an endangerment to everyone with the exclusion of Kelly.

Sighing, I gulped down another shot of tequila. Ignoring the crowd around me, I poured myself another shot of the liquor and proceeded to empty it without the usual accompaniment of salt and lemon.

"Hey Mach! Come join us!" I glanced in the general direction where the voice came from and shook my head. "C'mon... everyone has to play, man!" I frowned and wondered if they would let me off the yacht with this bottle of tequila if I refused.

Clarissa came up beside me and I felt warm breath tickle my ear. Shuddering involuntarily at the contact, my mind treacherously brought me back to a time when Kelly hugged me from behind. Gosh, she gave the best hugs. Her body was so warm all of the time, and she seemed to be able to make me feel so safe and secure even though she was of a smaller stature than I was. Snapping myself out of my reverie, I tried to register what Clarissa was saying. "... truth or dare."

"Nah. I'll pass," I maintained, anxious to return to my tequila. This drinking alone thing allowed me to beat myself up and feel sorry for myself appropriately. It was therapeutic.

"Please? Come on, it'll be fun. Just a couple of rounds? Then maybe we could use one of the cabins and you could show me just how sorry you are for not bringing me a birthday present...?" Her voice was suggestive and her intention was plain. She did look really good in her bikini top and a sarong around her waist. Before another image of Kelly managed to force itself into my head, I stood up to my full height of five feet eleven and shrugged. Why not.

A soft hand pulled me out onto the deck and over to a rather large group. I looked down to see why my hands felt so weighed down and saw that while one hand was clasped possessively in Clarissa's, the other one was holding the bottle of tequila. I raised the bottle to my lips and drank heavily, grimacing slightly when the liquor burned a path down my throat. I let the raucous laughter flow past me as the game started, not really caring one way or other what truths were being revealed.

"Truth or dare, Mach?" I realized with a start that it was my turn when someone tugged at my hand. What was the question anyway? Hell, do they ask the question before or after I give my answer? I shrugged. "Dare."

Murmurs of suggestions floated around as they discussed what kind of dare to give me. "We dare you to get something from that boat beside ours," someone called out finally. Boat? I'm on a boat? I thought, highly buzzed. I saw the amused green eyes looking up at me and remembered. Oh yeah. Clarissa's birthday. Yacht. Tequila. Heartbroken... Kelly... Dang. No matter what I started thinking about, I would always end up thinking of her. You're acting as if she was the one who dumped you, you useless git!

Furious at myself for reasons I have yet to figure out, I glanced over to the vessel in question and saw that it was not lighted up at all. Suddenly feeling very destructive and bold -- probably brought on by the unnatural amount of alcohol in my system -- I kicked off my shoes and climbed over the railing of Clarissa's party vessel. Balancing precariously, I prepared myself for the jump. "Mach, you don't have to jump..." Not waiting for the sentence to be completed, I dived into the dark, ebbing water.

I was almost surprised when the cold water hit me and engulfed me completely before I broke its surface. The water definitely looked better than it felt. I took a huge gulp of air, swiped a hand down my face, got my bearings, and started swimming towards the appointed vessel, feeling strangely exhilarated by the cheering behind me.

Hauling your arse over the railing of the boat while you were inebriated and weighed down by wet clothes was not as easy as it looked. The moment I lifted my body out of the water, the wind came straight for me and wrapped me up in its cool blanket. That, on top of the alcohol in my body, made sure that I was shivering my arse off by the time I got over the confounded railing. However, showmanship demanded that I turn around to give my adoring audience a cocky bow.

Their cheering quieted suddenly and I quickly slipped into the shadows when I heard a voice calling out for someone. I felt the boat sway a little and then heard the clomping of boots on the deck. Eyes widening, I let myself into the cabin for fear of being caught trespassing.

I found myself in a small room. The faint moonlight showed a large bed in the middle of the room and I sauntered towards it, forgetting momentarily what I was there for. I sat down on the bed, dazed, and started sneezing. Shivering uncontrollably, I started stripping the soaked clothes from myself and threw them onto the floor. I was about to fall onto the bed when I felt something rush up from my stomach and I ran blindly into an adjoining room to find -- to my relief -- that it was indeed a toilet.

Bending over the toilet bowl, I emptied my stomach and grimaced at the taste in my mouth. Oh God, whatever possessed me to drink so much? Kelly's face popped into my head as I washed my face at the sink. We did seem to have developed a particular liking for washrooms, I thought with a faint smile. By the time I went back into the room with the bed, the only thought that came to me was how warm and inviting the bed looked. I dropped onto it contentedly, snuggled within the sheets and fell into a deep, alcohol induced sleep.


What in fuck's name is that God awful sound? I scratched at my face absently as I burrowed deeper under the covers. The wailing, coupled with the throbbing in my head, was enough to make my head explode. Wrapping the sheets around my body and over my head, I made my way groggily to the door, hoping to find and terminate whatever unholy ritual that was occurring in the vicinity.

"One thing, I don't know why
It doesn’t even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind
I designed this rhyme
To explain in due time
I tried so hard
In spite of the way you were mocking me
Acting like I was part of your property
Remembering all the times you fought with me..."

Oh you're fucking me. That sound is someone singing? I stopped in disbelief as the off-keyed voice bawled along to Linkin Park's In The End. "You can rule an album in your name out if that's what you're dreaming of, buddy," I mumbled to myself when I climbed the stairs before me. I doubt my mind was even registering what my body was doing.

I reached some sort of landing and was faced with the back of a jumping form. The music was loud enough to wake the dead if the awful singing didn't do that already.

"...I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter..."

I put my finger onto the portable CD player that I detected and pressed the power button to turn the damn thing off. Without the music, the next line was shouted loudly and clearly, shocking my system wide awake: "Fuck you, Mach!"

"Kelly?" was the only thing that slipped from my lips when a loud Reowww sounded and something ginger and furry came out of nowhere and knocked me onto the floor.

"Ow!" I yelped at the sting of the alcohol on my wounds.

"Stop moving!" The voice that commanded me was cold and emotionless, squelching my desire to let out another exclamation. I tried my best to look ahead, and not at the cool gray eyes that were focused on the scratches on my face.

I exhaled loudly when the rough treatment of my injury ceased, but flinched again when something pungent was dabbed on. "You're not making this worse than it is, are you?" My voice came out sounding arrogant when all I wanted was to try and break the ice.

I felt Kelly stiffen and I rolled my eyes inwardly. Good going, git! "What could be worse than the way you originally look?" She leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms for a moment, looking as though she was assessing me. It made me squirm uneasily in my seat. "Actually, the scratches do cover up a little of the ugliness." Her voice was frostier than before and I was about to kick myself in the arse when she added sweetly, "Want Jordie to finish the job?"

Alright, that's just about enough, I thought angrily. All I did was to break up with her. It's not as if I killed her cat or something, right? I turned to her and hoped that the glacial look I practiced over and over in the privacy of my own bathroom worked now as I pinned my eyes on her. "If that's the case, shouldn't your face be scratched out completely?" I even managed to inject amusement in my voice as I replied smoothly.

I saw a flash of hurt in her eyes, knew that I got her, but instead of feeling good about it, I felt like a complete jerk. I braced myself for another scathing attack and was taken aback by her soft words, spoken in a tired voice, "Just fuck off, Mach. Fuck off."

She got up abruptly, threw everything back into the first aid kit and exited the room, leaving me to my own thoughts. I heard a soft hissing sound to my left and narrowed my eyes. I hissed back loudly and grimaced at the shot of pain that earned me. Jordie picked himself up, threw me a distasteful look, and disappeared. I buried my face in my hands, careful not to touch the three neat scratches that ran down my cheek below my right eye. How did I get myself into this mess?

After a few moments of mulling over my situation, I wrapped the sheets tighter around me and went in search of Kelly. It was then that I realized that the boat was moving. I had felt the boat swaying earlier on, but I didn't know that we were no longer attached to something permanent!

I found Kell in the middle of a conversation with someone over the radio, stomped over, grabbed the radio from her and demanded for her to turn the boat around.

"Gimme that!" Kelly shouted, irate, as she tried to snatch the radio away from me. I used my height as an advantage and held it over her head, stretching the wire attaching the radio to the boat quite a bit.

"Not until you turn the boat round and send me back!" I stated evenly, giving her a smug look as I twisted the radio this way and that in order to keep it out of her reach.

A loud snap froze our actions and twin pairs of eyes traveled down south to see that the wire attached to the radio was no longer attached to the control panel. "Oh you..." Kelly looked like she was going to explode, what with her eyes bulging behind her red tinted shades. I lowered the radio, shrugged awkwardly and handed it back to her. She tore her shades from her eyes and glowered at me. "What the hell am I supposed to do with this now that you broke it?" The anger in her voice was barely controlled and I was about to take a step back from her when my pride rooted me on the spot.

"Take me back and you can get someone to repair that. You played a part in breaking it as well, ya'know?" I knew I was being a pain but I just refused to appear guilty. I just wanted to get as far away from Kelly as possible. Being this close to her, clothed in nothing but sheets, was creating a lot of havoc within me.

"We can't turn back," she groused out as she snatched the radio from me angrily. "Dammit!" she cursed, throwing the useless radio across the room.

Feeling a slight trepidation at her genuine frustration, I hardened my voice and stated my point again. "Why not? There's the steering wheel. Just turn the boat back!"

She threw a look at me, saw that she had the upper hand, and sat down on a small cot near the control panel with a lofty expression. She replaced her shades onto her face and gave me a smug smile that did not quite reach her eyes. "No," she said simply as she stared at the sea.

She was quite possibly the most infuriating person I have ever met. Ignoring me completely, she propped her legs up onto the control panel. Dressed in a small, white, tank-top and white washed denim shorts, with a smug look that I wish I could wipe off with a sandpaper! on her impish looking face. Her vibrant, red hair was chopped off the moment her blonde roots started showing. Even I had to grudgingly agree that blonde suits her much better, even though the funky red hair was kinda hot as well.

Dang. I was supposed to be pissed off with her. Instead, I am standing here, wrapped up in white sheets, checking my ex-girlfriend out.

Fuming at myself for having such weak will when it came to her, I stomped to where the steering wheel was and attempted to turn the boat back. Fully expecting her to dash over and stop me, I was surprised when I heard her humming softly to herself. The damn wheel refused to budge. I gritted my teeth and bunched my muscles, but the boat refused to change its direction.

"Where are we headed?" I asked instead, in a less demanding tone.

Her short blonde hair looked even more mussed up when the wind was blowing at her, but it only succeeded in making her look more appealing to me. Sighing regrettably, I waited for her to tell me that this was a one way boat trip to Hades and we were currently on the river Styx. "Yellow Island," she said at last.

I started towards her again. "That's like five days from where we were!" I exclaimed. Five days with Kell on a boat? Why did I ever think that this break-up was going to be easy? Then, another thought struck me. Five days with psycho cat? Hoboy.

I stopped in the midst of scrubbing the deck and blew frustratedly at the stray hair that was tickling my nose. After giving me a black, sleeveless top and a pair of shorts that reached my knees, Kelly rattled out my position on the boat -- her skipper, a.k.a. her slave, for her to order around as she pleased -- and my duties, which consisted of scrubbing the deck, cleaning the glass and basically doing whatever she wanted me to.

The last statement had brought some lewd thoughts into my mind initially, but Kelly had destroyed any illusions that I might have when she deliberately emptied a pot of coffee on the floor and ordered me to clear the mess up. Nope, this girl did not want me sharing her bed, alright. And she gave me a black shirt on purpose! My mind complained. It was hot enough to fry an egg on my back!

When I had protested, she had given me a look, told me that she was the Captain of the boat, and dared me to defy her. In which case, she would deny me all access to the fridge. My treacherous stomach growled again and I frowned at it. Why did it have to be her boat that I fell asleep in?

"How did you end up on my boat, Mach?"

This was the first time I heard her say my name without the word 'fuck' in the same sentence since the day I broke up with her, and it caused a not too unpleasant shiver to run down my back. Yeah, yeah. She has you at her bid and call and all you can do is feel attracted to her? To counter that feeling, I put on my most innocent face and said,"You must have wished for something hot and sexy to appear in your bed cos' I have absolutely no idea how I got here."

The sight that greeted me next would have brought me to my knees if I wasn't already there. Kelly stalked over to where I was with a purposeful look on her face, pushed her shades up onto her head, dropped down all fours, and touched her nose to mine as she growled out, "Remember... I'm the Captain of this boat. Do not fuck with me. Comprende?"

Water. I need water to take away the sudden dryness that my mouth is enveloped in. All the moisture, it seemed, had gone down south. I raised a brow and attempted to look cool but we both knew that she got me. Oh yeah, she got me real good.

"Answer me," she said in a low voice, her eyes narrowed. Our breaths were mingling and all I wanted to do right then was to lean in and kiss those sumptuous looking lips. Stop it! You do not want her! You just broke up with her, remember?

Instead, I restrained myself and did what other pussy-whipped individuals would do: I did as I was told. "Clarissa threw a birthday bash on her dad's yacht. I was dared to take something from this boat. I drank a little too much so um, I fell asleep on the bed." I glanced at her to see if she believed what I was saying. "If I knew it was your boat, I would have never gotten on," I added hurriedly.

"Naked?" she asked, ignoring the last bit of my confession.

"Huh?" Oh yeah. Kelly, naked, right now, was a very good idea. She looked so hot, glaring at me like this. No, no, no! Think waterfall! Kelly, naked, under the waterfall. Rivulets of water streaming down her back, caressing every inch of her hot, naked body... No! Think... ice! Kelly with an ice cube in her hand, rubbing it down the length of her body... Mercy! I blinked rapidly to get the erotic images out of my head.

She straightened herself and sat on her heels, her arms crossed. If she knew what I was thinking about right then, she would have me thrown overboard, I was sure. In fact, I myself felt like jumping into the deep blue ocean to cool down. "Do you have a habit of sleeping naked in the bed of someone you're planning to rob?" she rephrased her question. "Or were you already naked when you were with Clarissa?" She sounded hurt. Well, at least I knew I wasn't the only one who has yet to move on.

The scratches on my face started throbbing a little and I quickly spotted Jordie staring at me from behind his mistress. Yikes! This is getting so freaky. Could I actually detect his presence now that I got scratched by him? It's too much like Harry Potter whose lightning scar throbbed each time Voldermort, his enemy who gave him the scar, was close. I looked at the damp floor and gave a relieved sigh. Good thing the deck was wet; cats hate water, right?

Wrong. This cat is psychotic! He's not normal! The ginger tabby crossed the damp landing and leaped onto Kelly's shoulder so that he was planted firmly between Kelly and myself. "Hey, baby," Kelly said softly in greeting, and my heart clenched. Once upon a time, she, too, spoke to me in such a manner.

I returned my attention to the deck, thankful for the first time that I had something to do. A loud sound came from within the boat, making Kelly get up hurriedly. "We'll continue this conversation later," she announced and disappeared into the cabin, saying something about having to change the course of our boat. A sailing moron like me was best suited for... I looked down at the rag in my hand and resumed scrubbing... cleaning.

Jordie, on the other hand, remained behind, keeping me under his watchful eyes. "Slave driver," I mumbled in his direction as he licked his paw absently.

Dinner was a simple and silent affair as we made a meal out of ham and cheese sandwiches, both trying to appear engrossed in something other than each other. Kelly fidgeted with a compass and a map while I sat there, munching my sandwich and touching my reddish and warm skin gingerly.

She threw me a glance and left the table abruptly. A few moments later, she returned with a white tube in her hand, which she placed before me. I waited until she was finished with her dinner and had gone up onto the deck before looking at what she handed me. It was a tube of moisturizer.

After cleaning up the dishes, I escaped to the room that she apparently wanted me to have to take a bath. Wincing at my burnt skin, I was glad when the shower ended. I applied the moisturizer quickly and carefully slipped under the covers. The moisturizer soothed my burnt skin, and as much as I would love to deny it, Kelly's presence soothed the pain in my chest.


I was woken up yet again by loud music and awful singing. Strangely, it felt good to know that Kell was somewhere in the vicinity. Even though she could really work on her singing, I thought with a grimace. I dragged myself to the shower and was pleased to find that my skin was not hurting as badly as the night before. Humming along to the music coming out from the control room, I failed to see Jordie waiting in ambush for me under one of the stools.

"Ouch!" I yelped at the sharp pain in my leg. "Why, you little..." I growled deeply in my throat, planning to imitate a dog when I recalled that this particular cat had dogs for breakfast. I narrowed my eyes at him and made a silent vow that one day... one day... My face fell. Kell would kill me if I harmed Jordie in any way. It was just a no win situation with this devilish animal.

I climbed the steps leading up to the control room quietly, so as not to draw more attention to myself now that Jordie looked preoccupied with his hind leg. The music drifting out was helping me some, and soon I was treated to another concert performance by Kelly Preston.

Chuckling silently, I watched as she twirled around with a hairbrush in her hand, freezing when she caught sight of me. The blush crept up her face slowly, but surely, and before long, she looked like a tomato that had sprouted golden hair.

"You will stop sneaking up on me!" she said hotly as she turned the volume of the player down. I gave her a 'who me?' look, making her huff loudly. She looked around the room and her eyes glinted when they rested on something. I followed her line of vision and saw... a bell.

I backed off a little at the devious look on her face as she approached me, bell in hand. "Aw c'mon, Kell, you can't be serious," I said when I caught onto her idea. Then I developed a devilish smile of my own. "I know you want me to ring your bell, but this is just too... oof..." She punched me!

She grabbed my collar and pulled my face to her roughly as she hung the bell around my neck with the other hand. "What did I say about me being the Captain?" she asked, her eyes flashing. I sighed inwardly as my knees went weak. Her 'don't fuck with me' attitude was so damn hot! Stop it, stop it, stop it!

"Do not fuck with you?" I said in a hopeful tone. She nodded curtly and was about to let go of my collar when I added in a smooth tone, "Then what about fucking you?" Now, that, like the break-up, was plain stupid.

The slap across my face was totally unexpected. "Get out of my sight," she said through her clenched jaws, anger evident in her voice and stance. What did I do? What did I do? More confused than anything, I hesitated but saw the tears welling up in her gray eyes. Feeling like I failed in everything that I did, I clutched absently at the bell around my neck and left.

I fingered my right cheek piteously as my reflection stared back at me from the mirror. First, I got scratched. Then, I got hit. All on the same spot. I prodded the wounded area softly and winced as my finger connected with a tender spot. Blue eyes stared back at me, telling me that I deserved it. Sighing heavily, I exited the bathroom, checked to see that Kelly was nowhere in sight, and climbed onto the deck.

Sitting myself at the edge of the boat, I positioned myself so that my legs were dangling in the air, just about touching the water. Resting my chin on my hands, I silently took in the beauty of the ocean. It felt as though Kelly and I were the only two people existing in this world. Then, I realized with a start that I did not find anything lacking in my life at this very moment. Well, it would be more perfect if Kelly was sitting beside me sharing this wonderful moment with me... What was the reason for the damn break-up again? I thought to myself, annoyed. Why did I ever want to throw away something so beautiful?


I turned to see a very small looking blonde standing behind me, her hands stuck in the pockets of her baggy pants. An apology was the last thing I expected from her. She lowered herself and came to squat beside me, her short hair fluttering in the wind.

"I shouldn't have hit you," she said softly, her hand touching my reddening skin gently.

I held her hand in mine and relished at the warmth it emitted. "It's okay."

She lowered her head briefly, and when she looked up again, her face held a bittersweet smile. "It's just that..." she breathed deeply, looking as though she was trying not to cry before finishing what she had to say. "Mach, we just broke up two weeks ago. And here you are, appearing mysteriously in my dad's client's boat, baiting me again... I can't... I can't handle it, Mach. You said you only treat me like a friend... then..."

She looked away and I reached up to touch her face, wishing I could take a little of the pain away. Wishing I could take all the pain away. She shook her head and continued, "It's not fair. You can't tell me you only treat me like a friend and then say things like... like fucking me, Mach. It's not fair..." she trailed off, looking away.

Oh God. I am the scum of the earth. "I'm sorry..." I whispered, my voice breaking. I had not realized that I was on the verge of tears myself. "I'm the most insensitive git. Ever. Will you forgive me?" I wasn't only just asking her to forgive me for what I said earlier in the control room. I was also asking her to forgive me for hurting her like I did... Just because I was afraid that she might hurt me. Now, we were both hurting, and it was my fault. Would she take me back? Was I worth her taking me back?

"It's okay." It was evident that she thought I was just apologizing for what happened in the control room. She still thinks I don't want her anymore... She believed me when I told her that I only treated her as a friend. How am I supposed to correct this?

I watched as her hand slip from mine, as she straightened up with the same bittersweet smile on her face and turned away from me. Say something! I screamed at myself, but I remained silent and turned back to the view of the ocean, pain searing my chest. Now, it's all too late. Maybe it was better if I let her be.

"Um, Mach?" I turned to her hopefully. Maybe she could start the ball rolling? "Get your arse off the deck and start working. There're lotsa stuff for you to clean." She tilted her head in the direction of the washroom and I narrowed my eyes. Fine. Back to being slave, huh? I got up quickly, brushed past her, and went to get my rag and pail.

Whoever said that doing housework is a chore? On the contrary, it kept you fit. And, you could have the option of getting a facial done during that time.

I was lying contentedly on Kell's cot in the control room, cleaning the screen with the rag under my feet, with two slices of lemon covering my eyes. The music was good, and a nice breeze was blowing. All in all, it was a perfect day. Until... Foot's getting a little warm... "Ouch!" I yelped at the pain in my left foot. The slices of lemon fell off my face and I clutched my foot to me. Looking out, I saw my evil Captain grinning deviously at me with a magnifying glass dangling in her hand, challenging me to say something. Anything. Oooohh...

I picked up my rag, disposed of the lemon slices and wiped the glass angrily, with my hands this time. Jordie came up to me, tossed his head, and went away. I gritted my teeth as I limped around to rinse the rag. Evil girl. Evil cat. They deserve each other. Evil. Evil. Evil. The glass beneath my hand glinted in the sun, thanks to my tender loving care.

God, I hate doing housework!!


Today is day three on... I frowned, trying to remember if Kelly had mentioned the name of the boat. Shrugging, I washed up and changed quickly, barely remembering to hang the accursed bell around my neck before I stepped out of my room. Shaking it rather violently to announce my presence, I myself jumped at the loud clanging sound it made. Damn, that even made me jump and I knew it was coming.

"What in the..." Kelly looked from the cup in her hand, the split coffee on the floor and back up at me. Let's try being nice today, shall we?

I gave her a sheepish grin and cocked my head. "You were the one who doesn't want me sneaking up on ya'," I said in defense. She did not look amused. "Moo?" I tried, hoping to get a smile out of her.

Success. I met her grin with my own and she rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly. "Mach, you don't have to..." She motioned at the bell and shrugged. "... you don't have to wear it if you don't wanna."

Well, well, this bell may not be that bad after all. At least it made her smile. "No, no. Captain's orders is to be obeyed at all times." I hesitated before continuing, "She is not to be fucked with." I held my breath, hoping that she could see I what I was trying to do.

The seconds ticked by slowly and I was beginning to worry when her face broke into a brilliant smile that made my heartbeat quicken. "No, she isn't." Chuckling, she motioned for me to join her for breakfast. Perhaps peace may reign in paradise after all.

"Didn't you check to see that your dad was in the boat before driving off?" I asked after swallowing a mouthful of sinfully delicious croissant. We were back on the topic of how we ended up in the boat together with no knowledge of the mistake until the next day. I knew how I got there fairly well, but how did she miss me snoring on the bed? More interestingly, how did she mistaken me for her dad? I definitely do not possess the same equipments... Okay, don't go there. Thinking about someone else's dad with no clothes on was not a good place to go.

"Well, my dad rang me to tell me that he had a little too much to drink and might fall asleep by the time I got here. I came, opened the cabin door, got hit by the strong smell of liquor, and presumed that you were my dad," Kelly explained, finishing her third mug of coffee. "When I got to talk to him on the radio, he said he was walking Desiree... that's his girlfriend... to her car. When he got back, the boat was gone."

The pieces of the puzzle fell into place and I nodded. "Since we're on this topic, you have yet answered my question about your nudity," she continued and I almost choked.

"Nudity? What nudity?" No, no, get all these evil words out of my head. It was too late. The same images that came into my head when the word 'naked' was uttered the other day on the deck returned full force.

Kelly snorted at the constipated look on my face. "I don't know what you're thinking right now," she said in a mirthful tone, "but it looks painful." You don't know half of it. When she saw that I was not going to tell her what was going through my head, she shrugged. "Mach, you were naked. In some stranger's bed! What if the Captain turned out to be some lecherous old man?"

"Then I'd have to tell him that I'm not into what he has to offer?" I said hopefully, then snorted. "Aw, I dunno. I was drunk. But one thing I can tell ya', I only got naked after I got onto your boat, okay? I've got the clothes I had on that night."

She nodded and looked a little uneasy when she asked the next question. "So... uh... you're seeing Clarissa, huh?" I cocked my head at her. "Never mind. Forget it. I don't wanna know," she said hastily, almost as if she was afraid that I would say yes.

Well... "Not really," I said slowly. The pain in her face was evident. "Just a couple of dates. No big deal," I shrugged it off. I knew that Clarissa was more than interested but somehow, my heart was not into it. We only went on two dates, and I was already feeling like everything that I was doing was obligatory, in order for me to get Kelly out of my head.

"You sure do work fast, dontcha?" Her voice was tight and I felt sorry for telling any of it to her.

Are you proposing that I lie to her? Then, It's not as if you haven't already! I growled, annoyed at myself. "Look, it's not as if I have to account myself to you, right?" I regretted the words the moment they left me. Why was I taking out my frustration on her? She got up to leave and I placed a hand on hers. "No, please, don't go. I don't know why I said that... it came out all wrong. Please?" She sat back down and brushed an invisible tear away, making my heart ache. "It's nothing, really. I don't even like her that way..." Wrong choice of words, apparently.

"Just don't wait till she's in love with you before you tell her that, huh?" she muttered in an angry voice.

It's different with you! "Kell... I'm sorry for being such an idiot," was all I said. What can I say? I am an idiot, remember? "Anyway, she knows that I'm not into it. I just thought I'd go since it was her birthday, ya'know? I wasn't gonna see her anymore."

Kelly nodded, took a deep breath, and gave me a brave smile. "So, anyway, I radioed my dad immediately when I found out that it was you and not him on the boat. I had just finished giving him your details so that he could call your parents to let them know that you're okay when you snatched the radio from me." She gave me an amused glance.

My face pinked a little at that. "Um... about that... sorry. Again." I sighed. "I'm such an idiot." I was beginning to sound like a broken recorder. It just goes to show how stupid I was.

"Hey, no one calls my skipper 'idiot', alright?" Our eyes met and held as we shared a special moment that made my heartbeat quicken. Then she widened her grin. "No one except me, that is. Okay, idiot?"

I narrowed my eyes and stood up suddenly, inadvertently causing the bell to clang. She snickered at what must be a comical look on my face when I looked down at the noisy apparition and I approached her menacingly with my hands outstretched and my finges wriggling.

The scratches on my face throbbed again and I glanced around warily for Jordie and saw him lounging on the kitchen counter. Hm, interesting. My nemeses could not be bothered with me today. Running after the escaping blonde, I took in a deep breath and... moo-ed, sending us into peals of laughter.


"What does your dad do, anyway?" I asked as we sat side by side, with fishing rods in our hands. Fish would be a nice change from sandwiches day in and day out. It was another sunny day, and the bell that's resting on my chest was getting a little too hot for my liking. At least there was nothing my Captain wanted me to clean today. Fishing sure beats doing housework.

Kelly finished putting on her sunblock lotion and settled in her seat. "He sails. Sometimes he brings his clients around in their boats. Other times, he delivers stuff for people. This time, his client wants him to deliver his boat to Yellow Island and take him around. Dad's skipper is meeting him on the island. We were supposed to spend some time together on this trip."

It was funny how you could miss someone when they were sitting next to you. Now, sitting here beside Kelly, I found that I missed her even more than when I didn't see her. The ache in my chest started again, and this time I found myself wishing I could nuzzle her neck and hear her moan. I missed the scent of her skin and the way her lips felt on mine. What I wouldn't give to have her come back to me...

"Mach, you alright?" Kelly's concerned voice woke me from my musings.

"Yeah. Sorry I screwed up your little trip with your dad." I pulled my long hair into a ponytail and fanned myself. It was getting really hot out here, I decided. Glancing up, I saw that the sun had slipped behind some clouds. Can't blame the weather now, can ya'?

Kelly rolled her eyes. "Mach, stop apologizing, please? It's so... not you."

"Hey, whaddaya mean by that? Are you trying to say that I'm not polite?" I loved bantering with her. Unlike with some people, our wavelengths were totally synchronized; she always understood my sarcasm, even back when she hated my guts.

"Hon, I don't have to try to say anything about your politeness... or the lack thereof. It's common knowledge that you're as uncivilized as they come," she said in a haughty voice. I looked at her with a silly smile on my face. She was just too adorable. I basked in the pleasant hum that enveloped my body and suddenly felt very self-conscious. At that moment, she turned to me with a question in her eyes and we froze at the nearness of each other.

I could see the want in her eyes. I wondered if she could see the desire in mine? It was futile to deny it any further -- not that I have been doing that very much the past few days -- I could not and would not let this girl go. I was about to lean in to capture her lips when she abruptly got up.

"Um... I need a drink. How about you? Beer?" she asked, looking everywhere but at me. Why can't she look at me? Why can't she see that I wanted her as much as she wanted me?

"Yeah. Beer sounds good," I said lightly as she disappeared into the cabin. Damn. This has to stop happening. Just kiss her will ya? You did so much better the first time round... I thought, recalling the first time I met Kelly. Now, that was truly a riot. I have never stolen that many kisses from anyone before. Come to think of it, I have never stolen anyone's first kiss before.

Kelly returned with two bottles of beer and handed one over to me. I took three large gulps of the cold liquid quickly and wiped my mouth with the back of my arm. I knew Kell still had feelings for me. Now it is up to me to convince her that I had feelings for her. Plan. I need a plan. We lapsed into a comfortable silence as we fished side by side, both occupied with our own thoughts.

I put on the set of clothes that I had on the night of Clarissa's party and surveyed myself in the mirror. I wondered if Clarissa was worried that I did not make it back, and decided that I did not care. I was just glad that I got onto this boat. I've got to remember to ask for the name of this boat, I thought. I might name my daughter after her. Chuckling at my reflection, I paused for a moment as I digested that thought. This has got to be serious if I am thinking about naming my daughter after a boat.

I took a deep breath and started combing my hair, letting it fall past my shoulder and resting lightly against my upper back. I had on a white t-back tank top and a pair of white pants with twin blue strips running down the length of it. That was my naughty sailor attire -- how apt -- one that I decked on when I was out on a hunt. Except that I wasn't really in a hunting mood that night. Tonight, however...

I flashed my reflection a full-blown smile and checked my breath. Confident that it was minty smelling, I pulled the bell that I had come to regard rather affectionately over my neck and psyched myself to carry out my plan successfully.

You know what they say about best laid plans, right? Mine flew out the window the moment I laid eyes on her. Her hair was in a mess. The white button down shirt she had on fell just below her knees, hiding the skimpy pair of shorts that I hoped she had on underneath. The shirt, as well as her face and hands were smudged with oil, some red stuff, and some white stuff. Sounds pretty obscure? Well, cooking ain't my forte.

Smirking at the precious sight that I quickly stored away to peruse again in the future, I leaned against the door with my ankles crossed, and rang the bell around my neck.

She gave out a loud yelp and turned a murderous gaze onto me when she dropped... something red. Must be the same thing that gave her shirt the red stain, I thought cleverly. Then her eyes widened and she looked slightly flustered. "Why are you all dressed up?" she asked, cleaning her hands on her dirty shirt.

"You did mention dinner... so I thought... I'll go change then." I turned to go and paused when she halted me. I stifled the smile of triumph that threatened to appear on my face and swung back to face her.

She was fidgeting. How cute. She was nervous. "Um, dinner would be ready in a few. Think you could help me watch the grill while I get changed?" I nodded gallantly and started towards her. She took a few steps back immediately. It was all I could do to keep myself from closing the distance between us with just a few strides, take her beautiful face into my hands and give her a kiss that would tell her how much I wanted her right then.

"I'll um, get the wine?" I said instead, pointing to the bottle of white, looking quite out of place amongst the vegetables. She nodded quickly and excused herself.

"Oh! Keep a look-out for Jordie okay? He might try to steal our dinner," she called out from the bathroom.

A gleam came into my eyes at that as I twisted the corkscrew expertly. Finally, there was something that devilish cat cannot have on this boat. I will guard the fish with my life. He won't get to it without going through me. No, siree! I am going to enjoy savouring the fish that Kelly cooked for us in his little kitty face, watching his big blue eyes follow the movements of my hand when I place the juicy morsel into my mouth and chew on it slowly. This was going to be...

I turned to look at our dinner and my face fell. I might as well throw myself overboard now because Kelly's going to kill me. She's going to kill me. Kill me. She will skin me alive and then put me through the grinder... She's going to kill me. The smug looking cat was seated beside the grill, licking his paws lazily. All that was left of our dinner was the pile of bones beside him.

"It's really okay, Mach," Kelly assured me for the umpteenth time after she got out of the bathroom. "He does it all the time," she said, referring to Jordie, whom she was glaring at. Did psycho cat there bother? Of course not! He is an evil, evil being and he should die, die, die!

"We had a perfectly good bass to eat but now we're eating sandwiches... again," I said, munching on the cold bread despondently.

Kelly looked at her sandwich speculatively. "Is it that bad? I made it myself..."

Of course I had to stick my foot into my mouth again! Figures! "No, no! It's great! This... it's my favourite. I just love ham and cheese sandwich! You made it? You could open a store, then! It's great!" I stuffed the sandwich into my mouth and munched enthusiastically.

The mirth on Kelly's face made me grin moronically back at her. "Mach, stick to your smart-ass comments. Compliments so do not go with you." She shook her head, a rueful smile on her face.

My grin fell and I attempted to swallow everything in my mouth. My plan was definitely busted. No way was she going to want me back now. I ruined our dinner and I gave horrible compliments.

"Hey... why so glum, chum?" Kelly asked when I kept silent for a long while.

I shook my head.

"Mach?" I hm-ed my answer without looking up. "I wanna ask you something."

"Yeah?" I finally looked up. Kelly looked so cute in her Undertaker t-shirt and her baggy shorts. It reminded me of the time when she came to collect her lap... Lucy... from the store. I'm sorry, Kell. I was a stupid, idiotic, cowardly git who didn't know what I had. Will you give me a second chance? I lied when I told you I only treated you as a friend... Gosh, if that was how I treated a friend, I would be sued for being a nymphomaniac!

"" Okay. Take a deep breath. This did not just happen to me. She did not just say something that I would rate very important by the nervous look on her face while I drifted away. No, no, no. "Did you?" she asked again when I remained silent.

Uh oh. Did I what? Did I mean what I said that night when we broke up? No! Did I want to kiss you this afternoon? Yes! Did I let Jordie eat the fish on purpose? Hell no! "Uh... I'm sorry. Could you repeat your question?" I asked in a pleasant tone.

"Never mind." She stood up and started clearing the things on the table, clearly misinterpreting my lack of attention as not bothered about her. Worse still, she might have gotten the wrong idea that I was thinking of someone else!

No, no! I mind, I mind, dammit! "Kell? Please repeat what you just asked?" I hope the puppy eyes would work on her; it had to! "I was thinking about something that I wanted to tell you... that's why I wasn't paying attention to you. Really."

Kelly sat back down again and I felt slightly relieved. "Really?" I nodded furiously. "So what was it that you wanted to tell me?" She picked out a piece of tomato and bit it into half. Some of the tomato juice got onto her chin, making it highly difficult for me to concentrate on my task.

"Well... I wanted to tell you..." My pride, my pride, my pride... "...that I really enjoyed this couple of days with you," I trailed off, feeling useless. She stared at me, expecting something more than that. I shrugged and gave her a weak smile, to which she returned.

"I'm glad this little... accident happened, Mach," she said slowly. "I guess it just proves that we can be friends... and that's what you want, isn't it?" No, it's not! It's not, it's not... Will you take me back, Kell? I don't want to be friends. Being friends is overrated!

I nodded mutely and looked away quickly. It might probably be better this way. At least this way, I can be sure that we would always be in each other's lives... right? Wrong, dammit! I looked up to see that Kelly was moving away with the dishes in her hands and I did what I did best; I stood up, reached out, grabbed her to me and kissed her.

I tried to convey everything that I felt in that kiss, truly I did. All the love, all the angst... all the regret. Mm... I can taste that tomato... I heard dishes clatter in a distance but I did not break the kiss. Instead, I pulled her closer to me. She mumbled something in my mouth but I ignored her. Contrary to what many believed, I was really not that good with words. Not ones that really mattered, anyway. Then I felt her resist me. No, no, no! my mind screamed. Please, Kell?

I allowed her to break the kiss. I guess I didn't want to force her to do something that she didn't want to do. Maybe she already came to terms with us not being together anymore. Maybe she thinks it is better that way. But we feel so good together... the thought came unbidden in my mind and I felt a wave of sorrow wash over me.

"Mach?" Kell sounded as breathless as I felt. I finally opened my eyes and saw her looking at me with wonder in her eyes. Her lips were bruised from my rough kissing and I lifted a finger to touch it. If this was going to be it, then let me have one last memory of how we are together. "Mach, the damn bell is in the way," she managed to say, pointing a finger at the offending bell.

Dang! Does this mean...? I watched her as she pulled the bell over my head and place it on the table beside us in slow motion. "Kell?" I croaked out. It was probably the most important question in my life up to this point, and it only consisted of one word.

"Is this what you do with everyone you want to be just friends with?" she asked, masking her uncertainty with a crooked smile.

"No... I don't want to be just friends with you, Kell. I was being an idiot when I told you that. I lied to you when I told you I only loved you like a friend. Will you forgive me?"

She studied me for a long time. "Darrell Mach, you are an insufferable idiot... But you're my idiot. Okay?" I nodded happily and crushed her to me for another long, passionate kiss. Pulling her along with me, I reached blindly for the cabin door. Upon finding it, I pushed us through it, fell onto the bed, pulling her on top of me. She pulled away from me momentarily.

"Mach, you're not gonna change your mind again, are you?" she asked in a vulnerable voice, and it tore at me for giving her this insecurity.

"No... I was so stupid, Kell. I was afraid... that you might leave me. So I thought I'd leave you... you know, so you can't leave me first..." Dang, even I was confused by my line of reasoning. "But I realize that I've just been lying to myself. Will you give me another chance? Give us another chance?" There, I said it. No more pride left between us, no more lies.

Contrary to the weakness I thought I would feel when I gave up my pride to say those words to her, I felt all the more stronger for admitting my feelings for this girl in my arms. "I love you, Kell. I know three months isn't a long time... but I really mean it." The happiness shining in her eyes when she nodded told me that she loved me right back.


Morning found my arms wrapped around Kell as we slumbered. I cracked open an eye when I felt something nuzzling my neck and came eye to eye with my personal demon, Jordie. I shifted a little to look at him properly and realized with a start that the tattoo on Kell's lower back was one of Jordie's eyes, not just any old pair of cat's eyes like I thought initially.

He eyed me fearlessly for a moment, lifted a paw -- to which I flinched instinctively -- and rested it on the cheek that he previously scratched. This time, though, I could only feel his velvet pad resting against my skin, and it felt nice. Could this be a truce? He gave me another look again, as though to warn me not to hurt his mistress again. "I promise. I won't," I said softly in a husky voice.

Kelly stirred from her slumber and placed a kiss on my collar bone. "You won't what?" she asked sleepily as she snuggled deeper into the covers. Her short hair was sticking in every direction and she looked absolutely delectable.

"I won't hurt you again... intentionally, that is," I added hurriedly. Wouldn't want Jordie after me if I accidentally stepped on Kell's foot or something. Words can mean so many things.

A single gray eye peeked open, followed by a radiant smile, making my insides melt for some reason. Dang, I'm turning too mushy! "You better not. But you know what? I don't really care, Mach. Just as long as we're happy now, who cares what happens in the future?"

"You do make me so very happy, Kell," I said in a soft tone, trying to ignore the standing goose bumps at the back of my arms. If staying in love meant made me into a walking goose bump, I would take the risk.

Kell chuckled and grazed her teeth on my shoulder through the shirt I had on. "Ya'know, Mach? I really liked it when you were being a smart-ass bitch," she said with a twinkle in her eyes, referring to when we first met.

Narrowing my eyes, I pulled her closer to me and sighed inwardly at the warmth between our bodies. "Ooh, didn't know you were into masochism, my love?" I nuzzled her neck as she squealed loudly.

"Wait, wait, lemme finish talking, you big oaf! Some things just never change, do they?" I gave her an innocent look that she saw through immediately. She climbed onto me and planted a huge kiss on my lips. "As I was saying, I really liked it when you were being a smart-ass bitch, but I love this sweet side of you, too."

She paused slightly as she thought her words through. "I guess all I want to say is that even though you can be a pain in the arse sometimes..." I glared at her cheeky words and she amended herself, "...even though you can be a pain in the arse most of the time..." I tickled her side, making her snort in an unladylike manner. In a warped way, it endeared her to me all the more.

"Enough, you big oaf!" She slapped my offending hand aside and hugged me to her fiercely. "What I really wanna say, Mach, is this... please don't fuck up what we have again, okay?"

That was it; no sweet declaration, no mushy, romantic, goosebump raising words. Just those simple few words that totally expressed what she wanted to say. Ironically, it was worth more than all the flowery speeches put together. "Okay." I planted a light kiss on her nose and grinned when she scrunched it up.

"Okay," she echoed after me, gave me a long look, a loving smile and then scrambled off the bed.

"Hey! Where're you going?" I called after her, missing her warmth already. My eyes caressed the curves that I held in my arms the entire night.

Jordie was already on her shoulder as she made her way up to the control room. "Gotta navigate, hon! We'll reach Yellow Island this evening." At that, my heart fell a little. I was sort of safe-guarding our little world jealously, and the thought of being around other people annoyed me somewhat.

Growling loudly, I fell back onto the pillow and tried not to hear her next words. "Go fix us some breakfast, idiot!" Oh happy, happy day.

I stood behind Kell, my arms locked tightly around her waist as she navigated us towards the island. We would reach there in a few hours. Kell's dad should be there already, having told her when she radio-ed him that he would take a chartered plane down to the island himself. She was a little worried that there might be any change of plans for there was no way he could have contacted us after yours truly rendered the radio useless, but there was nothing much she could do about that.

"Is this considered cheating on Clarissa?" came the sudden question.

"Cheating on her?" Frankly, the thought never crossed my mind. "Like I said... It was just a couple of dates. We both knew it wasn't serious or anything... Well, at least I did. Actually I felt more like I was cheating on you when I was seeing her," I confessed, loving the feel of her in my arms.

"And whose fault is that?" Hmph. I should have known that she was not going to let me forget the break-up easily. That is okay. She could milk it out as much as she wanted, just as long as she stayed where she was... with me.

"Mine," I answered softly. "But you love me anyway, dontcha?" I added in an egoistical tone to which she snorted in mock disgust.

"Get off your high horse, woman!" She jabbed me lightly in the ribs.

"Ow! Hey that hurt!" I complained loudly, rubbing my side for show. "This Captain thing has gotten you all macho and violent, hasn't it?" She glared at me. "Just wait till we get on dry land, missus! Then, we'll know who's ze boss!"

Turning in my arms, she wrapped her arms around my neck, looking snug between the steering wheel and me. She softly tucked my dark hair behind my ear, tiptoed and gave me a kiss that I returned eagerly. For someone who only started kissing not too long ago, she was getting pretty good. Her lips felt satiny and, combined with her tongue, created a heavenly combination. I slipped my hands under her shirt and stroke her warm skin. A low moan made my pulse race, and our kiss became rougher.

One of her hands slipped down and caressed my breast, sending a fresh wave of tingles to wash down my side. I growled loudly and was about to rip her top off when she broke away, grinning delightedly at my frustration. Breathing loudly, I bent down to capture her lips again, but was evaded. "Hey..." I began to complain when she hushed me.

"Do you reckon this would change when we get on dry land, Mach?" she asked innocently. I shook my head, still in a haze. "Then I don't think you're going to be the boss when we get there, huh?" Boss? What boss? Oh...

I relaxed against her and rested my chin on her head. "All that just to prove that I'm not the boss, huh?"

She nuzzled my neck, making me shudder involuntarily. "Yeah. All that just to prove that this is a joint partnership, pal."

Chuckling, I lifted her eyes to mine. Her glasses have yet to be fixed after she broke them at my place the first time we met, and she was still wearing her contacts. She looked cute either way, but this way, nothing got in the way of our kissing. "Okay, pal. Point taken. Now, can we kiss some more?" She did not answer, just pulled me down and proceeded to show me the benefits of our business venture.

"C'mon, Jordie! Time to go!" I heard Kell yell as she stormed through the vessel, looking for her cat. We have reached Yellow Island and I was actually looking forward to walking on stable land after being cooped up in the boat for almost a week. Not that I am complaining in any way.

Kell came out of the cabin with Jordie on her shoulder and a sports bag slung on the other. "Here, I'll get that," I said, relieving her of one of her burdens. Being an unexpected guest, I had no luggage, only a bell that I hung lovingly around my neck. I promised Kell that I would buy another one to replace it; it just held too many memories for me to not take it with us.

"Thanks." Kell gave me a sunny smile as we got off the boat. I reached for her hand and clasped it in my own, reveling in the feeling that little point of contact provided. Turning back to look at the boat one last time, I searched for her name that most boats had painted on the side.

It read, Eros, the goddess of desire and Greek counterpart of Cupid. I raised a brow and looked at my oblivious companion. Coincidence? Or fate? Kell felt me looking at her and glanced at me with a questioning smile.

I smiled back at her and bumped my hip against her, making her eyes narrow playfully. "I'm still your Captain, Mach," she said in an ominous tone. "Do not fuck with me." Oh yeah. Definitely hot.

The End

Hope it measured up to its prequel... :)

a c a d e m y

d a m n a t i o n