Jennifer Marie Stephenson bolted upright. Not quickly. She had been asleep. Somewhere deep down inside of herself she had heard the door close. Was it part of the television program that was on in the background? She couldn’t be sure, but after the last time her husband had come home at that time it had not gone well.
She had felt exhausted after finishing her computer class at the Community College. She had been teaching an advanced class in computer programming. She had stayed even later, working on an exercise for the next assignment: “How to harness the strength of Cloud Storage Computing.” She had some good students who were themselves leaders in that field. Still, she had arrived home before her husband and had been reviewing other recent writing on the subject.
Jenny pulled off her wire rimmed glasses and laid them on the small stool beside the couch. Groggily, she pulled herself into an upright position and instinctively pulled her long tee shirt to make sure she was covered. It was all she had on, and the last time her husband had come home late, after the night class he taught, their neighbor, Sam had been invited in for a drink.
Jenny had fallen asleep while reading. Her book had been cradled in her arms and her glasses were still on as she lay curled up on her side. With the television on, she had not clearly heard the door open or shut. She had not heard the “Honey, I’m home. Are you decent?” Her husband, Ben had gone into the kitchen, taken two beers out of the refrigerator and Sam had followed him into the TV Room. Jenn had been curled up on the couch. Unfortunately for her; fortunately for Sam, Jenn was too groggy to realize that her long, thin tee-shirt had not been pulled down far enough.
Ben had walked in first, realized what he saw, but was too confused as to what to do about it. Sam was right behind him and delightfully shocked at what he saw.
Sam knew Ben had a beautiful wife, but for the most part had only seen her in a sweater, jeans and athletic shoes. Once in a while, he got a glimpse of her in her cut-offs working in the yard. He had always fantasized about the forty-year old neighbor but was reluctant to act on it.
He and Ben had been sharing rides on several evenings to the junior college a few miles away. Ben was teaching a class in economics and he was taking some classes in photography.
“What to do now?” wondered the shocked neighbor. He and Ben had clearly seen Jenny curled up on the couch. She hadn’t woken up yet, and her top was clearly exposing that luscious mound of hers. “What a fucking sight!” Ben screamed to himself.
“What’s on TV at this hour?” Ben tried to ask in a loud voice as he tried to make noise as he purposely stumbled into the room. What else could he do? Ben knew he was in the room and knew what they had both seen. Ben turned and sat down on the couch with one beer in each hand. “Wake up, hon. We have company.”
Ben tried to sit in front of Jenn for a sort of cover. Sam remained standing, his view somewhat obscured by his hosts position. Slowly, groggily, Jenn realized the situation she was in. Embarrassed, she sat up; turned to put her feet on the floor and her face down against her knees. Embarrassed, she used her hands to pull down futilely on the hem of her garment. She was too embarrassed to look up or respond. “What had they seen?” she wondered.
“How long have you been asleep; hon?” Ben asked. He was trying to defuse the situation, as though nothing had happened. He didn’t know whether to be embarrassed for his wife or aroused at the scene they had walked in on. At some level, Ben had probably been intrigued with the prospect of having his wife exposed to strangers. This was unplanned and unexpected. Never-the-less, there was an erotic and exciting aspect to it; walking into the TV Room, hitting the light switch with his elbow and having him and a neighbor treated to this erotic sight. He had no idea how to react.
“Hmmmmmm...” The groggy woman seemed to groan as she struggled to gain her senses. “Maybe they didn’t see anything. Maybe with the lights off initially ... Maybe with her husband sitting down next to her ... Maybe ... She tried to shut it out of her mind.
“Why don’t you guys take that beer into the living room? I don’t want any of it spilled in here.” She said; somewhat trying to cover her embarrassment. She had to get out of there with some sort of dignity, and couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Sure, hon.” Her husband said as he looked up to Sam; hoping for him to lead the way out so Jenn could gather herself. “Go get your robe and come on back into the living room to discuss that website with us.” He said as he followed Sam out into the other room.
Jenn tried to make herself more presentable. She put on a short, white, terrycloth robe. She wrapped it around her; tightened the cord and crossed her arms in front of her as she walked into the kitchen. By now, Sam and Ben were crowded around the laptop checking out a website. Jenn knew what they were looking at. Evidently, Ben was not willing to let it go.
Their marriage had gone somewhat stale over the last few years. Their daughter, Madison was a teenager now, and did not need her mother to wait on her hand and foot any more. At the age of fourteen, in Kansas, you could drive to school and any related events. She could drive herself to work if she had to. To this end, Madison had taken a part time job as a waitress/hostess so she could always say she was on her way to school, work or a school event if she was stopped.
It had been somewhat of a long struggle since her birthday. Jenn had an instinct to keep driving her daughter; to keep her perception that she was needed and that her daughter was still a child. Madison was determined to show her independence and insisted she was self-reliant.
Jenn had spent the previous summer with her father and Madison rebuilding a Geo Tracker. They had removed the motor, had the head and block planned; added new bearings; ground the valves and added new rings. After several attempts to put it together, it had held up for a number of months with nothing coming apart; no fluid leaks and no left-over parts. Now the jubilant freshman had a 4-wheel drive car that should survive most winter snowdrifts and get to work or school without much worry. Having rebuilt almost everything, she now had a good idea where everything was and had a good idea how to fix most things. Having spent that much of her spare time that summer, she was not about to hot-rod or abuse her first car. She also had instructions that there would be no passengers.
With all of that over, Jennifer was looking for other new experiences. Now her daughter didn’t seem to need her. What was next? She seemed hesitant when her husband, Ben, had first showed her the new website she was not familiar with: crewseekers.net. “What’s this?” she had asked.
“It’s a website for sailboats.” He had replied. “People with sailboats need crews. Others who want work can look there for jobs. Some people are just looking for a cheap ride; a cheap vacation where they don’t have to do very much work.” He answered.
Jenn watched as Sam and her husband peered at the screen and scrolled down the notices. There were trips across the Atlantic; across the Pacific; island hopping down through the Caribbean and on down the coast of South America. The couple looked at the advertisements for several hours. The study went into days and weeks.
Jennifer was intrigued. She knew her husband wanted some other ideas to spice up their marriage. Perhaps this would be a way to get him away from work for a while. He could take a sabbatical from his teaching position at the college. He had turned it down last summer. Maybe now it was time. Should they bring their daughter too?
“Awww, Mom; I just got this job and I’m making good money now.” Her daughter had whined. “Can’t I stay with Aunt Susan this summer? She can’t work with Cousin Jimmy still not old enough for pre-school. I could help baby-sit when I’m not working.” Jenn had let it go. She could always use her daughter as an excuse if she wanted a gracious way out of this trip.
Finally a couple of weeks before school was out, they got a reply to their own notice on the website:
“Married, middle aged couple is seeking passage/light work on a sailboat during the summer. First choice would be near Hawaii or Caribbean area. No experience in sailing. Expect to pay for our own meals.”
Jennifer had opened the email:
I’m Lucifer Santana. I’m taking a 60-foot yacht from Hawaii to Fanning Atoll in about three weeks. I do this for a living. I am taking this boat there for a couple who have just purchased it from an individual in Hawaii. If you want to fly to Florida, I can meet the two of you there and we can fly to Hawaii together. From there, we will sail to Tabuaeran, pick up another boat and return to Hawaii. We will have a crew of four. (The two of you will be half of the crew.) I will have two others who will do most of the work. If the two of you can alternate the night shift, we will be fine. We just can’t sit in the ocean at night with everybody sleeping. We need somebody awake at night to make sure some unexpected cruise liner doesn’t run over us. You just have to wake me up so I can move the boat before we get smashed.
Food will be minimal. Not much drinking. You can bring your own food or help pay for a week or two at a time. We have a large freezer and refrigerator. We can all cook our own food or share cooking duties.
.... There is more of this story ...